Pacific Islands: New Caledonia, Vanuatu & Solomon Islands

New Caledonia, Vanuatu & Solomon Islands: Pacific Islands 13 Day Expedition Cruise

M0523032317
Dates
03/23/23 to 04/04/23
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
13 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 10,306
Per Person
BOOK NOW
Trip Details

The South Pacific is one of the most idyllic places on earth where reality far exceeds anything you can conjure up in your mind. Enjoy 13 days of off-the-beaten-track travel visiting the colourful and cultural islands of Oceania on our Pacific Islands: New Caledonia, Vanuatu & Solomon Islands cruise on board a boutique expedition ship through this paradisiacal region. Imagine sugary, white beaches, swaying palm trees, diving or snorkelling among multicoloured shoals, and encounters with the local cultures and traditions on wildly beautiful islands. Keen photographers, underwater enthusiasts and World War II history buffs (to name but a few) will all enjoy our programme of carefully curated excursions. Join us as we sail across vast expanses of majestic ocean to deserted atolls, pristine lagoons and bustling ports in comfort and style.

READ MORE
Trip Highlights
Follow in the wake of Captain Cook in search of the Southern Continent
Meet the descendants of The Bounty’s famed mutineers still living on the island to which Queen Victoria sent them
Snorkel or dive among colourful fish in the pristine coral reefs around New Caledonia
Discover the origins of bungee jumping with the death-defying tradition of land diving on Pentecost Island
Learn more about the Japanese occupation of the Solomon Islands during World War II
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Auckland Day 1

Start your discovery of the adventurous, seamless luxury that expedition cruising with us brings. Today you’ll begin your voyage in New Zealand’s largest and most populous city, Auckland. It’s an unhurried, natural beauty with greenery in spades – parks, rainforests, rolling vineyards, and more. Its culture appeals to visitors too – the Auckland War Memorial Museum has an excellent collection, and a visit to a marae is a must. These sacred Maori meeting places are focal points of Maori communities throughout The Land of the Long White Cloud. Stylish locals extol the virtues of the Britomart Complex, should you wish to shop before you board.

At Sea Day 2

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.

Norfolk Island Day 3

Located roughly halfway between New Zealand and Australia, tiny Norfolk Island is an outlying self-governing Australian territory, where cows still have the right of way. Claimed by Captain James Cook for the British in 1774, the island was first settled as a convict colony. In 1855, Queen Victoria sent the descendants of The Bounty mutineers here. Today the combination of penal history and the association with one of the most famous naval mutinies in modern history attracts tourists to the isle. Many convict ruins and buildings can be explored, and there are four museums which recount the lives and hardships of the early inhabitants. Visitors also enjoy the island’s peace, quiet, rugged scenery, towering pines and crowd-free, reef-protected beaches.

At Sea Day 4

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.

Lifou Island Day 5

Cruise into the Loyalty Island archipelago to spend time on an island idyll with boats-loads of personality. Thought to be New Caledonia’s prettiest place, Lifou is the largest of these three coral islands and equivalent in size to Martinique. Think sheltered bays; clifftop views; sugary, secluded beaches; and limestone caves. Enjoy hiking in the bush, colourful fish-spotting amongst the coral or, for something a little more sedate, shopping for souvenirs in the open-air market. The local Melanesian people live here in harmony with nature – travellers enjoy learning about the native culture that abounds on Lifou with a visit to a traditional hut. Other recommended activities include touring vanilla plantations, seeing the Jokin Cliffs or Notre Dame de Lourdes church, and feeling the sand between your toes on Luengoni Beach.

Ile Des Pins Day 6

Today you’ll start to explore New Caledonia. Located 110 kilometres southeast of the capital Noumea, L’Ile des Pins (Isle of Pines) was named as such by Captain Cook on his second voyage around the South Pacific in 1774. The southernmost of the New Caledonia islands, it’s an unparalleled paradise of white-sand coves, cerulean sea and tropical vegetation. Known as Kunié to the Melanesians (residents are called Kuniés), legend has it that warriors of Tongan descendant from Lifou ruled the island before the arrival of missionaries and traders in the 1840s. The French took possession in 1853, and it quickly became a place to which political exiles were sent. Nowadays, L’Ile des Pins welcomes tourists to its idyllic shores. In the centre of the island, N’ga Peak offers breath-taking views. Kuto and Kanumera Bays are remarkable for their marine life – and sheer gorgeousness. Don’t miss out on taking a dip in the natural seawater swimming pool, close to Oro Bay.

Port Vila Day 7

Port Vila – or ‘Vila’ as it’s known to the locals – is Vanuatu’s capital. It can be found set around a pretty bay on the island of Efate. The site occupied by Vila has been occupied by Melanesian people for thousands of years. In 2004, at a local archaeological dig, pieces of ceramics dating to the 13th century BCE were unearthed. The Portuguese were the Europeans to arrive in the early 1600s, but it was the British and especially the French who held sway in these parts. It’s an energetic place that is more down- to-earth than Noumea – visitors love the totem poles, souvenir-packed Mama’s Market – a colourful, covered, outdoor market – and waterfront cafes and bars. Recommended experiences include the National Museum of Vanuatu, the Ekasup Cultural Village and the Summit Viewpoint.

Ambrym Island & Pentecost Island Day 8

Lush, mountainous Pentecost Island is one of the 83 islands that make up Vanuatu. Nearly 120 miles north of Port Vila, Pentecost is known for the ceremony of land diving. Famed as the origin of bungee jumping, land diving first became known to the broader world when David Attenborough and a BBC film crew recorded footage of the ritual during the 1950s. It then aired as part of The People of Paradise documentary series. The death-defying tradition occurs in the southern part of the island, from April to June when boys and men leap off towers of up to 100-feet high with only vines wrapped around their ankles. Land diving is associated with the yam harvest – one year’s all-important yield depends on the courage of the previous year’s divers. This leap of faith is seen as a rite of passage for the island’s young men. Visitors to Pentecost who witnessed the ceremony include Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and Pope John Paul II in 1986.

Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo Island Day 9

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.

Tegua Island Day 10

Today you’ll visit Tegua island, a half-moon-shaped speck of land less than four miles long and 10 miles wide. It’s one of five coral atolls in the Torres Group – you’ve travelled 650 miles north from Efate. Visitors to Tegua are few and far between; life is lived here at a slower pace and in a different way to that which you’ve seen in Vila, for example. The effects of climate change and rising sea levels can be seen on many islands in Vanuatu. Though gorgeous and tropical, the impact that climate change has had on the Tegua atoll is hard to ignore. It’s sobering to be sure, but it’s also so important to learn about and to see for yourself.

At Sea Day 11

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Santa Ana Day 12

As well as being known for sheer beauty, The Solomons are renowned for their authenticity. Both the people and landscapes are genuinely lovely, as you’ll discover today when you visit Santa Ana (or Owaraha or Owa Raha), which is located in the Makira-Ulawa Province. It’s a place seemingly out of time where the islanders live in a (relatively) traditional way. See some customs today and meet community members.

Honiara, Guadalcanal Island Day 13

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.

SHOW MORE
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
SHOW MORE
Itinerary Map
Itinerary changes and surprising experiences are part of expedition cruise life. The world has a habit of amazing us with incredible things when we yield to the unexpected. Join us with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you’ll find that this can pay off in the most rewarding ways.

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK
Stateroom
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
Suite
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
Itinerary changes and surprising experiences are part of expedition cruise life. The world has a habit of amazing us with incredible things when we yield to the unexpected. Join us with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you’ll find that this can pay off in the most rewarding ways.

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK