Kimberley cruise scene holds out hope for 2022 as border, travel restrictions ease

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Coral Adventurer.
Camera IconCoral Adventurer. Credit: Supplied

After a year-long absence of cruise ship visits to the Port of Broome due to COVID-19, small expedition cruises are making a slow yet steady return.

The 12-month dry spell of cruise services to the Port of Broome ended when small expedition cruise vessel the Coral Adventurer docked on March 22 this year. Since then, the port has seen the return of more similar vessels as attitudes towards cruise travel begin to recover and demand starts to build back to the levels experienced before the global pandemic.

Cruise Broome president Shayne Murray said the 2021 season had proved a mixed bag, with interstate lockdowns continuing to challenge the industry.

“We are getting to the end of the season; most small expedition cruise companies wrap up operations from August to October,” Mr Murray said.

“We had operations good again and were experiencing strong demand.

“But then the lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and especially in the Northern Territory affected it again.”

Mr Murray said the Port of Broome was receiving about one small expedition cruise vessel each fortnight.

“There is one every second week at the moment, but usually around this time there is at least one a week,” he said.

Mr Murray said the industry needed time and clear direction to fully recover and return to normal.

“There is still some real hesitation; it has been pretty quiet at the moment but I think that is due to a lack of direction,” he said.

“Once we see the vaccines start to roll out, I think the demand will begin to return to normal.”

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