Australia’s small-ship cruising pioneer Coral Expeditions has ‘restarted’ cruising in Australia, with a with a week-long sailing to remote reefs and isles within the Great Barrier Reef on the yacht-like Coral Discoverer.
The voyage marks the culmination of months of preparation, effort and initiative by the Coral Expeditions’ team, says group general manager Mark Fifield.
Coral Expeditions consulted with medical expert Dr Ian Norton from Respond Global to develop the ‘SailSAFE Plan’, based on rigorous safety principles, that essentially creates a travel bubble for guests and crew.
The cruise line’s cruising program has been approved by all Australian state and territory governments, with core elements that include pre-boarding screening, an onboard mitigation process and authorised response control.
A small guest count on all vessels and the all-Australian policy for guests who board (as well as crew who serve them) is creating peace of mind, adds Coral Expeditions.
The resumption of cruising is a major milestone, says Mr Fifield, who hopes the “successful return to operations gives confidence to travellers and authorities that small-ship expedition cruising with a local Australian operator is a logical and prudent point of a restart for the marine expedition industry”.
The first of a new series of seven-night ‘Outerknown Adventures of the Great Barrier Reef’ expeditions took 46 passengers from Cairns to explore remote locations within the reef area and to connect with reef conservation efforts.
The cruise industry has high hopes for the success of these voyages, saying the first cruise was “an important step forward for Australian tourism”.
“Coral Discoverer’s first departure shows how a carefully controlled operation with strict health protocols in place can help revive tourism in Queensland and Australia, while at the same time keeping a focus on safety as the highest priority,” says Cruise Lines International Association managing director, Australasia, Joel Katz.
Would you be more inclined to take a small ship cruise than cruise on a big ship?
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