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Sarah on Sep 25, 2015

Find out more about this unique cruise line

Captain Cook Cruises Australia and Fiji, two separately owned sister companies, offer Australian cruisers something a little out of the box. With their two very unique products, the companies create amazing holidays for all who board their ships, and provides cruise lovers with an alternative to the mainstream large-ship itineraries.

The specialties for these two lines are Australia river cruises and voyages of discovery around Fiji's island chains - primarily the Yasawa Islands. Here's what you might like to know about either Captain Cook line, their vessels and the amazing places they can take you, but first: the highlights at a glance.

Why choose Captain Cook Fiji?
  • Lots of activities included! The focus of these cruises is the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Fijian islands, and shore excursions are all a part of the experience and rolled into the cruise fare.
  • The ship has its own glass-bottomed boat, so even those who like to stay dry can see the wonders beneath the waves.
  • Fresh tropical fruit. Need we say more?
  • The small ship and friendly crew make for a laidback and intimate cruising experience that almost anyone will love.

Why choose Captain Cook Australia?
  • Amazing history! From important Aboriginal sites to colonial buildings, these cruises tell the story of the Murray River and its users. The paddle steamer is also a wonderful, traditional way to travel.
  • Shore excursions are included in the fare and offer an in-depth look at the river, the wildlife and the settlements of the region.
  • Wine lovers will enjoy the 7-night itineraries with wine tastings and a Barossa Valley tour.
  • Recommended for more mature cruisers - the atmosphere is low-key and relaxing.

Fiji Cruises from Nadi

Captain Cook Fiji offers cruises to Fiji on their boutique cruise ship the Reef Endeavour. Departing from Port Denarau near Nadi on Fiji's biggest island, Viti Levu, they are a dream holiday of island hopping and pack in an endless stream of picture-perfect tropical locations.

Captain Cook Fiji cruise

The vessel, accommodation and food
MV Reef Endeavour is a small ship carrying up to 130 passengers. This allows for an intimate private yacht feel, personalised service and a friendly atmosphere. 73 metres long, 14 metres wide and drawing 3.6 metres, she can travel at up to 13 knots.

63 cabins and staterooms onboard range from rooms with a porthole opening onto an inside passageway to spacious suites opening onto the outside deck, with options in between the two meaning there is something for everyone. All have private ensuites, air conditioning, toiletries, towels and bedding and daily servicing.

The ship's facilities include a swimming pool, a sun deck, two bars, a laundry, a spa, sauna and gym, a chart house, two lounges and a single-sitting dining saloon. The ship even has its own satellite vessels including a glass-bottomed boat to uncover the mysteries of the depths!

Food served on the Reef Endeavour makes the most of delicious fresh tropical fruit and vegetables available in Fiji, and includes set menus, buffets and alfresco barbecues on occasion. Drinks are available for purchase at the ship's bars and there are tea and coffee stations, pre-dinner canapes and self-serve afternoon teas.

Reef Endeavour

The beaches of Fiji's stunning islands are the main attraction and entertainment for a Captain Cook Fiji cruise, and the ship makes not only a fantastic base for explorations but a place to socialise and relax.

Before visiting each spot, the ship's purser gives orientation talks about the villages and islands being visited including etiquette tips, a very informative event. There is also live music during meals and in the evenings, dancing in the Yasawa Lounge, hermit crab racing, a crew fashion show and impromptu karaoke over the course of most itineraries.

Onshore, almost all excursions are complimentary and offer a fantastic peek into island life - village visits, dance performances, kava ceremonies, snorkelling (including equipment) and glass-bottomed boat rides. Diving with qualified guides is an additional charge.

Bits and pieces
The ship has free WiFi in the Tabua Suites, Yasawa Lounge, Pool Deck and Sun Deck. A self-service laundry is coin-operated.

The spa offers massages, facials and treatments for very reasonable prices, and bookings are essential. The pool can be found on C Deck and the small gym has two hot tubs. Near the purser's office is a small boutique selling tropical clothing, cosmetics and lotions, postcards, stamps, some personal necessities and souvenirs.

The cruises depart from the marina at Port Denarau, a ten-kilometre drive from Nadi. There are free transfers from the ship to hotels in Denarau and Nadi.

The destinations
Captain Cook Fiji cruises offer 3, 4 and 7 night itineraries in the Yasawa Islands, along with a few 7-night cultural discovery cruises to ports on Vanua Levu, the country's second biggest isle. Here is a selection of things you might see during your cruise:
  • A huge range of isles in the Yasawa chain: Waya, Naviti, Viwa and many more. Think coral reefs, white sand beaches and friendly villages everywhere you go.
  • The church at Waiyevo where passengers can join a choral service.
  • Levuka, the first European settlement in Fiji, now a quiet historic town.
  • Hot water springs at Savusavu.
  • The Great Sea Reef, the world's third-longest barrier reef.
  • Labasa, the largest town on Vanua Levu where you can experience the wonderful local markets.
  • Kioa Islands, purchased and populated by displaced people from Tuvalu due to rising sea levels and offering a unique cultural experience.

Scenic river cruises on the Murray

Australia's mighty Murray River is the third longest navigable river in the world, spans three states, provides water for more than 1.5 million households, and in the 19th century was one of Australia's most important highways. It's also a great holiday destination with Captain Cook Cruises!

Murray River cruise

The vessel, accommodation and food
Captain Cook operates the Murray Princess, a true inland paddlewheeler to take you back to the glory days of river travel. Although most of the cruise highlights are to be found along the riverbanks, the ship has plenty to keep her passengers comfortable, entertained, fed and watered. Along with 60 cabins and staterooms, she has a sundeck, a spa, sauna and gym, a library, a dining saloon, a bar and two lounges taking up her five decks, 67-metre length and 15-metre beam.

All accommodations on the Murray Princess have at least a porthole for natural light and views, and all have an ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning for that harsh Aussie heat, toiletries and towels and daily servicing. The dining room serves delicious three-course set menu or carvery dinners, two-course or buffet lunches and buffet breakfasts.

The Murray Princess is not intended to be a destination in itself like some big ships are. The majority of shore tours and excursions are included in the cruise fare, and these serve as entertainment, activity and enrichment most days, with the ship often visiting two or more moorings in a day. Nature walks, wildlife spotting, historic tours, scenic cruises in the ship's speedboat and cultural encounters are usually on the agenda, a fantastic way to really get to know Australia's rural heartland in-depth.

The ship, however, is not completely devoid of distractions. Bingo and trivia are an occasional treat, there is live music and sometimes dancing in the evenings, and and the open-door policy of the wheelhouse means you can chat to the captain whenever he's free.

Bits and pieces
Free WiFi is available in the library and also at the bar, with a daily access code which passengers can get at the souvenir shop. Huge glass windows in the two-level lounge on both the Randell Deck and Cadell Deck offer views of the impressive paddle wheel. The Sturt Bar is found at the front of the dining room and is where most people gather pre- and post-dinner, selling drinks and specialty coffees.

The ship has a guest laundry with two washers and two dryers available for use free of charge with reservations. The ship has a sun deck occupying 60% of the roof, with a shade awning and plenty of outdoor furniture, and a small spa pool, sauna and gym on the lower Chaffey Deck. There are designated smoking areas on Randell Deck forward and Sturt Deck both forward and aft.

The cruise line offers free transfers for passengers from Adelaide, or free carparking near the departure dock.

The destinations
Captain Cook Cruises offer three, four and seven night cruises on the Murray River. They stop at a range of destinations -  some overnight, some for a quick visit and some for an in-depth exploration or tour. These are the places you could see on a Captain Cook cruise, depending on your itinerary:
  • Mannum, historic centre of trade and transport on the Murray, is the ship's homeport. It is just over an hour from Adelaide. 7-day cruises also offer a fabulous coach tour to the Barossa Valley from Mannum.
  • Mundurra, an overnight mooring spot, is great for viewing nocturnal wildlife.
  • Edward's Crossing was home to the first bridge to span the Murray.
  • Scenic river cruising happens in the upper river, where you will pass spectacular gorges and cliffs.
  • River View Lodge is the starting point for a backwater wildlife tour in smaller vessels where passengers can see incredible birdlife.
  • Blanchetown was one of the first river settlements in South Australia. There is a lot of history to be seen there, along with Burke Salter's vineyard.
  • Swan Reach is another town with a long history, home to a great heritage hotel and museum.
  • At Sunnydale, passengers take part in the Woolshed Show and enjoy a Great Aussie Barbecue in the bush by the river.
  • The Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve is one of Australia's most significant archaeological sites, and a wonderful place for a guided walk.

Barossa Valley

Do Australian river journeys or Fijian island-hopping adventures sound like your kind of holiday? Take a look at our Captain Cook Cruises and Captain Cook Fiji Cruises to find the right itinerary for you. 

I have enjoyed visiting as much of the world as possible over the years. Europe and the Mediterranean are personal favourites, but there is so much to see very close to our little Australasian corner of the globe- one of my top travel experiences was snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles in New Caledonia! Cruising is a fantastic way to see it all, and we hope to make booking a cruise easier for both first-timers and old salts. From ship tips to destination news and views, we will keep you up-to-date. Happy cruising!

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