Our cruise from Seattle to Sydney started with 6 days at sea. The first day or 2 we had rough seas courtesy of a cold front sweeping into the Pacific Northwest. Things settled down as we cruised to Hawaii. The cruise dock in Honolulu is conveniently located in the historic center of town. We booked a rain forest hike through Viator. Booking shore excursions from off ship companies results in big dollar savings. We hiked to Manoa Falls with a small group. After the hike we walked around Honolulu and toured a Mexican Navy training ship making a port call.
Our next stop was Lahaina on the island of Maui. We love Lahaina for its history and small town ambience. The town provides a free walking tour which we enjoyed.
In the course of our next 7 days at sea, we crossed the equator for the first time and experienced the line crossing ceremony transforming us from Pollywogs to Shellbacks in the King Neptune Society tradition. It was corny and fun. We got certificates.
Our next 2 ports of call were in Fiji. First was Lautoka, a small city where we booked another off ship tour. Our guide was Indian-Fijian and we were his only customers that day – a far cry from the full bus tours the ship offered. Ashik took us to actor Raymond Burr’s Garden of the Sleeping Giant, his orchid collection. We then visited the Thermal Mud Pools for a dip and massage. We toured Nadi Town with its market and the famous tourist shop, Jacks.
Suva is the capital of Fiji and our next stop. We decided to tour on our own. A short walk from the port was the Fiji Museum, government buildings, a Carnegie library and the historic Grand Pacific Hotel where we had tea. Fijians joke that they used to see foreigners and think “dinner”, now they say “Bula Bula, Welcome home”.
Lifou in the Loyalty Islands is an overseas territory of France. Here we took a ship tour and learned about local customs including a taste of a traditional meal baked in the ground. Actually we were scheduled to make another stop at Vanuatu but there was a medical emergency on ship and we had to change course to get the passenger close to a helicopter evacuation. Really reminded all of us that we were on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – a long way from civilization.
Mare, New Caledonia is another French colony in the South Seas. Here again we toured on our own and found a quiet cove, a natural aquarium filled with beautiful tropical fish.
Next stop Sydney.