Sunday, April 6, 2008

Coral Princess Cruises: Melanesia Special

Coral Princess Cruises is offering free international flights and two nights free luxury accommodation in conjunction with a 14-night voyage, venturing to the pristine tropical islands, coral reefs, rainforests and beaches of Melanesia that few visitors ever see.

The 14-night expedition-style voyage aboard the luxurious small ship Oceanic Discoverer departs on October 27, 2008 and threads its way along the necklace of islands and nations between Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The sparkling collection of islands making up Melanesia still retains the romance and adventure of the fabled South Pacific. Following in the exploratory footsteps of history’s greatest adventurers, the voyage visits remote tribal villages of New Guinea and historic WWII sites of the Solomons, including Kennedy Island (where John F Kennedy swam ashore from a sinking patrol boat in WWII) and Alite Harbour (?) where shells are still used as currency.

Santa Ana is one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific, with a pellucid lagoon and pristine rainforest, where Oceanic Discoverer’s naturalist guides lead walks to spot exotic orchids, tropical plants and rare birds. Vanuatu’s highlights include sailing into the volcanic caldera of Ureparapara, where cruise ships rarely venture, and strolling along the exquisite Champagne Beach on Espiritu Santo.

Ambryn Island, with its towering active volcanos, is known as Black Island for its volcanic sands and ‘black magic’. It also has some of the best artefacts and carvings in Melanesia and, by special invitation from the local people, passengers will have the rare opportunity to witness a Rom Spirit dance. The penultimate stop is Tanna Island, where it’s possible to stand on the crater rim of an active volcano. The cruise ends in Port Vila.

Throughout the voyage, Oceanic Discoverer’s purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer, glass bottom coral viewer and fleet of inflatable Zodiacs allow passengers to intimately explore the reefs and remote islands. Excursions are guided by naturalists and experts who interpret the natural, cultural and historical highlights of the region.

Oceanic Discoverer is designed to provide all the comfort and facilities of larger cruise ships, yet is small enough to access remote and pristine sites inaccessible to other ships.

Coral Princess is offering free return flights from selected Australian cities (excluding taxes) and two free nights at Vanuatu’s five-star Le Lagon Resort in conjunction with the 14-night cruise. Prices start at $10,500 per person, twin share in a xxx cabin, and include all excursions and meals on board.

For further information and reservations contact 1800 079 545 or visit

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