Trip Type : Small Ship Cruise
Great Barrier Reef_Australia_1492445_P

Great Barrier Reef Cruises

5.0 . Excellent
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
8 days
From: $ 1,595 $ 199 / day
Checking price



  • 8-day Great Barrier Reef small ship cruise
  • Visit to historic Cooktown
  • Pelorus Island Beach BBQ

Short Description

This classic Australia small ship cruise uncovers the secrets of the Great Barrier Reef - an incredible underwater world hidden just beneath the water’s surface. Whether you experience the reef by glass-bottom boat, snorkeling or diving, it is a mystical world filled with coral, marine life and vibrant tropical fish. The informative Coral Princess crew will always be on hand to provide assistance and information about the fascinating reef life and habitat. An experienced dive instructor will also be there to offer you the exhilarating experience of scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Make use of the resort facilities at Dunk Island or simply enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of these wonderful tropical islands and coastline.

Discover a paradise of remote and uninhabited islands, become a lazy beachcomber or an inquisitive adventurer. The starkness of the remote and unique coral cays will fascinate you. Go snorkeling and coral viewing among teeming fish life on the fringing reefs of Lizard Island and Pelorus Island (exclusive to small ship cruises aboard the Coral Princess II), or linger over the top of the spectacular platform reefs, all abundant with marine life and dancing corals.

Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Trip Type Small Ship Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Cairns
End City Cairns

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations aboard Coral Princess II
  • All meals onboard
  • Morning and afternoon teas, soda fountain soft drinks, barista-style coffee
  • Use of snorkeling equipment such as masks, fins, flotation vests and wetsuits plus a free scuba skills lesson
  • Guided glass-bottom boat
  • Coral viewing and snorkeling excursions
  • Presentations by the marine biologist
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • Use of comprehensive range of library and video resources
  • Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities.

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Day 1 - Embark Cairns

Meals: Dinner

4:00pm: Board your Coral Princess Cruises small ship for an 5:00pm departure from Cairns. Cruise north along Trinity Bay while settling in and discovering your home for the next seven nights. Join the crew and traveling companions on the top deck for a glass of champagne and enjoy the sights while cruising northward, passing Double Island and the pretty beach side village of Palm Cove. Admire a spectacular sunset over the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Macalister Range before sitting down to a sumptuous dinner.

Day 2 - Historic Cooktown & the Reef

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

Spend the morning discovering historic Cooktown. It was here that the famous explorer Captain James Cook took refuge during his voyage of discovery after claiming Australia as a British colony in 1770. You have the option to visit Cooktown’s fascinating historical museum, featuring artifacts from Cook’s ship – Endeavour, to see the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Enjoy time to discover Cooktown at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, where you may catch a glimpse of native Australian wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies. This afternoon, visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Join the marine biologist for a glass bottom boat tour over the colorful coral gardens before your first snorkeling opportunity for up-close views of the hundreds of varieties of coral growing on this section of reef.

Day 3 - Lizard Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

This morning awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join our guides on a walk to ‘Cook’s Look’ on the island’s peak. A photographer’s delight, the views from the lookout over the World Heritage-listed reef and surrounding tropical islands are magnificent. Lizard Island’s fringing reef, in the shallow waters just meters off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkeling opportunities. Discover giant clams and a profusion of fish. Enjoy the remainder of the morning at your leisure. You may wish to simply relax on the golden beach soaking up the sun, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, take the plunge with a Dive Instructor on a guided SCUBA dive. The choice is yours! This afternoon, cruise to Ribbon Reef No. 9, a spectacular and seldom visited part of the reef for more snorkeling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.

Day 4 - Ribbon Reefs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 3,000 kilometers between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. Spend today visiting two of the most pristine sections of the reef, Ribbon Reef No. 3 and Rachel Carson Reef. Explore the coral gardens and marine life with guided snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. The Marine Biologist will explain the natural history and evolution of the reef and help you discover the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds.

Day 5 - Thetford Reef & Sudbury Cay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

Enjoy the afternoon experiencing the reef at the exclusive Thetford Reef and Sudbury Cay moorings. Take a glass bottom boat tour over the colorful coral gardens before gathering on the snorkel deck to participate in a fish feed. Discover some of the 1500 species of fish that live on the reef, including Spangled Emperor, Giant Trevally and the Hump-Headed Maori Wrasse as they are hand fed by the Marine Biologist. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon to snorkel in the shallow waters for up-close views of the hundreds of varieties of colorful corals and tropical fish.

Day 6 - Hinchinbrook Channel & Pelorus Island Beach BBQ

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

Awaken this morning cruising the spectacular Hinchinbrook Channel, discovering Hinchinbrook Island’s towering cliffs and mangrove Eco-systems. Subject to tides, cruise the length of the channel, separating the Australian mainland and the island, one of the most diverse marine environments on the Australian coast. Keep an eye out for myriad marine life including crocodiles, dolphins, turtles and dugongs, all of which feed on the region’s plentiful sea grasses and can often be seen frolicking in these waters.

Next, enjoy the afternoon to discover Coral Princess Cruises’ very own tropical paradise, Pelorus Island. Head to the beach for a gourmet beach BBQ, freshly prepared by the Captain. Then, explore the surrounding rainforest on a guided nature walk. Pelorus’ fringing reef, in the shallow waters just meters off the beach, offers some fantastic snorkeling opportunities. Admire the colorful corals from the glass bottom boat with the Marine Biologist, accompany the Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive or simply relax on the long stretch of golden beach, the choice is yours!

Day 7 - Dunk Island & Nathan Reef

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

This morning join your naturalist guides on a fascinating rainforest walk discovering Dunk Island’s unique flora and fauna. You may be lucky enough to see the brightly colored blue-winged Ulysses Butterfly, impossible to miss against the ancient rainforest background. Keen birdwatchers should keep an eye out for many of the up to 100 species of native birds recorded on the island, including the Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Emerald Dove and Orange-footed Scrubfowl. Following lunch, discover Nathan Reef at your own pace. The exclusive mooring experience some of the most colorful coral gardens that can be found anywhere along the entire length of the reef. View many of the 400 different species of coral living in this World Heritage-listed wonderland. Venture in to the warm tropical waters to explore the corals and marine life on a guided snorkeling tour and join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour.

For the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany the Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive. Later, discover some of the amazing creatures living on the reef at the on-board display tank. Enjoy the rare opportunity for a close up look at sea cucumbers, brightly colored starfish and other marine life. Laze away the late afternoon on the sun deck, enjoying the comfortable onboard facilities including the spa pool and sun lounges. Tonight, head to the dining room for another sumptuous dinner as we settle in for our final night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 8 - Fitzroy Island & Cairns

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel ashore to explore beautiful Fitzroy Island. Surrounded by a reef system that forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Fitzroy Island offers wonderful bush walking opportunities and idyllic white sandy beaches. Savor our final snorkeling opportunity over the island’s fringing reefs, just meters from the beach in the sheltered waters. Following lunch, early this afternoon we cruise through Trinity Bay before arriving in Tropical Cairns at 1:30pm for disembarkation at Trinity Wharf.


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Price From $ 1,595
Price Per Day: $ 199 per day
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Ship Name

Coral Expeditions II

Ship Stats

Coral Expeditions II

  • 46 guests
  • Year Built: 1996
  • Refurbished: 2013
  • 12 crew members
  • Length: 115 feet
  • Beam: 39 feet
  • Draft: 8 feet
  • Cruising Speed: 12 knots

Ship Description

The 46-guest Coral Expeditions II, formerly known as Coral Princess II , operates year-round on the Great Barrier Reef. She is the ideal ship for maneuvering amongst the islands and reefs of this World Heritage-listed wonderland and snorkelling straight from the ship. At just 115 feet in length, she is the perfect size to get you up close and personal with the reef. Fully refurbished in 2013 and featuring the facilities and comforts of much bigger ships, aboard Coral Expeditions II you will discover the best of Tropical North Queensland.

Deck & Cabin Plans

Deck B & C

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Maximum Number of People in Group: 46

Cancellation Policy:

To secure your reservation a deposit of 20% of the fare is due within 7 days of placing your booking. A Reservation Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Final payment is due 30 days prior to departure. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following fees, based on number of days prior to departure:

30 to 14 days - forfeit 20% of relevant fare

13 to 7 days - forfeit 50% of relevant fare

6 days to "no-show" - forfeit 100% of relevant fare

Additional Information:

Room Configuration

No single supplement (on cruise only) for genuine single travelers. Guests travelling together who elect to travel in single rooms will be required to pay a 25% surcharge. Several triple share rooms at Stateroom category accommodation level are available. The third bed is a “Pullman bunk” and these are suited to the third person being a child or small adult. When using the triple share room, the per person triple share price is 75% of the twin share price. Exclusive charter and group rates available.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions

Unused services & personal expenses

Regardless of any other term in this agreement, partial refunds are not available for unused services including but not limited to hotel rooms, meals, air or land transportation, activity days or other sightseeing excursions. You will not be reimbursed for any personal expenses such as airfare, hotel or other travel expenses due to changes in itineraries or cancellations. If a portion of the services of your tour are cancelled by us or our third party supplier because of an event within our control or the control of our third party supplier, and you are not offered a replacement or alternative, we will refund the cost of that portion of the services.

Medical Fitness and Age

Good physical and mental health is essential for the enjoyment of the active outdoor tours arranged by Adventure Smith Explorations. By forwarding the deposit and signed reservation form, the client certifies that he/she does not have any physical or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other clients, trip leaders or company representatives. It is essential that any participant with a medical condition that may be affected by motion on a body of water, vigorous activity, high altitude, headache, cold, other natural phenomenon, or particular foods or allergic reactions, notify Adventure Smith Explorations in writing in advance of travel. Adventure Smith Explorations expressly disclaims any and all liability for medical care or for special dietary requirements. Participants may be required to provide a doctor’s statement of good health.

Adventure Smith Explorations, its third party suppliers and the suppliers’ tour leaders, agents, or representatives may make a determination that an individual client’s fitness to embark upon or continue a tour is inadequate. In that case, the client may be prohibited from embarking, continuing, or participating in a portion of the tour. Adventure Smith Explorations supports the judgment of its third party suppliers, tour leaders, agents, or representatives in such cases and you agree to honour such determinations.

Trip ID#:


Trip Excludes

  • Pre- and post-cruise accommodation and transfers
  • Bar and shop purchases
  • Ship-to-shore communications expenses
  • A Government Environmental Management charge of $18.00 per person (subject to change) - payable on board
  • optional scuba diving costs
  • Items of a personal nature, including but not limited to travel and medical insurance.

Meals Included:

7 Breakfast, 7 Lunch and 7 Dinner

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