32 Coral Expeditions Coral Discoverer Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date March 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 April 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
Sail Date May 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
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
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
Sail Date August 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 November 2015
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
Sail Date February 2016
"I heard this was good, but not this good!”, someone remarked on our Darwin to Broome April 1, 2016, ten day Kimberley coast cruise. We absolutely concurred. The stunning Kimberley scenery and our experience with Coral ... Read More
"I heard this was good, but not this good!”, someone remarked on our Darwin to Broome April 1, 2016, ten day Kimberley coast cruise. We absolutely concurred. The stunning Kimberley scenery and our experience with Coral Expeditions 1 surpassed everything we expected. Simply wonderful. The guest lecturers and expedition team were a font of information, good advice and guidance. Not to mention brave! Who can forget our leader, hand feeding a shark off the back deck! Our B deck Deluxe Stateroom was spacious and well tended. Friendly staff were about predawn, ensuring the ship was spic and span for the day ahead. Food was plentiful and fresh - the standard of good pub fare. Coral Expeditions 1 is not a luxury cruise ship, but it’s comfortable and cosy. The stairs are steep, but we thought of them as an inbuilt exercise stair master! Dress is casual and barefoot on board is fine. No casinos, no pools, no entertainment shows, no deck to deck elevators. It’s not that sort of experience. “It’s an expedition, not a cruise,” we were told. And that’s what you get. We found the pace of onshore expeditions full-on and challenging, especially in the April heat and humidity, but always rewarding. There were pleasant ‘cruisier' options if you didn’t want to clamber up rocks to discover ancient aboriginal paintings or hike across a salt plain to see a crashed WW2 plane! Showers under remote towering waterfalls, crocodiles giving us the eye, sea snakes swimming by, amazing birdlife, bat colonies tending their babies and the incredibly cute ‘sea cow’ dugongs to fall in love with. A fantastic trip stacked full of exciting experiences and staggeringly beautiful vistas along the coast of one of the last great wilderness areas of the world. We loved this trip. We adored the Kimberley coast. We'd strike it off our bucket list, but we’d do it again in an instant! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We cruise a lot internationally on small and medium vessels and will add this one to the best ships. All the good things others say are true and we have no compla9nts at all. Excellent and worth every penny. The cabins are excellent, the ... Read More
We cruise a lot internationally on small and medium vessels and will add this one to the best ships. All the good things others say are true and we have no compla9nts at all. Excellent and worth every penny. The cabins are excellent, the food very good, the crew always helpful and friendly. The guides knew their stuff, a little eccentric too but that makes for even more interest. Remember, it is a smallish ship by international standards but its size gives great access with its flat bottomed fast motor boat and 3 zodiacs, access few other ships enjoy. As an amateur ocean sailor when young, I pleasured in watching the professional way the merchant marine crew so capably and caringly handled their small access vessels. They were a pleasure to watch and admire. The bar was not open as much as I would have liked but we could have asked for drink service at any time if we wished. If you thinking of this vessel do not hesitate. Highly recommended,. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We had been on this cruise previously and found it the best holiday ever. We were not disappointed by going a second time with friends. Though we visited some of the same places there were many new places to visit and even those we'd ... Read More
We had been on this cruise previously and found it the best holiday ever. We were not disappointed by going a second time with friends. Though we visited some of the same places there were many new places to visit and even those we'd seen before were just as spectacular and introduced afresh by the knowledge and enthusiasm of Jamie, Mark and Tim. We learned more about different aspects of the Kimberleys and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see parts of Australia which are otherwise inaccessible. We were struck again by the willingness of the crew to make sure that everyone who wanted to participate in any activity could do so. The Explorer on the back of the boat is a genius design and allows even the most physically challenged to go on any of the excursions. The boat is due for a refit soon and the change of livery would be good but the cabins on A deck are superb, comfortable, ample room and beautifully fitted out so who could complain. The food is fantastic and plentiful and the kitchen makes every effort to cater for any request. The staff work very hard and are always available to answer questions and fulfill requests if at all possible. This is not a cruise for children. I'd go for a third time in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have just returned from a 10-day cruise down the Kimberley Coast from Darwin to Broome on the “Coral Discoverer” (Coral Expeditions), it has been a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience. This journey is all about the sights of ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10-day cruise down the Kimberley Coast from Darwin to Broome on the “Coral Discoverer” (Coral Expeditions), it has been a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience. This journey is all about the sights of the Kimberley not accessible by any other means and it was wonderful. For people wishing to learn more about the area, it's history and inhabitants, both human and animal it is a must. Beautiful island vistas at dawn and sunset, fantastic rock paintings, often reached by a scramble up rocks or into caves, secluded beaches, rivers, waterfalls, reefs, sharks, dolphins, sea snakes, crocs etc. As for the ship, we have no complaints. Food was really excellent, the crew were all competent, helpful and friendly, nothing was too much trouble. We took advantage of the "open bridge" policy and had our maps updated daily. Our cabin was roomy, comfortable and cleaned daily. The Expedition Crew were amazing. Jamie, the leader, managed to make each day informative and entertaining with twice (and sometimes 3 times) daily expeditions aboard the Xplorer, always working with the tides to ensure a safe and pleasant experience. Each evening there was a review of the days events held in the lounge over pre-dinner drinks. Also each day either Mark, one of Jamie's team, or Tim the guest lecturer, would give a talk. Both were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subjects. The’ Xplorer’ is marvelous. It is boarded straight off the deck of Coral Discoverer and lowered to the water. It isn't flash but has relatively comfortable seats, a roof and a small toilet and it got us into places the ship couldn't go. There were also 3 zodiacs, which were usually boarded from the Xplorer, for those who wished to get even closer to the action. The Coral Discover is not a big "bells and whistles" liner, just a comfortable place from which to see the Kimberley. I suppose if I was the mention a negative it would be the sundeck which was not really useable during the day because of lack of shade (although to stargaze up there at night was good). There is plenty of other deck area to enjoy, so it wasn’t really a problem. All this added up to one of the best holidays we have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
An amazing "Bucket List" trip! My husband and I decided to see some of Australia and wanted a trip with a "cultural experience" on an Expedition type of cruise. We decided on a trip to the Kimberley area of ... Read More
An amazing "Bucket List" trip! My husband and I decided to see some of Australia and wanted a trip with a "cultural experience" on an Expedition type of cruise. We decided on a trip to the Kimberley area of Australia. As my husband is a teacher we needed to book early to secure a cabin on The Coral Discoverer. This boat only takes 72 passengers which we loved as you really get to know the staff and other passengers. In fact I can honestly say "Small" ship cruising is by far our favourite type of cruising. From the moment we boarded in Broome we were treated like royalty. Personally shown to our wonderful cabin & everything explained in detail to us. There were only 23 Australian crew on board but they are all multi skilled and do a wonderful job of looking after everyone. The food was exceptional and prepared by 2 young chefs who gave us every type of cuisine imaginable from a Seafood Feast to an amazing beach bbq! It was of excellent quality and used local products. Every day was a delight of delicious and interesting food. Our cabin was well equipped with a King Size comfortable bed, couch, desk and double wardrobe. A small but very functional ensuite bathroom serviced twice daily was also good. The excursions were wonderful & run by very knowledgeable leaders who were very well organized and always adhered to a rigorous safety program. The Xplorer excursion vessel was perfect for getting into shallow waters and we had a mixture of wet and dry landings. I highly recommend taking reef sandals. Upon returning to the main ship we were greeted by staff at the bar ready to serve us cold drinks, or my favorite, the new State of the Art Coffee Machine. This machine enabled all of us coffee lovers to get our daily caffeine fix at the push of a button! There was often afternoon tea or baskets of fruit too. Most days it was very smooth sailing; only 1 rough day as we approached Darwin at the end of our trip. I would highly recommend this trip for any adventurous adults. Would not recommend for small children as there is nothing to entertain them & they would be bored. Overall an amazingly different type of cruise & yes I would go again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I have travelled in parts of the world, such as the Canadian Rockies known for their beauty. There is nothing in the world to compare with the sheer breathtaking scenery of one of the planet's last unspoilt wilderness, the Kimberley. ... Read More
I have travelled in parts of the world, such as the Canadian Rockies known for their beauty. There is nothing in the world to compare with the sheer breathtaking scenery of one of the planet's last unspoilt wilderness, the Kimberley. The rugged cliffs, slabs of rock like pink marble, thousands of islands, aqua water and coral beaches as they were thousands of years ago still leaves me in awe to remember it. Coral Expeditions Discovery could not have presented this holiday better. Like many, I am now planning my next cruise wth them in 2017. All of the 55 passengers onboard expressed a similar opinions. Everything was done to make the holiday as good as it could be and expertly managed by Captain Greg and our Expedition Leader Steve. Our lecturer and guide was Ian Morris OA and how lucky were we! www.abc.net.au/stateline/nt/content/2005/s1522665.htm We begged him for talks most nights on the fauna, flora, geology, history and the aboriginal culture of the region and were never disappointed although often interrupted by a whale. This is an expedition cruise so the features are the local area and the planned walks or boat trips every day. I had been ill for much of the 6 months prior to my cruise and took the advice of the Expedition Leaders, Steve and Dale and did not try a few of the more strenuous walks but there was always an alternative cruise in the Explorer with things for me to photograph and I got to enjoy the photos in the lounge with everyone in the evening, I loved seeing this region from the water always with a breeze and of course the luxury AC if it was too hot on the deck. I was never hot for long (reminded about hat and sunscreen often) and almost never saw an insect. I must say the attention to detail in every aspect of this cruise was outstanding. For example Captain Greg sitting in a zodiac as we were all taken in zodiacs through the Horizontal Waterfalls with him taking photos of us all, which is nice to get, but he was there of course as au unspoken safety measure. Our safety was always their number one priority. Coral Expeditions are accredited Eco Tourism and took this very seriously also with nothing left in the Kimberley apart from footprints and nothing taken. The seas are teaming with fish, turtles (who come up to your zodiac), small sharks, whales and birds with breeding colonies around and there are crocs (all called Eric) which we saw but leant not to be frightened as Ian was so knowledgeable and nothing was ever left to chance. Sasha was a great Purser and Sara also and the dining was lovely and special. Everyone was friendly and although I was travelling solo, I was never alone and felt welcome everywhere. Loved the seafood buffet on the first night and the beach barbecue on Verandah Beach as the sun set. Do this cruise on Coral Expeditions as you need to get up and close to the beaches and the mangroves to see the fauna and flora and their Explorer is perfect. And you need the knowledge and experience of this company. I loved the way the 26 crew were such a seamless team with everyone being relaxed and friendly but very good at their job and you could see it really was a team when the deck hands could give orders to Captain Greg and be met with a smile. Corporations try for years to achieve that respect and teamwork and many could learn from this company. Made all of us passengers so relaxed and secure in our safety so we could focus on simply having the best fun ever. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My Wife chose this cruise as I have limited mobility though not in need of aids . I was most impressed by the attention of the staff not only the waitresses and other cabin staff but the whole crew were extremely friendly and helpful . ... Read More
My Wife chose this cruise as I have limited mobility though not in need of aids . I was most impressed by the attention of the staff not only the waitresses and other cabin staff but the whole crew were extremely friendly and helpful . The food was good and charges for drinks was not excessive; table and bar service was excellent. Especially enjoyable were the off ship excursions on a daily basis, also the timing of the excursions and their coincidence with ideal tidal conditions for the trips was excellent . We particularly enjoyed the helicopter trip to Mitchell falls and the trip to Lacepede islands. The ship was very stable and we were blessed with perfect weather. I did not go on a couple of excursions which required climbing up hills but was able to relax and read my books. We have never been fans of cruises but this small intimate cruise was excellent and very sociable and I can thoroughly recommend this trip. One small criticism was the lack of a lift between (decks) which I found a bit wearing. The company and especially your on board staff should be complimented ; although expensive was probably well worth it and a unique experience. I have previously traveled in this area by land but this was an entirely new way of looking at the area Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
For many, a cruise means a huge ship, large crowd and the related stuffs therein. Then there is the other type of cruise: a small boat with a small number of guests, friendly staff and meticulous personal attention. The Coral Discoverer ... Read More
For many, a cruise means a huge ship, large crowd and the related stuffs therein. Then there is the other type of cruise: a small boat with a small number of guests, friendly staff and meticulous personal attention. The Coral Discoverer turned out to be such a boutique. My wife and I joined the South China Sea run from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, covering the long stretch of Vietnamese seashore, 22 January through 3 March 2017. The meticulous planning and attention to detail were obvious from the moment we gathered at the Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City. We handed over our baggage and boarded the coach to the ship docked near the city centre. The small crowd facilitated quick clearance of immigration formalities. We attended the Captain’s welcome reception that evening in the Explorer Bar. At the top deck, with drink in hand, and the spectacular panoramic view of the nighttime Ho Chi Minh City all around, the experience was enchanting. Then we moved to the spacious dining hall at the lower level. The majority of the gusts seemed to know each other. It turned out that they had shared past cruises in the Coral Discoverer itself or in one of the two other ships of the Coral Expeditions. The number of returning guests was impressive and was a testimony to the quality of the cruises. The sumptuous dinner was informal, enlivened with friendly discussions, and lingered on about three hours into the night. This set the pattern for every subsequent evening: drinks at one of the bars, then a leisurely buffet with affable banter. Food and wine were excellent and plentiful. In the bar, the selection of spirits was superb; the cocktails were tasty. We enjoyed a beautifully appointed Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom. The toilet is necessarily small, but properly planned, exquisitely appointed and well stocked with toiletries. Lazing on the balcony, casually taking the view, when the boat sailed, anchored or docked was an exhilarating experience. The ship is spotlessly clean, both public areas and private quarters. For a ship of this size, the facilities are remarkably lavish: three bars, a lounge cum presentation room, an exercise area, a sun deck and even a small library. Moving around was not difficult even for the elderly. Vietnam has a rich and troubled history. The cruise arrangement did justice to that heritage. Every day we docked or anchored near an interesting seaside town or village. The day started with a lavish Continental and hot breakfast in the ship. The Discoverer has a unique boat for transporting guests to the seashore, when anchored away from the coast. The Xplorer is securely docked to the ship at the back. The guests could just walk into this boat from the main deck. Then it goes down smoothly as an elevator cab to the water and glides to the shore. The boat rides were unique opportunities to enjoy scenic beauty and to see the seaside life. On land, we travelled in comfortable coaches, savouring scenic beauty and wowing at the rich historic legacy. Prominent among them were the cable-car ride up the Lin-son Truong Pagoda and the climb on foot to the huge Reclining Buddha statue. A visit to Vinh Moc Tunnel and the Benh Vien Hospital Cave of the Viet Cong rekindles the poignant history of the nineteen sixties. The Hue Citadel, Ha Long Bay, Sung Sot cave, Titop Beach and the steep climb to the top of the hill, Lan Ha Bay and the Cat Ba National Park were among the attractions we visited. When the plans demanded lunch or dinner on shore, impeccable arrangements waited for us. The tour team meticulously arranged every detail and took care of the entry fee for the attractions, eliminating any delay. An expert tour guide was travelling with us. Also included in the team was an expert on Vietnam. He made audiovisual presentations on history, social issues and life in general in Vietnam. Rough weather disturbed the cruise arrangement one day. Nevertheless, an equally interesting fallback plan was in place seamlessly. Another unique feature was the open bridge policy. The bridge of a ship, as the cockpit of a commercial aircraft, is a sensitive area. However, Coral Expeditions has an open-bridge policy in their ships. We enjoyed the experience of watching the captain navigating the ship, sitting on a nearby comfortable sofa. The dedicated team, at every level, is probably the greatest asset of this ship. Informal, pleasant and friendly, they were at the spot, at the time when a guest needed help. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This cruise was our 'trip of a lifetime' and it lived up to every expectation. The crew were polite, friendly and exceptionally helpful from the time we boarded the ship in Darwin until be disembarked in Broome. Udo, the ... Read More
This cruise was our 'trip of a lifetime' and it lived up to every expectation. The crew were polite, friendly and exceptionally helpful from the time we boarded the ship in Darwin until be disembarked in Broome. Udo, the purser, oversaw a seamless hotel operation and Captain Greg, Officers, Engineers and Expedition staff Steve, Tom and Mark worked to ensure that we experienced most of what 'The Kimberley' had to offer including King Cascades, Mitchell Falls Horizontal Waterfalls, Talbot Bay, Cyclone Creek, Montgomery Reef and Careening Bay to name a few. We were lucky and privileged to have seen a very remote part of Australia with an enthusiastic team of people whose mission it is to ensure that their guests receive a safe, highly informative, first class journey into a part of Australia that unfortunately, because of its remoteness, few of us will get to experience. We also learned of an unknown (to me) Australian explorer, Phillip Parker King, and his journeys of discovery in the Kimberley and Northern Territory. Jim and Sheryl Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We wanted a small boat experience in The Kimberley region which would enable us to learn about and explore the region close up. We wanted a good level of comfort and our research led us to Coral Discoverer. Embarkation is Darwin was smooth ... Read More
We wanted a small boat experience in The Kimberley region which would enable us to learn about and explore the region close up. We wanted a good level of comfort and our research led us to Coral Discoverer. Embarkation is Darwin was smooth and efficient with a focus on getting us familiar with the boat and the crew. The ship has a high level of luxury about it and we chose cabin A01 on the bridge deck. The cabin was a very good size with a king bed and good ensuite. The balcony meant we could have fresh air and a great view and space from which to take photos. All the crew were exceptional providing wonderful service and all had a good level of knowledge about the boat and the region. The most outstanding feature of the cruise was fine expedition team led by Jamie and Dave and accompanied by a guest lecturer Ian. Their knowledge and expertise meant we were able to get up close to the most amazing sites and we learned about culture, geography, history, wild life and plants. Each day was full and varied exceeding all our expectations. The logistics of the expeditions with a tender capable of taking all 72 guests and loaded from the main vessel ensured everyone of all fitness levels could partake. Then in addition there were 3 zodiacs to get us even closer to waterfalls etc and ensured we could land on beaches otherwise inaccessible. The itinerary on the web site will inform you of the many possibilities. Every cruise will be a little different depending on it tides. Back to the ship - The Captain ran a very happy and service oriented team. The dining experiences were also outstanding. The quality and variety of food a real feature. Our fellow passengers added to the enjoyment. Enough people to mingle with and be able to meet everyone, and to ensure you didn't sit with the same people every day. Fresh filtered water on tap always, laundry service available with iron your own. Library available for further information. Deck space ample for all with a great sun deck to enjoy for meals, drinks and the sunrises and sunsets. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
To do a Kimberley Cruise/Expedition has been on my 'bucket list' for sometime!! We have seen the area from the Gibb river Rd, and from the coast - fantastic. This was made all the better with the Expedition staff, their superb ... Read More
To do a Kimberley Cruise/Expedition has been on my 'bucket list' for sometime!! We have seen the area from the Gibb river Rd, and from the coast - fantastic. This was made all the better with the Expedition staff, their superb knowledge and passion; the ship's crew, all willing to assist, answer questions and good company, and the hotel staff, who were very obliging and courteous. Ian Morris with his mythical Monjon, was amazing, knowledge on the animals, birds, plants and rocks, kept us well occupied! Jamie, worked most of us out from the start, a great quality in an Expedition leader, especially when there are a few not so agile amongst the passengers. Dave, where did he find those quiz questions, thanks for a fun night. Boat drivers, Brian, Max, Dan and Josh, great job with 'Xplorer' and zodiacs, getting us as close to the sites as possible, and Horizontal Falls, total buzz. Greg and his crew, had the 'Coral Discoverer' where it needed to be every time, not sure about the 0400 anchor calls!! - guess that's the delight of a forward cabin!! Conal, and his team treated each one of us with personalised service, table service, occasionally lacking, however not for lack of the staff trying to meet high demand times. Food, generally amazing, cabins, well attended and all public areas clean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have long wanted to do this cruise. Having recently driven the Gibb River road it was time to see the parts of the Kimberley inaccessible by road. We cannot fault the cruise. Everything was excellent: notably the ship itself; the ... Read More
We have long wanted to do this cruise. Having recently driven the Gibb River road it was time to see the parts of the Kimberley inaccessible by road. We cannot fault the cruise. Everything was excellent: notably the ship itself; the staff (without exception excellent, friendly, efficient); meals (variety over the ten days excellent); access at any time to the bridge; excursions which were very well organised by three knowledgeable leaders; activities including talks, films, slide shows, sunset drinks; easy access to the ship's tender and the three zodiacs. We would certainly recommend highly. Embarkation and disembarkation were very well organised. In July we would expect fine weather and were not disappointed. But additionally it was calm with low swell except on two days: winds and swell an cause difficulties with some beach landings. Highlights included: a helicopter flight to and landing at Mitchell Falls; Hidden Island Reef with its abundance of life; a pod of dolphins which were attracted to the ship and stayed the night; numerous humpback whales heading south on the last day, to Broome; and several rock art sites which have long been on my bucket list. But picking out individual things is unfair: the experience as a whole was an unforgettable adventure. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Kimberley sounded an interesting place to visit and to do it by ship seemed a great idea. As we read the details, the trip sounded more and more interesting. We were lucky enough to get a last minute cancellation, and how lucky for us ... Read More
The Kimberley sounded an interesting place to visit and to do it by ship seemed a great idea. As we read the details, the trip sounded more and more interesting. We were lucky enough to get a last minute cancellation, and how lucky for us we did! Our few days in Darwin before the cruise put us into holiday mode. Our first time in Darwin had us wanting to go back again to see more. The half day city tour is fascinating, and well worth the time. We could have spent far more time here, so it's on our list for a revisit at some time. Arriving at the ship was exciting and bustling. We were greeted by friendly faces, had the much needed coffee and started to meet fellow passengers. The ship looked welcoming for our next 10 days. Everything looked, and was, "ship shape"! Our cabin was spacious and much bigger than I expected. We were quickly able to unpack and get into the swing of things. Food on the ship was excellent and plentiful. The service was first class. There was a great programme of activities that had been put together for us and we enjoyed them all! I loved the fact that if you didn't want to go, you didn't have to. Getting onto the tender and off again was a breeze thanks to the brilliant mechanism that made it accessible for everyone. Excursions, lectures and documentaries - there was so much to learn, see and do and we had plenty of fun, too! From getting wet under the waterfall at King George River to watching a blue ringed octopus chase crabs around the rock pool among the corals. I can't think of a bad thing to say about our trip. We tell everyone about it, encouraging them to go. Thanks to everyone on Coral Discoverer - we had a ball and we'll be back. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
One of the most remote and beautiful places in the world The KImberley in Australia's northwestern corner is spectacular The Coral Discoverer is an Australian built ship, flying an Australian flag and carrying an all Australian crew. ... Read More
One of the most remote and beautiful places in the world The KImberley in Australia's northwestern corner is spectacular The Coral Discoverer is an Australian built ship, flying an Australian flag and carrying an all Australian crew. Friendly, clean and professional they made the cruise a true "bucket list" adventure. It is a long way to get there but worth it The ship goes where there are no roads. 30 toot tides, reefs, sea life from crocodiles to whales. Amazing gorges, waterfalls and landscapes.. Places like King George falls and Montgomery reef, Price Regent and King George rivers will take your breath away. An open bridge policy lets you sit with captain as you navigate amazing waters. Cabins are bigger then average, and comfortable. No TV on this cruise, but you don't need it. Great daily lectures from a knowledgeable staff. Make the effort to do this cruise. You will be happy you did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
WOW
Arguably one of the best holidays we have been on. Starting at the embarkation in Darwin which was like a well oiled machine, greeted with a smile and a "are you excited", it just all fell into place. The ship itself, ... Read More
Arguably one of the best holidays we have been on. Starting at the embarkation in Darwin which was like a well oiled machine, greeted with a smile and a "are you excited", it just all fell into place. The ship itself, having just been refurbished was in pristine condition but it was the people, nothing was too much trouble for the crew, daily servicing of the cabin with a turn down at night and it all seemed to happen without us even knowing. Food was a buffet for breakfast with all the usual items, mentioned one morning it would be nice to have poached eggs and next minute there they were. Lunch again was buffet and was probably the least enticing meal of the day but was still more than enough. Dinner on most nights was exceptional, barbecue on the deck was excellent with a huge choice of meats and salads. Just on two nights the meat for dinner was on the tough side but there was more than enough of other items so you did not end up hungry. The shore excursions along this wonderful Kimberley coastline was the highlight though, led by Jamie, Brian and Dave. Safety was the first priority in fact all aspects of shipboard and land adventures were prefixed by safety so cannot speak highly enough of their attention to this. Ian Morris, our guest lecturer, what a man, not only a pleasure to listen too with his knowledge of this area but his involvement with indigenous education and issues added so much to the trip. Negatives, to be honest I would have to be very picky, we had a crew member down so service on some nights waiting to get a drink was a bit slow, but when you have the scenery around you to look at and amiable company to converse with this was only a minor issue. This trip was recommended to us by our neighbours and we would have no hesitation in recommending it to others. Worth every penny. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We are so pleased we chose to explore this amazing region on the Coral Discoverer, from Darwin to Broome over 10 nights. This is a small expedition ship which had recently been refurbished and it was extremely comfortable both in-cabin ... Read More
We are so pleased we chose to explore this amazing region on the Coral Discoverer, from Darwin to Broome over 10 nights. This is a small expedition ship which had recently been refurbished and it was extremely comfortable both in-cabin and all around the ship. One of the reasons we chose this cruise company was the way they conduct excursions into smaller areas using their ‘X-plorer’ craft - a nifty vessel that can take all passengers into remote, otherwise inaccessible areas in comfort, with shade cover and on-board toilet. ( it can get very hot and you do need to drink a lot of water - so this was very helpful!) Passengers can board the X-plorer craft directly from the ship deck (perfect for mobility impaired travellers) and it is gently lowered into the water and then cleverly lifted back up on return to ship. Other operators seemed to only have zodiacs to do off-ship exploring and we didn’t fancy hours in zodiacs with no shade etc. So luckily we had the best of both worlds - the comfortable X-plorer, and several zodiacs available for even more close-up experiences {like the Horizontal Falls, the Montgomery Reef and Lacepede Islands) The Expedition Leaders and crew were exceptionally good with well planned excursions and information sessions. We enjoyed a great variety of meals, and were very pleased with the attention to special dietary requirements if needed. Special mentions to Expedition Leaders Steve, Tim and Sandy; Udo the Purser and overseer of all dining and on-board experiences; Captain Gary and the expedition crew. The Kimberley region is spectacular and this cruise enabled us to visit areas that would be totally unreachable by any other means - so extremely remote we did not see a single person on land anywhere, other than the people we were travelling with …but lots of crocs, whales, turtles, waterfalls, aboriginal cave art and stunning rock formations and colours. Not to mention spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The Lacepedes with thousands of birds and the sheer serenity and other-worldliness of Montgomery Reef (looks like the moon rising out of the sea as the reef is exposed at low tide) were standouts for us, but the whole region is simply awe-inspiring This cruise went way beyond our expectations and is a very special memory for us. We had cruised quite a bit before - Norwegian Fjords, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Baltic, Adriatic and New England Coast - and this has been our favourite... not sure why we left cruising our own country till so late, but so glad we finally did it! Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Sail Date October 2017
Coral Discoverer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 1.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.5 4.8
Enrichment 3.5 4.6
Service 5.0 4.7
Value For Money 4.0 4.5

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