The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Overall, we don’t recommend the Coral Princess cruise. The water in the Great Barrier Reef was very choppy, and the boat pitched and rocked like no other. We downed lots of anti-seasick meds, but Charlie was overcome with nausea on the first day and the last day. It was really a bummer to end the trip on this note.  Erin and I felt midly sick a couple times, but we were able to ride it out by lying on the open deck or sleeping.  One of the difficulties was that the only lounge in which to hang out is on the top deck, and that is where the boat rocks most severely (picture Kate’s chair nearly tipping over with her in it, and the glasswear going “crash!”).  Outside it was so windy, your hair would be blown to bits, and your hat would be history. So, we were advised to avoid the top deck, which leaves you in your cabin, and I learned a long time ago to avoid a small, enclosed space when seasickness is threatening.

One of the best aspects of the Coral Princess cruise was the hard working and very caring staff. Just 13 crew members including the captain, the Scottish chef and several young waitresses and sailors.  Those two boys Daniel and Travis were fearless the way they operated the small rescue craft; they also served as lifeguards when we were in the water.  Jeannette guided the divers and was very encouraging, and Brad led the less confident snorklers, myself included.  Brad also helped me keep my balance on the way up and down the steep hike on Lizard Island. Erin teased me that Brad was my new best friend, he not only helped with the snorkeling and hiking, but he also identified every coral, fish and plant we observed. (They say the English wanted to name everything they found in Australia, and I guess I must be English, because I wanted to know what everything was called.)  The captain also had an open door policy in the Bridge, and welcomed us to come and observe and ask questions most any time.

We learned that the only point of the cruise was to observe the reefs underwater through snorkeling and scuba diving. If you didn’t partake in these activities, there was nothing to do.  There was no Internet or TV, no pool, spa or exercise facility, and you couldn’t read while the boat was underway. The boat did not offer the luxury of a Silversea or Seabourn cruise, during which you can enjoy yourself during a day at sea.  Those larger cruise ships also do not induce seasickness. There were five older ladies who had lots of trouble moving around the vessel and using the stairs when we were sailing.  There was actually a danger in being tossed overboard if you used the outside stairs when we were underway. To say the least, we will be more cautious booking a cruise in the future!  We spoke to a few other passengers who were also disappointed in the Coral Princess (TN couple and the Swiss). Time to report back to Betty Maclean Travel. Fair to say that Charlie is angry about the expense/misery ratio.