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4 Coral Expeditions Cruise Reviews

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 The vessel is very old and outdated and not suited to cruising in open waters.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
Sail Date August 2018
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date April 2016
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 July 2015
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