Amanda’s Cruise Diary: Coral Discoverer
With the taxi pulling up outside my Darwin accommodation ready to take me to the wharf for my Kimberley Cruise, I was excited and apprehensive as I was travelling on my own. Once at the wharf, it was an easy seamless experience to go through the boarding process, and not before long I was onboard the Coral Discoverer and settled into my cabin on Promenade Deck.
After a quick unpack I was up on deck for safety demonstration followed by Captain’s drinks and a ‘get to know’ with my fellow passengers. A fun night indeed!
On board the Coral Discoverer
As I settled in for my days ahead aboard Coral Discover I took some time to have a little explore the vessel and check out all the areas. There are 3 accommodation decks. Main Deck is on the same level as the dining room and the outdoor access to the Xplorer vessel. Then up a short flight of stairs (about 12 steps) to Promenade Deck, where my cabin was located. There is an outdoor walk around area on this deck, and the windows have one-way film so nobody walking past can see into your cabin. Then another flight of stairs up to Bridge Deck where there are more cabins and the ship’s Bridge.
Coral Discoverer has an open Bridge policy, so you are welcome to pop in and have a chat with the Captain and crew anytime, check out the maps and discuss the wealth of knowledge the crew have about the Kimberley.
Up another flight of stairs and you are up on the Top Deck. You have 360-degree views of the amazing Kimberley scenery and coast passing you by, as you sip on an icy cold beverage.
Coral Discoverer meals
Meals on board are amazing!
The buffet breakfast offered a range of yogurts, fruits and cereals along with a hot buffet, including different types of eggs each morning and many other tasty treats. One morning we had French lamb cutlets: not my usual breakfast but a great way to set-up for an action-packed day. Lunch each day included a variety of hot and cold buffet style options. Dinner was table service after you chose your option during the lunch service. And wine is included with all lunch and dinner meals.
One night, we also had wonderful bonfire on the beach. Chairs were whisked over from the ship and we all got to sit around the fire having a lovely drink and watching the sunset. A delightful BBQ dinner was then served for all to enjoy.
Coral Discoverer Xplorer Vessel
The Coral Discoverer has an ‘Xplorer’ vessel, which can accommodation all 72 guests on board for daily excursions. You walk out the doors on Main Deck directly onto the vessel — which is then hydraulically lowered into the water. This works superbly, especially for those guests who are not 100% steady on their feet.
The Xplorer vessel can cruise along all the smaller river systems to access all the amazing waterfalls the Kimberley Coast has to offer, as well as beach landings to visit Indigenous Rock art, explore caves and enjoy walks on land. We would often see footprints in the sand from saltwater crocodiles.
Sometimes when the Xplorer vessel went to places like King George Falls and Kings Cascade Falls, we would also have the zodiacs as well, which allowed us right up close to have a soak under the Falls. For passengers who didn’t want to get completely drenched, they could just get close enough to feel the spray. On our trip back from King Cascades Falls, I was lucky enough to go the entire trip in the zodiac. We rode the wake of the Xplorer vessel which made for a fun bumpy ride.
Coral Expedition Excursions
We did a minimum of 2 excursions each day on the Xplorer vessel, and on some days, we did three. One day we were up early and off on the Xplorer vessel before sunrise. We journeyed up a small river system as the sun came up and we saw the crocodiles all coming onto the riverbank to soak up the warm rays. We also witnessed amazing bird life all waking up for their day in the Kimberley.
On Coral Discoverer there is an optional Helicopter ride available over Mitchell Falls (at additional cost). The night before the expedition leader gathers everyone and asks who is interested and talks about costs etc. Those interested jump on scales to get weighed for flight purposes, and a timetable is drawn up to determine how many helicopters will be needed for the beach boarding to the falls. At your allotted time you’re transferred by zodiac to the beach where you jump aboard for the amazing views en-route to the Mitchell Falls. This is truly worthwhile doing.
Another amazing natural wonder that we visited was Montgomery Reef. This is an “upside-down reef” and when the tide goes out you can take the zodiacs up the middle of it to witness all the amazing sea life including turtles, maybe a dolphin and many species of fish and birds.
Another spectacular phenomenon is the Horizontal Falls where, as the tide rises between two narrow coastal cliffs, the water hurtles though to create a waterfall effect. It is an exhilarating fast boat ride through the Falls. We had the option to go as the tide was just starting to rise which gave a smooth ride or to go at its peak when it is whirling you around in the fast boat. Either way it is a thrill.
The last day travels through the Buccaneer Archipelago which is spectacular group of small islands. Then around the tip of Cape Leveque with its beautiful beaches and down into Broome Wharf.
The Finale of the Kimberley Cruise
On the last night on board we had Captains’ drinks before dinner and sat around having lots of laughs with all the new friends made on the cruise. The crew played slideshows of the journey and we all reminisced about what a wonderful time we have all had. After breakfast, the disembarking process was exceptionally smooth. Everyone simply leaves their luggage outside their room attached with different coloured tags depending on whether you were going to stay in Broome or head back to the Airport.
What a fabulous trip this was and will never forget great friendships and memories made. I would highly recommend a Kimberley cruise aboard the Coral Discoverer to everyone.