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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
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
Sail Date: March 2019
This expedition cruise company are first class regarding the education that passengers receive about the plant and animal life we encounter. The pristine beauty of the fish and coral life on the Great Barrier Reef was the highlight of this ... Read More
This expedition cruise company are first class regarding the education that passengers receive about the plant and animal life we encounter. The pristine beauty of the fish and coral life on the Great Barrier Reef was the highlight of this cruise. The ship is very comfortable and well appointed and due to her smaller size she can access remote places of beauty in marine parks that large ships never could. The dining is 1st class and the crew are very accessible, knowledgeable and professional. I was impressed with the service and the size of our cabin. The shore excursions involved walks to some amazing lookout points on Dunk Island, Fitzroy Island and Lizard Island. Plus of course the drinks and canapes on the beach to watch the sunset. If you have an adventurous spirit and wish to travel with a smaller number of like minded people who are interested in wildlife, conservation, education, fresh air, plenty of activity at any age and wish to do it in comfort, this is the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We booked this 12 night cruise from Cairns to Papua New Guinea some 18 months before departure. Previously we had used the same company for a cruise from Broome to Darwin. Both cruises are quite expensive. We felt value for money wise ... Read More
We booked this 12 night cruise from Cairns to Papua New Guinea some 18 months before departure. Previously we had used the same company for a cruise from Broome to Darwin. Both cruises are quite expensive. We felt value for money wise and adventure wise that the trip from Broome to Darwin was far superior. On the PNG islands trip "The place time forgot" we felt that it was too much of the same. There was no adventure. I guess we should have given the trip a lot more consideration before going on it. Of course their brochure is a great selling point. All in all, the staff were excellent, the food was excellent but I would not do the trip again as it was not value for money. For example, at over $1000.00 per day for each guest one had to pay $3.00 for a bottle of water. Although there are desalinators on board there is nothing like a bottle of water. I couldn't believe we had to pay this per bottle of water. Quite miserly. We met some great people who also share the same opinion. If one doesn't make these comments future guests are really in the dark. So my advice is to really do your research before committing to this PNG experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise on recommendation of friends. We were not disappointed. The itinerary and service on board the ship were excellent in every respect. The staff were absolutely amazing, friendly, helpful, exceptionally knowledgable and fun ... Read More
Chose this cruise on recommendation of friends. We were not disappointed. The itinerary and service on board the ship were excellent in every respect. The staff were absolutely amazing, friendly, helpful, exceptionally knowledgable and fun - could not do enough for us. Exceptionally professional trip made better by a fun group of people. Our only concern was when we struck incredibly bad weather coming into Darwin (for two nights) - steep stairs dangerous to navigate, and when in cabins, no way to communicate with crew - some form of buzzer system would be good particularly given the age of the passengers. Having said that, the crew were truly amazing in their assistance, particularly in checking on us all during the night. To David and his crew, and Amy and her girls - thank you - you were amazing - service over and beyond the call of duty - particularly during the storm. To our guest presenters, David and Tim- thank you. We look forward to travelling with you again, perhaps New Guinea next time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I specifically requested a small ship for two reasons one because the smaller ships can manoeuvre in closer to shore and I like the idea of smaller groups rather than large crowds. The ship itself was very clean and comfortable. Food was ... Read More
I specifically requested a small ship for two reasons one because the smaller ships can manoeuvre in closer to shore and I like the idea of smaller groups rather than large crowds. The ship itself was very clean and comfortable. Food was served buffet style tables were set with linen for every meal, and the food was very good (something for everybody). The schedule went like this breakfast at 7:00am then off in the panga for either a wet/dry landing and excursion to discover what the Galapagos was all about. Then back to the ship and off for a snorkel either in deep water, or off shore. We saw so many turtles, sea lions, penguins, birds, iguana (land, lava and water) fish of all descriptions and sizes it really was a safari. And of course we saw the land tortoise in the wild which was the highlight for me. The guides are extremely knowledgable and they don't even mind the stupid questions. The service aboard was very cordial and friendly. 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
I thought a short cruise on a small expedition boat was perfect to visit the amazing coastline of Tasmania. Only 26 passengers on board and a great group to travel with. This is advertised as boutique cruising and yes it is small and ... Read More
I thought a short cruise on a small expedition boat was perfect to visit the amazing coastline of Tasmania. Only 26 passengers on board and a great group to travel with. This is advertised as boutique cruising and yes it is small and personal, with amazing staff, great food and excellent service, but the boat itself leaves a lot to be desired. As I booked at the last minute, we chose a lower room as we were informed that the sea can be quite rough, but this company should give more information about the drawbacks of these cabins. Down a very steep set of 14 narrow stairs to get to the room, tiny bathroom and the closeness to the engine room and anchors did not make for a pleasant cabin experience. Being woken up at all times of the night as the anchor was either noisely lowered or raised was disturbing and I also felt that all stairways especially internally were dangerous for the average age of passenger (70's) to navigate to get to different areas. The main dining area had a lounge but that was barely capable of seating all passengers as the upper lounge was another climb up the stairs. The itinerary was excellent but I think a slower day would have been preferable than getting on and off the ship from early morning and then again in the afternoon. I would recommend this trip to anyone wanting to see places that cannot be viewed by car, but opt most definitely for the middle cabins which seem spacious and easier access to all facilities. I think the lower cabins should be for staff only. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
All technical aspects of this cruise were faultless. These would include embarkation, disembarkation, dining arrangements, cabin fittings, general cleanliness, ship handling and maintenance. Staff were skilled and helpful. Meals were well ... Read More
All technical aspects of this cruise were faultless. These would include embarkation, disembarkation, dining arrangements, cabin fittings, general cleanliness, ship handling and maintenance. Staff were skilled and helpful. Meals were well timed, varied and tasty. Dining was informal, allowing all passengers to meet. Numerous lectures provided background for the shore excursions. The tender, large enough to accommodate all passengers, was a very welcome feature. However, I was disappointed with the itinerary. I was expecting more remote coastal cruising, especially around south west Tasmania and Port Davey. We were told it was too rough. Instead, we were offered alternative cruising to the south and east, with shore excursions to more traditional tourist destinations. I found the guided walks conducted on some of these excursions a bit too slow paced. Coral Expeditions was clear that Port Davey was a weather-dependent destination but, based on previous cruises on other ships, I had assumed that most passengers would accept some physical discomfort in order to participate in a unique experience. I may have been wrong in this case, as many fellow passengers were having difficulty with what I considered to be fairly moderate sea conditions. Coral Expeditions' "Our 7 night journey into the Tasmanian wilderness is a true expedition." got me on board once, but I would not chance this cruise being a wilderness expedition a second time. But the ship, crew and staff were great, so it might be a good choice for those balancing a small ship cruise against concerns about sea sickness. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
I booked this cruise through Aurora Expeditions, whom I had sailed with three times before. I mistakenly thought Aurora had contracted the ship as they had done with an Inside Passage Alaskan trip I undertook in 2014. This was not so! I ... Read More
I booked this cruise through Aurora Expeditions, whom I had sailed with three times before. I mistakenly thought Aurora had contracted the ship as they had done with an Inside Passage Alaskan trip I undertook in 2014. This was not so! I was expecting a rather active voyage around the Northern Australian coast, instead I found myself on a very sedentary voyage with more than half the passengers being older and less active than the 15 of us that anticipated an active voyage. We left Broome and 23 days later arrived in Cairns, Whilst I saw a large amount of things, I was disappointed at the sedentary nature of the journey and at times the arrangements for excursions ashore seemed ad hoc. The ship really wasn't suited for this journey, in quite in small seas it rocked and rolled making a number of passengers sick. Even myself, and I consider myself a good sailor, was thrown around the cabin and other areas. It was a wonder that some of the more fragile passengers did not damage themselves or break a bone. This ship was built around 30 years ago for Great Barrier Reef trips; it is scheduled to do southern and eastern Tasmania soon - I wonder how it will cope. I had a deluxe upper stateroom which was roomy and fine with a good size en-suite. Even so it wasn't classy - I had paid quite a large amount of $s for this trip. The food was superb for the Broome to Darwin section but the cooks changed over in Darwin and it was just adequate from Cairns to Darwin. As stated before I felt the activities scheduled were for more sedentary persons than myself; we missed a couple of visits outlined on the program I received before the voyage; and some activities felt like they were ad hoc - i.e the places we visited weren't really expecting us. The staff on the ship varied from an outstanding purser who kept his staff working at a high level to one expedition staff leader who I wouldn't employ. The highlights of the trip were: - viewing the Kimberley Landscape from the sea, especially Montgomery Reef - the Aboriginal Art Galleries of the Kimberley & North Queensland - visiting places in Arnhem Land that would be difficult to do so from the land - the Torres St islands & Cape York - best of all snorkeling on the outer Great Barrier Reef. I definitely wouldn't go again, I felt a bit disgruntled and betrayed by the company I booked through. 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
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
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
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
Sail Date: August 2018
I am a semi retired Master mariner with over 45 years of experience in a a variety of passenger vessels worldwide. I enjoy travelling as a passenger with my wife recently on boutique type cruise vessels. I have no connection with ... Read More
I am a semi retired Master mariner with over 45 years of experience in a a variety of passenger vessels worldwide. I enjoy travelling as a passenger with my wife recently on boutique type cruise vessels. I have no connection with any shipping company,shipping agency or travel agency and write this review purely as an independent tourist accompanied by my wife. We booked a 4 night cruise from Cairns to Cooktown ,Lizard Island and various reefs along the Great Barrier Reef.I have transited the Barrier Reef pilotage many times previously in my seagoing career but wanted a closer look at the reef without the rush of a day trip from Cairns.Coral Expedition 2 appeared to be our only option to achieve this. The vessel is very old and outdated and not suited to cruising in open waters. A catamaran cannot be stabilized as on a mono hull and is far from comfortable in the regular southeasterly conditions that can be encountered on the East coast. the cabins are clean with reasonable size bathrooms.However the dinning room resembles a compact crew mess and is far to small for the number of passengers on this vessel.The buffet style dining for most meals entails squeezing along a line to make your selection.Less memorable were the two evening meals of the table d'hote style.We had to order our meals at lunch time (just like a hospital or boarding school).One meal consisted of two tiny pieces of pork and 4 florets of broccoli and an equally small panna cotta dessert, minuscule and hardly a proper meal and not value for money. The visit to Cooktown was a token 2 hours and hardly long enough to look around.. The reef visits were okay but there is an archaic "safety manifest" for all guests to sign on departure from each stop whether you have left the vessel or not.I was resting in my cabin with the "do not disturb ' notice on the door when i was harassed to sign this silly piece of paper.I realise the vessel doesn't want to leave anyone behind but on the modern ships i have worked there are far less intrusive methods for checking crew and passenger numbers. Having done a similarly priced boutique cruise in the Pacific last year we were totally underwhelmed with our experience.At no stage were we made to feel welcome by the Australian crew and more like a mild inconvenience to them. In conclusion i would not recommend this cruise to anyone as it is not value for money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
It is clear in the Coral Expeditions I itinerary for Tasmania that the destinations achievable are weather dependant. Port Davey is the only part of the voyage that can be left off the agenda due to rough seas. Their assertion of rough ... Read More
It is clear in the Coral Expeditions I itinerary for Tasmania that the destinations achievable are weather dependant. Port Davey is the only part of the voyage that can be left off the agenda due to rough seas. Their assertion of rough seas is debatable, as the BoM South West coast forecasts for Tasmania did not show seas above 2.5 metres. However, I am mindful that this cruise is on a small boat. The crew did talk about past voyages where guests can bed down in the dining room during rough seas, as this room is low and in the stern of the ship where less rolling is felt. I’m sure a large number of guests would have been up for such a rough seas adventure and “lived to tell the tale” of reaching Port Davey. The reality of this cruise did not fit the expectation of an expedition into the Tasmanian wilderness as stated in the itinerary. For that reason alone, I am ranking this voyage as below average. Apart from Port Davey, the remaining itinerary is to tourist attractions easily reached by car from Hobart, ferry, or local half day cruises. By no stretch of the imagination are they wilderness destinations except for the coastal cruising around Tasman Island (also available locally). It may vary with each cruise, but be prepared to see some of these tourist places by locally chartered buses. It’s not what I expected from a wilderness expedition! I strongly recommend looking elsewhere (as I should have) if your only goal is the adventure of reaching Port Davey. However, if you have never visited Tasmania before, and/or want to receive in depth social and natural histories for the places visited, then this voyage would be a good introduction. While I was disappointed in not reaching Port Davey, this ship and crew are outstanding. They are all friendly, helpful and generous in all aspects. In the end, it’s all up to what you want to gain from your experience on this cruise. 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Friends had indicated a cruise down the Kimberley coast was one of their best holidays yet. This trip was booked as a round trip from Broome to Darwin by coach and back to Broome by boat through APT/Travelmarvel. Previous experience with ... Read More
Friends had indicated a cruise down the Kimberley coast was one of their best holidays yet. This trip was booked as a round trip from Broome to Darwin by coach and back to Broome by boat through APT/Travelmarvel. Previous experience with this company had proven to provide first class guides, accommodation and travel by boat, coach and train without having to double check each component of my journey. The harsh reality of my experience on Coral Expeditions was a continuous feeling of sleep deprivation and discomfort as a result of the unlivable cabin I had been allocated. (see critique of cabin). At no time had the cruise been described as an Ecological Study Tour . Though the guides were excellent there was no escape from the bombardment of information on fauna, flora, topography, geology and indigenous art and history as day tours were complimented by evening lectures or documentaries on the same. As a result, there was no other form of entertainment or distraction if you chose to stay onboard. I also suffered a fall down a cliff face after a swim in an elevated lagoon. Coral Expedition personnel were responsible for safety however were distracted at the time of my fall even though they were standing on the same ledge I was descending to. As a result I spent 36 hours on my back without any follow-up on my condition. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because we believed the smaller ship would would give us the kind of experience we wanted. From first stepping on board we were made welcome and received personal service from all the staff on board. On the fourth day ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we believed the smaller ship would would give us the kind of experience we wanted. From first stepping on board we were made welcome and received personal service from all the staff on board. On the fourth day of the cruise I had the misfortune to have a serious fall on some barnacle covered rocks, with in minutes the exhibition leader and guest lecturers were at my side cleaning my wounds .On my return to the Coral Expeditions 1 Purser Amy and general hand Marion spent quite some time cleaning and dressing my wounds ,contacted the Flying Dr. re medications and monitored my observations hourly till 1 am . Then daily after her duties were finished Marion would clean and dress the wounds to my arms and leg. The service I received was far above what anyone would expect and was very much appreciated by my wife and I. We found every member of the crew very dedicated to their duties and making the journey very memorable for all those who took the cruise. With the on shore and activities from the Explorer or the Zodiacs the knowledge shared on the history and nature of the Kimberley Coast we will in the future highly recommend Coral Experditions. 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
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
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