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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
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: 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
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