Remember that family holiday you went on when the kids spent the entire week in the pool? Like every day in the_same_pool? Well, a Captain Cook Cruise around Fiji’s remote Lau Islands on board the MV Reef Endeavour is a bit like that, only the pool is a whole lot bigger and every morning this floating resort is in another part of Paradise.
But seriously, a week at sea on a small boat with kids? Is there enough to keep them occupied? You’d be surprised. Here are just 10 of the activities that’ll definitely have them entertained every single day.
1.. Go snorkelling. Every day, twice a day – there’s an opportunity to go snorkelling a different reef. The reefs are all spectacular and every time you stick your head in the water you’ll see a fish you’ve never seen before. It helps kids develop a healthy curiosity into the natural world.
2. Try SCUBA. Some kids are ready for that extra challenge and SCUBA diving delivers. In Fiji kids can try scuba diving from the age of 10 upwards. As well as being a fantastic experience in itself - swimming underwater along the edge of a coral reef - it develops a new competence which gives all kids a boost of self-confidence.
3. Visit a village school. Kids are naturally interested in what other kids are up to and a visit to a local school in a remote Pacific island offers a great insight into what can be achieved by a single teacher, a blackboard, some books and a room full of kids all of different ages. It’ll make them appreciate all the facilities of their own school all the more.
4. Try giving. That’s right – giving. Take some of your kids’ stuff with you - things they no longer wear, or don’t use, or simply don’t need and give them to these remote village kids who do need them. They’ll be grateful for any clothes, school supplies, books (which help them learn English), toys and sports equipment - like footballs or a cricket set. You’ll be surprised how good it feels just to give, and you’ll make friends for life with the village kids.
5. Play with the locals. It doesn’t take much for kids to bond: some disco music, a football or just chasing and splashing around on the beach. If you live on a remote island where it can be weeks between visits, having someone new to play with once in a while is really quite special.
6. What’s SUP? Every day there’s at least one visit to a remote beach where the kids can knock themselves out, only literally of course, with SUPS and kayaks and generally splashing around in the warm, clear waters of that large tranquil pool called the Pacific Ocean.
7. Enjoy the Lovo and Meke. Every kid enjoys a good cookout and alfresco dinner. The Fijian lovo feast includes plenty of variety of meats and fish (and local veggies - though these seem to be often overlooked by the kids), cooked in the traditional covered pit. Served as a buffet and followed by performances of the local warriors and Pacific maidens the Lovo and Meke evening is always a highlight that is fondly remembered.
8. 8. Crab racing: combine the lonesome, but prolific Fijian hermit crab and the Aussie love of competitive sport and you come up with crab racing - even more fun after a couple of bowls of kava. Like Gru’s Minions, these crazy crabs seem to have a mind of their own and often hurtle towards the finish line only to stop dead just two inches short for no reason at all. You can repeat the race any number of times over with completely random results. (And rest assured that no crabs are harmed in the making of this entertainment and all get safely returned back to one beach or another).
9. Somersaults. Though there is a pool on board, the pool that’s overboard is much more fun. When the ship is anchored at a lagoon and the Fijian sun is high overhead the ‘pool’ is declared ‘open’ by the captain. Kids of all ages - some in their 70s - can’t resist the pull of that deep blue water and sometimes there are more people off the ship than on it - including the staff. And it’s usually the youngest that have the most creative method of exiting the ship.
10. Saying farewell. Though the final farewell is often a tearful event the following morning, the Gala Dinner on the last evening provides the final opportunity for one big last group hug. There’s dinner and dancing, performances by staff and guests together - little Aussie warriors joining the big Fijian warriors for a final Meke. By now everyone is on first name terms and the kids have all become lifelong buddies, already overly and covertly plotting and planning to persuade their parents of the merits of the next Captain Cook Cruise.
So yes. There’s so much to do you need more than one trip to fit it all in.
Getting There: There are daily flights to Nadi from all of Australia’s Eastern Seaboard capital cities, with either Fiji Air, Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin Australia. Captain Cook Cruises depart from Port Denarau.
Find out more: captaincookcruises.co.fj