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9 Captain Cook South Pacific Cruise Reviews

Reef Endeavour is a small ship adapted for sailing amongst the tropical reefs and islands of Fiji in the South Pacific. It attracts divers, snorkelers and those who enjoy the cultural and historic byways of Fiji. It is not a conventional ... Read More
Reef Endeavour is a small ship adapted for sailing amongst the tropical reefs and islands of Fiji in the South Pacific. It attracts divers, snorkelers and those who enjoy the cultural and historic byways of Fiji. It is not a conventional cruise ship and certainly not a party ship. It is comfortable rather than luxurious and has its challenges for older or mobility-impaired travellers. as it has cabins entered off the outside deck with heavy doors and quite high sills which have to be stepped over to enter the cabins. Going ashore by tender presented challenges for some as sometimes you were let out into knee deep water which has rocks and coral. On one occasion, returning from an event ashore we had to wade out to the tender in the dark which was problematic. Food was excellent on 'a la carte' nights and good at barbeques and buffets. Their superb cheese plate was the best that I have ever had on a cruise ship. Entertainment was basic with a pleasant resident musician and occasional presentations of Fijian cultural activities by crew and by school children at the villages visited - the Fijians have beautiful singing voices and incredible natural harmony. Bar prices for beer and wine were expensive (Fiji taxes were blamed by the bar staff). Each day you could go ashore or take a glass bottom boat trip to view the reef. A visit to a native village was a highlight where we were welcomed with a kava ceremony, entertained with singing and fed a meal from the underground ovens common across the Pacific. Overall, an interesting trip for the divers and culture or history buffs, and for those who enjoy cruising tropical waters. The Fijian way is a little disorganised and inefficient, but they are pleasant people who always give you a smile. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to have a more casual and relaxing holiday cruise with snorkelling and beach activities but with a focus on Fijian culture and way of life. This cruise ticked all those boxes for us and then some, so much so that we booked ... Read More
We wanted to have a more casual and relaxing holiday cruise with snorkelling and beach activities but with a focus on Fijian culture and way of life. This cruise ticked all those boxes for us and then some, so much so that we booked the Colonial Flavours cruise for next year. Embarkation from Denarau Marina starts at 12md on a Tuesday and you are sent to the Yacht Club to wait for boarding and are given a free drink voucher. Then we were all called and checked in as we ascended the gangway where we were given a shell lei and a brief safety overview and a lovely outdoor buffet lunch. The Captain was Ken Ballantine and the Hospitality Manager was Carole Crumlin, who did an excellent job. Cabins were available shortly after and we sailed away at 2 pm. Key collection and checkin was done at the reception desk. We visited the Yasawa Islands on the first part of our cruise (4 days) and we had two snorkelling and/or beach activities each day and on another day we visited a school, where the children sang for us then picked their adult and showed us around their school grounds and classrooms. We had taken pads, pencils, stickers and these were given to the teacher for distribution. School books for the teachers themselves are also highly needed. Sweets and biscuits are frowned upon. You also need to dress appropriately with knees and arms covered. This was a great visit. We also visited a village and enjoyed a local lovo (underground cooking) with beautiful salads and fruits and wine from the ship even though alcohol is not allowed in villages where Cava is the main drink. We enjoyed a traditional cava welcome ceremony and wonderful dancing and singing also. We also had some extra activities such as exploring Sawa-I-Lau cave, the famous limestone cave with its beautiful underground lagoon, where we swam in crystal clear water open to the sky above. On this portion of the cruise we visited Tivua, Naviti, Yaqeta and Drawaqa Islands. Meals on board were mainly buffets set up in the Dining room or upstairs in the lounge for casual buffet lunches. We also had some three course dinners served in the Dinng room some nights including the Captains Welcome dinner the first night. We thought the food very very good and never had any complaints with variety, taste or quantity. At set meals you are seated in a group with others and there was a variety of family and work groups on this leg. Service from all staff was superb with typical Fijian friendliness and happiness, so lovely to see and we thought they were all magnificent. Alcohol is very pricey with the cheapest being a sparkling wine at $55 FJD about $38 AU while red and white was $FJD85 and up! They have a special cocktail everyday at 19FJD which are normally 25-28FJD. Drinks and canapés are served from 6.30pm every night which is a lovely way to meet others around the pool deck or in the lounge before dinner was served at 7.30 pm. After dinner entertainment was lovely Fijian singing and/or dancing from the crew members, crab racing, an abba dance party, a Fijian fashion show through the ages, and we had a resident DJ Manasa who sang songs and played keyboard or guitar nightly. Reef and Culture talks were given by the resident Fijian marine biologist and were very interesting and they had a scuba diving team for those that wanted to dive. Snorkelling activities were done from their glass bottom boat or tenders where you jumped over the side or descended by ladder, with ascending the ladder after snorkelling being a very interesting activity in some of the swells. Luckily there was always help on hand to take the fins or cameras to allow you hands free access to the boat. The glass bottom boat was also use for reef coral viewing activities when the snorkelling group returned for those that wanted more gentle activity. Fins, masks and snorkels were available for use on board though we took our own masks and snorkels and just borrowed fins. Life vests and noodles were always available for those swimming or snorkelling and kayaks and sail boards were taken to the beaches for activities there. Cabins are generally small with minimal hanging space and small bathrooms but you spend so little time there it wasn’t a problem as beds were comfy, aircon good and hot water plentiful for showers. Dress is very casual and no ties or jackets were seen, rather Bula shirts, sulus, shorts, casual dresses were the norm. Bathers and coverups were seen at breakfast and lunch but not at dinner. There were Spa treatments offered on board including pedicures, massages, facials, hair braiding and were cheaper than on the big mainline ships. On the Saturday, you return to Denarau Marina and because we were returning passengers we were able to take a free shore excursion while they reorganised the ship for the next load of passengers for the three day cruise to the Manamucas. We chose to visit the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant, Raymond Burrs beautiful orchid gardens, which was a fabulous side trip. Another offered was a trip to Nadi for shopping. We reboarded after our excursion at 12md and headed to a beautiful sand day for a swim or snorkelling, a truly magical experience on this tiny sand island in the middle of the ocean, just amazing. Next day was our visit to Monuriki where Tom Hanks Castaway was filmed. Another beautiful island which you can walk around and where there are still a few remnants from filming. That night being Sunday we visited a village for their church service. Their beautiful singing from children to the elderly was a real highlight for us, and the fire and brimstone minister a real eye opener! On Monday we visited the Sacred Islands, the place where the first Fijians landed. We swam in beautiful blue warm waters and kayaks or paddle boards were available. After our o board bidpffet lunch we visited Waya Island in The Southern Yasawas where you could swim, snorkel, climb to the peak of Waya or visit the village for a tour. Then our final night to dress up in Fijian wear for Pacific Island night. We sailed into Lautoka overnight (most sailing is done from early morning 6 am so you have a nice sleep without any turbulence from waves) so the ship could fill up with water so we were bussed back to Denarau and taken to our resorts by the bus. Overall Impressions Wonderful relaxing happy cruise with wonderful staff, entertainment and food, fabulous snorkelling opportunities and beautiful island and beach visits. You need to be fit to access the boats for snorkelling and the ship is certainly showing it’s age, but nothing about it made us regret this choice for our Fiji holiday. Highly recommended. Y Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first cruise experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat holds 130 people and there was ample room on the four decks. We appreciated wi-fi on the high seas. There were 3 of us in a 4 bunk room which was adequate for our ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat holds 130 people and there was ample room on the four decks. We appreciated wi-fi on the high seas. There were 3 of us in a 4 bunk room which was adequate for our needs. The people - both employees and fellow cruisers - were what made the experience so fantastic. We enjoyed a village visit, a school visit, a hike, several beach, glass-bottom boat, snorkelling and scuba diving experiences, excellent food, and very friendly and accommodating staff. Embarkation and desembarkation went very smoothly. We enjoyed reef talks with the resident marine biologist, Janice. The variety of evening entertainment with Manasa was much appreciated, from happy hour music to crab races to music trivia. We utilized the small gym and hot tub on the top deck, the spa facilities and onboard shopping. We would definitely cruise with Captain Cook again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My wife and I have done 2 CCC Fijian cruises in the last 18 months and we loved both if them. We've just finished our second cruise and have already booked a third cruise for next year. The Reef Endeavour is a small ship with a ... Read More
My wife and I have done 2 CCC Fijian cruises in the last 18 months and we loved both if them. We've just finished our second cruise and have already booked a third cruise for next year. The Reef Endeavour is a small ship with a very capable and friendly crew. Many crew members learn all the passengers names within the first couple of days; it is so welcoming. The crew are both polite and playful. I love snorkelling and scuba diving, so the 7-night cruise to the Yasawa Islands is perfect for me. Each morning and afternoon we are at a different reef, so there's always new sights to see. There are fully qualified scuba dive masters who can take you diving at amazing sites (at an additional cost ;-). Cultural visits and hikes are also provded. Great itinerary. Food is very good and plentiful. Alcoholic drinks are quite expensive but that didn't seem to bother most passengers, who had a great social time. The passengers we've met on our 2 cruises so far have been really great company. Whether young families or retirees, they were all very, very friendly and great fun to eat, drink, swim and talk to. CCC also offers some special deals, depending on when you book your cruise e.g. 7 nights for the price of 4 or 35 percent off for returning passengers or an amazing 50 percent off if you book a cruise while you are on a cruise. Great experiences, great crew, great company and great prices Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
After doing a few big cruise lines we decided to try this little boat so see something new and do enjoy some diving. WOW we got more than we expected, with only 60 guests the service was very personalised and the atmosphere was very ... Read More
After doing a few big cruise lines we decided to try this little boat so see something new and do enjoy some diving. WOW we got more than we expected, with only 60 guests the service was very personalised and the atmosphere was very relaxed no crowds not hassle and bustle of 1000's of guests. The tendering on and off twice a day was easy quick and without fault. If you want an itinerary locked in concrete this is not for you decisions are made on the day according to weather and guests to ensure the holiday is the best it can be, which I loved. The staffs flexibility to make you holiday amazing was the best part - I missed a tender one day and no big deal it was my fault so I just sat on deck watching the sea and the staff noticed asked me why I didn't do to the beach I joked about missing the tender next thing a boat was sent to pick me up. I think this cruise if perfect for the water lovers as all the islands are remote so water sports is all there is so if you are a shopper give it a miss. The boat is relaxing and quiet the rooms are good sizes I was on 4 and very happy with the room. Don't expect a casino and fancy stage shows but do expect to relax and feel the friendly happy vibe. Captain Simon was the most chilled friendly guy and was brilliant with teenagers. Perfect for teenage families, I wouldn't choose for little kids but take some board/card games there is a lull of 2 hrs most afternoons and without a lot of wifi teens need entertaining - or take a USB with new movies to watch in the TV room. Food was great the servings and range of meals couldn't be faulted - even fussy teenager enjoyed it and tried lots of new things. The stand out staff members were Sefo, Captain Simon and Matt and Artoo If you are thinking about this cruise book it now ..... Now I just need to find others like it Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were privileged to be able to do the 11 day Lau Islands and Kadavu cruise on Reef Endeavour in August 2015. This cruise is only run 3 times per year and can only be described as an adventure into remote and unspoilt Fiji. It is all ... Read More
We were privileged to be able to do the 11 day Lau Islands and Kadavu cruise on Reef Endeavour in August 2015. This cruise is only run 3 times per year and can only be described as an adventure into remote and unspoilt Fiji. It is all inclusive except for alcohol, so daily activities, all meals and entertainment were included in the price, unlike some other cruises where you pay an extra small fortune for each shore based activity. We embarked on time and after a quick safety demonstration were on our way. We visited one or two different islands every day with extended daytime stays, plenty of opportunity to meet the local villagers, snorkel on coral reefs or view in the glass bottom tender, hike in native bushland, swim up to waterfalls, snorkel into sea caves, attend a church service and schools in tiny remote villages, walk on fine white sand beaches, cruise scenic bays in the tender, attend village ceremonies, etc. No two days were the same and you were made to feel as welcome to participate in as many or as few activities as you wished each day. Being in the eastern most islands of Fiji the culture was as much influenced by Tonga as it is by Fiji and the villagers so rarely see tourists that they were truly fascinated and seemed honoured by our presence. Reef Endeavour is not your average cruise ship. It is quite old but well maintained. Do not expect 4 or 5 star accommodation but by the same token it is certainly comfortable and well equipped for an adventure cruise. The Tender lift at the stern made going ashore a breeze, even for the less mobile passengers on board. The crew are predominantly Fijian natives from all parts of the country and could not be more friendly and welcoming. The food is surprisingly fresh and varied, despite not being able to replenish supplies for the whole 11 days. A mixture of a la carte dinners, buffets, lovo ashore, afternoon tea, canapes, and a made to order egg station at breakfast each morning. Drinks were mainly available from the lounge bar (and the beach bar when ashore). All charged to the room and reasonably priced. You could purchase wines by the glass or bottle and bottles were tagged and kept in the fridge for consumption at your own pace. The age profile of the 85 or so passengers on board ranged in a fairly even spread from around 35 to late 80s with just 2 well behaved teenagers. Most of the more elderly passengers were very fit and active and participated in nearly all of the events and activities despite the often adventurous and sometimes challenging nature of some of the shore excursions. The crew would always assist where possible to make getting around as easy as possible. The entertainment on board was mostly low key with crew singing and playing instruments, kava nights, trivia nights, a charity auction, and some crew “stage shows”. Weather permitting there was an outdoor cinema night. On some days there were lunchtime educational lectures on marine ecosystems. We had a mix of weather during the 11 days but even on the inclement days the activities went ahead and the water was still warm so it did not really matter. A special thanks to the Captain Cook Cruises crew: Captain Chris who briefed the passengers at breakfast most mornings. Sally the hospitality manager who coordinated and communicated each day’s activities. Susie and her team in the dining room for the great service and Jackson and his team for the tasty meals. Sefo, Lagi, Diani and Moses for keeping us well stocked up on drinks all day every day and remembering our preferences. All of the other crew for their memorable contribution to a great fun adventure holiday. I would recommend this cruise for anyone looking to go off the beaten track and experience a comfortable but adventurous and active cruising holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I had the great privilege of experiencing the Fijian islands aboard the endeavour under the guidance of Captain Simon Estella. This gentleman is a very special human being . Over and above his skillful staff management and of course ... Read More
I had the great privilege of experiencing the Fijian islands aboard the endeavour under the guidance of Captain Simon Estella. This gentleman is a very special human being . Over and above his skillful staff management and of course primary mission of guiding the vessel, the day to day human touch was evident thoughout our vacation. He attempted to really bond with each of the guests leaving formal protocol aside to sit and chat at every occasion, and not above giving a personal lesson to one of the teenagers on the way to master a paddle board. Special dietary issues were always taken care of with a smile . What the cruise lacks in the most up to date accommodations is made up by the comraderie established, friendships, genuine smiles, and historical opportunity to meet real Fijians on board and on the local village tours. Lots of opportunities to relax , read, snorkel, and have a great vacation Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
There is no doubt that Captain Cook Cruses' "Reef Endeavour" can take you to some amazing destinations, but the ship, itself, is showing her age. Our recent 7-night Yasawa Islands cruise took us to picturesque islands and ... Read More
There is no doubt that Captain Cook Cruses' "Reef Endeavour" can take you to some amazing destinations, but the ship, itself, is showing her age. Our recent 7-night Yasawa Islands cruise took us to picturesque islands and beautiful beaches and snorkelling locations. The crew members were amazing- friendly, hospitable and multi-talented. But the maintenance of the ship has been lacking- Flaking paint, rotting timbers in places, cracked (and leaking) hand-basin in the bathroom, some rusty bathroom fittings, hand-rail supports rusted out... you get the picture. However, ignore all that and you have a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We are amazed that no review on Captain Cook Cruises has been posted on Cruise Critic. They cruise the Fiji islands exclusively and operate a very nice ship, Reef Endeavour, that can handle 120 passengers. I speaking with the Captain and ... Read More
We are amazed that no review on Captain Cook Cruises has been posted on Cruise Critic. They cruise the Fiji islands exclusively and operate a very nice ship, Reef Endeavour, that can handle 120 passengers. I speaking with the Captain and the Hospitality Manager we were informed that the average sailing has about 60 passengers, so that provides for lots of room for everyone both on the ship and the tender which holds about 50. The Voyage: We booked the seven day cruise which is made up of a four night segment to the Yasawa Islands and a three night segment to the Mamanuca Islands. Between the two segments, the ship returns to Port Denarau Marina and offloads some passengers and adds new ones. They run this schedule for three weeks in each month. There are other voyages to outer islands throughout the year on the fourth week. It visits places like the setting for the movies, Blue Lagoon and Castaway. It also goes to the Sacred Islands – a special snorkel location that has virtually pristine corals. The M/S Reef Endeavour: The ship has free WIFI internet connection which we found to be very fast and available most of each day. The ship provides all guests plenty of fresh drinking water. There is a self-serve laundry facility and the cost is very minimal. The sauna provides a great place to work off any jet lag or sore muscles from the various activities. Towels for the beach and water activities are available all day. This is a very family friendly operation with special events for children planned every night. All snorkeling gear and diving gear are available on the ship. The ship’s tender is a glass bottom boat which will cruise the local coral gardens on each island and provide everyone a chance to see the underwater world without getting wet. There is a spa on-board with various services. There is a swimming pool on board which doubles as the SCUBA-training tank. Three meals per day are available with light snacks served prior to dinner. The crew in the kitchen did a splendid job of keeping healthy choices and fresh fruit at all meals. No one complained about the gourmet food and the variety of the selections made by the head chef. She did a great job. Our Cabin: We had a standard cabin for two people and while smaller than luxury cruise lines, it had all the necessary storage space and electrical outlets for the trip. It was well lit and kept clean twice per day by the room staff. The bathroom had lots of water pressure and lots of hot water – which was a welcome relief when we needed to clean up after a snorkel or beach activity. The A/C was a strong unit which quickly chilled the air and refreshed us on the days when the Fiji sun was very intense and when the humidity was climbing ahead of a rainstorm. The Staff: We were very fortunate to have Clinton Perkins as the Hospitality Manager on our cruise. He is a consummate professional with a big resume in the firld of ocean cruises. He has worked on the finest luxury ships from other luxury cruise lines and has a compassion for and understanding of the guests needs. He had a wonderful can-do attitude and would stop anytime and chat with you to answer any questions. His style was clearly infectious for the rest of the ship’s staff. Every staff member was welcoming and cordial to us every day. They really had a good team spirit and were fun to spend time with. They have a wealth of knowledge and shared it without hesitation. All were English speaking native Fijians. Safety and comfort were of paramount importance in every operation. This ship is blessed with a wonderful crew and it goes all the way to the Captain who is around the deck throughout the day and hosts a table for dinner, most nights. He was a gentleman’s gentleman who would stop and chat with any passenger. The Excurisons: Every day was jammed packed with activities morning, noon and afternoon. We snorkeled once or twice every day at different locations or different islands on the same day. The highlight of underwater activity on the four day segment came on day two at Drawaga Bay where the corals and sea life were some of the best we have ever seen (to include the Great Barrier Reef, Tahiti and Belize). On the second night we were invited to a local village for a Fijian Feast (lovo) and Cultural music and dance performance by the villagers. Day three had a visit to a local school on Sawa-i-lau. The children from 6-13 years old performed songs and then led us around by hand to their classrooms to show us what they were learning. It was a special day. On the third day of the 3 night segment, we snorkeled the Sacred Islands and quickly discovered a coral reef that exceeded the quality of Drawaga Bay, which were thought to be impossible. The Dress Code: Despite what is written, there is none. Captain Cook publishes a dress code and asks people to wear smart casual wear for dinner. We were only one of three couples who would dress in that way each night. The average passenger rarely put on long pants and frequently kept their beachwear on all day, wet or not. Virtually none of the men wore dress shoes at night, preferring to go with sandals and flip-flops. For breakfast and lunch, almost all passengers were in beach wear and barefoot. When visiting the Fiji villages all guests needed to cover their shoulders and knees and uncover their heads. Some people thought themselves above those rules and were not permitted to enter the village. The best clothes to have on board would be a pair of sandal style shoes which can get wet as most landings on the beach are wet. One pair of sort /walking shoes would be needed for the hikes that are available. One pair of reef shoes would be very useful. Dress shoes and dress clothes can stay home. Men should invest in a sulu which the wraparound skirt for men worn by Fijians. Women need to invest in dressy cover-ups which cover the shoulders and go lower than the knees.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
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