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welcome to coral expeditions

Coral Expeditions is a 33-year-old Australian expedition cruise company. We operate and manage a fleet of three small ships taking guests to some of the most beautiful, yet undiscovered, regions of Asia-Pacific. Over 5,000 travellers from all over the world come to us every year for our relaxed small ship atmosphere and tailor-made itineraries which larger ships cannot replicate. Our operations are bespoke and sometimes not commercially justifiable, but result in a more personal product.


At a time when the cruise industry is moving to larger and larger ships, we have limited the size of our ships to maximise the expedition experience. Coral Expeditions’ cuisine is prepared small batch on board, and while the style is down to earth, it reflects high-quality Australian produce and wine. We operate to Australian standards of safety with Australian senior crew wherever we go. We were the first to offer interpretive programmes on our cruises and to employ Expedition Leaders, Guest Lecturers, Marine Biologists, and Scuba Instructors – a tradition that continues today.


Our History

Started by a fisherman-entrepreneur with a passion for life at sea, the original Coral Princess, a converted ‘Fairmile’ submarine chaser was commissioned in 1983.

The company has always been based in Queensland, in the tropical north of Australia. Moving from Townsville in 2002 to its current base in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the company pioneered small ship expedition style cruising in the Kimberley, the Islands of the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea.

Many of the additions and developments during this period were innovative for the industry, including the use of interpretive guides and the build and launch of Coral Discoverer (formerly Oceanic Discoverer) in 2005 – a landmark vessel with global ocean capabilities built to very high standards in Australia. The Coral Discoverer remains the only Australian-flagged passenger vessel operating unrestricted international voyages.

Today, the Coral Expeditions fleet has grown to include three purpose-built small ships that can be found anywhere from the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged coast of Tasmania and now, the coastal villages and great rivers of South East Asia. Coral Expeditions remain the only major operator of extended small ship cruises on the Great Barrier Reef.