A small cruise ship (max passenger capacity 60) starts a circumnavigation of Tasmania cruise on New Year's Day (December 31). According to the head of the Cairns-based travel company behind the voyage, "clear and robust" COVID protocols were being followed.
The 63-metre long ship Coral Discoverer anchored at Coles Bay and is scheduled to arrive in Hobart Tasmania on January 1, 2021, where embarks on a 16-night Around Tasmania voyage. The itinerary includes mainly anchorages at no-port destinations like Wineglass Bay, Flinders Island, Stanley, Launceston, King Island, Tasmania's West Coast.
While cruise liners were the source of many coronavirus infections in Australia, including during the North-West outbreak, Jeff Gillies (Coral Expeditions commercial director) said expedition cruises were "a distinctly different proposition to the cruise ship industry".
"I think for a discerning traveller, somebody who likes to make a connection with nature, learn a little bit about the history and the culture of the region that they're in, it's quite educational.
"We've got very clear and robust protocols in place in terms of who can and can't travel. We follow the rules of the states and territories."
Gillies added that everybody who would be boarding on January 1 would both be "from an approved area to travel into Tasmania and will have taken an extra step of having a swab test within the 72-hour period before."
According to Health Minister Sarah Courtney, the state government would not "make any decisions or take any steps that are not safe for Tasmanians".