Philippines with Palau & Taiwan

Tubbataha Reef
February 29, 2020
17 Days
Small-Ship Cruise
100 Guests
From $15,980

Before You Go

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb, unaided, into and out of Zodiacs for snorkeling and excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances over sometimes rough and uneven terrain, and some stairs will be uneven and without handrails. Temperatures will range from the high 70sº to mid-90sºF with cooler temperatures in Taiwan.

Activity Levels

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb, unaided, into and out of Zodiacs for snorkeling and excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances over sometimes rough and uneven terrain, and some stairs will be uneven and without handrails. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change and landings may be tidal or weather dependent.

Arrivals & Departures

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your international flight three hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport, ship ticket, or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain that the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to your final destination, if allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts. 

Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates. However, if you are arriving prior to the group arrival day and have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, a transfer from the airport to the hotel will be provided.

Airlines change flight times frequently and our air department will send you any updates for flights booked through Zegrahm as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight. 

If you are booking your own flights or accommodation, please forward a copy of your flight itinerary to Zegrahm, as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.

Baggage Allowance

For your international flights to Koror, Palau and from Taipei, Taiwan, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm.

PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant. 

We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries and prescription medications on board the flight, as well as a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.

Climate

Temperatures will range from the high 70sº to mid-80sºF with cooler temperatures in Taiwan, but otherwise relatively high humidity throughout the program. Please keep in mind that these temperatures will decrease when cruising by Zodiac and exposed to other factors like wind and rain.

The following are average high/low temperatures in February & March for selected locations on our itinerary:

LocationHighLow
Koror, Palau86ºF (30ºC)78ºF (25ºC)
Vigan, Philippines86ºF (30ºC)73ºF (22ºC)
Taipei, Taiwan74ºF (23ºC)59 ºF (15ºC)

Currency

The British pound is the standard currency on board the Caledonian Sky. However, all ship-related purchases may be added to your onboard account and payment will be taken at the end of the expedition. The Caledonian Sky does accept most major credit cards, but please note using your card to settle your onboard account will be subject to a surcharge.

Currency in Koror, Palau is the U.S. Dollar.

As of October 2019, the exchange rates are as follows:

$1 U.S. dollar (USD)51.97 Philippine Peso (PHP)
$1 U.S. dollar (USD)29.24 New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
$1 U.S. dollar (USD).72 British pound (GBP) — Caledonian Sky

While major credit cards are accepted at some shops, they will not be useful on remote islands. ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, but access to ATMs varies greatly from island to island and may not be available. Ensure you know your four-digit PIN for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs. 

As a reminder, itinerary related expenses have been included in the price of your trip. Therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your money in smaller denominations.

Documentation

Pre-documents are sent approximately five months prior to departure and include important pre-departure information as well as a complete packing list and gear certificate. Final documents, including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies, will be sent approximately one month prior to departure.

Electricity

The electrical currents are as follows:

  • Palau: 120V/60hz with electrical outlet types A & B
  • Taiwan: 110V/60hz with electrical outlet types A & B
  • Caledonian Sky: 100V/50Hz & 60Hz with electrical outlet types A & B
  • Each stateroom’s bathroom will have one 220V razor European style outlet

PLEASE NOTE: Most modern electronics (cell phones, computers, and tablets) are dual voltage. Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.

Flight Information

International flights are not included in the cost of expedition; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Koror, Palau and Taipei, Taiwan/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house air department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

Health Information

A yellow fever vaccination is required if arriving from or transiting in the last 6 days through countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for life, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health departments. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and carried with you on your trip.

However, please consult with your physician before receiving the yellow fever vaccination. You may refer to the following World Health Organization link for more information on yellow fever: https://www.who.int/csr/disease/yellowfev/en/

When traveling in the Philippines, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. Please consult with your physician, as malaria prophylaxis recommendations will vary by guest and can only be advised by a medical professional. Your best protection from insect bites is prevention. Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats. We urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect bite relief products and insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE).

Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as we will not have access to pharmacies while in the remote areas of this expedition. Please prepare accordingly if you are prone to motion sickness.

If you are traveling with a CPAP machine and require distilled water, please notate your request in the Personal Information Form or notify your Expedition Advisor. The Caledonian Sky must be informed in advance as they do not readily have distilled water on board.

We suggest that you contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history. Your doctor may recommend a flu shot, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, and other routine vaccinations. This will vary by guest and can only be advised by a medical professional.

To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty as this can help prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun by bringing a sun hat, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of our expedition includes $100,000 of emergency evacuation and $25,000 for medical expenses. If you would like to request more information about this policy, please contact our office at 206.285.4000, or review the pamphlet included in your final documents package.

The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.

Internet & Phone

Your final documentation will include contact information for our hotels. Wi-Fi access is available on the Caledonian Sky. However, please note that the internet connection on board the ship is low-bandwidth and intermittent at best. Phones are located within each stateroom for guest use during the expedition, but please note that charges will apply for international calls. 

Gratuities

All gratuities for ship’s crew, hotel staff, local guides, and drivers associated with our itinerary are included in the cost of your expedition. Gratuities for extra services outside of group arrangements are at your own discretion.

Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 a.m. on the North American west coast:

7:00 a.m.Seattle, WA (PST)
10:00 a.m.New York, NY (EST)
11:00 p.m.Taipei, Taiwan (CST) & the Philippines (PST)
12:00 a.m. — THE NEXT DAYKoror, Palau (PWT)

Meals

The main restaurant on board the Caledonian Sky can accommodate all guests at one sitting. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style and dinner is served in the main restaurant with four a la carte courses. When weather permits, meals can also be served on the outdoor deck. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge, and coffee and tea are available throughout the day/night.

Should you have any particular dietary needs, or life-threatening allergies, please let us know on your Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

Packing Suggestions

General Information
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and adjust accordingly.

Laundry service is available on board the Caledonian Sky for a fee, and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.

Clothing on Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable, casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended. Typically, there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: The Captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties, followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate attire, and men may choose to dress business casual. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.

Clothing Ashore
Sporty, summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers and wick-a-way fabrics are recommended. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter tropical rain showers. 

Shore excursions will involve a fair amount of walking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. If you have weak ankles, bring boots with adequate support. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.

Wet Landings
Sport sandals with a sturdy sole are the best type of footwear for frequent wet landings, especially where there are rocky and/or coral-covered beaches. They provide excellent protection and dry quickly. Please note that flip-flops are not appropriate for wet landings. Other footwear you may wish to bring are canvas sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. You will also want to wear pants that are easy to roll up for wet landings.

Sun & Reef Protection
Please bring mineral-only and biodegradable “Reef-safe” sunscreen that is environmentally friendly and does not include ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. The best protection for the marine/reef environment, and guests’ exposed skin, is to wear full coverage, UPF rated swim shirts and swim tights while swimming, snorkeling, or diving.

Snorkel & Dive Gear
Snorkel Equipment: Masks, snorkels, and fins are available on board, but it is recommended that each snorkeler bring their own for best comfort and fit. 

Dive Equipment: Each diver is required to bring their own BCD, regulator, wetsuit, dive certification, dive log, whistle, and a computer. Tanks, weights, and weight belts are provided on board.

Passport & Visa Requirements

Passport
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six (6) months after you return home, through September 17, 2020. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of 6 blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport and secure additional pages ifnecessary.

Visas
Palau: A visa is not required for entry into Palau for U.S. citizens visiting for less than one year.

Philippines: A visa is not required for entry into the Philippines for U.S. citizens visiting for less than 30 days.

Taiwan: A visa is not visa required for entry into Taiwan for U.S. citizens visiting for less than 90 days.

PLEASE NOTE: Citizens of countries other than the U.S. should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

Payments & Cancellations

Reservations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply: 

  • 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare

Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary. 

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.

With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. A gift certificate to our Zegrahm Store will offer you the opportunity to purchase essential trip gear from our store. The certificate will be emailed to you approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificate for more details.