|From 2009 Adventure Cruise Guide|
Coral Princess Cruises, pioneer of small-ship cruising on the Great Barrier Reef, has released its 2009 cruise schedule, with new land-and-cruise packages, including a rail-cruise option incorporating the Sunlander train. Entering its 26th year of operations on the Reef, the company's three, four and seven-night Great Barrier Reef Cruises won Coral Princess Cruises the title of Major Tour and Transport Operator for 2008 at the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards.
Coral Princess and her sister ship, Coral Princess II cruise weekly between Townsville and Cairns over three nights, or over four nights departing Cairns and travelling north to Lizard Island and return. The cruises show off some of the world's best snorkelling, swimming and coral viewing spots en route, such as Thetford Reef, and Sudbury Reef. The three-night voyage also visits Dunk Island and cruises through the Hinchinbrook Channel.
Accommodating a maximum of just 50 guests, Coral Princess is equipped with a glass bottom boat and inflatable zodiacs for daily reef and shore excursions. There's even an excursion to Coral Princess' own private island – Pelorus – with no one else in sight except for Coral Princess passengers and crew.
Qualified marine biologists and a SCUBA diving instructor are also on board to explain the natural history and biodiversity of the area, making a snorkel or SCUBA dive in the sparkling blue waters even more fascinating.
Prices start at $1 496 per person in a twin share cabin on the three-night cruise ex Townsville or Cairns, or $1 896 per person twin share for the four-night cruise from Cairns to Lizard Island and return, with weekly departures year round. Prices include accommodation, all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board, group transfers, activities and excursions during the cruise, and landing fees.
In 2009, Coral Princess passengers can combine their Great Barrier Reef cruise with a three-night stay at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, or a three-night stay at Silky Oaks Lodge. Sail and Stay package prices start at $1 596 per person, twin share, including a three-night cruise and three nights at the Novotel Cairns; or $2 266 for the three-night cruise and three nights at Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree rainforest.
For rail enthusiasts, the famous Sunlander train from Brisbane to Tropical North Queensland can be combined with a Coral Princess Great Barrier Reef cruise for a five, six or seven-night scenic journey that covers three-quarters of Queensland's coast. The new Sail and Rail packages start from $1 970, including the three-night cruise and the train from Townsville to Brisbane.
For further information and reservations contact 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au