Our reservation staff are available Monday to Friday between 7.30am and 5.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
As we operate in the changing environment that the presence of COVID-19 has created, it is our priority to keep our guests and crew safe while travelling with us. We want our guests and crew to have the greatest confidence that their safety and wellbeing have been thoroughly considered. We have put in place a range of protocols to manage our expeditions in a world in which COVID-19 exists. We have partnered with Respond Global, an experienced medical advisory agency, to assist us in developing a prevention and response system that is among the most thorough in the world.
All passengers must follow specific declaration and testing requirements pre-cruise. As your voyage departure approaches, please read through our SailSAFE Plan carefully, and review the requirements detailed in the SailSAFE Questionnaire. With three levels, the SailSAFE Plan is intended to guide you through the medical requirements to ensure you are cleared to board our vessel. Please also review our guides on receiving your PCR Test.
> Level One: Part A requires you to simply return a form advising of a general health self-check.
> Level One: Part C requires you to attend a GP visit 7-10 days prior to departure.
> Level Two requires you to take a COVID-19 PCR test between 48 to 72 hours prior to check-in for your cruise.
Vaccination Policy: As an Australian-flagged operator, Coral Expeditions is required to follow state and federal government health mandates and legislation. We have requirements to maintain a safe work environment for our crew and to protect the health and wellbeing of passengers and crew in our small ship expeditions to remote places. As a result, we have adopted a Vaccine Policy involving a mandatory requirement for all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to travel from 1 December 2021. Vaccination for children will follow Federal Health and AHPRA guidelines. We note that some jurisdictions in which we may operate may direct this be essential for voyages prior to this date. Medical exemptions authorized in line with Australian medical standards will be acceptable.
As your voyage departure approaches, Level Two of our SailSAFE plan requires you to take a COVID-19 PCR test between 48 to 72 hours prior to check-in for your cruise (we advise between 60-72 hours to provide the optimum timeframe for accuracy and receipt of results). This step-by-step information is intended to assist you in finding the correct time and location for your PCR test. We recommend choosing where you will take your PCR test as early as possible, as it may need to fit in with your travel arrangements. You will also need to advise our reservations team where you intend to receive your PCR Test.
a. Coral Expeditions has partnered with the Australia-wide Sonic Healthcare Group, and we have appointed them as our preferred testing clinic. We recommend using our partner clinics to ensure your test is completed easily and results are received to our dashboard in good time for your cruise departure (your test is an elective asymptomatic test; this can mean you may not be given priority if you choose to go through the public system). We provide a Sonic Pathology Form for you to take with you to our partner pathology to receive your test. Tests through our partner clinics can also be tracked or given high priority if needed. The cost for this test ranges between AU$130 to $180 (plus GST) per person. Sonic/Sullivan Nicolaides will invoice directly to Coral Expeditions and this charge will then be added to your onboard account. We do not believe these expenses can be claimed on Medicare.
Sonic Healthcare Group has facilities around the country, which can be searched at the below links. Filter by ‘Coronavirus testing’ and by ‘Postcode’ to identify your nearest clinic.
QLD & NT: www.snp.com.au/our-locations
TAS: www.hobartpath.com.au/our-locations or www.launcestonpath.com.au/our-locations
b. You may be able to use another pathology facility or the public health system for your PCR Test. We recommend against this option. If you chose this path, please note that your testing window of 48 to 72 hours prior to check-in is still required. You will also be required to bring a time-stamped receipt of your negative result with you to Check-in to be viewed by our medical staff. Please note that if you do not use our partner pathology, Coral Expeditions will not have visibility on the status or tracking of your test results and will not be able to request priority delivery of results as deadlines approach. There have been times where the public health system has refused to provide asymptomatic testing or where localized hotspots have created long lines and delays for testing.
Due to the nature of coronavirus and pathology testing timeframes, we require that your PCR Test be taken between 48 to 72 hours prior to your cruise. Please follow these timing guidelines as they are very important to deliver results on time and with the most accuracy. It is important to calculate on local departure time and consider the impacts of Daylight Savings Time. Note that any test completed prior to 72 hours is not medically acceptable. We recommend booking an appointment with your chosen pathology (if taking your test in Broome, that appointment will be scheduled by Clinipath).
Please advise us by email as soon as you are aware of where you will take your PCR test.
If you are taking your test in Western Australia, see below an additional step that we will need to take on your behalf to finalise your PCR Test. Please advise us within 35 days from departure if you will be taking your PCR test in Western Australia.
1. If you choose to take your PCR Test in Broome, Coral Expeditions will coordinate with the Clinipath facilities in Broome to reserve an appointment time for you at the right date and time. The Broome pathology will then contact you to confirm your appointment time. Note that Broome pathology has special opening hours for our guests. As the time of your test will be set, we advise not making other plans in Broome until your appointment is confirmed.
2. If you choose to take your PCR Test anywhere else in Western Australia at one of our partner pathologies, we will coordinate approvals for this with the WA Chief Health Officer.
3. If you choose to take your PCR test anywhere else in Western Australia at a pathology of your own choice, simply let them know you require an asymptomatic PCR Test and advise them of the vessel name and cruise departure date.
If you have taken your test at one of our partner clinics, the results will be received to our dashboard in good time for your cruise departure. Tests through our partner clinics can also be tracked or given high priority if needed. These results are kept confidential and will only be viewed by our SailSAFE Director, and onboard medical staff.
If you have taken your test at a pathology of your choice, please ensure you bring your time-stamped negative result with you to Check-in to be reviewed by our medical team. Often this result is received as a text message to your mobile phone. It is imperative that you have evidence of the time the test was taken as if it is more than 72 hours prior, it will not be medically acceptable.
Respond Global provides solutions to health-related emergencies by empowering national and international organisations to deliver an effective, appropriate local response, when needed, supported by field-tested technical expertise. Their focus is on delivering customised programmes.
Respond Global possess a unique blend of public health, disease outbreak, water and sanitation and maritime expertise, recently applied to numerous COVID-19 related response efforts. Respond Global has been actively involved in the COVID-19 response at the national and international levels including managing cruise ship COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing treatment and quarantine plans.
Respond Global are currently working with the world’s leading public health experts in advising company boards internationally about how to re-establish their businesses post-COVID-19.
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.
As an Australian-flagged operator, Coral Expeditions is required to follow state and federal government health mandates and legislation. We have requirements to maintain a safe work environment for our crew and to protect the health and wellbeing of passengers and crew in our small ship expeditions to remote places. As a result, we have adopted a Vaccine Policy involving a mandatory requirement for all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated status in order to travel from 1 December 2021. We note that some jurisdictions in which we may operate may direct this be essential for voyages prior to this date. Medical exemptions authorized in line with Australian medical standards will be acceptable. Vaccination for children will follow Federal Health and AHPRA guidelines.
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.