GAPDL volunteers Robert Dunnett, Kathy Strachan and Janet Frewen-Lord with CEO Gus Stedman in front of the Explorer Dream in the last cruise ship visit for 2019.
GAPDL volunteers Robert Dunnett, Kathy Strachan and Janet Frewen-Lord with CEO Gus Stedman in front of the Explorer Dream in the last cruise ship visit for 2019.

Cruise ship cancelled amid coronavirus fears

DREAM Cruises has made the “difficult” decision to cancel its Explorer Dream cruise, which was due to dock in Gladstone on January 30, amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Dream Cruises owner Genting Hong Kong, said customers affected by the cancellations would be offered a cruise credit or refund.

“We have been working closely with various government authorities across the region and adjusting our operations in support of the various precautionary measures to safeguard our guests and crew,” they said.

“In view of the regional governments’ latest measures, many ports are closed or have tightened their immigration requirements, bringing uncertainty to Explorer Dream’s Asia deployment.”

On top of its Gladstone visit, the Sydney to Singapore 14-night cruise was also meant to stop at Cairns, Darwin, Lombok and Surabaya.

Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited chief executive Gus Stedman said GAPDL “wholly supported” the decision.

“And we look forward to welcoming the Dream Explorer back to Gladstone later this year,” he said.

“I am sure the general public understand the need to take all reasonable steps to minimise the spread of any contagious viruses.”

Mr Stedman said customers whose holiday plans had been disrupted would be disappointed, but “under the circumstances I support Dream Cruises’ decision to take this precaution”.

Mr Stedman said as Gladstone was a small region, any cancellation of ships or events influenced the economy as businesses “need all the support they could get”.

Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the government was keeping a very close eye on the impact coronavirus is having on the cruise industry.

She said other cruise liners that had trips to China were now looking for alternative locations.

“We’re having discussions with cruise ship operators around those other opportunities,” she said.

“It really is a watch and see brief at this stage as we continue to see the impact of the coronavirus on the global tourism industry.”

Explorer Dream was one of three cruises scheduled to dock at Gladstone this year.

The Pacific Explorer, a seven-night cruise departing Sydney, is expected to dock in Gladstone on March 19.

Other regions it will visit include Mooloolaba and Tangalooma at Moreton Island.

Last year Gladstone hosted 14 cruise ships, however there are fewer booked this year because two P & O Cruises ships, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Eden, have been removed from its fleet.

Dream Cruises customers were told the company would continue to look at deployment opportunities during the “challenging” time.



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