An adventure on the MV Reef Endeavour of Captain Cook Cruises Fiji was the real purpose of our trip to Fiji. Its home port is Denarau near Nadi – when the weather allows the ship to come into the port that is. It was a blustery, windy day for our departure and so ‘Reef Endeavour’ stayed off shore and we were taken out in a smaller vessel with a shallower draft.
While we were waiting, there were plenty of shops to look through and a few cafes provided lunch.
It’s a very pleasant small port.
New houses and apartments line the shoreline just beyond the breakwater that shelters the port.
This part of Fiji is becoming a popular place for people, particularly foreigners, to live.
It is a very different scene from the way most Fijians live –
especially those on the islands we were going to visit on this trip.
A fast ferry, the Yasawan Flyer’, leaves the port daily to take people to resorts on the islands.
We would take much more time.
We would live on board our small ship, Reef Endeavour, for seven days.
First we had to rendezvous and transfer over from one ship to the other. Interesting!
The ‘Reef Endeavour’ is a small cruise ship (120 maximum passengers) which regularly does three, four and seven day cruises to the Yasawan and Mamanuca Islands and, once a month, does a seven day cruise to other northern islands. The best months to travel to Fiji are the ‘dry’ season of May to August but any time is a good time! Check in to www.captaincook.com.fj to find out more.
I recommend this cruise highly but if you are thinking of doing it there are a few things you need to take into consideration. You will have to climb outside stairs, often wet, and walk along outside decks to get to the rooms which have a door sill to step over. You will need to be able to get into and out of small boats that transfer passengers from ship to shore and to the snorkelling beaches. There are no jetties on these islands so all landings are wet landings which means you will get your feet wet as you get onto and off beaches. Medical help in these outer islands is all but non-existent so good health and a fair level of fitness will help you to make the most of this trip. Age is really no barrier but fitness is needed.
Rooms are simply furnished but comfortable.
The sun deck up top has plenty of space to enjoy the passing scenery.
When the weather is good, some meals are taken on this deck.
There are also two spa pools to enjoy.
The back sun deck looks down on the small pool which is at the lounge / dining level.
There’s always time to relax in the pool!
Those who love to cruise the seas need to be aware that this cruise is not a luxury five star cruise with six or seven or more restaurants open 7/24 and all the extras of dance halls, theatres, bingo and massive swimming pools on board. Although there is a bar open much of the time and every passenger is well housed and well fed, this cruise is very different. This is an adventure, discovery cruise through the unspoilt waters of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean. Passengers enjoy dances, or local mekes, in small village halls on islands visited along the way as well as lovo meals cooked in the earth at the villages.
It’s a rather special experience because best of all, you get the opportunity to meet real Fijian people and their delightful children in their own small village environments set amongst fantastic scenery. The shops in these villages are ‘shell and craft’ markets where you can buy small souveneirs. And, for free, you can take home a kilo, or two, or three of genuine Fijian SMILES.
Although there’s a small swimming pool on board the ship, there’s another huge, warm swimming pool to enjoy – the warm Fijian sea with its reefs and fish and corals. The ship has a dive team to help with snorkelling and scuba diving and there’s a glass bottomed boat for those who just want to float.
The ship is small enough to manoeuvre into small bays for snorkelling experiences.
Here we snorkelled opposite a small resort which was well hidden in the trees.
These are not reefs with an abundance of large fish like some reefs we have visited in our travels. The locals here rely on the sea for their food but they don’t over fish the waters. They manage them well.
The water temperature was 31.5 – just delightful.
I felt so free being back in the water just enjoying the beauty of the under water world.
We stayed in as long as possible before the crew called us back –
time was up and the ship needed to move on.
My only problem with the snorkelling was that I got pretty badly bitten by something – sea lice in the water or pesky little insects under some trees on a beach. Whatever they were, those bites were so itchy and of course that was the end of the swimming for me. I must be juicy – I was the only one bitten!
Back on board we enjoyed the food prepared by our chef – and the music provided smiling Manus.
After dinner, the crew entertained with various forms of Fijian dance and song.
And with all that fresh sea air and swimming, and the rocking of the ship, sleep came easily.
In the next episode, we’ll visit a village.
Take a look at the ship’s site on