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Heyjude555

Excursions in Australia & New Zealand

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We are traveling on the Sea Princess Feb. 17 on the Queensland Cruise with back to back cruises on the same ship to New Zealand.  One of the highlights is the Great Barrier Reef.  Looking for advice on which port is best to do the excursion to Great Barrier Reef from: Cairns, or Port Douglas?  Also has anyone used a tour company other than Princess that is reliable and will get you back to the ship in time for departure.  Would also like to see the Rainforest in that area and not sure which port is best to access it from.   

Thanks,

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Port Douglas is closer to the reef but is on the door step of  Daintree forest.

so I’d do the reef from Cairns and the rainforest from port Douglas.

Also it is a nice drive around port,Cairns is pretty unimpressive.

8 hours ago, Heyjude555 said:

We are traveling on the Sea Princess Feb. 17 on the Queensland Cruise with back to back cruises on the same ship to New Zealand.  One of the highlights is the Great Barrier Reef.  Looking for advice on which port is best to do the excursion to Great Barrier Reef from: Cairns, or Port Douglas?  Also has anyone used a tour company other than Princess that is reliable and will get you back to the ship in time for departure.  Would also like to see the Rainforest in that area and not sure which port is best to access it from.   

Thanks,

 

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18 hours ago, Chiliburn said:

Port Douglas is closer to the reef but is on the door step of  Daintree forest.

so I’d do the reef from Cairns and the rainforest from port Douglas.

Also it is a nice drive around port,Cairns is pretty unimpressive.

 

Thanks so much for your reply.  When checking the Princess excursions to the Great Barrier Reef the one from Port Douglas had the glass bottom boat/observation in case we don't do the snorkeling due to rough weather, stingrays, etc.    The excursion from Cairns didn't mention having the same option which is why we were hesitate to go on this one.  Did you do one of the Princess Excursions to the GBR or another travel company?  

Thanks again,

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41 minutes ago, Heyjude555 said:

Thanks so much for your reply.  When checking the Princess excursions to the Great Barrier Reef the one from Port Douglas had the glass bottom boat/observation in case we don't do the snorkeling due to rough weather, stingrays, etc.    The excursion from Cairns didn't mention having the same option which is why we were hesitate to go on this one.  Did you do one of the Princess Excursions to the GBR or another travel company?  

Thanks again,

No I lived in Port Douglas for 8 years.

PD will have a large catamaran ,the quick silver.which has a flouting platform on opal reef.

Cairns trips usually go to macnicalis cay which is nice but doesn’t have the facilities as the other,

Port Douglas is a lovely town,don’t miss it.

To me the rainforest is overrated and If you want to see it do it on a land trip 

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3 hours ago, Heyjude555 said:

Thanks so much for your reply.  When checking the Princess excursions to the Great Barrier Reef the one from Port Douglas had the glass bottom boat/observation in case we don't do the snorkeling due to rough weather, stingrays, etc.    The excursion from Cairns didn't mention having the same option which is why we were hesitate to go on this one.  Did you do one of the Princess Excursions to the GBR or another travel company?  

Thanks again,

From Cairns it would be out to the reef or up to the table lands and the karanda railway ,there’s a cable car which can be incorporated into it.

That would be my choice,you should be able to find a private tour company.

From Port Douglas I think the ship will have a monopoly.

But google ship shore tours and Quicksilver  Port Douglas 

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If you provide a link with the description of the snorkel tour out of Cairns, I may be able to give you an idea of the provider.  I know that several of the cruise lines use Reef Magic which is basically the same type of operation as Quicksilver is in Port Douglas.  Like Quicksilver, Reef Magic is a large boat (capacity of several hundred passengers) that goes to a fixed pontoon on the Outer Reef.   There you can snorkel in a proscribed area and also see the Reef without getting in the water via glass-bottom boat rides, semi-submersible rides and an underwater viewing area. 

 

What you do NOT want out of Cairns is any tour that takes you to Green Island.  The coral is in poor condition (thus less sealife) and the island is overrun with tourists.  An excursion to Green Island is a waste of time and money.

 

And finally—the cruise ship itineraries make it difficult, if not impossible, to do privately-booked snorkeling excursions.  The snorkel tours require you to check in from 8:00 - 8:30 am and they don’t return to port until 5:00 pm.  These times rarely work with the times the ship is in port. But if it does, consider Wavelength out of PD or Seastar out of Cairns.  They are both excellent companies. 

Edited by GradUT

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