Cruise Memories from 1989 and 2020

Submitted By: Helen & Peter McHugh

O.K. Coral Expeditions – from whence do you source your superb passengers? Where do you find the crew to match?

Just two months ago we boarded Coral Discoverer moored in Hobart Tasmania where we would investigate the wild east coast of that state. Seriously senior now, we knew we would not be able to do any extensive walking or hikes. Our accompanying son Andrew and his wife Mel would do that for us and report.

We wondered how old the average age of the passengers would be, and if they would be as delightful as those passengers we traveled with over 30 years ago, when we boarded the company’s first ship Coral PrincessThat trip comprised about 40 passengers who – like us – seem to all be in their forties. It was pure joy – so much so that I’ve been following the cruise line’s progress ever since. Our memories include yummy, lunchtime barbecues on idyllic beaches and cocktails at dusk on islands such as Orpheus and Dunk. Each evening we dined on the vessel with two farming couples from New Zealand and one couple (honeymooning) from Devon U. K.  Since we all retired, those folk have visited us and we them – several times.  Friends for LIFE!

As we came together late February 2020 for the first time, donning our life jackets I looked around to see if theses travelers were mid-forties. Oh no –  they looked about our vintage. Living as we do in a retirement village, we wondered about everyone’s general fitness. Ours was not great. Would these folk be FIT? Would they be adventurers? Would they be FUN? You know the answers to all that.  The next morning we found that almost all were serious trekkers – prepared to walk for hours to thoroughly enjoy all that that rugged part of Tasmania has to offer. Knowing we could no longer do that, we chose the shorter walk or Xplorer cruise options. We noticed no one fitted into the misery category. In conversation and ready to hear each individual’s health story we chatted to some folk nearby. Allelulia! Everyone had a personal story to tell but not about suffering – only about their life journeys.  And those stories were all wonderful.

The penny dropped. Folk who come on a Coral Expedition’s vessel are not narcissists or whingers. They are adventurers.  Expedition cruise passengers come for the living. On this last trip, with two guest lecturers aboard, Michael & Shane, who were passionate about their subjects, we all learned so much and loved it all.

We must rave about the crew who always seemed to know our names. We thought the meals were well-planned, healthy, and plentiful. The cabins were spacious and ours provided me with several unique brilliant sunrises. Our address book now contains a special Swiss family to love: on departure, we kissed one another good-bye four times!

We came home knowing our Drew & Mel had booked next year on the Kimberley cruise.

Where’s that Coral Expedition’s phone no.? I want that cruise & I want it NOW!