The capital of Fiji is one of the original South Pacific cruise ports used by P&O. Beginning prior to World War II and then again in the late 1960s, when the SS Himalaya marked a resurgence for Australian leisure cruising, Suva is now a signature stop for all the Carnival brands, Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas, among others.
Suva originally traded on its colonial history, and much of the city's downtown still bears the hallmarks of a rich British Empire tradition. Cumming Street's wooden buildings, with covered footpaths, statues, parks and imperious public offices, still stamp Suva as a Commonwealth outpost.
Many passengers are content to stroll around town, window shopping and taking in the sights of everyday Pacific life. But today's bustling Suva is not quite the sleepy backwater it once was. There is plenty of retail shopfront -- including duty-free -- to keep wandering visitors occupied, and there are enough highlights to see for those who choose not to take a shore excursion.
A self-guided walking tour, augmented by taxis, can easily take in locations like the produce and seafood markets, national museum and botanical gardens. Retail raiders can swing by the air-conditioned Tappoo City shopping mall or bargain for traditional souvenirs and carvings at the Municipal Handicraft Centre.
If you're in town on a Sunday, you're sure to hear numerous church choirs belting out hymns with trademark Pacific exuberance, and if your feet get a bit sore, rest them at the cocktail bar in the city's recently restored Grand Pacific Hotel, which celebrated its reopening in time for its 100th birthday.
Take usual precautions when returning to your ship after dark, and be careful not to encourage street hawkers, as they can be difficult to dislodge. (Suva Council has clamped down on this, following complaints from cruise lines.)
--By Roderick Eime, Cruise Critic contributor
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