Bula! Fiji by Cruise Ship

Tips for planning and enjoying a Fijian cruise 

It’s hard to imagine something more idyllic than cruising on the azure South Pacific waters as a lonely palm tree sways to the trade winds on a salt-white sand beach. It’s the stuff of fantasy, the fodder of daydreams – but on a cruise in Fiji, those dreams become reality.

Fiji, with its scattering of islands dotted around the South Pacific, is like something from a bygone time. This friendly nation moves at its own pace, subscribing to the uber-holiday vibe of ‘island time’ where no one seems to be in any sort of hurry – and can you blame them?
For many travellers, Fiji is an accessible tropical destination. It sits in that Goldie Locks zone where it isn’t too far, too expensive, too out of your comfort zone, too hot, too intense or in too much of a hurry to grow up. 

And for those lucky enough to visit Fiji by cruise ship, you’re even in better luck. Cruises allow you to island hop like a Polynesian explorer, where you can soak in the best of what this tiny nation has to offer without the challenges of sorting it out on your own.

 

Aerial view of cruise ship moving through water next to island

 

Travel to Fiji: by air or by sea?

Those keen to explore Fiji by cruise ship have many options and plenty of different approaches to this journey. You have the choice of starting your journey in Fiji or from further afield. This means that you can fly to Fiji and board your ship there or set sail closer to home and arrive via sea.

For Australian travellers, flying from home and setting sail once you get to Fiji means that you can maximise your island time and concentrate on beaches and village visits and not the open sea. There are plenty of cruise options that start and end in Fiji – from day trips to multi-day excursions.

If you’d rather have the true ‘ocean explorer’ feel to your holiday, you could board the ship in Australia and sail across the seas to Fiji – this ocean journey will take about two and half days. Likewise, you can start your cruise in New Zealand, so if you want to combine a holiday across the ditch with a Fijian cruise, that option is available too.

 

When to go

The temperature in Fiji is pretty consistent year-round. A delightful 26°C to 31°C is just the winter tonic when those southerly winds batter Melbourne commuters and just the right amount of heat in the summer months. Fiji has two not-very-distinct seasons – summer and winter. 

Summer (from November to April) is characterised by warmer temperatures and frequent afternoon rain showers. These rains rarely last long and are quite refreshing! Winter, which runs from May to October, is slightly cooler but distinctly drier. You might need a light jacket for the evenings, but you can expect it to be much drier than summer

 

Aerial view of suitcase being packed for tropical vacation

 

What to bring on a Fiji cruise 

Fiji is the epitome of relaxed. The island lifestyle permeates everything and everyone from a cab driver to the Prime Minister will spend most days in a floral shirt and shorts. Embrace the vibe and leave the formal wear at home.

Essentials

  • Light clothing – dressing lightly will protect you from the sun and help keep you cool on those hot days.
  • Beachwear – Fiji is world renowned for some of the best beaches anywhere, and not spending some time on the sand would almost be a crime.
  • Travel umbrella – in summer months those afternoon rain showers can catch you out if you aren’t prepared. Likewise, when the mercury soars that same umbrella is your portable palm tree shade.
  • A sense of adventure – Fiji has some amazing cultural experiences like Kava ceremonies and some of the best snorkelling around – don’t pass up on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities! 

 

Customs and Culture

Fiji has a rich Polynesian culture that has stretched unbroken thousands of years into the past. These ancient mariners and village-living peoples have continued these traditions into the twenty-first century. There are ample opportunities to connect to this culture and it is highly recommended. Your cruise will offer you the opportunity to experience this beautiful indigenous culture in several ways – here are some of the many highlights:

 

Kava

This traditional drink is about as Fijian as you can get. Consuming kava is less about quenching thirst and more about tradition, ceremony and social connection. Kava is made from the dried roots of the plant by the same name. It is pounded into a powder and then mixed with water. It’s then consumed out of a coconut shell while sitting cross-legged in a ceremony amongst friends. To say that it’s an acquired taste is a bit of an understatement, but this is less about something tasty and more a timeless experience. A surprising, but perhaps delightful, effect of Kava is that it is a mild sedative. Something to keep in mind before indulging!

 

Lovo

The Fijian version of a hangi or earth oven is called a Lovo and with all the amazing produce and seafood Fiji is famous for, this is a highly recommended way to tuck into dinner! Village visits organised by the cruise ship will often include a meal cooked in a Lovo. 

 

Meke 

Dance is so important to Polynesian cultures all around the Pacific. Fiji is no different – Meke, the traditional dance performed by both men and women has been passed down for generations. Often incorporating clubs and spears, it can be an intimidating experience – but don’t worry, it is performed with love and passion!

 

Firewalking

Walking on hot coals has become a real showstopper for motivational speakers and daredevils – but its origin is right here in Fiji. It may sound like something dreamed up in a charcoal factory and a footwear marketing room – but walking on hot coals has been a tradition here for centuries. Try to catch a show while you’re in Fiji – it will be a spectacular you won’t forget in a hurry. 

 

Traditional fire dancer at night

 

Ports

Suva

Fiji's capital and its largest city – Suva is as cosmopolitan as Fiji gets. If you have shopping on your itinerary or are keen to visit some museums – Suva is the place. Don’t forget, Fiji isn’t that big of a place so even though Suva may be a city stop, beaches and the jungle are never that far away.

 

Lautoka

This compact city is Fiji’s second largest. Located on the west coast it’s the gateway to stunning beaches and outer islands that are even more pristine. By jumping on one of these small boat trips to these islands you can leave your cruise-mates behind and experience some island solitude that will nourish the soul.

 
Fiji as a cruise ship destination should be on every traveller's bucket list. The warm waters are as inviting as they are beautiful. Friendly locals will bring you in with a ‘Bula’ (the traditional Fijian greeting) and pamper you with incredible food, you’ll see some of the best beaches anywhere and get an insight into a terrific culture that will nourish your soul for decades to come. 

 

 

 

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