6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Local friends of ours found an amazing promotional rate for this short term cruise and so we decided to join them. We were a little apprehensive as we had heard the line had a reputation for party makers and could get a little rough but ... Read More
Local friends of ours found an amazing promotional rate for this short term cruise and so we decided to join them. We were a little apprehensive as we had heard the line had a reputation for party makers and could get a little rough but our cruise was nothing like this. Embarkation was quick, friendly and efficient as was disembarkation - which was also the most relaxed we have experienced with a nice late morning departure. The ship is obviously quite old and my guess is it is an old HAL ship as it has a gorgeous complete promenade which is very wide and a great quiet spot to watch the ocean from. We were in an inside cabin which was a decent size with plenty of storage. The bed was very comfortable. I didn't like the shower design and the water temperature was very inconsistent (read boiling or freezing), while we were lucky our friends and others experienced numerous pluming issues and many of the public toilets were often closed. The interior public spaces had obviously had a refit and were the decor was superb - especially in the dining and bar areas. Dining was reasonable depending on where you ate and what you ordered. Typically we found simple dishes like salads, roasts etc done very well whereas Asian dishes in particular tended to be very ordinary. Make sure you get reservations for the main dining room and the complimentary specialty restaurants. We loved the Italian, thought the Asian was just ok (but liked the space and service). The main restaurant was a nice area especially for lunch. The buffet was an interesting concept more like a food court, unfortunately we found the food to be plain and didn't eat here very often.Service was very good throughout. Our only port was Fraser Island and unfortunately due to mechanical issues we didn't make it but the ship gave everyone obc as compensation and most found it fair and there were very few complainers. In fact by mooring in Hervey Bay we got to see whales and dolphins while enjoying a few "complimentary" beverages due to our obc. Entertainment was reasonably good, the singers and dancers were enthusiastic and the stage design and costumes were some of the best we have seen. Unfortunately there is no live orchestra but there were plenty of live musical acts around the ship. The guest comedian was not funny at all unless you simply like to hear swearing replacing punch lines. There were more activities on this ship than any other we have been on (and I thought NCL was amazing in this aspect). You could not have been bored. There were numerous parties held, trivia, arts and crafts lessons, silly sports and loads of dance classes (which we loved). This ship was great for those who like to do things or socialise. 2 pool areas, full promenade deck, crows nest bar, multiple restaurants and several bars made it a fun ship to explore. Would probably try again but still concerned by its reputation out of the bigger ports on longer itineraries. Think we were lucky with our fellow passengers (very few troublemakers). Bravo to the wonderful crew (proves inclusive tipping doesn't detract from service levels and if anything improves them) and the well designed ship. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they ... Read More
The Eden left out of Cairns where we live. Very handy. We did the same Cruise last year and really enjoyed it. The Eden looks very modern. Our balcony cabin was spacious, even the balcony itself had a nice size. We just wish they had sun lounges on it and not the chairs. Beds were very comfortable. Our cruise was the comedy cruise and it was fun, although I think 22.45 is a bit late for the show. Food at the Pantry was excellent. The Waterfront restaurant was a bit disappointing. Some food was cold or only lukewarm. To book a table at the Dragon lady or Angelo`s you can only do it on the same day you want to dine. If you come after 8.30 am its already booked out. We missed out every day. The same with Waterfront Restaurant. Its any time dining but its better to book otherwise its full. We only got offered 17.45 or 19.30. That was really annoying. Open dining and you still get times when you have to show up. They wait 10 min and your table is gone if you are running late. In the Pool area we had some problems with children. 15 kids were screaming, splashing and jumping into the hot tubs. No room for Adults. This was the story every single day. No parents watching and the Youth security girl was not really into it. We even pointed out that babies were in the hot tubs with nappies. She said yes its not very hygienic. There is a big sign, no nappies in pool or Spa. The Adults only area would have been great but no shade whatsoever. They really need to consider putting a shade sail over it. At the normal pool area they can close the roof by bad weather. Aircon was a bit too cold in some public places. The Bianco white party was a bit disappointing this time around. It was only the sail away party for 2 hours this time starting at 16.00 usually its a night party with great music and Drums. We like the Eden and already booked for 2018 out of Cairns again..... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
My wife and I have not been on many cruise ships, preferring independent travel and small venues over the crowded, packaged ships we see so often in port at home (San Francisco USA). The sailing on the Coral Ex II for 4 nights on the ... Read More
My wife and I have not been on many cruise ships, preferring independent travel and small venues over the crowded, packaged ships we see so often in port at home (San Francisco USA). The sailing on the Coral Ex II for 4 nights on the Great Barrier Reef appealed to us due to the itinerary, size of the vessel and, of course, the chance to snorkel and dive on the Great Barrier Reef. My rating of Excellent stems from a nearly flawless experience by the ship's crew and the fact that all our expectations were met or exceeded on this cruise. We only booked the 4 night sailing, which has an extension to a more southern itinerary for 3 additional nights, and regret not booking the extension! To be specific, embarkation was done in Cairns, Australia, which is one of the largest towns in Queensland and we spent a few days enjoying the tropical atmosphere (Botanical Gardens were wonderful), and seafood. The Esplanade was an area for strolling and relaxing prior to our cruise. Formalities for boarding were handled efficiently and in that friendly Aussie way, with outstanding cookies and excellent coffee and tea ready while we mingled with the other guests. It was a small group, around 40 people, and a nice mix of singles, couples, and families. Since it was just before the Christmas holidays, we felt we just missed the crowds of holiday travelers. The bookshelves had donated novels, marine life guidebooks, and games for guest use. Cabin was larger than I expected, and once our luggage and personal items were stowed, the area was fine for the two of us. Nice wood paneling and the bathroom was actually larger than I expected with complimentary toiletries and fresh, fluffy towels every day. I was a bit disappointed that there was no card to acknowledge that we would be celebrating our 25th anniversary during this cruise, but more on that later... The itinerary would take us on the first day from Cairns north to Cooktown, the largest town in the Cape York area, and I had an interest in visiting their botanic garden. We stopped on the reef for a dive/snorkel and although bleaching was evident near the tops of the reef, at depth all seemed fine as the water was a bit cooler. I want to say that the staff at the Coral Ex office responded to my questions regarding reef condition promptly and were accurate in their description. Sadly, the Cooktown botanic garden was closed for Christmas holidays, but not after we had hiked uphill in tropical heat for half an hour. Our plan to catch a taxi was laughably overestimating the facilities in this small but charming town. Fortunately there were pubs serving cold beer and the Cooktown museum, with good AC and fascinating: well worth the visit. Our next day was spent at Lizard Island, one of the reasons we booked this particular cruise. I had always wanted to see it, the fringing reefs, though suffering from bleaching, still had wonderful life (giant clams, an octopus, rays, and lots of fish), plus the historic ruins of a homestead in addition to the uber-expensive resort. Upon returning to our room, we found a bucket of sparkling wine and the staff's best wishes for our anniversary. So I am an idiot for thinking they forgot. We shared the bottle at dinner that night, graciously hosted by the captain (Charlie). The next several days were out on the open water at the Ribbon Reefs, another destination I was interested to see. Diving was good, and weather/sea conditions perfect. Now for the stars of the cruise: the staff. Forgive me if I forget the names (pro tip: remember that names of the staff!) but every staff member from the captain, purser, chefs, room attendants, dive staff, and marine biologist were hardworking, gracious and devoted to anything and everything you might need. Seasick? Cut finger? Lost dive gear? On a special diet? More towels? I personally witnessed an attentive and caring staff for four days that made this holiday special. It can be confusing at times: some of the staff did more than one job from food service to driving the Zodiac boats, although to my knowledge only Captain Charlie piloted the ship. And the food. Upon disembarkation, I actually told the Captain that they should market the cruise as a foodie expedition first and reef cruise secondly. The quality of every meal, especially dinners, coming out of the ship's kitchen was extraordinary, considering we were in the middle of the ocean on a small ship. Extraordinary not just for taste, but the presentation of each course. Even in buffet style, it was all pleasing and professional. I personally appreciated having two different salads with my dinner, and the seafood was a treat, especially on the first night. Lots of choice, as well. I am an experienced scuba diver and although I wouldn't characterize this cruise as a 'dive boat', the diving staff were knowledgable and equipment was in fine shape. As I said, there is some bleaching of coral, but divers could still see good sections of reef and I enjoyed my diving. No need to bring your own gear. All in all we enjoyed this small ship experience so much that we are looking at their other offerings for future trips. Well done, you guys, and see you in the Kimberley someday! Read Less

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