The Great Barrier Reef is unlike any other place on earth. It is home to 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises as well as 6 species of turtles and over 1,500 species of fish. Clearly, this is one of the top destinations for anyone who loves sea life and wants the opportunity to observe it in a natural setting. But with climate change, coral bleaching and invasive creatures such as the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish in the area, the health of the reef is beginning to deteriorate. So travelers should make every effort to visit the reef while it is still fully accessible to the public. And the best way to experience the Great Barrier Reef is on a cruise on the Coral Expeditions II.
About the Vessel
What makes the Coral Expeditions II unique is the fact that it was purpose-built for cruising the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. At only 115 feet long, it is the perfect size to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Marine Park and provide guests with an up-close experience on the reef. As a catamaran style vessel, it is very stable in choppy water and helps to eliminate some of the motion sickness issues that many travelers experience on a smaller boat.
This cruise is for anyone who ever dreamed of being a marine biologist, a professional diver or has a love of the sea and its creatures. The staff is very knowledgeable about the reef and they are happy to answer any question. In addition, there are many opportunities for learning during the informative presentations scheduled throughout the trip. Expeditions include visits to the islands as well as the reef, sandy cays, coral outcrops and coastal towns. Guests can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving and kayaking in this one of a kind locale.
While this is a very comfortable ship, it is not a touristy, amenity-laden vessel designed to compete with the mega ships. However, the teak wood is reminiscent of the maritime ships of days gone by and the lounge areas are perfect for relaxing or gathering in small groups to get to know fellow passengers. The ship can accommodate up to 44 passengers but rarely are there more than 40, and often times there are even fewer. This creates a feeling of intimacy and familiarity with the surroundings as well as the staff. All meal and drinks are included in the cost of the cruise and are served by the staff who shares the duties of the ship’s operation as well as the guest service. This is a completely relaxed environment for guests and even the dress code of shorts and t-shirts throughout the day is a good indication of the casual atmosphere.
What Coral Expeditions II lacks in glitzy amenities, it more than makes up for with its intimate connection to the reef. Guests book this ship and this location to see the Great Barrier Reef and the wondrous creatures who make the reef their home. Each reef is a living being which is ever changing. For many years the reef thrived and grew but in recent years the health has been on a downward turn. Unfortunately, the future of this reef is uncertain, making the Great Barrier Reef a bucket list destination which should be experienced sooner rather than later to enjoy all of the beauty, marine life, and the life lessons which it has to offer, while at the same time impacting the reef as little as possible. Going there on the reef-friendly Coral Expeditions II is a great way to do the former while ensuring the latter.