In February we enjoyed a fabulous 7-night Tasmanian cruise out of Hobart. It was our third cruise on the Coral Discoverer and it was great to see that the crew keep her in tip top condition. There were quite a few familiar faces in the crew, and all are friendly and welcoming.
The cruise documentation states that the itinerary is flexible and will vary according to weather and sea conditions. We saw that flexibility on the first day when we were not able to visit the Huon Valley due to bushfires. The compensation was that we were encouraged to rise early on the first morning and we were treated to a stunning sunrise as we transited Port Davey.
Every day was filled with shore excursions meticulously planned by Expedition Leader, Mark. Guest Lecturers, Catherine and Steve, both Tasmanians, gave very interesting short presentations on a wide range of topics.
As well as their presentations, Mark, Catherine and Steve were with us on every excursion, sharing their knowledge at every opportunity. Steve lead most of the longer more challenging walks and was great at planning the walks, assessing everyone’s capabilities and limits and supporting and encouraging everyone during the walks. There were some hills to climb, but it was always very satisfying to get to the top and enjoy the stunning views. There were always less strenuous options available such as shorter walks, or a scenic cruise. There is no additional charge for any of the excursions.
Some of the highlights of the cruise were the sighting of a pair of endangered orange bellied parrots, frequent dolphin sightings and seeing the amazing fur seal colony on Illes des Phoques at such close quarters. Then there were the cute wombats. Not only did we see lots of them, we discovered that the poo is cube shaped (and why it is cube shaped) and that they can outrun Usain Bolt over 100 metres.
We were enthralled with stories of the early explorers and settlers. It was good to listen and pay attention as there was a quiz on the last day.
All meals were served in the dining room with breakfast and lunch being hot and cold buffet style. Always plenty of variety. Dinner was 3 course a la carte. There is only a limited selection of dishes on the menu, but the chefs are always willing to be flexible with dishes, you just have to ask. The 2 chefs freshly prepare all meals for the, up to, 72 passengers, using local ingredients wherever possible. Passengers were often popping their heads into the kitchen on the way out of the dinning room to thank the chefs for their meals - how often do you have the opportunity to do that?
Evening entertainment was usually DVDs relating to the area that we were travelling through. Most times though, it was early to bed to rest up for the next day's exploration.
Much of the area that we visited is wild, remote and inaccessible except by sea. With the Coral Discoverer’s professional crew, we experienced it all in safety and comfort and it will leave lasting memories. We have our next cruised booked already. :)
All Bridge Deck Cabins are excellent. Very high standard of maintenance and cleanliness. The cabin is slightly larger than a standard balcony cabin on most Ocean Cruise ships. Balcony is small, but it is an "expedition" cruise ship. Plenty of loungers on the Sun Deck if needed.