Cruise ships might return to Queensland by April of this year as companies ...

Cruise holidays are set to return to Australia after a year-long hiatus - with voyages from Sydney to Queensland expected in late April. 

The world's biggest cruise line, Carnival, has experienced a 400 per cent increase in demand for Queensland bookings since announcing international voyages would be delayed into late 2021. 

The cruise industry was all but shut down in early 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine breaches such as the infamous Ruby Princess debacle in March, in which infected passengers streamed into Sydney Harbour. 

The Carnival Spirit cruise ship (pictured in Sydney Harbour) is expected to be based in Queensland from June where it will allow Australian passengers to visit tourist spots such as Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

The Carnival Spirit cruise ship (pictured in Sydney Harbour) is expected to be based in Queensland from June where it will allow Australian passengers to visit tourist spots such as Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef 

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Cairns in Queensland's tropical north (pictured) is a popular tourist spot with cruise ships frequently visiting the city's port before travel restrictions

Cairns in Queensland's tropical north (pictured) is a popular tourist spot with cruise ships frequently visiting the city's port before travel restrictions 

Australia closed its borders to international travel on March 20, 2020 to halt the spread of coronavirus into the country. 

A day earlier on March 19, about 2,700 passengers from the Ruby Princess were allowed to disembark in Sydney before adequate COVID-19 testing had been completed - with at least 440 passengers later confirmed to have caught the virus. 

The incident threw the spotlight on cruise ships as a source of infections with subsequent vessels subject to extreme restrictions when attempting to land at Australian ports. 

In Western Australia in the days following the Ruby Princess case another cruise liner, the MSC Magnifica was outright refused permission to dock at Fremantle after reports surfaced that people on board had symptoms. 

Another liner the Artania refused to leave Fremantle after being ordered to set sail by the WA government in late March with 450 crew on board - some experiencing symptoms. 

Foreign-flagged cruise ships were officially banned from entering Australian waters on March 27, 2020. 

The ban expired on December 17, however, cruise lines have suspended their international voyages to Australia for longer - Royal Caribbean, for example has said trips to Australia won't be made until at least April 30, 2020. 

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship has been banned from disembarking in WA after more than 250 people on board reported a 'respiratory illness'

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The MSC Magnifica cruise ship has been banned from disembarking in WA after more than 250 people on board reported a 'respiratory illness'

If Carnival cruise lines resumed operations in Queensland, it would create $16.7million in revenue for the Sunshine State - much needed after border closures heavily affected the tourism dependent region's economy. 

The company's Carnival Spirit ship will be based in Queensland from June - allowing passengers already in Queensland to voyage to the Great Barrier Reef, Cape York, and Moreton Island. 

In Sydney, emerging Covid clusters could affect the late April schedule to resume voyages, but Carnival executives have flagged ships departing the city for destinations such as Cairns, Airlie beach and Port Douglas as a priority.

States and territories slammed their borders shut to residents of greater Sydney as the clusters were discovered in the lead-up to peak Christmas travel days. 

These border closures would continue to affect cruise ship passengers from Covid hotspots who wish to disembark at ports in closed border regions. 

For example, a Greater Sydney resident would

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