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Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Micronesia

South Pacific Cruise

Summary : From underwater wonders to blue lagoons to active volcanos, Melanesia is an island paradise forgotten by most of the world's travelers. Stunning, fascinating and above all authentic, you cannot help but be charmed by these gem-like islands. This is travel at its very best: the friendliness of the local communities, the rare seabird colonies, the underwater life of the crystalline waters—sensational.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Lautoka, Fiji

Embark your vessel and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. Later you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and this evening you can enjoy the delights of a specially prepared menu in The Restaurant.

Day 2
Yasawa, Fiji

Nabukeru is the largest village located within the grouping of the 20 volcanic islands that make up the Yasawa Islands in Fiji. Until 1987 these islands were closed to land-based tourism and could only be viewed from aboard a vessel. With their clear, aquamarine waters and ecologically diverse tropical, mountainous landscapes, these islands were the location for the filming of the romantic adventure film The Blue Lagoon (both the 1949 and 1980 versions). The islands are famous for the limestone Sawa-i-lau caves, which must be accessed by swimming at low tide through an underwater tunnel. Nabukeru villagers assert that the cave is the heart of the Yasawas.

Day 3
At Sea

While you're at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, check the market or your e-mail in the Internet Point, slip away with a novel from the library to a sunny chaise or with a movie to your suite. Or just take in the sun pool side. The choice is yours.

Day 4
Pentecost Island / Ambrym Island

Pentecost Island is a lush mountainous, tropical island stretching over 37 miles from north to south. It was named after the day on which the first European, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, sighted it on 22 May 1768. There are no towns on Pentecost—most of the islanders live in small villages and grow their own food in small gardens. Local traditions are strong, including the age-old ritual of land diving. This unique ritual was first given international exposure by David Attenborough in the 1950’s. Later, in the 1980’s, New Zealander AJ Hackett used the idea to invent bungee jumping. Every harvest season, the people of Pentecost construct the tower using saplings and branches held together with forest vines.

Unlike Espiritu Santo with its raised coral reefs and white sand, Ambrym is a volcanically active island with dark sand beaches. Ambrym is known as the island of magic and is the source of five local languages that all evolved on Ambrym. This handful of languages contributes to the well over 100 languages of Vanuatu. Some of Ambrym’s magic takes place in the lush greenery of the local community of Ranon. Here the people perform a very special and traditional ‘Rom’ dance. Participants prepare their masks and costumes in secrecy and the dance is reserved for special occasions.

Day 5
Paradise Lagoon / Champagne Beach

Paradise Lagoon is located in the southern part of Espiritu Santo, the largest of the 83 volcanic islands that make up Vanuatu. The nation’s highest peak, Mount Tabwemasana (6,165 ft.) is located in the west-central part of the island. In 1606, a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, established a settlement at Paradise Bay. The island boasts an extensive WWII history with many ruins and relics. Allied forces used the island as a military supply and support base, naval harbor, and airfield, and after the war they dumped most of their equipment and at what is now known as 'Million Dollar Point'. Years later, this became an important tourism destination for keen wreck divers.

Champagne Beach is found in Hog Harbor on Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu. The island got its European name in the early 17th century when Pedro de Quiroz believed he had reached the famous unknown southern land or the “Tierra Australis Incognita.” He called Vanuatu’s largest island, “La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo.” Huge fish poison trees and Alexandrian laurel give cooling shade to the picture-perfect beach and crystal-clear water. The name “Champagne Beach” comes from effervescent bubbles of volcanic origin that are occasionally found in the waters of this stunning spot.

Day 6
At Sea

While you're at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, check the market or your e-mail in the Internet Point, slip away with a novel from the library to a sunny chaise or with a movie to your suite. Or just take in the sun pool side. The choice is yours.

Day 7
Santa Ana

Port Mary is the name of the bay adjacent to Ghupuna, the main village in Santa Ana. A bright white sand beach with huge shade-giving trees runs along the shoreline in front of the tidy village. The houses here are made with local materials and most are built on stilts. Islanders generally welcome visitors with traditional songs and dances performed by members of the three different villages on Santa Ana. Some local people will also set up stands offering souvenirs for purchase. The Solomons are best known for strings of traditional shell money and elegant carvings based on local stories and legends.

Day 8
Roderick Bay

Roderick Bay is a hidden cove on the northwestern side of Ngela Sule, a small verdant green island, and would be just like hundreds of similar coves in the Solomon Islands were it not for a shipwreck in the shallows of the bay. A small native village is located just around the corner from the ship and the locals offer a friendly welcome. Lianas from shore are beginning to encase the boat’s hull and seem to drag her back towards the forest. Snorkeling around the wreck provides a view of how the hull is now becoming a thriving artificial reef.

Day 9
Njari Island

Njari is a small island almost entirely covered in trees with just a small sand spit at its eastern end. A labyrinth of reefs and coral heads make an approach only feasible from the north. The small beach invites one to relax, but swimming from the beach is almost impossible as the corals are too close. To enjoy the underwater world one has to enter the water from a small boat, a little distance from the shore, where an amazing array of fish and coral will be visible. Two hundred and seventy nine different fish species have been seen during a single dive; the fourth-highest fish count ever recorded. An indication of why this island is considered a top spot for snorkeling in the Solomon Islands.

Day 10 – 11
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul, the former provincial capital, has quite a remarkable location. The town is inside the flooded caldera of a giant volcano and several sub-vents are still quite active today! The fumes of the volcano Tavurvur can be seen continually and the town suffered greatly during the last major eruption of 1994 when some 80% of the houses collapsed due to the ash raining down onto their roofs. Rabaul has a Volcano Observatory sitting atop the town’s center, monitoring the 14 active and 23 dormant volcanoes in Papua New Guinea.

Day 12
Tingwon, Papua New Guinea

Tingwon Island is in Northern Papua New Guinea, located at the tip of a crescent-shaped cluster of islands that arcs to the north of the main island on the eastern side. Although the local inhabitants of Tingwon rarely get visitors from overseas they are quite welcoming when they do, happy to teach about their trading, harvest and fire dancing rituals. The clear turquoise waters surrounding Tingwon are ideal for exploring in a small boat and healthy area reefs offer a stunning diversity of rainbow-hued fish and giant gorgonian sea fans.

Day 13
At Sea

While we're at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, check the market or your e-mail in the Internet Point, slip away with a novel from the library to a sunny chaise or with a movie to your suite. Or just take in the sun pool side. The choice is yours.

Day 14
Satawal, Yap

Satawal is a remote coral atoll that is thick with coconut and breadfruit trees. It is home to approximately 500 inhabitants. Archaeologists have not yet agreed about when or how the islands of Yap and Satawal were settled. The people of Satawal are culturally and linguistically related to those of Chuuk in the Caroline Islands. Satawal has a narrow fringing reef and is not frequently visited by outsiders. After World War II, the island was controlled by the United States and administered as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947. Satawal became an official part of the Federated States of Micronesia in 1979.

Day 15
Lamortrek, Yap

Lamotrek is a coral atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia, and one of the fourteen outlying atolls that partly makeup the island State of Yap. While the total land area is less than half a square mile, it encloses a reef that is 12 square miles in size. The atolls are considered somewhat separate from Yap proper, which is made up of three contiguous islands set higher along the Philippine Sea Plate. The population of Lamotrek is approximately 373, and the residents are accustomed to visitors but still maintain their own culture proudly. Visitors to this small island will be greeted with generosity and friendliness that makes up the essence of the Yapese culture.

Day 16
Gaferut, Yap

Gaferut Atoll is a rookery island full of nesting birds, and one of the fourteen outlying atolls that partly make up the island State of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. Just 1,500 feet long and 500 feet wide, Gaferut is called Fayo by the Fareulep people of the neighboring atolls; meaning stone or rock in the Woleaian language. The atolls are considered somewhat separate from Yap proper, which is made up of three contiguous islands set higher along the Philippine Sea Plate. Gaferut and its peer atolls are southeast of a nearly 1-mile reef that teems with beautiful undersea life amidst the clear turquoise waters.

Day 17
Apra, Guam

After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Included:
Onboard accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; snorkeling; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.

Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises

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