Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19 & Your Trip
Here are the answers to some questions you may have about COVID-19 and your trip. As the situation evolves and changes, we may update these answers to reflect new information and best practices based on science. Our top priority is ensuring the safety and health of the Maple Leaf Adventures guests and crew, as well as respecting the coastal communities we operate in.
Before Your Trip
What Should I Do While Still at Home?
We require guests to have received their first dose of a Health Canada authorized vaccine or a US FDA authorized vaccine 14 days prior to participating in our trips. See details below. We require proof of your vaccination status to be submitted to us prior to boarding the ship. Details on how to submit a copy of your government issued vaccination card will be provided to you with your detailed pre-departure information.
If you do not have a copy of your vaccination card, or have lost it, we will let you know how you can provide acceptable proof of vaccination.
Once second doses of vaccines become common for all sectors of the general public, we will update this protocol to require both doses of a Health Canada authorized vaccine to travel with us.
Book Flexible Air Tickets and Time in Your Destination Before Boarding
We strongly recommend choosing flexible ticket options where possible, and we strongly recommend allotting yourself a couple of days in port between the arrival of your flight and the start of your trip with us, in case local travel rules still require it at the time of your trip. While government timelines indicate the majority of Canadians and Americans will be vaccinated before summer, we still do not have details on their government travel policies for summer. Changeable tickets give you greater peace of mind should anything unexpected happen before you travel.
Stay Informed on Travel Requirements in Your Destination
Keep your eye on any government or airline recommendations or mandates that may impact your trip. We will do our best to inform booked guests of any major mandates that will be in place at time of travel, but as they are changing rapidly now with vaccination rollout, monitoring them yourself and also those in your home is always recommended.
Cut Down and Caution Your Interactions 2 Weeks Prior to Travel
Although you and the others will be vaccinated, we ask that you carefully monitor the manner of your interactions with other people in the two weeks prior to your trip, to do everything you can to ensure you are not carrying the coronavirus. For example, avoid large gatherings indoors.
Complete the Steps We Require Before Your Trip
- Health Declaration: We will provide you with a health declaration in the week before your trip, that you must complete and return to us.
- Proof of vaccination: We will share a form for you to submit your vaccination information through.
Will I Be Required to Have a COVID-19 Vaccine?
At this time, all adults, and children over the age of 12 have access to their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. We require all of our guests over 12 years of age to have received their first dose 14 days prior to joining us for their trip.
At such a time where second doses of vaccine are common for all sectors of the general public, we will require our guests to be fully vaccinated prior to joining us for their trip.
You will be required to submit proof showing an acceptable vaccination status before embarkation.
Will I Need to Be Tested for COVID-19?
Yes. Maple Leaf Adventures requires a Rapid Antigen test at the time of embarkation and another on the trip’s third day. This two-step testing policy reduces the chance of a false negative and adds a layer of protection for those who may be travelling via air.
Prior to arrival at the ship
We have been monitoring the availability and efficacy of PCR and antigen swab tests for COVID-19, and have removed the requirement for you to submit a PCR test result before your trip. The combination of vaccination + 2 antigen tests is an excellent layer of protection.
Be aware that there may also be testing requirements imposed by your local government, airline, or regulatory agency prior to leaving your home country, or by Alaska or British Columbia upon your arrival. Please be sure to fully understand and comply with all testing mandates.
Upon arrival at the ship
Prior to boarding, our crew will administer you a Rapid Antigen test. Once your test result comes up negative, you will be welcomed aboard.
The Rapid Antigen test used is approved by Health Canada for point of care screening and is an added layer of protection we can offer to ensure no one has picked up an infection during travel. It requires a minimally invasive nostril only swab and provides results within 15 minutes.
Additional Rapid Antigen screening may be conducted throughout the trip if deemed appropriate or necessary by the Captain or Expedition Leader while on trip. These tests will be used to ensure the highest level of safety and care for our guests and crew, but we do not anticipate the need for additional tests once all guests are on board except in exceptional circumstances.
We may choose to take guest and crew temperatures with a contactless thermometer. This would be an added layer or protection for everyone aboard our ships, and allows us to individually check-in with each guest to make sure you are feeling well and to answer any questions you may have.
During Your Trip
Will I Have to Quarantine?
At this time there is no quarantine requirement for Canadians travelling to BC and, as vaccination becomes widespread, we don’t expect this to change.
For people from outside Canada, see the section below.
Currently there are no quarantine or testing exemptions for vaccinated travellers. If you are travelling internationally, please consult this resource for the requirements currently in place: COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders – Travel.gc.ca
At time of writing, fully vaccinated American travellers (defined as 14 days after receiving their second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or 14 days after receiving the first dose of a one dose vaccine) are not required to be tested for Covid-19 prior to entry.
American travellers who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended, but not required, to have a negative covid test result prior to entry. The State of Alaska offers free testing on arrival, and requests that your practice social distancing while awaiting test results. Please visit this page for more information, or to book a test on arrival: Alaska Safe Travels – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
International visitors (including Canadians) are required to receive a covid test 3 days prior to departure and to provide proof of a negative test result. Please review the requirements here and make travel arrangements and hotel bookings accordingly: https://www.alaskatia.org/traveler-information
Will You Be Operating at Reduced Capacity?
Maple Leaf Adventures is proud to only offer small group trips, which provide for ample space aboard our ships and during activities. We have modified our dining procedures and facilities, as well as some other procedures to ensure social distancing and mask wearing can be maintained and thus we do not have to reduce our capacity. All operating procedures for our industry have been approved by our local government regulator, and are constantly evaluated to ensure current guidelines are adhered to and maintained. Our trips always feature only a small number of guests, plenty of space and fresh air on our yachts, as well as lots of time on shore in nature or out enjoying the scenery on our deck spaces.
Will You Allow Single Travellers to Share Cabins?
At the moment, we do not allow it for 2021 trips but we are reconsidering that for summer and fall trips for people who are vaccinated against Covid-19. We expect to update this answer shortly.
Will Masks and Social Distancing Be Required?
As of now, yes, when inside (e.g., the salon) or when you cannot maintain 6 feet between you and someone outside your bubble (e.g., in the shore boat). Note that if you’re already wearing a scarf or neck gaiter for shore trips (a common occurrence) this pulled up over your mouth and nose is sufficient. When appropriate, you will not have to wear a mask. Some examples of scenarios where masks are not currently required are when out on deck, on shore, in your cabin or where you can easily maintain 6 feet between you and someone not in your bubble. When dining a mask is not required, and where possible we encourage you to enjoy dining on the covered outside deck and enjoy your surroundings.
Once vaccines are available for all sectors of the general public, and our travellers are required to be fully vaccinated, we will re-evaluate our mask policy. At this time, we encourage all travellers to plan for mask wearing during their trip, and in accordance with your personal comfort level to continue to wear a mask no matter what our policy is should you wish.
Will You Have Masks Available for Guests on the Trips?
Yes. Our ships will be stocked with Personal Protective Equipment, including masks, in the event that they are needed by any passengers, crew, or staff. We do however encourage you to bring an ample supply of the masks that work best for you. Everyone’s face is a little different, and our masks onboard may not work best for you, so we strongly encourage you to bring an ample supply of masks to allow for frequent changing and washing. Further, there are a number of fantastic re-usable masks available, and we strive to reduce our use of single-use items as much as possible. That said, we will have masks available, but the remote nature of our trips makes re-supplying difficult, so please do your best to help us save our supplies for emergencies.
I’ve Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19. Do I Still Need to Wear a Mask?
At this time, we are requiring masks be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained. We are committed to following all government guidelines, whilst maintaining the highest standard of care for our guests.
As vaccinations roll out across the country, and we are seeing our trips operating with fully vaccinated guests, we will look at re-evaluating this policy in accordance with BCCDC recommendations for gatherings of fully vaccinated individuals in confined spaces.
Will Your Crew Be Vaccinated?
By the start of our operating season, all crew will have had the opportunity to receive their first dose of a Health Canada approved vaccine and by the later part of our 2021 operating season most if not all will have had the opportunity for their second dose. Even with the vaccinations, we will still maintain our strong COVID-19 operating protocols and procedures, at least until the heath authorities state they are no longer necessary.
How Often Do You Clean?
All cabins are cleaned daily. The common areas are cleaned at least twice daily with frequently used surfaces, such as handrails, door knobs and dining areas wiped down multiple times daily with an approved disinfectant. We also use a state-of-the-art fogger machine multiple times per day (during shore trips and at night) which immediately disinfects every type of surface with a fine mist. In addition, there are hand sanitizer stations throughout the boat and plenty of soap and water in the washrooms (including Cascadia and Swell cabins’ ensuite heads).
How Will Meals Work This Year?
We will continue to have table service for the three main meals during our trips, and we will provide you your own snacks served individually (which is a change for this year from our usual self-serve snack program). All of our table service procedures will meet or exceed the standards set by our health authority with respect to the use of masks, appropriate distancing, sitting with your travel companion, and so forth. We have added some additional dining areas on Swell’s aft deck and we will of course use Cascadia’s aft deck dining options whenever possible.
What If Someone Tests Positive for COVID-19 on the Trip?
We have many strict protocols in place to limit exposure as much as possible, but of course we need to be prepared in the event that someone does become ill. If someone does test positive, they will be isolated to their cabin, cared for and provided meals in their cabin, and evacuated from the ship to a hospital as soon as possible. As always, we highly recommend you obtain travel insurance (both cancellation and travel medical that covers emergency evacuation from a remote location; most travel medical insurance also now includes medical assistance in the unlikely instance you were to contract covid-19). We have extensive first aid and PPE supplies on board, including oxygen.
Remaining guests will be kept separated while rapid testing is conducted. The rapid tests allow us to obtain a real time picture of someone’s Covid infection status and serve as a highly useful tool in containing any infection. In the highly unlikely event that multiple infections are found on board, the Captain may choose to redirect the ship to a location with access to cell phone service and contact the authorities for advice on how to proceed. We are required by law to report all positive tests.
For Americans: USA - Canada Travel in Aug-Oct 2021
Written July 23rd, 2021. Check government websites to see if there are any more recent updates.
Starting August 9th, 2021, the Canadian government will allow for recreational travel into Canada via land, sea, and air for fully vaccinated Americans. The Canadian government requires Americans flying or driving into Canada to use the ArriveCAN app to enter health and vaccination information for all travellers before coming into Canada. This includes a negative COVID test taken no more than 14 days prior to travel and proof of vaccination.
To return to the USA by land will be similar to entering Canada. Though no additional COVID testing is required or submission of health information, random selection for testing and proof of vaccination may be requested by the boarder authority. Please visit https://www.cbp.gov/ for the most up to date information about crossing the land border into the USA. *It is considered essential travel for a US citizen to return to the USA.
To return to the USA by air, it is required by the US government that ALL air passengers (including US citizens) take a COVID test, no more than 3 days before their flight*. Negative results must be presented at the time of boarding to be allowed on the flight into the USA.
*These are federal rules, state and municipal governments may have other rules for people arriving from an international destination. Please check your final destination’s regulations.
Tests must be taken in a clinical setting to ensure federal criteria for tests are met (some exclusions may apply for individual airlines, see below for details). Test results can take between 24 and 72 hours to be released and can cost between $120-$200 CAD.
Please plan in advance and book your COVID test in Canada well before your trip and be sure you will receive your test results in good time before your flight departs for the USA.
Pre-flight COVID test to enter the USA:
As mentioned above, it is required to present a negative result from a COVID test taken no more than 3 days prior to your flight to the USA.
Tests can be booked in advanced in a few locations around the Vancouver area and around the Vancouver International Airport: https://www.yvr.ca/en/passengers/takecare/covid-19-testing . Some private options for testing include:
Some airlines are allowing self-tests (e.g., United Airlines: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/covid-testing.html#to_us). Please proceed with caution if following guidelines from airlines, as they must be purchased well in advance of travel and may not align with federal standards. It is best to call your airline to confirm the type of test you require to re-enter the USA.
Does a self-test meet the conditions of the Order?
Please check with your airline and refer to the guidelines outlined on the Center for Disease Control website for conducting self-testing: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
For Travellers Entering Canda: Frequently Asked Questions
I am not a Canadian, and I live outside Canada. Can I come on a BC trip?
Yes under specific conditions: As of Aug 9, 2021 Americans will be able to enter Canada for holidays (non-essential travel), and as of Sep 7, people from other countries will be able to do so. That means if you are from the US, you can do any trip in BC that starts Aug 10 or later. If you are from another country, such as the UK, you can do any BC trip that starts Sep 8 or later. There are requirements for vaccinations, testing and admin, so please keep reading.
I am an American and I am confused by my government’s border announcement on July 21 – how does it work?
See above section.
Do I have to do anything special to enter Canada?
Yes. You must be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days prior to entry with one of the vaccines accepted in Canada, and then follow the rest of the government’s requirements, including uploading proof of vaccination and obtaining a molecular test.
Will you help me cross the border?
We can direct you to the website where the government has laid out all the steps required (above). As we learn more about the process, we will share it with our guests, but it is your responsibility to learn this information independently and take care of it yourself. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with it well in advance to ensure you have everything you need before you have to use it.
I heard I have to have a quarantine backup plan in case I don’t meet Canada’s requirements. What happens if I arrive at the airport in Canada and they make me quarantine? Will I get my money back?
A: The government has published clear criteria for entry without quarantine: proof (acceptable to them) of a full course of vaccination from one of the vaccines accepted by Canada and a COVID-19 molecular test prior to coming to Canada as per the guidelines, and further details at the link above. At that late date we would be unable to refund or credit your fare if you arrive at the border without these documents, or have not pre-submitted them as required, so please double check that you have them with you! Keep in mind that these documents are required for boarding our ships, too. Given all of this, we believe that if you get this right, you will not be asked to quarantine so this is a highly unlikely scenario. If you are not sure your documents will be accepted, we encourage you to check the CBSA (border control) website directly.
What are the vaccination rates in Canada?
As of July 19, 2021, Canada led the Group of 20 member countries in vaccination rates, with 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and more than 50% of those eligible fully vaccinated, with vaccination rates skyrocketing in recent weeks due to more vaccine being available in Canada.
If I am providing my proof of vaccination to Canada in order to come in, do I have to provide it to you, too?
A: Yes. We require it as well, from all of our guests. We will send you an email with instructions on how to provide it to us.