Turquoise lagoons, coral-fringed reefs and impossibly clear water ... Queensland's famous Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea beckons.  Just when you think it couldn't possibly get any more beautiful than the gorgeous, rugged Lizard Island (with no less than 24 powdery white sand beaches!), you'll discover Willis Island - an island that's tiny on size but big on charm.  Surrounded by a pristine coral fringe, sitting atop an extinct volcano and measuring just 450 metres by 150 metres, Willis Island is a nesting site for the green sea turtles.  

But there's much more to the Great Barrier Reef than just white-sand beaches.  With over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching over 2,300 kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living structure and is the only living thing visible from space.  In fact, it's bigger than the Great Wall of China. It became a World Heritage Site in 1981 and with the Reefword pontoon, you can really experience the underwater world with opportunities to view by semi-submersible, underwater viewing chamber, snorkelling or diving.

Toward the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef lies Lady Musgrave Island, a 14 acre coral cay.  This is another nesting site for green turtles as well as loggerhead turtles.  It's a favourite spot with several species of birdlife too, including the wedge-tailed shearwaters (also known as Mutton Birds) who nest in burrows in the ground. Lady Musgrave Island is another fantastic snorkelling spot and if you're lucky, you may even spot the little white tip reef sharks.  But if not, the hundreds of colourful fish will more than make up for it!  

There is one problem with the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, however... once you've had a taste, you'll want to go back for more!




THE CORAL SEAInaugural Chairman's Cruise



Introducing Ponant Cruises' newest luxury expedition ship, Le Laparouse! 

Join us for Le Laperouse's inaugural Australian voyage from Cairns to Sydney.  This 11 night Chairman's Cruise is hosted by Sarina Bratton AM, Chairman of Ponant Asia Pacific, and a pioneer in expedition cruising.  The cruise also has a Food and Wine theme, showcasing some of Australia's best produce, as prepared by the expert Ponant chefs, including the renowned Guillaume Brahimi.

Departing Cairns on 28 January 2019, your 12 day luxury expedition cruises the east coast of Australia discovering the treasure of the Coral Sea.  Highlights include Lizard Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Hardy Reef, Lady Musgrave Island and Newcastle before arriving in Sydney.

Le Laperouse is the newest edition to the Ponant fleet.  Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, just 92 elegantly appointed suites and staterooms and lounge areas that open onto the outside, Le Laperouse is a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.  This ship is also the first cruise ship in the world with an underwater passenger lounge, allowing guests to hear and see the underwater world.



Special features - when you book directly with Ultimate Cruising!

11 Night Ponant Expedition cruise – departs Cairns 28 January 2019

Prices from $9,499pp twin share in Deluxe Stateroom SOLD OUT



Booking direct with Ultimate Cruising you also receive -

  • Economy flight ex Sydney to Cairns 27 January 2019.
  • Cairns transfers to hotel and to ship.
  • One night at Shangri-La The Marina Hotel Cairns (pre cruise)
  • Half day Kuranda sightseeing tour – with Skyrail Gondola
  • FREE Chauffeur driven luxury car Transfer to Sydney Domestic airport, and return from Sydney wharf (up to 35kms)*


 (*conditions apply to all bookings)


Cruise Category
  • Luxury Expedition
  • Modern
  • 24 Hr Room Service
  • All meals
  • Boutique &/or Salon
  • On-Board Lecturer
  • Pool &/or Spa
  • Shore Excursions
Itinerary Map Image

Trip itinerary

Fly Sydney to Cairns
Overnight Cairns
Embark Le Laperouse at 4pm
Lizard Island
Willis Island
At Sea
Hardy Reef
Percy Island
Lady Musgrave Island
At Sea

Technical Details

  • Built Date 2018
  • Crew TBA
  • Capacity 184

Cruise Category

  • Luxury Expeditions

Le Laperouse

Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, Le Lapérouse embodies the unique atmosphere that is the cruise line’s hallmark: a subtle blend of refinement, intimacy and comfort.  Le Laperouse is the first ship to offer the underwater passenger lounge, allowing guests to see and hear the undersea world. Images Courtesy Ponant.



Please select your departure