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Fanning Island (Photo:Sorin Colac/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Fanning Island

If you're on Fanning Island, part of the Republic of Kiribati and officially known as Tabuaeran Island, you most likely arrived by private yacht, sailboat or one of a few cruise ships. A sibling of the better-known Christmas Island, Fanning is extremely remote with no power grid or indoor plumbing. And that means it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for cruisers to visit this untouched atoll in the central Pacific Ocean and its 2,500 residents.

About Fanning Island


Pro

Cruise vessels that hug the coral reef's edge provides great snorkeling and beach activities

Con

It is a tendered port, with no established restaurants or bars

Bottom Line

Experience a remote, tropical island with open-air community markets and beach barbecues


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Where You're Docked

Passengers board high-speed ferries to English Harbour. You'll disembark onto a wooden pier jutting into the clear, tourquoise water of a palm-fringed lagoon. Yes, it's picture-perfect, reminiscent of a Robinson Crusoe tale or a "Gilligan's Island" episode.

Port Facilities

Near the pier at English Harbour, you'll find a beach compound with lounge chairs, entertainment, a local open-air market, volleyball courts and more.

Good to Know

As you should in any new place, be aware of your surroundings, and don't carry unnecessary valuables. Leave fancy jewelry and excessive amounts of cash in your stateroom's safe.

Getting Around

There are a few ways to get around Fanning Island: on foot, by bike or on the backs of open-air thatched-roof trucks. It's easy to walk from the center of activity into the heart of the island; some locals also offer bike rentals and organized walking tours. Walks and bike rides can be taken on a hard-packed dirt road that has some ruts and potholes.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Currency is the Australian dollar, but American dollars are also accepted. As there is no power grid on Fanning Island, there are no ATM's; be sure to get cash onboard or in another port of call before arriving.

Language

English is the most commonly spoken language on Fanning Island.

Food and Drink

Your best bet is to have lunch onboard your ship. While adventurous eaters might want to seek out local delicacies, islanders warned that Westerners would almost certainly fall victim to -- let's put this delicately -- traveler's discomfort. The coconut milk is some of the best in the world, but drinking too much of it can also loosen things up.

Shopping

Real grass skirts, shell necklaces, palm-frond baskets and shark-tooth knives, which are actually made on the island and not in Korea or China, make great souvenirs.

Best Cocktail

Try a Kiri-Coco, a concoction of pineapple juice, coconut cream and Myer's rum served in a coconut shell.