Australian small ship cruise line Coral Expeditions has confirmed the restart of operations in Western Australia in February, its 25th year of continuous operations in the state. This was announced in a press release.
The company has attained all required state and federal approvals including the endorsement of their travel industry-leading SailSAFE plan.
The announcement marks another significant milestone for the Australian expedition cruise industry. Coral Expeditions has been continuously operating incident-free in the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania since October 2020 and have just completed a very successful inaugural voyage in South Australian waters last week.
The company’s 2021 voyages include new itineraries exploring the coastline and rarely visited islands off WA, as well as its celebrated Kimberley voyage between Broome and Darwin – a slice of classic Australian heritage.
The Coral Adventurer, the company’s expedition ship delivered in 2019, is currently en route from Adelaide to Fremantle. On 10 March 2021, she will sail from Fremantle to Broome calling on the Houtman Abrolhos group, Ningaloo and Shark Bay, the Muiron and Montebello Islands and the Dampier Archipelagos. In another milestone for the company, the brand-new vessel Coral Geographer (to be delivered March 2021) will depart on her sold-out Maiden Voyage on 31st March. The expedition “Across the Top of Australia’, a 19-night expedition exploring remote regions of WA including Ashmore Reef, Scott Reef, Adele Island and the Lacepedes.
The Coral Adventurer and the Coral Geographer have been designed and built specifically for extended expeditions along the rugged Australian coast.
In the current environment, the company has a clear vision to provide Australians with more unique opportunities to explore and discover the coastal wilderness regions of Australia. Commercial Director, Jeff Gilles commented: “Our sailing schedule celebrates the vast magnificence of Australia’s coastal shores and we are privileged to be able to take guests on adventures to places that simply cannot be accessed by road, rail or even air”
The resumption of the companies’ cruise schedule in Western Australia will involve more than forty-five departures in 2021 with expected passenger numbers to exceed 4000 guests. It is anticipated that it will create a positive contribution to regional tourism at a time of great challenge, without compromising health outcomes.
The news is also welcomed by Cruise Broome Chairman Shayne Murray who commented “The region extends the warmest welcome and greatly anticipates the return of one of the pioneers of the Kimberley for the 2021 season. Coral Expeditions will be one of the first to resume operations since last April and the expedition cruise industry provides significant tourism dollars to local and indigenous tour and business throughout the Kimberley. Despite the seasons closure last year, local cruising contributed some $13 million dollars and with their 3-vessel fleet approved and operating this year, Coral Expeditions will be a very significant contributor once again.”
As with other domestic itineraries, guests will be drawn from the Australian market and capped at under 100 per departure. Operating an Australian flagged fleet, with an all-Australian crew and guest base, Coral Expeditions’ proven SailSAFE health protocols have been fully approved by all state authorities. To assist guests and the broader travel industry in this time of uncertainty, Coral Expeditions will continue offering flexible booking and deposit protection terms and will have special local offers available for early season voyages in March and April 2021.