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Where no one has gone before: Luxury expedition cruising set to sail in Fiji

Expedition cruising is coming to Fiji - and it’s going to be a locally run venture. At the Fiji Tourism Expo (FTE), Captain Cook Cruises Fiji (CCCF) announced it would be upgrading its current Reef Endeavour ship to the MS Caledonian Sky, a move it says brings luxury expedition cruising to the country for the very first time.

Expedition cruising is coming to Fiji – and it’s going to be a locally run venture. At the Fiji Tourism Expo (FTE), Captain Cook Cruises Fiji (CCCF) announced it would be upgrading its current Reef Endeavour ship to the MS Caledonian Sky, a move it says brings luxury expedition cruising to the country for the very first time.

In an interview with Karryon at FTE in Fiji, CCCF CEO Allison Haworth West says the ship would provide “an elevated level of experience” with a brand travellers already love.

“They love the authenticity. They love the richness of the culture that comes through not just in the places that we visit, but in the crew onboard … they become part of the ‘Vuvale’, the Captain Cook family,” she says.

“So you take that authenticity and put it in a luxurious environment.”

According to West, the 57-suite vessel was refurbished in 2018, so the soft furnishings are fresh. The rooms are large, many have private balconies and some even have baths.

Additionally, Captain Cook Cruises Fiji will up service levels by increasing the number of marine biologists and cultural experts on board the ship. There will also be more zodiacs – 10 in total.

“So we’ll be moving people in a different way – smaller movements that are more frequent, more intimate.”

Literally untouched

But West is perhaps most proud of the itineraries, some of which will include “locations that have never been visited” – like on the weeklong ‘Best of the South’ and ‘Best of the North’ trips in Lau Province, where it will operate three itineraries.

West expects Australians to initially book the new product, but predicts the vessel to ultimately be very popular among North American and European travellers.

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a ship caledonian sky sun deck supplied high res cmyk

“Our target market is basically the same, but the price point has lifted. So our passenger is someone who wants to go and have an interesting, adventurous experience. Do activities, snorkel, dive, kayak and learn from a marine biologist. So they’re an active, engaged traveller,” she says.

“What we find is we attract that type of mentality. And they might be younger, they might be older. They might be a family, they might be a multi-gen, they might be a diver, they might be a retired couple.” 

“But they all share a common bond in going to interesting places and having an authentic experience, seeing and doing beautiful things. 

“We’re not targeting people who want to go and sit and be inactive on a cruise ship.” 

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Amos Kayak 1

While sales for MS Caledonian Sky have not yet opened, anticipation for its arrival is building, with everyone from Tourism Fiji up to the Deputy PM already singing its praises at FTE. 

“So watch this space!” West concluded.

Karryon attended FTE in Fiji. 

Get the lowdown on the event and find out why the country is so optimistic about the future of travel to the nation.

Fiji Airways is also planning to fly to more cities in Australia and up current capacity.