P&O Cruises Extends Australian Pause

file photo of Pacific Dawn
file photo of Pacific Dawn

Published May 4, 2020 11:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

P&O Cruises announced on Monday that it has extended its voluntary pause in operations in Australia and New Zealand to August 31, 2020, in response to continuing travel restrictions due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said everyone at P&O looked forward to resuming cruise operations as soon as it was safe to do so, but it was clear an extension to the pause was necessary while Australia and New Zealand continue to make progress in combating coronavirus.

"Australia and New Zealand have led the world in flattening the COVID-19 curve, which adds to our optimism for the future. However, we also recognize that a further extension is the prudent and responsible course," Myrmell said.

The extended pause in operations will affect sailings on Pacific Dawn scheduled to depart Brisbane between June 16 – August 26, 2020. Pacific Explorer's cruises from Sydney will now be paused between June 24 – August 24, 2020. Pacific Aria's scheduled cruises from Auckland will be postponed from July 4 – August 23, 2020.

In April, cruise companies in the UK, including Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen Cruises and P&O Cruises, extended their pause in operations. Announcing the cancellation of cruises scheduled through the end of July 2020, P&O Cruises said in a statement, “We are so sorry not to be able to give our guests their summer holiday but the global situation and continued lockdown make it impossible to reintroduce sailings for the next few months. Our ambition is to give our guests amazing holidays as soon as global guidelines will allow and we are working through the evolving advice, as well as restrictions in ports of call around the world, as we consider how we phase our ships back into service.”

Carnival Corporation's P&O Cruises brand operates six cruise ships and was scheduled to take delivery this spring on its largest ship, the 184,000 GT Iona, which is being built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. In mid-March, Meyer moved the ship to Bremerhaven where she was to be completed and delivered for her May maiden voyage.