After literally years of planning, we travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, to cruise to the Pacific Ocean territories of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji and to hop over to Melbourne. The year was 2020 and it was just before the pandemic.
During our Princess Cruise out of Sydney towards the vast openness of the Pacific Ocean we stopped at a number of different ports and Islands which Timothy covered in detail:
- Noumea in New Caledonia
- Lifou in New Caledonia
- Port Vila in Vanuatu
- Dravuni Island in Fiji
- Suva in Fiji
- Savusavu in Fiji
- Lautoka in Fiji
Just like in the Caribbean they were mostly small tropical islands, with pristine white beaches, tropical plants and trees and a big volcano in the middle. The villages where also mostly built out of wooden or corrugated iron huts with the fancier buildings being built out of bricks and cinder blocks. Village life was clearly mostly spent outdoors (which of course is a joy with the wonderful warm weather year-round). While every island had its specific characteristics like whether wearing a flower on your right or left ear indicated whether you where single or taken, this differed from island to island but due to the likeness of them all and the short time span spent there made us mix up the islands in our heads.
The most peculiar thing we experienced was how happy the islanders where when a big ship like ours visited. Everyone stopped working or going to school and helped accommodate the ship and its tourists. The locals even engaged in staging local dancing and rituals for the tourists to come and watch, which felt like a very wrong thing to do for us. This is of course in stark contrast to places like Venice and Barcelona where the locals would rather not have any more Cruise ships visiting, so one could wonder how long it will take before mentalities will change on these remote islands as well.
In the end we were very happy to have visited these remote parts of the globe, and could tick off some very exotic places from our “been there, done that” map. Most likely we will not return very soon as we feel we have seen the most important aspects of the islands and the remoteness and time it takes to get to them will most likely make us choose to visit some Caribbean islands next time we want to see some exotic islands as they are much easier and convenient to get to. However if you do get the chance to visit these pacific islands, we recommend you to do so because they are all unique in their own right.
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