Our adventure started with two nights on the main Island Viti Levu where we took the opportunity to to do a day trip to the recently opened Malamala Beach Club on Malamala Island, a short 35 minutes by fast Cat from Port Denarau. What a great way to spend a day away from the tourist mecca of the Denarau hotel strip.
Malamala Beach Club primarily caters for adults and in addition to the gorgeous lagoon there is an infinity pool and a great bar and restaurant where you can dine barefoot while enjoying the lagoon views and ocean breezes. If Beach Club beats are your thing hang around the pool/bar area. If you want a more tranquil time, there is plenty of space to find your peace. Better still rent one of the Cabanas on the quiet side of the island and enjoy the Butler service with food and drinks delivered to your private haven.
Late morning on Christmas Eve we checked in for our Blue lagoon cruise at the Port Denarau Marina. As we were booking on a 4-night itinerary you are transferred by a fast cat to meet the Fiji Princess in the Yasawa Islands. There are 3, 4 and 7-night options and the vessel only returns to Port Denarau each Friday.
The transfer out was very comfortable, and we were offered complimentary drinks and canapes along the way. We boarded the Fiji Princess at anchor in a lagoon in the Scared Isles and shortly after set sail for Nanuya Island where would stay for the next two nights. The vessels stern was tied to a coconut palm tree on the beach and we were able to freely jump or dive off the back of the boat and swim into the beach, we loved that freedom. Of course, there were on demand tender transfers as well for the short distance from the boat to the beach. Blue Lagoon Cruise own part of this Island so much of the area was reserved for the private use of Blue Lagoon guests. The beach and surrounds were stunning. Kayaks, snorkeling gear and paddle boards were available for those that wanted them.
Christmas day was so relaxing with breakfast, lunch and dinner served on shore under shade. There was a full bar kiosk set up on the beach and breakfast including eggs your way and delicious Christmas cake to finish. Lunch was a BBQ and dinner a Fijian Lovo feast including Turkeys which made it feel like Christmas Island style. The Christmas desserts, prepared on board the ship, were exceptionally good with one of the best Pavlovas I have ever eaten…and I have eaten a few, plus another Christmas cake!! Any fears we held about missing out on traditional Christmas fare were allayed. The Christmas dinner was followed by a Meke, traditional Fijian entertainment from the local villagers.
The next day, Boxing Day morning we had the option of a hike across the Island which was well worthwhile including a stop at Lo’s Tea House with delicious fresh baking and for me a local lemon tea.
In the afternoon we set sail for a visit to Sawa-I-Lau Caves which are stunning. For those that wanted you could swim in the cool clear water holes and even dive underwater between one cave and another. It was pitch black but the Fiji Princess crew were there to guide you and it really was a memorable adventure.
That evening we went ashore to Tamasua Village where the village prepared and cooked a seafood dinner for the guests. We were seated cross legged on mats Fijian style and it was truly an authentic experience. The local village children helped the adults with serving and clearing. Chairs were available for those that weren’t comfortable sitting on the ground and guests were provided options if they did not want seafood. It was delicious and straight from the sea. After dinner we were again treated to some emotionally rousing Fijian entertainment and on return to the vessel there was the option to watch the classic movie “Blue Lagoon” starring Brooke Shields which was filmed in the Yasawa Islands.
On our final full day, we set sail after breakfast for Drawaqa Island. On arrival there was a informative presentation from a Marine Biologist primarily about coral reefs and the significant conservation work that is in play to protect the reefs. Options for the afternoon included hand line fishing, scuba or snorkeling trips. We chose the snorkeling trip. I have e snorkeled on reefs in most of the Pacific Islands and elsewhere and I have to say this was spectacular. The reef is in very good condition with a beautiful array of colourful live corals and reef fish. The crew has set up umbrellas and refreshments on a beach on Drawaqa Island and it was just a magic day.
Our final night was a BBQ dinner under the stars on the Sun Deck of the ship followed by last night madness with a Disco and dancing in the Lounge bar. It was great fun.
The next morning we were back in Port Denarau saying goodbye to new friends and being serenaded with the traditional Fijian farewell song Isa Lei by the delightful crew.
Happy, relaxed and tanned we headed back home to New Zealand.