P&O CRUISES AUSTRALIA’S FLAGSHIP PACIFIC EXPLORER IS SET TO BECOME THE FIRST CRUISE SHIP TO RETURN TO NEW CALEDONIA AND THE LOYALTY ISLANDS FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC.
Guests sailing from Sydney on 1 October on a nine-night itinerary have been advised that they will now make history as New Caledonia reopens its maritime borders to cruise tourism.
However, the same guests were also advised that Vanuatu is not quite ready to reopen to cruise calls, resulting in the line cancelling scheduled calls to Mystery Island and Port Vila.
Pacific Explorer will make an overnight call to Noumea accompanied by local celebrations to mark the return of cruising followed by a call to Lifou in the Loyalty Islands.
P&O’s flagship has already achieved a number of milestones as the first cruise ship to return to Sydney on 18 April, the first cruise ship back to Brisbane and, more recently, the first to return to New Zealand and Fiji.
“As our own return to service gathers pace the South Pacific is reconnecting with cruise tourism knowing how important its contribution is to island economies,” said Marguerite Fitzgerald, president of P&O Cruises Australia.
“WITH NEW CALEDONIA COMING BACK ONLINE, P&O IS ONCE AGAIN WIDENING ITS CRUISING HORIZONS AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO VANUATU REOPENING ITS MARITIME BORDERS TO CRUISE SHIPS BEFORE TOO LONG.
“Our positive relationships with these countries have been built up over decades and there is shared confidence and trust in what we do.”
Guests have also been advised of specific New Caledonia requirements including that to sail on the cruise all guests must hold international travel insurance with cover for cruising and COVID-19 along with the possibility of being subject to further Covid-19 testing prior to disembarking.