(2 p.m. AEST) – Coral Expeditions has launched a new program of Great Barrier Reef cruises that will visit different regions and islands as well as Australia's most famous rainforest.

The 2021 sailings on the 72-passenger Coral Discoverer will focus on UNESCO World Heritage icons including the Daintree Rainforest and outer sections of the Great Barrier Reef.

Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions, says the itineraries were "reimagined" to create longer, more immersive experiences.

“Coral Expeditions pioneered expedition cruising on the Great Barrier Reef in 1985. We have gone back to the drawing board to redesign our program reflecting on how our guest expectations, and the geography of the Reef itself, have evolved over three decades.”

“Our new seven-night expeditions, 'Outer Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef', focus on the lesser seen outer reefs and islands of the northern region and will offer guests from across the globe an authentic and immersive experience like no other available on the reef. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is in our DNA and we aim to create experiences beyond imagination in this new era.”

Other new destinations include Hope Island and the remote Osprey Reef, described by Sir David Attenborough as "an oasis for living creatures of all kind". Osprey Reef lies beyond the continental shelf and is an isolated sea mount rising 2,000 metres above the seabed within the outer limits of the Coral Sea Marine Park.

“On all voyages, guests will share encounters with iconic species of the Great Barrier Reef including snorkelling with sea turtles, finding Nemo nestled amongst the coral gardens and sighting rare seabirds on remote outposts of the reef. Seasonal humpback whale migrations and coral spawning events promise more inspiring moments in nature across the year,” Jeff adds.

Highlights of the new expeditions include the chance to connect with indigenous culture and Australian heritage at Cooktown, swim, snorkel, dive or simply view the marine species of the Great Barrier Reef, sip sundowners on isolated sand cays and uninhabited islands, and visit a turtle rehabilitation centre and participate in efforts to conserve the Great Barrier Reef.

The new cruises, which will start departing from Cairns in June 2021, are on sale now.