BULA! Welcome onboard Fiji’s luxury expedition small ship, MS Caledonian Sky. Our seven-night cruise to the Northern Lau islands takes guests on an itinerary of discovery to some of the most beautiful and remote islands in the Pacific. From colourful, thriving coral reefs and shallow bays to miles of white sandy beaches and tiny tropical islands, we sail to the places larger ships can’t access.
As a Captain Cook Cruises Fiji guest onboard MS Caledonian Sky, you’re guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise in luxurious style while experiencing the authenticity and culture of remote Fiji.
Against a backdrop of scant tourism throughout the region, we are honoured to have the opportunity to guide our guests through these otherwise unexplored areas that a fortunate few have the chance to experience.
Set sail from Port Denarau and head east in the Pacific Ocean to reach the Lau archipelago and some of the most idyllic islands and reefs on earth – rarely visited by tourists. Swim, snorkel or enjoy a scuba dive into the turquoise and tranquil oceans of Northern Lau. Explore Fiji’s former leper colony island, Makogai – an idyllic island setting for quarantining - and enjoy a fascinating historic story telling tour. Be enchanted by the striking natural beauty of Vatu Vara, Wailagi lala, Qilaqila’s Bay of Islands, Cicia and Nanu-i–ra Islands. This is the real Fiji.
Fiji’s Eastern Archipelago is made up of a cluster of beautiful and remote picture-postcard islands, around half of them uninhabited. Navigate the region’s turquoise waters and experience the authentic Fiji on the MS Caledonian Sky, setting sail to paradise, a remote region much of which is inaccessible to tourists.
A visit to the Northern Lau islands offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to a select few travellers. From turquoise bays to remote villages, these are some of Fiji’s best kept secrets. From Vanua Balavu’s famous Qilaqila Bay of Islands to the historic island of Makogai, expect to explore untouched natural beauty and gain personal insights to the region’s history and culture. The Lau group of islands is made up of 57 islets, of which only 30 are inhabited. Unexplored by tourists, the northern Lau islands offer spectacular and unspoilt scenery, and you’ll have the chance to snorkel, swim and scuba dive in the pristine waters of these beautiful islands and surrounding colourful coral reefs.
Our onboard marine biologists will guide a discovery of the plethora of wildlife at Vatu Vara and the other islands of the northern Lau and during onboard lectures. Best of all, you’ll be welcomed and entertained by the friendly people of this region and experience a traditional Meke, Sevusevu and lovo, quite different from the traditional Fijian feasts.
Makogai is an island belonging to Fiji's Lomaiviti Archipelago. The island once housed a leper colony owned by the colonial government of Fiji with the help of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. Many of the original buildings still stand amidst the jungle as well as the graves of over 2000 souls lost. The number of patients grew from 40 when the leprosarium opened in 1911 to 700 in 1950. The patients were nursed by Catholic sisters. Mother Mary Agnes was the superior of the leper’s colony from 1916 until 1950. Patients arrived on Makogai from all the British colonies of the Pacific as well as from the various territories of the Dominion of New Zealand after 1922.
Qilaqila, in the northwest of magical Vanua Balavu, is on the edge of the remote eastern extreme of the Fijian archipelago. Qilaqila is renowned for its beautiful islets and pristine, crystal blue waters which stretch across the beautiful bay that is garnished with extraordinary – and distinctive - mushroom-shaped islands. Also called the 'Bay of Islands', Qilaqila is a mesmerising part of the Pacific that shouldn't be missed.
Vatu Vara promises the magic of an untouched and uninhabited ancient volcanic island, a true South Pacific paradise teeming with bird and marine life, some of which are endemic to this island. Soaring limestone cliffs covered with dense tropical jungle and white sand beaches enhance the drama. Your footprints are sure to be the only ones you see.
Wailagi Lala is the northernmost outpost of Fiji's Lau islands. Literally translated as "no water or rain", Wailagi Lala lies to the eastern sea border of the Fiji archipelago in the South Pacific, and historically has been the gateway to Fiji for ships coming or going to Samoa through the Nanuku Passage. Its crystal-clear waters are attributed to its remote location and lack of terrestrial water run-off. Feel the extraordinary chalky white sand between your toes as you soak up this paradise far, far away.
***Itineraries subject to change due to weather and other operational requirement
Tivua Private Island
Enjoy an afternoon of beach activities at Captain Cook Cruises’ own Tivua Private Island. As you explore the beautiful coral gardens of Tivua you’ll be surrounded by magnificent aquamarine waters and 500 acres of thriving coral gardens. Paddle, snorkel, dive to explore or join our sustainability journey by planting a coral in our coral nursery while you’re there. Return to the MS Caledonian Sky and enjoy a wonderful welcome dinner as you cruise towards a South Pacific sunset.
Discover a fascinating piece of Pacific history on your locally guided walking tour through the jungle on Makogai Island. You’ll explore the ruins of an former leper colony which was run by the Catholic nuns from 1911 until the 1960s. Patients came from all over the Pacific including New Zealand to isolate and recuperate on Makogai and sadly there are more than 2000 graves on the island remembering those who didn’t survive. Fiji’s Department of Fisheries has a research station based in Makogai where giant clams and turtles are cultivated. You’ll snorkel over giant clam gardens in the island’s turtle sanctuary. Back onshore, you’ll have the opportunity to join the island’s church service and be entertained by the local villagers and children with their traditional song and dance.
Today you’ll explore one of Fiji’s most beautiful marine parks at Vatu Vara. This majestic island rises out of the Pacific with a 305-metre-high summit, giving it the nickname ‘Hat Island’. The volcanic and limestone island is just three kilometres in diameter and home to both a bird sanctuary and a National Park. Vatu Vara is also home to the world’s largest land arthropods, the coconut crab. The traditional mythical guardian of Vatu Vara is the sea goddess or nymph named Sakulawe.
This incredible, pristine location is the northernmost outpost of Fiji's Lau islands and is the gateway to Samoa through the Nanuku Passage. Today’s visit to Wailagi Lala will include a discovery of its seabird nesting colony and marine ecosystem that make it a nationally significant island. Literally translated as "no water or rain", Wailagi Lala is famous or its crystal-clear water and many say that the tiny atoll is the only true atoll in Fiji. Dominated by its 1909 cast iron lighthouse – now abandoned and reaching some 29 metres in height - the sand island is surrounded by spectacular lagoon and coral reefs. You will feel chalky white sand between your toes as you explore this fabulous paradise.
Vanua Balavu – Qilaqila – Bay of Islands
Immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery, pristine reefs, tiny islands and hidden caves of the Bay of Islands at Qila Qila, on the northwest end of Vanua Balavu, the main island of the Northern Lau group and the third largest in Fiji’s Lau archipelago. The traditional owners of Qilaqila are the iTaukei, the mataqalis from Mavana Village. All visitors to Qilaqila must do sevusevu - a ceremony of greeting – on arrival and have received permission from the village elders of Daliconi Village to visit. On today’s visit you’ll encounter hot springs and have a chance to swim in crystal-clear waters amidst a labyrinth of mushroom-shaped rock formations and islets. Spot an endemic Fijian free-tailed bat as you explore and swim through the easily accessible caves.
Enjoy lunch onboard as we steam towards Mago Island. This is one of the privately owned islands populated by early European settlers. The island has been home to cotton and sugar cane plantations and was purchased by Australian actor director Mel Gibson in 2005. Legend has it that its early owners the Borron family became delusional, gathered the villagers in a cave on the island and blew them up with dynamite. The descendants of the survivors now live in Vanua Balavu in the village of Lomaloma. Some of them have since returned to Mago and live as part of a sun worshiping cult who have a strong focus on farming. There is a light on the hill which is kept continuously lit by the cult leader. On today’s visit you’ll have the opportunity to visit the cult village, Namalata. Mago Island is still relatively undeveloped and sustainability initiatives including coral rehabilitation and clam planting are underway. The reefs around Mago Island are diverse and pristine, making diving a must-do.
The island of Lakeba is provincial capital of Lau and is the traditional centre of power and authority in the Lau group of islands. On today’s visit you’ll discover some interesting historical sites as well as the Chiefly Village on a guided tour. Key figures in Fiji’s political history including Ratu Sukuna and Ratu Mara are buried here as are the remains of the Tongan King and conqueror of much of the Lau, Ma’afu. Next follow the path of explorer Captain William Bligh who travelled in his 12-foot boat all the way from Tonga through Lomaivit to Vatu-I-ra. Eventually, Captain Bligh landed in Yasawa where he and his crew were chased by Fijians who were still practicing cannibalism at that time! Fortunately for Bligh, visibility was poor, and they managed to escape.
Sealife and natural beauty surround you in this large conservation park where you’ll enjoy Vatu-i-ra island as well as exploring the large surrounding barrier reef. Some of the world’s best coral reef dives await here at Vatu-i-ra. The island is also a haven for breeding seabirds, earning it the nickname “Bird Island”. Black noddies, red-footed and brown boobies, lesser frigatebirds and several species of tern all call Vatu-i-ra home. Dolphins, whales, sea turtles and more than 100 species of fish populate the diverse marine ecosystems surrounding the island. It’s a natural treasure trove just waiting to be discovered!
Today we’ll visit the northern coast of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu for our customary swim, snorkel and beachcombing or the chance for a lazy morning enjoying a beach visit and possibly take a hike. After lunch we take our last visit ashore before we begin our homeward journey. Don your favourite island attire and join all the celebrations of our Pacific Island Night Finale.
Return to Nadi for 9:00am disembarkation. After breakfast, the crew will bid you farewell in song including their traditional Fijian ‘Isa Lei’ as they say ‘sototale’ or ‘see you again’.
Did you know that this northern Lau volcanic island was declared ‘Organic Island’ in 2013? The island and its people have committed to having 100% of its farm agriculture produced organically!
Not commonly known outside Fiji, the Lau Islands are the centre of the game of cricket in Fiji. Cricket is the most popular team sport in Lau, unlike the rest of the country where rugby rules supreme.
The Lau seascape is home to some of the most well-preserved reef systems in the world. The many lagoons of Vatu Vara and the surrounding ocean provide varying ecosystems and safe havens for marine life which is known as one of the world’s best national parks.
We know Fiji. Join us on a multi night stay on the MS Caledonian Sky or one of our gorgeous sailing vessels for private island day excursion or a dinner cruise. Snorkel, dive, hike, paddle, visit a village or just laze around and read a book. Be as active or relaxed as you like, the choice is yours.
Yasawa Islands 7 night Cruise FAQS
A small ship cruise doesn’t mean fewer amenities to enjoy. Our small ship includes most of the luxuries found on larger cruise liners, such as sumptuous meals prepared fresh daily onboard, a kids club for children aged 5 - 9 years plus all the luxuries including a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, swimming pool and day spa. If you’re interested in Pacific Island ecology, we have a resident marine biologist on every cruise to answer your questions and give presentations. Every cruise also includes daily island stopovers, a variety of water activities including guided snorkelling, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding plus guided tours and traditional lovo feasts and kava ceremonies all included in the price.
The beauty of a 7 night cruise is that it gives you more time to enjoy the full Fiji experience. They say it takes at least a day to unwind on a holiday, so knowing you have seven glorious days and nights to enjoy the best of Fiji means you’ll be fully relaxed by the time you wake up on your second morning at sea. You’ll spend your time strolling white sand beaches, snorkelling stunning coral gardens and meeting friendly Fijians delighted to share their culture and hospitality with you. The key ingredient is time and after 7 glorious sun-soaked days, you’ll be refreshed and ready to rejoin the world when you finally return to port.
At Captain Cook Cruises, we’re all about customer satisfaction, which is why so many aspects of our cruises can be customised to your needs. In the kitchen, our chefs can cater for most diets and food allergies. If you have a special event, we can arrange your onboard celebration or beach wedding ceremony. If you don’t have much time, we offer a choice of 3, 4, 7 or 11 night cruises. We also provide complimentary pick-up and drop-off at most Mamanuca resorts on Saturdays and some of our Remote North cruises let you embark or disembark in a choice of locations. So as you can see, our aim is always to be as flexible as possible for our guests.
Simply put, if you have a pulse then small ship cruising is for you. Our cruises are perfect for those who are adventurous but also appreciate relaxation. They’re tailor made for travellers who enjoy experiencing new cultures, new foods and a variety of outdoor activities. They’re ideal for singles, couples and families and for time-poor executives who need a break from busy lives. In short, our small ship cruises are for anyone who needs a holiday and has a few days to spare to relax and soak up the sun. So if that sounds like you, book your Captain Cook Cruises small ship getaway today.
Our small ship cruises offer a wide range of excellent facilities and amenities including all meals cooked fresh daily onboard, 4 levels of accommodation, all with air conditioning and private ensuite bathrooms, free WiFi when reception allows, 24 hour tea and coffee making facilities, a Captain’s Kids Club for children aged 5 – 9 years and a resident onboard marine biologist for cultural tours and eco presentations. There’s also a jacuzzi, gym, sauna, swimming pool, guest laundry, two bars, a dining room and gift shop. Our conference room is within the Reef Room, doubling as a library, a games room and venue for culture & marine talks. We also offer some additional services at a cost including spa treatments and PADI diving courses.
We can’t speak highly enough of the staff and service, so helpful, friendly and warm. We would definitely cruise with you again
The crew is so amazing and lovely, we had such an amazing stay and made new friends as well. Thank you so much for everything.