UPDATE ON TRAVEL FOR MARCH 2022
LET’S FLY AWAY & SHIPS AHOY!!
How exciting, our International Borders have reopened!!!
Proving our vaccination program is working as is our understanding to live with Covid. Many of us are ready to travel overseas and/or hop on a ship. As airline, cruise lines and county entry rules continue to change and improve daily, I find travellers are happy to book a cruise with all the “Added Extra Inclusions” offered at the moment, plus, packing and unpacking once is travel heaven.
A BIT OF COVID CRUISE HISTORY: Being a Cruise Master, during the past 2 years I tried to keep an eye on the most ships coming and going from our Australian Waters. Mind you, whoever thought COVID would last this long. Due to our federal government’s strong negative ruling towards cruising after the Ruby Princess debacle in March 2019, many of our popular Larger Cruise lines such as P&O, Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America eventually took their ships to ports in Asia to await the end of Covid. “These empty ships were moored ship-to-ship with skeleton staff to maintain or anchored in ports to avoid mooring fees”. With Covid’s continuation, eventually some sailed empty to the Northern Hemisphere for services in Europe and Alaska/USA for their 2021 Summer season while some went to ship heaven. Time for change as many new updated ships have been built by most cruise lines.
Back here in OZ, we changed our capacity rules so often, International Luxury Small Ship/Expedition Lines such as Ponant and Silverseas could not operate our 2019 & 2020 Kimberley Seasons. When the minimum of 100 Passengers took place, opportunities opened for only Australian owned Smaller Expedition Cruise Companies to survive and grow ie True North, Coral Expeditions & APT introduced their new Expedition ship “Caledonian Sky” Now 350 Passengers allowed to cruise out of Darwin so hopefully our 2022 Kimberly Season will be better than ever. MY First ever EXPEDITION CRUISE was on MV ORION in 2006 from Darwin to Broome experiencing our amazing Kimberley Coast.
Last December, I had the opportunity to cruise onboard APT’s “CALEDONIAN SKY” from Cairns to Brisbane taking in our fabulous Queensland Coastline from the tip of Cape York to the Brisbane River. Being a Small Expedition ship of 100 passengers, each day we would visit islands, costal towns such as Cooktown and amazing bays to learn about Aboriginal Art by zodiacs each holding 10 passengers. Once we left Crocodile country, we were all given snorkelling equipment and stinger suits to experience our beautiful Great Barrier Reef under the guidance of a professional expedition team learning about corals, marine and bird life as well as our World War 2 and Gold Rush history. The friendly crew and captain kept us well fed and informed of where we were heading and what to expect with evening presentations by the expedition team over a few pre-dinner drinks in the lounge followed by alfresco dining on the top deck under the stars and full December moon.
My next cruise/adventure is departing Amsterdam in June on a 7night Cruise around Norway onboard Holland America’s MS Rotterdam. Fingers Crossed I will get to experience this Traditional Style Cruise Line after 20 years when my first International Cruise from Sydney was onboard their smallest ship MS Princendam to New Zealand. Times have changed and I can’t wait to go cruising and flying again!!!!