Pacific islands: New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands

25/03/22 to 09/04/22
SH Minerva
16 Days
2 Guest
Price From
$ 10,676
Per Person
Trip Details

The South Pacific is the stuff of many travel fantasies – the colourful and cultural islands of Oceania are some of the most idyllic on earth. Imagine sugary, white beaches; swaying palm trees; diving or snorkelling amongst multicoloured shoals; and encounters with the locals on wildly beautiful islands. Do it all and more on this luxury expedition voyage to New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands. You’ll enjoy sailing in comfort and style across the vast expanses of the majestic ocean, cruising to deserted atolls, pristine lagoons and bustling ports. Keen photographers, underwater enthusiasts and World War II history buffs (to name but a few) will all enjoy our programme of carefully curated excursions.

Trip Highlights
Spend 16 days exploring this far-flung destination in five-star style.
Meet the descendants of The Bounty’s famed mutineers still living on the island to which Queen Victoria sent them.
Follow in David Attenborough’s footsteps and discover the origins of bungee jumping for yourself on Pentecost Island.
Experience the diverse cultures and traditions that make up the beating heart of the region.
Enjoy a sojourn on a quintessential South Pacific paradise, L’Ile des Pins.
Itinerary Map
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

When Ferdinand Magellan crossed the world’s largest body of water some 500 years ago, he dubbed it Mar Pacífico, meaning “peaceful sea.” Cruise the Pacific Ocean as you depart from the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Perhaps attend an onboard talk or simply take in the magnificent seascapes.

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

As you sail from Norfolk Island to New Caledonia, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your next destination from the knowledgeable onboard team of experts. Indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down-time in your cabin, get to know new friends: the options are numerous.

ile des Pins Day 5

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.

Lifou Island Day 6

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.

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.

Tegua Island Day 9

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 10

As you cruise from Vanuatu to the Solomon Islands, enjoy a full day indulging in the amenities of your ship. You might find your inner calm practising some yoga. Listen to an informative talk. Lounge on the deck and enjoy a cocktail from the bar. Tonight after a delicious dinner in the restaurant, settle in for some light entertainment and a nightcap before heading to your comfortable cabin.

Santa Ana Island Day 11

The Solomon Islands are known as the South Pacific’s best-kept secret. As part of the Coral Triangle of the western Pacific, the Solomon Islands boast some of the most thrilling diving and snorkelling sites in the world. The water is warm, clear and full of beautiful fish and marine mammals. The Solomons are also 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.

At Sea Day 12

Today as you sail, you’ll bask in the endless comforts of your ship. 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.

Pavuvu Island Day 13

Step even further off the beaten track today on Pavuvu, the largest of the Russell Islands in Central Province, Solomon Islands. Located northwest of Guadalcanal, this island was once known for its coconuts, but, come 1941, coconut farming was abandoned as the Imperial Japanese Navy swept over the Solomon Islands. A Japanese garrison was established on the island. After the United States captured Guadalcanal, they were able to use the airfield to bomb out the Japanese strongholds on nearby islands, Pavuvu included. The island then served as a temporary home to the U.S. 1st Marine Division. Learn about all this and more as you delve deep into the island’s fascinating history with your expert guide.

Njari Island Day 14

They say good things come in small packages. Njari is a tiny island located between the Wilson Strait and Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands’ north region. An idyllic speck in the ocean, it’s almost entirely covered in trees. There's hardly any infrastructure to speak of so the coves and bays remain unspoiled, day trippers enjoy the seclusion, beauty, and opportunity to swim and snorkel in these beautiful waters.

Rabaul Day 15-16

Today is the last day of your luxury expedition cruise around the islands of Oceania. Your final destination is the former capital of New Britain, Rabaul. Its location 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 exciting place to visit. There’s an observatory in the town’s centre, which monitors the country’s two volcanic arcs, and a small museum located in what was a Japanese bunker.

Rates Include
One night pre-cruise 4 or 5 star hotel accommodation with breakfast
All transfers between the hotel, port and airport
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Standard WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
Number of Guests
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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.
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Other Available Dates
If you really like this cruise but the date is not suitable for you, we are glad to offer other dates for the itinerary.
Please find below all our date offerings.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777