Testing & Travel To The Ship
What health and safety measures are being taken by Lindblad Expeditions en route to the ship?
Lindblad Expeditions requires two negative COVID-19 tests before boarding— this two-step testing adds increased protection and helps reduce the chance of a false negative result. We have implemented strict sanitation policies for all transportation, and dining en route to the vessel in accordance with CDC recommendations. All third-party operators are subject to enhanced sanitation protocols and every effort is taken to eliminate contact with outside sources. All vehicles are deep cleaned prior to use and dedicated exclusively to Lindblad Expeditions.
Where can I get my COVID-19 test?
You will need to take a PCR test 3 to 5 days prior to embarkation and submit your negative test result no later than 24 hours prior to departing for your expedition. Most local communities are now offering testing, and local health organizations can provide testing locations, or ask your doctor for a referral. We recommend your local CVS Pharmacy—they have close to 4,000 Minute Clinic locations offering testing with a 2 to 3-day turnaround for results. If your local community is not offering testing, LabCorp, Vault, and Unimed have at-home testing kits for your convenience with a 1 to 2-day turnaround. If these options do not work for you, please let us know as soon as possible and we can assist. Test results must be uploaded into the guest portal accessed through your Welcome Email.
What precautions do you recommend I take while traveling?
Many airlines have instituted travel guidelines and requirements aboard their flights. We recommend you check with your airline to determine their specific protocols. The CDC provides guidance for travel, including frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your face, keeping ample distance from others where possible, covering coughs and sneezes, and wearing a mask. More information can be found on the CDC website. Guests will also be provided with a Travel Shield™ personal protection kit—see question on PPE for more information.
How are you testing for COVID-19 at the departure city and on board? Do you have enough tests?
We have health partners in our departure city who will be performing the pre-voyage testing and their capabilities are state of the art. Once on board the vessel, we also have the capability to administer tests and have obtained enough tests to have on hand and to replenish if needed throughout the season.
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 in our departure city?
If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival in our departure city, local health authorities will be notified and will determine the subsequent course of action. Lindblad Expeditions will assist you on your return; will issue a Future Travel Credit in the amount of your paid cabin fare; and will cover any air change fees.
I was planning to explore the embarkation port a few days before the trip. Can I still do that?
For the safety of all guests, it is highly recommended you avoid arriving to the embarkation port early since you are expected to take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of exposure and follow all CDC guidelines five days prior to departing your hometown. Until further notice, opportunities to explore on your own during an expedition have also been put on hold—all guests will need to remain with Lindblad Expeditions-organized outings that take place ashore.
Effective January 26th, the Centers for Disease Control now requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72 hours prior to boarding my flight to the United States. How am I going to get tested?
We have a supply of FDA-approved COVID-19 tests onboard our vessels that will be administered within 48 hours of disembarkation on all international voyages, at no cost. We will provide you with documentation of the test result. We have confirmed with the Centers for Disease Control that our testing and documentation is acceptable for entry to the United States.
Which vaccines are accepted? What proof do I need?
All guests 16 years of age and over departing prior to July 31, 2021, and all guests 12 years of age and over departing August 1, 2021 and later, must present proof of vaccination of an FDA-recommended and/or WHO-recommended vaccination at least 14 days prior to their embarkation date. Children under the age of 16 (or under the age of 12 for departures after August 1, 2021) will be permitted to travel in accordance with Lindblad Expeditions Protocols. Vaccination cards showing proof of FDA-recommended and/or WHO-recommended vaccines are acceptable.
If I’m vaccinated, why do I still need to wear a mask?
Federal mandate currently requires face coverings on all modes of transportation, including cruise vessels. There is no exception for vaccinated persons.
If I’m vaccinated, why do I still need to get tested prior to boarding?
Vaccinations are not 100% effective and vaccinated individuals can still get and transmit COVID-19. Therefore, for the safety of our guests and crew, it is important that we mitigate the risk of COVID-19 coming aboard our vessels. Required testing for all guests provides an added layer in these efforts and increases the likelihood that all guests are COVID-19 negative prior to boarding. In addition, many destinations require proof of COVID-19 testing prior to entry.
Personal Protective Equipment & Social Distancing
Will you be providing essential PPE for guests before and during the voyage?
Most guests likely have preferred protective gear at home already, or it can be easily procured locally. However, all booked guests will receive a Travel Shield™ personal protection kit in their Final Documents. The kit includes a disposable mask, gloves, and sanitizing wipes; plus, a complimentary neck/face gaiter for use on board. Our CDC-compliant gaiter is custom-designed with a breathable polycotton blend for enhanced protection. We will have PPE supplies on hand in our departure city and we have increased our shipboard supply.
How will we social distance on board? Will we need to wear face coverings?
Our goal is to mitigate risk on board through proactive testing and thorough sanitation protocols. However, we recognize the importance of social distancing and utilizing face coverings, in accordance with CDC requirements. As a general rule, much of our expedition is spent outside, whether that is ashore in small groups for hiking or kayaking, or out on the various decks of the ship to view wildlife and landscapes. Therefore, our modus operandi naturally allows for social distancing. However, face coverings will be required indoors while onboard (except when actively eating or drinking). Face coverings will be required while outdoors on deck for unvaccinated minors and when social distancing is not possible while off the vessel. Some destinations may require face coverings while ashore, in accordance with local regulations.
What happens if someone gets sick on board?
Our goal is to limit exposure as much as possible. We have implemented stringent testing, increased our medical presence on board, and laid out detailed protocols in the event of a positive, or suspected positive, COVID-19 test. Should a confirmed case happen on board, we will be under the jurisdiction of the local governing Department of Health or the CDC who will provide guidance on how to proceed. Our team will work with them to ensure the best course of action. We have shared our operational plans with all local authorities in advance of traveling and continue to monitor the latest guidance from the CDC and other governing authorities.
With the limited size of your ships, what are your capabilities for quarantining a sick guest should it be necessary?
We have set aside a number of cabins in the unlikely event of a positive COVID-19 test result.
How are your cleaning and sanitation protocols different from other hotels and ships?
Our partnership with ACT CleanCoat A/S and implementation of their revolutionary products offers an added layer of protection during these challenging times. With a high staff to guest ratio we are able to provide extra attention to all our sanitation efforts. And the nature of our expedition—small ships, remote destinations, fresh air & wide-open spaces—also limits our potential for contamination. We were very encouraged by the fact that we did not have a single case of COVID-19 among our guest or staff and crew during the height of the outbreak this past spring, and were able to transfer everyone safely home from our ships.
Daily meetings keep our finger on the pulse of what’s happening globally, and as the latest research and public health recommendations evolve, so will our policies. We will continue to update our protocols for all operating voyages in accordance with local, state, federal, and international regulations and guidelines.
*There are certain unavoidable risks to passengers and property associated with expedition travel, including, among others, traveling with other people and illness or disease caused by exposure to bacteria, pathogens, and viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, despite screening and testing and other steps taken by Lindblad Expeditions and passengers in response to these risks. In the event any passenger, crew, staff or others on the vessel were to test positive for COVID-19 and/or develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, governmental authorities may require a 14-day or longer quarantine of all individuals on the vessel either on the vessel or elsewhere. Lindblad Expeditions shall not be liable for any claims, demands, and/or damages arising from or relating to any exposure to the coronavirus and/or the contraction of any illness or disease as a result of any such exposure, including but not limited to COVID-19, by passenger or any other person, including claims and damages due or allegedly due to inaccurate test results (including possible false negative test results) and/or the negligence of any Independent Contractor providing any medical screening or testing services, laboratory services, medical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, advice, and/or recommendations, or any supplies and services for sanitation purposes.