Our reservation staff are available Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Having your medical screenings is absolutely mandatory to board our vessel. To minimise health risk and the chance your cruise plans could be affected, we advise against touring before joining a Coral Expeditions voyage. To prevent any infection onboard and to protect guests and crew, we strongly recommend minimal public interactions in the week following the GP visit and before embarkation. In the event you have unavoidable pre-cruise travel plans, these plans must incorporate your medical screening obligations to travel with Coral Expeditions. Guests could see a GP at any available destination possible during their pre-travel – it does not have to be your home-based GP. On prior application, Coral Expeditions may consider an allowance that this GP visit occurs in the period of 72 hours before travel. Guests who have not completed a PCR test and obtained a negative result within 72 hours of travel will not be permitted to board and travel under any circumstance.
Our SailSAFE plan recommends a period of self-isolation that lessens the risks associated with virus contact pre-cruise. This will be self-monitored by guests and we encourage guests to use great care and common sense by following the local/regional recommendations at the time and relative to the location. Guests should avoid known virus hotspots and avoid mass gatherings or high-risk activities while also using hygiene equipment such as masks and practising handwashing, sanitisation, and social distancing.
Currently, Covid-19 vaccine options are recognised as having no bearing on transmission of the virus. It is therefore not relevant to our SailSAFE plan which is focused on outbreak prevention and mitigation. Guests of Coral Expeditions will not be required to carry a vaccine passport or provide evidence of their having been immunised to board our vessels.
Coral Expeditions will monitor the local and regional health and travel advice daily and avoid any shore interactions at destinations that are not allowed and/or pose a recognised risk. We will always comply with federal, state and territory law. This may indeed include changing the planned shore itinerary to avoid risk. As always, alternate expedition experiences will be offered.
All Guests MUST undertake a PCR test in the period between 72 and 48 hours before the published voyage check-in time. We recommend this is done with our national pathology partner and they must receive and be able to prove a negative result to this test to travel. Coral Expeditions will not accept antigen tests or other types with low reliability. Failure to undertake this test will result in a refusal to travel with no exceptions in any circumstance. It is unlikely that a PCR test result can reliably be obtained within 24 hours, so we recommend that this is not left until the last day before departure. It is scientifically unacceptable to have a test taken outside of the 72-hour window. As an example, a test taken 78 hours before boarding time will not be accepted and will result in denial of boarding. Guests will need to show evidence of the place and time the test was taken and to show a clear negative result. This can be a text received from the pathology centre.
The type of test we advise guests to get is an ASYMPTOMATIC test meaning you have no symptoms. All health officials have advised us that our guests and crew SHOULD NOT seek testing within the public health system for discretionary travel reasons and that testing should be done with a private pathology partner. We have established a national partnership for this purpose. There is a cost that ranges between $100 – $140 plus GST for each person taking the test. Costs associated with this are the guest responsibility. This fee can be charged on our account with guests settling charges onboard the cruise. This fee cannot be bulk billed.
We have a detailed protocol for handling illness in partnership with state and territory medical offices. Any guests or crew showing any symptoms will be immediately isolated on board and monitored by the shipboard medical specialist. In isolation, they will undergo antigen testing and regular health checks. Our onboard medical staff and crew will liaise with regional health authorities and follow their legal direction. This may involve further testing, approved passenger/crew offload or a return to port for the ship depending on the situation.
Our crew are required to undertake a PCR test between 72 and 48 hours before check-in for each series of voyages they undertake. We note that crew will often be at sea for multiple voyages back to back (a roster swing) and their testing requirements will mean that they are tested before joining each swing. Crew members are always required to follow all elements of the SailSAFE plan.
All voyages will carry a medical specialist on board. Initially, this will be either a medical doctor or a registered nurse. They will be on hand to attend to any illness or injury experienced on the voyage. They will not be available for general or non-voyage specific health consultations. They will be supported by our medically trained crew.
As the science, situation and health issues are constantly evolving, our SailSAFE plan is monitored weekly and adjusted to represent best practice. We have an ongoing engagement with our health specialist RESPOND GLOBAL who meet with us weekly with key advice and updates. We encourage all guests to monitor our website for the most up to date travel advice and to be attentive to updates sent by Coral Expeditions to ensure that they are complying with the most recent versions as we evolve and improve operations.
In these instances, Coral Expeditions will assess the circumstances and will provide a future cruise credit to the value of 100% of the cruise fare paid. Guests who have tested positive will be entitled to a refund if preferred. All guests are responsible for their own travel and incidentals incurred in getting to and from departure ports, and for this reason, we urge guests and travel agents to be thorough with their pre-planning to meet all health screening requirements. If a guest failed to undertake COVID testing and as a result is denied boarding, there will be no consideration for either a refund or future cruise credit.
Coral Expeditions will work directly with regional authorities to manage the situation in line with our safety plan and health protocols in the unlikely event of this occurring. As an Australian flagged vessel with local crew and guests, we will be permitted to return to port. All guests and crew would then be required to follow local rules regarding a place and period of quarantine or follow directions regarding immediate travel away from this state/territory. Any associated costs will be at the guest expense as is standard industry practice. The vessel may be required to undergo deep sanitisation and clearance before any further travel.