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New Guinea Customs and Craftmen Circle Coral Expeditions

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Papua New Guinea

Customs & Craftsmen - Darwin to Cairns, 22 Nights

Join the Coral Adventurer in 2019 for the inaugural ‘Customs and Craftsmen’ art themed expedition of Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the Maluku Islands. This exciting itinerary will spend a fully immersive 22 nights exploring remote villages and historic towns, focusing on art and culture and interacting with the local communities along the way.

We will be joined by collector and expert on New Guinea tribal art, Richard Aldridge, who will be offering his expertise as a guest lecturer throughout the voyage.

Expedition Highlights:

Be a part of the inaugural Customs and Craftsmen expedition
> Enjoy a private onboard art exhibition in Madang and mingle with the artists
> Interact with local craftsmen and artists at remote villages and markets
> Visit the Sultan’s Palace and enjoy high tea in Ternate with views over the islands
> Enjoy high-spirited cultural performances from villages throughout the voyage
> Snorkel, kayak, and dive pristine coral reefs, rich with tropical marine life
> Encounter Whale Sharks at Cenderawasih Bay
> Experience a Bandanese dinner under the stars at Fort Belgica

The Tribal Art Lecture Series by Richard Aldridge

Richard Aldridge’s Tribal Art Lecture Series will cover the art of New Guinea and the Maluku Islands in detail, with insights that Richard has gathered over his long career in art collecting and the 16 years he has spent in some of the most remote areas on earth, learning around the campfires of the experts in tribal art – the Papuan people themselves.

Click here to read more about Richard and his Lecture Series

More about Richard Aldridge



Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $27,540 n/a
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $23,440 n/a
Explorer Deck $22,740  $34,110
Promenade Deck $20,940  $31,410
Coral Deck $19,340  $29,010

*Limited sole use occupancy available.



Embark: Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 7:00am for 8:30am departure on 8 October 2019.
Disembark: Arrive 9am and disembark 10:30am at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal on 30 October 2019.

Day 1: Darwin

Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 7:00am for 8:30am departure on 8 October 2019 ready to begin our voyage toward Banda Neira Island.

Day 2: At Sea

As we cross the Timor Sea you will have time to relax and explore the Coral Adventurer, enjoy the Captain’s welcome drinks, and join presentations with our Expedition Team.

Day 3: Banda Neira

Coral Expeditions Spice Islands

An armada of Kora Kora Canoes flanking the Coral Adventurer welcome us to Banda Neira. Once ashore we explore the old colonial town, and tour the nutmeg plantations, museums and markets. There is a great opportunity to snorkel over the lava flow of Gunung Api volcano.

Dinner tonight will be hosted under the stars at the 17th-century Fort Belgica, where we will be joined by local artists displaying their arts and crafts and dancing. We will dine on Bandanese cuisine as the sun sets over the fort.

Day 4: Saparua & Molana Island

Saparua has a relaxed and traditional environment, with very few tourists. The Dutch East Indies Company established Fort Duurstedt in 1691, and the island is full of history. The locals greet us with flowers and a “welcome dance” before we join our guides and guest lecturer for a tour of the fort and village.
In the afternoon, we visit the beautiful white sands of Molana Island.

Day 5: South Halmahera

We spend today cruising South Halmahera, stopping at the lush mountainous islands and snorkelling the colourful fringing reefs with their abundant marine life.

Day 6: Ternate

Boarding the Xplorer, we cruise to Ternate and journey to the Sultan’s Palace. Built in 1834 and restored in a semi-colonial style, the Sultan’s Place still houses the Sultan’s family. On a guided walk throughout the palace grounds, we view numerous artefacts from the Dutch & Portuguese eras and learn about the ‘magic of the crown’.
During our afternoon exploration of Ternate, we enjoy a high tea with a view over the islands, and learn of the clove plantation history. A visit to the unique Fort Tolukko which presides over the foreshore gives impressive views of volcanic Mt Gamalama.

Day 7: Tobelo

Awake in Tobelo Bay surrounded by lush green islands. Today we visit the elementary school and the communal House or Hibualamo, where we are entertained with cultural performances.  We will also have the opportunity to visit the Tobelo markets today.

Day 8: At Sea

Crossing the Halmahera Sea.

Day 9: Roon Island

Spend the afternoon at Roon Island. Just below the surface resides a Japanese plane wreck with big black corals, gorgonians, big lionfish, glassfish, shrimps and many more. Snorkellers on the surface can still clearly see the wreck when the weather cooperates and the water is still, or they may dive down for a closer look.

Day 10: Kwatisore

We enter Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of the biggest fish in the sea, the extraordinary whale shark. It is possible to swim with these majestic animals and we may have a chance to snorkel among them. Visit Kwatisore Village to learn about the local culture through traditional dances and games and listen to their talented string band. Local handicraft will also be available for viewing or purchase at the market.

Day 11: Mamberamo River

Today, the Coral Adventurer enters the Mamberamo River. This vast river is the Amazon of New Guinea, an almost completely unexplored region that is home to villages and tribes whose culture is still relatively undisturbed. Our visit to this raw and primeval area will be exploratory, with the potential to visit local warrior tribes and enjoy the wilderness surroundings.

Day 12: Jayapura

Overnight we cross into West Papua waters ahead of our arrival in Jayapura, formerly known as ‘Hollandia’ during World War II and now a melting pot of sights and smells. Guests will be joining a guided bus tour around the city which includes Hamadi Traditional Market and Pepera Monument which is the landmark in the heart of Jayapura City.


Day 13: Vanimo

This morning we enter Papua New Guinea at Vanimo. In Vanimo village, locals put on cultural demonstrations including sing sings, traditional clay pot making and the application of tribal tattoos.

Day 14: Sepik River

At first light we enter the mighty Sepik River and visit the village of Bien where they are famous for their arts and crafts. A true Sepik welcome awaits us as we step ashore. Embrace this opportunity to purchase unique carvings and art direct from the artist.

As we depart the Sepik River, enjoy the views as we sail past the active volcano at Manam Island.

Day 15: Madang

Explore Madang, famed for its waterfront setting and colonial history. On a town tour visit the Madang Museum, Coast Watchers Monument, and local village of Bil Bil, famed for its pottery.

This morning we welcome local artists on board for a private art exhibition of their work – guests will have the chance to mingle with the artists and talk about their techniques. Later guests will be able to view Sepik art on display at Sugen Aben Park, and view demonstrations of bilum bag making and as well as other handicraft.

Day 16: Dregerhafen

Today we visit Dregerhafen in Morobe, famous for Tami bowls and timber paddles. We will explore the village of Gingala where a high-spirited welcome will be guaranteed. The markets will be open, and we get the chance to walk through the village with the locals. After lunch, we enjoy snorkelling, diving and kayaks in the blue waters of the lagoon. Finish the day with drinks on the sundeck and our sundeck BBQ.

Day 17: Buna and Sanananda

The battle of Buna-Gona witnessed some of the fiercest fighting during the final stages of WWII. During the war, Buna was the trailhead to the Kokoda Track. Formally known as the ‘Buna Kokoda-Moresby Track’, our expedition team and local guides accompany us through this dense jungle landscape to discover Buna’s dramatic history.

Later we stop over at Sanananda village to visit the war museum and enjoy Sanananda beautiful tropical gardens.

Day 18: Tufi Fjord

Picturesque Tufi Fjord is composed of deep inlets, known locally as ‘rias’, formed through ancient volcanic activity, providing a truly magnificent setting for cruising and exploring. As we journey through the fiords, there will be time to reflect and soak up the spectacular views before enjoying snorkelling, diving or a little relaxation at a nearby resort.

Day 19: Kitava, Trobriand Islands

The Trobriand Islands in the Milne Bay province are historically known as the ‘Islands of Love’. The indigenous population of the islands live a peaceful and very traditional lifestyle, ensuring their culture remains unchanged.  We will visit Kitava Island and visit the excellent markets there, which will reveal great artefacts.

Day 20: Dobu and Fergusson Islands

Join our Expedition Team on a walk to the Dei Dei Hot Springs on Ferguson Island, where guides share the mythical and spiritual tales of these hot water and mud springs.
At Dobu Island learn of the history of the Kula Ring. View the decorative art adorning the local houses and canoes, and meet the local children as they perform a traditional dance.  Later there will be snorkelling at the Bubbling Springs Reef.

Day 21: Samarai

Today we say farewell to Papua New Guinea from the small island of Samarai, at the southern tip of Milne Bay.
Though hard to fathom, in its colonial prime, the tiny island of Samarai was once the region’s most important port. We have the option to join a guided tour of the colonial settlement or head to Deika Deika Island in the Xplorer for a leisurely swim.

Day 22: At Sea

As we make our way across the Coral Sea back to Cairns the Expedition Team and guest lecturer hold presentations re-capping our adventure. Reminisce with new-found friends at the Captain’s farewell drinks.

Day 23: Cairns

This morning at 9:00 am we arrive at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal disembarking at 10:30 am. Farewell the end of your adventure discovering the culture and arts of New Guinea.

October 2019

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
08 October 2019 08 Oct 2019 30 October 2019 30 Oct 2019 $19,340 to $23,440 $19,340 to $23,440 Coral Adventurer Available Book

Your cruise price includes:

  • Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
  • All meals
  • House beer and wine during lunch and dinner service
  • 24 hour tea and coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • Guided tours in tender vessels
  • Touring as described in each itinerary
  • Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
  • Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities

Your cruise price does not include:

  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping not required:

Other cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your account and service charges to your bar invoices. On Coral Adventurer, our crew has no other agenda than your delight.

Now that you’ve chosen your cruise, our reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements.

To speak to our reservations specialists contact us during business hours on freecall 1800 079 545 (within Australia), or by email

Don’t forget, we strongly recommend the purchase of Travel Insurance with any cruise purchase. See below for further details.


Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. It should also include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover.

We recommend Travel Insurance by SureSave.

SureSave, is an Australian company who specialise in travel insurance designed for travellers. SureSave provides world assistance through a customer support team, a claims team and an in-house 24/7 Emergency Assistance division. Underwritten by Lloyds of London, you get peace of mind knowing your security is guaranteed.

Please note: SureSave Travel Insurance policies may only be purchased by Australian residents. For international travellers, please discuss your policy requirements with your local insurance provider.