Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Cruise Weekly Comment: Fiji


Cruise Weekly – Comment by Roderick Eime

My first trip to Fiji was as a nine-year-old aboard P&O’s Himalaya, so any return to the friendly islands is always a nostalgic affair and gives me a chance to compare progress over the years.

My stay at the beautiful 5-star Radisson Resort Denarau Island reminded me that accommodation has improved exponentially in Fiji, especially on the exclusive island just outside Nadi where all the big names line up.

Out on the water, I sampled Captain Cook Cruises’s two key products; a 4-night Yasawa Island adventure aboard Reef Escape and a 3-night Sailing Safari aboard the classic brigantine, Ra Marama. The latter normally operates day tours, but was filling in for Spirit of Pacific (pic left) while in for servicing.

The sailing safari is a real Gilligan’s Island affair, with overnight stays at the low-impact Barefoot Lodge on Drawaqa Island. While not for everyone, it is a romantic and authentic tropical island escape perfect for couples and families. Wake up each morning to the sound of waves lapping on the beach just 20m away and swimming with the local Manta Rays is a huge attraction. (Yes I did!)

The 3, 4 and7-night cruises all operate aboard the stalwart MV Reef Escape, originally built by CCCs for the Hawkesbury River back in the late ‘80s. Not the newest vessel in Fiji waters, it nonetheless maintains a loyal following and is clearly popular with many repeat cruisers.

At time of writing, CCCs have no plans to change vessel or itineraries in Fiji although the ex-Matilda day boat, the catamaran Aussie One, will bolster the corporate charter fleet there later this year.

CCCs continue to offer great value for adventure cruisers. New offer just announced is 40% off the 7-night cruise for bookings made before 30 September. Check out the website for more offers. www.captaincook.com.au