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Viking Passengers have rated their tour of the Cairns Aquarium as the number #1 favourite experience out of all their included shore excursion experiences worldwide offered by Viking Cruises in December 2023 and February 2024.

Each tour operated by Viking is rated and the guests go digitally onto their Viking app and rate each experience they participate on and of the “included“ tours, the Cairns Aquarium rated the highest in score globally.

Guests aboard Viking Cruises to Cairns were treated to an all-inclusive shore excursion package that involved all components being carefully planned out and thought through to provide visitors with a perfectly coordinated and memorable morning experience.

The pre-organised, custom designed tour involved staff from Shorex Australia greeting cruise ship passengers as they disembarked each ship, transfers from the Cruise ship Terminal using air conditioned luxury coaches, staff from Cairns Aquarium’s education team stationed on the coaches to provide information about the unique ecology of Tropical North Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics ecosystems to visitors on the coaches and then drop off at the Cairns Aquarium, just five minutes from the Cruise ship terminal. Once at the Cairns Aquarium, visitors were greeted and provided with maps of the visitor journey and location of educational talks, and then escorted directly into the Cairns Aquarium.

While the Viking cruise ship passengers explored the Cairns Aquarium’s 71 exhibits and 10 zones, wildlife educators stationed at each of four seated amphitheatres within the City’s most visited Attraction, provided a 30 minute talk about “migratory fish of the Gulf Savannah waterways” in front of the Aquarium’s 400,000 “River monsters” display, a 30 minute presentation about the fish diversity of the Great Barrier Reef’ “Drop Off zone” in front of the Aquarium’s ten metre tall, 300,000 litre, drop off zone exhibit, a 30 minute “Life of Sharks and Rays” presentation followed by an in-tank shark feeding session with divers getting into the Aquarium’s 1.8 million litre Coral Sea oceanarium, and finally, a 15 minute presentation about the Coral Sea Marine Park while giant Queensland grouper and Grey Reef sharks swam by the main Oceanarium viewing panel. Guests then had free time to pick up a Tropical North Queensland inspired souvenir as a memento of their experience from the Aquarium’s gift store or sufficient time to enjoy a chef prepared meal or just a hot drink in the Aquarium’s Aquatic themed Dundee’s Restaurant while sitting back and watching bamboo sharks, schools of five lined snapper and unicorn fish in the Restaurants’ 70,000 litre whole wall reef tank backdrop.

Between 12:00pm and 1:00pm, Shorex Australia arranged bus coaches to pick up Viking cruise guests from the Cairns Aquarium and return guests to the cruise terminal.

Shorex Australia Managing Director, James Coughlan, said that being voted the number one included shore excursion out of all experiences globally, was a highlight of his 25 year career.

“Viking passengers enjoy seeing the world’s top attractions, experiences and destinations, while cruising, so to have the Cairns Aquarium educational visit voted as the “Best in the World” out of all experiences in December and February is an incredible highlight for myself and our passionate team”.

“We thought carefully about the needs of cruise passengers such as keeping people out of the rain in a hot and humid tropical climate, reducing walking time, and escorting visitors to make it easy for people to enjoy themselves without worrying about how to find the location or seek out local transport”.

Providing a knowledgeable up to date source of education about the Reef and Rainforest while seeing underwater and coastal life in a world class venue, was a key to visitor satisfaction, he added.

“Many of the visitors that choose cruises with Cairns as a destination are interested in the regions’ two World Heritage listed sites; the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest of North Queensland. Creating an exclusive tour that starts on the coaches with knowledgeable educators and then involves an immersive and educational experience at the Cairns Aquarium, was the perfect way we could showcase and explain the region’s unique and stunning aquatic biodiversity within an indoor, easy to get to and accessible Attraction, suited for people of all ages and mobility levels”.

Across the four Viking cruises to Cairns in December 202 and January 2024, over 1300 passengers took part in the experience coordinated by Shorex Australia.

“The experience was so successful, Viking has already pre-booked the same tours for the 24/25 cruise season which involves seven ships between November 2024 and March 2025, which will likely see over 2500 passengers enjoying the Cairns Aquarium’s Reef and Rainforest educational tour”.