Coral Princess Cruises

Coral Princess Cruises pioneered small ship expedition cruising in Australia and the South Pacific over 30 years ago and is today acknowledged as one of the leading small ship cruise lines of the world. With a fleet of three purpose-built small-ships (accommodating just 44 – 72 guests), Coral Princess Cruises offers luxury small ship cruises on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Cape York & Arnhem Land and the remarkable Kimberley Coast. Further afield, guests can discover the tropical paradise that is the Islands of the South Pacific, rarely-visited Papua New Guinea, the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat regions of exotic Indonesia and the outstanding natural beauty and spectacular landscapes of New Zealand.

Coral Princess Cruises

Coral Princes Cruises History

Founded by Captain Tony Briggs in 1984, Coral Princess Cruises began life on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with a converted 12-passenger WWII submarine chaser. By 1988 the company’s cruises were proving a major draw-card for travelers from North America and Europe, leading to the launch of the company’s first purpose-built small ship, the 50 passenger Coral Princess.

With the addition of a second small ship (Coral Princess II) to the fleet in 1996, Coral Princess Cruises was in a position to expand their operation further, pioneering the very first small ship expedition cruises on Western Australia’s remarkable Kimberley Coast.

With the incredible popularity of both the Great Barrier Reef and Kimberley cruises, a grand vision was realized with the launch of the state-of-the-art flagship Oceanic Discoverer in 2005. Built to exacting standards, Oceanic Discoverer was the first Australian-owned and registered passenger ship to attain full international SOLAS compliance in over fifty years. The launch of Oceanic Discoverer allowed Coral Princess Cruises to expand their operations throughout the most exotic and rarely visited destinations of the South Pacific, including the archipelagos of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. In 2013 an inaugural expedition through the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat regions of Indonesia was added to the schedule, with plans being developed to expand further into exciting and new destinations throughout Asia-Pacific over coming years.

With over 30 years experience as Australia and the South Pacific’s leading small ship cruise line, Coral Princess Cruises remains under the original ownership and management of tourism pioneer Captain Tony Briggs and his wife Vicki.

Coral Princess Cruises

Coral Princess Cruises’s reputation as a pioneer in the field of expedition cruising is well deserved. The company has pioneered several new itineraries to some of the most remote locations on earth and changed the way expeditions are conducted through their unsurpassed range of excursion tenders, making expedition travel possible for even the least intrepid traveler. Tenders include glass bottom boats, inflatable zodiacs, kayaks and the company’s unique excursion vessels ‘Xplorer’.

The unique, specially designed Xplorer is equipped with high horsepower engines and comfortable padded seating accommodating all guests and ensures that you don’t miss any of the region’s highlights.  Xplorer is also fitted with an awning to provide protection from the weather and an on board toilet. With Coral Princess Cruises boarding of excursion vessels is safe and easy. Simply step aboard from the Main Deck and Oceanic Discoverer’s unique hydraulic platform gently lowers the excursion vessel into the water, ensuring that you don’t need to clamber aboard or get your feet wet.

Coral Princess Cruises’s Expedition teams are the best in the business, comprising a dedicated Expedition Leader and two knowledgeable and engaging Guest Lecturers. On itineraries featuring in-water activities (snorkeling, SCUBA diving), a Marine Biologist and Diving Instructor join the team. The Expedition Team is complemented by an all-Australian marine crew and hospitality staff.

Modern Australian dining is a standout feature of the Coral Princess experience, with talented chefs making use of only the freshest of locally-sourced produce in their sumptuous menus.

Coral Princess Cruises Fleet

The company’s fleet of three expedition-style cruise ships has been specially designed and purpose-built to exacting standards for cruising in this part of the world (unlike other companies who position their ships that were developed in other parts of the world). How does the fact that our ships have been purpose-built enhance the expedition experience? Coral Princess and Coral Princess II were built with regulations for cruising the Great Barrier Reef in mind. This means they are of the correct size to be able to anchor directly over the edge of the Reef, meaning that snorkeling can take place directly from the ship’s snorkel deck. Larger ships need to anchor away from the reef and use tenders to access the reef for snorkeling. Another example is Oceanic Discoverer’s shallow draught. As she was designed for cruising in this part of the world (where tides can be large) she has a shallow draft of just 3 meters (9 feet), meaning she can cruise places larger ships cannot. In Papua New Guinea for example the ship cruises almost 60 nautical miles up the Sepik River to the remote villages of Bien and Angoram. Other ships draw significantly more water and are not able to access the mouth of the river, meaning their exploration on zodiacs is limited.

These vessels are ideal for discovering the natural wonders of Australia and the tropical waters of the South Pacific. Large enough to provide all the modern amenities and comforts of larger cruise ships, yet small enough to enable access to reef and island sites inaccessible to other vessels, a Coral Princess small ship assures its travelers a unique adventure.

Two 115-foot catamarans Coral Princess and Coral Princess II accommodate just 50 and 44 guests respectively in twin and double Deluxe Staterooms, Upper Deck Staterooms, Staterooms and Cabins. Catamarans offer greater stability in the water and their small size means easy access to even the most hard-to-reach locations. The Coral Princess II features a the unique Xplorer shore craft. Xplorer is large enough to carry the entire complement of guests but small enough to explore up close in comfort and stability.   

Coral Princess's flagship Oceanic Discoverer is the most recently launched ship of its type operating in Australian waters today. Accommodating a maximum of just 72 guests, Oceanic Discoverer’s onboard accommodation comprises 36 spacious modern staterooms. Select from Bridge, Promenade or Main Deck staterooms offering a choice of twin through to junior king-size doubles.

A professional all Australian and New Zealand crew offers a high level of customer service, warm personalities and a Down Under “can-do” attitude. Expert naturalist guides are the best in the business, and they work hard to ensure authentic experiences in rarely visited local communities. 

Why Choose Coral Princess Cruises

When you travel with Coral Princess Cruises you won’t just see these exotic destinations from the deck of a ship, you will truly experience them! Their ships have been purpose built for cruising in the waters of Australia and the South Pacific, meaning you don’t need to compromise on amenities and you will get closer to the action than you ever thought possible. With the most experienced and knowledgeable Expedition Teams, and the exemplary service of the 100% Australian & New Zealand staff (tipping not required!), you will feel right at home enjoying the uniquely Australian onboard atmosphere.