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Australian Version of PVSA/Cabotage Laws?


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In the US, there is this Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) which, among other things, prevents a cruise itinerary from starting and ending in a different port.  We are talking one-way cruises.  For instance, you can't do a New York to Miami cruise -- unless you visit a distant foreign port somewhere in between. 

 

PVSA also prevents cruises to nowhere.  A ship has to visit a 'nearby' foreign port in between for a closed-loop itinerary.

 

I see several one-way Australian itineraries marketed by cruise ships -- one-way domestically, that is.  Cunard, for example, has one-way trips between Sydney and Melbourne, and between Adelaide and Melbourne.  Cruises to nowhere are also a staple in the Australian market.

 

My question is, does Australia have a version of PVSA or another set of cabotage restrictions for passengers?

 

Here is a bit of the background. 

 

We have booked back-to-back cruises for December 2021 with the first ship sailing from Singapore to Sydney and the second one proceeding to NZ from Sydney.  The first itinerary has a stop in Darwin followed by two days at sea before arriving in Cairns. 

 

We would love to get off the ship in Darwin, fly to ASP/AYQ, tour Ayers rock, and re-join the ship in Cairns.  The ship would then take us from Cairns to Sydney, and this is the part not allowed under the US laws.  (Or, you could pay $800pp to 'flout' it.)

 

I will eventually deal with the the cruise line on this topic next year - once we know where the world stands at that time - but I am looking to do a bit of planning now.  Evidently, the ships can't stop you from disembarking early, but they can still disallow re-joining.  That's where knowing the rules can help my discussion with them.  If they have a boilerplate 'no, can't do' answer, I will push for an explanation.

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by intr3pid
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We have lots of cruises that would be illegal in the US because we don’t have that law.

 

Up to the cruise line, and logistics, to get your side trip done.

One way flight can be very expensive, and be careful of how many stops.

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No. Australia does not have a similar law and I am glad it does not.

 

You would have to apply to the cruise line for permission to disembark at one port and re-embark later. I know of several instances where this happens in South America to allow people to visit Macchu Pichu.

Edited by Aus Traveller
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I'm not sure that the OPs described trip would even run afoul of the PVSA (which does not apply anyway). If you were to leave the ship and "miss" the departure you would be expected to join the ship at your own expense at the next port. I'm surprised that the described side trip isn't offered as an excursion.

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This is a slightly different scenario but something to consider. If you are going to nearby 'Yorkey's Knob and not the port at Cairns, it is by tender boat. This is an possibly an issue, as last year on a round trip to Cairns we tried to get my daughter onboard later in the cruise as she could not join us at the beginning in Sydney. They would not allow it as it had to be a proper port such as Brisbane to embark which was our only other option after the cruise started. The port authority would not let her join at Cairns or Port Douglas because those places were only by tender and they didn't have the proper authorities at those ports (and we were Australians doing an Australian cruise). So that might possibly be a problem. But I think if you have already gone through the embarkation process then it should be OK.

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Just a thought, late December at Uluru it could be well over 40C.

 

Perhaps not ideal weather.

 

Also, is it Cairns port or Yorkey’s Knob? If Yorkey’s, it is a notorious tender operation depending on the weather.

 

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Australia does have the Navigation Act of 1912 that the Government sees fit to ignore.  It is nearly the same as the USA Jones Act.  This is why we have virtually no Merchant fleet & only have 30 days of fuel should anything happen in SE Asia to disrupt the overseas operated ships bringing in fuel.

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2 hours ago, christodan said:

This is a slightly different scenario but something to consider. If you are going to nearby 'Yorkey's Knob and not the port at Cairns, it is by tender boat. This is an possibly an issue, as last year on a round trip to Cairns we tried to get my daughter onboard later in the cruise as she could not join us at the beginning in Sydney. They would not allow it as it had to be a proper port such as Brisbane to embark which was our only other option after the cruise started. The port authority would not let her join at Cairns or Port Douglas because those places were only by tender and they didn't have the proper authorities at those ports (and we were Australians doing an Australian cruise). So that might possibly be a problem. But I think if you have already gone through the embarkation process then it should be OK.

Another problem with Yorkey's is the weather when tenders can't be launched.

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8 hours ago, Docker123 said:


We have lots of cruises that would be illegal in the US because we don’t have that law.

 

Up to the cruise line, and logistics, to get your side trip done.

One way flight can be very expensive, and be careful of how many stops.

It’s a few years since I did Darwin to Ularu but Qantas didn’t do direct flights every day, don’t know if others do

 

Cheers Carole

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Good points everyone - makes it more interesting to plan DIY. 

 

The two days at sea are followed by daily stops in Cooktown, Yorkeys Knob, and Airlie Beach.  All three, I gather, are tender ports.  Our initial plan would be to visit Uluru in a way to arrive in Cairns by the evening of the second sea day.  Then, do a GBR pontoon or reef tour on our own while the ship is in Cooktown.  This would give us all of the Yorkeys day to make it back to the ship (and even do the Skyrail/rainforest in the morning). 

 

We will have the key cards like everyone else, so returning to the ship should be OK.  The weather is the big unknown.  We are talking mid December.  Looks like it's the start of the stinger / wet season.  Will have to keep it in mind very very much.

Edited by intr3pid
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9 hours ago, intr3pid said:

In the US, there is this Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) which, among other things, prevents a cruise itinerary from starting and ending in a different port.  We are talking one-way cruises.  For instance, you can't do a New York to Miami cruise -- unless you visit a distant foreign port somewhere in between. 

 

PVSA also prevents cruises to nowhere.  A ship has to visit a 'nearby' foreign port in between for a closed-loop itinerary.

 

I see several one-way Australian itineraries marketed by cruise ships -- one-way domestically, that is.  Cunard, for example, has one-way trips between Sydney and Melbourne, and between Adelaide and Melbourne.  Cruises to nowhere are also a staple in the Australian market.

 

My question is, does Australia have a version of PVSA or another set of cabotage restrictions for passengers?

 

Here is a bit of the background. 

 

We have booked back-to-back cruises for December 2021 with the first ship sailing from Singapore to Sydney and the second one proceeding to NZ from Sydney.  The first itinerary has a stop in Darwin followed by two days at sea before arriving in Cairns. 

 

We would love to get off the ship in Darwin, fly to ASP/AYQ, tour Ayers rock, and re-join the ship in Cairns.  The ship would then take us from Cairns to Sydney, and this is the part not allowed under the US laws.  (Or, you could pay $800pp to 'flout' it.)

 

I will eventually deal with the the cruise line on this topic next year - once we know where the world stands at that time - but I am looking to do a bit of planning now.  Evidently, the ships can't stop you from disembarking early, but they can still disallow re-joining.  That's where knowing the rules can help my discussion with them.  If they have a boilerplate 'no, can't do' answer, I will push for an explanation.

 

Any thoughts?

Cunard may actually offer something like this diversion as an excursion. 

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I suppose the best you can do is ask the cruise line.

They may have some regulations preventing a boarding a new passenger ( I doubt that as entertainers do it often) but there shouldn't be anything preventing a passenger rejoining the ship. I would expect there to be some amount of paperwork and authorization's as well as a monetary contribution (or at least no discount on the cruise) for your absence.

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4 hours ago, intr3pid said:

Good points everyone - makes it more interesting to plan DIY. 

 

The two days at sea are followed by daily stops in Cooktown, Yorkeys Knob, and Airlie Beach.  All three, I gather, are tender ports.  Our initial plan would be to visit Uluru in a way to arrive in Cairns by the evening of the second sea day.  Then, do a GBR pontoon or reef tour on our own while the ship is in Cooktown.  This would give us all of the Yorkeys day to make it back to the ship (and even do the Skyrail/rainforest in the morning). 

 

We will have the key cards like everyone else, so returning to the ship should be OK.  The weather is the big unknown.  We are talking mid December.  Looks like it's the start of the stinger / wet season.  Will have to keep it in mind very very much.

Why do the cruise? I suggest it would be better to go to central Australia for a few days to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon then go to the Reef.

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1 hour ago, Aus Traveller said:

Why do the cruise? I suggest it would be better to go to central Australia for a few days to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon then go to the Reef.

The first cruise, where the OP wants to do the side trip, starts in Singapore and presumably has ports prior to Darwin that the OP wants to visit.

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I am not sure what ship they are on but the only cruise I can see that fits the description is Regent's Seven Seas Explorer which leaves Singapore on 20 December this year, not 2021.

I doubt this cruise will happen.

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22 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

I am not sure what ship they are on but the only cruise I can see that fits the description is Regent's Seven Seas Explorer which leaves Singapore on 20 December this year, not 2021.

I doubt this cruise will happen.


If it is on Regent ,shore excursions are an  included part of your cruise .

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4 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

I am not sure what ship they are on but the only cruise I can see that fits the description is Regent's Seven Seas Explorer which leaves Singapore on 20 December this year, not 2021.

I doubt this cruise will happen.

It may be a Cunard cruise.

 

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44 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

Cruise timetables only has the one cruise line calling into Cooktown from Singapore

 

Good point, Cunard ships would be a bit big fir Cooktown. 

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51 minutes ago, OzKiwiJJ said:

Good point, Cunard ships would be a bit big fir Cooktown. 

Cooktown is a tender port. It has been scrapped from P&O and Princess itineraries several years ago because weather conditions very often prevent tenders operating.

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10 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

I am not sure what ship they are on but the only cruise I can see that fits the description is Regent's Seven Seas Explorer which leaves Singapore on 20 December this year, not 2021.

I doubt this cruise will happen.

No, that's one year too early.  It's Norwegian Spirit followed by Cunard QE.  That's about 30 nights altogether, and it would be nice to get off the ships for a few days in the middle.

 

21 hours ago, Aus Traveller said:

Why do the cruise? I suggest it would be better to go to central Australia for a few days to visit Uluru and Kings Canyon then go to the Reef.

So, the first cruise - the 17-nighter - is pretty much the Indonesian and Queensland itineraries sewn together with those two sea days in between.  If it was just Queensland, we would do pretty much what you suggest.

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