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5 Coral Expeditions South Pacific Cruise Reviews

We had long desired to travel to PNG but had a few trepidations. This cruise out of Madang offered an opportunity to engage with traditional village cultures on one of the great rivers of the world. It exceeded all ... Read More
We had long desired to travel to PNG but had a few trepidations. This cruise out of Madang offered an opportunity to engage with traditional village cultures on one of the great rivers of the world. It exceeded all expectations. We stayed at the highly recommended Madang Resort Hotel/Kalibobo Village complex and departed from its private wharf for an overnight voyage west along the coast to the mouth of the Sepik. Twelve varied and fascinating villages were visited on our 300kms voyage upriver and each entranced us with welcoming sing-sings with the villagers performing wonderful and, at times, mesmerising dances. Many billum bags and carvings were for sale at very low prices. There were opportunities to engage with the villagers and many spoke English as it is taught in the schools. School visits, sago production, local cooking, facepainting, garamut drums and sacred flutes enhanced the trip. On board ship to further explain local customs were an anthropologist, a much-revered ex-politician and a Sepik man who also eased our visits to the villages. Our guides and crew were all experienced and highly professional. Our cabin was spacious & very comfortable with its own en-suite. An excellent chef carefully prepared food which was varied, plentiful and tasty. Boarding the tender for our numerous shore visits was simple and safe. The villagers are very welcoming & rich in traditions and culture but cash poor. Take gifts of cotton clothing, balls (tennis, soccer volleyballs), school resources (pencils, exercise books, picture books). Engage with the locals and enjoy a safe, comfortable and fascinating experience which will amaze and delight long after you return home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We booked this 12 night cruise from Cairns to Papua New Guinea some 18 months before departure. Previously we had used the same company for a cruise from Broome to Darwin. Both cruises are quite expensive. We felt value for money wise ... Read More
We booked this 12 night cruise from Cairns to Papua New Guinea some 18 months before departure. Previously we had used the same company for a cruise from Broome to Darwin. Both cruises are quite expensive. We felt value for money wise and adventure wise that the trip from Broome to Darwin was far superior. On the PNG islands trip "The place time forgot" we felt that it was too much of the same. There was no adventure. I guess we should have given the trip a lot more consideration before going on it. Of course their brochure is a great selling point. All in all, the staff were excellent, the food was excellent but I would not do the trip again as it was not value for money. For example, at over $1000.00 per day for each guest one had to pay $3.00 for a bottle of water. Although there are desalinators on board there is nothing like a bottle of water. I couldn't believe we had to pay this per bottle of water. Quite miserly. We met some great people who also share the same opinion. If one doesn't make these comments future guests are really in the dark. So my advice is to really do your research before committing to this PNG experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Don't be deceived by the pristine white image of the Coral Discoverer as seen on their web site, likewise the Coral Xplorer. This ship is showing it's age - due for a much needed refit in the near future I believe. The ... Read More
Don't be deceived by the pristine white image of the Coral Discoverer as seen on their web site, likewise the Coral Xplorer. This ship is showing it's age - due for a much needed refit in the near future I believe. The present grey/white external livery does nothing to make you feel a buzz of pride when you first board her. Rust patches appear all over and the metal work is far from shiny. The sun deck is unusable in the tropics as there is no shade to go with the 9 or so old sun beds and 15 plastic chairs & tables. The wonderful standard of the seafood buffet presented on the first night was not maintained and after 3 weeks cruising many items had disappeared from the rations. The laundry next to useless and the bed linen only changed once a week. On the plus side - if the Coral Discoverer happens to be going where and when you want to go then she is not unusable. The young crew (understaffed) worked tirelessly to please, the cabins are acceptable, the food school dinners and the hot water plentiful. Be warned that should you cross the equator our Captain thought it a good laugh to pay homage to King Neptune by ladling sloppy fish soup over the heads of the passengers. An amazing exhibit of power over the embarrassed made all the more astonishing by the fact that most of the guests accepted it! We visited Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian part of the island, up to the equator for a total eclipse of the sun which they got spot on, then back down through the Spice Islands to Darwin. Ten out of ten for the itinerary but sadly not matched by the boat though this was an expensive expedition. If you risk it - B deck is less expensive and better than A deck. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was a most memorable journey taking us to places we could never have visited independently. Visits to remote islands and villages with all the local protocol and activities were the absolute highlight, apart from beautiful snorkelling ... Read More
This was a most memorable journey taking us to places we could never have visited independently. Visits to remote islands and villages with all the local protocol and activities were the absolute highlight, apart from beautiful snorkelling opportunities (scuba-diving and kayaking were also possible). The atmosphere on the ship was very friendly; the small number of passengers helped. The entire crew, including the expedition team, worked hard to make our trip a wonderful experience, and were always delightful despite the long hours. It was a particular bonus to have Dame Carol Kidu as a guest lecturer presenting fascinating insights into PNG. Master Gary’s talk about his career was very popular. Passengers were very impressed by the ship’s approach to benefiting local communities. Due to the drought caused by El Niño, a number of visited villages were very short on food and water, and the ship left provisions and water where needed, apart from a school bag. Some passengers were unhappy that we were not aware that some other items, especially for schools, were urgently needed. A list of such items in advance would have been great to contribute with useful donations. It feels a bit mean to point out a few things that could be improved, e.g. the technology for presentations, missing DVDs, better information on the fact that local currency was able to be sourced along the way. The information booklet for the preparation for this trip should be re-visited and updated. The chefs did a marvellous job in the kitchen and the food was varied, plentiful and delicious. Perhaps a timely (or earlier) start of the dinner would be good as many passengers were quite tired after a long day of adventures (again, it feels mean to even mention this). Overall, it was a fabulous trip and I recommend it very highly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We boarded Coral Princess Lines` `Ocean Discoverer`at Cairns for a 25 day voyage around the remote part of Melanesia - Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands before returning to Darwin. It was a fascinating and action-packed ... Read More
We boarded Coral Princess Lines` `Ocean Discoverer`at Cairns for a 25 day voyage around the remote part of Melanesia - Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands before returning to Darwin. It was a fascinating and action-packed adventure. I believe the ship is unique in having a landing craft at the stern (the Xplorer), which you board from the deck and is then hydraulically lowered into the water. This allowed all the 50 passengers and the two lecturers to travel together as required. In addition there was a glass bottomed boat, two inflatables and six canoes! There was an `open bridge` policy so that at any time one could visit and discuss location or meteorological issues with the Captain or First Mate. The company, Coral Princess, only does this particular trip once a year. It is really the only way to properly see Papua New Guinea and because of it`s shallow draft allows the Ocean Discoverer to visit places that are out of reach of normal cruise ships. On our first night we were advised that it was not a cruise but an expedition! We visited different villages every day where the inhabitants ran to meet us and arranged `sing`sing` dances with all kinds of body paint and head dresses (each one different over the 25 day voyage) before taking us around their village, often by the hand. People would come by dug-out canoes for up to 50 miles for this one chance to sell things they had made and we came back with quite a number of beautiful local `artefacts`. Perhaps best demonstrating the different style of life were a dug out canoe, like so many others we saw, that emerged from the mangroves on the Sepic River where the boatman waved, plunged a spear into the water and held aloft a large fish and seeing the staple diet of sago being made. The programme was tailored suit all tastes, so as well as visiting villages we were taken to desert islands or from the Xplorer for snorkelling and swimming. The water here is some of the most pristine in the world. In addition there was a programme of lectures by an experienced marine biologist and an anthropologist. Between them and especially the tour leader, Jamie Anderson, they seemed to know every plant, bird and some of the most perfect coral reefs in the world with myriads of fish and incredibly shaped and coloured coral that was truly magnificent for snorkelling. The Australians aboard advised that it was even better than anything to be seen on the Great Barrier Reef. It was always however good to return to the civilization of an Australian ship, where the food was absolutely excellent and even included freshly cooked muffins at mid-morning and scones etc for tea! Many of the crew were New Zealanders and all were really helpful, particularly the Purser,Tania Gemmell, who seemed to be everywhere at once and met every request with great helpfulness and a smile. During a bout of sea sickness (my wife is not a good sailor!) she provided an effective remedy and even the Captain came to our cabin to provide information on expected sea conditions! Our fellow passengers, mainly Australian leavened with Americans and eight Europeans (including ourselves), were almost all retired, and almost all an entire delight. This was a voyage of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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