I’ve travelled on large, medium and smaller ocean cruise ships before, as well as river cruising, but having never been on an ‘expedition’ cruise, I really didn’t know what to expect.
What a surprise – not only was the Coral Discoverer a very comfortable small ship, which was able to take us to remote places and get up close to seals and dolphins, but the service was outstanding.
How often are you greeted in person by the ship captain when you board a cruise ship? This really was impressive, and the crew made everything happen with seamless perfection. They also served Tasmanian produce and local specialties onboard, as well as some of our state’s finest cool-climate wines.
We boarded the ship in Hobart bound to places where very few people get to go – Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, including Port Davey, Bathurst Harbour and Recherche Bay, which was absolutely stunning. We were the only small ship allowed in the area.
Then we cruised up the east coast of Tasmania to the Freycinet Peninsula, including Wineglass Bay, and back, with several stops along the way.
If you have never actually been on an expedition cruise, Tasmania is the perfect place to start. The Coral Discoverer and its small tender vessel Xplorer are able to get into small coves and remote areas that you otherwise cannot experience.
The company follows strict guidelines on where the ship can moor and when you board and leave the tender, as well as a ‘leave no trace’ ethos that includes washing your shoes before and after you explore a remote area. All of this left us feeling that we were experiencing something very special, but also not disturbing this pristine environment.
By the time we disembarked our cruise, we knew all the passengers on board as well as all of the crew, having spent time with everyone. And we had seen amazing flora and fauna under the guidance of our expedition leaders and professional speakers.
Coral Expeditions provides a number of expedition cruising options in Tasmania between January and March onboard Coral Discoverer, including seven and 14-night cruises. You can also choose a Chase the Race cruise from Sydney to Hobart in December, following the competitors in the iconic Sydney-Hobart yacht race. Bookings for next season are available now.
If you wish to explore further afield, Coral Expeditions also has cruises in The Kimberley, Great Barrier Reef, and Cape York and Arnhem Land in northern Australia, as well as international cruises in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
- Writer Janet Bidgood was a guest of Coral Expeditions