GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Captain Cook Cruises. Captain Cook Cruises offers Yasawa Island cruises aboard its 120-passenger MV Reef Escapewith prices including accommodation, meals, snorkeling equipment, and some activities. You can opt for four-bunk cabins or staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto the outside deck. Breakfast includes a hot and cold buffet; some lunches are à la carte, some are buffet; dinners are mostly three-course à la carte menus. The "3 Night Southern Yasawa Islands" cruise and the "4 Night Northern Yasawa Islands" cruise visit beautiful white-sand beaches, a village for a traditional ceremony, and snorkeling and diving sites. A "7 Night Yasawa Islands Cruise" combines the two. Prices range US$700–US$1336 for the three-night cruise, US$952–$2107 for the four-night cruise, and US$1919–US$3416 for the combination of the two. The "7 Night Northern Fiji Dateline Tour" sets sail from Nadi and stops at an island in the Yasawas, two islands on Viti Levu's northern coast, the old capital of Levuka in the Lomaiviti Group, Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the waterfalls in Taveuni's Bouma National Heritage Park, the international dateline and a third island off Viti Levu. The itinerary includes numerous beaches and snorkeling opportunities, and optional tours. Prices range $2,775–$6,178. The company also offers three- and four-day "Sailing Safaris" through the Yasawas aboard a 108-foot schooner. Itineraries include snorkeling with manta rays, fishing, and village visits. Accommodations are rustic: on-shore in traditional bures just off the sand, each with two single beds that can be pushed together and shared bathrooms with cold-water showers. You must bring your own towels. Prices range $648–$807 for the three-day and $864–$1071 for the four-day cruise. Other options include day cruises and lunch and dinner cruises, all leaving from Denarau Marina on Viti Levu. 15 Narewa Rd., Nadi, Viti Levu. 670–1823. www.captaincook.com.au.
Awesome Adventures. Awesome Adventures offers all-inclusive packages in collaboration with budget resorts throughout the two island chains. Popular with young budget travelers, these range from 5 days/4 nights spent on two islands to a 12 day/11 night tour encapsulating five islands and a live-aboard cruise. A "Full-Monty" option throws in excursions to caves, sailing day trips, introductory scuba dives, etc. Each package departs daily, so you'll be sharing a ferry and buffet lines for the next 5–12 days with the same people. Most people who opt for these itineraries are social, with some traveling solo: for the best chance to bond with fellow travelers, ask your booking agent for a popular start date. Conversely, although you cannot know how many people will already be on the islands you'll be visiting or arriving on the second day, you can grant yourself more privacy by requesting a less-popular start date. The closer to the date you book, the better an idea they should have. Denarau Marina, Mamanuca & Yasawa. 675–0499. www.awesomefiji.com.