(3:30 a.m. AEST) -- P&O Cruises Australia have announced they will mandate all passengers and crew be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when the line returns to service.
The line, which has temporarily paused all cruise departures up to and including 17 December 2021, said the policy would provide assurance for passengers, crew and local health authorities that it takes the threat of COVID-19 seriously as cruising continues to struggle within Australian waters.
"P&O Cruises is the longest-serving cruise line in the country with a proud 90-year history of sailing from Australia, and we want to do our bit to get this country back up and running again," P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell said.
"Governments have been connecting vaccination rates to plans to end lockdowns, border restrictions and, ultimately, re-opening Australia. In addition, our research shows that the vast majority of our guests want to cruise with other vaccinated Australians.
"We expect that P&O's vaccination-only policy for guests and crew would provide further reassurance for local authorities in working with the sector in developing protocols for resuming domestic cruise holidays."
Myrmell said P&O would provide passengers with further clarity around the new vaccination policy once the anticipated cruise restart date is agreed upon with local authorities. The line noted that any passenger who no longer wishes to sail due to the new vaccination mandate would be eligible to receive a full refund for all monies paid.
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P&O Cruises Australia has postponed all sailings until at least 17 December. It has also suspended select departure dates into February 2022.