We have just completed the 7 day Yasawa Islands cruise on the Fiji Princess. We are completely hooked on small ship cruising. We sailed out of Port Denarau which is 15 minutes from Nadi airport. The cab cost us $25.00. Boarding was very simple and we were greeted on the gangway by the crew singing, "Bula, Bula", the Fijian welcome song. The ship only holds 65 passengers which makes for a very intimate cruise. After only 20 minutes from shore, the ship slowed down because we had already caught a fish! The crew pulled in a beautiful 2 foot long Spanish Mackerel which was cooked up for dinner. Talk about fresh!!!
After sailing about 2 hours, we reached the island where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway. We had a chance to swim and snorkel and enjoy the beautiful island. Back on the board, we got ready for the Captain's dinner with pre-dinner cocktails on the Sky Deck. The crew sang and we all had a dance. Such a great night.
Every morning, we had an opportunity for an early morning swim on shore before breakfast. Then, we would set sail for the next gorgeous deserted island. The crew would set up umbrellas and beach blankets on the beach. The crew took us out to the reef to go snorkelling. We even did a shark feeding snorkel which was incredible. Little 2-3 foot Reef Sharks swam around us. Totally safe and very exciting. On returning to the beach, the crew always had a table set up with tea/coffee/ice water or juice, fresh fruit and delicious fresh baking. The food was incredible....as they say, "The more you eat...the more you float"!!!
We would then sail to another gorgeous island. We visited a few traditional Fijian Villages, swam in the world famous Sawa-i-lau caves, and visited the actual "Blue Lagoon" where the Brooke Shields movie was filmed.
The best day of the cruise was definitely the visit the the Blue Lagoon Private Island. Talk about Paradise. Here, we had wonderful snorkelling (the colourful soft corals are amazing) a BBQ lunch on the beach, a chance for a cross-island trek, and a game of volleyball with the crew. In the evening, there was a traditional Lovo feast (the food is cooked in the ground with hot stones). The local village came to the Island and did a dancing and singing performance. It was fabulous.
We also had an opportunity to have dinner in a local village. The food was delicious, and the fish all freshly caught that day.
The one thing that sets this cruise line apart from all others is definitely The Crew. They are the friendliest, kindest people we have ever met. They love their guests and will bend over backwards to make you happy. One afternoon, a crew member overheard a guest say, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a coconut drink". The next thing we knew, the crew had gotten a bunch of coconuts off of the trees and were serving them to us as we swam in the ocean!!!!! Unreal.
One day at dinner, I asked the Captain if he would point out The Southern Cross to me. He informed me that it was only visible in the middle of the night and asked if I wanted to be woken up to see it. "Of course", I said. The next morning, at 5:00 am, I heard a knock at the cabin door. It was the Captain himself!!! He was so happy to point out the constellation to me and I could imagine the sailors of years ago using those stars to navigate southern waters.
The food in the ship was always delicious, fresh, and beautifully presented.
We returned to Nadi after 7 days feeling that we had just experienced something really special. The tissue box was passed around as the Crew sang "Isa Lei" the Fijian farewell song.
I can't recommend this cruise highly enough.