Five Australian cruise itineraries have been adjusted as lines avoid ports affected by bushfires.
All major cruise lines in the region are operating as scheduled and most destinations visited by ship in the country are unaffected by the fires, according to trade body Clia.
Five itineraries have had “minor adjustments” to avoid ports in areas that have been impacted by fire.
“Of approximately 50 cruise ports in Australia, only two regional destinations have been affected, though it is expected they will be accessible again soon,” Clia said.
“Major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are unaffected by fires, other than periods of smoke haze, as are most other cruise ports around Australia.”
UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “Cruise lines are monitoring the situation in Australia closely and if required can adjust itineraries to avoid areas affected by fire.
“The safety of guests is always paramount. Cruise lines will also consider whether itinerary changes are necessary to avoid placing pressure on regions dealing with emergencies.”
He added: “Cruise lines have made clear they want to return to these ports as soon as possible to help support local businesses and assist in their recovery.
“Tourism is vital in these parts of Australia and the passion of local communities has made them popular destinations.”
Several cruise lines have provided assistance to affected communities including significant donations to recovery funds, including Carnival Corporation brands, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
Escorted touring and river cruise specialist APT has donated £52,000 to the Australian bush fire appeal and any money raised by staff will also be match funded.
Australia’s cruise industry continues to operate at full capacity and has united with other tourism sectors in planning for the recovery of communities impacted by fires, Clia added.
Harmer added: “As a vast country, most of Australia is open for business and welcoming visitors. Tourism Australia has provided excellent information at australia.com to keep visitors informed and give details on the large areas of the country that are open and accessible.”
A Clia spokesman in Australia said: “The cruise industry joins Australians in thanking firefighters, volunteers and other emergency personnel for their dedication.
“We hope for a swift recovery in affected communities and our thoughts are with those who have suffered losses in these tragic events.”
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