The service, the food, the crew, the accommodations, the Great Barrier Reef Queensland, AU, it doesn't get any better than this for an active fit adult experience.
We did the 7 day which is the 3 and 4 day combined of north and south cruises out of Cairns, pronounced Cans, and loved it. There is a bit of a shakeup when you lose shipmates and pick up new crew and passengers after 3 nights, but the new were just as friendly as the ones who left.
We happened to pick the shoulder season so with a crew of 11-12 and 11 passengers on each of the passages the service was fantastic.
But pictures of crystal clear water with depths of 100-120 feet wasn't what we saw. Our only disappointment was our first stop for snorkeling at Fitzroy Island. When we got back on board from snorkeling, we looked at each other and said what a waste of money if this is what we came to see. Yes, it was overcast, but the coral was brown and there were very few fish. Surely there is a better introduction to the GBR than this stop.
And perhaps everything else wouldn't have been as good if we hadn't been so disappointed in Fitzroy Island. Pre dinner cocktails every evening in the top lounge with a preview of tomorrow's activities and then to exquisite dinners in the dining room. Tonight it was a seafood buffet with bugs (AU lobsters), oysters, smoked salmon, heads on prawns, a fish similar to whole red snapper assorted salads and sides.
Saturday we arrived at Nuggin Reef for scuba and snorkeling. I was the only certified diver which was awesome. Ricci, the dive master, and I had an incredible dive. Lots of fish and soft coral. The afternoon we anchored at Nathan Reef which was just as beautiful as the prior one. the engines started at 7 am and breakfast at
Saturday we rose to a beautiful sunrise anchored in the Hinchinbrook Channel. We took a glass bottom boat tour through the mangroves looking for croks, dolphins, turtles, birds and other wildlife. Although there were none of the above, it was a beautiful tour and a nice diversion.
I jut realized how much I've done and only touch on the trip. Needless to say, it was amazing and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
There are beach bar bqs, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, great presentations on the reef and history, amazing people, fantastic food, unbelievable fish and soft corals snorkeling and diving. I couldn't have spent my 60th birthday in any better place with any better people. Thanks to my wonderful husband, Richard, and our new friends.
But it is NOT for people with limited mobility. There are steep stairs that cannot be avoided. The activities do not require Olympians, but they do require good knees, hips and feet.
Meals are about as good as they get on any large or small cruise line. The accommodations although smaller than large cruise ships are more than adequate with good storage. You only need a few bathing suits and shorts and casual shirts. A carry on is more than enough clothes.
Suntan lotion of SPF 50 and insect repellent are provided. When you go to the beach, the crew sets up chairs and shade and brings water and drinks.
Access to the water is unbelievably easy with the hydraulic lift for boat rides and snorkeling access.
I would add this cruise to your bucket list. I crossed it off mine and couldn't be happier.
The crew is outstanding. Eliza, purser, Evie, marine biologist, are the best - I miss you guys.
Great AC. Lots of storage. Comfortable bed. Bath has everything you need and shower is larger than most basic large ship baths.
You will wake early when the anchor is retrieved or dropped. It's very noisy, but it's a boat. Relax.