International cruise ships return to Australia after two-year Covid ban - see pics

Updated: Apr 18, 2022, 05:28 PM(IST)

After a widespread COVID-19 outbreak, a cruise liner docked in Sydney Harbour on a bright Monday morning (April 18) with a giant banner saying "We're home." (Source: AFP) 

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Cruise ships were banned after Covid outbreak in 2020

A cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour on Monday for the first time in more than two years, after a 2020 ban sparked by a mass Covid-19 outbreak was lifted.

International cruise ships were banned from Australian waters in March 2020 after a Covid outbreak that spread from the Ruby Princess ship, which was linked to hundreds of cases of the virus and 28 deaths, many in aged care homes.

(Photograph:AFP)

"We’re home”

On a bright morning, the Pacific Explorer made a dramatic entrance, flanked by tugboats spraying plumes of water and with a large banner that read "We're home" draped across its bow.

(Photograph:AFP)

Crowds watch arrival of the ship

Crowds gathered at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to watch the arrival of the ship, which began its 18,000-kilometre journey back to Australia nearly a month ago. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Ships were moored off the coast of Cyprus

The Pacific Explorer and two other cruise ships owned by P&O were moored off the coast of Cyprus for much of the past year waiting for Australia to lift its ban -- a reprieve delayed by successive waves of Covid. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Prospect of near-normal summer cruise season

Bookings for P&O's Australian cruises are now close to pre-pandemic levels, spokesperson Lyndsey Gordon told AFP.
"We now see the prospect of near-normal summer cruise season for 22-23."

Before the pandemic, some 350 cruise ships travelled to Australia carrying more than 600,000 passengers - making the industry worth Aus$5.2 billion (US$3.8 billion) to the national economy, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

(Photograph:AFP)

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