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French Polynesia bans mega cruise ships – how will it affect your cruises?

Author: Kendall Hayes

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French Polynesia is to ban mega ships from entering their waters with the announcement of new restrictions, it has been revealed.

French Polynesia is one of many countries that have started to ban mega cruise ships from entering their ports.

The French Polynesian government announced that port calls would be banned for cruise ships with a capacity larger than 3,500 people starting January 1, 2022.

Ships with a capacity of more than 2,500 passengers would be restricted to only Tahiti, Raiatea and Moorea while Bora Bora will only be allowed to welcome 1,200 cruise passengers per day.

Bora Bora has been requesting a limitation in the amount of cruise passengers allowed to enter since 2019.

The small island has been yearning for this limitation as it will help minimise the burden on the island’s local infrastructure; other small islands feel a similar way, wanting to be able to make sure each guest has the best experience possible while away, which may not be feasible with large cruise ships.

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French Polynesia is not the only country beginning to ban mega ships from its ports. Credit: Shutterstock

French Polynesia is not the only country beginning to ban mega ships from its ports.

The pandemic caused many cities to put a pause on cruise tourism, and now as cruises begin to start back up again, countries are re-evaluating the future of cruises in their cities.

- READ MORE: Why you should sail to the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin cruises -

Countries such as Thailand, Italy and the Netherlands have also begun to address the future of cruise tourism in their countries.

In early 2021, the Cayman Islands announced that its plans to build a new cruise port would be scrapped.

Since August, Venice, Italy has banned cruise ships over 25,000 tons from its lagoons.

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Since August, Venice, Italy has banned cruise ships over 25,000 tons from its lagoons. Credit: Shutterstock

Now, ships must port at a nearby port in Maghera where cruisers must bus to the ancient city.

This evaluation is concerning for some ports, such as Tahiti as cruisers made up one-third of the island’s visitors in 2019.

- READ MORE: USA, Australia, New Zealand and beyond – Fred. Olsen’s world cruise 2024 -

Luckily, many of the region’s most popular ships are on the smaller side.

This sudden move to scrap port construction plans and ban mega cruise ships may come as a shock, but the move does make sense.

Mega ships are more suited and more likely to favour larger ports rather than small ones.

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This evaluation is concerning for some ports, such as Tahiti as cruisers made up one-third of the island’s visitors in 2019. Credit: Shutterstock

How will this affect your cruise?

Many cruise lines sail through the South Pacific whether it is year-round or seasonally the area is popular within the cruise industry.

Cruise lines such as Paul Gauguin Cruises and Windstar Cruises sail year-round through French Polynesia, but their ships hold less than 350 guests.

Larger cruise lines such as Princess Cruises, Carnival, P&O and Holland America Line reposition ships in this region, but now may have to skip over certain ports depending on its ships’ sizes.

- READ MORE: Princess Cruises: Melt away stresses with luxurious spa and wellness offerings onboard -

For many of the larger cruise lines, the ships’ itineraries may not be impacted because the ships’ capacities are under the limit of the ban.

Princess Cruises is one such line who will not be affected by the change in rules.

A Princess spokesperson told World of Cruising today: “The only Princess ship we have scheduled to call to in the French Polynesia is Coral Princess and this ship carries less than 3,500 guests.”

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