This 5-day South Pacific cruise includes a full day to discover two different sections of the rarely visited Ribbon Reefs, considered to be the most colorful and pristine reefs found anywhere along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the wonderful fringing reefs off Lizard Island and Two Isles. Land in Cooktown and walk to the botanic gardens where you may see kangaroos and wallabies, and enjoy water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming in the most pristine and crystal-clear waters.
Day 1 : Embark in Cairns Day 2 : Cooktown | Great Barrier Reef Day 3 : Lizard Island | Snorkel Ribbon Reefs Day 4 : Ribbon Reefs Day 5 : Disembark in Cairns
Snorkel with some of the 1,500 species of fish at the Great Barrier Reef
Visit Lizard Island and swim from the beach over giant clam gardens
Discover the pristine Ribbon Reefs on a glass bottom boat tour
Board the Coral Expeditions II small ship for an afternoon departure from Cairns. While departing Cairns and cruising Trinity Bay, there is time to settle in and discover “home” for the next five days. In the evening, join the crew and traveling companions on the top deck to enjoy a glass of champagne 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. Enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Seafood Buffet.
Take the morning to discover historical Cooktown, which is steeped in history with buildings dating back to the 1870s. 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. Visit Cooktown’s fascinating historical museum, featuring original artifacts from Cook’s ship – Endeavour. See the original anchor and cannon, jettisoned overboard after Endeavour struck a reef and began taking on water. Perhaps visit the Botanic Gardens, and catch a glimpse of some native Australian wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies.
Visit one of the remote uninhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Join a marine biologist for a glass bottom boat tour over the colorful coral gardens and discover some of the 1500 species of tropical fish that call the reef home. Perhaps go snorkeling or scuba diving for an up-close view of the hundreds of varieties of coral growing on this section of reef. The experienced crew is on hand to provide assistance, advice, and guided snorkeling tours for less-experienced swimmers.
Awaken moored beside beautiful Lizard Island. The energetic may join guides on a walk to “Cook’s Look” on the island’s peak (hiking shoes or boots are recommended). It was from here, the highest lookout on this part of the reef, that Captain Cook was able to navigate a safe passage back through the treacherous waters after repairing the Endeavour near Cooktown over 200 years ago. 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. Simply relax on the beach, join the Marine Biologist for a glass bottom boat tour, or for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef experience, accompany the Dive Instructor on an unforgettable SCUBA dive.
Cruise to Ribbon Reef No 9, a spectacular and seldom-visited part of the reef where activities include more snorkeling opportunities and glass bottom boat tours with the Marine Biologist.
The Great Barrier Reef is not actually one continuous reef, but a series of thousands of individual coral cays stretching over 1800 miles between the town of Bundaberg and the tip of Australia at Cape York. Visit two of the most spectacular 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. A Marine Biologist explains the natural history and evolution of the reef and the local wildlife, which includes sea turtles, giant clams, rays and over 200 different species of native birds. Experience the reef through scuba diving, allowing the dive instructor to guide an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Enjoy a final memorable night cruising the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 5 Disembark in Cairns
Farewell the Captain, crew and new-found friends before disembarking at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal at 8:00am.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
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Five cabins, located on Deck C. 10.5-14 sqm, bunk beds or twin beds.
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Four staterooms, located on Deck C. 14 sqm, twin or double beds.
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Upper Deck Stateroom
Nine Upper Deck staterooms located on Deck B. 14 sqm, with twin or double beds.
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Four Deluxe staterooms located on Deck B. 15 sqm, with twin or double beds.
A 50% single supplement is charged or select the “Single Guest Match” program. Single Guest Match is available for guests who have flexible travel dates and are willing to share a cabin with another guest of the same gender. Passengers are placed on a standby list and notified if a match becomes available. Once confirmed, they are charged at the twin-share rate (no single supplement). Cabin category requests are accepted.
Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.
Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
24 hour soft drinks, tea, and barista-style coffee
Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
Access to islands, marine, and national parks
Guided tours on Explorer expedition vessel, Zodiacs, glass-bottom boat, and kayaks
Touring as described in each itinerary
Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities (Australian GST at 10%)
Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
Entry visas/travel permits
Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases
The Government Environmental Management Charge (EMC) of AUD19.50 per person (payable on board)
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!