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Me, The Sea and Fiji
There’s no denying that many of Fiji’s joys lie off the mainland. Madeline Hoskin scours the seas for this island nation’s best experiences afloat.

A country that touts a reputation as the world’s soft-coral capital is surely one worth exploring beyond the comforts of your resort. There are myriad options for taking to Fiji’s seas; whether you’re after a cheap and cheerful daytrip, a more decadent multi-night encounter, a cultural immersion, or something else entirely. Here are some ideas for getting you and your kids deck side, lapping up all the sun, sights and watery delights.

Blue Lagoon Cruises
www.bluelagooncruises.com

Even with its recent focus on boutique, high-end cruises for adults, Blue Lagoon has had continued demand for kid-friendly charters... and have kindly obliged. During school holidays, special Explorer (three nights), Wanderer (four nights) and Escape to Paradise (seven nights) ‘Family Cruise’ departures let young ones come along for the fun. Each day there’s a maximum of just four hours’ cruising, which means there is more time for activities! All are optional, and the range is plentiful. One moment the friendly crew will be scouting out the best coral reef to snorkel and dive at, the next you’ll be paddling kayaks, playing volleyball on the beach, weaving baskets, husking coconuts, feeding fish, learning the ropes of Fijian cooking, visiting remote villages in the stunning Yasawa Islands... truly, the list goes on and on. A highlight is the private beach on Nanuya Lailai, where you can choose to be as busy (Uncovering the world below with Blue Lagoon) or not as you wish.

 

Captain Cook Cruises
www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com

This is one of Fiji's most family-friendly cruising options, offering one-day itineraries or three-, four- and seven-night voyages on board the Reef Endeavour. This long-journey vessel encompasses Family Cabins that are great value for those travelling with kids, or there's the option to book two adjoining staterooms at a drastically reduced sum for young seafarers. No matter which you choose all ages are assured a good time. Day cruises see you set sail for Tivua, which does boast diving and spa facilities for an additional fee, but chances are

you won't need them, with snorkelling tours, glass-bottom boats, snorkels, canoes, volleyball and various cultural entertainments (like a traditional kava ceremony) that'll keep you more than occupied. On overnight tours you'll enjoy the same plethora of activities, plus visits to island villages and schools, and all the joys of the onboard freshwater pool and Reef Room filled with games as well. Captain Cook Cruises Fiji child fare applies to kids five to 17 years.

Adrenaline Fiji
www.adrenalinfiji.com

This company will welcome your family into the vast and wonderful world of water sports, right among the vibrancy of popular resort hub Port Denarau. Serving up leisure cruises, jet ski rides, snorkelling, banana boating, parasailing, kayaking, jet boat village tour, fishing... the list of offerings here sure is extensive. With an innovative 'Adrenalin Kids' selection, staff here will happily help littlies as young as two get out on the waves in all manner of ways. The older your kids are, the more variety of activities will be available to them; there's even a special Junior Open Water Course that'll see 10- to 14-year-olds learn to dive. For buoyant fun at all speeds, Adrenaline Fiji is hard to beat.

Sigatoka River Safaris
www.sigatokariver.com

Up the pace while on ‘Fiji time’ with this ever-popular jet-boat experience offered on the magnificent Sigatoka River – the longest on Viti Levu. It’s based (unsurprisingly) in Sigatoka town, down amid the Coral Coast. A friendly driver will pick you up from your resort, whisking you away to where you’ll first embark on a 17km scenic cruise through the region’s verdant scenery. Reaching the official departure point, you’ll jump out, don a life jacket, and jump back into a zippy speed boat where the real adventure begins. Hearts will be pumping while minds are alive with the nation’s stories shared by your guide (who’ll be charming and chatty in classic Fijian style). Adding to the authentic experience, you’ll also be warmly welcomed into a local village, enjoying traditional foods, songs and dances before sadly waving goodbye. Indeed, it’s no wonder the company consistently receives Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor year after year.

South Sea Cruises
www.ssc.com.fj

SSC provides Island Resort Connections (aka ferry transport) from Denarau to the various resorts in the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. These transfers let you taste the sweet ocean air, but the cruise line also offers fantastic, cost-effective daytrips that will see you sunning yourself on deck and meandering through the tropical waters without feeling like you need a suitcase with you. There’s less stopping for activities like snorkelling, so it’s perfect for those who’d like to hop a boat, enjoy a tour, see the sights and relax for a while. It’s also a great way to get snippet tasters of each region’s gorgeous resorts. A full day in the Yasawa islands is around $115 or $51 for adults and children respectively, while a three-hour sampling of the Mamanucas starts at $63 ($31 for kids). For those who enjoy authentic sailing, onboard wining and dining, entertainment by crew, and water-based play, then a day out on the company’s 83-foot classic schooner Seaspray is probably your best option.

Take me on a cruise
www.carnival.com.au
www.pocruises.com.au

Like the idea of going on an island-sampling cruise, but don’t want to fly to get there? Then what about a bigger cruise stint aboard a family-friendly ocean liner? Carnival Cruises’ 12-night Pacific Islands tour lets you embark in Sydney, live it up with the ship’s activities and services (yes there’ll be pools, a spa, kids’ programmes and more), and call into many pacific ports including Fiji’s Suva and Port Denarau. P&O’s Fiji Adventure itinerary runs for 14 days, stopping at similar destinations. Its range of shore excursions are fun and unique, like a visit to natural thermal mud pools or a cultural encounter complete with conch shells and fire walking at the Pacific Harbour Fire Walk Extravaganza. These big-scale cruises are often all inclusive, letting you lap up the island delights, minus many of the logistical hassles.

Above image from Blue Lagoon

 

Discover Fiji Tours
www.discoverfijitours.com

A bona fide Fiji experience awaits your family when you set sail with Discovery, particularly on one of its Jewel of Fiji day trips that'll have you splashing, swimming and gliding along the waters of the Navua River. There are four different day itineraries to select from, comprising a mix of activities like river canoeing, village tours, waterfall visits, and leisurely rides

on bamboo rafts. To sweeten the deal, littlies under 15 are half price, and kids under five come along for free. There are also multi-day options that combine a mixture of the company's fun itineraries, topped with traditional meals and overnight stays in on-land local bures.

 

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