Coral Expeditions, Australia’s pioneering expedition cruise line, has confirmed renowned collector and expert of New Guinea tribal art, Richard Aldridge, to join the ‘Customs and Craftsmen’ expedition onboard Coral Adventurer.

The inaugural art-themed sailing, departing Cairns 8 October 2019, is a fully immersive 22-night itinerary exploring the remote villages and historic towns of Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the Maluku Islands. Focusing on art and culture, Aldridge will be offering his expertise as a guest lecturer throughout the voyage.

Over the past 17 years, Aldridge has been a collector and dealer of New Guinea and early Aboriginal art. His extensive knowledge and experience have seen him share thousands of tribal art pieces and artefacts with arts enthusiasts and collectors around the world. Like Coral Expeditions, Aldridge has spent significant time building close connections with the New Guinea locals to learn about their art and customs.

“Art and culture are prominent themes throughout all our New Guinea voyages along with natural encounters and rich history,” says Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions. “Guests can engage at our onboard gallery of curated artworks that tell the stories of the communities and cultures that we visit. They will also mingle with artists during a private onboard art exhibition in Madang. On land, guests can interact with local craftsmen and artists in remote villages and markets. Richard’s presence during the sailing will be most valuable for our guests looking to deepen their learnings of Indigenous art.”

Over the past decade, Coral Expeditions have been pioneering and exploring Papua New Guinea creating lasting bonds with communities they visit.

Gillies continues: “Coral Expeditions pioneers of expedition cruise in New Guinea. This region is ideally suited to small ship exploration allowing guests to explore coastal villages and natural habitats with ease, low impact and in comfort and safety.

The positive relations we have forged over 14 years in the region means each encounter is authentic, and guests will relish in the warm hospitality of celebratory welcomes and engaging tribal singsings. These are magical moments that can’t be replicated.”

Included in the programme are several once-in-a-lifetime small group experiences; a private Bandanese dinner under the shadow of volcanic Mount Api on the ramparts of 17th century Fort Belgica, swimming with the gentle whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, snorkelling the Raja Ampat archipelago and a traversing up ancient river systems on the company’s trademark Xplorer tenders. One cruise fare includes all shore excursions and experiences.

Coral Expeditions offer five expedition adventures of the largely unexplored territories of Papua New Guinea and West Papua aboard its new tropical expedition ship, the Coral Adventurer. Departures begin and end in Australia, with optional charter flights providing seamless convenience for guests.

Along with loyalty benefits on offer for the Xplorers Club family, Coral Expeditions have also initiated a range of specials for First Time travellers that can be accessed through the reservations centre or travel agents nationally offering additional savings of up to $1600 per person.

  • Customs and Craftsmen of New Guinea – inaugural art themed expedition joined by tribal art collector Richard Aldridge. The immersive 22-night itinerary, also available in two parts, will explore the remote villages and historic towns of Papua New Guinea, West Papua and the Maluku Islands. First half departs (12-nights) on 8th October 2019 from Cairns and second half departs (10-nights) on 20th October 2019 from Vanimo. From $19,340 per person twin share for the full 22-night sailing and from $11,290 for the first or $9,690 second half sailing.
  • Frontier Lands of Papua New Guinea – An immersion in the wild and rugged scenery of Papua New Guinea, with its mysterious stories, scenic beauty and rich history. Sailing 12-nights from Cairns to Madang, departing 31st October 2019 travelling in comfort on board the new Coral Adventurer, from $11,290 per person twin share.
  • Pioneers and Frontiers of Papua New Guinea – One of four specially designed itineraries co-curated with Australian Geographic. The 12-night expedition explores the remote coastline of Papua New Guinea from Madang to Cairns via Sanananda and the Sepik River. Departs 12th November 2019, from $11,290 per person twin share.
  • New Guinea Circle – A near circumnavigation of New Guinea, exploring some of the world’s most exotic and untouched regions as they emerge into the 21st century. Offered in two parts: 12-nights from Cairns to Wewak, departing 25th November 2019; and 13-nights from Wewak to Darwin, departing 7th December 2019. From $21,940 per person twin share for full 25-night sailing and from $11,290 for the first or $12,240 for the second half sailing.
  • Circumnavigation of New Guinea – In May 2019, Coral Expeditions launched a new 35-night Circumnavigation of New Guinea for 2020. The third in a suite of unique and pioneering circumnavigation voyages, this extraordinary journey onboard Coral Adventurer will allow guests to completely immerse themselves in the diverse cultures and natural beauty of New Guinea. Featured visits include iconic locations such as Raja Ampat and the Gumdrop Islands, the Spice Islands, The Sepik & Mamberamo Rivers, Dei Dei Hot Springs on Fergusson Island, the Fly Islands and Tufi Fjords. Departs 2nd October 2020, from $25,150 per person twin share.