All shore excursions are optional and included in the fare. Activities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea include snorkelling, scuba diving, beach kayaking, viewing rock art and village visits with traditional welcome dances, handicraft markets and sampling local food. In the Kimberley, passengers can go hiking, fishing and swimming (in crocodile-free waterholes only).
All itineraries include scenic rides and transfers to shore on the ship's two shaded 60-seater Xplorer vessels. People with mobility issues can easily join an Xplorer because it is boarded by stepping onto a short ramp from the aft deck, before the vessel is lowered via a hydraulic platform into the water. When transferring to a jetty (dry landing) or beach (wet landing), the ramp allows people to safely step off. In some remote ports, ramshackle piers and uneven walking surfaces may be unsuitable for people with mobility issues.
Swimming with whale sharks is a potential highlight of the West Papua and Spice Islands itineraries but is not guaranteed; snorkellers may spot tropical fish, turtles and rays, so bring an underwater camera. Other wildlife can include hornbills, rainbow lorikeets, egrets, dolphins and pilot whales. See Komodo dragons in the wild on Komodo Island and keep an eye out for crocodiles, humpback whales and turtles in the Kimberley. Note: you won't be allowed to swim in croc-infested areas; only waterholes under waterfalls. On land, you can see rock wallabies and birds.
Lectures, held two or three times a day, are an integral component of Coral Adventurer's onboard experience. Guest speakers may include marine biologists, historians, photographers and anthropologists. Notably, at least one educational talk is presented by the captain.
On our West Papua expedition, Captain Gary gave a passionate presentation about the early explorers of Australia; he also read excerpts from Abel Tasman's journal before dinner each evening and led hands-on workshops to learn how to use an astrolabe, which all guests receive as a take-home souvenir.
The Barralong Room on Deck 6 is used for these classes, while other lectures are held in the larger Bridge Deck Lounge. Almost everyone on the ship attends the lectures to learn about the local culture and natural attractions of upcoming ports of call.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
Aside from lectures and an end-of-voyage quiz, there are no organised activities or shows. After dinner each night, documentaries are screened in the main lounge. Most people, tired after an active day, are in bed by 10 pm.
There are two main bars, with one offering both indoor and outdoor seating. Social drinking tends to start an hour before dinner; otherwise these areas are used more for relaxing or chatting with a cup of tea or coffee. The dining room also has its own small bar, used by the wait staff who bring drinks to passengers' tables while they dine.
Bridge Deck Lounge Bar (Deck 6): This is the main lounge, used for daytime lectures, pre-dinner drinks and after-dinner documentary screenings. The air-conditioned bar has four high stools, plenty of sofas, reclining leather chairs and tables, surrounded by wall-to-wall windows for ocean views on both sides of the ship. Beyond the back doors is an outdoor area with cushioned lounges and chairs under a shade cloth, affording lovely views of the ship's wake. During the day, people use this quieter space to read; on a balmy evening, they will sit out here for drinks if they prefer fresh air. A self-service tea and coffee station is available 24 hours a day.
Explorer Bar (Vista Deck): There is an open-air bar on the rooftop with panoramic ocean views and enough outdoor tables and chairs for everyone. This shaded area, accessed via stairs on Deck 6, is used for pre-dinner drinks and a 10-minute preview of the next day's activities, presented by the expedition leader.
Coral Adventurer does not have a pool, hot tub or recreational options onboard. The Promenade Deck allows walking laps around the ship but there are a few steps on either side of the bow. Kayaks, Xplorer vessels and Zodiacs are stored at the back of the ship.
The ship has a reception desk, gift shop, small library, meeting room and laundry service with 24-hour turnaround. Irons and ironing boards can be borrowed from reception. Wi-Fi internet uses satellite so it's slow, patchy and expensive: 500MB of data costs $50; 1GB is $80; and 2GB is $140. Phone cards are also available at reception for $25 or $35.
Coral Adventurer does not have a spa. A small fitness room contains a treadmill, stationary bike, stepper machine and dumbbells/hand weights. Kayaks are available during beach visits and scenic shore excursions.
There is no minimum age to sail. The ship has no facilities or activities for children but all shore excursions are family-friendly. Before booking, parents and grandparents should consider whether their kids will be interested in the daily program.