Coral Princess Cruises
South Pacific - Melanesia
Cairns - Alotau to Noumea Discovery Cruise
Cairns - Alotau - Noumea
16 Days / 15 Nights from AUD 11,200*.
Alotau - Noumea
14 Days / 13 Nights from AUD 10,800*.
Day 1: Depart Cairns - 28 Nov 2011
After boarding Oceanic Discoverer at 12:00 noon for a departure at 1:30pm, we leave Cairns on the start of our great adventure. Take the opportunity to explore your new home for the next sixteen days. Enjoy an evening sunset drink before sitting down to the first of many delicious meals prepared by the chef.
Day 2: At Sea
Having passed through the Great Barrier Reef, we cruise northeast towards the China Strait, the southern entrance into Milne Bay. Take the opportunity to relax, enjoy the facilities and get to know your travelling companions. This evening, join our Guest Lecturer for an informative presentation on Papua New Guinea, its rich culture and fascinating history.
Day 3: Milne Bay - Alotau - Papua New Guinea
Enjoy waking up to the spectacular scenery of the China Strait as we approach our first Papua New Guinea landfall - Alotau. Our experienced Guest Lecturers will interpret the traditional welcome dances prior to leading us on a tour of this historic town.
Day 3: Depart Alotau - 30 Nov 2011
We welcome those embarking today and this evening we meet the Captain and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Cocktails.
Day 4: Egum Atoll and Yanaba Island - Papua New Guinea
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we discover spectacular Egum Atoll and Yanaba Island and enjoy our first opportunities for snorkelling over the reef, SCUBA diving and glass bottom boat tours in the clear tropical waters.
Day 5: Laughlan Islands and Bodaluna - Papua New Guinea
Laughlan Islanders specialise in canoe building, and in this very remote corner of Papua New Guinea we find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly villagers of Bodaluna welcome us as our Guest Lecturer and naturalists explain the islander’s subsistence gardening, fishing, and participation in the Kula Ring of trading. Enjoy an afternoon snorkel or a dive on the outer reef, where we may see turtles, wrasses and spinner dolphins in the warm clear waters.
Day 6: Kennedy Island, Christmas Day - Solomon Islands
This morning we cross in to the exotic Solomon Islands before boarding the Zodiacs and Xplorer to head ashore to tiny Kennedy Island. The island was named in honour of John F Kennedy who swam ashore with his crew after his boat PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer during World War II. Returning to Oceanic Discoverer we sit down to a traditional Christmas lunch and enjoy the festivities. Later, we board the Xplorer for a relaxing cruise to explore the nearby islands.
.Day 7: Arnavon Islands and Dart Sound - Solomon Islands
The Arnavon Islands are the only marine reserve in the Solomon Islands where, except for subsistence gathering, all marine life is protected and fishing is banned. The islands are now home to endangered wildlife including the beautiful Hawksbill Turtle. Travel ashore to see how the conservation efforts are helping to rejuvenate the island. This afternoon board the Xplorer for a cruise up Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia.
Day 8: Mangalonga Island and Resort - Solomon Islands
This morning we anchor off picturesque Mangalonga and savour a full day of in-water activities. Join a snorkel tour, SCUBA dive or glass bottom boat tour before travelling ashore to Maravagi Resort where there is time to explore on a nature walk.
Day 9: Santa Ana Island and Ancient Rainforests - Solomon Islands
The locals of Santa Ana, a small island southeast of San Cristobal, welcome us ashore, their village warriors bearing swords and blowing on conch shell horns. Santa Ana is known for its bone fishhooks and imaginative fishing floats. We enjoy a cultural performance before joining the naturalist for a guided walk across the island, through shady rainforests where a myriad of colourful orchids grow. Alternatively you may choose to join our Dive Instructor to dive or snorkel the surrounding reef.
Day 10: Nendo Island and Snorkelling - Solomon Islands
Nendo Island is our final port of call in the Solomon Islands and an excellent location to view and purchase quality handmade Melanesian artefacts. This afternoon we enjoy cultural performances and another opportunity to snorkel over the pristine coral reefs.
Day 11: Vanuatu and Ureparapara Island - Vanuatu
Welcome to the tropical archipelago of Vanuatu, fondly known as the ‘Happy Islands’. This morning enjoy an unforgettable highlight of the expedition as we cruise into the cone of a volcano surrounded on three sides by 300 metre cliffs. This is Ureparapara, one of the most spectacular islands in Vanuatu. The only way to experience this island is by sea, and visits from cruise ships are rare. You will be entertained by the local people with a ‘kastom’ dance and you may choose to join a guided walk to the top of the caldera.
Day 12: Champagne Beach and Espiritu Santo - Vanuatu
Champagne Beach is located on the largest island in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo. The beach is without doubt the jewel of Vanuatu and is a nature and water lover’s playground. Enjoy optional tours to the fabled ‘Blue Hole’, bush walking, in-water activities or simply relaxing on the white sands of this magnificent beach. This evening, enjoy our New Year’s Eve festivities as we celebrate the dawn of 2011 in style.
Day 13: Malakula Island and South West Bay - Vanuatu
We land at South West Bay on Malakula Island, the second largest island in Vanuatu. Malakula art and ritual objects are among the finest in the country, and the island is famous for the complex ceremonies and rituals preserved by two of its remarkable tribes, the Big Nambas and the Small Nambas. We anchor at the Maskelyne Islands and enjoy the opportunity for snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours.
Day 14: Tanna Island Volcano - Vanuatu
Today is a very special experience as Tanna Island is one of the only places in the world where you can safely stand on the rim of an active volcano. Keep an eye out for Dugongs, the rarely seen sea creature that inspired the myth of the mermaid. After anchoring in Port Resolution, named by Captain Cook in 1774 in honour of his ship HMS Resolution, we go ashore to a friendly welcome from the locals. Join our Expedition Leader and naturalists on a scenic drive through the rainforest and up the slopes of Mount Yasur. Admire the fantastic views of this active volcano which still regularly spews sparks, rocks and ash. With a backdrop of the volcanic glow we depart Tanna Island for Port Vila as we enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktails and settle in for our last night discovering unforgettable Melanesia.
Day 15: Lifou Island Tour - New Caledonia
Lifou Island’s impressive beaches are amongst the best in the world, backed by sparkling lagoons and pine tree covered landscapes. Join the Expedition Leader on a walk to the churches and beautiful bays. Lifou is sensational for snorkelling with a panorama of sea-life unsullied by man. This evening enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktails.
Day 16: Arrive Noumea - New Caledonia
This morning we arrive in Noumea, the French-inspired capital of New Caledonia at 8.00am.
Please Note: This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Whilst every effort will be made to follow the itinerary we do reserve the right to vary this itinerary to make allowances for weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.
* Main Deck B Stateroom fare in AUD, based on double occupancy.