Our reservation staff are available Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
14 August 2020
In order to minimise health risk, we advise against touring prior to joining a Coral Expeditions voyage. In order 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 prior to embarkation. In the event you have unavoidable pre-cruise travel plans, it is very important that these plans incorporate your medical screening obligations in order 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 prior to 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 which 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. In this example, the GP visits and PCR testing can be done in Darwin and guests should follow local Darwin health advice regarding COVID management practices. Guests should avoid known virus hotspots and should avoid mass gatherings or high-risk activities whilst also using hygiene equipment such as masks and practicing hand washing, sanitisation and social distancing.
Guests should plan to arrive in the destination of embarkation no later than 12 noon on the day prior to scheduled cruise departure. Our company check in and final health and travel risk screening will occur between 3pm and 5pm on the day prior and is mandatory for guest travel.
At this stage, only our Australian Circumnavigation and Sydney to Hobart voyages call on ports in known domestic hotspots. Coral Expeditions will be monitoring the local and regional health and travel advice on a daily basis and we will avoid any shore interactions at destinations that are not allowed and/or pose a recognised risk. This may indeed include changing planned shore itinerary to avoid risk. As always, alternate expedition experiences will be offered. We will comply with all applicable Federal and State regulatory advice and rules at all times.
All Guests MUST undertake a PCR test in the period between 72 and 24 hours before the published embarkation time of travel and they must receive and be able to prove a negative result to this test in order to travel. Coral Expeditions will not accept antigen tests or others 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. As an example, a test taken 78 hours prior to boarding time will not be accepted.
The Covid 19 PCR swab test can be undertaken in any location prior to travel as long as the timing of that test is between 72 and 24 hours of the published embarkation time. Coral Expeditions will have recommended partners in key embarkation ports who can assist with PCR testing and can book appointments for guests with prior notice. Costs associated with this are the guest responsibility. It is unlikely that a result will be turned around in port of embarkation in under 24 hours, so we strongly recommend this be done with sufficient notice.
Any guests or crew showing any symptoms will be immediately isolated on board and monitored and by the shipboard medical specialist. We will follow existing medical protocol to minimise risk to passengers and crew. Our onboard medical staff and crew will liaise with regional health authorities and follow their direction and protocols. This may involve further testing, approved passenger / crew offload or a return to port for the ship dependant on the situation.
Crew are required to undertake a PCR test between 72 and 24 hours prior to embarkation for each voyage 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 prior to joining each swing. Crew 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 issue 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 will be responsible for their own travel and incidentals incurred in getting to and from departure ports and for this reason we implore guests and travel agents to plan.
In the unlikely event of this occurring, Coral Expeditions will work directly with regional authorities to manage the situation in line with our safety plan and health protocols. As an Australian flagged vessel with local crew and guests, we will be permitted to return to port. It is likely that all guests and crew would then be required to follow local rules regarding a place and period of quarantine. Any associated costs will be at the guest expense as is standard industry practice. The vessel would undergo deep sanitisation and clearance before any further travel. Guests would be issued with future cruise travel credits.