Tips for South Pacific Cruising
If you’ve already got a South Pacific cruise booking or considering cruising the islands in the future, Natasha Osman, senior consultant at Clean Cruising, has provided some useful tips for you so you’re well versed before you set sail and know what to expect in port.
Doing your own thing and walking, hiring local drivers, or taking the local bus is easy when arriving into ports. In Noumea, a hop-on, hop-off bus can be arranged for about $15. As you come out of the terminal, there are booths and operators set up to help. Noting that most shops are closed on a Sunday in Noumea so shopping might not be on the agenda.
When dealing with locals, ensure you agree on the price beforehand, know what time the ship departs and have roughly the correct amount (no large notes) as sometimes they may not have change. Currency can be changed on the ship beforehand or at local banks, but make sure you have your passport or you could find that it’s an issue.
In Vanuatu, though, the currency in Port Vila is VATU (about VUV800 to $10), Australian dollars are widely accepted, but be prepared for your change to be provided in the local currency.
Vanuatu shopping is a little more mainstream than the other islands. The duty-free stores might not look the best but they have great goods and, according to Natasha, the shops will deliver your purchases to the ship. However, Natasha also recommends checking prices on the ship first as they can be reasonable and may even price match, which will save you the shopping hassle.
In addition to the duty-free stores there are local stores and a market at the terminal selling shirts, dresses and souvenirs.
Australian dollars are accepted in Noumea and Port Vila’s bars and restaurants, but again, change will more than likely be in the local currency, and the venues won’t be open on Sundays. Not all places will take cards, so have cash too.
The other islands are a little more limited to vendors selling ice-creams, drinks and snacks.