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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We chose the particular trip because we love snorkeling and that was the focus of the cruise. It was the best snorkeling of our lives---and we've been a LOT of places including Bora Bora Tahiti on the Paul Gaugain. The coral, fish, ... Read More
We chose the particular trip because we love snorkeling and that was the focus of the cruise. It was the best snorkeling of our lives---and we've been a LOT of places including Bora Bora Tahiti on the Paul Gaugain. The coral, fish, color, clarity of water were all A+ (not at every snorkel site but overall.) The boat would just be there at these incredible ribbon reefs off shore. They had a lift on the back so it was super easy access to the water. They carried a glass bottom boat to entertain the non-snorkelers and haul us in to shore when we did island snorkels. The big surprise was the boat, crew and food. Udo was the purser and he just made things work for everyone. The food was excellent and there were not too many people so you got to know each other. Mostly they were British or Australian and we're Americans so lots of interesting conversations. We were not traveling with children but there were a few and the crew really made them feel welcome. (They were great kids..engaged and enjoying the adventure.) We would definitely go again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We traveled as a multi-generational family and everyone had a wonderful time. The food and service were top notch. We have a vegetarian in our family and the staff went overboard cooking a special meal for her. We were amazed at the ... Read More
We traveled as a multi-generational family and everyone had a wonderful time. The food and service were top notch. We have a vegetarian in our family and the staff went overboard cooking a special meal for her. We were amazed at the wonderful meals. The snorkeling was the best in the world and the two in our family who dove also had a wonderful time. Special thanks to our purser, Udo, who went above and beyond in making our dining experiences so wonderful! Captain Kent was also awesome in helping when we needed medical attention and in making our grandson's experience special with a bridge tour, time in the captain's chair, and '1st mate' badge. This is an expedition ship and the cabins were basic, but you don't spend much time in them. With the small size of the ship you got to know your other cruisers. We met some wonderful people onboard both staff and other cruisers, and have awesome memories of this trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The company should advertise that it is not a cruise for everyone. In fact it is not a 'cruise'. There are no casinos or piano players on board. There is no pool either. The Aussie crew are friendly but there is no room service. ... Read More
The company should advertise that it is not a cruise for everyone. In fact it is not a 'cruise'. There are no casinos or piano players on board. There is no pool either. The Aussie crew are friendly but there is no room service. Food is ok but this is not the Queen Mary. There is no luxury. I suggest the company advertise better. It is not a tour bus either. There were some locals who saw the cruise as a way to see some specific spot and were disappointed we didn't go there. I am glad the company did not stick to a rigid schedule as all know weather in Tasmania is not predictable. What it is - a well managed operation on a small ship with only 40 passengers taking you to places that left me and my husband awestruck. I will always remember standing on the bow with a nip in the air as we passed within a stone's throw of the incredible Cape Pillars. We saw seals at an island I can't remember. We went on all the walks. We are in our 60s and probably one of the youngest on board! The onboard Tasmania Parks ranger was a delight. There is some pitching and rolling but no worse than a Med cruise we took on a mega ship. The crew are friendly and work very hard. We refurned feeling healthy and invigorated. We are coming back next year! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
My cruise on board 'Coral Expeditions 11" gave me some of the most magical moments of my life - and at age 71, widely traveled and with many years at ownership level in the hospitality, retail and commercial boating industry, I ... Read More
My cruise on board 'Coral Expeditions 11" gave me some of the most magical moments of my life - and at age 71, widely traveled and with many years at ownership level in the hospitality, retail and commercial boating industry, I do not say this lightly. The whole experience was a product of the most amazing synergy of crew professionalism and relaxed, true, caring camaraderie. The itinerary could not be faulted - a wondrous combination of snorkeling and diving over some of the best reefs on Earth; excursions to Cooktown, Orpheus, Lizard and Fitzroy Islands; and above all, the informed flexibility of the crew who maximised every opportunity to gain the utmost from the weather and tide conditions with an eye always to the comfort and interests of their passengers. I was unashamedly self indulgent in that I gloried in the luxury and space of a deluxe state room but at no stage did I hear of any dissatisfaction from any of the other passengers who enjoyed other levels of cabin accommodation. The food and service? Absolutely beyond criticism. It is nearly 3 weeks now since I disembarked in Cairns and not a day goes by that I do not reminisce on so many separate and sublime occasions of my time on board and ashore. Foremost in my memories is most definitely the expertise, friendliness and caring shown by the crew. We were always kept totally informed via the communication direct to our cabin - a marvelous touch! For sure there are many other ways to see and enjoy our magnificent Great Barrier Reef but to be privileged to be one of the guests aboard "Coral Expedition 11" is something I do not take lightly. I thank you all. Yasmin - our magnificent Purser - I owe you a humble apology. In addition to giving us your cheery voice coming into our cabins and your professional service at meal times, you also were responsible for the wonderful "Coral Seas News" which appeared on our bed at night. I left the cruise with my only, very slight criticism that we were not given more historical or geographical information. I'm sorry! My brain was "out to lunch" on board - far too relaxed and if I had had a brain operating it would have been lonely! Only on arrival home when I stapled together all these newsletters as a keepsake did I realise that you had given SO much information on the reverse of the sheets! So - just a hint so that others as clueless or as relaxed as I was: mark the sheet "PTO" or something similar. To all the crew: Bec (your knowledge, friendliness and patience was unparalleled), Lex, Charlie, Sharlene (you have a wonderful 'people person' gift!), Roberto the maestro in the galley - and to you others who completed such a professional and friendly crew - I thank you. I am already looking at cruises with Coral Expeditions to Asia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. But perhaps I just might also repeat this very same cruise to the Great Barrier Reef! I could not give high enough recommendations and praise to the company and crew of "Coral Expeditions 11". Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Disappointing itinerary as the Coral Expedition 1 was unable to attempt to reach Port Davey due to rough seas. This was to be the highlight of the cruise and the main reason for taking the trip. The offered changes were not promulgated ... Read More
Disappointing itinerary as the Coral Expedition 1 was unable to attempt to reach Port Davey due to rough seas. This was to be the highlight of the cruise and the main reason for taking the trip. The offered changes were not promulgated prior to the trip and appeared to be organised Ad Hoc by the Captain and Expedition leader. If this was all we were going to see on our cruise, we would not have booked but chosen an alternative method to get to the Wilderness area of SW Tasmania. It appears that the Coral Expedition 1 is not the type of vessel to sail the Southern Ocean particularly when the seas are rough and a poor choice by the company for this routes. Our cabin was adequate but the bathroom was far from comfortable with a rather slippery tiny shower (when the ship was rocking and rolling) in a moulded compartment and a tiny washbasin that you had no room to wash your face in. Rooms were serviced each day and toiletries provided for passengers' use. Meals were of very good quality and staff provided a friendly efficient service. Open dining where you could meet other passengers throughout the trip was a plus and the chance to gather as a group for pre dinner drinks and nibbles was a good chance to socialise. Unfortunately the weather meant that the upper deck outdoor area was rarely used and the one occasion when we all gathered there for pre dinner drinks provided a challenge for some to negotiate the stairs given the ship's motion. Shore excursions were adequate but limited and walks could have been more strenuous than they were reputed to be. Having the tender take us ashore meant we could access beach landing areas to reach the shore. The system of getting on and off the Coral Expedition 1 was very well designed and meant everyone was able to leave the ship if they desired; even one passenger who needed a walking frame was able to go ashore. While the service and staff were very good, I think the vessel chosen let us down and led to my disappointment with the trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We had a fantastic time from start to finish and the crew could not have been more helpful friendly knowledge and extremely keen to make sure you had a great time on board. The quality of the food was amazing given the size of the galley ... Read More
We had a fantastic time from start to finish and the crew could not have been more helpful friendly knowledge and extremely keen to make sure you had a great time on board. The quality of the food was amazing given the size of the galley and you could even ask for something other than what was on offer if you didn't like the menu. It's a small vessel so you may sometimes become aware of the sea conditions but it's a fabulous way to see the Great Barrier Reef. The hands on attitude of the crew ensured that everyone got the absolute most from the trip including snorkelling for the very first time We would thoroughly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I had the opportunity to travel to the Great Barrier Reef with my partner for 3 nights in November 2015. This is only my 2nd time on a cruise ship (the other being a large ship experience) but am comfortable in saying that the small ship ... Read More
I had the opportunity to travel to the Great Barrier Reef with my partner for 3 nights in November 2015. This is only my 2nd time on a cruise ship (the other being a large ship experience) but am comfortable in saying that the small ship experience definitely surpasses that of the larger. The smaller guest numbers meant that I got to meet and share the experiences of the trip with almost all of the other travellers. So by the end of the trip it felt like I had really connected with everyone and made some good friends. The staff were brilliant, with special thanks to Roberto in the kitchen, who continually amazed with the variety and flavour he was able to deliver. The fresh scones and cake were great after the snorkelling / diving (if you hadn't guessed I loved the food, still the most important part of any trip in my opinion). Yasmin and Bec were both excellent in their knowledge, helpfulness and professional attitude. They were still friendly very late one night when my partner and I couldn't work out how to change the air conditioner settings and needed to wake them up. Kristy was very patient with us when she took us diving and I will forever be greatful with the effort she went too to show us the various corals and coloured fish. Overall very happy with the experience and will definitely be adding it to my yearly plan. Coral Expeditions, 5 thumbs up. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was an expedition cruise and overall was most enjoyable. Tasmania is unspoilt and a delight to visit. The places visited were great - loved them all. The walks were pretty strenuous and long at times. The crew were superb - ... Read More
This was an expedition cruise and overall was most enjoyable. Tasmania is unspoilt and a delight to visit. The places visited were great - loved them all. The walks were pretty strenuous and long at times. The crew were superb - friendly and helpful - good food and service. The guest guides and lecturers were both knowledgeable and generous with their time. The boat was small and clean - no luxury but it was fairly comfortable. There was a warning that there was no lift but the stairs were almost vertical! Some passengers found it very difficult getting to and from their cabins. The sea was very rough during this cruise and the boat pitched and rolled quite alarmingly for long periods! This type of boat is not suitable for the unpredictability of the southern ocean! Many passengers spent a lot of time being ill and clinging to the bed to stay in! The itinerary was very attractive but the weather was the major factor and because the winds were strong, the boat was not able to sail to many of the planned places. The crew had a hard time rejigging the excursions owing to the limited scope of the catamaran. However, we did enjoy our week but it really is a cruise for good sailors only and those who have a good standard of fitness and mobility. We were fortunate that we were in that category - just. It was certainly a challenge! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The boat is adequate - no luxury but it was clean and we had all we needed for the week. We were often tired after the long walks so there was no call for evening entertainment. The crew were superb - friendly and helpful - they worked ... Read More
The boat is adequate - no luxury but it was clean and we had all we needed for the week. We were often tired after the long walks so there was no call for evening entertainment. The crew were superb - friendly and helpful - they worked extremely hard for the passengers throughout the cruise. The guest lecturer and guide could not have been more generous with their time and knowledge. How the chef managed to produce such delicious fare in the rough conditions in such a small kitchen was truly a wonder? The boat was simply was not designed for the Southern Ocean and it was uncomfortable during the rough seas. Many passengers spent much of the week feeling sea sick. We were advised that there was no lift but there was no mention that the stairs were almost vertical - together with the large ocean swells, these factors made moving around the ship almost impossible for some of the less mobile passengers - even the crew struggled on occasions. There had to be changes to the published itinerary owing to the unpredictable weather in the Roaring 40s - conditions did not favour some of the proposed ports of call. The onshore walks were quite strenuous and many of the passengers could not participate. We were lucky that we are good sailors, reasonably fit and coped with most of the challenging walks. The places we did get to visit were outstanding and most enjoyable - Tasmania is an untouched beauty and worth seeing. All in all, we enjoyed the week but it is not a cruise I would want to repeat nor would I recommend to anyone else unless a larger boat with stabilisers was offered. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This is the best trip I have taken this year. We are avid cruisers and have sailed once before with Coral in the Kimberley. We really enjoyed that but lowered our expectations of the Tasmania cruise as it was on their smaller ship. ... Read More
This is the best trip I have taken this year. We are avid cruisers and have sailed once before with Coral in the Kimberley. We really enjoyed that but lowered our expectations of the Tasmania cruise as it was on their smaller ship. However, it was truly refreshing. Tasmania is so beautiful. It feels remote and untouched. A small ship operated by an Australian company is a good way to do it. They have been around for 30 years. Some of the walks were strenuous and we sat one or two out. Scenery spectacular, we saw seals, dolphins, up close. Captain Nathan told us that we were the first passenger ship to enter Port Davey. We had a private tour of Port Arthur, though my second time there. Eerie place, sad history. Our past is tragic! Food was comforting, nothing fancy. Wine is not included. No organised entertainment, just talks and lectures. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Let me start this review by saying that I really do not like writing poor reviews,but there are times that the general public need to be aware of problems they are likely to encounter,which are perhaps not well publicised. I booked a 7 ... Read More
Let me start this review by saying that I really do not like writing poor reviews,but there are times that the general public need to be aware of problems they are likely to encounter,which are perhaps not well publicised. I booked a 7 night cruise on this vessel for my wife and I, as part of a very special around the world retirement trip. We have cruised a number of times before on both large and small vessels and have never before other than the odd very rough day had problems with motion sickness. Coral Expeditions 2 is a catamaran and as we found out, this and quite possibly other similar vessels are not user friendly as far as motion sickness is concerned. Let me start at the beginning however. We arrived at the Cairns cruise ship terminal about an hour and a half before the scheduled embarkation time of 4.00pm to find that the terminal uninhabited and looking like an empty warehouse. On Walking outside we noticed what can only be described as a little lean too type of affair at the far end of the vessel with a young lady standing there. Another older couple probably in there late seventies had arrived at the same time. We both approached the young lady and she duly confirmed that we could leave our luggage there but could not board the ship yet. She suggested that we walk approx 300 yds to the end of the marina where there was a cafe and could get a drink and waste some time. Then if we came back a little nearer embarkation time, we could probably by that time board and go into the lounge. So we started walking towards the cafe, but the older gentlemen could not walk very well and we had to leave him resting on a mooring,whilst his wife accompanied us to the cafe, where she purchased a drink and then walked all of the way back to where he had had to stop to give it to him. It is true that the ship had arrived back from its previous cruise at around 1pm that afternoon,but with just a little bit of though they might just have taken the time to Vac out and prepare the lounge area first, so that early arrivals could have parked themselves there, rather than being told to hike to a cafe 300 yds away. We were not expecting a champagne reception, but having experienced previous receptions, this was to say the least poor! The vessel was scheduled to leave port at 5 pm that evening and duly did. It became very evident to my wife and I very quickly that this was going to be very different to our previous cruises, as despite the fact that conditions were relatively calm the vessel presumably because it is a catamaran, began to seriously rock & roll from side to side. So by 7 pm that evening when we were due to go down to dinner,my wife had already taken to her bed feeling unwell. I was not feeling wonderful but managed whilst stumbling around the cabin to get dressed for dinner but having done that decided that I really was not able to enjoy a dinner, feeling as I did. That was the end of the first evening for us, which we spent in our bunks. Day two was more enjoyable. The vessel moved very little and we both managed to enjoy the snorkeling off of Lizard Island, plus breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were looking forward to doing some walking on the islands and there was one arranged for the second morning on Lizard island. For some reason that was scheduled for some unearthly hour that meant leaving the vessel at 5.00am!! We were on holiday not at a boot camp, so regretfully decided to miss that one. Then, the fun and games really started to kick in! On days 3 and 4 the vessel is scheduled to move from one ribbon reef to another during the luncheon period and then the motors start up again at 5 pm in the evening (similar to the first day) so that meant that the boat was in motion during both lunch and dinner!!! With the unstable nature of the craft, we, plus a number of other passengers were missing for both lunch and dinner on both days due to the constant rocking and rolling of the vessel. I manged a little bit of lunch on day 4, but other then that my wife and I survived on breakfast alone on both of those days. By the afternoon of the 4th day the relatively calm conditions had disappeared and as a result the vessel had difficulty mooring at the final reef as a result of the increasing wind. But never the less, rather then wait until late in the evening before starting the engines after passengers had been able to enjoy their dinner and most were comfortably tucked up in bed, the vessel moved off again at 5pm and another evening was ruined by motion sickness. After 5 hours of laying in my bunk that evening with the vessel rocking and rolling from side to side and crashing down with shuddering bangs I was literally praying for it to all end. My wife by that time was drugged up with sea sickness medication an was fortunately for her out of it. We unfortunately had no other option but to leave the vessel in Cairns the next morning and abort the final 3 days as we just could not face another 3 days, like the 4 we had just experienced. After this terrible experience, we have made a number of suggestions to Coral Expeditions as to what they should endeavour to do to increase 'ALL' of their passengers experience. The first one being that they should be honest and tell potential guests that this type of craft is basically unstable and as such if they do not have cast iron stomachs then this cruise is really not for them. There were a number of people on this vessel who were cruising for the first time and no doubt think that what they experienced is the norm. Being seasoned cruisers we know that that's not the case. Secondly they should not move the vessel at meal times, when with a little bit of thought they could arrange the schedule to avoid that as much as possible, especially from 7pm to 10 pm when passengers were trying to enjoy there dinner and drinks afterwards. Moving the vessel during the late evening or even early hours as I have mentioned earlier when meal times are out of the way and people are not having to move around the boat is the way forward on that. That's what other cruise operators try to do for obvious reasons. The response I received to these suggestions from the company was basically that they have been running cruises for a number of years and and they don't need to be told how to do so. They justify moving the vessel during meal times, so as to give their passengers the best experience possible. I reminded them that being unwell in bed for the best part of 3 days and not being able to eat our lunches, evening meals and enjoy after dinner drinks was no special experience! That's not what we paid all of that money for! The snorkeling was nice, but theres much more to any cruise than just the snorkeling. So you have now been warned. if you do not have a 100% cast iron stomach, don't go on this vessel or anything like it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
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: August 2015
We have just finished the trip of a lifetime. We knew what to expect by the information provided beforehand, and our expectations exceeded by an un-describable experience. The crew, the Explorer Guides and the guests made the trip a ... Read More
We have just finished the trip of a lifetime. We knew what to expect by the information provided beforehand, and our expectations exceeded by an un-describable experience. The crew, the Explorer Guides and the guests made the trip a journey not to forget. The Master (Captain) let his crew with a sincere wish to please the passengers. Nothing was too hard for them to put into place. Tours of the vessel were available and the bridge was open for anytime visits. There was every opportunity to participate in all events provided on board and on the daily and sometimes bi-daily cruises in the zodiacs and the Explorer. Those providing the guided tours had a wealth of knowledge to pass on to those who participated in the ventures and nearly all did. It was a mark of how much the trip and ventures were enjoyed when on the last day prior to the departure for Darwin every passenger was up for early breakfasts and out on the water for a final tour of one of the gorges. i have to say again, put this on your bucket list - and do it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
My husband and I have just returned from a cruise on the Coral Discoverer from Broome to Darwin. It was much more than we could ever have expected. The ship was clean, the suites cleaned daily, laundry facilities excellent. The food on ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from a cruise on the Coral Discoverer from Broome to Darwin. It was much more than we could ever have expected. The ship was clean, the suites cleaned daily, laundry facilities excellent. The food on board was plentiful and beautiful. Thank you Chef Grant. The young staff on duty were always cheerful, helpful and very professional. Expedition Leader Steve, Lecturers Tom and Maureen were a wealth of knowledge, gave very interesting and informative lectures and always happy to answer questions. The Explorer is a terrific way to get off the "Mother Ship" and see different sites and the Zodiacs are a lot of fun. Both of these vessels were used daily to transport passengers to different activities. There are a variety of activities organised daily as well so you always have a choice. We spotted whales, crocodiles, sea snakes, sharks, many different species of birds, possums etc. The ride through the Horizontal Falls on the Zodiac was fantastic as was the helicopter flight over Mitchell Falls The open bridge policy was really appreciated as you have a birdseye view of what's around you. Captain Garry is such an integral part of the journey as he is such a nice, accommodating person. Thank you Garry for all the funny conversations and whale chasing!! A big thank you also to Purser Amy for organising some tables to be put together so the friends we made on the cruise were able to take part in my birthday celebrations. The cake made by Chef Grant was appreciated Anyone thinking of doing this cruise, we could not recommend it any higher! It will stay in our memories for the rest of our lives and we are now considering doing another cruise with the Coral Discoverer. Definitely value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
I have just returned from a Darwin to Broome Kimberley Cruise onboard the Oceanic Discoverer with my Husband. This Cruise totally exceeded my expectations. The whole experience was educational and exceptional. We were amazed at the ... Read More
I have just returned from a Darwin to Broome Kimberley Cruise onboard the Oceanic Discoverer with my Husband. This Cruise totally exceeded my expectations. The whole experience was educational and exceptional. We were amazed at the scenery, the tides, the colours and the isolation of this destination. Onboard the lecturers Tom and Maureen were great and helped us to understand the culture of the Indigenous people and the wildlife we were lucky enough to see. The ship itself is very well equipped, the rooms very comfortable. The food is fantastic and there is a great wine selection. We especially loved the Zodiacs that allowed for a much more personal experience whilst sightseeing. The walks on the islands to the cave sights were well worth it. The reefs were beautiful and we also did the Mitchell Falls helicopter flight which was amazing. Managed to have a swim up there as well! The Captain Garry was very approachable and a great lecturer with his knowledge and interesting life stories. We felt very safe in his capable hands. Lastly, Steve our expedition leader was probably one of the best tour leaders we have had. Steve’s knowledge and passion for this destination is evident and he showed us this area with great organization and great care. He obviously loves his job and it shows. !!!! I would recommend this Cruise to everyone who loves nature and wants to see the real Top End. It should be on everyone’s bucket list . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My 8 year old and I took the Coral Princess II out to the GBR last month; and, it was one of the best experiences my life. The reef is such a beautiful and majestic place; and, I felt as if we had it all to ourselves. As remarkable as ... Read More
My 8 year old and I took the Coral Princess II out to the GBR last month; and, it was one of the best experiences my life. The reef is such a beautiful and majestic place; and, I felt as if we had it all to ourselves. As remarkable as the ocean is, however, it was the people working on board that made this trip so amazing. From the moment we stepped on, the crew made us feel as if nothing would bring them more pleasure than to make sure we were happy. Everyone worked so unbelievably hard- half the time we couldn't tell whose job was whose because anyone would help us with anything. The food was absolutely wonderful- we looked forward to every meal. Our room was kept so neat and tidy. Bec was very knowledgeable on marine life. My kid is still talking about all the stuff she learned. The First Mate, Charlie, was awesome enough to let her "drive" the boat. She had some fears before getting on the boat (too much "Titanic" and "Ocean's Deadliest"); but, we felt so safe and relaxed the whole time. I need to give two very special shout outs to the two people that truly made our trip a once in a lifetime. The first is to Captain Kent. He encouraged me to get back in the water, when I was freezing, because I hadn't seen all that he wanted me to see. He taught me tricks to stay warm- who knew you could wear two wet suits? This may not seem like a big deal; but, I hate being cold. I can't thank him enough. Now, to the Purser, Nat. I had an unfortunate encounter with a rouge marsupial a couple hours before boarding the boat... so I wasn't feeling very well. She was great in looking after me. She was most amazing, though, with my kid. She took her to get ice cream, played Monopoly, and guided her on two little private snorkeling tours of the reef. This woman never stopped working (I'm still not convinced she slept at all); and, spent what little free time she had showing my kid how to dive for sea cucumbers. She felt so personally honored to be invited to dine with the Captain. She was a little scared to get on the boat, initially; but, literally cried when we got off. Thank you so much, Nat, for giving her such wonderful memories. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I have travelled throughout the world on many different cruises and I would have to say the itinerary for the four night cruise from Cairns to Cooktown and the Great Barrier Reef was very well organised. The deck crew were an absolute ... Read More
I have travelled throughout the world on many different cruises and I would have to say the itinerary for the four night cruise from Cairns to Cooktown and the Great Barrier Reef was very well organised. The deck crew were an absolute pleasure and special mention needs to go to Charlie and Kristy who provided us with very entertaining and informative glass bottom boat tours. Bec who was in training also provided a great wealth of knowledge not to mention Captain Josh who does a brilliant job. To say I was disappointed with the hotel side of things would be an understatement. The food as exceptional and the staff were lovely but I couldn't help but notice the disorganisation of this area and hotel side of things from the moment we boarded to our departure. The purser seemed very disorganised and the crew didn't seem too sure of what was going on. A special mention to the wonderful Hannah and Anna who served us breakfast on the last day of the trip when it seemed as though know one knew what was going on. It was a disappointment that this sub par service was aloud to happen on what was a great trip let down by the hotel side of things. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Spent 4 nights cruising the Great Barrier Reef on the Coral Princess 2. My cabin was very comfortable, clean, quite spacious and well laid out. Lounges and dinning area were very usable. Food was magnificent as was the service. With ... Read More
Spent 4 nights cruising the Great Barrier Reef on the Coral Princess 2. My cabin was very comfortable, clean, quite spacious and well laid out. Lounges and dinning area were very usable. Food was magnificent as was the service. With great support from the crew I enjoyed snorkelling at Lizard Island, and 2 of the Ribbon Reefs. I was quite uncertain as to whether I would be able to snorkel however with their (Brad and Beat) assistance I felt very safe, had a great time and saw the beauty and the diversity of the reef. It was great to have experts on board to provide information about the reef. The regular lectures were both enjoyable and informative. All of the crew are to be congratulated for their caring, professional approach. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
A friend and I took the 11 day Kimberly cruise from Darwin. There were several aspects of the cruise we found particularly enjoyable. Above all, our fellow guests were wonderful people who had come to the Oceanic Discoverer (as it was ... Read More
A friend and I took the 11 day Kimberly cruise from Darwin. There were several aspects of the cruise we found particularly enjoyable. Above all, our fellow guests were wonderful people who had come to the Oceanic Discoverer (as it was known back then) for its lack of glitz and exposure to geology and culture. It was an exceptional group of discerning people and we made some good friends. Many had traveled with Coral Princess before. We enjoyed mingling with them and the ship dynamics (open seating dining, lounge areas) facilitated that. Second, the crew were very sociable and hardworking and the purser was a true professional. Crew were mostly Australian. The food was not Michelin star but tasty and well plated. We liked that we were not nickel and dime on excursions and soft drinks. Finally, we enjoyed the ability to embark and disembark without any queues because of the small number of guests. We noticed we could go closer to shore than the big ships. The overall experience felt less "canned" and formulaic than the mega cruise lines. It is not cheap but we felt it was money well spent on a unique small ship experience. We would not repeat this trip but are thinking of Papua New Guinea with Coral Princess in 2016. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was a very expensive trip, and the experience on the Oceanic Discoverer was truly awful. Boarded in Broome and disembarked in Darwin for Australia Kimberly cruise. My cabin, C07, was noisy because of the way the water drainage in ... Read More
This was a very expensive trip, and the experience on the Oceanic Discoverer was truly awful. Boarded in Broome and disembarked in Darwin for Australia Kimberly cruise. My cabin, C07, was noisy because of the way the water drainage in the ship is configured (this is confirmed by the ship engineer, Frank). Gray water collects, about 7 liters, then releases, through sections in the wall, every "x" number of cabins. A truly awful experience, and I had to wear earplugs to sleep. The staff is very small, about 20-25 for a passenger list of 65+. They work very hard, but it doesn't make for a good passenger experience. Even the largest commercial cruise line (for example, Carnival) has a better staff to passenger ratio. First they are cleaning your cabin, then trying to serve food. Poor training, especially when I see the staff putting a glass in the ice bin to get the ice. A scoop should be used in case the glass breaks. The poor guy in the kitchen is overwhelmed, dinner service is very slow and the food is rarely hot. Breakfast and lunch were buffets. The food was cooked to death sometimes (gray beef - totally unrecognizable, only the menu gave a clue), other items were raw - fish. Some items, lamb, were inedible, they were so tough. The menu is limited and you see the same items often on a 10 day cruise. Ice tea and water were left on the bars for us to have at our pleasure. Problem was the pitchers were uncovered and the liquids were warm. Laminated dinner menus made their appearance at lunch time, sticking up in the middle of the tables. You had to pre-order your dinner. Breakfast eggs, etc were always cold. The 'tinnie' the Explorer is a horrible way to travel. It felt like being on a boat ride from the old folks home. Couples split up to grab all the window seats. If you didn't have a window seat you couldn't see, or take a picture. As a single and wanting a window seat, I had to get out on deck early and be at the head of the line. The staff hated that. We had an engine malfunction and the tool kit on board was inadequate. They had to send our security zodiac back to the mother ship for more tools. We were fortunate in that one of our passengers was an experience boatman, and made a fix out of 'chewing gum and spit'. There were only 2 zodiacs and were rarely used. The microphone system on the Explore rarely worked, so not only did you need a window seat, but you needed a front seat! Raising and lowering the Explorer felt like a 'klugy' experience at best. The lounge was used for presentations. No one ever did figure out the audio/video workings in that room. Truly exasperating. I was never so glad for a trip to end. It was a really bad experience. I've traveled a lot (over 90 countries by land, sea and air) and this trip rates as one of the worst I have ever had. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first cruise in Australia and it did not live up to expectations. We travelled Darwin to Broome over 10 days via many stops in the Kimberley. At double the price of our other cruises (including with APT and Silversea) we ... Read More
This was our first cruise in Australia and it did not live up to expectations. We travelled Darwin to Broome over 10 days via many stops in the Kimberley. At double the price of our other cruises (including with APT and Silversea) we were expecting a high standard. Instead it was simply satisfactory to good. Breakfast, lunch and some dinners were self-service from a cramped buffet. At dinner we were called up by table and waits of up to 45 minutes were experienced. The food was good but not exceptional. The kitchen ran out of cream and ice cream early in the cruise and one could not get a cheese platter after dinner. Except for the two official captain's functions, all alcoholic drinks were pay as you go. The Kimberley scenery was great, especially the waterfalls and inlets. Wildlife was scarce, except at the Lacepede Islands bird rookery. Many of us remarked that it seemed strange to get excited at a wallaby sighting when we'd probably seen hundreds before. The cruise did include two fishing experiences and they are to be congratulated for that, including their strict "catch and release" policy. The cruise staff provided exceptional service - the most outstanding aspect of the cruise. Overall it was a good experience, but not good value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
I've just had the most amazing holiday on the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Princess Cruises. We've been retired for 12 years and have been on many holidays both in Australia and overseas but this one was the best of them all! ... Read More
I've just had the most amazing holiday on the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Princess Cruises. We've been retired for 12 years and have been on many holidays both in Australia and overseas but this one was the best of them all! The program allowed ample time for snorkelling or scuba diving over this beautiful part of the world, the meals provided by Roberto, the on-board Chef, were excellent, the accommodation on the ship was all we could ask for with every cabin having a view of the ocean and the service from the crew was outstanding. All the crew gave 150% towards the comfort of the passengers and this all added up to an unforgettable holiday. I will certainly be going again! Many thanks to all those involved in providing such an experience for us to enjoy. Robyn Hawkins, Ballarat Vic Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Recently returned from a four-day Great Barrier Reef cruise on the Coral Princess - a casual, but very comfortable and well-appointed catamaran carrying a maximum 50 passengers. Cabins are not luxurious, but very comfortable, with most ... Read More
Recently returned from a four-day Great Barrier Reef cruise on the Coral Princess - a casual, but very comfortable and well-appointed catamaran carrying a maximum 50 passengers. Cabins are not luxurious, but very comfortable, with most having picture windows affording great views of the coastline. But what has prompted this review (my first) is the quality of the crew and the service provided. Absolutely first rate - from the Captain (open bridge) to the cabin and wait staff. Kudos especially to (1) the Cruise Director (Kristy) who provided a wealth of information regarding the wonders of the Reef and conducted comprehensive snorkeling tours and (2) the Pursar (Yasmine) who had the uncanny ability to remember each guest's idiosyncrasies. I would also add that the cuisine (offered by Roberto) was superb - comparable to food service on more 'elite' cruise lines. Contrary to other reviews of this Lines, I would note that the passengers were multi-national - not primarily Australian. We were American, German, Asian and European on this trip. All very convivial and anxious to understand and photograph the marvelous sights of the wondrous living Reef. I might also emphasize that the small size of the ship and the limited number of passengers enable you to better see and appreciate the Reef. An unreserved thumbs up to Coral Princess and its crew. Read Less
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