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South Australia is cruising again

February 10, 2021 Cruise News, Headline News No Comments Email Email

In stark contrast to the debacle PONANT’S Le Laperouse suffered in New Zealand recently, South Australia has demonstrated its commitment to cruising, when the Queensland based, Australian-flagged Coral Expedition cruise ship arrives for a 10-day tour of the remote South Australian coast, providing a very welcome boost for the state’s visitor economy.

The Coral Adventurer, with an all-Australian crew onboard, will be the first ship to cruise in South Australian waters for almost 12 months and it follows 12 successful cruises by Coral Expeditions of the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns in October 2020 and Tasmania’s wilderness coastlines out of Hobart this summer.

The South Australian tour will be Coral Expeditions’ first in the state, as part of its expansion of domestic itineraries that are designed exclusively for the Australian market and capped at less than 100 passengers and with some of the strictest health measures in place in any industry.

Passengers and crew will be required to complete mandatory COVID-19 PCR testing within 72 hours before boarding, undertake a GP health screening seven days prior and complete a health declaration.

Onboard medical staff will undertake daily health and temperature checks of all passengers and crew during the tour and all on-shore visits also have strict protocols in place, with passengers and staff having minimal interaction with on-shore communities due to the remote locations in the itinerary.

South Australian Tourism Commission COE Rodney Harrex said that while the majority of the around 50 passengers will be South Australians seeing SA, the tour was an important step forward for the industry and the eventual safe return of cruise, adding, “South Australia hasn’t had a small expedition ship visit our shores since 2010 and they provide a unique experience to explore remote nature-based locations that the bigger traditional cruise ships aren’t able to”.

He said, “With some of the most stringent health measures in place, over and above what’s required to get on a plane or attend an event, and 12 successful Australian cruises already under their belt, this is a wonderful opportunity to have Coral Expeditions expand its itinerary to include South Australian tours”, and “This is good news for locals wanting to see more of our state and good news for our broader visitor  economy, not only so we can grow the expedition sector in SA but so we can get a blueprint for the safe return of cruise when the time is right.”

Coral Expeditions commercial director Jeff Gillies said the company is looking forward to its first South  Australian tour and has tested and proven systems in place to create a safe travel bubble to protect guests, crew and the broader community, and, “Our new voyages celebrate Australian nature, history and culture, with small numbers of local guests and crew traversing a large tract of the continent that we have not explored in our company’s history.”  “This includes our first South Australian voyages which visit locations along the coast that many locals would have never before seen and we hope that these tours can become a regular part of our annual sailing season going forward”.

He added, “As with other domestic itineraries, guests will be drawn from the Australian market and capped at under 100”, and  “We operate an all-Australian flagged fleet with Australian crew and our proven SailSafe health  protocols, approved by SA Health and other state’s health authorities, have seen us get back on the water and successfully and safely sail expeditions along the coastlines of Australia previously unvisited in the company’s 35-year history.”

Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance chair Pierre Gregor said to have South Australia’s first expedition vessel visit some of the Island’s remote coastal locations was encouraging news for the region, adding, “Prior to 2020, cruise ships provided great benefits to Kangaroo Island’s economy with record numbers of visits and passengers taking tours, enjoying the Penneshaw markets, and spending up with local businesses,” and “While this expedition tour is on a much smaller scale and will be to nature-based locations such as  Antechamber Bay and Western River Cove, it is a positive sign for the region and we embrace the opportunity to showcase some of the Island’s hidden gems.”

Eyre Peninsula Tourism Regional Chair Dion Dorward said it was exciting to see the first steps in welcoming the cruise sector back to the region, adding, “We have run a very successful and popular cruise visit program to Port Lincoln in the past, so it is terrific for our local operators to see the safe return and the modified program being delivered by Coral Expeditions”.

Coral Expeditions’ Coral Adventurer will depart on a 10-day tour from Outer Harbor in Adelaide on 10 February visiting locations in Kangaroo Island, such as Antechamber Bay and Western River Cove, and the lower Eyre Peninsula including Coffin Bay and Tumby Bay, before arriving back in Adelaide on 20 February.

Packages for the first South Australian tours by Coral Expeditions are on sale with dates scheduled for both 2021 and 2022. Coral Expeditions offers flexible booking and deposit protection terms to assist its guests along with a new Restart Refund Guarantee for new bookings in South Australia.

All passengers will need to meet entry requirements into SA, including any border restrictions in place at the time.

In addition to its industry-leading SailSafe plan, Coral Expeditions has a COVID Management Plan in place, approved by SA Health.

Ahead of the Coral Adventurer’s arrival at Outer Harbour, Flinders Ports General Manager Carl Kavina said: “Flinders Port Holdings is pleased to be able to support the safe embarkation and disembarkation of the Coral Adventurer expedition cruise at Outer Harbour.”  “Departing on 10 February, the 10-day cruise is the first step towards a return to fully COVID-safe cruising in South Australia.”

“We have put in place extensive new COVID-safe protocols and infrastructure at Outer Harbor. This initial, limited cruise will help us test those enhancements in a safe and controlled manner in coordination with SA Health, the Australian Border Force and the SA Tourism Commission.”

Coral Expeditions – SA tour details include: –

Wild Islands and Walks of South Australia
10-nights | Adelaide to Adelaide, departing 10 February 2021

This voyage offers the opportunity to explore and hike South Australia’s wild islands, where forested
National Parks give way to sheer wave-carved cliffs and sweeping white-sand beaches. A highlight of the itinerary is a series of guides trekking excursions through coastal nature trails and to rugged island outlooks where guests will be rewarded with sweeping ocean vistas.

Hosted by expert guides, including Kangaroo Island resident and well-known writer and photographer Quentin Chester, learn about the flora, fauna, and history of this remote habitat. Cool down with an invigorating ocean swim or enjoy kayaking in the beautiful turquoise waters at destinations such as Antechamber Bay on Kangaroo Island. Less-visited islands, such as Hopkins Island and Wedge Island, offer the opportunity to encounter charismatic native wildlife – inquisitive Australian sea lions, bettong, fairy penguins, rock wallabies, and many more. Along the way, enjoy the tastes of South Australian and indulge in fresh regional seafood and hand selected local wines.

For more information visit: coralexpeditions.com.

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

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