Coral Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering small ship cruise line, welcomed their newest bluewater expedition vessel to the fleet with an intimate ceremony in Cairns yesterday.
Sister ship to last year’s successful Coral Adventurer, Coral Geographer has the same specialised design for rugged extended expeditions to remote areas.
This new class of expedition ships is designed around the unique Xplorer fast aluminium tender boats, which are launched off the back of the ship to facilitate rapid shore excursions. With expansive open deck spaces, relaxing lounge and bars, majority balcony staterooms and suites and featuring a collection of Indigenous Australian art, Coral Geographer is as comfortable as she is capable.
Having arrived in Australian waters in mid-March, the vessel has undergone an extensive fit-out and provisioning in preparation for her maiden voyage from Cairns. The arrival brings good news to the Cairns tourism industry with the employment of over 90 new ship and shoreside crew and the injection of millions of dollars into the region’s economy through supply chain and visitation.
The Maiden Voyage, departing Cairns on 31 March 2021, will take a small group of like-minded guests to explore Australia’s eastern seaboard, in full compliance with Covid-19 regulations. Guests will be guided by Coral Expeditions’ renowned expedition team as they enjoy the beautiful new ship.
The ship was christened in an official dockside ceremony on Tuesday, 30 March, which was attended by guests on the Maiden Voyage. In deference to Covid-19 concerns, there was no public ceremony. However, Coral Expeditions’ longest-serving employee, Purchasing Manager Gary Wun-Hym had the honour of christening the new vessel with a bottle of champagne. Mr Gary Wun-Hym has recently completed two decades of service with Coral Expeditions and has seen the evolution of the company from an operator of small catamarans on the Great Barrier Reef to a bluewater fleet capable of travelling the world’s oceans.
About Coral Geographer
Coral Geographer is designed for tropical expedition cruising and will access remote wilderness shores around the globe that are inaccessible to large cruise vessels and by regular means of travel. The design draws on the latest technical advances as well as Coral Expeditions’ 36 years of experience building and operating expedition ships. With a maximum capacity of 120 guests, she will carry fewer than 100 guests under the company’s SailSAFE plan delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere and world-class expedition experience.
As with all the Coral Expeditions fleet, Coral Geographer will be Australian flagged and crewed to deliver the highest standards of build quality, operational capability and safety, and environmental compliance. Custom-designed around its clientele and delivering expedition-focused itineraries, the new ship will feature several of Coral Expeditions’ much-loved features:
– Two ‘Xplorer’ tenders mounted on hydraulic platforms that allow all guests to embark and disembark for shore excursions without steps, queues or waiting
– A natural light-filled lecture lounge equipped with modern technology for daily presentations and briefings by expedition experts and guest lecturers
– Spacious communal areas, including a dining room that seats all guests60 outside-facing cabins with ensuite bathrooms; over half with private balconies
– Open bridge policy and guest observation lounge overlooking the bridge
– Multiple indoor and outdoor bars to taste the curated cellar of Australian and New Zealand wines
Like her sister ship, Coral Adventurer, the 120-passenger vessel features a shallow draft to allow her to visit destinations inaccessible to larger ships. The ship will also feature an increased number of well-appointed bridge deck suites with horizon bathtubs.
Having submitted a comprehensive SailSAFE plan to all federal and state authorities, Coral Expeditions have been widely approved for a return to operations. Being an Australian flagged cruise line carrying fewer than 100 passengers, the company is not affected by Biosecurity and Border Force restrictions. The company have completed 21 incident-free expedition voyages since the return to operations in October and have explored the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, the wild islands of South Australia and the Abrolhos and Coral Coast of Western Australia.
Following her maiden voyage, the ship will join the Coral Expeditions fleet exploring the Kimberley region in what will be the company’s 26th season. Later in 2021, she will sail a series of newly released voyages to the Abrolhos and West Coast and the wild islands of South Australia.
“We are confident in the ongoing strength of the expedition sector, along with the vessel’s size, her design and her capabilities,” said Mark Fifield, Group General Manager of Coral Expeditions. “She represents the perfect balance between being large enough for ocean voyaging yet having a small and intimate ship atmosphere to maximise our guest experience.”