There are so many choices in the islands of Fiji, so my daughter and I decided a cruise through the Yasawa Islands would give us a sampler in a small amount of time. The Fiji Princess is a small, 65 passenger plus crew ship with dining and ... Read More
There are so many choices in the islands of Fiji, so my daughter and I decided a cruise through the Yasawa Islands would give us a sampler in a small amount of time. The Fiji Princess is a small, 65 passenger plus crew ship with dining and lounge areas, as well as a large sundeck. Because of small size, there was no fitness or true aquatic area. I believe there were only about 45 passengers onboard our cruise, which made for no waits or crowding. The Island Princess did seem very seaworthy, even in some pretty good Pacific swells.
The cabins are tiny, with virtually no space for clothes, and minimal plug ins for any devices. Air conditioning was powerful and consistent throughout. The bathroom area is a tight fit for any big person, and the shower head was held up by the clothes line! The cabin was clean, and serviced daily. Except for sleeping and changing clothes, we didn't spend much time in our cabin, because activities were pretty regular.
We adapted to it quickly, because the itinerary, as well as the crew and fellow passengers....mostly from New Zealand and Australia...were wonderful.
However, Blue Lagoon's advertising as a "boutique" experience is hyperbolic to put it mildly. A better characterization was from a Kiwi on board who called it "a bit rough around the edges". Food was plentiful, and pretty good, but not outstanding with the exception of sashimi served at one meal. Breakfasts were also very good. Complementary beverages were included in cabin refrigerators, but alcoholic drinks were otherwise pretty steep.
There were several highlights. The pacing of the activities was about right...not too much, but enough to keep you moving. With the exception of the first snorkel trip, which was disorganized and a bit chaotic, the excursions were handled well. Because of its small size, the Island Princess was able to anchor just a short swim from a gorgeous iconic South Seas Beach in Nanuya Island. Blue Lagoon leases this beach area, and it was already set up with umbrellas, chairs, hammocks and water toys including kayaks and paddleboards before we disembarked. Clean flush toilets also. As Fiji was and is heavily influenced by the British Empire, morning and afternoon tea were served, as well as a decent lunch. Snorkeling...though not outstanding because of reef bleaching and cyclone devastation...was fun, and a wonderful dinner was served by torch and electric lights at night. A Nanuya village provided a colorful music and dance program, and my daughter played beach volleyball with crew and fellow passengers.
Equally fascinating were visits to a Fijian village for kava ceremony and dinner, and a magnet school in Naviti, which was devastated by a Category 5 cyclone in February of 2016. Like seemingly EVERYBODY in Fiji, the kids are accomplished and enthusiastic singers. A snorkeling trip to a reef at Barefoot Island was outstanding, though our group did not seeing migrating manta rays. The reef itself was large, and rich in both coral and fish...though not pristine by any means.
I can't say enough good things about the wonderful crew, with perhaps the exception of the Cruise Director, who seemed aloof and not terribly friendly or conversational. Perhaps he was just too busy or preoccupied. Within a couple hours of being onboard, it seemed like most of the staff knew my name, and enjoyed conversation. The crew running the landing boats were exceptional, especially getting back to the Island Princess on a rough dark night from the Fijian village. A friendlier, more congenial crew you will not find anywhere.
Go on this cruise if you are an adaptable traveler, and don't mind "rough around the edges" You will enjoy the wonderful people of Fiji, the Yasawa Islands and their amazing sights. If that doesn't suit you, there are more than 300 islands...many with fine resorts...as well as many things to do on the bigger main islands of Fiji. Even though this was by no means an inexpensive cruise, both my adult daughter and I enjoyed it immensely Bula! Read Less