Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Coral Princess Increases PNG Departures in 2009


It might be our closest neighbour, but Papua New Guinea hasn’t really registered on travellers’ radars up to now. But Coral Princess Cruises’ expedition-style cruises have proven so popular, the company has increased the number of its departures for 2009, exploring further and deeper into one of the world’s least developed regions than any other operator.

Papua New Guinea is still largely unexplored: there are vast expanses of thick tropical jungle nurturing over 3,000 kinds of orchids and its surrounding waters support unparalleled bio-diversity - its reefs are a magnet for SCUBA divers from around the globe.

The 10-night Rabaul to Port Moresby cruise aboard Coral Princess’s purpose-built luxury expedition vessel, Oceanic Discoverer, immerses passengers in the gorgeous scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains and dense tropical rainforest. Passengers also meet many of the local tribespeople: PNG is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, with over 1000 recognised cultures.

Accommodating a maximum of just 72 passengers, Oceanic Discoverer visits the spectacular Trobriand Islands and retraces the World War II history of Madang and Alotau, where Australian forces fought off the Japanese offensive during World War II. No other vessel sails as far down the Sepik River, taking passengers to the Middle Sepik region, renowned for its bird watching and the unique art and artefacts of the local villages.

The Oceanic Discoverer’s purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer; glass bottom coral viewer and fleet of inflatable Zodiacs allow passengers to intimately explore the reefs and remote islands, where flotillas of canoes full of welcoming locals greet the ship’s arrival.

Excursions are guided by naturalists and experts who interpret the natural, cultural and historical highlights of the region. In true expedition style, the itinerary may vary to take maximum advantage of opportunities to view wildlife, go snorkelling or diving, or visit local villages and attractions.

The Oceanic Discoverer is designed to provide all the comfort and facilities of larger cruise ships, yet is small enough to enable access to remote and pristine sites inaccessible to other vessels. On board facilities include a large sundeck and spa pool, reference library, lecture lounge, two cocktail bars, a boutique and dive shop.

There are three Papua New Guinea itineraries, with eight departures in 2009/10. Prices for the 10-night Rabaul to Port Moresby and the 10-night Alotau to Rabaul cruises start at
$7750 per person twin share in a Main Deck B stateroom for the November, 2009 departures. Subsequent 2010 departures start at $8250.

There is also a 12-night cruise from Cairns to Rabaul, departing in November, 2009 and November, 2010, costing from $8,150 per person twin share.

For further information and reservations contact Coral Princess Cruises on 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralprincess.com.au.