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Everything You Need to Know about Kimberley and Coral Coast Cruising

When you think of Western Australia’s Kimberley region, one of the world’s last true wildernesses, and incredible Coral Coast, deluxe travel may not be the first thing that springs to mind. The charm of these rugged corners of Australia lies largely in unspoilt and otherworldly natural landscapes - soaring rust-red coastal cliffs, secluded bays, and awe-inspiring waterfalls.

When planning a holiday to these magical regions, a small ship expedition cruise is the ideal way to discover the wonders of the Kimberley and the Coral Coast in style - with your creature comforts intact.

Depending on your trip of choice and travel dates, with APT you will cruise on one of four luxury expedition ships through the northern reaches of Western Australia: Le Laperouse, Le Soleal, or Le Jacques Cartier. And while each ship differs somewhat in its onboard facilities, you are guaranteed to enjoy a number of exceptional amenities on all our ships.

Passengers travelling in a zodiac past coastline, Kimberley
Zodiac alongside King George River, Kimberley. Image Credit: Ponant-Nick Rains

Expert Expedition Teams and Zodiac Adventures

Your cruise through the sublime waters of northwestern Australia will include countless stops at both regions’ most breathtaking and iconic natural wonders. Our vessels are ideally sized and custom-built to navigate waters inaccessible to larger ships, and daily Zodiac adventures allow you to step ashore, while also discovering smaller waterways. Imagine gliding serenely through Ningaloo Reef/Nyinggulu or experiencing the incredible natural phenomenon of Horizontal Falls/Garaanngaddim at water level. Your cruise will see you visit some of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes and seascapes, many of which are inaccessible to larger ships or by land. Our specialist expedition crews, and expert naturalist-guides will share fascinating insights with you throughout your Zodiac excursions, giving you a rich understanding of each place you visit.
King George River, The Kimberley, Western Australia
King George River, Kimberley. Image Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Stunning Daily Destinations

Whether cruising the Kimberley or Coral Coast, you will enjoy daily experiences on shore and by Zodiac. Our Signature Experiences are specially designed to capture the unique highlights specific to a particular destination. On a Kimberley cruise from Broome/Rubibi to Darwin, these include an up-close Zodiac excursion to the unique Horizontal Falls, a Zodiac discovery of the tidal Montgomery Reef and an intimate viewing of the epic 80-metre cascades at King George Falls. While sailing from Perth/Boorloo to Broome along the Coral Coast, Signature Experiences comprise a visit to World Heritage-listed Shark Bay/Gathaagudu – where you will visit Ocean Park Aquarium and see a range of marine life in its natural habitat, a guided exploration of heavenly Dirk Hartog Island and its historic homestead, and a cruise to outer Ningaloo Reef in search of gentle and mighty whale sharks.

Finest Dining

While cruising the awe-inspiring waters of the Indian Ocean, you will relish exceptional meals prepared specially by our onboard chefs. Throughout your cruise, all your dining and beverages are included and may be enjoyed in your ship’s restaurants or alfresco on deck (weather permitting). The finest French cuisine and 24-hour room service are standout features on Le Laperouse, Le Soleal, and Le Jacques Cartier. Imagine enjoying a gourmet dinner with a glass of Western Australian wine after a day spent discovering the underwater wonders of Montgomery Reef, or savouring a hearty breakfast with bated breath as your ship approaches the stunning Prince Frederick Harbour.
Le Laperouse Ship between two land masses
Le Laperouse, Kimberley Coast. Image Credit: Ponant-Nick Rains

Stylish Onboard Facilities

All our ships feature a range of social spaces and onboard amenities - time spent relaxing on board will be a hallmark of your holiday. Intimately sized, our Kimberley and Coral Coast cruise ships accommodate 99 to 264 guests, with an approximate 2:1 guest/crew ratio, ensuring impeccable service at all times. Each ship features indoor and outdoor dining spaces, a main lounge and panorama lounge, and wellness and fitness facilities. A range of relaxing outdoor decks are also the perfect place to enjoy the invigorating ocean air while taking in the breathtaking and everchanging scenery. And when cruising on Le Laperouse, Le Soleal, or Le Jacques Cartier, you will also enjoy an onboard pool and theatre. Truly unique offerings, Le Laperouse and Le Jacques Cartier also feature lounge spaces below the waterline. Picture yourself with a cocktail in hand, listening to the underwater sounds of migratory whales as they navigate the waters of the Kimberley coast.
Deluxe Stateroom, Les Jacques Ship
Interior of Deluxe Stateroom, Les Jacques Cartier. Image Credit: Ponant-Tamar Sarkissian

Luxury Staterooms

You only need to unpack once before setting off on your unforgettable holiday sailing along the northern coastline of Western Australia. On board Le Laperouse and Le Jacques Cartier, all staterooms feature private balconies - imagine drawing the curtains each morning to a view of heavenly azure waters and the unmistakeable smell of fresh sea air. All accommodations include ensuites, flat-screen televisions, sitting areas and individual climate control. And staterooms on Le Laperouse, Le Soleal and Le Jacques Cartier feature stocked mini bars and Nespresso machines. A range of spacious balcony suites also offer extra room to unwind, spacious sitting areas and larger balconies. When you travel with us, you will experience the delights of a floating five-star hotel while discovering the magical seascapes of the Kimberley and the Coral Coast.
Montgomery Reef, Kimberley, Western Australia Photo credit: Garry Norris Photography
Montgomery Reef, Kimberley. Image Credit: Gary Norris Photography

Small Ship Expedition Cruises

APT’s luxury Kimberley and Coral Coast cruises allow you to explore the wonders of northwestern Australia aboard intimate vessels specially built to journey through waters inaccessible to larger ships. Daily Zodiac excursions offer up-close experiences, and our expert expedition team will be there to ensure your safety, comfort, and enjoyment at all times.

Kimberley Coast and the Top End

Explore the stunning coastline of the Kimberley and the Top End on a luxury 10-night cruise aboard Le Soleal with daily Zodiac adventures. Discover 12 destinations between Broome and Darwin: Visit the incredible Horizontal Falls, explore Montgomery Reef, be awed by King George Falls, and more.

Colours of the Coral Coast

Cruise from Perth to Broome, discovering 16 iconic destinations over 15 days aboard the intimately sized MS Caledonian Sky. As you travel along the coast of Western Australia, visit beautiful Dirk Hartog Island, see wild dolphins at Monkey Mia and search for elusive whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef.


Words: Alexander Simpson
Images courtesy of Tourism Western Australia, Nick Rains, Garry Norris Photography & @saltywings