Cruising south aboard the Coral Princess

Location: Dunk Island

Weather: Sunshine with scattered cloud…windy though and a rough ocean. 28c

I’ve flown places, I’ve driven places…I’ve even kayaked places but so far on this crazy Best Job adventure not been lucky enough to cruise anywhere and to be honest in the past I’d never really given it much thought.

As we flew in low over Dunk Island our vessel ‘Coral Princess’ was moored up in the bay overlooking the island. Bre and I were about to jump onboard a day into the three day cruise down the Queensland coast from Cairns to Townsville. Coral Princess Expedition Cruises offer a huge variety of different experiences around the coast of Australia, and far beyond on their fleet of luxury ships.

Dunk Island’s launch ferried us out to meet our floating palace and as we jumped onboard an air of excitement filled my body – this was going to be very different from the usual hotel room, much more like the view from my Land Rover’s tent last year with every day changing!

Coral Princess

The friendly crew welcomed us aboard and a very familiar face popped up, Brittany who we’d met back in July in Palm Cove was now working here. Our room was a delightful little double cabin with perfect ocean views and even a little ensuite bathroom complete with shower – the lap of luxury again!

As our fellow passengers started to come back onboard from their afternoon exploring Dunk Island I sat down and chatted to a few of them. They were from all over the world and a wide range of ages and backgrounds too, with people from South Africa, Germany, USA and the UK enjoying the relaxing environment away from the hectic pace of life on the mainland.

As the sun descended into the ocean the engines were fired up and we started our cruise south heading out into less protected waters and the waves started to build, the number of people enjoying the social lounge decreased as the consequences of the swell started to take effect and seasickness took its toll!

We finally moored up alongside Pelorus Island and entered the sheltered waters of the bay just in time to witness a very colourful sunset – the passengers all gathered in the upper bar for the complimentary drinks and nibbles which was a great way to meet other people and to familiarise myself with the crew.

About to set off Dining arrangements

Josh, the cruise manager, was a particularly knowledgeable guy and told us all stories about the surrounding islands then ran through the itinerary for the evening and following day. Dinner was then announced and we all made our way downstairs to the dining hall.

Each couple on the cruise has a chance to dine with the Captain and tonight was to be our lucky night! The food was great, really well made and presented good old fashioned home-style cooking with vegetables – no over-the-top presentation here, just classic simple cooking. Full marks.

I had some catching up to do on the blog so made my excuses and headed back to the room to work away, the gentle rocking of the boat adding to my already tired head.

Sunrise is one of those great times of the day when colours just erupt like an artist’s palette, and being so close to Pelorus Island just amplified it even further. Once breakfast was out of the way I had a quick chat with Matt, the dive master, and discussed the plans for our dive later in the day. We’d head off the shore of the island to explore some of the coral and clams which line the rocky coast, excellent news another chance to get under the water to investigate. The tender was prepared and we all headed ashore for a day of relaxing and eating – more of it!

The gorgeous sandy beach on this side of the island acts as the hospitality area for the cruise guests and the staff from the boat were busy preparing our lunch by the time we’d returned from our guided walk around the island – Josh again imparting the guests with his knowledge in a very unique way.

Arriving on Pelorus Pelorus Island for lunch

After a 40 minute dive navigating our way along the coastline I broke the surface of the ocean to find Bre still there sunbathing away – this Canadian will never learn, her slightly pink skin testament to the strength of the lunchtime sun. Slip, slop, slap is definitely the order of the day here.

Back on board we all met up on deck for sundowners and as we socialised preparations were underway for our evening’s activity, the Coral Princess quiz – a test of our knowledge and fact recollection from all of the information Josh had fed us over the last 48hrs.

With dinner out of the way it was down to the hard work, ten quick fire questions followed by a drawing competition to try and portray our cruise assistant Brittany in the best light possible and once all of the marks had been given we found ourselves in a very respectable third place out of four!

After a long night at the computer I hit the pillow heavily and before I knew it the alarm was ringing again announcing the start of another day…our last onboard. We’d cruised down the Queensland coastline all the way to Townsville and as breakfast was dispatched the familiar sight of the foreshore came into view.

What a relaxing few days we’d had at sea, a thoroughly enjoyable time getting to know lots of different people and learning lots about the geography and coastline of the area. This experience would suit the ‘less-active’ traveller looking for a chance to travel at a more sedate pace whilst stopping off at a number of different remote locations along the way – the comfort and fine dining adding to the cruise-like encounter.

End of cruise location: Townsville, Queensland

Distance covered: 190kms onboard


[flickrset id=”72157622622050601″ thumbnail=”square”]