Responding quickly to the current pandemic and daily changing regulations around port access in the Asia Pacific region, Coral Expeditions has brought back its four ships to its Cairns homeport.
Coral Adventurer returned early from Sulawesi and Coral Discoverer was able to steam from Tasmania to Sydney to disembark guests there. Coral Expeditions I terminated her last Great Barrier Reef trip as per normal in Cairns port, while Coral Expeditions II is based in the Tropical North Queensland port. By 22 March, all guests across the fleet were back in port on Australian soil with no operational issues and by 31 March, all ships were safely berthed in Cairns and crew home.
Coral Expeditions’ Commercial Director Jeff Gillies said: “We are in the fortunate position that our ships are small, and therefore our guest numbers limited. As an independent expedition business with a strong and loyal guest base, we feel grateful that we were able to bring our guests home so swiftly.”
“While we regret that many guests had to reorganise their travel plans, as a small ship brand we were able to efficiently make all those arrangements. We are happy that all guests and crew have returned home safe and healthy, without any COVID-19 incidents on any of our vessels,” Gillies said.
“Our fleet will continue to be maintained in top shape and the entire Coral Expeditions team is confident for a redeployment of our small expedition vessels as soon as government restrictions lift, and it is responsible to do so.”
As a result of the government restrictions, Coral Expeditions has cancelled all departures up to 31 May 2020, with all affected guests receiving 100% off existing guest payments applied as a cruise credit towards a future Coral Expeditions voyage.
A new sailing calendar will be republished in the coming months, considering the environment ahead, and guests will be offered the usual levels of personal service with the Coral Expeditions’ reservations team open for business as per usual.
“We are fortunate indeed that due to the size of the business, we are able to help as many of our staff as possible through these difficult times. When we resume operations in time, Coral Expeditions will bounce back stronger than ever in its 35-year history,” added Gillies.