Fiji reinstates big ship cruising after two-year COVID pause

Green light for major cruise lines to return to South Pacific hotspot

Celebrity Eclipse | Source: Celebrity Cruises/Facebook

The Fijian Government has lifted its 2+ year ban on large cruise ships, effective immediately, paving the way for the restart of scheduled port visits to the South Pacific tourism hotspot by international cruise brands.

Fiji’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (CRMT) announced its decision yesterday [16 June 2022], six months after the country resumed international air travel which has seen more than 116,000 tourists visit Fiji since 1 December 2021.

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“Welcoming back cruise ships back into Fijian waters is a key facet of Fiji’s ongoing economic recovery. Pre-COVID, cruise companies, their passengers, and crew spent FJ$44.2 million annually in Fiji,” the CRMT said.

According to the 2018 study on the economic impact of cruise tourism in Fiji, each cruise ship voyage brings an average of FJ$305,000 in spending, per port of call, and one cruise ship passenger spends FJ$90 locally.

“With cruise vessels soon entering and docking in Fijian waters, that high direct spending by visitors to our shores will directly benefit handicraft sellers, which are mostly women, as well as local tour operators who regularly line up at the Lautoka port on cruise days,” the government added.

To ensure the safe return of cruising to Fiji, the Fijian Government will put in place additional measures
to reduce risks, including:

  • All travellers 16 years and above – both cruise passengers and crew – must be fully vaccinated with a Fiji recognised COVID-19 vaccine;
  • a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken within 24 hours prior to disembarkation at Fijian ports;
  • Valid medical travel insurance, with international coverage for COVID-19.

All onshore excursions will also be guided by health and safety protocols, including the Care Fiji Commitment.

Mandates imposed by the cruise industry including implementation of appropriate operating and outbreak management plans, and COVID-19 safety plans will also help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard ships.

Lead image: Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse is one of many large ships scheduled to visit Fiji this coming summer.

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