Heralding a long-awaited return to dedicated Solomon Islands small ship cruise programmes, the newly-formed Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises (SIDC) has announced its plans to operate six adventure itineraries in 2018-2019.
Operating ex-Honiara and timed to dovetail with Solomon Airlines’ Brisbane-Honiara services, SIDC has employed the 30-metre MV Taka to operate the six and seven-day cruises, each of which have been designed to highlight two of the South Pacific’s unspoiled and culturally-rich regions – the Florida and Russell Islands archipelagos.
The cruise itineraries feature visits to remote villages along with opportunity to discover the region’s coral pastures and abundant marine life with daily dive and snorkel options, giving passengers will have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in both region’s distinctive cultures and environments.
Both areas are also rich in WWII history giving passengers insight into the infamous Guadalcanal campaign in 1942 via the many wrecked US and Japanese aircraft, warships and relics which literally litter the seabed.
Congratulating SIDC on its initiative, Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the very nature of the Solomon Islands archipelago of 992 islands lent itself to dedicated small ship adventure itineraries.
He said: “Lindblad Expeditions left a big hole when it decided to redeploy its small ship operation to the Galapagos two years ago. And while we regularly welcome Expedition Cruises’ vessels, these itineraries are always in conjunction with other destinations, such as Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, and passengers only get a very small taste of what we have to offer”.
“A dedicated niche adventure cruise program”
“Having a dedicated niche adventure cruise program, operated by a local company with local experts and one that offers insight into our unique culture, history and environment plus the opportunity to experience our amazing underwater world is a huge build on our existing tourism product.
“Add to this, the amazing benefits our local people will accrue from this environmentally-oriented program are immeasurable. This product is long overdue and one that I see as being highly successful going forward.”
Prices for an inaugural 24 August seven-day/six-night cruises lead in at AUD2499* per person (USD1835) in a quad share accommodation inclusive of all meals and all activities. A daily per person AUD30.00 ‘kastom’ fee applies (approx. USD22). SCUBA diving gear is available to rent.