Reef Endeavour Activities

Editor Rating
Caroline Gladstone

Entertainment & Activities

Daytime entertainment is quite limited because activities tend to take place off the ship during the day. However, the purser (who also acts as cruise director) gives a very informative orientation talk about the villages to be visited, the history of the region, customs and do's and don'ts.

A handful of talks are given by the marine biologist on the marine life and corals to be encountered on the snorkeling and diving trips.

A singer/keyboardist plays melodies during lunch in the restaurant, and a small band of singers and guitarists entertains during alfresco lunches.

Evening entertainment is quite diverse. It's good fun and mostly takes place in the Captain Cook Dining Room or the Yasawa Lounge. The latter is a comfortable area of sofas, armchairs and coffee tables, complete with a small bar, piano and dance floor. It also contains the purser's office and a tea/coffee station. It was refurbished in 2013 with new furniture and carpets.

On the first night, the crew sing, dance and invite passengers up to join them in their own version of ballroom dancing. On another evening, there is hermit crab racing, where each table will "buy" a crab at auction. This event is always a hit. The winner takes all the money, and most donate it to the ship to redirect to one of the seven schools that the cruise line supports in Fiji.

Other scheduled entertainment includes the crew fashion show, where various national costumes are paraded, and the final night's fun crew show with tribal dancing and singing.

Once during the seven-night cruises, the crew puts on a "movie under the stars" with free popcorn. Passengers vote for which of three movies they'd like to see and watch it on the pool deck on a balmy night if there is no rain.

Apart from this themed entertainment, there is always cocktail music from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to midnight in the Yasawa Lounge, and, if passengers are willing, there's impromptu karaoke.

On the night following the village feast visit (which takes place on the seven- and 11-night cruises), the crew sets up the "kava bar" on a woven mat on the floor of the Yasawa Lounge and breaks out the guitars and ukuleles. Passengers are invited to join them around the tanoa (the kava bowl) and savor a coconut bowl or two of kava. Kava is the traditional drink of Fiji, made from the root of a pepper tree. It's a murky brown color and has sedative and anesthetic properties (lips and tongue sometimes go numb); however, consuming a small bowl known as "low tide" should not produce any untoward effects. Mind you, it's not to everyone's taste, and many people say it tastes like dishwater.

Shore excursions revolve around village visits, village mekes (dance performances) and lovos (meals cooked in underground ovens), and almost all are complimentary unless outside transport is involved. Every day, passengers have opportunities to swim in the ocean, while there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel (a boat takes passengers to the best sites) and take trips on the new glass-bottom boat -- both are included in the fare.

Diving is an additional charge, and trips are led by qualified dive guides. The company has acquired a new dive boat -- along with the glass-bottom boat -- because both were damaged during Cyclone Evan. While people make jokes about "Fiji time" (a cavalier approach to time-keeping), the tours run on time and are handled very efficiently.

A handful of optional tours are offered, including tubing and rafting down rivers and walking tours, and all are very good value and much cheaper than those offered by large cruise ships. For example, Reef Endeavour charges FJ$30 ($16.30) for a village visit in the lovely old capital of Levuka and gives the money to the village; during its visit in 2013, the top-rated cruise ship Europa charged FJ$90 ($48.90) for the same visit.

Village visits are always an eye-opener, and children follow passengers in pied-piper fashion; it's always appreciated if passengers bring along stationery, toys and the occasional bag of sweets to donate to the schools and kids -- and of course the villagers love it. They do not, however, expect any gifts.

On Sunday mornings during the longer seven- and 11-day cruises, there are church services to attend if passengers so desire. These are moving occasions with wonderful Fijian hymns and harmonies.

An interesting tour in Levuka consists of meeting an elderly lady, said to be descended from the last cannibal, complete with afternoon tea and storytelling at her home.

All cruises call at Captain Cook's exclusive island called Tivua for an afternoon beach and snorkel stop. A new feature for the tiny island (which can be walked around in about 15 minutes) is a turtle pond and the services of a full-time marine biologist.

A free coach transfer is offered to all passengers at the end of the cruise if they're staying at nearby Denarau and Nadi hotels or going to the airport.

Public Rooms

The Reef Room at the bow acts as the library, DVD room and seminar room. It has a collection of books for borrowing -- on an honor system -- and DVDs to watch in the room or take back to the suites. It's a quiet place to read, and it has a tea/coffee station with an espresso machine and cookies.

There is no Internet cafe. Free Wi-Fi is available to all who have laptops, iPads and other devices. Wi-Fi is not always available in some of the more remote islands. The best place to sit is near the purser's desk.

The top-level Sun Deck has cane tables and chairs and padded cane sun lounges.

A self-service laundromat is located on D Deck and has two washing machines, two dryers and an iron and ironing board. It costs FJ$5 (about $2.70) for a load of wash and another FJ$5 to dry the clothes. Powder laundry detergent is free.

A boutique, near the purser's office, sells tropical clothing, much of which is made in Fiji; the country's well-known cosmetic brand of lotions, Pure Fiji, sarongs; T-shirts, rash guards (sun-protection shirts), shorts, souvenirs, pharmacy items, books, playing cards, postcards, stamps and other items.

Spa & Fitness

A swimming pool, with a depth of about five feet, is quite large for a small ship, yet it's rarely used by adults because there are so many other swimming opportunities. Scuba lessons take place in the pool about twice a week. It's located on C Deck.

The Senikai Spa is located in cabin 116 on A Deck. It offers a range of massages, facials, body treatments, foot massages and manicures/pedicures. Treatments cost about half the price you'll find on other ships. One therapist is on duty and is often quite busy, so early bookings are a good idea. Occasionally, multi-treatment packages are offered at a discount if bookings are slow.

The masseuse will also set up the massage table under a palm tree on the beach and sometimes on the upper outside deck. Beach massages are quite popular.

Reef Endeavour has a small gym on the Sun Deck, with one treadmill, two exercise bikes, a rowing machine, free weights and exercise balls. There are also two hot tubs.

It's possible to walk around the ship on B Deck, but you have to traverse the Reef Room (and open and close two doors), so it isn't ideal.

For Kids

When they are not snorkeling or visiting the villages and taking shore excursions with their parents, children between 5 and 10 years old are looked after by a youth counselor at certain times. Youth staff will watch DVDs with the kids or play board games and cards. The Fijians' love of children is legendary, and they shower little ones with affection. Children eat breakfast and lunch with parents or with other kids in the dining room, but have an early 6:30 p.m. dinner, from a dedicated children's menu with the youth staff. The price is included in the fare.

Baby-sitting is free at the following times: 9 a.m. to noon, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. No after-hours baby-sitting is available. Children 4 and younger are accepted on the ship, although it's not recommended. When onboard, these children must be looked after by a responsible adult at all times and it is compulsory for the parents to hire a nanny for their children aged 4 and under. The cost of the nanny is included in the fare. Parents should consult the cruise line for details.

There are no programs for children older than 10, but if there are more than a few children onboard, they have plenty of fun snorkeling, swimming, playing in the pool and hanging out with one another. They love the evening entertainment, and the staff will often include them in their concerts. If the captain approves, a child may even play at "steering" the tender boat in the full care of professional crew. Children love their time aboard Reef Endeavour, particularly because the crew fusses over them.

There are two types of family accommodations, outlined in the Cabins section: the interconnecting cabins on A and B Decks and the quad cabins (two twins or a double bed with two Pullman bunks) on D Deck.

Activities & Entertainment

  • Enrichment Lectures
  • Forward Lounge
  • Guided Island Tours
  • Gym
  • Hot Tubs (2)
  • Kids Club
  • Local village visits
  • Lounge
  • Onboard Marine Biologist
  • PADI Diving Courses*
  • Sauna
  • Senakai Spa*
  • Swimming Pool
  • * May require additional fees

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