Pacific Islands: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Fiji Islands, From Cairns to Lautoka 18 Day Expedition Cruise

08/23/23 to 09/09/23
SH Minerva
18 Days
2 Guest
Price From
$ 13,920
Per Person
Trip Details

Imagine exploring one of the least-visited regions on earth on a cruise through Melanesia. This extraordinary 18-day Pacific Islands: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu & Fiji Islands cruise visits paradise; a word that is so overused these days it has almost become absurd. Yet visitors will wonder if they have stumbled across its most accurate meaning in these subregions of Oceania. Leaving from Australia, we head to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to Fuji visiting remote, idyllic islands, strewn across thousands of kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. Discover their remarkable history and culture, and explore beautiful bays, beaches, reefs, and shipwrecks in the company of an expert team. Welcome to a place where the smiles are as big as the horizons.

Trip Highlights
Admire the colourful tropical birdlife at Dei Dei Hot Springs
Observe daily life, traditional customs and local dances on little-known Melanesian islands
Snorkel or dive among vividly coloured fish in pristine coral reefs
Learn more about the Japanese occupation of the Solomon Islands during World War II
Walk on Champagne Beach, one of the most exceptional beaches in the South Pacific
Itinerary Map
Cairns Day 1

With access to both rainforest and the reef, laid-back, tropical Cairns is an outdoor playground. The magnificent Great Barrier Reef is the region’s main draw. Diving or snorkelling in this vibrant underwater garden is a bucket-list item, offering a chance to see incredible marine life in the world’s largest coral reef. Inland, the Daintree Rainforest is over a 100 million years old – a vast swathe of ancient wilderness where you can trek, zipline, spot crocodiles, and learn about Aboriginal culture.

At Sea Day 2

Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

Alotau Day 3

The capital of Milne Bay province, this relaxed stop offers a fascinating mix of local culture and global history set against a backdrop of powder-sand beaches and rugged volcanic mountains. Learn weaving and claypot cooking at a traditional hamlet, watch age-old dance rituals and hear the villagers’ own stories and experiences. History buffs will be keen to discover how Milne Bay was the scene of fierce fighting during World War II on a tour of the area’s battle sites and memorials.

Dei Dei Hot Springs, Fergusson Island Day 4

One of the most amazing natural wonders that you can encounter, Dei Dei Hot Springs always have visitors bubbling with excitement. From afar, steam can be seen billowing from the otherworldly milky-blue hot springs. Located on mountainous Fergusson Island, one of three in Milne Bay Province, part of the D’Entrecasteaux Islands, these incredibly photogenic geysers erupt periodically – causing ‘oohs and aahs’ from those present. You won’t find yourself wanting for local birdlife either, parrots, sunbirds and birds of paradise all live around the hot springs.

Tufi Day 5

Begin your time in Papua New Guinea proper when you visit Tufi on the southeastern peninsula of Cape Nelson in Oro Province. Located on a rias, or drowned river valley, this fjord-like inlet was made by volcanic activity and is famed for its diving. Vibrant offshore reefs, stunning inshore sites, sunken ships and downed WWII aircraft await exploration. Tufi is also synonymous with the tapa cloth that is produced here. This bark fabric is used in traditional tribal ceremonies and is made from the inner husk of a paper mulberry or breadfruit tree. Birders and butterfly lovers will enjoy exploring the local forest, which has a highly diverse population of birds of paradise, butterflies and orchids.

Kiriwina Island Day 6

The largest of the Trobriand Islands, Kiriwina offers quaint villages amid a beguiling landscape of rainforest and coral reefs. Observe traditional village life, where you might stumble upon a rowdy match of local cricket, and watch local artisans carving wooden handicrafts. Then head to one of the island’s white-sand beaches to relax by the lapping shore, or explore colourful coral reefs on a snorkelling or diving trip. On the island’s north, Kalopa Cave houses burial antiquities and skeletal remains linked to the local legend of the giant Dokanikani.

Jacquinot Bay Day 7

Arrive at a tropical paradise today, as you call on Jacquinot Bay. A large, open inlet on the southeast coast of New Britain, you’ll enjoy the sugary white sand, swaying palm trees which cast perfect patches of shade, cascading cooler-water waterfall, and above all, the tranquillity. Flashback to 1944 and this was not such a peaceful place. The Allies landed here in November of ’44, and the Australian 5th Division went on to establish a base from which to support the advances on the 40,000 Japanese troops concentrated in the Gazelle Peninsula and headquartered in Rabaul. During your time at Jacquinot Bay, take in this island paradise from a relaxed pose on the beach, under the waves as you swim or snorkel, or immerse yourself in wartime stories as you reflect on the past.

Rabaul Day 8

Your destination today is the former capital of New Britain, Rabaul. Its position in Papua New Guinea’s northeastern tip is extraordinary, sited inside the flooded caldera of an enormous volcano. The town’s proximity to these volatile mountains – plus aerial bombardment during World War II – have forced Rabaul to rise from the ashes more than once. Most recently in 1994, when nearby Mount Tavurvur erupted, demolishing much of the town. Rabaul’s spirit wasn’t destroyed and thanks to its impressive harbour, buzzing markets and fascinating wartime past, it’s a genuinely interesting place to visit.

At Sea Day 9

You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.

Gizo, Ghizo Island & Kennedy (Kosolo Island) Day 10

The second-largest town in the Solomon Islands, with just over 7,000 people, Gizo draws you in with its gorgeous coral reefs and rich history. Boat rides take in the spectacular coastline, or you can snorkel and dive among gliding manta rays, sharks and the eerie wrecks of World War II fighter planes. Hike the shore for panoramic sea views, and learn about the indigenous tribe that once lived here who were notorious for their headhunting rituals. We sail past Kennedy Island, - also called Kasolo Island and Plum Pudding Island - a tiny forested islet named after John F. Kennedy, who was involved in an incident here during World War II. In August 1943, after their craft was rammed by a Japanese destroyer, the crew of PT-109 commanded by Lieutenant Kennedy abandoned ship and swam ashore, before swimming to nearby Olasana Island.

Honiara, Guadalcanal Island Day 11

The capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara sits on the northeastern coast of Guadalcanal at the mouth of the Mataniko River. A relatively new city, it grew up around a U.S. military base during and after World War II. In 1952 it superseded Tulagi as the premier city of these islands. It’s a laid-back, welcoming place whose main appeal is the tourist-free, real-life atmosphere. Military history buffs love touring the Solomon Islands, and Honiara’s U.S. War Memorial provides a comprehensive war-history lesson.

Port Mary, Santa Ana Island Day 12

A narrow break in the reef surrounding Santa Ana Island marks the entrance to Port Mary, an azure blue, almost completely circular cove. Fringed by pretty coral, this tranquil, protected bay is a lovely spot for swimming in the tropical waters and snorkelling among schools of brightly coloured fish. Zodiacs carry you to shore, where men dressed as warriors and costumed islanders perform traditional local dances accompanied by singing and percussion instruments.

Utupua Island Day 13

Encircled by a coral reef, Utupua is a high, little-visited gem within the Santa Cruz group of the southeastern Solomon Islands. Once ashore, you can learn about village customs and admire traditional fishing canoes or follow a forested trail for elevated views across the jagged coastline. Snorkel among vividly coloured fish or take a thrilling zodiac ride around the island’s huge inner lagoon, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife hiding among the tangle of mangroves.

Ureparapara Island Day 14

Ureparapara is a striking extinct volcanic cone in the northern Banks group of islands, eroded by the sea on one side to form a long inlet. After sailing into this dramatic natural harbour, you can step ashore to enjoy traditional folk dancing and take a guided hike through lush vegetation to see the caldera rim and ancient stone structures. Snorkel or dive in the gigantic lagoon and peek into caves to spot colonies of snoozing bats.

Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo Island Day 15

Fine, powdery white sand and brilliantly turquoise water make this one of the most exceptional beaches in the South Pacific. Named for the seawater that fizzes and bubbles at low tide (caused by volcanic activity), the crescent-shaped bay is popular for swimming, snorkelling, or simply lounging in the sand. Sip on a refreshing drink and snack on freshly cooked lobster from a simple beach bar and cool off in the shade of coconut palm trees.

Ranon, Pentecost Island Day 16

Tucked into Baie Barrier, a stunning bay with a broad white-sand beach, Ranon is a small, remote village in southeast Pentecost Island. Houses are scattered across rugged slopes covered in lush vegetation and palm trees. Recovering from the devastation caused by Cyclone Harold in April 2020, Ranon is the perfect place to swim in Vanuatu’s warm waters and find out about local kastom (traditional culture), including centuries-old rituals, myths and oral history passed down through generations.

At Sea Day 17

Today as you sail, you’ll bask in the endless comforts of your ship. From the deck, marvel at the dramatic sea views. Relax with a nurturing facial treatment or massage in the spa or delve into the ship’s learning resources. Or, simply take refuge in your cabin and enjoy the opportunity to rest.

Lautoka Day 18

Arrive in Lautoka and disembark your ship after breakfast. If timings allow before you transfer to the airport to begin your journey home, explore Fiji’s second-largest city. Sometimes known by its other name, Sugar City, Lautoka is a sweet spot, best discovered with sand between your toes. There’s a photogenic esplanade set against the backdrop of Mount Koroyanitu; palm trees shade its wide, colourful boulevards; and you might like to visit the Sugar Mill, Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple or the town’s market

Rates Include
Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
All meals onboard
Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
24-hour room service
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
Standard WiFi
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
Number of Guests
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
$ 0
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
$ 0

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777