This cruise was an opportunity to see a different view of some of Tasmania's iconic and remote locations - up close and personal, but still in comfort. If you enjoy travelling in a small group rather than a crowd, this is the way to go. If you want opulence, constant entertainment, nightclubs and casinos, look elsewhere...
The boat itself is very comfortable with all the facilities to make you feel at ease, the crew very friendly, professional and very attentive, and the food first rate. The shore excursions were well planned with the ability to be tailored to suit the capabilities of the guests. The expedition leader Dave was very organised, and well experienced in ensuring that everyone was enjoying the moment. The few changes to the hoped-for itinerary that became necessary due to weather conditions were handled seamlessly, and the crew worked together to ensure that the alternatives were just as enjoyable as the original plans. The two guest lecturers Kathy and Katharine were passionate ambassadors for Tasmania's rich natural wonders, flora and fauna, and cultural heritage. Their enthralling presentations on board the boat first set the scene for the things that we would see and the places that we would visit, along with a wealth of background information. Then their presence on the shore excursions provided on-the-spot details to 'flesh out' the experience.
Regarding the shore excursions, Coral Expeditions has a handy 'secret weapon' in the Xplorer, the excursion tender which is large enough to take the full complement of passengers ashore at once. The Xplorer is housed on a hydraulic platform allowing boarding directly from the main deck of the boat, and is then lowered into the water. It can be driven right up to the shore, allowing passengers to simply step off via its front ramp. While it might not have the adventurous appeal of balancing on the side of a zodiac, hanging on to a rope while bouncing across the waves, and then wading ashore, the Xplorer has actual seats, a roof, clear blinds that can be rolled down for protection if necessary, and even a toilet! Such luxuries are very handy in the rough conditions, but also allow for longer trips in the water away from the boat.
One final point - this is a small boat which feels rough weather more than a big ocean liner does. Be prepared and follow the advice of the crew. They have seen it all before and know how best to stay comfortable. It's all part of the adventure!