In this Article by South Pacific travel expert Ian Osborn
Overnight Cruises — Day Cruises in Fiji — Large Ship Cruises from Other Countries
Two luxury cruise companies offer three to seven day trips departing Nadi and cruising through the Mamanuca Islands and along the Yasawa chain of islands. The Yasawa Group of islands are particularly stunning and cruise itineraries take in traditional villages with Yaqona ceremonies and shell markets, snorkelling in turquoise lagoons and relaxing on secluded beaches.
Day cruises also operate out of Nadi, departing Port Denarau in the morning and returning in the evening. Day cruise options include visiting island resorts for the day, having a BBQ lunch on a tiny uninhabited coral atoll, island hopping cruises to spot dolphins, or sailing to the remote outer islands to visit a pottery village and stunning secluded beach.
Overnight Cruise Holidays in Fiji
Overnight small ship cruises depart from Nadi passing through the northern Mamanuca Islands and on to the stunning bays, beaches and lagoons of the Yasawa Islands. These overnight cruises are usually either 3-nights or 4-nights, with combination 7-night cruises available. The highlight of the cruises are snorkelling in remote coral reefs teaming with colourful fish, visiting remote villages for traditional dances and yaqona ceremonies, and visiting some beautiful secluded bays and beaches. The beauty of these overnight cruises is that you get to visit some very secluded areas by day, and then retreat to the comfort of you cabin at night to enjoy sunsets over the empty sea and star gazing at night.
For those seeking a little more adventure and cultural interaction, consider an overnight cruise to the Northern Islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Tui Tai cruises offer weekly departures from Savusavu.
Day Cruises in Fiji Islands
The small compact Mamanuca Islands is the best destination in Fiji for a day cruise. Lying just offshore from Nadi Airport, day cruises depart from either Port Denarau 20-minutes by road south of the airport, or Vuda Marina, 10-minutes north of the airport South Sea Cruises offer day cruises to South Sea Island and Beachcomber Island for the active - parasailing, jet skies, banana boat rides and speedboats for hire. For the more sedate Malamala Island in the Mamanuca's is another small and beautiful uninhabited coral island with tours by Fiji Fun Cruises including activities, glass bottom boat and beach BBQ. Day cruises are also available to several island resorts in the Mamanuca Group including Malolo Island and Mana Island and cost from F$80 for the day.
Sailing boats are a romantic way to explore the islands, with sailing, snorkelling and usually a stopover at a remote beach, island or village along the way. The Whale's Tale is a delightful old schooner sailing around the small islands for the day with just a handful of guests and free booze on board making it popular with couples. More affordable is the Seaspray Cruise which visits the outer uninhabited island of Monu and Modriki. Captain Cook Cruises operate the Ra Marama, a schooner sailing to Tivua Island, a beautiful uninhabited coral island with good snorkelling and is popular with families.
Another great day out exploring the Yasawa Islands is by catching the Yasawa Flyer resort transfer boat to one of the beach resorts for the day. These include day trips to Octopus Resort on Waya Island, or to Botaira Beach Resort on Naviti Island, both with excellent snorkelling off the beach and stunning hill walks right behind the resort. These two resorts take about 2 hours travelling time to reach passing beautiful islands along the way making it a good sightseeing option but with less time on land than one of the Mamanuca day cruises.
Overseas Cruise Ships visiting Fiji
Several large ship cruises visit Fiji including P&O from Brisbane in Australia. These massive cruise vessels tend to anchor in deep-water lagoons and of these, Denarau Island and Beqa lagoons are the most popular. Guests are shuttled to and fro on smaller transfer boats, either to visit a village, to spend a day at a resort or to snorkel in a the lagoon. Some cruises dock at either Lautoka or Suva ports on the mainland allowing guests easy disembarkation to visit the town's market, shops and surrounding countryside. On occasions, Savusavu harbour in the outer island of Vanua Levu also receives cruises.