Restart on the Great Barrier Reef confirmed for Australia’s Coral Expeditions on 14th October 2020

Under 72 passengers, all Australian crew and guests, enhanced health protocols

Australia’s pioneering small ship expedition line, Coral Expeditions, has confirmed a restart of operations for 14th October 2020 with a series of new 7-night sailings onboard the yacht-like Coral Discoverer. Operating out of Cairns with planned departures through mid-December this year, these highly experiential nature-based expeditions will take small groups of guests to explore the pristine outer reefs and lesser known islands of the Great Barrier Reef, showcasing the extraordinary marine life and the rich natural and cultural history of Far North Queensland.

Coral Expeditions will be delivering its SailSAFE plan developed by Australian medical specialists for the current environment, giving guests and crew confidence and peace of mind to travel. The SailSAFE plan has been approved by all Australian State and Territory governments and is based on the most rigorous safety principles which effectively create a “safe travel bubble” for guests and crew through pre-screening steps, onboard mitigation process and authorised response control.

Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director at Coral Expeditions, comments, “We are pleased at the strong guest response we have received over the past weeks following the release of our new sailings. At this time of global health challenges and uncertainties, there is no better sanctuary than our own Great Barrier Reef. We have led expeditions on the Reef for 35 years and this extraordinary place remains at the heart of our DNA. We are confident and excited to be able to restart after the challenges of the last 6 months and encourage those Australians who are able to explore their home shores to join us on board”.

The highlights of the itinerary include access to remote locations and a glimpse into Reef conservation efforts:

  • Experience remote diving and snorkelling at Osprey Reef, Escape Reef, and the Ribbon Reefs
  • Spot the Great Eight and other birdlife and marine creatures on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn about culture and Australian heritage in historic Cooktown
  • Enjoy sunset drinks with the sand between your toes on isolated Sudbury Cay and Hope Island
  • Learn about the conservation of endangered marine reptiles at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island
  • Visit the Great Barrier Reef Research Station and snorkel over giant clam gardens at Lizard Island

Coral Discoverer is purpose-built for expedition cruising with a shallow draft allowing access to remote locations that larger vessels cannot reach. A signature Xplorer tender vessel, glass bottom boat and Zodiac tenders enable guests to explore the Great Barrier Reef up close. Expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, including the much loved Xplorer bar with 300-degree views, immerse guests in the spectacular natural surroundings and allow ample personal space and open air. An expert expedition team including our Master Reef Guides provide insightful commentary and interpretation along the way.

Coral Expeditions is welcoming all guests who are able to cross domestic borders and have been encouraging bookings with Queenslanders initially. They look forward to welcoming all guests able to travel into Cairns in the months ahead. To celebrate the restart, Coral Expeditions is offering special deals for travellers on this itinerary, including:

  • Flexible Booking Policy: Book now with no deposit for 30 days
  • Complimentary Deposit Protection
  • One night’s accommodation pre cruise (includes breakfast)
  • A $500 per person travel credit
  • No fare supplement for Sole Travelers
  • Children 4-14 travel half price

“Our crew are excited, prepared and ready to return to operations. With a thorough safety plan in place and exciting nature-based expeditions on offer, they are ready to provide the warm Australian hospitality that they are renowned for. Being an Australian flagged tourism operator, the company is not affected by Border Force closures and carries Australian guests and employs Australian crew” says Mr Gillies.

“We are planning a staged restart across the next 6 months which will be in collaboration with authorities from Australian states and territories. Following on from the Great Barrier Reef, we have made advanced preparations for our domestic summer season in Tasmania and developing new local expeditions for the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia regions in early 2021. We hope that many Australians will be able to join us onboard as restrictions lift and it is safe to travel”.

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