Paradise and the Islands of the Pacific
How many millions of words have been written?
From early explorers such as Captain James Cook. From early travel writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson. And so many more.
We have had a fascination on tropical islands with crystal lagoons inside pounding reefs. Green mountains staining towards the heavens. Mostly friendly were the Polynesian and Melanesian peoples, well, some didn’t like the idea of strangers trying to take over their part of paradise.
Over this period, one of the most visited groups has been the Fiji Islands. So when the invitation came from Blue Lagoon Cruises to come and explore some of these islands, surrounded by the comfort and safety of one of their specially designed expedition style small ships – we were off
Blue lagoon Cruises
The Four Night Wanderer Cruise
Our itinerary includes – The Sacred Islands – Blue Lagoon – Sawa-i-Lau Island and Drawaqa Island.
A morning coach ride allows us to meet some of the other passengers, as we head to embarkation from Port Denarau, where we will be transferred to the Fiji Princess, on the Cougar11
To link with the Fiji Princess, we are ferried in a high-speed catamaran. While enjoying the wonderful islands and reefs as we glide along, we are able to enjoy some welcome on-board ‘bubbles’ and snacks. As we slow down to navigate a crossing into a large bay, there she is, out home for the next four days, Fiji Princess.
If you are looking for the ‘high end’ of cruising luxury, then this is not the vessel for you! But if its comfort and a small ship, designed to allow access to magical islands and bays, well, please read on.
Fiji works on island time
Fijians live their lives on ‘Fiji time’ with family and friends as their first priority. If something doesn’t happen now, the Fijians don’t worry at it is sure to happen sooner or later. This can take a bit of getting used to if you are accustomed to western-style service where drinks arrive at the snap of a finger and tours are run with military precision.
However, one of the best things about visiting Fiji is that it reminds you to slow down and focus on what is really important: spending time with those you love. Switch into ‘Fiji time’ and you will quickly embrace the Fijians’ ‘don’t worry, be happy’ vibe.
Guests on board Fiji Princess are enchanted into slowing down, enjoying the moment. The crew are amongst some of the most courteous and loveable you will meet. They quickly remember your name and your preferred beverage. Nothing is a trouble. The ship is very clean and the cabins, although small are well fitted out and the pod coffee maker was a boon for Australian’s who enjoy a real tasting coffee.
Meals are delightful, with a great variety of fresh dishes presented on the festive board.
Each of the islands and beaches the various cruises land at have been specially researched by Blue Lagoon, thus allowing passengers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty and to appreciate a Fijian way of life.
As you can see by the accompanying pictures, a Blue Lagoon Cruise is the perfect place to capture those very special memories, ones that will last a life time.
See our Photo Gallery for more images
Usually we try and highlight a special part of the experience, but for this cruise, we couldn’t separate them:
The arrival in Fiji and the excitement of boarding the ship.
Our first sight of the Fijian Princess.
The Bula welcome.
Sailing around the islands.
The meals and friendliness of the crew.
The Fijian BBQ’s on the beach.
Having our own private beach to enjoy.
The entertainment by the crew.
Visiting the schools.
Exploring the islands.
What we can highly recommend is that you contact Blue Lagoon Cruises: www.bluelagooncruises.com and take advantage of the special deal below, or your licensed travel agent today.
Here are a few tips to help you maximise your Blue Lagoon experience.
Its meaning is "life," and when used as a greeting it implies wishes for continued good health (the official formal greeting is "Ni sa bull vinaka," meaning "wishing you happiness and good health," but it is almost always shortened to just plain "Bula!".
“Boo-lah” is infectious and always served with a smile, a great big Fijian smile. Something that you are going to hear very often and you are expected to return the greeting.
On the ship and at selected villages you will be invited to participate at a kava ceremony. I noticed that some passengers where a bit mystified, so here is a quick lesson:
How to drink kava
Kava is made from the root of the yaqona bush, a relative of the pepper plant, and mixed with water to make a traditional drink. It is an essential part of Fijian culture.
Kava is non-alcoholic but does have a mild anaesthetic effect. A couple of cups make your face and lips feel numb; a larger amount will soon have you feeling relaxed and sleepy. Kava is fine for older children to drink if they are invited to participate (kids usually receive a tiny serve).
Before the ceremony the Fijian village chief/captain will select a passenger ‘chief’ to represent your group. The two chiefs partake first, before the kava is offered to everyone using a small communal bowl. If you have a germ phobia this can be a little confronting but the beautiful sharing nature of the ceremony far outweighs any potential risks.
When it is your turn for the bowl, it is fine to ask for ‘half tide’ (a smaller serve) if you aren’t sure if you will like it. This is an especially useful tip as it is impolite not to drink your kava in one go.
Here are the five steps you need to know when the bowl comes your way.
When the kava is passed to you, clap once with cupped hands and say ‘Vinaka’ (thank you).
Take the bowl and drink deeply until the kava is gone.
Hand the bowl back to the person who gave it to you.
Clap three times as a sign of your respect and appreciation.
Even if you aren’t keen for a second cup, stay seated until the village chief invites you to leave.
The muddy, peppery taste of kava is definitely an acquired taste but its effects will make settling into ‘Fiji time’ an absolute breeze!
Blue Lagoon Cruises: www.bluelagooncruises.com