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Welcome to Australia's Pioneering Cruise Line

Small Ship Cruising Pioneers

Started in 1983, our company’s original vessel, Coral Princess, a converted World War II submarine chaser, pioneered and set the standard for small ship expedition cruising in northern Australia with 5-night cruises on the Great Barrier Reef.

Today, the Coral Expeditions’ fleet includes three purpose-built small ships that can be found anywhere from the tropical waters of Australia’s north to the rugged shores of Tasmania, from the coastal villages of Papua New Guinea and the Spice Islands, to sheltered sounds and glacial fiords of New Zealand.

While our range of cruise itineraries has expanded into new regions, we have maintained our home in Cairns and continue to be the only major operator of extended small ship cruises on the Great Barrier Reef.

There are many reasons why our guests return to Coral Expeditions for a truly authentic expedition.

A True Expedition Ethos

At Coral Expeditions, we pride ourselves on getting our guests up close and personal with stunning landscapes, fascinating history and vibrant cultures. We have deep respect and a strong connection with the places we visit. We maintain flexibility in our planning to make impromptu stops if extraordinary opportunities in nature present. Our expeditions focus on truly experiencing the regions we visit.

Our Home Turf

When it comes to expedition cruising, there is no replicating experience. For 40 years, we have steadily accumulated a wealth of local knowledge and contacts in the coastal regions surrounding Australia. Our crew know the charts, the tides and the winds like no other to ensure you are in the right place at the right time. Whether you travel with us in the ancient Kimberley, Tasmania’s wilderness, the frontier lands of Papua New Guinea, or New Zealand’s majestic fiordlands, you will be assured a local perspective, with local guides, authentic interactions, and a true taste of local culture and cuisine.

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Our Small Ships

At the heart of the Coral Expeditions experience are our purpose-built small expedition ships and unique tenders. In an age of glitzy mega-vessels, our ships are truly intimate, carrying no more than 120 guests. This means that we can navigate into shallow bays, step ashore onto remote beaches and jetties, and visit small villages to make connections without overwhelming a community. We have designed the fleet to explore tropical waters with comfort and ease and to allow you to connect with the landscape we explore.

Our Crew

Our crew live and breathe our destinations and the opportunity to show you a true expedition experience. We are the modern day seafaring pioneers of Australia, and we are proud to share our knowledge on coastal explorations with guests from around the globe. On our ships, we have no ‘back office’ roles. From our chefs to our engineers, our crew are here because they love to interact with people and show you their world. Join our engine room tours, view our chefs in our galley or chat with our officers on the bridge – they will be delighted to share company with you.

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Our Respect for Communities

We have always made a determined effort to support the communities we visit. Our guests join in enthusiastically. We visit remote villages, participate in art and cultural traditions, and interact in local schools. We initiate and contribute to regional projects to support conservation, provide training and employment, and distribute economic benefit and relief supplies, all with guest support and involvement. It is an enriching and rewarding part of our expedition experience that leaves a lasting joy for us all.

The Future

As Coral Expeditions enters its fifth decade in existence, we remain true to our pioneering foundations. We have a new fleet of technologically advanced ships that provide many of the comforts of a large vessel, but without the crowds. We have embarked on a series of new adventures exploring the small islands of the world and broadening our footprint around our home shores of Australia. Yet, our purpose remains the same – taking small groups of like-minded explorers to beautiful parts of the world in our uniquely Australian style!

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