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A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara)

This voyage uncovers the pristine wildlife, fascinating cultures, and remote coral atolls and beaches of the idyllic Melanesia region. The expedition will also commemorate the 75th Anniversary of WWII with time to explore the wrecks and remnants of the war in the Pacific theatre, and expert guides on hand to discuss the various battle sites, historical significance and strategies. Travelling aboard the Coral Discoverer, depart from Cairns, Australia and journey to key stops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

This 11-night expedition from Cairns to Honiara can be combined with the adjoining 11-night Honiara to Port Vila voyage for a fully immersive 22 night trip.

16 October, 2019 to 27 October, 2019 Make a booking request for A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara), departing on 16 October, 2019

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Main Deck B £ 5695 GBP pp
Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category B) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature twin portholes for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
view cabin photo
Main Deck A £ 5925 GBP pp
Located close to the Dining Room, our six spacious Main Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature large, twin porthole windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
view cabin photo
Promenade A £ 6775 GBP pp
Encircled by a full-ship promenade, our twenty spacious Promenade Deck (Category A) staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
view cabin photo
Bridge Deck Balcony £ 7905 GBP pp
Located on the exclusive Bridge Deck close to the Lounge and Bridge, our five spacious Bridge Deck Balcony staterooms are 18sqm (195 square feet) in size and feature private balconies opening out from french windows providing comfortable indoor outdoor living, along with a sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
view cabin photo
Promenade Deck B Sole £ 9315 GBP pp
Located in the bow of the ship and encircled by a full-ship promenade, our two Promenade Deck (Category B) staterooms are 15sqm (160 square feet) in size and feature picture windows for expansive ocean views, along with a desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.
view cabin photo

A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara) itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
DAY 1: CAIRNS
Board the Coral Discoverer at 8am for a 9am departure.
DAY 2: AT SEA
Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Coral Sea, and join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for presentations and briefings on Papua New Guinea ahead of our clearance at Alotau.
DAY 3: ALOTAU
Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay Province, and it is best known for the being the site of the Battle of Milne Bay, where Japanese forces suffered their first loss in WWII to Australian and American forces. Here were will explore the local villages and markets, and visit the Turnbull War Memorial Park.
DAY 4: EGUM ATOLL
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we discover remote Egum Atoll and enjoy your first opportunity for snorkelling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours over colourful reef systems. Visit a village on one of the atoll’s low islands, where the locals will share their creation legends, and stories of the Kula Ring trading, which creates lasting bonds between the clans throughout the islands.
DAY 5: LAUGHLAN (BUDIBUDI) ISLANDS - BODALUNA ISLAND
Laughlan Islanders specialise in canoe building, and in this very remote corner of Papua New Guinea we find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly villages of Bodaluna welcome us and share their way of life. We may have opportunities for swimming or snorkelling.
DAY 6: GHIZO ISLAND
This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese ship wrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo. In the afternoon, enjoy water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.
DAY 7: TETEPARE ISLAND
Today we visit Tetepare Island. This rugged island is cloaked in rainforest and fringed with coral reefs. Surrounded by mystery, the island was abandoned 150 years ago, possibly due to fear of curses, head-hunting, or sickness. The unique conservation project undertaken by the Tetepare Descendant’s Association has rejected logging and is preserving this pristine wilderness for future generations. This community based conservation organisation also runs a Leatherback Turtle conservation program – the critically endangered Leatherback nests on the black sand beaches in this area. We will learn about the conservation and archeological significance of the island. We may also be privileged to witness the huge variety of wildlife that make their home on the island – it supports nesting turtles, horn-bills, pygmy parrots, dugongs, and bottlenose and spinner dolphins. This stop may alter due to local requirements.
DAY 8: ARNAVON ISLANDS AND DART SOUND
Visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, the first protected area within the Solomons, was established in 1995 and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. You may have the opportunity to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests at Kerehikapa Island. The coral reef of the Arnavon Islands are some of the healthiest and most diverse in the world. Later we cruise up the picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia, where we are welcomed with traditional dance and singing.
DAY 9: MAROVO LAGOON
Marovo Lagoon is one of the wonders of nature. Enclosed by a double barrier reef and bound by the Vangunu and New Georgia Islands, the lagoon covers 700 square kilometres. It’s coral reef systems are world famous for exceptional diving and snorkelling sites. Some of the many islands in the lagoon are inhabited – the Marovo carvings of ebony inlaid with shell are exquisite. We may visit the villages here and snorkel and dive in the lagoon.
DAY 10: EXPEDITION STOP
Today, we have an expedition stop at an important location during the Pacific Campaign of WWI, the Russell Islands. These islands were occupied by the United States as they advanced to isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul. Pavuvu Island is now a spectacular diving destination, with a underwater dumping ground of ships and wrecked aircraft. The coral reefs are unforgettable, teeming with a variety of marine life. The clear water provides great visibility and there are many spectacular underwater caves and drop offs to explore. This stop may alter due to local requirements.
DAY 11: MANGALONGA & SAVO ISLAND
This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves. This afternoon, explore Savo Island. This was an important location during WWII, and The Battle of Savo Island was the first of five large scale land and sea actions fought to support the ground battles on Guadalcanal. Here we may visit an active volcano, ringed by hot springs, geysers and mudlakes. Enjoy a short walk through the volcanic area. There is also an extensive megapode field, where female birds incubate their eggs in the hot sand.
DAY 12: HONIARA
This morning we disembark in Honiara at 8:00am. As an optional extra, enjoy a tour of the key sites of the Guadalcanal campaign, including Edson’s Bloody Ridge, the US War memorial at Skyline Ridge, and the Japanese Peace Park Memorial at Mount Austin.
Please Note:
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara) reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.
This morning we disembark in Honiara at 8:00am. As an optional extra, enjoy a tour of the key sites of the Guadalcanal campaign, including Edson’s Bloody Ridge, the US War memorial at Skyline Ridge, and the Japanese Peace Park Memorial at Mount Austin.
This morning, we visit Mangalonga Island to snorkel and dive on the reef. Mangalonga Reef has amazing fish life and it is common to see feather stars and colourful anthias. We may also enjoy a birdwatching walk on the island – some of the often sighted birds include claret-breasted fruit doves. This afternoon, explore Savo Island. This was an important location during WWII, and The Battle of Savo Island was the first of five large scale land and sea actions fought to support the ground battles on Guadalcanal. Here we may visit an active volcano, ringed by hot springs, geysers and mudlakes. Enjoy a short walk through the volcanic area. There is also an extensive megapode field, where female birds incubate their eggs in the hot sand.
Today, we have an expedition stop at an important location during the Pacific Campaign of WWI, the Russell Islands. These islands were occupied by the United States as they advanced to isolate the Japanese base at Rabaul. Pavuvu Island is now a spectacular diving destination, with a underwater dumping ground of ships and wrecked aircraft. The coral reefs are unforgettable, teeming with a variety of marine life. The clear water provides great visibility and there are many spectacular underwater caves and drop offs to explore. This stop may alter due to local requirements.
Marovo Lagoon is one of the wonders of nature. Enclosed by a double barrier reef and bound by the Vangunu and New Georgia Islands, the lagoon covers 700 square kilometres. It’s coral reef systems are world famous for exceptional diving and snorkelling sites. Some of the many islands in the lagoon are inhabited – the Marovo carvings of ebony inlaid with shell are exquisite. We may visit the villages here and snorkel and dive in the lagoon.
Visit the marine reserve of the Arnavon Islands, home to the largest rookery of endangered Hawksbill Turtles in the South Pacific. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area, the first protected area within the Solomons, was established in 1995 and covers over 40,000 acres of land and sea. You may have the opportunity to see turtle hatchlings emerging from their nests at Kerehikapa Island. The coral reef of the Arnavon Islands are some of the healthiest and most diverse in the world. Later we cruise up the picturesque Dart Sound to the remote village of Kia, where we are welcomed with traditional dance and singing.
Today we visit Tetepare Island. This rugged island is cloaked in rainforest and fringed with coral reefs. Surrounded by mystery, the island was abandoned 150 years ago, possibly due to fear of curses, head-hunting, or sickness. The unique conservation project undertaken by the Tetepare Descendant’s Association has rejected logging and is preserving this pristine wilderness for future generations. This community based conservation organisation also runs a Leatherback Turtle conservation program – the critically endangered Leatherback nests on the black sand beaches in this area. We will learn about the conservation and archeological significance of the island. We may also be privileged to witness the huge variety of wildlife that make their home on the island – it supports nesting turtles, horn-bills, pygmy parrots, dugongs, and bottlenose and spinner dolphins. This stop may alter due to local requirements.
This morning we enter the Solomon Islands at the town of Gizo. Wander through the open air markets which showcase a bounty of tropical fruits and fresh fish, as well as crafts by the legendary wood and stone carvers of the region. You may choose to scuba dive over Japanese ship wrecks as an optional extra instead of exploring the town of Gizo. In the afternoon, enjoy water activities at Njari Reef. Njari Reef is a merge point for oceanic currents and is said to have one of the highest fish counts in the world.
Laughlan Islanders specialise in canoe building, and in this very remote corner of Papua New Guinea we find seagoing canoes under construction. The friendly villages of Bodaluna welcome us and share their way of life. We may have opportunities for swimming or snorkelling.
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as we discover remote Egum Atoll and enjoy your first opportunity for snorkelling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours over colourful reef systems. Visit a village on one of the atoll’s low islands, where the locals will share their creation legends, and stories of the Kula Ring trading, which creates lasting bonds between the clans throughout the islands.
Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay Province, and it is best known for the being the site of the Battle of Milne Bay, where Japanese forces suffered their first loss in WWII to Australian and American forces. Here were will explore the local villages and markets, and visit the Turnbull War Memorial Park.
Spend the day at leisure as we cross the Coral Sea, and join our Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for presentations and briefings on Papua New Guinea ahead of our clearance at Alotau.
Board the Coral Discoverer at 8am for a 9am departure.
* = Indicative
Map for A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara)
Coral Discoverer, the ship servicing A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara)

Coral Discoverer

Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition

Length: 63 metres

Passenger Capacity: 72 (in 36 rooms)

Built: 2005

Onboard Accommodation

Onboard accommodation comprises 36 spacious modern staterooms. You can select from Bridge, Promenade or Main Deck staterooms offering a choice of twin through to junior king-size doubles. All staterooms have an ocean view, en-suite facilities, settee, large wardrobe, desk, luggage storage, individual air-conditioning control, and are serviced daily.

Onboard Facilities

What you would expect of a much larger cruise ship:

  • Large sundeck
  • Spa Pool
  • Guest computer
  • Comprehensive reference library
  • Phone and fax facilities
  • Lecture lounge with large plasma screen
  • Limited laundry facilities
  • Two fully stocked cocktail bars
  • Boutique and dive shop
  • Air-conditioned public areas

 Coral Discoverer is equipped with the latest technology active stabilizers and is fitted with state-of-the-art safety and navigational equipment and is the only Australian passenger ship registered with full SOLAS compliance allowing opportunities to explore a multitude of international voyages.

Dining

All meals during the cruise are included. Breakfast and lunch are served in the Dining Room located on the Main Deck and are buffet-style while dinner is table d’hote. Coffee and tea is available 24 hours. Standard hours are breakfast from 7:00-8:30am, lunch at 12:30pm and dinner at 7:30pm however meal times may vary according to the day's activities. Meal times will be advised in the onboard daily bulletins.

Excursion Boats And Zodiacs

The "Xplorer" is a specially designed aluminium excursion vessel used for the majority of our excursions. This vessel has high horsepower engines and will accommodate all passengers at one time. The "Xplorer" will be used for landings and for extensive exploration of rivers and tributaries. For your added convenience and comfort, the "Xplorer" is equipped with an awning and toilet.

We also carry two inflatable landing craft (Zodiacs). Designed for expedition work, these large and heavy-duty inflatables are extremely safe. Separate air compartments retain a large reserve of buoyancy even if the boats damaged. The flat bottom design permits these crafts to land directly onto the beaches. Expect nonetheless to wade through shallow water to reach the shore. See photo below (right)

 

Cabin layout for Coral Discoverer
• Snorkel and dive over vivid coral gardens at Egum Atoll and Njari Reef

• See the rich tradition of canoe-building at Budibudi

• Explore the natural wonder of the Marovo Lagoon, and see the famous ebony carvings produced here

• Visit historic WW2 wrecks and significant battlefields

• Enjoy enriching cultural visits to remote island communities and learn about ‘kastom’ and the Kula Ring

• Spot and interact with wildlife, including Hawksbill turtles, pods of dolphins, hornbills and pygmy parrots at important conservation areas including Arnavon and Tetepare

• Get up close to an active volcano at Savo Island
Enquire now about A Passage to the Solomons (Cairns to Honiara)

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