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Welcome to Coral Expeditions

Coral Expeditions is a 34-year-old Australian pioneering expedition cruise company. We operate and manage a fleet of four small expedition ships taking guests to some of the most beautiful, yet undiscovered, regions of Australia, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands. Over 8,000 travellers from all over the world travel with us every year who are attracted by our relaxed small ship atmosphere and itineraries which larger ships cannot replicate. Our bespoke operations may sometimes not be commercially justifiable but result in a more personal product that our guests appreciate.

At a time when the cruise industry is moving to larger and less personal ships, we have limited the size of our ships to maximise the expedition experience. Our small-batch cuisine is freshly prepared onboard with a simplistic and generous approach to quality and freshness, accompanied by quality Australian wine. We operate to high Australian standards of safety with Australian crew wherever we go. We were the first to offer interpretive programs reflective of the destinations we visit and to employ Expedition Leaders, Guest Lecturers, Marine Biologists, and SCUBA Instructors – a tradition that continues today.

Welcome to No Queues, No Waiting

At Coral Expeditions, we have built our reputation on offering a very different cruise experience.

Just bring your passion to dream, explore and discover.

Unique Itineraries

Our guests cruise with us because of our unique destinations, diverse shore excursions and expert-led programs. Our shallow-draught ships can go where larger ships cannot. We mostly shy away from long ocean voyages, though occasionally offer the opportunity for ocean crossing passages. Every day typically has at least one stop for water or land-based activities. On each voyage we will have a Trip Director or Expedition Leader, and on longer voyages, we have Guest Lecturers who are typically experts in the geology, history or flora and fauna of the region. Our Trip Directors and Expedition Leaders come with marine or local expertise. Most of our shore excursions are included in the cruise price – only exceptional experiences operated by third-parties such as helicopter joy flights require a payment on board and participation is completely optional.

View Our Unique Itineraries

Relaxed Environment

True to our Australian heritage, our ship environment is designed to be casual. There is no dress code or assigned seating at mealtimes. Our ship layout encourages mingling and convivial conversation with fellow passengers. Complimentary coffee and tea stations are open throughout the day in the lounge and dining areas. There are no in-room televisions or room service, but there is plenty of comfortable common spaces. We operate an open bridge policy and encourage guests to visit the bridge and observe ship operations. Our Captains enjoy the open interaction they share with our guests.

Curated Shore Excursions

With a strong focus on visiting places not often accessible to tourists, our shore excursions are designed to promote local interaction and cultural exchange. One of the great benefits of travelling on a small ship is our ability to make impromptu stops when extraordinary opportunities present. Our small group size ensures that our shore excursions are comfortable and enjoyable, but also have minimal impact on the communities and environments we visit.

Most activities are suitable for all fitness levels; when a higher than normal level of fitness is required for a particular excursion, our Expedition Leader will advise accordingly. You can expect one or two shore or in-sea activities each day, all included in your cruise price.

Learn More About Our Shore Excursions

High Levels of Care

We offer high standards of comfort and care, but without any formality or stuffiness, reflecting the renowned friendliness that Australian’s are renowned for. Our crew are trained to be attentive but are always open to a friendly chat.  We maintain the highest standards of marine and passenger safety and adhere to Australian standards in our staffing and operations.

About Our Crew

Ease of Access

One of the distinctive features of Coral Expeditions’ vessels is the tender capability for ease of participating in shore excursions. Each ship carries a tender vessel which is hydraulically lowered and lifted, enabling guests to transfer for excursions right off the main deck. Coral Expeditions II carries a glass-bottomed boat that allow guests to view the marine life below.  Coral Discoverer’s Xplorer tender vessel can carry all 72 guests at the same time while Coral Adventurer carries all 120 guests in two Xplorer tender vessels.  Additionally, Zodiac tenders are utilized for more intrepid excursions or to get even closer to attractions or when shore landing conditions may be challenging.

Our Excursion Vessels

Our Heritage

Started by a fisherman-entrepreneur with a passion for life at sea, Coral Expeditions was the brainchild of Captain Tony Briggs, who started the company back in 1983 with the original Coral Princess.

The company has always been based in Queensland, in the tropical north of Australia.  Moving from Townsville to its current base in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, in 2002, 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, the coastal villages and great rivers of South East Asia along with the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. In 2019 we launched Coral Adventurer and in 2021 will welcome Coral Geographer to the fleet. Coral Expeditions remain the only major operator of extended small ship cruises on the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania.

Our Heritage

No Queues, No Waiting

Our ships are small enough to allow us to board and disembark much quicker than larger vessels. With our custom-designed efficient boarding system, there is minimal waiting. The shallow draught of our Xplorer tenders and zodiacs allow us to take travellers to locations larger ships cannot.

Intimate and Comfortable

Our purpose-built Australian expedition ships are designed to showcase the places they visit. Each ship is comfortable, safe and manoeuvrable enough to get you close to nature, culture and history.  There is an abundance of open spaces on each ship with the addition of walk-around promenade decks on both Coral Discoverer and Coral Geographer.

Our Fleet Of Expedition Ships