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SOUTHERN LAU

7 Night cruise

BULA! Welcome onboard Fiji’s luxury expedition small ship, MS Caledonian Sky. Our seven-night cruise to the Southern Lau islands takes guests on an unforgettable journey to some of the most beautiful and remote islands in the South Pacific. The cluster of islands is composed largely of limestone islands and cays, home to colourful reefs filled with vibrant marine life to calm, shallow bays to miles of pristine white sandy beaches. Sensitively designed to sail to places larger ships can’t access, MS Caledonian Sky offers guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the genuine welcome and fascinating culture of remote Fiji.

About

WHAT TO EXPECT

Set sail in an easterly direction from Port Denarau towards the Lau Islands, sometimes known as ‘Little Tonga’ to explore some of Fiji’s most remote islands rarely visited by tourists. Around half of the islands in the cluster are uninhabited, offering a real sense of an off-grid escape. MS Caledonian Sky’s Southern Lau itinerary offers guests the chance to swim, snorkel, kayak or enjoy a scuba dive in the turquoise waters and a first-hand exploration of the region’s tranquil oceans richin marine life. Stroll along the white sandy beaches of Fulaga and visit the remote islands of Dravuni, Moana and Mutuki. Experience rich Fijian culture on the islands of Beqa and Vatulele, home to Fiji’s famous red prawns as well as the best traditional tapa makers. Welcome to the real Fiji.

DISCOVER SOUTHERN LAU

Fiji’s Southern Lau region consists of a cluster of beautiful and remote picture-postcard islands. These are some of the least visited islands in the South Pacific where culture and traditions has been well preserved by its villagers. Guests experience more authentic and undiscovered Fiji onboard MS Caledonian Sky with its access to remote areas within the Lau via guided marine adventures as well as visits to small island communities. A visit to this region offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a select few travellers, with personal access to pristine white sandy beaches and tranquil turquoise bays as well as remote villages. These are some of Fiji’s most beautiful locations and experiences.

Thanks to its setting between Melanesian Fiji and Polynesian Tonga, the Lau Islands are a real meeting point of the two Pacific cultural spheres: Fijian and Tongan. Lauan villages remain very traditional, and the islands' inhabitants are renowned for their wood carving and the creation of traditional tapa barkcloth.

Guests onboard MS Caledonian Sky navigate the horseshoe-shaped islands of Fulaga in Southern Lau to Dravuni in the Kadavu province. You’ll be guided by our onboard cultural experts as we explore the traditions of Beqa Island, which features secluded tropical beaches and a large lagoon protected by a 30-kilometre-long barrier reef which makes it ideal for shark diving, feeding and deep-sea game fishing. Best of all, you’ll be welcomed and entertained by the friendly people of this region and experience a traditional Meke, Sevusevu and lovo, which is quite different here from the traditional Fijian feast.

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You’ll also have the chance to swim in the beautiful Bouma Waterfall Lagoon on the garden island of Taveuni, snorkel off the northern coast of Viti Levu, hike to the amazing Bligh Water and enjoy a traditional Island Night, featuring kava, meke and a Fijian lovo feast.

And when not ashore, you’ll relax in style onboard MV Reef Endeavour, where you’ll enjoy all the luxuries of small ship cruising including fully catered buffets and 3-course meals featuring a mouth-watering blend of international and Fijian flavours served against a backdrop of incredible scenery. You’ll also have the option to relax in the jacuzzi or the freshwater swimming pool, indulge in a massage in our day spa and snorkel or kayak in the pristine turquoise waters of this beautiful island paradise.

You can adapt our discovery cruises to suit your holiday. We can collect, or drop you off, at many of the destinations that we cruise to. Give us a call us on 1300 TO FIJI 1800 880 409) for more information.

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DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

Fulaga Island

Fulaga Island is the farthest eastern point in you can sail to in Fiji before reaching international waters. With little outside influence, villagers on Fulaga live much as their ancestors did, fishing and farming to support each other accordioning to traditional values and culture. Men and women practice traditional crafts like weaving, carving and making magi magi, a rope woven from the fibres of coconut husks that is used to decorate buildings across Fiji. The Fulaga Island weavers and carvers are recognised as some of the most skilled in Fiji and you will be able to appreciate their work firsthand in the village shell markets.

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Beqa Island

Beqa is an outlier to the main island of Viti Levu, 10 kilometres south of the main island of Viti Levu. Beqa features secluded tropical beaches and a large lagoon protected by a 30-kilometre-long barrier reef renowned worldwide for its shark diving, feeding and deep-sea game fishing. It’s a destination made famous by its world-class diving opportunities and the chance to encounter some of the more than 300 fish species and up to eight types of sharks. Plus there’s swimming, snorkelling and paddling in the tranquil lagoon.

It's also the home of Fiji's legendary firewalkers; a tiny band of islanders bestowed with a special gift that seemingly protects them from fire. The tradition began some 500 years ago, in the small highland village of Nakarovu on Beqa Island. According to legend, a young man named Tuinaiviqalita who was seeking to impress a village elder, went in search of an eel to present as a gift. He reached into a small hole near a creek, and pulled out what he thought was a slippery eel, but as Tuinaiviqalita pulled and pulled and the creature emerged from the hole, he realised that instead ofan eel, he’d captured one of Fiji’s elusive ‘little people’, a spirit god known locally as ‘veli’.

The ‘veli’ begged Tuinaiviqalita for its freedom, promising him rewards which he refused. When the veli finally offered him and his descendants power over fire, Tuinaiviqalita was intrigued. The veli dug a pit, lined it with river stones and set them alight on top of a fire until they turned white hot. Then, leaping across the hot stones, the 'veli' beckoned Tuinaiviqalita to follow him. Though he was sceptical, Tuinaiviqalita stepped into the fiery pit and wasn’t burned. He knew then that the veli had been telling the truth and set it free.

To this day, power over fire only flows through Tuinaiviqalita’s bloodline to members of Beqa’s Sawau tribe. They demonstrate this extraordinary gift in a firewalking ceremony which can be seen by visitors to Beqa.

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Vatulele

Vatulele – sometimes known as Ringing Rock - is a coral and volcanic island 32 kilometres south of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island. Vatulele has figured prominently in Fijian legend because of its extraordinary red prawns known as ura-buta – that look as if they’ve already been cooked. The islanders treat the red prawns with great respect, consider them sacred and are forbidden to kill or harm them in any way. Legend has it that anyone who tries to harm them will suffer a shipwreck!

Vatulele is also home to Fiji's most skilful makers of tapa cloth (masi) which comes from the bark of the paper mulberry tree which are seen planted in clearings amongst the forest right across the island.

Ancient Fijian rock art dating some 3000 years – and well preserved to this day - is also evident on Vatulele. The petroglyphs include a rock art piece which is a face, with its 12 "hairs" and is found among a group of rock artworks seen around a kilometre from the island's resort.

For snorkellers and marine adventures, Vatulele has some of the best hard corals in Fiji as well as a higher-than-average number of large fish thanks to a low level of fishing in its surrounding waters.

Experiences

CRUISE ITINERARY

***Itineraries subject to change due to weather and other operational requirement

Saturday

  • The Great Sea Reef

Before the sun sets, take an afternoon snorkel, swim or dive on the third largest reef in the world, the Great Sea Reef. Settle into a sunset cocktail and enjoy a welcome dinner on board as you are introduced to the crew onboard MS Caledonian Sky

Sunday

  • Buliya

Located right on the edge of the Great Astrolabe Reef, Buliya is bordered by white sandy beaches and slender coconut palms, a picture-postcard Fijian paradise. Buliya is Fiji’s fourth largest island whose villages and residents are discovered on a welcome guided hike with our ship’s crew. It’s a beautiful island base to complete a refreshing ocean swim or take a book and laze on its magnificent white sandy beaches. There’s a chance to swim and snorkel with serene manta rays in Buliya’s pristine shallow waters and for divers, the world’s fourth largest reef Great Astrolabe is calling!

Monday

  • Matuku

The volcanic island of Matuku is part of a group of islands in the Lau archipelago known as Yasayasa Moala. The island is historically significant as it is the subject of debate as to whether or not the island was conquered by the Tongans led by the Tongan Prince Enele Ma'afu. Today, the residents are proudly Fijian in their culture and in defiance of the Tongans Matuku is the only island in Lau where the villagers do not wear the traditional Masi or Ta’ovala around their waist. Between 1840 and 1853 when Ma’afu was trying invade the island, the Cakobau (King) of Fiji was protected on Matuku by the people and ultimately returned to his home island of Bau. Evidence of the fierce battles remain including ring ditches and war fortifications from the era can be found around the island. Highlights of a visit include joining a guided hike to discover the island’s history and visit Lomati, one of its five villages.

Tuesday

  • Fulaga

This morning you’ll visit one of the Lau islands’ most twinkling jewels, Fulaga Island. Sometimes known as Komo Island, Fulaga is an extinct volcano crater and is famous for its crystal-clear lagoons, colourful tropical fish and vibrant corals. You’ll have a chance to swim in this magnificent aqua blue paradise and meet local villagers who’ll be happy to welcome you to their home and share their traditionally crafted woodcarvings and handicrafts.

  • Yagasa

This afternoon we arrive at Yagasa Island for snorkelling, swimming, coral viewing and kayaking. Plan your snorkel around the magnificent collection of coral bommies rich with marine life and beautiful coral gardens. Sea life is diverse and abundant here at Yagasa.

Wednesday

  • Vaqava

Come ashore on the chalky white beach of this uninhabited and sacred island of Vuaqava. A beautiful, guided hike through the lush vegetation leads to the centre of the island where an inland lake - known for its resident turtles, snakes and amazing bird life -spreads out before you. It’s a great spot to have a swim or just enjoy the tranquility. On the return you may notice the relics from a time last century when the island was used to isolate Cholera victims during an outbreak. When you return to the island’s shore you may be treated to a locally prepared delicacy of coconut crabs on the beach, or perhaps take a refreshing swim in the aqua blue water?

  • Kabara

This afternoon you’ll be welcomed and entertained by the people of the Naikeleyaga Village on the island of Kabara. Legend has it that the extraordinary white sand of Kabara is so fine you can’t wash it out of your hair. Known for its wood turning and Tongan heritage, Kabara is famous in Fiji as the home of wood carving. Experience a traditional Meke, Sevusevu & lovo here which is quite different  from most you will find in Fiji.

Thursday

  • Totoya

Today’s island visit heads to the tiny horse-shoe shaped Totoya Island with its deep-water volcanic crater. Totoya is the smallest island in the Yasayasa Moala Group. The high reef surrounding Totoya makes it a popular boating destination with its fascinating water passages and it’s also home to a world-famous surfing break. An important part of Totoya is the sacred passage "Daveta Tabu". Tradition has it that if visitors or locals wish to pass through this passage, they must follow traditional protocol by observing utter complete silence and to be seated in the traditional manner (seated cross-legged with feet resting beneath the knees for gentlemen and for ladies, legs bent at knees resting on the side). This protocol is adhered to to this day.

The island also runs a successful coconut farming operation, which is its main export. We visit a local school and the children will surprise you with their entertainment and be proud to show you their work. We’ll also have the opportunity to explore the local reefs for some outstanding diving and snorkeling. If you thought the snorkeling and coral viewing in Fiji couldn’t get any better, it just did.

Friday

  • Vatulele

Spend the afternoon experiencing one of Fiji’s most beautiful islands, Vatulele. A beautiful aquamarine lagoon surrounds Vatulele which offers fabulous snorkelling and some extraordinary dive sites. Vatulele is the most famous place in Fiji for the craft of tapa, the traditional bark cloth. The ladies of the village might share their knowledge and teach you how it is done. As you explore the island, you’ll discover the sacred and protected red prawns.

  • Beqa

An exiting island stop including Fiji’s famous firewalking tradition and ceremonies. The story of firewalking in Fiji begins around 500 years ago here on the island of Beqa, when there were only around 50 people living in the village of Nakarovu. The special firewalking powers are specific to the descendent of Tuinaiviqalita, the subject of legend. Beqa also offers the opportunity to dive with sharks, and there’s also a chance to book in for an optional sport fishing experience at Beqa.

Saturday

  • Nadi

Return to Nadi for a 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’.

FUN FACTS

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Vatulele Red Prawns and Tapa Making

Vatulele (Ringing rock) has much more to offer than its sacred red prawns, as extraordinary as they are. It is home to Fiji's most skillful makers of tapa cloth (masi) and rock paintings.

Fire Walking in Fiji

Firewalking is a beautiful and sacred Fijian ceremony that originated at Beqa Island in Sawu Village. About 500 years ago, a storyteller named Dredre (which means laugh) was looking for a gift to present to the Chief. As he was following a creek up to the waterfall, he noticed an eel in the muddy waters. Dredre caught the eel and once he caught it, the eel began to speak. The eel asked him to let him go and Dredre said ‘No’. It kept pleading, offering riches to the man and still he said ‘No’. Knowing he was going to die, the eel began to cry; he offered him one last gift in exchange for his life, ‘Do you want to be a firewalker?’ the eel said. Intrigued, Dredre finally agreed. The eel instructed him on how to set up and prepare the fire and then buried Dredre for 4 days. After the fourth day Dredre was dug up, still alive. And he now had the ability to firewalk.

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Cricket

Fiji is most famous for its rugby, but few knew that cricket is the game that Fijians are passionate about in the Lau Islands. Cricket was brought to Fiji by the British in the 1880s. When you’re welcomed into the Lau villages, you’re more likely to see a cricket pitch than a rugby field! You might even be able to join in on a friendly game.

Immerse Yourself in Adventure

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.

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FAQs

Questions? We have answers

Yasawa Islands 7 night Cruise FAQS

What is included in a small ship cruise?

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.

What are the benefits of choosing a 7-night cruise?

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.

How customisable is my cruise experience?

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.

How do I know if a small ship cruise option is good for me?

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.

What facilities and amenities are available onboard?

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.

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Hear what our past guests have to say

We can’t speak highly enough of the staff and service, so helpful, friendly and warm. We would definitely cruise with you again

Hadrian
Small Ship Cruises
4 Night Cruise
1 August 2023
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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.

Eugene
Small Ship Cruises
4 Night Cruise
25 July 2023
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