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Choose Kimberley Cruising for the Ultimate Experience

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 29, 2017

Great Escape during a waterfall season Kimberley Cruise

 

If you are someone who wants to enjoy a Western Australian cruise, visiting amazing places with breathtaking scenery while at the same time experience the ambience of a luxury cruise vessel with fantastic amenities, then look no further.

Here at Expedition Cruise Specialists, we love expedition cruising and our team of cruise specialists are trained and experienced to help you make the right decision for your adventure.

We are  so much more than just another travel agency, we are people just like you and we know exactly what it takes for an expedition cruise to tick all the boxes.

With so much choice available, the world of expedition cruising can be confusing to the newcomer.

It would be a costly mistake if you choose the wrong cruise.

You need to find the right ship, the right itinerary and the right time of year to sail.

 

Aboriginal Art site is a feature of Kimberley Cruises

 

For Unforgettable Memories choose Kimberley Cruising

It has to be said that Australia has some of the most spectacular locations in the world, and the Kimberley region is right up there for incredible scenery and wildlife.

The region known simply as The Kimberley takes its evocative name from its most imposing landmark; an ancient mountain range visible from the rugged sea coast.

This is a land steeped in ancient Aboriginal culture and adorned with the world’s oldest known indigenous art, the mysterious Bradshaw (Gwion Gwion) paintings.

However so few people get to see and experience the beauty and awe of this amazing part of the world.

The terrain is rugged and not easily accessible to mainstream vehicles or tourists wanting to go it alone.

The easiest and safest way to visit these remote areas is with professional and experienced tour guides who know the area well.

Now can you imagine yourself embarking on an amazing adventure to the Kimberley region in the comfort of a luxury expedition cruise ship?

Yes please!

It’s true, this is on offer and is an absolute must for anyone who wants to get out there and do it in style.

Cruise the stunning waters of the Australian coastline on board one of several magnificent vessels.

We have carefully crafted cruise and touring itineraries to allow guests the opportunity to ‘experience the destination’ - daily activities include scenic walks, helicopter flights, fishing, culture, picnics, nature, exploring and much more!

 

True North on a Kimberley Cruise in Western Australia

 

Seasonal Savings

Expedition cruises along the Kimberley coast in Western Australia are only possible during the dry season between late March and early October each year, when weather conditions are ideal.

For more inspiration, contact us (Freecall within Australia) on 1800 90 20 80 or email [email protected] on and we will be happy to help you start planning an adventure of a lifetime.

 

King George Falls on a coral expeditions Kimberley Cruise

Sea Spirit receives multi-million dollar upgrade

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 15, 2017

One of our favourite polar vessels the M/V Spirit has just returned to service following a multi-million dollar refurbishment of all 54 passenger suites. Each suite has been completely refurbished with new carpeting, draperies, bed linens, upholstery, new furniture and fixtures. Best of all, all bathrooms are completely renovated with new tile throughout, stone vanity top with integrated mirror, designer sink and rain shower. A welcome retreat, indeed, after a day of exploring the polar world!

Check out our photo gallery below to see some photographs of the stylish new suites.

If you would like to experience the upgraded Sea Spirit for yourself, we still have a few rooms left for the coming 2017/18 Antarctica Season, and some great Earlybird offers (be quick as they finish soon!) on 2018 Arctic voyages and 2018/19 expeditions to Antarctica.

For more information about Sea Spirit and her polar expedition itineraries click here

 

Sea Spirit Owner's SuiteSea Spirit Owners Suite sitting

Owner's Suite bathroomSea Spirit Premium Suite

Sea Spirit Deluxe SuiteSea Spirit Deluxe Suite balcony

Sea Spirit Main SuiteSea Spirit Classic Suite

Ten of the Best: Expedition Cruises for Snorkellers

Posted by Andrew Castles on June 07, 2017

If you’re a keen snorkeller looking for your next holiday idea, we’ve pulled together 10 of the best places to snorkel around the world on an expedition cruise. The list, in no particular order, includes bucket-list destinations like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands through to little known paradises like Kiribati's Southern Line Islands and Raja Ampat.  Contact the team at Expedition Cruise Specialists to start planning your next great adventure today.

 

1.    Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

 

Great Barrier Reef cruise Coral Expeditions

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is at the top of the bucket-list for water lovers. Stretching over 2,000 kilometres along the Australian coast, ‘the Reef’ wows visitors with its colourful corals and amazing sealife. Although coral bleaching is a concern, there are many parts of the reef still worth seeing (check out our recent blog on this topic). Three, four and seven-night expedition cruises depart Cairns aboard Coral Expeditions II each week.

 

2.    Indonesia’s Raja Ampat

​

Snorkelling Raja Ampat in Indonesia

Home to over 70% of the world's known coral species, incredible marine life and outstanding natural beauty, Indonesia's Raja Ampat should be on every snorkeller’s bucket list. There’s expeditions on offer on various ships, including True North, Coral Discoverer and the Ombak Putih.

 

3.    Belize Barrier Reef

 

lighthouse reef belize national geographic quest cruise

The dazzling undersea of the Belize Barrier Reef is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. You can snorkel and dive it on National Geographic Quest’s  9 Day Belize and Guatemala expedition cruise.

 

4.    Kiribati’s Southern Line Islands

 

Orion cruise southern line islands kiribati

An 8 day cruise aboard National Geographic Orion takes you from Tahiti to Kiribati’s Southern Line Islands. It is one of the healthiest reef systems in the world and a rare place virtually unmarred by the touch of humans, which is why it was identified by the National Geographic Pristine Seas project as one of the few places researchers can study to see how reefs and undersea ecosystems looked before humans.

 

5.    The Seychelles 'Garden of Eden'

 

Hop from island to island aboard Variety Cruises’ 44-passenger Pegasus and snorkel over colourful coral reefs on this memorable eight day small-ship expedition around the Indian Ocean’s beautiful Seychelles.

 

6.    Galapagos Islands

 

Galapagos Islands Cruise with Lindblad National Geographic Expeditions

Snorkelling in Ecuador’s offshore Galapagos Islands is all about the marine life. You will be able to snorkel with marine iguanas, frolick with sea lions, green sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and an incredible variety of colourful reef fish. National Geographic Endeavour II, Ocean Spray and Sea Star Journey all offer week long expeditions in this nature-lovers’ paradise.

 

7.    Melanesia’s Louisiade Archipelago

 

Louisiade Archipelago expedition cruise true north

The Louisiade Archipelago offers some of the finest snorkeling in the South Pacific. There’s thrilling in-water activities at “Fish City” on Rossell Atoll and colourful corals at Egum Atoll to explore. You can even snorkel and dive over WWII aircraft wrecks. You can experience Melanesia aboard the True North.

 

8.    Australia’s Abrolhos Islands & Rowley Shoals

 

Abrolhos Islands cruise Eco Abrolhos

Located well off the vast coast of Western Australia, the Rowley Shoals and Abrolhos Islands offer spectacular snorkelling opportunities. Rarely-visited, the reefs are particularly well-preserved with myriad sea life to view. In the Abrolhos Islands you can also snorkel over the wreck of the legendary ship Batavia. Visit the Rowley Shoals aboard True North, and the Abrolhos Islands aboard Eco Abrolhos.

 

9.    Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago

 

Mergui Archipelago snorkelling cruise burma myanmar

Myanmar’s (Burma) Mergui Archipelago offers some of Asia’s best snorkelling - along with the interesting Moken culture of the ‘Sea Gypsy’ people. Only recently opening up to tourism, many of the best snorkelling spots can be found in Lampi Marine National Park. Discover it all on an 8 day expedition aboard the Andaman Explorer.

 

10.  Antarctica

 

polar snorkelling in Antarctica

Antarctica might be a surprising addition to our list as we tend to think of snorkelling as a warm water activity. Luckily, on their cruises Aurora Expeditions supply specially designed Waterproof© Snorkel-Drysuits, gloves and a hood to keep the icy-cold polar waters at bay. Through crystal clear waters snorkellers will discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at the beauty of sculpted icebergs below the water and also witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs.

Kimberley Cruising Is Definitely One For Your Bucket List

Posted by Andrew Castles on May 18, 2017

If you are looking for the perfect destination for your next holiday in Australia, you need to consider Kimberley cruising with Expedition Cruise Specialists.

Kimberley cruising is by far the most outstanding holiday option for those who enjoy first class accommodation, fine food, excellent service and exceptional itineraries that are designed to allow guests the opportunity to really experience the destination.

The Kimberley region is one of the most stunningly beautiful and unspoilt destinations in the world.

 

Kimberley Quest II on a Kimberley Cruise at Raft Point
 

To really appreciate the magnificence of this remote paradise, you need to be able to get up close and feel the spray of the waterfalls, listen to the calls of the wildlife and breathe in the freshest of air.

For an unforgettable experience to treasure for the rest of your life, sail on one of the multiple expedition vessels that take guests away in small groups to experience wilderness ‘up close’ and, to add yet another dimension to your adventure.

Several of the Kimberley Cruising options even feature an onboard helicopter.

The team at Expedition Cruise Specialists will be able to help you plan your dream Australian holiday on one of their magnificent vessels that will provide you with the luxury of first class accommodation and service as well as exclusive day tours to remote and stunningly beautiful locations.

 

True North Kimberley Cruise Helicopter
 

The carefully crafted and unique itineraries include activities such as;
Scenic walks
Helicopter flights
Fishing
Culture tours
Picnics
Nature 
Exploring 

Kimberley Cruising Seasons

Cruises on the Kimberley Coast only operate in between mid April and October each year, due to the rest of the year being prone to uncomfortable hot, humid weather conditions and the chance of cyclones.

The Kimberley’s Three Seasons:

Waterfall Season (April & May)

Iconic waterfalls are one of the main draw cards of the Kimberley Coast, including the towering 80-metre King George and four-tiered Mitchell Falls. 

The landscape will be covered in a brilliant green hue, as vegetation regenerates with the rains.


Great Escape on a Kimberley Cruise

 

Peak Season (June, July and early August)

If you have had enough of the cold winter then June and July are probably your best and most popular time of year to travel to the Kimberley, because this is the Dry Season and the weather is characterised by clear blue skies and balmy days.

The iconic King Cascades on the Prince Regent River are spring fed and will have a water flow year round. 

 

Beach BBQ on a Kimberley Cruise

 

Whale & Wildflower Season (August, September and early October)

The Kimberley Coast is the world’s epicentre for whale watching with up to 30,000 humpbacks making their annual journey from the Antarctic feeding grounds to the warm tropical waters to breed and give birth.

Often your skipper will idle the ship’s engines so these amazing creatures can put on a playful display around the ship. 

The wildflowers are also blooming, covering the ground in a carpet of colourful native blooms.

The three seasons for cruising this awesome region are all very special in different ways, offering a completely different tour experience.

 

Mermaid Boab Tree on a Coral Discoverer Kimberley Cruise

 

Speak to an expedition specialist:

Phone: +61 7 4041 2101

Freecall: 1800 90 20 80 (within Australia)

Email: [email protected]

Is the Great Barrier Reef still Great?

Posted by Andrew Castles on May 16, 2017

great barrier reef cruise

 

For decades, travellers from all corners of the globe have been drawn to Australia’s tropical north by one single allure, the dream to snorkel or dive the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Growing up, we’d all seen pictures of 'the Reef' in exotic magazines like National Geographic and wondered whether the corals could really be THAT blue, THAT red and THAT yellow, and whether the fish really would look like Nemo. For most visitors the answer has always been a resounding “YES”, the reality matched the expectation.

But, over the past couple of years we’ve been hearing a lot more about the Reef, and not all of it good. Global warming, coral bleaching, forests of dead coral and potentially even the future of the entire reef under threat being a common theme.

So it begs the question; What’s really happening to the reef and is it still worth visiting?

Rebecca Finlayson, a qualified Marine Biologist at Coral Expeditions - the region’s only multi-night cruise operator - sat down to answer all the hard questions for us!

 

coral expeditions marine biologist

 

There has been a lot of talk about coral bleaching. Can you explain what this is? Is this a natural phenomenon?

Bleaching is when the coral expels the microscopic algae that lives in its tissue. This algae gives coral its colour and so when it is expelled what we see is the white calcium carbonate that coral utilises. It’s a bit like the bones inside of humans; some coral has this calcium carbonate internally, while others use it more like an exoskeleton. The coral becomes bleached when it becomes very stressed, and ‘thinks’ that expelling the zooxanthellae (or algae) is its last chance to survive. Just because coral has bleached does not mean it is dead, but conversely, dead coral will always be bleached. If the stressful factors around the coral are eliminated or reduced, coral can draw back in the zooxanthellae and recover from the event. However, if it remains stressed, it will not draw the zooxanthellae back in, and the result is that it will usually die around three months after the bleaching event. On our cruise programmes we saw some bleaching in specific locations, with more recovery in some areas and less recovery in others.

 

Some people are saying “the reef is dying / dead”. Is this true?

It is a very bold statement to declare something as ‘dead’, particularly something as large as the Great Barrier Reef. Although certain areas of the reef do not look what they did 10, 100 or 1000 years ago, it can be for a number of reasons; some places will even look better than they did years ago. The whole reef is continually going through different stages of development and replenishment and as a result different areas of the reef will look different to each other.

 

If tourists want to travel to see the reef, are there any areas that the reef are completely untouched?

No areas of the reef are 100% ‘untouched’ except the designated pink zones. These are the areas most stringently managed in the Reef, and no operator has ever or will ever enter these areas. However with our own private moorings at some sites on all itineraries - including the Ribbon Reefs - usually there are no other ships in sight, and in these locations, the reef is truly spectacular.

 

Can you tell us a little about the condition of the reef where Coral Expeditions II visits?

On the 5 night Northern Expedition from Cairns I have noticed the bleaching a little more, and in some locations, the coral looks a little different to what it used to. Equally through, it has recovered almost fully in other areas. Generally, I see the reefs visits on the 3 night Southern expedition virtually untouched by bleaching and the coral looks as it always has - beautiful.

 

coral expeditions great barrier reef Australia

 

Where on the Coral Expeditions itineraries will you find the best diving/coral/marine life?

In my opinion, the Ribbon Reefs on our Northern Expedition are the most spectacular. But others are also beautiful, including Thetford Reef and Steve’s Bommie.

 

During a Great Barrier Reef cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II, will travellers notice any coral bleaching or damage?

They may notice a little bit of bleaching, but equally, recovery is evident in many areas. The main area that is still noticeably different is Lizard Island, however this being a fringing reef goes through large changes quite regularly. It is a learning experience for our guests too to see the differences in not only reef types but bleached, undisturbed and recovering reefs as well.

 

What’s the typical reaction of a guest on a Coral Expeditions guest when they see the reef?

Usually astonishment - our guests are impressed beyond what they expected! The diversity in fish is something that our guests find magical, but our guests are often most impressed by the coral. We quite often hear our guests remark that the Reef is ‘the only place where the coral is just as interesting to look at as the fish!”

 

Do we need to “hurry up and see the reef before its gone”?

No. Nobody has a crystal ball, and the Reef is the kind of place that you can return to again and again, as it is alive and constantly changing. Sounds like a good excuse for a holiday to me anyway!

 

fish Australia great barrier reef

 

So there you have it, according to Bec it is not all doom and gloom. Indeed on our own recent 3-night cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II we were simply blown away by what we saw, the snorkelling was the best we’ve ever experienced and most of our travelling companions (from all over the world) agreed.

Simply put, there is no better way to experience the Great Barrier Reef than with the team at Coral Expeditions. Their small ship, the 44-passenger Coral Expeditions II, calls at exclusive parts of the Reef where there’s no other travellers around and you feel like you have the reef all to yourself. You’ll learn a lot during your cruise from people like Bec, and enjoy first class service from the rest of the young Australian crew. And the food.. oh the food. How the chef manages to prepare spectacular meal after spectacular meal in such a small galley we will never know!

If you would like to learn more about joining a three, four or seven night Great Barrier Reef cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II click here or call us today!

 

reef coral cruise

For more about the Great Barrier Reef visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website.