Long Overdue Trip Report - Fiji!!

Feb 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Long Overdue Trip Report - Fiji!!

Hello fellow fodorites!

Well, My husband and I discovered this forum two years ago when we went to Australia (Sydney, Palm Cove, Lizard Island Day Trip with Daintree Air etc...) and it proved invaluable in planning our trip (Thanks to people like Alan and a whole list of others)! We hope we were able to help other planners in return with their trips based on our experiences and hope we can help again for anyone going to Fiji!

Fast forward a year and we moved to England from California in Sep 2003, a month before a trip we had planned for Fiji (in October 2003). We ended up going on our trip anyway, and because of our uprooting and moving, it is only now, three months later, that I'm finally posting our report! I apologize for my delayed posting! While in Fiji, we spent six days at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort and six days at the Qamea Island Resort.

OK, so we flew from Heathrow/London to LAX to Fiji. We flew Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles and then Air New Zealand to Fiji. We had never flown Air New Zealand but were pleasantly surprised. The year before we flew Air Canada to Australia and Air New Zealand was much better in our opinion (except that for our return flight from Fiji to LA my seat was broken and could not recline AT ALL - big disappointment, to say the least). Of course, we had been flying for over 20 hours by the time we arrived in Nadi so we were on the verge of delirium anyway! Unfortunately, we arrived in Fiji at around 2:30 AM and our flight to Savusavu did not leave until 8:00 AM. We tried to sleep and send some e-mail from the little internet cafe, but it was a tough 5 hours. When the sun came up, and the Air Fiji desk opened, a woman from the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort met us and gave us necklackes and flowers and luggage tags etc. She was wonderful and explained to us that someone on the other end (in Savusavu) would meet us at the airport to transfer us to the resort. It turns out she also represents Qamea Island Resort as well so she said she would meet us on our return flight from Taveuni (in two weeks time) and would arrange to have us taken to dinner/shopping before our 10:00 PM flight back to LAX. We met a number of people while waiting to depart who were on our flight (and for those of you who don't already know, they actually WEIGH YOU before you get on the plane with your hand luggage and the plane is like a single engine cessna type plane. Very small, i think there were ten seats on the plane to Savusavu. Just prepare yourself, as there is no beverage service!! haha). Anyway, we met a couple that was going straight to Qamea (the plane stopped in Savusavu before heading to Taveuni airport) and we ended up seeing them a week later at Qamea on their last night there). Another couple was going to Jean-Michel and another couple was headed to Matangi for their wedding the next day! I had read the mixed reviews about Matangi and hoped for the best for this nice couple from Iowa! I never did hear how it went but I hope they had a great experience!

We arrived in Savusavu after an INCREDIBLE flight over Nadi and Suva and small little islands and coral reefs. The water was so many shades of blue and we got some great pictures from the sky. The "airport" at Savusavu was, well a hut. The "baggage claim" consisted of a guy with a cart/wheelbarrow thing and he carted your luggage over to a park bench and you pulled it off and threw it in the back of the Jean-Michel Cousteau minibus. It was pretty fun actually. The transfer arrived as we landed and our driver/tour guide greeted us with cool bottles of Fiji water and it was luxury from then on out. It took about 20 minutes of driving through Savusavu and along the coast to reach the resort. The staff was outside singing when we pulled up and it was an incredible greeting! Let me preface that, I have never in my life encountered staff at a resort that was as wonderful as they were at Jean-Michel Cousteau. We definitely missed them, as well as the other guests we befriended, when we arrived at Qamea.

From the minute we arrived, everything was organized and breathtaking. We rarely get WOWED at resorts but Jean-Michel was more than we expected! Our room was beautiful (we had an oceanfront bure) and we had champagne and tropical flowers in the room when we arrived. There was a stocked mini bar and mosquito coils were lit for us each night during the turn down service. There is a sort of rock wall/outdoor but still indoor shower thing there which was great. There was a coconut that you placed in front of your door on the porch if you did not want to be disturbed by the staff. The spa was great and our package included an hour long massage for both of us which we really enjoyed after that flight! The food was some of the best food we have ever had anywhere on vacation. The chef created amazing, gourmet meals and my husband and I never ordered anything that was not completely delicious. Often, we had a hard time deciding between the number of selections available.

Immediately, we met wonderful guests and friends for life when we arrived! (two sets of honeymooners from California, a couple with two small children from Australia, another honeymooning couple from Scotland, and an older couple with their grown son from Pennsylvania). JMC Resort has a grand bure/dining room and you usually sit with fellow guests at dinner to mingle! We always had entertaining company! You can also arrange to have a romantic dinner at the end of the pier upon arrival. And on a tangent, you can additionally book "honeymoon island" upon arrival and the staff will drive you out on a boat and drop you off with a picnic basket and walki-talkies and you are totally secluded and alone until you radio back to be picked up!

My husband and I snorkel and dive and both were exquisite at JMC resort. We were given talks and slideshow/movie presentations in the evening before dinner by the on site Marine Biologist, Christian, who was a great guy. Additionally, the Bula Boys would sing before dinner (and sometimes during and after dinner) and welcomed guests to sit and drink with them at the kava bowl.

The resort is very focused on ecological awareness and educating the guests on the customs of Fiji and Fijian language. Every night when you return from dinner, there is an itinerary of the next days' events. There were so many activites including morning yoga classes or kayaking, informational walks along the mangroves or rainforests, trips to the market in town, night snorkelling/dives etc. etc.

Another quick note about the resort is that children are allowed. This worried us a little bit but now, we are so relieved to have a place in mind to take our children when we finally have kids!! Their is a Bula Camp on site and they had the kids playing games, watching movies, SNORKELLING, learning about the ocean and checking out tidal pools etc. etc. The kids often didn't want to leave the incredible staff who would care for them after dinner. Children never dined with us (or if they did, it was only during breakfast and they were never distracting or loud etc..) and it was truly no problem with the kids...

On the second day we were there, there was a trip to the village. We had the opportunity to go to this village which housed many of the staff members (who, I forgot to mention, all CALL YOU BY NAME at meals etc... it was an incredible and very profound touch in creating a luxury experience). You are also able to meet the chief who we learned is often not even seen by the members of the village but only a few times a year. Upon arrival, the men and women were dressed up and sang and danced for us and it was a wonderful day. The women sold their handicrafts and it was a great way for us to contribute specifically to these people. They had a kava ceremony which most of us participated in for the first time.

Fast forward two days (in which we snorkelled and went diving and had our private honeymoon island day) and 99% of the guests who chose to go to the village were racked with the most explosive and horrific vomiting and diarrhea EVER. My husband came down with it first, and five hours later it hit me. I could hear people in other bures at 4 AM vomiting as well so I knew that it wasn't just my husband or me or the flu or malaria or something. It turns out that 13 of us were sick in all and it completely ruined 2 and 1/2 full days of our time there. On our last day there, we had to leave to go to Qamea and were barely recovered enough to walk outside. Fortunately, we were able to travel by our final day. It turns out that it was the water in the kava at the village that was apparently untreated. This was totally ridiculous and we all assumed that guests are taken to the village on a weekly basis and that we would therefore be given clean/treated water. The only negative thing I have to say about JMC Resort is that the management never apologized for this or explained why it happened or anything. We were well taken care of however and someone from the staff came to check on us about every 4 hours during those two days. I have NEVER been so sick in my entire life...but as we told the other kava survivors/guests, hey, at least we'll come home THIN and TAN! So, a word to the wise, this isn't the first time that guests have gotten sick drinking the kava (or the juice that the woman served as well) at the local village...as we came to find out from questioning certain members of the staff who confessed that THE WEEK BEFORE, guests got sick too!! DON'T DRINK THE KAVA or eat anything unless it's being served at the resort. The only guy who didn't get sick from drinking the kava on our excursion was from Czechoslovakia...go figure. His response was, "I am Czech and I smoke two packs a day...It Kill Everything!". haha.

So, on to Qamea. We departed Savusavu (the staff again sang to us and hugged us when we left and were so gracious and wonderful. Tears were actually shed upon departure and we were so sad to say goodbye especially since we didn't get to spend as much time doing things we had planned on). When we got on the plane, it was raining a little and we were definitely still feeling queasy from the kava sickness. As we neared the island of Taveuni, (oh, our inter island flights were all on Air Fiji by the way) - so, when we neared Taveuni, the plane was fishtailing and hitting air pockets and dropping twenty feet and people on the plane were gripping their armrests with white knuckels and an expression of total fear on their faces. I was really nauseous my husband was trying to stay calm and pointing out where the life preservers were, like that made me feel better. There was someone in the back who was actually crying and I was looking out the window trying to make out land, as to figure out if we actually crashed, could I make the swim out to the island?!?! It was very Six Days, Seven Nights and I thought that it was the end for us. We were sitting in the second row of the plane(out of six) and I couldn't see A THING out of the front window so I know the pilots couldn't either. We actually turned around, and headed back towards Savusavu for about five minutes and then suddenly turned back towards Taveuni again. Apparently the pilots changed their minds and thought we COULD make it. When we finally landed (THANK GOODNESS), everyone on the plane actually clapped and cheered and breathed a huge sigh of relief. the pilot and co-pilot got off the plane looking shell shocked and didn't say a word and that really scared us!

There was another couple (honeymooners from Virginia) on the plane heading to Qamea and so the four of us waited for our luggage to be wheeled out to us (This airport is even smaller than the one at Savusavu) and looked for our transfer. He was there and we all got in the minibus for a 20 minute journey around the island to meet the little speed boat that would transfer us to the resort. When we finally got to the becah where the boat was waiting for us, I took one look at the water and fished threw my purse for some dramamine. There were huge waves and the sky was black and the rain and wind were coming at us from all directions. We couldn't see a thing until we were about an arms distance from the actual beach that the resort sits on. There were two people waiting for us when we got to the resort. One guy who took our luggage and a woman who walked us to our oceanfront bure. My first impression of Qamea was that it was nice - but very quiet. We didn't see any guests or any sign of life, but we assumed it was becuase if the rain. The resort is set on a boomerang part of the island but you can't go too far to the left or too far to the right until you hit rock walls and it juts out into the ocean. The only way to see the whole island is by boat and there are no roads on the island. Behind the resort, the land goes straight up into a jungle/mountain. Basically, you are totally confined to the resort area and that is IT. As the staff member led us up to our bure steps, she slipped as it was raining and, well the steps were slippery and she fell down. She was screaming and so I ran down the beach towards the other bures looking for someone that appeared to be a staff member and my husband stayed with her. It was pouring down rain and it took me a couple of minutes to find someone. It turned out that she actually fractured her wrist. When Rob, the resort manager, arrived he took her away and unfortunately, we were left on our porch (As was the other couple on their porch next to us) wondering what to do now? It was pretty miserable. We went inside and looked around and the bure was well, half as nice as the one at JMC. In Qamea's defense, they were supposedly shutting down the resort this January/February to re-furnish and re-model all of the bures. New beds, new everything, apparently. And they should be, because they charge nearly the same as JMC and it is not up to those standards in any way (Except for maybe the food). They bures at both resorts were about the same size...but this one was just not as nice. Both bures at Qamea and JMC also had a porch area with a hammock and chairs and table which were nice. Unfortunately we spent more than half of our time on the porch at Qamea because it rained so much while we were there (which I admit may have helped to dampen my impression of the resort a little). Additionally, if we would have come to Qamea first, and then JMC, well, I think we would have different expectations.

I also forgot to point out that at JMC there was no air conditioning but it was never a problem and their are big blinds/vents on the walls of the bure that allow the ocean breeze to circulate through. We actually had to close them at night because we got too cold!! There is air conditioning at Qamea and we did use it at night because the rain made it really humid and muggy.

So, after about a half hour of my husband and I debating whether we could afford to fly back to Savusavu and re-check into JMC for the reaminder of the vacation, someone knocked on our door and said that there was an orientation for the newcomers in the grand bure. We followed him and were given a welcome drink (which we needed badly at that point) and an itinerary (much like the one you got at JMC with activites and weather for the next day). This was the first orientation that this guy had ever given (he actually started off by saying this to us) and we could tell. We felt like the whole resort was run pretty inefficiently and were not impressed at all. The only person who made us feel the least bit secure was Rob who was hired two weeks before to get the place in shape. Thank Goodness! Rob was a great guy and I'm assuming that if we ever return (or if any of you go, Rob will have made some positive and necessary changes in the meantime). We couldn't figure out with whom or how to book spa treatments, our private island day or activities the next day...there was no one at the dive shop when we tried to get a wetsuit and fins and we had to walk all the way back to the grand bure/office to hunt someone down to help us. Also, you tell the staff at breakfast time what you want to have for dinner and we didn't arrive at the resort until a few hours before dinner so when we got to dinner, there was confusion about what to serve us. Luckily, we met up with the couple we had met on the plane on our first day in Fiji who were celebrating their last night in Fiji and we had dinner with them. They seemed to be really content with the resort and the staff and so we though that maybe we were being too critical. Again, we couldn't help but compare our experience with that of JMC so we think if we would've come to Qamea first it wouldn't have seemed so bad.

We ended up having a great meal that night and feeling exhausted and we went straight to bed. I forgot to mention that the other staff members who were exceptional at Qamea are Amelia and Julie. Amelia was a server and always had a smile and was very professional and friendly. Finally, Julie, a New Zealander had just been hired to work in their Spa and she too was friendly, funny and very professional! Oddly, every single guest at Qamea was American and on their honeymoon. We were the only ones not living in America and not on our honeymoon...and so we wondered about the way that the resort is marketed...only to American Honeymooners?

Just to finish up on Qamea. They are fairly new. The owners got slammed with a killer cyclone a few months after they bought the place (last January) and had just started to recover from that. It felt like it was under new management though and kinks were still being worked out. The staff needed something that the JMC staff had...organization? Professionalism? More staff members as maybe they were understaffed?!? The potential for Qamea to meet the standards of other top end Fijian resorts is there...but it's going to take some serious work (although, in their favor, it seems they are headed in that direction). I would wait for someone else to go and hear how the resort has progessed before we went again though. It's not cheap and it seems that there are a lot of other resorts that go the extra mile for the extra dollar you're paying.

Finally, because of the rains that began upon our arrival, the tradition began that every morning at breakfast, the guests would re-count the tales of visitors who worked their way into their bures the night before, over breakfast. We escaped with a bird sized moth and lizard duking it out on the ceiling knocking some wood onto the bed and freaking me out big time. We cheered for the lizard thinking if he caught the moth they'd all go away and we could sleep. Eventually, that's exactly what happened. Other guests were not so lucky. One bure had a big black bat on their ceiling. Another bure had a spider the size of a dinner plate in their shower, and TWO bures had rat dropings for a couple of days leading to the finale of one rat falling onto the bed and the other rat seen scurrying across the floor as they were getting ready for bed. Totally disgusting. Apparently an exterminator was being sent over from Taveuni the day after we left because the rains were driving all sorts of creatures down from the jungle...but that's enough to ruin an entire vacation for some people. On a more positive note, we got to see the elusive Orange Dove on a couple of occasions, The birs is a bright vivid orange and exists only on Qamea Island....or so we were told. The last thing I forgot to mention was the added cost. Both resorts had food and general excursions included in the total cost. Extras included all alcoholic beverages, diving, private dining at pier's end, honeymoon island/picnic and spa treatments (although a couple of those were inclued in our package). The total bill at JMC was much lower than at Qamea and although we were sick part of the time, we felt we did more at JMC and the activites and drinks and extras were priced more cheaply! We even got a videotape of our dive (A videographer will go on your dives with you and make a video for you for like, $25 dollars.

One excurstion we took (and thought was included in the price of being a guest, but WAS NOT) was the Lavena Nature Walk. Taveuni is an incredibly GREEN and lush island and very different from the Fiji I had initally imagined. This was more like Kauai if any of you have ever been there?!? So, the walk excursion sounded relaxing and leisurely, but in fact was one of the most strenuous things we have ever done. It was harder than climbing up the first two waterfalls at Yosemite. Luckily, everyone on the trip was in fairly good shape but this not something anyone should try if they're at all doubtful about it. You hike along the coast and then back into the rainforest (over a rope/suspension bridge) to the Waterfall where the Return to the Blue Lagoon movie was filmed. It took us about 3 hours to get there, we spent an hour there, and then about 2 1/2 hours back. It was dangerous, someone fell and badly skinned their knee/leg on the way back, we encountered a number of critters, but it WAS a great experience. If you're into adventure and are ready to burn about 4000 calories, then the Lavena Nature Walk is not to be missed. Just don't let the word "walk" trick you.

Also, I just wanted to mention that we didn't get to dive as much as we would have liked at Qamea (the reason we ended up going there in the first place!!!) because of the weather. The dives we did go on were everything we had hoped for though. Also, the snorkelling right in front of both Qamea and JMC resorts were excellent. We saw a number of different kind of fish, an octopus at JMC, clams, lobster, starfish and beautiful coral (especially at Qamea).

After almost a week, we departed with what seemed the entire staff gathered at the beach to sing and say farewell. It was sunny and we did feel sad about leaving Fiji. Our boat ride was pleasant back to the beach and a Land Rover was there to take us back to the airport (which was a really nice drive as the minibus that took us there initally was smoking out the engine and ready to break down at any moment).

We boarded our plane and our pilots said that we would fly to Savusavu first and then on to Nadi. We were travelling with a couple from Minnesota that we had befriended and discovered were not only on our Air Fiji flights, but also on our Air New Zealand flight back to LA too. Suddenly, on our way onto Nadi, the co-pilot turned around and said we were going to Suva instead?!?!!? When we finally landed, they said they had to pick someone up there and it would take a minute. Then, we were told we had to get off the plane and another plane would come to get us and take us on to Nadi in a matter of minutes. After an hour, we stared to worry because we HAD to get back to Nadi in time to connect with our international flight (and that of course needed to get us to LA in time to get our flight back to London). After a number of problems, like the people at Suva trying to figure out why we didn't have tickets for the flight!!!! (hahahah! Like it was our fault...) we got on the plane and ended up in Nadi three hours late. We missed our contact there who had made us dinner reservations and was going to take us to Jack's Handicrafts and we ended up running across the street to eat dinner at a hotel restaurant.

All in all, Fiji was everything I had envisioned and more. The Fijian people are incredibly warm and friendly. It was a beautiful place and we were really surprised at how undeveloped it was. We were in Jamaica three years ago and thought that that was undeveloped! Fiji seems like how Hawaii might have been 150 years ago....I just assumed that there would be a much stronger infrastructure in place for Fiji as it seems like a very popular tourist destination now. But, it is still pretty quiet and hidden away from the world, which I think is a good thing. It would be too bad to see tourism ruin it's natural beauty.

So, I hope I helped people gain a better perspective of the resorts. There were only two people I found on this site who had been to Qamea and JMC before. I didn't have a lot to go on and hope this helps future Fijian Travellers! I don't hesitate in saying that anyone who goes with Jean-Michel will have an awesome holiday (as long as they don't drink the water off the resort!). As for Qamea, I can't really say. It wasn't a horrible experience, and I know improvements have been made since our trip, but I don't back it
%100 (or even %75 for that matter) and would only go back in many many years out of sheer curiosity for how it's developed. I would love to go to Fiji again but perhaps stay in the Yasawas or Mamanucas, on the western side of the Islands....The diving and snorkelling in Fiji were fantastic for sure!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask me any questions. I'm sure I left out things you want to know!
jules is offline  
Feb 4th, 2004, 01:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12
Thanks for the great report...I enjoyed it immensely! I have a question if you don't mind.
You say you've been to Australia before, so I'm wondering if you enjoyed the diving in Fiji better than the Great Barrier Reef?

Our dream is to visit Port Douglas and dive the reef, but the cost may be prohibitive. So we're wondering if Fiji might be a good second choice.

Thanks
Cajuncru is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 01:43 AM
  #3  
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Bula Cajuncru,

Great question. To be totally honest, we enjoyed the diving in Fiji more than at the Great Barrier Reef (and that seemed weird to us because we were told that once we did the GBR, nothing would beat it!). Diving with both JMC Staff and at Qamea was an awesome experience. Qamea is located very near the Somosomo strait and you get some of the best diving (and snorkelling) in the world there (soft corals). The dives near Savusavu were equallly beautiful. Unfortunately (it could have been our fault in choosing though), the dive boat we took to the GBR was crowded, full of teenagers and backpackers and out of about 50 people, only 8 of us were certified. The rest of the group was going out to snorkel, or just hang out on the boat. The staff was great at Passions of Paradise, but it was geared towards a little bit different clientele than we had expected. The boats leave Cairns and Port Douglas in droves in the morning and you're practically running into other people's groups out there. The coral seemed damaged and the entire area (we we did a few dives on the outer and inner reef) felt overrun in general by tourists. Which was a shame. Not to say it wasn't great, but I felt that the diving in Fiji was untouched!! The only place that I've ever been though that totally WOWED us in terms of coral/underwater exploration was Lizard Island...and we didn't even dive there, we snorkelled. If you want the best diving/snorkelling in the world, and you can afford it, go to Lizard. If you need to save your pennies a little, well then I would absolutely recommend Fiji!!! Fiji is more than a second good choice! It's a perfect alternative!
jules is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 03:35 AM
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Thanks so much for the input!
Cajuncru is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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I just want to add that I also loved Cousteau's resort. My husband and I got married there about a month ago. Everything about that place, our bure, the staff, the food, the activities, etc... was absolutely perfect. We didn't go to the village because that was our wedding day and we didn't want to be rushed, but I don't believe anyone was sick afterwards. Our wedding ceremony was effortless and just beautiful -- more that we could have ever hoped for. We stayed there one week and went to Tokoriki for our second week. It was nice, but it didn't compare. The only thing that was truly better was the beach (JMC has very little beach), but even that had it's problems. The sea weed is abundant around the entire island chain and on some days it was just plain stinky on the beach. We got used to it, but it wasn't what I anticipated. I hope to go back to Fiji in the future and I will definitely try to go back to Cousteau's resort.
vacationfreak is offline  
Feb 29th, 2004, 03:07 AM
  #6  
 
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Hi Jules - I enjoyed your trip report and it put me in mind of a honeymoon I also had there (and have been to Fiji at least half a dozen times) the people are friendly enough but I feel very sorry for the Indian population. It's a little unfair to compare it's reef trips with a very small budget reef operator out of Cairns - Passions of Paradise which caters to backpackers and charges accordingly -and make it seem if that is the entirety of Great Barrier reef which can is big enough to run rings around what Fiji has to offer. Being a certified diver am curious to know why on earth did you choose such a vessel when they're so many other options.
pat_woolford is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 06:00 AM
  #7  
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Hi Pat and VacationFreak!!

sorry it's taken so long to reply. VacationFreak, I'm so glad you had a great experience at JMC Resort with your wedding!! I do know that the staff took reports from everyone who was sick and did something about the kava/water/juice situation for the next village tour groups after our groups' bout of sickness. So, I'm glad to hear that that kink has been resolved and no one was sick during your stay!! Did you meet a lot of other honeymooners while you were there?!?

Pat, about diving in fiji v australia, well, we didn't know that passions of paradise catered to the backpacking crowd etc when we booked with them. WE booked online from the States and had one referral as well as really positive good e-mail responses back and forth from the booking agent. i thought that the smaller the operator though, the less touristy and overrun the dive site would be. we considered quicksilver or another big operator like that, but assumed after thousands of people diving at one site over and over, the coral and surrounding area would be horribly damaged. the GBR is fantastic, but I guess in our personal diving experience, going out to dive with the 4 person small jean michel cousteau diving group, to a secluded site, seemed a lot better than the GBR experience in general (not to say that the GBR has nothing to offer!!!). and like i said, our experience at Lizard with Daintree Air (Greg Letondeur), was so far, what we measure everything against! Anyway, I hope that makes sense. I wouldn't want to, in any way, deter people from experiencing the GBR. But, if you're going to fly all the way to Queensland, I would suggest to anyone to take a few days in Fiji too! Hope all of you from the States have a nice Mother's Day weekend!

jules is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 01:36 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hello Jules

My fiance and I just booked our honeymoon trip at JMC after reading your post...we can't wait. We are only there for 5 days before we head off to Australia. We are staying in an oceanfront bure and have already made arrangements to have private dining on the pier as well as the private island excursion. Thanks for your detailed post! Now perhaps I should learn how to scuba dive?? I will probably just stick to snorkling
Petitetonya is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 04:00 AM
  #9  
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petitetonya,

i know you'll have an AMAZING time on your honeymoon at JMC!! the pier dining is supposed to be spectacular and the private island day is incredible! the resort has night assisted snorkelling as well as yoga classes and group sunrise kayaking etc. etc. too - so you will have lots to do! and if you do decide to try a little scuba diving - they can walk you through it and give you resort certification. it's the place to try it if you're feeling adventurous!
please tell christian (the marine biologist) that julie & darin from california/england say hi! where in australia will you be going/staying? have a great honeymoon - and congratulations on your upcoming marriage! can't wait to read your trip report!

- jules
jules is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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I was a bit aprehensious about our booking to Qamea after the report on this thread, but based on a lot of other fabulous reviews of the Qamea on this and other sites, we went ahead and included 7 nights of our 16 night Fiji 10 year anniversary trip on Qamea. We also stayed at Yasawa Island Resort and Cousteaus. We loved all three resorts for different reasons, but our favorite was Qamea. We experienced exceptional weather, exceptional diving and snorkeling, and food that was nothing short of amazing. I know that Qamea was effected by a cyclone over three years ago (as was Cousteaus), and that might have been the root of some of the less than nice comments on this site, but we saw no signs of any cyclone damage either above or below the water. We would highly recommend Qamea to anyone that is looking for an extra special place to get away. My comments on the other two resorts we visted are (1) Cousteaus was very polished, and the service was good, but the children (for us) were a big problem. We unfortunately visited during a school holiday period from Australia, and at least half of the guests were parents. While I love children, and am a parent myself, for our anniversary we wanted to be away from that. So that would be our only real complaint of Cousteaus. Yasawa Isand Resort would have the best beach we visited (Qamea is a close second, while Cousteaus really does not have a beach), and the service was exceptional. Overall though, the cost was very high when compared to what we received at Qamea Resort for about 40% less. Just my thoughts, hope it helps! Jason
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