Cruise Articles - Cruise Reviews :
 Heritage Cruise in Fiji with Captain Cook Cruises

Fiji with Captain Cook Cruises
Captain Cook Cruises Heritage Cruise in Fiji

by Roger Allnutt

There are only a handful of places where you can stand with one foot in one day and your other foot in the previous day. The 180 Meridian Dateline runs through the Fijian island of Taveuni near the village of Waiyevo and most of the passengers on board the Captain Cook Cruise ship MV Reef Endeavour took delight in being photographed at a point on the third largest Fijian island where this is ‘marked’.

The 8 day/7 night Captain Cook Cruises Heritage Cruise covers the north coast of the main island Viti Levu, spends a day at Levuka, the old capital of Fiji on the island of Ovalau, visits Savusavu on Vanua Levu and time at the third largest island of Taveuni. As well as town visits there are plenty of stops at small cays or island beaches for snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours and scuba diving is available for those passengers so inclined. Other activities include visits to small villages, and cooking classes.

The Reef Endeavour is a well-designed small ship catering to a maximum of 140 passengers in accommodation ranging from staterooms to cabins with bunk beds. Meals are served at one sitting and the passengers (mainly Australian but with a smattering of overseas guests) moved around at meal times so by the end of the cruise everyone was on first name terms and nice friendships developed.

Other facilities on board included a spacious lounge/bar, pool, sundeck, small library, laundry and gym and spa. The food was good and plentiful, especially the wonderful Fijian tropical fruit.

Captain Cook Cruises cabin
Children at St James Primary School, Levuka perform for passengers

Levuka, the capital of Fiji until it was moved to Suva in 1877, is a real time warp. Located on the island of Ovalau off the east coast of the main island Viti Levu, in its heyday it was a riotous town that boasted 50 pubs for a population of around 3500, its trade based on sandalwood, beche-de-mer, turtle shell and coconut oil and later a cotton and copra boom. Nowadays the town’s existence is based on the tuna processing factory established by Japanese interests in 1964 and since bought out by the Fijian government – the aroma from the factory permeates the town..

Many of the original buildings still exist and the town has been nominated for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Royal Hotel is the oldest hotel in Fiji dating back nearly 150 years and still provides accommodation. Fine buildings include the Sacred Heart Church and Marist Convent School, the Ovalau Club (one of Fiji’s oldest social clubs), and the old Morris Hedstrom Store building now housing a small historical museum.

Children at the local St James Parish Primary School put on a display of singing and dancing for passengers and, using the very basic facilities available in their school, they charmed everyone with their huge smiles and skilful artistry.

By contrast Savusavu, the second largest town on Fiji’s second island Vanua Levu appeared more modern and go ahead with a bustling market place and a number of quite modern supermarkets. In 2000 it became the centre for pearl farming in Fiji with the establishment of J Hunter Pearls, including the rare and highly sought after ‘Fiji Gold’ pearl. Its sheltered harbour attracts yachts from all round the world. I noted one from Newport, Rhode Island.

Captain Cook Cruises cabin
ladies dressed up for church, Taveuni

Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island is called the garden of Fiji due to its lush and verdant vegetation. The economy of the island, mainly farmers, is from taro and yaqona (from which the traditional drink kava is produced for use in many ceremonies). Naselesele is a pretty village and for the cruise passengers the villagers provided a demonstration of singing and dancing and the traditional lovo feast where meats and vegetables are cooked over hot stones in a pit. The greeting ceremony involved the drinking of copious quantities of kava, an acquired taste. Near to Naselesele are the Bouma waterfalls with cascades dropping over 20m to a beautiful refreshing pool perfect for swimming.

Fijians are extremely religious and Taveuni is the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji. Most passengers attended the Sunday service at the Holy Cross Parish church in Wairiki village. Conducted in both English and Fijian the parishioners sat cross legged on the floor. The singing was incredible with four part harmony effortlessly echoing round the church. Fijians love to sing and, given their amazing voices, I am surprised none have become opera singers.

Other days of the cruise involved a number of stops at small islands, remote cays and sandy beaches to indulge in some snorkelling in the clear, warmish waters. The coral varied in ‘standard’ but in all cases there were many colourful tropical fish darting in and out of the coral.

For those with appropriate qualifications (PADI certificate) the ship offered expert diving under the care of two trained instructors. Some of the reefs off Taveuni are regarded as among the top ten dive sites in the world.

Most flights from overseas to the international airport at Nadi arrive late afternoon, too late to join up with the cruise embarkation at 1pm. There are a number of top hotels in and around Nadi especially at Denarau Island close to the marina at Port Denarau.

Good choices include the Radisson Resort Fiji on Denarau Island which is close to the cruise embarkation point, Best Western Hexagon Hotel between the airport and Nadi town and Sonaisali Resort south of Nadi.

Roger Allnutt was a guest of Captain Cook Cruises.


Captain Cook Cruises

For more information on Captain Cook Cruises in Fiji check the website

Roger Allnutt
Roger Allnutt is a freelance travel writer based in Canberra, Australia, and a long-time member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. He travels widely around the world researching material for publication in newspapers and magazines in Australia, New Zealand, US, Singapore and other parts of the world.

Roger is happy to accept commissions and can provide material on many parts of the world. He can be reached at [email protected]

His other interests include food and wine, classical music and theatre and playing tennis.

 Cruise Travel  Writers

Find out even more aboout the top Prow's Edge Travel writers

 Cruise Articles - Reviews

• Africa : Single Women Out to Sea
• Africa : Seychelles

• Alaska : Into the Last Frontier
• Alaska : Hot and Icy
• Alaska : Cruise to Lose
• Alaska : Dah'monds
• Alaska : Gone Fishin’
• Alaska : Small Ship Cruising
• Alaska : Up Close

• Antarctica : White Continent

• Asia: China to Japan
• Asia: Japan to Canada
• Asia : SuperStar Gemini
• Asia : On the Mekong
• Asia : Star Cruises 1
• Asia : Star Cruises 2
• Asia : On the Irrawaddy
• Asia : Borneo Journey
• Asia : Boutique Luxury Cruising
• Asia : China River of Heaven
• Asia : Down the Mekong
• Asia : In Japan
• Asia : On the Rajang River
• Asia : The Road to Mandalay
Asia : Victoria Cruise Line

• Atlantic : Crossing the Pond
• Atlantic : TransOcean Adventure
• Atlantic : All Inclusive

• Australia : Celebrity Solstice
• Australia : Great Barrier Reef
• Australia : River Murray
• Australia : Sydney Harbour

• Canada : St Lawrence River
• Canada : BC's Coast

• Caribbean : An Oasis of Memories
• Caribbean : Grenadines
• Caribbean : Cruise Into Mystery
• Caribbean : Down-island Groove
• Caribbean : Disney
• Caribbean : Escaping Winter
• Caribbean : At a Different Pace
• Caribbean : Jazz all at Sea
• Caribbean : Island to Island
• Caribbean : Island Hopping
• Caribbean : Navigator
• Caribbean : Puerto Rico
• Caribbean : Windsurf Cruise

• Europe : River Cruises in France
• Europe : Beautiful Britain

• Europe : Croatian Adriatic Coast
• Europe : On the Danube
• Europe : Mv Minerva
• Europe : Along the Danube
• Europe : Canal Barge in France
• Europe : Languedoc’s Vineyards
• Europe : Ireland’s Shannon River
• Europe : Norway’s Coast
• Europe : Scotland’s Isles

• Galapagos : The Golden Age

• Mediterranean : Luxurious Lifestyle
• Mediterranean : Luxury
• Mediterranean : More luxury

• Middle East : Lycia - Turkey
• Middle East : Sailing in Turkey

• Pacific : French Polynesia
• Pacific : Cultural Fijian Cruise
Pacific : Heritage Fijian Cruise
• Pacific : Tahitian Princess
• Pacific : Tahiti - Just Imagine
• Pacific : A Charter in Tahiti

• Panama Canal : With Cunard
• Panama Canal : Getting it Right
• Panama Canal : The Big Ditch
• Panama Canal : Ruby's Progress

• USA : Columbia River in Comfort
• USA : Cruising on the East Coast
• USA : Maine Windjamming
• USA : Maine by Schooner
• USA : Mississippi Steamboatin'
• USA : A Taste of Britain