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Paradise found in Dravuni, Fiji (Photo: NCL)

9 Reasons Why a Fiji Cruise Should Be Your Next Pacific Island Cruise

Paradise found in Dravuni, Fiji (Photo: NCL)
Louise Goldsbury

Last updated
Jun 5, 2024

Read time
4 min read

So, you've been to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, or you don't like cruising a long way to get anywhere. To dive straight into the action, spending every day of your holiday in a tropical paradise, look no further than a small ship cruise around Fiji's Yasawa and Mamanuca islands or the more remote Lau archipelago.

Here's why a Fiji fly-cruise makes sense.

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1. Flying to Fiji gives you four more days on land

It takes two days to reach Fiji from Sydney — pictured Norwegian Sun sailing in front of the Sydney Opera House (Photo: NCL)

A South Pacific cruise from Australia takes two days to reach the first port, potentially in rough conditions, and then another two days sailing home. If you're prone to seasickness — or impatience — this is not the ideal way to kick off your travels.

Some people love days at sea, but first-timers and thrill-seekers may prefer to get off the ship and explore the destination as soon as possible. Nadi, the nearest airport for Fiji cruise departures, is a three-hour flight from Auckland and four hours from Sydney — about the same time it takes to get to an Australian cruise terminal and check in!

2. Your first port of call is a couple of hours away

The horizon is blue in Druvani, Fiji (Photo: Adam Coulter/Cruise Critic)

Fiji-based cruise lines don't waste time. As soon as you step aboard, food is served, a band is playing on the pool deck, and your cabin is ready at 2 p.m. On the first afternoon of the itinerary, you will arrive at a stunning island in time for a swim, beach walk and sunset drinks.

3. The beaches are blissful and almost deserted

Fiji Princess anchored next to a gorgeous palm-fringed beach.

If you've ever been on a big ship and struggled to escape your fellow cruisers on land, Fiji's small ships are your answer. Only two vessels operate in this region: Captain Cook Cruises' 114-passenger Caledonian Sky, and Blue Lagoon Cruises' adults-only Fiji Princess, carrying 64 passengers. Both ships make sure to avoid each other along the way, so the ports are never crowded. In fact, you will have the whole beach to yourself. All of the beaches are quiet, dazzlingly beautiful, and suitable for swimming and snorkelling. Access is easier than some other South Pacific destinations, with no rocks to clamber across or rickety stairs to risk — just walk from the soft, white sand straight into calm, pristine water.

4. Tours and water sports are free

Traditional Fijian experiences, such as a visit to a village or a school tends to cost extra (Photo: Captain Cook Cruises)

Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, glass-bottom boat tours and snorkelling equipment are included in your cruise fare on Fiji-based ships. Shore excursions, organised two or three times a day, are complimentary too. Only a few optional tours cost extra. Expect to visit villages, schools and a church, and enjoy a lovo (underground oven) dinner with the locals, followed by a kava ceremony, with an opportunity to sample this mildly narcotic drink.

5. Snorkelling and diving are offered twice a day

Snorkelling is one of the best things to do in Fiji (Photo: Captain Cook Cruises)

Every morning and afternoon, passengers can snorkel for free — either wading in from the beach or by jumping off the side of the tender further out to sea. Keep an eye out for the 'Fijian Nemo' (a clown fish with only one white stripe), turtles, manta rays, stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks. Fiji is also home to some of the world's best scuba diving. Rainbow Reef, between Taveuni Island and Vanua Levu, and a cave dive are among the highlights. Intro dives and PADI certification courses are offered to first-timers too.

6. The islands are Hollywood-level beautiful

A gorgeous white-sand beach in Dravuni, Fiji (Photo: NCL)

Fiji is so idyllic that movies were set here. "Cast Away" (2000), starring Tom Hanks, was filmed at Modriki, in the Mamanuca Islands, where 'HELP' is still spelled out in coconuts on the sand. Your ship will also drop anchor near the paradisiacal location used in "Blue Lagoon" (1980) starring Brooke Shields. Swim in the aquamarine water, take Instagram-worthy photos, and relax in one of the most spectacular places in the world.

7. Give back to the community

A Fijian man on Beqa Island (Photo: Captain Cook Cruises)

Passengers can donate school supplies (such as notepads, pens and crayons) and sporting goods (especially for rugby and soccer) or buy souvenirs from handicraft markets. At some stops, a fee of $10 or $15 is charged to swim in a cave or go behind the scenes in a village. The locals are genuinely appreciative of your support and don't try to rip you off or pressure you to buy things.

8. Fiji's weather is lovely and sunsets are amazing

Druvani, Fiji (Photo: Adam Coulter/Cruise Critic)

The weather is lovely year-round, apart from some rain in the wet season, but even an overcast day can deliver the most incredible sunset.

9. Fijian crew are fun, friendly and proud of their country

Captain Cook Cruises is a small-ship operator in Fiji.

Who better to show off Fiji than Fijians? On other South Pacific cruises, crew members are rarely from the islands that the ship visits (except for some recent P&O recruits from Vanuatu) so they don't know as much about the culture, the region or things to do in port. Being surrounded by Fijians in Fiji immerses you more deeply into the destination, and you can ask them questions about their beliefs, customs and lifestyle — or the best places to eat, drink and snorkel.

Caledonian Sky and Fiji Princess have all-Fijian crew and they even join the passengers to drink kava some nights — that's when the party really gets started. Fijians are famously friendly and welcoming; you can't walk past someone without a "Bula" (which literally translates as "life" but can mean everything from hello to goodbye, welcome, thank you, good luck, bless you and anything else you want it to mean).

Publish date October 02, 2017
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