2021 Eclipse Tours – Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse Cruise
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ISSUE DATE: NOV. 11, 2021
RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS and Eclipse Tours are continuously monitoring developments of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with an eye to assuring all our guest’ needs are accounted for. As you know, COVID-19 continues to impact our everyday lives across the globe.
Eclipse Tours has put together the below Questions & Answers for our valued participants in the 2021 Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse cruise program from November 28 to December 8, 2021.
Important: All answers below are based on information available to Eclipse Tours as of this issue
date of this document. Information may change at any time as this pandemic continues to evolve rapidly. While Eclipse Tours is making every effort to maintain accuracy of information, we cannot be held responsible for any damages or expenses incurred due to rules changes implemented by governments; transportation services; cruise lines and other service providers.
General Questions from Participants
Q1: What is the status for the Eclipse Tours 2021 Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse cruise program scheduled for November 28th to December 8th 2021?
A1: The program is proceeding as scheduled. In its latest decree 951/2021 posted on 09/30/21, the Argentine Government has announced that as of November 1st, 2021 all cruise ships are authorized to operate in Argentina under the following protocols.
- Travelers entering Argentina for the purposes of tourism will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19
- Travelers must present negative PCR to enter the country taken no earlier than 72 hours before departing for Argentina from your home country
- Travelers must complete a sworn electronic statement within the 48 hours before their arrival/departure. Travelers may be required to present proof of confirmation email before boarding a flight.
- Guest will have to proof existence of an active Travel Protection plan covering Covid-19 related expenses as well as benefits in case of demise
- Travelers will have to agree to wearing of face masks
- Proof of Negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48hs prior to embarkation of the cruise vessel
Please see below questions for additional information on each requirement outlined above.
Please note that the Argentine Government continues to modify and update its’ Covid-19 rules & regulations with changes possible on very short notice.
Eclipse Tours will make every effort possible to inform participants of rules/regulations countries, suppliers, airlines, and other service providers retained for this program may implement. Compliance with such rules/regulations is assumed as part of the Terms & Conditions which each guest signed at time of deposit.
Q2: Will there be a Covid-19 vaccine requirement to participate in the program?
A2: At this time, while Eclipse Tours as an operator does not impose a vaccination requirement for participants in the 2021 Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse program, the Argentine Government issued such a requirement (see above) for all travelers arriving into Argentina for the purpose tourism and for boarding a cruise vessel.
Q3: Will there be requirements to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to arriving in Argentina?
A3: As of the Argentine Government decree 951/2021 issued on 09/30/21, all arriving passengers entering Argentina for the purposes of tourism and for boarding a cruise ship must be fully vaccinated.
Note that the formal definition of acceptable vaccines from the Argentine Government is forthcoming. It is our understanding as of this writing, that all World Health Organization approved vaccines will be accepted as proof of vaccination.
Q4: Will participants have to quarantine upon arrival in Argentina?
A4: As of this writing, no mandatory quarantine is in place for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in Argentina from overseas for the purposes of tourism or for boarding a cruise ship.
Q5: What type of PCR test is accepted?
A5: Any laboratory administered RT-PCR (NAAT) test taken 72 hours before departing to Argentina is accepted, be it the standard version (24 to 48-hour response time) or the rapid type (within 4 to 6 hours).
Q6: What happens if my Pre-departure PCR test comes back positive?
A6: A positive test result will mean that you are not permitted to participate in the program as airlines and the Argentine Government will not permit you to board the flight and entry into the country will be denied. Should your PCR test come back positive, it is scientifically possible that it is a “false positive result.” Eclipse Tours advises to demand an immediate re-test by the same lab.
Should a re-test also come back positive, then participation denied and will be subject to cancellation and all applicable penalties outlined in Eclipse Tours Terms & Conditions will apply. Eclipse Tours recommends travelers impacted by this scenario file a claim with their mandatory travel protection plan.
Q7: Should Argentina close its borders to foreign visitors and participants are not able to reach the departure point of the program, will Eclipse Tours offer a refund?
A7: In the event that transportation and/or country specific rules/regulations should make it impossible for participants to reach the departure point of the program, Eclipse Tours work with its ground operator and ship owner to secure refunds to the fullest extent possible.
Q8: Will participants have to be tested before departing Argentina?
A8: At this time, the Argentine Government does not require any additional testing. However, guest’ countries of residence may require testing to return home. Eclipse Tours advises that it is the responsibility of each traveler to comply with, and cover the costs of such requirements. For country specific requirements, please refer to the list below:
Unites States of America United States of America – Department of State
Canada Government of Canada
United Kingdom Government of the United Kingdom
Czech Republic Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic
Cruise Ship Protocols
Q9: If I am fully vaccinated against Covid-19, do I still need to provide a negative PCR test to board the vessel in Ushuaia?
A9: Yes, a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of boarding the vessel is required for all travelers in accordance with the Argentine Government decree dated 8/23/21.
Q10: When does the COVID-19 PCR test need to be taken?
A10: All travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test result from a PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to boarding of the cruise ship. Eclipse Tours is working with our host hotel Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires to facilitate testing for all participants booked with Eclipse Tours pre-cruise accommodations. Guests not booked for the pre-cruise stay with Eclipse Tours are responsible for their own test and compliance with the PCR test protocols.
Q11: Do I have to wear a mask at all times while on board the cruise ship?
A11: In accordance with the Ponant Sail with Confidence – Covid-Safe sanitary bubble a mask must be worn anytime travelers are outside their stateroom, except during meals and cocktail receptions. (once seated).
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly change, guidelines may be updated between today and the departure date. Please consult the Ponant Sail with Confidence – Covid-Safe sanitary bubble protocol regularly for updates.
Q12: Will travelers be tested at the pier before boarding?
A12: Yes. Every passenger will undergo a compulsory viral antigen test administered by the Ponant Medical team before boarding. This test is offered on a complimentary basis.
Q13: What happens if a guest tests positive after entering Argentina during the mandatory pre-board testing?
A13: Any guest testing positive under this scenario will be denied boarding of the cruise ship and the case will be turned over to local authorities for implementation of established quarantine protocols. Eclipse Tours requires all participants to carry travel protection coverage which will provide the necessary medical care and coverage of incurred costs as outlined by the policy.
Q14: What happens if a guest either tests positive during cruise or gets ill?
A14: Any guest testing positive under this scenario will immediately be quarantined on board in designated facilities in accordance with the Ponant Sail with Confidence – Covid-Safe sanitary bubble protocols. Eclipse Tours requires all participants to carry travel protection coverage which will provide the necessary coverage for medical expenses and incurred quarantine costs as outlined in the policy.
Q15: Will Ponant require on-board staff & crew to be vaccinated?
A15: In accordance with Ponant Sail with Confidence – Covid-Safe sanitary bubble protocols, all ship crew are fully vaccinated.
Q16: Will Ponant have a medical lab on board to provide pre-disembarkation testing of travelers to comply with the January 26th 2021 CDC announcement for required negative tests before returning to the US; Canada, and many European countries?
A16: Every Ponant vessel is equipped with a medical team onboard that can perform rapid viral antigen tests. Please check your specific home-country’ requirements for testing.
Note: Pre-disembarkation tests performed onboard will be sufficient for those travelers returning to their home countries at the conclusion of the program on December 8th 2021.
For travelers on post-program extensions, individual testing arrangements within 72-hours of the international flight departure will be required. Such arrangements may incur additional costs not yet included in the post-program extension package.
Q17: Will those tests performed onboard incur costs to passengers?
A17: Tests are performed by medical staff not on demand, rather for health monitoring (health protocol guidelines) or in case of doubt or medical emergency. As such, there is no charge for such tests.
Q18: Does Ponant have an exceptions protocol in place for the mandatory testing?
A18: No. All guests must undergo the Ponant Sail with Confidence – Covid-Safe sanitary bubble protocols for testing before boarding the vessel.
Note: Ponant’ strategy is one of “mitigated risk” with a thorough sanitation process and appropriate measures to assure guest and staff safety and health. Ponant will continue to adapt its protocols to integrate scientific findings as it relates to the revolving reviews of risk assessments.
Travel Protection Plan Questions
This section provides guidance for those participants whom purchased travel protection plans through Ring of Fire Expeditions and Eclipse Tours. In the event that you procured a protection plan on your own, please address questions to your insurance provider.
Q19: Do I need to provide proof of an active Travel Insurance Policy to enter Argentina?
A19: Yes. As of this writing, the Argentine Government Decree 951/2021 dated 9/30/21, stipulates that all travelers arriving into Argentina for the purposes of boarding a cruise ship must provide proof of insurance coverage for Covid-19 related expenses as well as benefits covering costs related to demise.
Our Travel Protection Plan provider Allianz Global Assistance issues what is called an “Embassy Letter” outlining required coverage. This letter will suffice as proof and will be made available to all guests that purchased their plan through Eclipse Tours. In the event guests purchased their own plan, please contact the plan provider for confirmation of coverage.
Q20: What will happen in the event that a participant tests positive or is ill (Covid-19 or otherwise) before departure?
A20: The participant will be denied boarding by the airline and will be denied entry in to Argentina. The travel protection plan issued by Allianz Global Assistance will cover any insured guest and their traveling companion(s) in such an event. This coverage applies not only to pre-departure scenarios, but also during the duration of the 2021 Antarctica Total Solar Eclipse program. Please refer to your plan document for coverage maximums and per diems as well as instructions for initiating a claim.
Q21: In the event that the program is cancelled by the tour operator (aka Eclipse Tours), are we able to receive a refund from the travel protection plan?
A21: No, the Allianz Global Assistance coverage does not cover the program being cancelled by the operator. In the event that the program is cancelled, the insured will be able to carry the policy forward to a future program or for residents of states/provinces where state law requires a refund, request a refund.
Q22: In the event a guest does not wish to travel either for fear of Covid-19 exposure or due to the protocols implemented by governments and supplier partners?
A22: In such a scenario, unless the participant purchased a “cancel for any reason” travel protection plan, no refunds are due. All terms & conditions agreed upon at time of deposit apply and no funds will be credited.
Q23: Will I be covered in case of financial default of the cruise ship company, tour, or ground operator?
A23: Yes. Your travel protection plan purchase with Allianz Global Assistance was issued through Future Travel Inc. (Legal name on file with Allianz Global Assistance ACCAM F024579 license). The plan will provide you with financial default coverage in the extremely unlikely event that either Ponant (ship operator) and/or Eclipse Tours (Tour operator) should cease operations.