Time is now 8/11/2020, 4:45:13 PM
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

Cruises to Port Vila

Port Vila (Photo:lidian Neeleman/Shutterstock)
Port Vila (Photo:lidian Neeleman/Shutterstock)

About Port Vila

The sun is beating down, the water is a thousand shades of clear, crystal blue, and the market stalls are gearing up for a big day. It's another day in paradise in Port Vila -- fairly sleepy for much of the time, but transformed into a hive of tourist activity when a cruise ship arrives. There is not much evidence, to the casual observer, of Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam's handiwork back in March 2015, when it caused one of the worst natural disasters ever experienced in Vanuatu's history. It's true that some resorts remain closed, such as Iririki Island Resort across the harbour from Port Vila Township, which is still under considerable construction. Some trees still sit at odd angles, or even remain where they ended up, on top of cars or boats, while other sea vessels remain upside down, strangely high up the embankment. Enough time has now passed, however, that you now have to really look for the items out of place; Port Vila has largely recovered and its tourism industry is humming along nicely. The beaches are clear and startlingly white, and the water visibility is prodigiously clear.

Cyclone Pam destroyed a reported 96 per cent of crops on the islands of Efate (home of Port Vila) and Tanna, further south, and the price of food, such as bananas, is possibly higher than it was before. Yet other reports say that pawpaw seeds flew so extensively in the winds that pawpaw plants are now growing like weeds. So, eat pawpaw rather than banana!

Port Vila is clean, friendly and easy in so many ways. Public buses take you anywhere you want to go in town, without the need for schedules or timetables. Quoted prices are generally firm -- and fair -- without the need for chicanery or negotiation. Families with children are not only tolerated, but rather welcomed with open arms; many resorts offer nannies at a very low rate, while anyone in the street is keen for a cuddle with a bub. Even the local language, Bislama, is based mostly on English and can be quite simply deciphered.

The main part of town is simple to navigate, centred on the Lini Highway that runs alongside the water. South of the town, the roads curve into the large finger of land that includes the Main Wharf on the town side and the further-flung resorts and beaches of the Pango area. Although less sheltered here and badly struck by 2015's cyclone, the recovery effort has been strong. North of town, the road heads off to the tourism hotspot of Mele Bay, home of waterfalls, adventure parks and Hideaway Island.

Those seeking adventure in Port Vila will find natural wonders, exciting sports and activities and never a dull moment in the water or even in the air (or both, if you want to try flyboarding). Culture vultures can soak up the local colour in the main markets or on a village tour, and shoppers will be gobsmacked by some of the tax-free prices. However, Port Vila is the kind of place where one can have a truly lovely time doing nothing at all -- hang out with locals over taro pancakes, putter along in a water taxi or ferry, catch a ride on a bus and slip the driver a bit extra to stay and natter as you circle the town. Do as much or as little as you like, and fall into the rhythm of 'island time'.

Find Port Vila Cruises

Any
Any
More Filters
Cruise Critic Favorite
DAY 1: Melbourne

14 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Melbourne
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

120 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Sydney

12 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Noumea, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Sponsored
Cruises from $650 w/ Virgin Voyages
Plus receive over $600 in value included in fare
  • 20+ Eateries, gratuities, WiFi & more included
  • 18+ Adults only sailings - Adult-By-Design!
  • Flexible booking and cancellation policy
  • 4-, 5-, & 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami
Virgin Cruises Intermediate Limited
DAY 1: Miami

140 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Belize City ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Port Vila ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

18 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Auckland
Visiting:
Paihia, Maré Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

9 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Mystery Island, Luganville ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

11 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

17 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Adelaide
Visiting:
Melbourne, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

20 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Hobart, Burnie ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Cunard Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

12 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Port Vila ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

9 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

80 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Belize City ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

14 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Napier ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

27 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Bora Bora, Rarotonga ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Noumea, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

8 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Noumea, Port Vila ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

9 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

59 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Belize City ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

9 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Isle of Pines, Mystery Island ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

7 Night
Cruise to Port Vila

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Noumea, Isle of Pines ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

Why go to Port Vila?

Pros:

Find heavily discounted duty-free products, or head out of town to swim at Mele Cascades

Cons:

Some local taxis have been known to drive recklessly so perhaps consider an organized tour

Bottom Line:

A practical rather than pretty port, where local transport is needed to reach its natural beauty

Port Vila Cruise Port Facilities?

Passengers alight directly onto the wharf and are then directed through fenced and roped-off pathways onto Wharf Road. This is merely a thoroughfare when there is no ship in dock but, on cruise-ship days, long rows of souvenir markets magically appear, lining the road off to the left into town. Alongside them, a host of locals are eager to offer transport, private tours and a helping hand (and van) for a price. The good news is, most of these people are genuine and quite helpful -- it's a competitive market, after all. However, until the port area upgrade is completed, you'll find little official help in terms of currency or tours. Catch a bus, boat or taxi into town (see below) to the post office, where you will find ATMs (including a Westpac directly opposite), foreign exchange, tour offices and eateries. Stay on the post-office side of the main road and head north-west (away from the ship) and you'll come across the tourist information centre, filled with brochures and maps as well as friendly staff.

Good to Know?

Some swimming spots and beaches can have hard coral or active marine life underfoot -- reef shoes are a smart item to pack in your day bag. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are also a must, like for most Pacific destinations. On a less practical but no less important note, try not to overfill your itinerary here. Vanuatu is known as the friendliest place on Earth, and taking a moment to sit in the shade in front of the markets and chat with the locals can yield as many happy holiday memories as the prettiest beach.

Getting Around?

By Taxi: The bad news is that taxis are relatively expensive in Port Vila and throughout Efate. The good news is, if you're staying within the town limits, you really don't need them.

By Bus: There is a wonderful local system of buses (really an odd assortment of vans) that charge a flat fee of 150VT (AU$1.90) to take you wherever you like within central Port Vila. If the bus driver already has quite a few passengers or isn't really going in your direction, he'll simply tell you to flag down another one. Look for the 'B' on the number plates of passing vans to find a bus, and there's no need to use bus stops -- wave them down wherever you like. There are generally plenty of buses hanging around the port when a ship is in town, too. Some travellers like to offer a higher amount (to be negotiated with the driver) to simply sit in the van awhile as other passengers come and go, and see the town that way. You never know whom you might end up chatting with! Keep in mind, though, that if you're in a hurry, these buses do operate somewhat on 'island time', depending on how many passengers are on board and where they're heading. Take a taxi if you're really pressed for time.

By Water Taxi: Another fun (and very local) way to get around is by water taxi; you'll find operators on the water side of the markets, along Wharf Road, holding signs to catch your attention. It's inexpensive and a little more adventurous, especially considering that the boats in question are sometimes on the small side.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Official currency is the Ni-Vanuatu Vatu (or simply, vatu) -- for current conversion rates, check xe.com. Australian banks such as Westpac and ANZ have a good presence here, and most ATMs around town are widely used and well stocked. Keep some coins or small notes on you for buses and small purchases at the markets. Aussie dollars are often happily accepted, while most stores and resorts charge a surcharge to use credit cards. Tipping and hardcore bargaining are not widespread.

Language?

Vanuatu is an incredibly diverse and multilingual place. More than 100 languages are used throughout its islands, but its main three languages are Bislama, French and English. It is very easy to get by in Port Vila just by speaking English, but a basic knowledge of French certainly helps -- for example, a restaurant might have a 'plat du jour' (dish of the day). Bislama is a lovely Creole language based mostly on English, with some extra French and island influences -- it may look quite foreign as a written language, but say the words and their meaning becomes very clear (the ocean is 'solwata'; the best is 'nambawan'). It is very possible to have a conversation with a local where you speak English, they speak Bislama, and you both understand just about everything.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at Port Vila's no-nonsense Main Wharf, among shipping containers and sometimes next to fishing boats, about a third of the way up Wharf Road in the Laho area of town. The 30 to 45-minute walk into town is not recommended as it is a fair distance that is sometimes uphill and not often on a footpath. The wharf area is currently being worked on as part of an enormous beautification and upgrade project affecting both the cruise dock and the town's waterfront. However, the timeline for completion is somewhat unclear. Meanwhile, there are sometimes roadblocks to limit taxi and bus access to the ship, although they get very close to the wharf so there is little drama caused by the works at this point.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated South Pacific Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated South Pacific Destinations

Port Vila Cruise Reviews

Carnival Spirit
MicCanberra
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We did private tour with Vlia Hope Port Vila, we went to a cultural village, the Raru waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon where a nice lunch was provided and the to the Duty free shopping place in Vila before returning. A... Read More
trippingtraveller
Sail Date: Nov 2019
I know Port Vila well having visited a number of times. Recommend.... Read More
Norwegian Jewel
PiaItalia
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Port Vila, Vanuatu is the BEST port of them all in my opinion. Beautiful town surrounded by breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and other islands, clean and fresh air, clear... Read More
Majestic Princess
buddyjj
Sail Date: Jan 2020
i will still rate this port as one of my favourite ( fabulous duty free ) and you can now get a water taxi ( $5.00 ) into the town if that is all you want to do. but venture outside and barter for a cab ( dont pay... Read More
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.