Coral Expeditions welcomed its newest bluewater expedition vessel to its fleet with an intimate ceremony in Cairns late last month. A sister-ship to Coral Adventurer, Coral Geographer has the same specialised design for rugged extended expeditions to remote areas.
The ship was christened in an official dockside ceremony on Tuesday, 30 March, which was attended by guests on the Maiden Voyage. In deference to COVID-19 concerns, there was no public ceremony.
This new class of expedition ships is designed around the Xplorer fast aluminium tender boats, which are launched off the back of the ship to facilitate rapid shore excursions.
The vessel features expansive open deck spaces, relaxing lounge and bars, with the majority of balcony staterooms and suites featuring a collection of Indigenous Australian art.
The Maiden Voyage departed Cairns on 31 March with a small group of like-minded guests to explore Australia’s eastern seaboard, in full compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Coral Expeditions’ longest-serving employee, Purchasing Manager Gary Wun-Hym, had the honour of christening the new vessel with a bottle of champagne. Wun-Hym recently completed two decades of service with Coral Expeditions and has seen the evolution of the company from an operator of small catamarans on the Great Barrier Reef to a bluewater fleet capable of travelling the world’s oceans.
Coral Geographer is designed for tropical expedition cruising and will access remote wilderness shores around the globe that are inaccessible to large cruise vessels and by regular means of travel. With a maximum capacity of 120 guests, the vessel will carry fewer than 100 guests under the company’s SailSAFE plan delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere and world-class expedition experience.
As with all the Coral Expeditions fleet, Coral Geographer will be Australian flagged and crewed to deliver the highest standards of build quality, operational capability and safety, and environmental compliance.
Having submitted a comprehensive SailSAFE plan to all federal and state authorities, Coral Expeditions have been widely approved for a return to operations. Being an Australian flagged cruise line carrying fewer than 100 passengers, the company is not affected by Biosecurity and Border Force restrictions.
The company has completed 21 incident-free expedition voyages since the return to operations in October and have explored the Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, the wild islands of South Australia and the Abrolhos and Coral Coast of Western Australia.
Following her maiden voyage, the ship will join the Coral Expeditions fleet exploring the Kimberley region in what will be the company’s 26th season. Later in 2021, she will sail a series of newly released voyages to the Abrolhos and West Coast and the wild islands of South Australia.
“We are confident in the ongoing strength of the expedition sector, along with the vessel’s size, her design and her capabilities,” said Mark Fifield, Group General Manager of Coral Expeditions. “She represents the perfect balance between being large enough for ocean voyaging yet having a small and intimate ship atmosphere to maximise our guest experience.”
For more information, see coralexpeditions.com
Lead image: Coral Expeditions Group GM Mark Fifield and Coral Geographer Captain Jacopo ‘JB’ Barchetti in Cairns