Hop onboard the Tui Tai for a holiday where your feet won’t touch the ground...

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The Tui Tai has been voted the "World's Most Sexy Cruise Ship"

Hop onboard the Tui Tai for a holiday where your feet won’t touch the ground...

 

By Carol Driver

Follow me: http://twitter.com/caroldtravels

 

It’s my own fault. After a week of lazing on beaches in Fiji I had become restless and in search of adventure. Enter the Tui Tai - a luxury cruise ship which brings a whole new definition to the phrase “action-packed holiday”.

Action-packed: You can take part in as many activities as you wish onboard Tui Tai

I boarded the first-class vessel on Monday night from Natewa Bay on north island Vanua Levu. I had assured my host, Tim that I wanted to cram as much as possible into my trip, which is why he’s knocking on my door at 6am.

I drag myself out of my cabin (big enough for a double bed and also boasting an ensuite and air conditioning) for a 30-minute yoga session - only to find that during the night, we‘d moved to our next location, Rabi Island.

We are on the upper deck, surrounded by plush sunbeds where throughout the day you can soak up the rays as you cruise around, should you wish. The early start is definitely worth it. The view of the sparkling turquoise Pacific Ocean and some of the 333 islands making up the archipelago is outstanding.

With just two other guests aboard a boat that can comfortably accommodate 25, we are spoilt rotten by the friendly and helpful Fijian staff.

We have just enough time to grab a coffee before a speed boat whizzes us off to the first activity of the cruise – a dive on TTL Reef.

Snorkelling and diving around the South Pacific islands
Once under water, the visibility is superb and we spot a huge turtle, as well as hordes of colourful soft coral and sealife.

Back on the Tui Tai, we enjoy a cooked breakfast before saddling up. We’re off for a mountain bike ride around Rabi.

The island is beautiful - it’s inhabited by Micronesian people who relocated from Kiribati after World War II.

The track is challenging in places (I admit to pushing my bike up a few hills, while the more experienced among us make it look easy) but mainly it’s an easy ride. The locals are friendly and we stop to talk to children along the way.

There’s enough time for a few photo opportunities before it’s time to head back to the boat for lunch. The food onboard Tui Tai is impressive - from handmade burger and chips to chargrilled vegetables and rice - we dine from gourmet every day.

And to test the skills of the competent chef, each of the guests has a special requirement - I’m veggie, Simon just eats fish and Rantic doesn’t eat seafood - although it doesn‘t seem to phase them.

Swim out to the waterfall on Tavenui Island

After lunch, we’re given a choice. Another dive, snorkelling or chilling out. Simon and I choose to dive… and I’m glad we do.

We make the journey by speedboat to Pete’s Coral Patch. The sun is shining as we descend, meaning the rays are highlighting the vibrant coral and small sealife.

Simon and Tim are just in front of me as we fin around - I’m in awe at the creatures in this marvellous underwater world. But I turn to find them both staring at me, eyes wide, pointing behind me. I turn cautiously to see a magnificent manta ray coming towards us.

It’s about two metres wide and it’s gliding effortlessly on its wings towards us. We’re mesmerised and hold still, but it comes to a halt and swims away.

Pleased with ourselves, we make our way back to the boat to boast to Rantic - who’s spent the past hour reading his book instead of joining us on the dive.

I opt for a massage (complimentary if you book all-inclusive, as is all food and drink) before we all go ashore - dressed in sulus - for an evening of culture.

One of the rare moments my feet touch the ground

The Tavewa villagers welcome the group and perform traditional songs and dance while dressed in authentic grass skirts. The beat is catching and we’re all tapping our toes to the rhythm, before the group grab us to join in.

Before leaving each make a small donation - the performance is paid for by the owners of Tui Tai - and then it’s off to our next destination - the beach.

It’s here, on the pristine sand, we enjoy a lovo (or ‘Earth Oven’) dinner. It’s a traditional way of cooking for Fijian people - a hole is made underground and food is smoked or steamed over a smouldering heat.

Our meals are outstanding, and, as ever, there’s more than enough to go around.

Back on Tui Tai we enjoy cocktails from the bar and sit around with some of the crew who are drinking cava. It’s a tradition which has been passed down for centuries. The muddy looking water, which is made from the root of the pepper planet, is passed around in a cup and is supposed to make the drinker feel relaxed, should they consume enough.

Friendly faces: Children on one of the small Fijian islands we visit

Maybe it’s worked, because by 10pm I’m ready for bed.

The Tui Tai anchors at a new location every night, meaning you wake up to a new view of paradise each morning. Our next stop is Kioa and we have another packed day.

There’s diving, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling, yoga, surfing, massages, beach volleyball, swimming, hiking, more village visits … your itinerary is down to you, and you can opt to do as much, or as little, as you like.

If you’re looking for adventure, step aboard the Tui Tai. Your feet, literally, won’t touch the ground.

 

Getting there:

Cathay Pacific is due to launch a new route between Heathrow and Fiji via Hong Kong.

Welcome dance: Young villagers perform a traditional Fijian dance
   (www.cathypacific.com).

Tui Tai adventure cruiser. Pick up from Natewa Bay, Savusavu, for five or seven-day excursion. Five-day all-inclusive cruise from $3,193 (www.tuitai.com).

For more information, visit Tourism Fiji UK (www.fijime.com - 0800 652 2158).

For more photos and information about Tui Tai visit www.insearchofeden.org.

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The Tui Tai has been voted the "W…
Action-packed: You can take part i…
Action-packed: You can take part …
Snorkelling and diving around the …
Snorkelling and diving around the…
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Swim out to the waterfall on Tave…
One of the rare moments my feet to…
One of the rare moments my feet t…
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Friendly faces: Children on one o…
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Welcome dance: Young villagers pe…
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The look: We wear sulus when goin…
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