Coral Expeditions in Australia to Restart Cruises on October 14

Great Barrier Reef
Coral Expeditions is restarting operations from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef. For now, it's only accepting Australian citizens.(Photo by itos/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Coral Expeditions, an Australian small-ship expedition line, plans to restart operations for Australian guests on October 14 with a series of new seven-night sailings onboard Coral Discoverer. The yacht-like vessel will home port in Cairns and operate departures through mid-December.

The nature-based expeditions will take small groups of guests to the outer reefs and lesser-known islands of the Great Barrier Reef, showcasing the marine life and natural and cultural history of Far North Queensland.

“We are planning a staged restart across the next six months which will be in collaboration with authorities from Australian states and territories," said Jeff Gillies, commercial director at Coral Expeditions. In addition, "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."

Itinerary highlights include access to remote locations and a glimpse into reef conservation efforts. Guests will: 

  • Experience remote diving and snorkeling at Osprey Reef, Escape Reef and the Ribbon Reefs
  • Spot birds and marine creatures at the Great Barrier Reef
  • Learn about culture and Australian heritage in historic Cooktown
  • Enjoy sunset drinks and the beaches of 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.

The vessel's indoor and outdoor spaces include an Xplorer bar with 300-degree views, not only immersing guests in the natural surroundings but allowing for ample personal space in an open-air environment. An expert expedition team including Master Reef Guides will provide commentary and interpretation of the sites and experiences. 

Initially, Coral Expeditions will only accept guests who are able to cross domestic borders within Australia and travel to Cairns. For those guests, the line is offering a flexible booking policy, so guests can book now with no deposit for 30 days as well as complimentary deposit protection.

To celebrate the restart, it's also offering such perks as these:

  • One night’s accommodation (with breakfast) pre-cruise
  • A $500 per person travel credit
  • No fare supplement for solo travelers
  • Half price travel for children ages four to 14

Good to know: Coral Expeditions will operate with a new "SailSAFE" plan developed by Australian medical specialists. The plan was approved by all Australian State and Territory governments and is based on rigorous safety principles. It's designed to create a “safe travel bubble” for guests and crew through pre-screening steps, the onboard mitigation process and authorized response control.


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