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Our Heritage

History of Coral Expeditions

Started by a fisherman-entrepreneur with a passion for life at sea was the original Coral Princess, a converted ‘Fairmile’ submarine chaser, commissioned in 1983.

The company has always been based in Queensland, in the tropical north of Australia. From our base in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the company pioneered small ship expedition style cruising in the Kimberley, the Great Barrier Reef, the Islands of the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Expeditions’ product has always been defined by leading immersive excursions to remote areas untouched by traditional cruise ships and tourism operators. Given its origins exploring the Great Barrier Reef, it should come as no surprise that environmentally sensitive operations with minimal impact are part of the company’s DNA. Coral Expeditions remains the only major operator of extended small ship cruises on the Great Barrier Reef.

As the company grew, it pioneered many developments that have since become standard in the cruise industry such as the use of interpretive guides onboard and the practice of offering all inclusive shore excursions. The build of Coral Discoverer in 2005 was also a landmark – a state-of-the art small ship with bluewater capabilities built to very high standards in Australia.

Today, with new builds Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer, Coral Expeditions is continuing to expand on a rich Australian heritage and takes cruises further and further afield.  Coral Expeditions is one of the largest employers of Australian seafarers today.

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