This was a most memorable journey taking us to places we could never have visited independently. Visits to remote islands and villages with all the local protocol and activities were the absolute highlight, apart from beautiful snorkelling opportunities (scuba-diving and kayaking were also possible). The atmosphere on the ship was very friendly; the small number of passengers helped. The entire crew, including the expedition team, worked hard to make our trip a wonderful experience, and were always delightful despite the long hours.
It was a particular bonus to have Dame Carol Kidu as a guest lecturer presenting fascinating insights into PNG. Master Gary’s talk about his career was very popular. Passengers were very impressed by the ship’s approach to benefiting local communities. Due to the drought caused by El Niño, a number of visited villages were very short on food and water, and the ship left provisions and water where needed, apart from a school bag. Some passengers were unhappy that we were not aware that some other items, especially for schools, were urgently needed. A list of such items in advance would have been great to contribute with useful donations.
It feels a bit mean to point out a few things that could be improved, e.g. the technology for presentations, missing DVDs, better information on the fact that local currency was able to be sourced along the way. The information booklet for the preparation for this trip should be re-visited and updated. The chefs did a marvellous job in the kitchen and the food was varied, plentiful and delicious. Perhaps a timely (or earlier) start of the dinner would be good as many passengers were quite tired after a long day of adventures (again, it feels mean to even mention this).