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Spice Islands & West Papua

Spice Islands & Raja Ampat (Darwin to Biak), 12 Nights

Combining scenery of outstanding natural beauty, diverse wildlife and storied histories, our Raja Ampat and Spice Islands expedition is a unique journey of discovery and adventure like no other. Embark Coral Adventurer in Darwin, at the commencement of our 11-night voyage to Biak, West Papua. Become one of the very first to have experienced these rarely-visited islands, where villagers have remained shielded from the outside world and communities are only now emerging into the 21st century.

The centrepiece of our expedition is a five day exploration through the nature lover’s paradise that is Raja Ampat. Harbouring over 75% of the world’s total coral and fish species, Raja Ampat’s pristine and brightly coloured reef systems offer perhaps the very best snorkelling and diving in the world today. On Misool, one of the famed ‘Four Kings’ of Raja Ampat, you will have the opportunity to snorkel through Tomorol Cave. While in Pulau Gam’s traditional Sawingrai village, you will join a local on a guided walk through the rainforest in search of the iconic Red Bird of Paradise.

Over many centuries great European explorers claimed new continents in their quest to discover the Spice Islands, and aboard Coral Adventurer we’ll retrace their footsteps as we approach the island of Banda Neira, guided by the plume of smoke emerging over the horizon from the island’s active Gunung Api volcano. The most treasured and valued commodities of their time, the world’s entire supply of nutmeg and mace was grown in the Spice Islands between the 12th and 15th centuries, and even today a stroll through Banda’s local spice markets offers a melting pot of aromas, colourful spices and vibrant characters. In Cenderawasih Bay, a protected Marine Park home to one of the world’s largest schools of Whale Shark, we’ll seek out these amazing fish, some measuring up to 12 metres in length.

Cruising aboard Coral Adventurer, in the company of an experienced expedition team and all-Australian staff, you are sure to make the most of every minute discovering the very best that nature has to offer on this remarkable journey through Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

This voyage is included in the Coral Adventurer brochure

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Fares

December 2019

CORAL ADVENTURER TWIN SHARE PER PERSON SOLE USE*
Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $15,840 n/a
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $13,740 n/a
Explorer Deck $13,340 $20,010
Promenade Deck $12,240 $18,360
Coral Deck $11,290 $16,935

*Limited sole use occupancy available.

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THE ITINERARY

Embarkation: Board at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf at 4:30pm for 6:00pm departure.
Disembarkation: Arrive and disembark at Biak at 08:30am.

Day 1: Depart Darwin

This afternoon at 4:30pm board Coral Adventurer at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, where there is time to settle in before our 6:00pm departure. In the evening, join your fellow travellers, the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day 2: Crossing the Timor Sea

Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Timor Sea towards Banda Neira. Join our Expedition Staff in the ship’s lounge for an interesting introduction to our journey, and the many experiences we will share over the coming eleven days.

Day 3: Banda Neira and Spice Islands

In the middle of the Banda Sea lies an enchanted fragment of history, the centre of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On our approach to Banda Island, witness the outline of Gunung Api volcano with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit. See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes in action as they glide across the water. Snorkel and dive over the nearby lava flow reef system, or you may like to head ashore and enjoy local tea and snacks on the waterfront.

Later in the afternoon, there is time to explore Fort Belgica, built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611. The fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonisation. Join the locals for a traditional dance and music performance before enjoying a glass of champagne as the sun sets over the fort.

Day 4: Spice Islands

This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself with local guides in the colours and aromas of the Spice Islands. Travel through the streets of Bandaneira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour.

See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion visit the old church, explore a nutmeg plantation and finish with traditional dancing and tastings of local treats on the waterfront. This afternoon we farewell the Spice Islands and set sail towards Raja Ampat, enjoying informative presentations from our Guest Lecturer ahead of our arrival tomorrow.

Note: Visits to Raja Ampat are subject to access approvals to protected marine parks. These access approvals may alter over time. If access to some areas is not possible, alternatives will be introduced to this itinerary.

Day 5: Raja Ampat - Wagmab and Mesemta Islands

We enter the Misool archipelago and anchor at beautiful Wagmab, where excellent coral gardens and steep walls allow us to snorkel and dive to our hearts content. If conditions allow, our naturalist will have the glass bottom boat in action over the reef systems, before we depart for our afternoon destination.

Coral Adventurer will then cruise up a stunning passage and arrive into the Mesemta Bay. Enjoy snorkelling and viewing from the glass bottom boat, or paddle at your leisure through these amazing karst islands on kayaks. Finish the day with our famous BBQ on the top deck and take in the sunset looking over this spectacular backdrop.

Day 6: Raja Ampat – Yensawah and Penemu

Awaken and enjoy the scenery as we cruise to a beautiful anchorage. Take a zodiac cruise through the mangrove system, leading to a jetty landing and an easy 300m walk through the tropical rainforest to a cascading waterfall known to the locals as “The Widows Water”. Local guides will be with us as we enjoy the rainforest. We will enter the village of Yensawai, where we will be warmly greeted by the locals. Enjoy a visit to the local school to see performances by the children, and visit the local market. This afternoon, we arrive at the Fam Islands. Enjoy the opportunity for a climb up the boardwalk for spectacular views of Penemu, or relax with a swim and a snorkel in the clear waters.

Day 7: Hidden Bay- The Wallace Passage and Yenwaupnor Village

This morning we discover Hidden Bay. The narrow entrance to the bay is easy to overlook and visits from cruise ships are rare. We will traverse the famous Wallace passage, where history abounds and stunning surrounds will keep your cameras in action. After lunch enjoy snorkelling and diving on the nearby reef. Enjoy glass bottom boat tours, or head off on a kayak tour around the nearby limestone karsts. We travel to South Gam in the afternoon for a village visit at Yenwapnour, where the locals will welcome us with their string band and traditional songs. Local underground oven foods will be prepared for you to try and the local guides will take you on a village tour.

Day 8: South Gam Island and Aljui Bay

Join us for an early morning adventure, as we seek out the elusive Red Bird of Paradise at an exclusive local vantage point (40 min uphill hike good fitness required) on a bird watching hike or choose to take the opportunity for an early morning snorkel.

We then set sail for the beautiful Aljui Bay on the island of Waigeo for a relaxing afternoon.  Snorkel and dive on one of the best reef sites in the area and explore the spectacular channel in the zodiacs.

Day 9: Wayag Island

We cross the equator into the northern hemisphere as we make our way towards the Wayag Islands.  Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands as we explore in zodiacs and aboard Xplorer. After lunch, those keen on an energetic climb up famous Pindito Peak will be rewarded by breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively choose to relax with a swim, snorkel, guided glass bottom boat tour or kayak paddle.

Day 10: At Sea

A relaxing day at sea, we join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for an informative introduction to Cenderawasih Bay.

Day 11: Cenderawasih Bay and Kwatisore Village

We enter Cenderawasih Marine Park and go in search of  the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful Whale Shark. This region is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to snorkel with these majestic animals, and with luck, we may have a chance to swim among them. The afternoon is spent with the local Papuans at Kwatisore village. Learn about the local community and culture through traditional dances and games, then enjoy a guided walk through the village and visit the vibrant market stalls.

Day 12: Cenderawasih Bay and Mamboor Island

Awake for an early morning snorkel with the magnificent Whale Sharks before we depart for Mamboor Island in the heart of Cenderawasih Bay.  Head ashore with our expediton team and local guides to see the local village and learn about the interesting customs and traditional lifestyle of the West Papuan people. Enjoy a last swim off the nearby beach before you join your fellow travellers for the Captain’s Farewell Drinks and reminisce over what has been an unforgettable adventure exploring the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat.

Day 13: Arrive in Biak

This morning join our private jet for our flight from Biak to Darwin (additional costs apply).

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

Note: Visits to Raja Ampat are subject to access approvals to protected marine parks. These access approvals may alter over time. If access to some areas is not possible, alternatives will be introduced to this itinerary.

December 2019

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
21 December 2019 21 Dec 2019 02 January 2020 02 Jan 2020 $11,290 to $13,740 $11,290 to $13,740 Coral Adventurer Available Book

January 2020

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
21 December 2019 21 Dec 2019 02 January 2020 02 Jan 2020 $11,290 to $13,740 $11,290 to $13,740 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 barista-style coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • Guided tours on Xplorer expedition vessel, zodiacs, glass-bottom boat and kayaks
  • 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 Discoverer, 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 all of your holiday arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.

Contact our reservations specialists for advice about making the most of your time before and after your cruise.

To speak to our reservations specialists contact us during business hours on freecall 1800 079 545 (within Australia), or email cruise@coralexpeditions.com.

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

Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade

Located in a prime position close to the waterfront, the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade offers comfortable and well appointed rooms, a large outdoor pool and friendly, relaxed service. Just a short stroll from all of the attractions of the city, the restaurants of Mitchell Street and art galleries.

Hilton Darwin

Overlooking Darwin Harbour, Hilton Darwin offers fabulous Esplanade views and an ideal location in the heart of the city. Enjoy contemporary features, great location and a welcoming service every time you stay. The elegant rooms and suites are loaded with thoughtful amenities and many have stunning Harbour views. We also offers Mitchell’s Grill restaurant with innovative Australian cuisine, high-floor outdoor pool, gym, flexible meeting space and more.

Darwin Central Hotel

The Darwin Central Hotel is located on a prime position in the heart of Darwin’s Central Business District on the corner of Smith and Knuckey Streets, opposite the Smith Street Shopping Mall.

The hotel enjoys a very stylish theme with artwork and furnishings throughout the hotel, making every floor a walk through gallery. The hotel has been decorated with a diverse selection of lounges and artworks with each piece individually selected to create the boutique feel with contemporary class and style. The hotel is owned by a local Darwin Company and is proud to be a long standing Northern Territory Business.

Adina Apartment Hotel

Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront is located in the heart of the Darwin Waterfront precinct with close proximity to the CBD and overlooking the Darwin Waterfront Recreational Lagoon and manmade Wave Lagoon.

Adina is the perfect choice for discerning travellers with central locations across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Offering a range of spacious accommodation for guests including: studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

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. When you need help, you’ll get it in a familiar accent from someone who understands and is there to help.

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.