Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Cruise to the Heart of Papua New Guinea with Coral Princess Cruises


It's on our doorstep, yet it's one of the last great frontiers on earth: Papua New Guinea has the largest area of intact rainforest outside the Amazon; over 1000 distinct cultural groups and a staggering diversity of plant and animal species. Coral Princess's Oceanic Discoverer ventures deeper into the wilds of PNG than any other cruise ship, on 10 and 12-night expedition-style cruises in 2010-2011.

The 72-passenger, luxury expedition ship Oceanic Discoverer is the only expedition cruise ship that ventures up one of the world's great rivers, the Sepik, to the remote and seldom-visited villages of Bien and Angoram. The local people live a traditional lifestyle and are renowned for producing some of PNG's – and the world's - most outstanding 'primitive' artworks. Spending time among the local people is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Flowing for over 1000km from the Central Highlands to the sea, the Sepik River is one of the country's least-developed regions, and is the lifeblood of the 430,000 people who live and trade on the river.

While other cruise ships are too large to enter the mouth of the river, the Oceanic Discoverer – purpose-built for expedition cruising in remote regions – is the only expedition ship that safely penetrates up to 100km upstream, through landscapes framed by sharp-edged mountains, past settlements that few outsiders have seen, spending two full days up the river.

The voyage visits the Trobriand Islands – the famous 'Islands of Love' – to witness harvest dances performed in elaborate costumes; retraces the journeys of explorers such as Bougainville and Cook and the World War II history of Madang and Alotau, where Australian forces fought off the Japanese offensive.

Throughout the voyage, Oceanic Discoverer's on-board historians and naturalists help guests identify and understand the overwhelming plethora of wildlife (which includes 700 species of birds) and plant life (including 3000 varieties of orchids). PNG is also known as one of the world's most outstanding snorkelling and SCUBA diving destinations, with pristine coral reefs and hundreds of species of fish.

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. On-board facilities include a large sundeck and spa pool, reference library, lecture lounge, two cocktail bars, boutique and dive shop.

There are 10-night cruises between Rabaul and Alotau, departing March 21, November 5 and 15, 2010, and March 18, November 4 and 14, 2011, costing from $8250 per person, twin share in a Main Deck stateroom, including all meals, excursions and port taxes. Each of the departures can be extended by two days, beginning or ending in Cairns. The 12-night itinerary costs from $8650 per person, twin share.

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