I booked this cruise through Aurora Expeditions, whom I had sailed with three times before. I mistakenly thought Aurora had contracted the ship as they had done with an Inside Passage Alaskan trip I undertook in 2014. This was not so! I was expecting a rather active voyage around the Northern Australian coast, instead I found myself on a very sedentary voyage with more than half the passengers being older and less active than the 15 of us that anticipated an active voyage.
We left Broome and 23 days later arrived in Cairns, Whilst I saw a large amount of things, I was disappointed at the sedentary nature of the journey and at times the arrangements for excursions ashore seemed ad hoc.
The ship really wasn't suited for this journey, in quite in small seas it rocked and rolled making a number of passengers sick. Even myself, and I consider myself a good sailor, was thrown around the cabin and other areas. It was a wonder that some of the more fragile passengers did not damage themselves or break a bone. This ship was built around 30 years ago for Great Barrier Reef trips; it is scheduled to do southern and eastern Tasmania soon - I wonder how it will cope.
I had a deluxe upper stateroom which was roomy and fine with a good size en-suite. Even so it wasn't classy - I had paid quite a large amount of $s for this trip.
The food was superb for the Broome to Darwin section but the cooks changed over in Darwin and it was just adequate from Cairns to Darwin.
As stated before I felt the activities scheduled were for more sedentary persons than myself; we missed a couple of visits outlined on the program I received before the voyage; and some activities felt like they were ad hoc - i.e the places we visited weren't really expecting us.
The staff on the ship varied from an outstanding purser who kept his staff working at a high level to one expedition staff leader who I wouldn't employ.
The highlights of the trip were:
- viewing the Kimberley Landscape from the sea, especially Montgomery Reef
- the Aboriginal Art Galleries of the Kimberley & North Queensland
- visiting places in Arnhem Land that would be difficult to do so from the land
- the Torres St islands & Cape York
- best of all snorkeling on the outer Great Barrier Reef.
I definitely wouldn't go again, I felt a bit disgruntled and betrayed by the company I booked through.