Do you have to be vaccinated to take a Kimberley cruise?

Please note this blog post was written 19 October 2021 and is my personal opinion only. My team and I are in constant communication with cruise operators, airlines and hotels as well as AFTA (Australian Federation of Travel Agents). We are always gathering up-to-date information about formal health protocols relevant to our Kimberley cruises. 
All clients will always be given up-to-date information at time of consultation and booking.

So the last thing I want to talk about is COVID. But this is a question that keeps popping up and, I suspect, will do for a while to come.

“Will there be a requirement for passengers (and crew) to be vaccinated before they can board a Kimberley cruise?”

And my answer is….almost certainly yes.

At this stage none of the Kimberley cruise operators have actually stated that this will be a formal requirement but at the time of writing (19 October 2021) it is clear to see that any kind of travel is going to be difficult for people without the vaccination or a valid exemption. 

For starters we are seeing domestic airlines are now insisting on vaccination for their passengers. Qantas have been particularly vocal on this. Add to the mix cautious state premiers like Mark McGowan. He has indicated that vaccination may well be a requirement for entry to/from Western Australia in the future. 

Most of our cruise partners this year have been asking passengers to take a PCR (COVID test) within 72 hours of departure and to be able to show a negative result. The health departments of the relevant state governments have been insistent on this policy and it is always possible that this requirement will continue next year in addition to proof of vaccine status. 

I am wondering (and I must stress that this is only my opinion at this stage) that the use of rapid antigen tests that can provide results within 15 minutes may become a part of the check-in process in 2022.  These procedures will also be applied to crew of course.

The idea is that you end up in your own little ‘safe bubble’ while you cruise. 

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has been notably ultra cautious on COVID and is likely to insist in 2022 that visitors to WA are vaccinated.

Can I obtain travel insurance for COVID?

Some insurance companies are now including a smidgen of COVID cover – usually for incidental costs associated with you or your travelling companion contracting it – hotel quarantine costs for example.

It is important to also note that no insurance (that we are aware of) covers cancellation costs for cruises missed because of border closures or because you have contracted COVID. We understand this is due to cruise companies offering to provide a full credit of monies paid.

We highly recommend you carefully read the details of COVID cover in any insurance policy you are taking regarding what is covered and how much is covered.

What about border closures?

Arrhhh border closures!!  Well, in theory, this issue should be firmly in the past. However if you are unable to travel on your booked cruise due to government restrictions such as border closures you will not lose your money. All the funds will be kept in credit and you can transfer to the next available cruise you can travel on. NOTE: the exact terms and conditions may vary depending on the cruise company; will we be able to provide these for you. 


About Jenny

I’m an expert in small ship cruising in the Kimberley and have completed four cruises on different vessels along this spectacular coastline. With a family I now work part-time so if you would like to have a chat with me about Kimberley cruising at a time that suits you book in a call here  and I will call you then.

Cruises in the Kimberley are not ‘one size fits all’ scenario; there are different ships and itineraries each offering their own special elements.  If you would like some general information to start your research then download my free guide to Kimberley cruising here.   I have also written some really interesting blogs (if I do say so myself) click here to have read.