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Cruises to Madang

Madang (Photo:Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)
Madang (Photo:Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)

About Madang

You can find a number of ways to describe remote Madang, which is part of Papua New Guinea.

Exotic. Primitive. Culturally rich but economically poor -- grindingly poor.

But this impossibly beautiful spot in the South Pacific is earning a reputation as a tourist destination.

Madang Harbor is right out of a holiday brochure, with its manicured lawns, palm trees and thatched bungalows. You might see waterfront homes with helicopters out front. In contrast, boys in handmade outriggers - just as they have for centuries -- circle ships that call on Madang.

To visit slow-paced Madang is to step back in time. In many ways, this peninsula jutting into the Bismarck Sea has yet to join the 21st century. Perhaps that's not surprising given the fact that fewer than 20 percent of residents live in urban areas and nearly half are illiterate. Look at a map of PNG, as it's called, and you'll see few roads. In this mountainous, densely forested country, access is typically gained by air or boat. PNG, which shares its island home with Indonesia's West Papua, is famously known as the spot American aviator Amelia Earhart took off from in 1937 before her plane's mysterious disappearance.

Today, most of PNG's seven million residents live off the land. The country is known for its many tribes -- hundreds of them. In the highlands, PNG's most primitive region, tribesmen still use arrows, bows and spears. It is not far-fetched to say this is still a country barely explored both geographically and culturally.

Madang, as well, is defined by its tribes: remote mountain communities perched on ridges, river people who live in stilt villages and deep-sea fishermen from the coastal islands. The Madang region is known for its lush yet rugged beauty. There are 38 kinds of birds of paradise, for example, along with tropical rain forests, lagoons with a rich underwater life and plummeting waterfalls. If you hear screeching, look up. Fruit bats, or flying foxes as they are called, are common inhabitants of the trees, even in town.

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DAY 1: Singapore

19 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Bintulu, Puerto Princesa ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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DAY 1: Manila

18 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Manila
Visiting:
Coron, Romblon Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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DAY 1: Manila

16 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Manila
Visiting:
Coron, Romblon Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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DAY 1: Singapore

15 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Bali, Komodo Island ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Cairns
Visiting:
Alotau, Madang ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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39 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Malacca, Penang ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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44 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Singapore
Visiting:
Bintulu, Puerto Princesa ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

19 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Hong Kong
Visiting:
Hundred Islands, Manila ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

21 Night
Cruise to Madang

Leaving:
Hong Kong
Visiting:
Hundred Islands, Manila ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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Why go to Madang?

Pros:

Off the beaten path Madang is spectacularly beautiful and equally as rich in culture and authenticity

Cons:

Most of Madang's inhabitants are shockingly poor, which may be difficult for some travelers to observe

Bottom Line:

Madang's unspoiled natural beauty and environment create a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Madang Cruise Port Facilities?

When a cruise ship arrives, a small village of vendors spontaneously appears just outside the security gate at the pier. It can seem a bit intimidating at first, but it's definitely worth a look. Vendors aren't aggressive and are pleased to share the stories behind their handicrafts.

Getting Around?

When a cruise ship arrives, a small village of vendors spontaneously appears just outside the security gate at the pier. It can seem a bit intimidating at first, but it's definitely worth a look. Vendors aren't aggressive and are pleased to share the stories behind their handicrafts.

Getting Around

By Taxi: There are a few taxis, and the Madang Resort, which has a popular orchid garden and barramundi pond, routinely offers complimentary shuttle service to its property. You can walk the same distance in about 30 minutes, but it's recommended that people travel in groups and not alone.

Renting a Car: Car rental agencies include Avis, Budget and Hertz. Be warned: The roads are in bad shape.

The cruise lines generally suggest that passengers stick with organized shore excursions. If you are determined to strike out on your own, seek assistance through the Madang Visitors and Cultural Bureau.

On Foot: If you are walking around the town, be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas devoid of people. However, also be careful if you find yourself in the centre of a crowd. Make sure your valuables such as video cameras and mobile phones are secure.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the kina, but tour guides and vendors are happy to accept U.S. and Australian currency. For updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. It's a good idea, though, to carry small denominations.

Larger operations, like the Madang Resort Hotel, accept credit cards.

Language?

English is the official language, but it's generally spoken only in government and education circles. Remarkably, more than 820 distinct languages are spoken in PNG, including 175 in Madang Province. The most widely spoken in Madang is Tok Pisin or pidgin, which traces its origins to English and German and Indonesian words. A few examples: one is wan, far is longwe, hospital is haus sik, and mosquito is natnat.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at a bare-bones pier that has no tourist services. In some ways, this is part of the charm. PNG is one of those rare places where you feel as though you could be standing in a last frontier.


Madang Cruise Reviews

Pacific Aria
LindaBruce
Sail Date: Feb 2016
Free transfer to Madang Lodge - airconditioned bus waiting at the port that went past bays and beaches, golf course, memorial lighthouse, and stopped at the Museum & Visitor Centre on way to Madang Lodge Hotel... Read More
Sea Princess
exkiap
Sail Date: Nov 2015
I've had to call this Madang as there is no Doini Island in the drop down menu and I tried to add another Kiriwina/Kitava but the system won't let me. Doini island is a paradise. Go to www.doiniiland.com to check it... Read More
Adventure of the Seas
rosiemac7
Sail Date: Nov 2010
just walked from boat into funchal,nice walk around the promenade. too big a queue for the cable car so we walked around the town which was very pretty. found a taxi driver offering the same tour as the boat for 15... Read More
flyingdutchman6989
Sail Date: Aug 2019
We attended a rather unorganized outdoor cultural extravaganza on the grounds of the Madang resort. There was no emcee, and no announcements as to what native group was performing and what the dance routine... Read More
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