Each evening, crew members (and sometimes the captain) serenade guests with guitar and ukulele music. There are also trivia games and charades. You also can compete in crazy hat, ad hoc fancy dress and Indian costume contests.
In addition to disco night, the most memorable entertainment during our sailing was an international competition on the beach, during which we represented our countries with jokes, songs and skits. The Japanese honeymooners won over the crowd when the bride leveled the groom with her karate moves. My hands-down favorite was the crew's proud rendition of Fiji's national anthem.
Another popular treat is the screening of the 1949 version of the movie Blue Lagoon, on the bar deck under the stars.
All excursions are included in the cruise. In addition to daily beach excursions, there is a visit to a traditional village for yaqona (kava drinking) and meke (song and dance) ceremonies, as well as a visit to a village school featuring a student concert. There's a chance to attend a church service if desired.
During one of the village visits, there is an opportunity to shop at a small "shell market" for home-made jewelry and crafts. Bring Fijian currency to buy these souvenirs.
There's also an optional walk one morning to Lo's Tea Shop -- a shop selling homemade cakes and treats. The shop is on a remote beach that requires you to walk through a series of villages and remote parts of the island to access it.
The four decks are connected by two staircases located on either side of the ship. Smoking is only allowed in designated outdoor areas. The public areas are located on the Hibiscus Deck and the top-most Sun Deck.
The dining area, bar, lounge and library are located on Hibiscus. This area has been completed refurbished, and the decor is tropical and features cushioned rattan arm chairs, tapa print fabric wall decorations and wood-paneled walls. The library is completely new and has a small collection of books (enough for these short cruises where most of the time is spent in the water or on land exploring the islands). The ship's hallways are lined with handsome prints with botanical and nautical themes.
The spacious lounge bar/library is the place to be in the evenings. During the day, it is a popular venue for reading, playing cards and relaxing. At night, this is where the entertainment and dancing takes place.
Each deck offers outdoor areas ideal for enjoying the sun on new loungers. There's even a wraparound deck, which enables passengers to walk the full way around the ship. Sun loungers are also located at the stern. The top-level Sun Deck offers great views and features a shaded bar, sun loungers and tables.
In the foyer are the reception desk and boutique, which offers a good selection of practical items like sunglasses, sunscreen, batteries and disposable underwater cameras, as well as a Fiji cookbook and bestselling paperbacks. The captain charts the ship's course on a souvenir Yasawas map, available for sale, and there are a number of Blue Lagoon logo items to purchase including a sun-protective rash guard for snorkeling.
There's also a self-service laundry area on the saloon deck portside forward, with two washing machines and dryers. Laundry soap is available at reception.
The cruise is active, centered on snorkeling and swimming. There is an opportunity to get up for an early morning (6 a.m.) swim, and the crew wakes up those who want to take part with a knock on the door. Early risers can also join crew members fishing off the ship.
Each day, passengers are ferried to snorkeling reefs in two tender boats escorted by a crew member. The corals and marine life are spellbinding. There are also opportunities to go diving with the dedicated onboard Scuba team. Blue Lagoon rents snorkel gear for $9 per person.
Much of our non-snorkeling time was spent blissfully in hammocks. Snorkeling was carefully scheduled to not conflict with morning and afternoon tea, served in china cups and saucers with fresh fruit and pastries. Water toys such as single-person kayaks and small boats with glass panels for watching fish also are available.
Guests sparred with crew members in impromptu beach rugby games. There is an afternoon volleyball match at Nanuya Lailai Island, which is Blue Lagoon's own private piece of palm-fringed paradise. The masseuse sets up a massage table on the beach whenever there's a lengthy stay onshore.
There's also an onboard spa that offers treatments including coconut body scrubs and aromatic algae body wraps. Decorated with painted tiles and shells, the spa features skin-care products like Biodroga from Germany and Lydia Jordane and Mancine from Australia (open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.).
The small wake-facing pool by the dining saloon is filled when the ship weighs anchor. Typical of small ships, there's no fitness center.
Though there's no formal baby-sitting, crew members are often happy to watch children on occasion. If a voyage has 10 kids or more aboard, the line will add a kids' captain and special activities like sand castle building, basket weaving, hermit crab collecting and snorkeling, as well as after-dinner movies and board games. Kids of all ages are welcome at the spa.
* May require additional fees