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Local of Melanesia wears a traditional headdress.

Secrets of Melanesia

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Spirit of Enderby
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Sail into a world that few have ever experienced: idyllic islands and isolated villages where unique time-honored traditions and elaborately costumed dancers welcome you into their world. Sail from Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, to discover the beauty of the outer Solomon Islands. Relax on this 12-day voyage as your ship glides into secluded bays, and takes you to remote oceanic islands where the art of traditional navigation lives today. This journey offers some of the greatest underwater experiences in the world, with an abundance of marine life and coral gardens that draw you in to explore a magical underwater world. For birders this itinerary offers once in a lifetime species on remote islands where few have been before. 
Wandering through the swampy forests of Melanesia.Houses line the coast of the Melanesia islands.Taking a zodiac into the village.Coral reefs in the area of Melanesia.Local of Melanesia wears a traditional headdress.
  • Sail into a world that few have ever experienced, the Solomon Islands
  • Snorkel among an abundance of marine life and coral gardens
  • Enjoy exceptional birding and endemic species such as the Solomon sea eagle
  • Discover a kaleidoscope of cultures and unique time-honored traditions
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Solomon Islands
  • Ambrym Island
  • Duff Islands
  • Honiara
  • Luganville, Espiritu Santo
  • Makira
  • Malaita
  • Melanesia
  • Nendo Island
  • Oceania
  • Port Vila, Efate
  • San Jorge Island
  • Santa Isabel Island
  • Vanikolo
  • Vanua Lava
  • Vanuatu
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Honiara, Solomon Islands

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in the port town of Honiara and transfer to the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel for the first night. This evening meet with your fellow travelers and the expedition team over dinner at the resort.

Day 2: Embark in Honiara

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enjoy a tour of Honiara, visiting historical sites including the iconic Japanese and American war memorials. Birdwatchers head to Mt Austen in search of some of the Solomon Islands’ most spectacular birds including the Solomon sea eagle. Board the Spirit of Enderby this afternoon.

Day 3: San Jorge Island | Santa Isabel

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the largest and highest islands in the Solomon Islands, most of Isabel remains unexplored and undiscovered. Head for the remote southern shores around Thousand Ships Harbor, which is nestled between San Jorge Island and the high peaks of southern Santa Isabel. Beautiful uninhabited islands dot the waters and verdant forest covers slopes which surround the harbor as you are treated to a warm welcome and have the opportunity to explore the forest and coral reefs.

Day 4: Malaita

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Mountainous Malaita is home to one-third of the Solomon’s total population, with pristine rivers and unexploited tropical forests. Enter the seldom-visited Kwai Harbour, where the local people choose to live on small artificial islands off the coastline. You are treated to a rapturous welcome on tiny Ngongosila Island where the houses stand shoulder to shoulder. In this one small area several tribal groups overlap and these differences are readily apparent in dance and language. This afternoon the beautiful uninhabited Leli Island is the ideal snorkel site.

Day 5: Makira

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Makira is the most easterly of the main islands in the Solomon's archipelago. Nearby to the east lies Santa Ana, a small raised coral atoll. Sea caves on the island are believed to be the site of first habitation in the Solomons, dating back to 1280 BC. This morning anchor in the calm waters of Star Harbour. Join the naturalists for a Zodiac exploration of the abundant mangrove forests that line the shores and take a short walk to Makira’s south coast where the villagers live much as they have for millennia. Spend time with the locals, who share with you their traditional song and dance. If you are lucky the local boys might be surfing on their hand-arved palm wood boards.

Day 6: Nendo, Temotu Province

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nendö is the largest of the Santa Cruz Islands, which lie to the southeast of the Solomon Islands. The Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira unsuccessfully tried to establish a colony there in 1595. Biologically these islands share more in common with Vanuatu. This is the home of red feather money, sourced from the scarlet honeyeater. Venturing inland visit a village where the ancient traditions are still very much alive. Watch the manufacture of red feather money and join the locals in dances which reverberate through the ages.

Day 7: Duff Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Duff Islands are a cluster of 11 small islands on the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. Navigate the Zodiacs through the shallow passages in the reef to visit the only inhabited island, Taumako. Here you are welcomed by the Polynesian-speaking local people, who live on hand-crafted artificial islands of coral stone within the lagoon. These islands are exceptionally remote and the people largely cut off from the outside world; learn about their continued use of traditional sailing canoes.

Day 8: Vanikolo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore the archipelago of Vanikolo, with its five islands encapsulated by a dramatic barrier reef which offers superb diving and snorkeling. French explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse was stranded here after both his vessels, La Boussole and Astrolabe, struck this reef in 1788. On the shore visit a monument to Le Perouse, erected by fellow explorer Dumont Durville in 1827. Join the naturalists on a forest walk in search of the endemic white-eye and monarch or marvel at the delicate Vanikoro orchid. You also have a good chance to see the recently rediscovered Vanikoro flying fox.

Day 9: Vanua Lava, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning arrive in Vanuatu at the northern outpost of Vanua Lava, the largest island in the Banks Islands which is crowned by the volcanically active Mt Séré’ama. Visit the administrative center of Sola or for a more active option, climb through the waterfalls behind the town for some excellent views over the bay. This afternoon explore the nearby offshore islands for snorkeling and beach combing. The surrounding waters are home to the recently discovered Vanuatu petrel.

Day 10: Espiritu Santo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a full day ashore on Vanuatu’s largest Island, Santo, location of James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Early morning sees the birders ashore in search of many of Vanuatu’s endemic birds. Take the opportunity to swim in the beautiful waters of Champagne Beach. This afternoon use the Zodiacs to visit the iconic blue holes of Santo. For those with an interest in the history of this island there is a visit to Lugainville and Million Dollar Point.

Day 11: Ambryn

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Spirit of Enderby makes an inaugural visit to Ambryn, renowned as the island of volcanoes and magic throughout Vanuatu. Plan to head ashore at Ranon on the northern coast where the traditional Rom dance is still practiced and custom carving is alive and well. A short walk through the forest brings you to the ‘arena’ where masked dancers emerge from the forest. The forests of Ambryn offer some excellent walks to go in search of the local birds and plants, accompanied by your naturalists. This afternoon enjoy a final snorkel excursion.

Day 12: Disembark in Port Vila, Vanuatu

  • 1 Breakfast
Arrive into Port Vila early morning and disembark. Upon disembarking a transfer to your central hotel or the airport concludes your voyage.


Spirit of Enderby

Spirit of Enderby
Top deck of the Spirit of Enderby.
Bar Library-Spirit of Enderby

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple-Spirit of Enderby
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Main Deck Triple
One cabin located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, one upper bunk bed, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Main Deck-Spirit of Enderby
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Main deck
Thirteen cabins located on the Main Deck, with two lower bunk beds, outside porthole, wash basin, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and shared bathrooms on same deck.
Superior Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Four cabins located on the Middle Deck,with one lower and one upper bunk, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Superior Plus Cabin-Spirit of Enderby
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Superior Plus
Eight cabins located on the Upper and Middle Decks,with two lower bunk beds, side-facing windows, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space. and private bath facilities.
Mini Suite- Spirit of Enderby
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Mini Suite
Two cabins located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single bed, desk and chair, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.
Heritage-Spirit of Enderby
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Heritage Suite
One cabin located on the Upper Deck, with one double bed in separate room, forward- and side-facing windows, separate lounge area with a single pull-out bed, desk and table area, wardrobe with hanging space, and private bath facilities.


Circumstances may be encountered during your voyage which make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. These circumstances include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed during the voyage.

Please note: On this voyage a unique kayaking experience is offered. There is no better way to fit in with the locals, often paddling in their own dugouts, and to experience the stunning coral reefs. These self-propelled craft allow you to enjoy short excursions up small rivers or creeks into tropical jungle, rainforest or mangroves, sometimes beyond the reach of your Zodiacs.

This trip includes:
- Pre/Post cruise transfers
- One night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (incl. dinner/breakfast)
- All on board ship accommodation with meals
- All shore excursions and activities, excluding optional specialized birding and kayaking program
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists

This trip does not include:
- Government landing fees
- All items of a personal nature: laundry, drinks, gratuities
- International/domestic flights
- Visas
- Extensions
- Travel insurance
  • 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Pre- & Post- Cruise Transfers
  • Complimentary boot rental is available. However, due to the limited supply of boots available aboard the ship, it is recommended that you bring your own rubber boots for best fit and availability. Youth size boots are not available.
  • House beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Required Visas if applicable
  • Discovery Fund / Government Landing Fees 
  • Optional Birding: $450 per person 
  • Optional Kayaking: $915 per person



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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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