Frequently Asked Questions
You will no doubt be aware of the current situation regarding the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, impacting the world at this time. We at The ATG Group would like to assure you that we take your health, safety and enjoyment on our tours very seriously and are reacting to the changing situation daily.
We have consulted with a medical professional to provide the below answers to some questions of relevance.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new virus belonging to the coronavirus family. This family of viruses can cause a variety of illness in humans ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 originated, likely transmitted from a bat species, in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is important to put that in perspective with the flu that causes over a billion cases per year with likely over half a million deaths per year.
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
While health authorities are not yet certain exactly how the virus is spread, it is thought it can spread when someone coughs or sneezes and they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. These droplets may then be inhaled or land on a body surface or object then touched to the eyes, nose or mouth.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can range from nothing (asymptomatic) to mild cold/flu like symptoms (fever, headache, lethargy, sore throat, runny nose, dry cough, aches and pains) to breathing difficulties.
How long does it take to get symptoms once exposed to the virus?
The incubation period (i.e. the time taken to develop symptoms from the time of exposure) is generally around 5 days but is estimated to vary between 1 and 14 days.
How do I keep myself and others safe from catching the virus?
• Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands – preferably with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or if not available, with an alcohol-based cleanser to kill any virus;
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as the virus can enter via these surfaces;
• Keep at least 1.5m away from people who are unwell to avoid droplet spread;
• Practice good hygiene if you are unwell eg turn your head away from others and cough/sneeze into your elbow crease or a tissue and dispose of used tissues immediately into a sealable bag;
• Wear a mask if you are unwell or if you cannot avoid close contact with others that are unwell. Please note that not all masks are equal – a standard surgical mask worn properly may help prevent spread for a short period but becomes ineffective once moist and is not particularly useful at protecting you from others. Masks rated P2 or N95 are used to protect those who cannot avoid contact with people who are unwell eg health care workers.
• Stay home if you are unwell. Seek medical attention if you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing but call ahead and follow the directions from your local Practice or Health Authority re attendance at a health facility.
• Avoid travel to COVID-19 hotspots as outlined by government guidelines on the Smartraveller website - https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
What is the APT Travel Group doing in response to this situation?
We have temporally suspended our international program and enacted increased health and safely protocols across all our domestic products.
What if I am unwell with respiratory symptoms leading up to my journey?
Given that we now have person to person community spread of COVID-19 in Australia, it is important for your health and the health of others that you seek medical attention should you develop any of the symptoms above in the 2 weeks leading up to your journey. In this situation, we will require medical clearance, including negative swab results, before you join the journey. Please bear in mind that swabs can take 3-4 working days to process. If you are unwell at the point of departure or on joining the tour without this clearance, you will be prevented from joining the tour.
What must I do before travelling / boarding?
All passengers must complete a health screening form prior to boarding.
What if I get sick on tour?
It is essential you let your Cruise/Tour Director know as soon as possible if you start to develop flu like symptoms on tour including fever, headache, lethargy, sore throat, runny nose, dry cough, aches and pains or difficulty breathing. You will be isolated from the group.
Should you test positive for the virus causing COVID-19 while travelling, you will be unable to re-join the tour and will be subject to local health authority restrictions. Our staff will assist until you are cleared to leave.
Can I still take my cruise if I want to?
Yes, it is up to each individual to determine their own travel choices. If you are unsure, you may wish to speak to your GP about your concerns.
Can I move my booked tour to travel into Australia or another destination?
YES, we would love to welcome you onto one of our many breathtaking cruises or tours on offer in Australia, New Zealand, or any of our destinations globally.
What are the amendment/deferral/cancellation fees?
We have temporarily amended our policies to allow for more flexibility at this time, for our travellers to be able to defer or change their travel destination.
APT Travel Updates
Travelmarvel Travel Updates
Can I change my date?
Depending on the time out from your departure – YES - we have amended our policies refer to the updates here
How is Ocean Cruising different to River Cruising and Coastal Cruising?
The ships that have been in the news recently are large ocean going vessels with the ability to navigate around the world. River ships however are smaller and predominantly limited to the one river they operate in. Our Coastal Cruising vessels are limited in capacity to a maximum of 110 guests and cruise in Australian waters.
Another key difference for River and Costal Cruising is the ability to easily get to a port at any time in the journey, they are never at sea for too many days at a time, so there is always the opportunity to get to land to seek further assistance as needed.
Will my insurance cover me?
Please check with your Insurance provider.
Will other travellers be screened prior to boarding?
All passengers will be required to adhere to the increased screening protocols in the countries the tour is operating across. 95% of our customers across all brands originate their travel from Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
How do I keep up to date with what’s happening?
Keep up to date with developments using the following excellent online resources:
World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
Should you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your local health professional, your Tour Consultant/Travel Agent or your Tour Director.