The Pacific Jewel made history last week, when it became the first cruise ship to visit Papua New Guinea's Conflict Islands. Although the name makes them sound controversial, these beautiful and uninhabited islands were named for a ship called the HMS Conflict and are in fact pristine and untouched, an unforgettable destination. It is the cruise line's eighth port in Papua New Guinea.
Beauty and biodiversity
The island group is made up of 21 picturesque atolls surrounding a spectacular lagoon. They are known for their amazing biodiversity, harbouring a third of the world's species of marine fish. The island chain's coral reefs are also extensive and stunning. It is a very popular place for diving, and all visitors to the islands should make an effort to get in the water with scuba gear or snorkel and mask and see the sights for themselves.
The main island Panasesa houses a small resort - otherwise the atolls are untouched and pristine. Activities on offer include kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, glass bottomed boat cruises and outrigger canoe tours. Of course, cruise guests can also relax and just enjoy the gorgeous surroundings and the fact that they are among a select few in the world to experience them.
Ships will dock offshore and bring passengers ashore via tender.
P&O Australia widening its horizons
Australia's favourite cruise line has added numerous new destinations to its itineraries. From fun new domestic ports like Moreton Island, Fraser Island, Eden, Mornington Peninsula and Kangaroo Island to exotic spots such as Dili in Timor Leste (where the Pacific Jewel made another inaugural visit in June 2015), P&O's repertoire is getting bigger and bigger.
The Conflict Islands makes a great addition to the roster of destinations, expanding the line's offering in southeast Asia. P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said of the new port: "Even though they are close to Australia, many of Papua New Guinea's picturesque islands are rarely visited because they are difficult to access. Cruising really is the easiest way to see this stunning corner of the world so we're thrilled to add the beautiful Conflict Islands to our great list of destinations."