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June 10 updates: Norwegian Jewel cancels Down Under, Murray Princess is back, Aranui to resume passenger service

CRUISE Norwegian Jewel.jpg
Norwegian Jewel's Australasia sailings between September 25 and February 27 will not take place
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-related cruise news and announcements.

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

NCL cancels 2020/21 Australasia season

Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled the upcoming 2020/21 deployment of Norwegian Jewel in Australasia.

A company spokeswoman said sailings between September 25 and February 27 will not take place. 

She cited ‘changes to the redeployment of our fleet’ and said passengers booked on these sailings will receive a full refund as well as a future cruise credit worth 10% of the fare paid.

She said NCL has a long-term commitment to the Asia Pacific region, with Norwegian Spirit sailing in Australian and New Zealand waters in the 2021/22 season and that ship will be joined by Norwegian Sun in Asia in 2021.

‘Welcome Back’ for South Australian paddlewheeler Murray Princess

The purpose-built authentic paddlewheeler Murray Princess, which plies the Murray River in South Australia, will operate a one-off seven-night ‘Welcome Back’ cruise from Renmark to its home port of Mannum on June 23.

In March the 120-passenger Murray Princess, owned by South Australia-based SeaLink, was forced to suspend cruising due to COVID-19. She went into dry dock in Renmark for maintenance and survey work that is usually done at the end of the year.

Her ‘Welcome Back’ cruise will carry just 40 passengers due to social distancing and will travel 420kms along the Murray visiting townships, vineyards and archaeological sites.

Aranui Cruises to restart passenger services

Following news that French Polynesia is to reopen its borders to international tourists on July 15, Papeete-based Aranui Cruises will kickstart its passenger operations on July 18.

‘With some uncertainty about who will be able to travel to French Polynesia in the coming months, the start-up cruise will be for locals,’ a company spokeswoman said.

As a mixed passenger-freighter vessel, Aranui 5 is one of the few ships that continued sailing during the pandemic, carrying on with its essential cargo deliveries to the remote Marquesas Islands.

For more than 60 years an Aranui vessel has acted as a vital lifeline, connecting the people of the Marquesas with the outside world.

Since the pandemic grounded flights, closed borders and stopped cruise operations around the world, Aranui 5 has been unable to take passengers on its usual 13-day round-trip voyages from Papeete to the Marquesas, but the ship continued making the epic 3,000km delivery run.

Aranui 5 will restart its passenger operations on July 18.