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Australian Cruise Line Coral Expeditions Continues Kimberley Voyages

While Australian and New Zealand borders remain closed to international cruise ships, the Australian flagged cruise line Coral Expeditions has continued to offer soft-expedition itineraries in the Australian Kimberley region.  We review Coral Expeditions, its ships and the itinerary available.   Departures are still available for the 2021 Kimberley Season (through to October 2021) with the 2022 Kimberley Season starting again in April 2022.

About Coral Expeditions

In November 2019 we were fortunate to be invited onboard the Coral Expeditions ship the Coral Discoverer and wrote this review.  The impression we were left with was of a cruise line dedicated to the expedition style of cruising, where guests have the opportunity to learn and explore each day and come away with a memorable experience.  The following clip is an interview with one of Coral Expedition’s experts, which provides an insight into the onboard experience.

Read more about Expedition Cruising in our article: Expedition Cruises: Not just for the intrepid traveller

Coral Expeditions has built its reputation of offering a very different expedition cruise experience, which they describe as follows:

  • We have no organised entertainment on board – instead, we offer a daily program of lectures, briefings and themed documentaries and movies
  • We do not have multiple glitzy restaurants – but our chefs prepare fresh daily, high-quality cuisine using Australian and local ingredients
  • We do not have ‘formal’ nights or assigned seating – you can dine with whom you please and share the day’s stories
  • We have no room service menus – but our crew will be happy to serve you a meal in-room if you are under the weather or prefer to eat in
  • We do not have minibars – our guests love to mingle over drinks on the sundeck or in one of our comfortable lounges
  • We do not have a casino – but our captains welcome you to the bridge to observe operations and have a chat
  • We don’t have butlers and spas – but all staterooms have their own ensuites, some with balconies, large picture windows or portholes , all outward facing. Serviced daily and come with nightly turndown service.
  • We don’t have a swimming pool – but all our ships have swimming platforms from where you can take a dip in the ocean
  • We do not charge for shore excursions
  • We do not require tips
  • We welcome young and old

Just bring your passion to dream, explore and discover.

The Best Time of Year to Visit the Kimberley Region

The Kimberley cruise season runs from April to September, and like Alaska, different aspects of the region will be on show at different times of the season.  Coral Expeditions is offering itineraries through the 2022 season (see more below).

During April and May, guests are more likely to see turtles, dugongs (a cousin of the manatee), dolphins, waterfalls and greener landscapes.  Later in the season, crocodiles, humpback whales and migratory birds become more common and the light becomes crisp and clear for photography and the landscape becomes drier.

The Coral Expedition Kimberley Itineraries

The three ships in the Coral Expeditions fleet operating are offering an 11 day itinerary between Darwin and Broome (or the reverse) in the Australian Kimberley region.

Highlights include:

  • Experience the thrill of riding the tidal rapids through Horizontal Falls aboard a Zodiac
  • Marvel at King George River and get in close to the soaring 80m high King George Falls
  • Visit Indigenous rock art galleries and learn about ancient Wandjina and Gwion Gwion art
  • Spot crocodiles, tawny nurse sharks, sea turtles, humpback whales, and rock wallabies
  • Get up close to Montgomery Reef as it emerges from the sea and discover the tidal reef’s diverse marine life
  • Visit the Important Bird Area of the Lacepede Islands, and spot numerous bird species throughout your voyage, including Eastern Ospreys and White-breasted Sea Eagles
  • Follow in the wake of Phillip Parker King on a cruise up the Prince Regent River to King Cascade waterfall
  • View the Kimberley landscape from the air on an optional scenic helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls (additional cost)
  • Enjoy sunset canapes and drinks on the beach as dusk settles over the Kimberley

The cost of the itinerary differs between ships and the time of year, so we have included information on each of the ships and indicative pricing below (indicative pricing is in New Zealand dollars, however may change depending on the prevailing exchange rate with Australia).

Coral Adventurer

Ancient Lands of the Kimberley – 11 days from NZ$10,407*pp twin share

Designed and built to be the most modern tropical expedition ship afloat, Coral Adventurer debuted in April 2019. She features comfortable Australian interiors, Xplorer tender mechanism, intimate guest experience, and personalized service.

Length: 93.4 meters

Passenger Capacity: 120 (60 staterooms)

Built: 2019

EXPEDITION CAPABILITIES

  • Two trademark Xplorer tenders seat all passengers for shore excursions
  • Six zodiacs for more intrepid exploration
  • Lecture lounge with multimedia for daily expedition briefings and presentations
  • Small on-board Library
  • Shallow draft and advanced navigation and propulsion systems

MARINE IMMERSION

  • Navigator lounge in the bridge giving a vantage point of ship operations
  • Over 1000 sq m of open deck space including a wrap-around promenade deck with panoramic views
  • Engine room tours and high level of crew interaction with guests
  • Barralong Room for hosting scientific research or exhibitions

GUEST COMFORT

  • All outside-facing guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; majority have private balcony
  • Active stabilisers
  • Gym
  • Passenger elevator
  • Wi-Fi available in all guest areas

CONTACT FINE TRAVEL

Coral Discoverer

Ancient Lands of the Kimberley – 11 days from NZ$13,345*pp twin share

The 1800-tonne Coral Discoverer (which we reviewed here) is the grand vision of Coral Expeditions. Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. Her tender vessel, Xplorer, can seat all 72 passengers for excursions to beaches and rivers. Coral Discoverer is equipped with latest technology active stabilisers to ensure comfortable cruising in open waters and is fitted with modern safety and navigation equipment and wireless internet facilities.

Length: 63 metres

Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms)

Built: 2005 / Refurbished: 2016

FACILITIES ON BOARD

  • Sun Deck with undercover area, sun lounges and ample seating
  • Three fully stocked cocktail bars, including brand new round Explorer Bar on Sun Deck
  • Spacious, modern dining room, recently refurbished
  • Forward lounge
  • Reference library
  • Gift shop
  • Open bridge
  • Workout Area
  • Wireless internet available for laptops, mobile devices or via onboard guest computer
  • Limited laundry facilities available
  • SCUBA diving department (selected itineraries)

CONTACT FINE TRAVEL

Coral Geographer

Ancient Lands of the Kimberley – 11 days from NZ$9,316*pp twin share

Coral Geographer is designed for tropical expedition cruising.  Her shallow draught and manoeuvrability allow her to go where larger vessels cannot. With a maximum capacity of 120 guests, she will carry fewer than 100 guests under the company’s SailSAFE plan, delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere, and world-class expedition experience.

Passenger Capacity: 120

Built: 2020

Expedition capabilities

  • Two trademark Xplorer tenders seat all passengers and facilitate comfortable shore excursions
  • Six zodiacs for more intrepid exploration
  • Lecture lounge for daily expedition briefings and expert presentations
  • Small onboard library featuring books on destinations and wildlife
  • Shallow draft and advanced navigation and propulsion systems allowing access to locations closed to large cruise ships

Marine immersion

  • Navigator lounge in the bridge
  • Over 1000 square metres of open deck space including a wrap-around promenade deck with panoramic views
  • Engine room tours and a high level of crew interaction with guests

Food and wine features

  • Single seating dining with communal table serves buffet breakfast and lunch, and multi-course table d’hote dinners
  • Showcase galley with viewing window creating fresh small-batch cuisine featuring Australian and local produce
  • Multiple indoor and outdoor bars, including our Explorer bar on the sundeck for sunset drinks
  • Curated wine cellar featuring boutique wines and exceptional vintage Australian reds

Guest comfort

  • All outside-facing guest cabins with en-suite bathrooms; the majority have a private balcony
  • Active stabilisers to dampen sea motion
  • Well-equipped gym
  • Passenger elevator
  • Wi-Fi available in all guest areas

CONTACT FINE TRAVEL

Coral Expeditions “Sailsafe” Covid-19 Policy

Coral Expeditions has developed a Covid-19 policy that is designed to provide a 100% Covid free environment for guests and can be found here.

Still Researching?

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