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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
I chose this cruise because we enjoy small ship travel and we wanted many opportunities to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef during the cruise. From the moment we arrived at the berth, the staff were friendly, considerate and paid ... Read More
I chose this cruise because we enjoy small ship travel and we wanted many opportunities to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef during the cruise. From the moment we arrived at the berth, the staff were friendly, considerate and paid attention to detail. This attitude continued throughout the time we spent on Coral Expeditions II. Every staff member was a pleasure to deal with and the smiles never left their faces ! Cabins were spotlessly clean and fitted out well with plenty of storage space. Towels and toiletries replaced when needed. I recommend the upper cabins as they are quieter - away from the engine noise though this wasn't a huge problem. Food was wonderful- varied and fresh, hot meals three times a day if you want and a choice for main course at night. Fresh fruit available at breakfast and lunch. We rarely had morning and afternoon tea, couldn't fit it in even with all the exercise. Snorkelling was everything we had hoped. The locations chosen were excellent both from islands and off the boat. All equipment was supplied and helpful staff ensured easy access to and from the water. Safety was ensured with pre-dive briefings and staff members watching from main boat and rubber ducky. Rest buoys were deployed for those who needed them and they also marked the best place to snorkel. We always had plenty of time at the sites to really enjoy ourselves. Information sessions on the reef and educational films were held while travelling between sites. We had the option of 3 or 4 day cruise but decided to combine these and do the 7 days to cover north and south of Cairns. We were lucky to have beautiful weather and were very happy that we had chosen to do the whole cruise. This was a fantastic holiday- everything went like clockwork and this was largely due to a very efficient staff who work really well together. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
My Wife chose this cruise as I have limited mobility though not in need of aids . I was most impressed by the attention of the staff not only the waitresses and other cabin staff but the whole crew were extremely friendly and helpful . ... Read More
My Wife chose this cruise as I have limited mobility though not in need of aids . I was most impressed by the attention of the staff not only the waitresses and other cabin staff but the whole crew were extremely friendly and helpful . The food was good and charges for drinks was not excessive; table and bar service was excellent. Especially enjoyable were the off ship excursions on a daily basis, also the timing of the excursions and their coincidence with ideal tidal conditions for the trips was excellent . We particularly enjoyed the helicopter trip to Mitchell falls and the trip to Lacepede islands. The ship was very stable and we were blessed with perfect weather. I did not go on a couple of excursions which required climbing up hills but was able to relax and read my books. We have never been fans of cruises but this small intimate cruise was excellent and very sociable and I can thoroughly recommend this trip. One small criticism was the lack of a lift between (decks) which I found a bit wearing. The company and especially your on board staff should be complimented ; although expensive was probably well worth it and a unique experience. I have previously traveled in this area by land but this was an entirely new way of looking at the area Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
I have travelled in parts of the world, such as the Canadian Rockies known for their beauty. There is nothing in the world to compare with the sheer breathtaking scenery of one of the planet's last unspoilt wilderness, the Kimberley. ... Read More
I have travelled in parts of the world, such as the Canadian Rockies known for their beauty. There is nothing in the world to compare with the sheer breathtaking scenery of one of the planet's last unspoilt wilderness, the Kimberley. The rugged cliffs, slabs of rock like pink marble, thousands of islands, aqua water and coral beaches as they were thousands of years ago still leaves me in awe to remember it. Coral Expeditions Discovery could not have presented this holiday better. Like many, I am now planning my next cruise wth them in 2017. All of the 55 passengers onboard expressed a similar opinions. Everything was done to make the holiday as good as it could be and expertly managed by Captain Greg and our Expedition Leader Steve. Our lecturer and guide was Ian Morris OA and how lucky were we! www.abc.net.au/stateline/nt/content/2005/s1522665.htm We begged him for talks most nights on the fauna, flora, geology, history and the aboriginal culture of the region and were never disappointed although often interrupted by a whale. This is an expedition cruise so the features are the local area and the planned walks or boat trips every day. I had been ill for much of the 6 months prior to my cruise and took the advice of the Expedition Leaders, Steve and Dale and did not try a few of the more strenuous walks but there was always an alternative cruise in the Explorer with things for me to photograph and I got to enjoy the photos in the lounge with everyone in the evening, I loved seeing this region from the water always with a breeze and of course the luxury AC if it was too hot on the deck. I was never hot for long (reminded about hat and sunscreen often) and almost never saw an insect. I must say the attention to detail in every aspect of this cruise was outstanding. For example Captain Greg sitting in a zodiac as we were all taken in zodiacs through the Horizontal Waterfalls with him taking photos of us all, which is nice to get, but he was there of course as au unspoken safety measure. Our safety was always their number one priority. Coral Expeditions are accredited Eco Tourism and took this very seriously also with nothing left in the Kimberley apart from footprints and nothing taken. The seas are teaming with fish, turtles (who come up to your zodiac), small sharks, whales and birds with breeding colonies around and there are crocs (all called Eric) which we saw but leant not to be frightened as Ian was so knowledgeable and nothing was ever left to chance. Sasha was a great Purser and Sara also and the dining was lovely and special. Everyone was friendly and although I was travelling solo, I was never alone and felt welcome everywhere. Loved the seafood buffet on the first night and the beach barbecue on Verandah Beach as the sun set. Do this cruise on Coral Expeditions as you need to get up and close to the beaches and the mangroves to see the fauna and flora and their Explorer is perfect. And you need the knowledge and experience of this company. I loved the way the 26 crew were such a seamless team with everyone being relaxed and friendly but very good at their job and you could see it really was a team when the deck hands could give orders to Captain Greg and be met with a smile. Corporations try for years to achieve that respect and teamwork and many could learn from this company. Made all of us passengers so relaxed and secure in our safety so we could focus on simply having the best fun ever. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This cruise was fantastic! It took my wife and I back to how travel used to be, and is meant to be! The things that make this trip exceptional are the staff, destination, and fellow cruisers. To give you an idea of a typical day on the ... Read More
This cruise was fantastic! It took my wife and I back to how travel used to be, and is meant to be! The things that make this trip exceptional are the staff, destination, and fellow cruisers. To give you an idea of a typical day on the boat, breakfast for us was at 0700. My wife and I were generally 10 minutes late, but the bounty from the kitchen would still be there when we got down and there were always seats at a table with other guests ready to talk about anything but work. After breakfast we generally snorkeled on the reef for an hour or two. Not as many people did this as I was expecting, I think because the crowd trended older. That said, the seniors who snorkeled with us loved it and would gush about it at meals! The others generally rode the glass bottom boat with the top notch marine biologist. Her enthusiasm was more than enough to get anyone genuinely curious. Now it was time for morning tea. Being Americans, we don't do this. However, being on vacation got us ready for new experiences, this being a welcome one. Like a Hobbit from the Shire, we settled right in to our "Second Breakfast". By the end of the trip, we were sitting with the rest of our cruise companions companions for brunch talking about what we saw and where the best place to find ______ fish was while sipping coffee and munching on pastries. Post morning tea we would hop back into the water or take a nap in our room, then get ready for lunch! Lunch was top notch, and extremely welcome after the time we spent in the water. Some days the biologist put a program on after lunch, and some days we snorkeled or scuba dived. I should add, the SCUBA diving on this boat was top notch! James, the good hearted, but technically savvy instructor generally only had 2-3 pupils at a time, and had plenty of time to make us comfortable with the situation. While I was a little bit more than slightly apprehensive about the whole thing, every time I would show him my air gauge or point at something to make me nervous he would put his hands together and strike a pose like a genie floating in water as if to say "namaste". In diving we also got a chance to see even more sea life than we did snorkeling...On our trip in August we saw giant (GIANT!!!) clams, octopus, cuttle fish, an eel, and more beautiful fish than you can shake a fist at! Now it is time for a nap before pre-dinner drinks. Some days we would motor to our next anchorage in this window, and the captain would call out whale sitings. Some days we would gently bob on the very slight swell. Finally we get to the best part of the day! Predinner drinks with our traveling companions and dinner itself! The timing worked out in august that we would head up to the top deck for drinks and watch the sun set before heading back down to the dining room for our meal. To be clear, the meals were incredible, with us usually leaving slightly uncomfortably full in the best possible way. Like breakfast, at dinner we would sit with fellow travelers at the table and make new friends while enjoying great food. Everyone we sat with commented on how flat out incredible the food the chef and his staff put out, and that it was even more amazing that they put it out with only 3 people in the kitchen! If you decide to go on this cruise, first and foremost you will have a completely unique once in a lifetime experience. You will also make friends with your fellow travelers such that you'll end up with a rolodex of email addresses of people to visit when you go to _____ country. You will also want to do it again, as soon as possible. It is how I imagine travel from the golden age of travel. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
We have just completed a Coral Expeditions cruise around the Great Barrier Reef, and found it to be a great experience. Unfortunately, we had bad weather for the first leg of the cruise, and some of our destinations were altered due to ... Read More
We have just completed a Coral Expeditions cruise around the Great Barrier Reef, and found it to be a great experience. Unfortunately, we had bad weather for the first leg of the cruise, and some of our destinations were altered due to conditions. But this is a matter of luck, and things improved as we travelling north. The crew were exceptional, and are an integral part of the overall experience. There were some crew changes on our second leg (we combined two cruises), but the new members slipped in seamlessly. They all appear to be multi-skilled, experts in their field, and nothing was an effort. The standard of the meals was excellent. We had a couple of afternoons on beaches where the crew set up drinks and snacks - one memorable occasion we had champagne and fresh oysters in the shell. The logistics of getting the chairs, table, food and drinks from the boat to the beach on the tender boat was complex, but the crew did this with apparent ease. Would definitely book another cruise with Coral Expeditions. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
An amazing "Bucket List" trip! My husband and I decided to see some of Australia and wanted a trip with a "cultural experience" on an Expedition type of cruise. We decided on a trip to the Kimberley area of ... Read More
An amazing "Bucket List" trip! My husband and I decided to see some of Australia and wanted a trip with a "cultural experience" on an Expedition type of cruise. We decided on a trip to the Kimberley area of Australia. As my husband is a teacher we needed to book early to secure a cabin on The Coral Discoverer. This boat only takes 72 passengers which we loved as you really get to know the staff and other passengers. In fact I can honestly say "Small" ship cruising is by far our favourite type of cruising. From the moment we boarded in Broome we were treated like royalty. Personally shown to our wonderful cabin & everything explained in detail to us. There were only 23 Australian crew on board but they are all multi skilled and do a wonderful job of looking after everyone. The food was exceptional and prepared by 2 young chefs who gave us every type of cuisine imaginable from a Seafood Feast to an amazing beach bbq! It was of excellent quality and used local products. Every day was a delight of delicious and interesting food. Our cabin was well equipped with a King Size comfortable bed, couch, desk and double wardrobe. A small but very functional ensuite bathroom serviced twice daily was also good. The excursions were wonderful & run by very knowledgeable leaders who were very well organized and always adhered to a rigorous safety program. The Xplorer excursion vessel was perfect for getting into shallow waters and we had a mixture of wet and dry landings. I highly recommend taking reef sandals. Upon returning to the main ship we were greeted by staff at the bar ready to serve us cold drinks, or my favorite, the new State of the Art Coffee Machine. This machine enabled all of us coffee lovers to get our daily caffeine fix at the push of a button! There was often afternoon tea or baskets of fruit too. Most days it was very smooth sailing; only 1 rough day as we approached Darwin at the end of our trip. I would highly recommend this trip for any adventurous adults. Would not recommend for small children as there is nothing to entertain them & they would be bored. Overall an amazingly different type of cruise & yes I would go again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
From the moment I stepped onto this ship I was impressed by the friendliness and professionalism of the wonderful crew. Safety was paramount, both on and off the ship. I remember during one of the earlier safety briefings thinking, ... Read More
From the moment I stepped onto this ship I was impressed by the friendliness and professionalism of the wonderful crew. Safety was paramount, both on and off the ship. I remember during one of the earlier safety briefings thinking, 'if someone were to get into difficulty on this cruise, they couldn't be in more capable hands'. Little did I think that I would be that 'someone'. I was setting out on the seven night cruise from Cairns, combining the three night cruise going south with the four night cruise going north. I had chosen Coral Expeditions because there was no single supplement for solo travellers, like myself, and with only forty (or less) passengers and open seating in the dining room I felt it would be easy to get to know my fellow cruisers. I was not wrong. Everyone, both crew and passengers, were looking out for each other, but not in an intrusive way. If you wanted some 'me' time, just to take in the magnificent views, read a book or stroll along a deserted beach, you could do this. The crew were incredibly well organised, but the organisation was low key – you never felt regimented. You could do as much or as little as you wanted. There were activities for different ability levels. There were many opportunities to view different reefs either by glass bottom boat, snorkelling or scuba diving. Kristen, the marine biologist, and Lex, who was clearly passionate about this marine wonderland, made the glass bottom boat tours so enjoyable. Kristen's presentations in the ship's lounge on the Great Barrier Reef were informative and interesting, the touch tank was a great experience, especially for the children, the fish feeding off the back of the boat was another memorable activity. Pre-dinner drinks was always a lovely time. What nicer way to sip a glass of wine than sitting on a tropical beach of an uninhabited island watching the sun go down! Other evenings we would have pre-dinner drinks in the ship's upper lounge and this was an excellent opportunity to get to know ones fellow cruisers. Must mention the food – wow! - it never failed to amaze me how chef Mitch could produce such a variety of tasty, colourful, well presented dishes from his relatively small kitchen. I thoroughly enjoyed every single meal. It's hard to pick my favourite part of the cruise, but if I had to, it would be the Hinchinbrook Channel. Not a sunny day but the cloud covered mountains reflected in the still waters produced an ethereal feeling. The day started before dawn with a boat cruise into one of the mangrove-lined inlets. It was so quiet. What a privilege to be there! Later that morning when we went for a bushwalk on Hinchinbrook Island we got back our 'land-legs'. I found the creek crossings a little challenging but Evie, the dive instructor, and other crew members were there to help us cross safely. Unfortunately, my wonderful cruise came to an abrupt end on the sixth morning off Lizard Island. I experienced medical problems whilst snorkelling. Evie responded to my hand signals and cries for help in a flash and swam out to me whilst Ricci brought the dinghy over. I was gently lifted into the dinghy and taken back to the ship where I was hooked up to oxygen. My memory of the episode is a little blurry but I do remember the caring, competent and professional way Evie and Ricci and the rest of the crew looked after me. There was an urgency but no panic. In my 70 years I have seen a lot of teams at work but the crew of Coral Expeditions II was the most outstanding team I've ever seen. It was reassuring to feel that they were working together to achieve the best possible outcome. A doctor was found among the passengers and the captain liaised with the doctor and the flying doctor. The purser, Udo, gently explained that I needed to be flown to the Cairns Base Hospital for tests (I really didn't want to leave the ship!) and then he organised my packing wrapping everything in polythene to protect against salt water ready for my transfer to the island resort and then the flying doctor back to Cairns. The kindness and support shown by the personnel of Coral Expeditions did not end with my evacuation from Lizard Island. I had barely arrived at the hospital when I received a visit from a lady who introduced herself as Tracy, hospitality and operations manager from Coral Expeditions Head Office. Tracey kept in touch with me while I was in hospital, checking to see if there was anything I needed. When I was discharged from hospital, Jacinta, also from head office, picked me up and drove me to my hotel. Words cannot adequately convey my gratitude to Evie, Ricci and the rest of the crew. If it hadn't been for their prompt and competent action I believe I would not be here to tell the tale. I was travelling solo but I never felt alone. I highly recommend Coral Expeditions and hope to travel with them again one day. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
I wanted a treat for my daughter who had just turned 21. As her mother I wanted a safe and luxurious experience for us both. This was a small ship which had some 20 passengers on it. It had capacity for around one third more than ... Read More
I wanted a treat for my daughter who had just turned 21. As her mother I wanted a safe and luxurious experience for us both. This was a small ship which had some 20 passengers on it. It had capacity for around one third more than this. The staff were excellent and went the extra mile.I couldn't fault any of them. Wonderful service. The cuisine was superb. It was varied and fresh. Top marks to the chef.The marine biologist was informative and friendly. As an experience diver I thought the dive instructor was excellent. He was mature beyond his years. The captain was engaging and friendly. There was an open bridge policy. The cabin was spacious. Great shore excursions to Cooktown and Lizard island. A tender took us ashore. Snorkelling and a glass bottom boat as well the opportunity to scuba dive and do a " try dive. " Four unforgettable days on the Great Barrier Reef. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
This cruise exceeded my expectations, and those of my partner! The crew were fabulous. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them, and they did everything with genuine smiles. Our cabin was very well serviced and the twin beds were ... Read More
This cruise exceeded my expectations, and those of my partner! The crew were fabulous. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them, and they did everything with genuine smiles. Our cabin was very well serviced and the twin beds were surprisingly comfortable. The food was great. The breakfast buffet had variety over the seven days. Lunches and dinners were of truly excellent quality. My partner has some specific and unusual dietary restrictions, but these were never a problem for the kitchen and he ate very well for the entire trip (in fact I said to the chef that my partner would probably not enjoy having to put up with my cooking again after the trip was over.....). The size of the ship seemed just right and there was always a quiet corner somewhere if you wanted to just be alone for a while. The snorkeling activities were extremely well organised and I was thrilled to see for myself the wide variety of life below the waves. My partner isn't in the best of health but even he got into it, and was given a "assisted snorkel tour" which allowed him to see what I saw without expending too much energy. The glass bottom boat was also a fantastic thing to have. We would definitely repeat this trip, no question! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We originally wanted to go on the Kimberley cruise but it was booked up, so we chose this one. We are so glad we did. The whole trip was extremely well planned from start to finish - the cruise company had thought of everything, and more ... Read More
We originally wanted to go on the Kimberley cruise but it was booked up, so we chose this one. We are so glad we did. The whole trip was extremely well planned from start to finish - the cruise company had thought of everything, and more besides. From the food to the service to the friendly staff to the cleanliness and the informal nature on board, we were treated extremely well for the whole trip. Not only that, the staff clearly all loved their jobs and were all true professionals, never making you feel like they had done these things a thousand times. They were all passionate and enthusiastic about the activities and trips. The number of passengers (35) was great - everyone got to know each other, and yet there was always enough time and space to be alone or in your own couple if you wanted to. This is one of the best trips we have ever done and wo won't do our Kimberley cruise with anyone else! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We have just returned from a 10-day cruise down the Kimberley Coast from Darwin to Broome on the “Coral Discoverer” (Coral Expeditions), it has been a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience. This journey is all about the sights of ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10-day cruise down the Kimberley Coast from Darwin to Broome on the “Coral Discoverer” (Coral Expeditions), it has been a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience. This journey is all about the sights of the Kimberley not accessible by any other means and it was wonderful. For people wishing to learn more about the area, it's history and inhabitants, both human and animal it is a must. Beautiful island vistas at dawn and sunset, fantastic rock paintings, often reached by a scramble up rocks or into caves, secluded beaches, rivers, waterfalls, reefs, sharks, dolphins, sea snakes, crocs etc. As for the ship, we have no complaints. Food was really excellent, the crew were all competent, helpful and friendly, nothing was too much trouble. We took advantage of the "open bridge" policy and had our maps updated daily. Our cabin was roomy, comfortable and cleaned daily. The Expedition Crew were amazing. Jamie, the leader, managed to make each day informative and entertaining with twice (and sometimes 3 times) daily expeditions aboard the Xplorer, always working with the tides to ensure a safe and pleasant experience. Each evening there was a review of the days events held in the lounge over pre-dinner drinks. Also each day either Mark, one of Jamie's team, or Tim the guest lecturer, would give a talk. Both were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subjects. The’ Xplorer’ is marvelous. It is boarded straight off the deck of Coral Discoverer and lowered to the water. It isn't flash but has relatively comfortable seats, a roof and a small toilet and it got us into places the ship couldn't go. There were also 3 zodiacs, which were usually boarded from the Xplorer, for those who wished to get even closer to the action. The Coral Discover is not a big "bells and whistles" liner, just a comfortable place from which to see the Kimberley. I suppose if I was the mention a negative it would be the sundeck which was not really useable during the day because of lack of shade (although to stargaze up there at night was good). There is plenty of other deck area to enjoy, so it wasn’t really a problem. All this added up to one of the best holidays we have ever had. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had been on this cruise previously and found it the best holiday ever. We were not disappointed by going a second time with friends. Though we visited some of the same places there were many new places to visit and even those we'd ... Read More
We had been on this cruise previously and found it the best holiday ever. We were not disappointed by going a second time with friends. Though we visited some of the same places there were many new places to visit and even those we'd seen before were just as spectacular and introduced afresh by the knowledge and enthusiasm of Jamie, Mark and Tim. We learned more about different aspects of the Kimberleys and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see parts of Australia which are otherwise inaccessible. We were struck again by the willingness of the crew to make sure that everyone who wanted to participate in any activity could do so. The Explorer on the back of the boat is a genius design and allows even the most physically challenged to go on any of the excursions. The boat is due for a refit soon and the change of livery would be good but the cabins on A deck are superb, comfortable, ample room and beautifully fitted out so who could complain. The food is fantastic and plentiful and the kitchen makes every effort to cater for any request. The staff work very hard and are always available to answer questions and fulfill requests if at all possible. This is not a cruise for children. I'd go for a third time in a heartbeat. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I took a 7-night Great Barrier Reef cruise on Coral Expeditions II from 27 May to 3 June 2016. We have cruised on large and small ships in the past, and we are both of the opinion that the Coral Expeditions II cruise was the ... Read More
My wife and I took a 7-night Great Barrier Reef cruise on Coral Expeditions II from 27 May to 3 June 2016. We have cruised on large and small ships in the past, and we are both of the opinion that the Coral Expeditions II cruise was the best cruise we have been on. The cabins are very comfortable, and the bathrooms are the most spacious we have ever encountered on a cruise ship. The ship has excellent dining and lounge areas, and the sun deck has both an open and covered area. The beauty of the ship is that it is able to get very close to the reef, and it is fitted with a moving platform on the stern that means passengers who want to snorkel or dive can get into the water from the platform and you are only a matter of metres from the coral. We have snorkeled quite extensively in various places around the South Pacific, and the sights visited by the Coral Expeditions II offered some of the best snorkeling we have ever seen. The variety of coral and fish life was outstanding. While there were some small areas of coral bleaching, on the whole the reef was magnificent. The crew was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable, and their enthusiasm for the beautiful environment of the reef was very evident. The quality of the food was consistently very high. My wife has a specific dietary requirement which was well and truly catered for throughout the cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The service, the food, the crew, the accommodations, the Great Barrier Reef Queensland, AU, it doesn't get any better than this for an active fit adult experience. We did the 7 day which is the 3 and 4 day combined of north and ... Read More
The service, the food, the crew, the accommodations, the Great Barrier Reef Queensland, AU, it doesn't get any better than this for an active fit adult experience. We did the 7 day which is the 3 and 4 day combined of north and south cruises out of Cairns, pronounced Cans, and loved it. There is a bit of a shakeup when you lose shipmates and pick up new crew and passengers after 3 nights, but the new were just as friendly as the ones who left. We happened to pick the shoulder season so with a crew of 11-12 and 11 passengers on each of the passages the service was fantastic. But pictures of crystal clear water with depths of 100-120 feet wasn't what we saw. Our only disappointment was our first stop for snorkeling at Fitzroy Island. When we got back on board from snorkeling, we looked at each other and said what a waste of money if this is what we came to see. Yes, it was overcast, but the coral was brown and there were very few fish. Surely there is a better introduction to the GBR than this stop. And perhaps everything else wouldn't have been as good if we hadn't been so disappointed in Fitzroy Island. Pre dinner cocktails every evening in the top lounge with a preview of tomorrow's activities and then to exquisite dinners in the dining room. Tonight it was a seafood buffet with bugs (AU lobsters), oysters, smoked salmon, heads on prawns, a fish similar to whole red snapper assorted salads and sides. Saturday we arrived at Nuggin Reef for scuba and snorkeling. I was the only certified diver which was awesome. Ricci, the dive master, and I had an incredible dive. Lots of fish and soft coral. The afternoon we anchored at Nathan Reef which was just as beautiful as the prior one. the engines started at 7 am and breakfast at Saturday we rose to a beautiful sunrise anchored in the Hinchinbrook Channel. We took a glass bottom boat tour through the mangroves looking for croks, dolphins, turtles, birds and other wildlife. Although there were none of the above, it was a beautiful tour and a nice diversion. I jut realized how much I've done and only touch on the trip. Needless to say, it was amazing and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. There are beach bar bqs, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, great presentations on the reef and history, amazing people, fantastic food, unbelievable fish and soft corals snorkeling and diving. I couldn't have spent my 60th birthday in any better place with any better people. Thanks to my wonderful husband, Richard, and our new friends. But it is NOT for people with limited mobility. There are steep stairs that cannot be avoided. The activities do not require Olympians, but they do require good knees, hips and feet. Meals are about as good as they get on any large or small cruise line. The accommodations although smaller than large cruise ships are more than adequate with good storage. You only need a few bathing suits and shorts and casual shirts. A carry on is more than enough clothes. Suntan lotion of SPF 50 and insect repellent are provided. When you go to the beach, the crew sets up chairs and shade and brings water and drinks. Access to the water is unbelievably easy with the hydraulic lift for boat rides and snorkeling access. I would add this cruise to your bucket list. I crossed it off mine and couldn't be happier. The crew is outstanding. Eliza, purser, Evie, marine biologist, are the best - I miss you guys. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The boat accommodates 22 people, (only there were only 13 on this cruise), so this suited us as we don't like touring with lots of people. There is a lounge area with big screen TV for presentations, bar and relevant books to borrow. ... Read More
The boat accommodates 22 people, (only there were only 13 on this cruise), so this suited us as we don't like touring with lots of people. There is a lounge area with big screen TV for presentations, bar and relevant books to borrow. We spent a lot of time with the fish ID book. There is also a sundeck and another bar in the dining area downstairs. You can call in at the wheelhouse any time the door is open and this was very interesting, seeing all the instruments. I watched the docking procedure on our return to Cairns. The cabin had 2 double wardrobes and other storage space, so all our stuff was out of the way. The food was excellent throughout and chef made me vegetarian meals, even though I was the only one eating them. All the crew were professional and friendly. I hate water and had never snorkelled before, but was made to feel confident that I could take it at my own pace and someone would be there to help if I needed them. I subsequently snorkelled 5 times and loved the experience. Similarly, my partner scuba-dived for the first time. We were kept informed of potential choppy seas so we could take medication before the event if needed, and staff were always available to help people move around the ship. The on-board marine biologist was excellent, giving presentations beforehand so we knew what to look for and information on the glass-bottomed boat tour which preceded each snorkel. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
Recommended by our travel agent Kyah Rook at Escape Travel Shellharbour. We cannot speak too highly of our cruise,personnel, food,cabin, organisation, exploring the Barrier Reef at our age (78 & 75) we were so well looked after, ... Read More
Recommended by our travel agent Kyah Rook at Escape Travel Shellharbour. We cannot speak too highly of our cruise,personnel, food,cabin, organisation, exploring the Barrier Reef at our age (78 & 75) we were so well looked after, snorkling for the first time.It was good the time taken to give some training for us oldies so we could enjoy our time in the reef as initially it was a bit daunting but after training we felt quite safe. What can we say about the reef itself ? spectacular,it was a real privilege to see this fantastic "wonder of the world" and the commentary by the crew was informative and entertaining with some good humour thrown in from the cox. The embarkation and disembarkation couldn't be bettered. Even though the weather wasn't very good we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it to anyone as we already have.Keep up the good work as you are great ambassadors for Australia. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We cruise a lot internationally on small and medium vessels and will add this one to the best ships. All the good things others say are true and we have no compla9nts at all. Excellent and worth every penny. The cabins are excellent, the ... Read More
We cruise a lot internationally on small and medium vessels and will add this one to the best ships. All the good things others say are true and we have no compla9nts at all. Excellent and worth every penny. The cabins are excellent, the food very good, the crew always helpful and friendly. The guides knew their stuff, a little eccentric too but that makes for even more interest. Remember, it is a smallish ship by international standards but its size gives great access with its flat bottomed fast motor boat and 3 zodiacs, access few other ships enjoy. As an amateur ocean sailor when young, I pleasured in watching the professional way the merchant marine crew so capably and caringly handled their small access vessels. They were a pleasure to watch and admire. The bar was not open as much as I would have liked but we could have asked for drink service at any time if we wished. If you thinking of this vessel do not hesitate. Highly recommended,. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
We could not fault this cruise. Weather obviously plays a big part in the enjoyment of a cruise on the Great Barrier Reef. The staff were friendly, helpful and altogether amazing. Nothing was a problem. We were given plenty of information ... Read More
We could not fault this cruise. Weather obviously plays a big part in the enjoyment of a cruise on the Great Barrier Reef. The staff were friendly, helpful and altogether amazing. Nothing was a problem. We were given plenty of information on the reef and the life on the reef. The food was restaurant quality with plenty for all. A highlight was the scones one afternoon, the best we have ever had and my mother was English and cooked great scones. The cruise has two sectors, a four day and a three day sector. We did both. If you are specifically travelling to do the diving on the coral, whether snorkelling or scuba, the four day northern sector is the highlight. They travel the outer ribbon reefs and the reef is opposite rain forest on the mainland. The water quality and underwater scenery is generally better. However there is more for the non divers in the southern three day sector. however on the last day we swam with turtles and had good visibility on Fitzroy Island just off Cairns. The accommodation was very acceptable and the upper lounge area was a pleasant relaxing area with amazing views. As we were disembarking my wife and I said we could easily have turned around and walked back on board for another seven days. We travelled in May which was a good time because the water was still warm (28 degrees) and the vessel was not full as June and on wards is their busy time however the water begins to cool down. The age group was over 50s mostly with the occasional family or couple in there 40s. We are 62 years old but very active. An amazing trip!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We sailed from Broome to Darwin through the Kimberleys. The scenery was breathtaking. The daily excursions were full of interest as well as unique and very enjoyable. The staff were amazing. They could not do enough to assist us. You ... Read More
We sailed from Broome to Darwin through the Kimberleys. The scenery was breathtaking. The daily excursions were full of interest as well as unique and very enjoyable. The staff were amazing. They could not do enough to assist us. You would only have to ask for something once and they acted right away. The tour leaders were so knowledgeable. They bent over backwards to make the tours full of interest. The food was absolutely delicious. The breakfast and lunch were buffet style and the evening meal a la carte. There were many healthy options to choose from. The ship was spotlessly clean. At 6pm every day there would be a recap of the day's activities and then an explanation of what would occur the next day. They told you what to wear, what to take. The safety level was fantastic. I would strongly recommend Coral Expeditions and I would have no hesitation to book another cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
We had always wanted to see the areas of the Kimberley that can only be accessed by sea. We chose the Coral Expeditions 1 mainly for the small number of passengers, (48 maximum). The areas we saw did not disappoint. The rugged beauty, ... Read More
We had always wanted to see the areas of the Kimberley that can only be accessed by sea. We chose the Coral Expeditions 1 mainly for the small number of passengers, (48 maximum). The areas we saw did not disappoint. The rugged beauty, the amazing colours of the land and sea, the isolation and wilderness were amazing. The two guest lecturers aboard, Tim Harvey and Sandy Shaw made the journey so much more rounded with all the information that they imparted from their wide spread knowledge of the geology and flora and fauna.They accompanied all the shore trips in the tender and also gave talks and showed videos. The tender was on a hydraulic ramp that lifted it up to C deck and the passengers could then simply walk on for easy access. A great idea for those less nimble people. There were shore journeys every day sometimes twice a day when we got to the cruising areas after the first day sailing from Darwin.A few shore journey were strenuous but we were always advised as to the level and if you wanted to remain in the tender and have a cruise around then that was always an alternative. All of the crew were very friendly and extremely professional.The food was excellent and plentiful. My request for fish instead of meat was met without any fuss. Diners moved around so you got to know your fellow passengers. Most days were very full with some early starts to catch the right tide to see certain sights at their best. It's not a cruise to take if you just want to lounge around but other than that we highly recommend it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We wanted a smaller ship to be able to experience the wonders of the Kimberly by sea. We sure did. It was a fantastic trip. Crew and skipper were great. Ship was comfortable and provided excellent meals. Well done the chef and crew! We had ... Read More
We wanted a smaller ship to be able to experience the wonders of the Kimberly by sea. We sure did. It was a fantastic trip. Crew and skipper were great. Ship was comfortable and provided excellent meals. Well done the chef and crew! We had daily excursions ashore as well as knowledgeable guides/lecturers. The cruise required a modicum of fitness with a few walks and scramble over rocks. they have a flat bottomed boat which they use for expeditions (fishing also). It fits everyone and is able to land on beaches and rocky shores. The cabins (we had a suite) were fine with plenty of room and ensuite. The crew were very professional and appeared to be having fun along with the passengers. This makes for an enjoyable trip. We chose to go from Darwin to Broome as I figured the prevailing wind would more likely be up our rear, which provides an easier ride. I was mostly right. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
What a delight! With only 18 passengers aboard and a crew of 14, we had lots of personal attention. All crew members worked to make us feel like family with them and each other. Rooms are small and basic but there is good storage ... Read More
What a delight! With only 18 passengers aboard and a crew of 14, we had lots of personal attention. All crew members worked to make us feel like family with them and each other. Rooms are small and basic but there is good storage (cabinet and under the bed), a big window, lots of hot water and towels replaced twice each day. This is a live aboard type so it is definitely a water activity ship. So stairs between decks are steep. Rooms on Deck 1 & 2. Dining on Deck 1 and Lounge on Deck 3. The food was very good. Hot breakfast and hot lunch served buffet style. Dinner was sit down service and varied. We had seafood buffet, BBQ on the outdoor deck and grilled steak. The staff knew our names and anticipated our food and drink desires. Water activities are the main feature here. Our cruise had two dive instructors. So their one-on-one attention got me diving again for the first time in 30 years. It was incredible! My husband, as a certified diver, had even better dives including one pre-dawn dive. They also had four glass bottom boat tours for passengers not wanting to get wet. On the beach of Lizard Island, they set up chairs, snacks, wine and drinks for a beach sunset viewing. Days on the cruise are very busy. Breakfast is at 7 am. Followed by hiking (Captain Cook lookout), touring (Cooktown) and beach, diving, snorkeling stops. We had two different stops every day. One of the best tours we've done! The reefs are straight off the boat's back deck -- which lowers for easy access to the water. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
What a trip, unless you actually see it yourself you wouldn't believe it. Every day started off beautifully weather wise, company, staff and guides. Our cabins were very comfortable with plenty of room for both of us. Dinning room and ... Read More
What a trip, unless you actually see it yourself you wouldn't believe it. Every day started off beautifully weather wise, company, staff and guides. Our cabins were very comfortable with plenty of room for both of us. Dinning room and lounges around our ship were comfortable and documentaries, screenings, videos, charades, hat making and talks were a treat and must say a little nap time for some after another wonderful day. Christoph, what a wonderful and pleasant chef, always with a smile on his face and what meals he provided us, and must say my steak was perfect. Now what a beautiful country we have, we had no idea just how beautiful an area we were sailing into, every single day was an eye opener and we were blessed with perfect weather. Going out in the explorer every day was an absolute treat, and having beautiful waterfall showers, and fresh water swim wow. Exploring everthing on a whole was more than we imagined possible and seeing is believing. One very exciting treat was going fishing in the explorer with Josh out of the 12 persons who fished almost all caught fish and quite a bit of excitement was had especially by me. Finishing our trip was sad as our trip was over but how bitter sweet it was to have all the crew there for our final farewell, and hugs as well. Home again and we have let our agent and everyone who has asked that telling them about our trip is never enough, and they should do the trip and see for themselves. Thankyou so very very much. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
"I heard this was good, but not this good!”, someone remarked on our Darwin to Broome April 1, 2016, ten day Kimberley coast cruise. We absolutely concurred. The stunning Kimberley scenery and our experience with Coral ... Read More
"I heard this was good, but not this good!”, someone remarked on our Darwin to Broome April 1, 2016, ten day Kimberley coast cruise. We absolutely concurred. The stunning Kimberley scenery and our experience with Coral Expeditions 1 surpassed everything we expected. Simply wonderful. The guest lecturers and expedition team were a font of information, good advice and guidance. Not to mention brave! Who can forget our leader, hand feeding a shark off the back deck! Our B deck Deluxe Stateroom was spacious and well tended. Friendly staff were about predawn, ensuring the ship was spic and span for the day ahead. Food was plentiful and fresh - the standard of good pub fare. Coral Expeditions 1 is not a luxury cruise ship, but it’s comfortable and cosy. The stairs are steep, but we thought of them as an inbuilt exercise stair master! Dress is casual and barefoot on board is fine. No casinos, no pools, no entertainment shows, no deck to deck elevators. It’s not that sort of experience. “It’s an expedition, not a cruise,” we were told. And that’s what you get. We found the pace of onshore expeditions full-on and challenging, especially in the April heat and humidity, but always rewarding. There were pleasant ‘cruisier' options if you didn’t want to clamber up rocks to discover ancient aboriginal paintings or hike across a salt plain to see a crashed WW2 plane! Showers under remote towering waterfalls, crocodiles giving us the eye, sea snakes swimming by, amazing birdlife, bat colonies tending their babies and the incredibly cute ‘sea cow’ dugongs to fall in love with. A fantastic trip stacked full of exciting experiences and staggeringly beautiful vistas along the coast of one of the last great wilderness areas of the world. We loved this trip. We adored the Kimberley coast. We'd strike it off our bucket list, but we’d do it again in an instant! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise to experience snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef on a live-aboard. Embarkation on April 1st went smoothly, although there was a slight wait in getting onboard, during which we were advised to go and have ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef on a live-aboard. Embarkation on April 1st went smoothly, although there was a slight wait in getting onboard, during which we were advised to go and have breakfast at a coffeshop within walking distance. Once we'd all boarded - about 30 of us on a ship with a capacity of 44 pax - there was a presentation in the lounge on the 3-day cruise ahead and we were assigned our cabins. This is where our problems began, which I will describe in more detail below. The high points of the cruise were the friendly crew and the outstanding food. The meals were truly wonderful, with plenty of fresh fish, vegetables and fruit, prepared with imagination and taste. Windy weather at this time of year meant we couldn't quite follow the planned itinerary and the water was not as clear as one might hope, but that was no one's fault. Presentations and videos on the Great Barrier Reef, which were held in the comfortable ship lounge, were informative and interesting. We had plenty of time in the water, which is what we were most interested in; shore excursions were pleasant, including one free sunset cocktail and one where drinks had to be paid... a bit unexpected, so not many of us had brought any cash onshore with us. Now to the one big problem we encountered, which was compounded by very poor customer service and has led to the poor rating of this cruise: the pricing and classificication of accommodations onboard. We had booked and paid for a 'cabin' for our son and his girlfriend, and for a 'stateroom' for my husband and me - a category that cost nearly $400 AUD more. When we arrived onboard, we found, to our surprise, that the 'cabin' and 'stateroom' were carbon copies: identical in every respect, with absolutely no difference in size or comfort. Both were on the Lower Deck - in fact, our higher-priced 'stateroom' was located right by the galley! The purser very kindly moved us to the Upper Deck, into another 'stateroom', once again IDENTICAL down to the last detail, to our son's cheaper cabin. After the cruise, when we took this matter up with Coral Expeditions , no one bothered to reply at first. By sending repeated emails, we had the answer that the considerable price difference between 'cabin' and 'stateroom' was due to the superior position of the 'stateroom' category. Really? Our initial 'stateroom on the Lower Deck by the galley hardly seemed a prime location. Our advice is NOT to spend extra money booking a 'stateroom', and stay with the 'cabin' category. On a boat which houses just over 40 people, location hardly matters and besides, you hardly spend anytime in your room except to dress and sleep. The crew gave us to understand that the company is undergoing restructuring and the family who founded Coral Expeditions and built its good reputation is no longer at the helm. That may explain but does not excuse the poor customer service Read Less
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