Imagine exploring one of the least-visited regions on earth on a cruise through Micronesia and Melanesia. This extraordinary 19-day expedition visits paradise; a word that is so overused these days it has almost become absurd. Yet visitors will wonder if they have stumbled across its most accurate meaning in these subregions of Oceania. From Guam, Yap, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands to the Floridas, Vanuatu and the islands of Fuji; visit remote, idyllic islands, strewn across thousands of kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. Discover their remarkable history and culture, and explore beautiful bays, beaches, reefs, and shipwrecks in the company of an expert team. Welcome to a place where the smiles are as big as the horizons.

Highlights


• Explore a shipwreck, which lies in Roderick Bay, a hidden cove on Nggela Sule.

• Snorkel or dive in the turquoise waters and be mesmerised by the diversity of colourful life amongst the coral.

• Discover how closely linked navigation and astronomy are on Satawal, a bastion of the ancient art of Wayfinding.

• Experience the cultures that make up the beating heart of these regions on islands like Lamotrek, Santa Ana and in Yasawa’s Nabukera village.

• Become immersed in Micronesia and Melanesia’s majesty, myths and magic.

Begin your epic 19-day cruise through Micronesia and Melanesia today in Guam. It’s been 500 years since the first European, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, spotted this island in the northwest Pacific Ocean on 6 March 1521 during his first circumnavigation. Since then, Guam has changed hands several times, but nowadays it’s a ‘Territory of the United States’. Before becoming an American domain, Guam was Spanish for more than 300 years and Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, located near Umatac on the southwest coast, is a fragment of that rule, as is the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in the capital. The island’s indigenous inhabitants are the Chamorro people, who are believed to have populated Guam since around 2,000 BCE. Known for its rich Chamorro culture, the island is also renowned for its World War II historical places of interest, romantic viewpoints like the fabled Two Lovers Point, hotspots such as Tumon Bay, and of course, diving. Apra Harbor is home to several shipwrecks.
Your next port of call is Gaferut, an uninhabited atoll in Yap, which is one of the four-member states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Despite being comprised of four main islands and many others – including Gaferut – that dot the ocean for nearly 1,000 kilometres, Yap is minuscule compared to the other island groups in this part of the Pacific. Within Yap, Gaferut itself is a speck; however, its importance as a critical bird and turtle nesting site belies its physical size. Onshore, enjoy nature walks on which you’ll spot sacred coconut crabs and birdlife including frigatebirds, boobies, noddies and terns. Offshore, these waters boast a rich array of marine life, including manta rays. Dive, snorkel or swim to your heart’s content.
Remaining within the region of Yap today, you’ll visit the coral atoll of Lamotrek. It’s the only inhabited island in the vicinity, and so it follows that a stop at Lamotrek celebrates Yapese culture. There are only approximately 11,000 residents in the whole of Yap. The main islanders and outer islanders are culturally and linguistically diverse, however, among the traits that all islanders share, and included in the characteristics that unite the Yapese, are hospitality and generosity. Bask in the warmth of your welcome. As you come ashore, turmeric-tinted islanders will undoubtedly be waiting on the sand, under a canopy of coconut trees, clapping, singing and dancing, waiting to adorn you with floral garlands called leis. During your stay, you’ll learn all about the people of Lamotrek’s lives and livelihoods, as well as enjoying the lagoon, which is frequently traversed by traditional outrigger canoes.
Today your state-of-the-art ship will find its way to Satawal – the easternmost of Yap’s islands – approximately 70 kilometres east of Lamotrek. All our vessels are equipped with the latest technology, including navigational equipment. Still, for millennia ships have plied this waters without the use of any instruments such as sextants, compasses, clocks, radios, or satellites. Disney film fans amongst guests will recognise the ancient Micronesian art, science and spiritual practice, Wayfinding, from Moana – and if you know the movie, we defy you not to sing ‘We Know The Way’ today when we visit Lamotrek. The forested island is famed for producing master navigators, such as Mau Pialiug; these experts use the sun, swells and sky to cross the open ocean and pass down this tradition orally to their apprentices. Learn more about Pialiug today. In 1976, he offered to sail the Hokule’a canoe from Hawaii to Tahiti to prove that ancient seafarers could have gone all that way. At the time, he was among the last of his kind. You might enjoy discovering how the sacred cultural practice is still being preserved on Satawal, and enjoy seeing the large ocean-worthy canoes that the Satawalese people create.
When Ferdinand Magellan crossed the world’s largest body of water some 500 years ago, he dubbed it Mar Pacífico, meaning ‘peaceful sea’. Cruise the Pacific Ocean as you depart from Satawal to Tingwon in Papua New Guinea. Perhaps attend an onboard talk or simply take in the magnificent seascapes.
Explore an untrammelled paradise today that is postcard-perfect, hardly visited by tourists, and lined by a gentle coast that is made for Instagram. Located west of New Hanover, Tingwon island is the largest of the small group of Tingwon Islands, all of which share a common healthy barrier reef. At only 1.5 square kilometres, it won’t take a visitor long to explore the island, meet the islanders and learn all about life on Tingwon, leaving guests plenty of time to enjoy the beach and reef. The ocean here is calm, crystal clear and home to myriad extraordinary sea creatures.
Your destination today is the former capital of New Britain, Rabaul. Its position in Papua New Guinea’s northeastern tip is extraordinary, sited inside the flooded caldera of an enormous volcano. The town’s proximity to these volatile mountains – plus aerial bombardment during World War II – have forced Rabaul to rise from the ashes more than once. Most recently in 1994, when nearby Mount Tavurvur erupted, demolishing much of the town. Rabaul’s spirit wasn’t destroyed and thanks to its impressive harbour, buzzing markets and fascinating wartime past, it’s a genuinely interesting place to visit.
Having overnighted onboard your luxurious ship, enjoy the morning in Rabaul exploring its ever- lingering WWII history. Rabaul is home to several historical war sites including the Japanese Peace Memorial and the Rabaul 1942-45 Memorial. There’s a small museum – the so-called Yamamoto Bunker – located in what was a Japanese fortification that offers a survey of the Far Eastern country’s wartime presence. Simpson Harbour is awash with downed ships and WWII wrecks – it’s a popular diving site. And for a higher perspective of it all, there’s an observatory, which monitors the country’s two volcanic arcs and offers spectacular views of the ocean, town and surrounding volcanoes. You’ll then cruise from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, enjoy indulging in the amenities of your ship for the rest of the day.
The Solomon Islands are known as the South Pacific’s best-kept secret. As part of the Coral Triangle of the western Pacific, the Solomon Islands boast some of the most thrilling diving and snorkelling sites in the world. The water is warm, clear and full of beautiful fish and marine mammals. Proving that good things do come in small packages, Njari is a tiny island located between the Wilson Strait and Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands’ north region. An idyllic speck in the ocean, it’s almost entirely covered in trees. There’s hardly any infrastructure to speak of so the coves and bays remain unspoiled; daytrippers enjoy the seclusion, beauty, and opportunity to swim and snorkel in these beautiful waters.
Shipwrecks and secluded beaches: your trip to Micronesia and Melanesia could hardly be complete without experiencing these two things. Today you’ll arrive at rugged – one of the two Florida (or Nggela) Islands, which are known for diving, snorkelling, surfing and a laid-back atmosphere. Nggela Sule’s most compelling attraction in recent years? Roderick Bay is a hidden cove on the northwestern coast of this mangrove-swamped island. It cradles the decaying remains of the World Discoverer which ran aground here in 2000, having hit an uncharted rock or reef in the Sandfly Passage. Driven by its Instagram- friendly aesthetic, Roderick Bay has become the island’s main attraction. Now an integral part of the landscape, snorkel around the wreck to see how it has quickly become an artificial reef, attracting an abundance of colourful sea life.
As well as being known for sheer beauty, The Solomons are renowned for their authenticity. Both the people and landscapes are genuinely lovely, as you’ll discover today when you visit Santa Ana (or Owaraha or Owa Raha), which is located in the Makira-Ulawa Province. It’s a place seemingly out of time where the islanders live in a (relatively) traditional way. See some customs today and meet community members.
Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.
Espiritu Santo is Vanuatu’s largest island. Santo, as the locals call it, was named by the 17th-century Portuguese navigator Pedro de Quiros on his quest to find Australia. James A Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific while stationed on the island as a U.S. Navy lieutenant during the 1940s. The book, which was published in 1947, evolved into the well-known Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. You’ll be sure to hum the famous score as you sun yourself today on the shockingly white sand of the gloriously named Champagne beach, or as you marvel at the brilliant blue water of Paradise Lagoon, a swimming hole on the Riri River.
Consisting of some 80 relatively small, new (geologically speaking) islands of volcanic origin, Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago. These isles are spread across approximately 1,300 kilometres of ocean. Today, explore Ambrym, the fifth largest of Vanuatu’s islands. Home to Mount Marum and Mount Benbow, the isle appeals to adventure-seekers, who enjoy scaling these awe-inspiring twin volcanoes. Ambrym is also renowned for its sand drawings, which you might like to see, and it’s friendly locals. Vanuatu is known as the Isles of Smiles, and it’s no misnomer.
Today you’ll visit Tegua island, a half-moon-shaped speck of land less than four miles long and 10 miles wide. It’s one of five coral atolls in the Torres Group – you’ve travelled 650 miles north from Efate. Visitors to Tegua are few and far between; life is lived here at a slower pace and in a different way to that which you’ve seen in Guam, for example. The effects of climate change and rising sea levels can be seen on many islands in Vanuatu. Though gorgeous and tropical, the impact that climate change has had on the Tegua atoll is hard to ignore. It’s sobering to be sure, but it’s also so important to learn about and to see for yourself.
Ureparapara, sometimes casually called ‘Parapara’, is the third largest of the Banks Islands in northern Vanuatu. Those who sail into the island’s harbour never forget it – the long aquatic entry point is a semi- collapsed volcano caldera, which is surrounded by verdant headlands and filled with water that is an irresistible shade of cobalt blue. This breach in what was the volcano’s crater is now called Divers Bay, and it offers exceptional diving and snorkeling. Parapara is also famed regionally for being the site of ancient stone-and-earthworks structures located in the island’s interior called nowons and votwos, tentatively listed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
As you cruise from Vanuatu towards the western division of Fuji, enjoy a full day indulging in the amenities of your ship. You might find your inner calm practising some yoga. Listen to an informative talk. Lounge on the deck and enjoy a cocktail from the bar. Tonight after a delicious dinner in the restaurant, settle in for some light entertainment and a nightcap before heading to your comfortable cabin.
The vertiginous, volcanic islands of Yasawa extend in a north-easterly arc from Viti Levu, the main Fijian island. A chain of palm-fringed islands with perfect white sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons and picturesque villages, Yasawa is beautiful and mysterious. Little is known about the early history of the Yasawa people except that they were renowned as warriors and feared by the eastern Fijians. In 1789, Captain William Bligh of the mutiny on the Bounty fame, rowed through the Yasawas having been cast adrift in a small boat. He was chased by several war canoes, but fate intervened when a storm blew in, and the pursuing warriors abandoned their chase. The passage through which he escaped is still known as Bligh Water. This history is at odds with the peaceful and pleasant greeting you’ll receive when you visit the village of Nabukera to meet the islanders. It is customary for visitors to ask permission to enter a town by offering a tangled bundle of kava roots as sevusevu, a gesture of respect and sign of friendly intentions. In this highly ritualised Fijian society, if accepted, guests become part of the village ‘family’.
Arrive in Lautoka and disembark your ship after breakfast. If timings allow before you transfer to the airport to begin your journey home, explore Fiji’s second-largest city. Sometimes known by its other name, Sugar City, Lautoka is a sweet spot, best discovered with sand between your toes. There’s a photogenic esplanade set against the backdrop of Mount Koroyanitu; palm trees shade its wide, colourful boulevards; and you might like to visit the Sugar Mill, Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple or the town’s market.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Oceanview

$16,970 AUD pp
Oceanview
19 m2 Sleeps 2 Oceanview cabins features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.

Balcony. From

$18,666 AUD pp
Balcony. From
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room, a luxurious ensuite bathroom and your own private 6 sq.m. balcony.

Suite

$24,231 AUD pp
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2 Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.

Premium Suite

$27,717 AUD pp
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2 Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.

Minerva

Vessel Type: Expedition Ship

Length: 115 meters

Passenger Capacity: 152

Built: 2020-2021

Arriving in November 2021, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.

Introducing SH Minerva

Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.

Sophisticated Elegance

We know how important outdoor space is, so our spacious, relaxing public spaces provide wide open, unobstructed views throughout the ship. The destination will always be in view.

Your Wellbeing 

The safety & happiness of our guests is paramount to our 120-strong crew on board as well as our passionate expedition team who'll be serving up thrilling shore excursions and lasting memories.

Cabin Types

Our 76 cabins including 6 suites have all the amenities you will need to feel comfortable including dressing gowns, hairdryers, personal safes and minibars. Our stylish cabins all have desks, a dressing area and comfy seating. En suite bathrooms all feature glass-enclosed rain showers.

Cabin layout for Minerva

Inclusions


INCLUSIONS FOR ARCTIC & RUSSIA FAR EAST CRUISES
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
• Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
• Use of rubber boots for shore landings
• Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

INCLUSIONS FOR ANTARCTICA CRUISES
• Return flights: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia or Santiago to Ushuaia
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
• Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
• Use of rubber boots for shore landings
• Basic WIFI (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

INCLUSIONS FOR REST OF WORLD CRUISES
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• On shore transfer per port of call
• Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

Exclusions


• Additional activities such as kayaking, private tours, special arrangements, private Zodiac tours
• Laundry
• Premium wines and spirits
• Purchases in the ship's boutique
• Any spa treatments
• Upgraded WiFi data packages
• Visas where required
• Travel Insurance
• Flights
• Domestic transfers
• Hotel requirements (pre/post cruise) unless otherwise stated in the itinerary description
Minerva
Melanesia Small Ship CruiseSmall Ship Cruise
19 Days from
$16,970 AUD pp

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