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Cruisers return to Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu's popular Port Vila is back on the itinerary for cruise lines as the destination rebuilds post-Cyclone Pam.

Vanuatu’s popular Port Vila is back on the itinerary for cruise lines as the destination rebuilds post-Cyclone Pam.


The category five ‘monster’ storm hit the island nation mid-March, causing devastation to a number of islands including tourist favourite, Port Vila.

Infrastructure around the island was heavily damaged including homes, hotels and schools. This left around 70 percent of the population displaced.

Water supplies were also tainted and electricity cutoff.

As a result, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  (DFAT) set its advice to ‘reconsider your need for travel’.

Late last month, this was downgraded to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’, which gave the green light for operators to return.

Pacific Dawn

Pacific Dawn will return to Port Vila next week.

P&O Cruises said its first group of passengers will go ashore in Port Vila next week during Pacific Dawn’s South Pacific cruise.

The ship will leave Brisbane on Saturday with some 1,900 passengers onboard.

Pacific Pearl will follow Dawn to Vila three days later, with both vessels also delivering shipments of humanitarian aid such as building material to support reconstruction efforts.

P&O said it sent a ground of Carnival Australia specialists to the island to assess the situation and consult with the local government.

After the visit, it was determined that the destination is safe enough for the cruise line’s guests.

“The arrival of the two ships, which between them will be carrying nearly 4000 passengers, sends powerful signals about Vanuatu’s capacity to bounce back from such a major natural disaster.”

Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia CEO

She said passengers have been eager to return and show their support for the destination and its people.

“Two thirds of international visitors arrive in Vanuatu on board cruise ships and we wanted to return as soon as possible.”

Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia CEO

Pacific Dawn will arrive in Port Vila on Wednesday and Pacific Pearl, departing from Auckland on 6 April, will be there on 11 April.

Carnival Australia Vanuatu contributions

Carnival Australia has assisted by delivering aid via its cruise ships.

Last month, Vanuatu Tourism Office’s (VTO) Australian representative, Anne Morris told KarryOn that she hoped DFAT’s decision to lower the advice for Vanuatu would build confidence among travellers and industry.

She said tourism is a vital industry for Vanuatu and they are keen to get Australians to visit.

I’m not really one for silver linings, but there ARE a lot more places to sit down now….

Posted by Humans of Vanuatu on Monday, March 30, 2015

Meanwhile, recovery in the island nation continues. P&O and Carnival have played a big role in assisting the destination get back on its feet, donating $300,000 to Save the Children’s relief effort.

The cruise lines have also used their ships to deliver aid to the destination and says it is currently working on assisting in the repair of schools and other community structures.

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