MV Coral Expeditions II Review and Specifications
Specifications of MV Coral Expeditions II
|Builder||NQEA Pty Ltd (Cairns, Australia)|
|Speed||12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph|
|Length (LOA)||35 m / 115 ft|
|Beam (width)||12 m / 39 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||730 gt|
|Passengers||46 - 50|
|Decks with cabins||3|
|Former names||Coral Princess II|
Review of MV Coral Expeditions II
MV Coral Expeditions II is a purposely built catamaran ship cruising in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef (Coral Sea, Australia). The vessel was built in Cairns (Queensland, Australia) and is ideally suited to exploring UNESCO World Heritage-listed Marine Park. Cairns is also the turnaround (departure port) of the cruise ship. The catamaran design handles perfectly the choppy waters. The ship's small size (draft of only 2,5 m / 8 ft) enables it to visit reef regions that larger vessels cannot.
Coral Expeditions itineraries feature sailing around deserted islands and pristine reefs beyond the reach of day trippers and larger ships. The company's Great Barrier Reef (Coral Sea) cruise itineraries depart from the Queensland ports Darwin to Cairns, each offering a snapshot of the diverse ecosystem of the marine park.
The travel company Coral Expeditions (formerly Coral Princess Cruises) was established in 1984 by Captain Tony Briggs. His first ship was an ex-World War II Fairmile-class submarine chaser. The vessel was converted to carry up to 24 passengers on short overnight trips to the Great Barrier Reef from company's base in Cairns. All Coral Expeditions' ships are Australia-flagged, Australia-based, and employ all-Australian crew, which makes them one of the several truly Australian cruise companies. Coral Expeditions' field of operation includes New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Kimberley and Northern Australia, Tasmania and South Pacific. The 3-ship fleet includes Coral Discoverer, Coral Expeditions 2 and Coral Expeditions 1 (sister-ship by design, formerly "Coral Princess I").
Built in 1985, Coral Expeditions 2 had a drydock refit and refurbishment (total makeover) in 1996 after the acquisition by Coral Expeditions (then operating as Coral Princess Cruises). Another major refit was done in 2015. Coral Expeditions II doesn't offer luxury (by contemporary cruising standards). The extensive use of teak gives the staterooms and dining room an old-time maritime feel. The upper deck features wrap-around windows. Ship's Sun Deck is adjacent to the lounge, and provides plenty of tables and chairs. It could benefit from a few more loungers, which may happen when the tiny spa pool is removed during the next refurbishment. Coral Expeditions 2 is an expedition ship, so there are no full-length cabin windows or balcony rooms, but this hardly matters, as passengers tend to spend little time there.