Carnival has announced that it has no set date for a return to cruising in Australia as the government has not yet issued a permit to operate, and has cancelled sailings into early March, 2022.
Amid the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Australian government has not yet announced any clear path for when the cruise industry can reopen.
Carnival Cruise Line has therefore extended its pause in operations in Australia. Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor are both usually deployed in the Australian market annually.
Carnival Splendor cruises are now cancelled through April 8th, 2022, while Carnival Spirit cruises are cancelled through April 10th, 2022. Both ships were previously scheduled to resume operations in Australia in March next year.
“As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we are sorry to share the news that Carnival Cruise Line is pausing operations for selected Australian sailings departing from 15 March 2020 through to and including 10 April 2022,” the cruise line said in a statement.
Guests impacted by the further cancellations are being offered various refund options, including a future cruise credit and a full cash refund.
Those booked on cruises six nights or longer can receive a 100% future cruise credit plus AUD$900 of onboard credit per stateroom. For cruises of five night or less, the onboard credit will be lower at AUD450 per stateroom.
To take advantage of the onboard credit, guests will have to rebook by March 31st, 2022, for a sailing that departs by September 30th, 2023.
P&O Australia previously joined Carnival Cruise Line in cancelling all cruises until March next year, but has not indicated whether it will be cancelling further cruises amid the Omicron variant.
Royal Caribbean has already cancelled its season down under, and there have also been cancellations by Princess Cruises and other cruise lines that typically call in Australia during the country’s cruise season.
Because Carnival Corporation is a joint owner of the new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal (where Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor are docked), it does not have to pay berthing fees for its ships while they are in lay-up.
Carnival Cruise Line has also taken advantage of Dubai’s shipyards to have Carnival Spirit dry-docked during her lay-up. The ship received her new Carnival livery during the refit, which also included some cosmetic changes and updates to the ship’s public areas.