Aussie cruise line Coral Expeditions and the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) have announced a new investment agreement.
The deal will see NRMA take a “significant” minority stake in Coral Expeditions to help the cruise line grow its operational footprint, according to a joint media release issued by both companies.
This investment comes on the back of Coral Expeditions’ successful resumption of operations following a six-month hiatus due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
After the implementation of its SailSafe plan and new flexible booking options, Coral Expeditions completed its eighth successful voyage, with the Great Barrier Reef season starting in October.
The cruise line also kicked off its domestic deployments in Tasmania last month, before and will commence its traditional Kimberley season in March, as well as welcome its brand-new vessel, Coral Geographer (sister ship to last year’s Coral Adventurer).
Coral Expeditions’ ‘Small Islands of the World’ series of international voyages will resume later in 2021.
Paul Chacko, executive director at Coral Expeditions, said: “We began discussions with NRMA last year and were struck by the fit between both organisations.
“Both have long-term planning horizons, a guest- and member-focused culture, and significant customer demographic overlap.
“The current shareholders of Coral Expeditions have supported the transition to a new blue-water fleet over the past six years.
“This new partnership will allow Coral Expeditions to benefit from NRMA’s expertise while continuing its journey to tap strong long-term demand for expedition cruising.”
NRMA’s chief investment officer, Rachel Wiseman, said: “Over the past four years, NRMA has been focused on finding more ways for Australians to experience the rich natural environment in which we live, and believes that expedition tourism is one of best ways to do it.
“Coral Expeditions is an Australian flagged expedition cruising business offering Australians an opportunity to safely discover their region through a small-group, premium experience.
“We are excited for the opportunity this provides for our members and Australians more broadly to enjoy the incredible experiences Coral offers.
“There has never been a time when Australian domestic tourism has been more important. This investment will help facilitate and grow the services and experiences Coral Expeditions offer, and we look forward to the time when it reopens for international visitors to enjoy.”
The management team and organisational structure of Coral Expeditions will remain unchanged, with the company’s independent operations continuing from its base in Cairns, Australia.
There will be no impact on the company’s existing trade and other business arrangements.