SEATTLE, April 8, 2008 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Cruise West, a leading small-ship cruise line with worldwide journeys, will offer seven distinct SCUBA excursions on its three 2009 South Pacific itineraries. The January through March cruises sail on Cruise WestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flagship, the 120-guest Spirit of Oceanus , through the untouched beauty, remote villages and tiny atolls of the South Pacific islands. All three itineraries offer numerous additional activities and excursions with focus on the culture, history and marine biology of these spectacular islands. Guests who book any of the three 2009 South Pacific cruises by June 13, 2008, will save $600 per person and an additional $200 per person if paid in full by June 13, 2008.
~2009 South Pacific Itineraries with SCUBA Excursion Options~
Pearls of Polynesia
SCUBA divers can explore Beqa Lagoon/Carpet Cove or Taveuni/Rainbow Reef on the Pearls of Polynesia itinerary, a 12-night trip that sails to Polynesia and Melanesia.
Beqa Lagoon is renowned for its spectacular soft coral and abundant sealife; Carpet Cove houses a fishing shipwreck, sunk in 1996 and now host to a vibrant array of sealife, including the rare juvenile Blue Ribbon eel. Cost per two-tank dive: $185
The second dive option is in two parts: first is Taveuni, called the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Soft Coral Capital of the WorldÃ¢â‚¬Â for its vibrant corals; the second is Rainbow Reef, where divers can expect 60-70 feet of visibility. Cost per one-tank dive: $139
The 12-night Pearls of Polynesia sails between Fiji and Papeete and visits Beqa, Fiji, to watch a traditional firewalking ceremony; the Cook Islands including Atiu, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Land of the Birds,Ã¢â‚¬Â which is not visited by many other tourists; and Tonga to meet with local villagers, participate in a kava ceremony and snorkel in the pristine waters. Pearls of Polynesia travels on January 12 and February 13, 2009, and starts at $5,399 per person with maximum early booking savings.
The 11-night Island Sanctuaries itinerary visits the remote oasis of French Polynesia, where SCUBA divers can choose from two adventures.
The first dive at Bora Bora/Tapu is located on the outside of a lagoon down a mooring line in 30 feet of water filled with dozens of black-tip reef sharks, moray eels, rainbow jackfish, triggerfish and large schools of butterflyfish. Cost per one-tank dive: $135
The second dive will investigate the calm waters of FakaravaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lagoon, the second largest in Polynesia, and bring divers face to face to dolphins, manta rays, barracudas, blue fin tunas, sharks, angel fish and parrot fish. Cost per one-tank dive: $130
On this round-trip journey from Papeete, guests will visit a local pearl farm in Takapoto and travel through the Marquesas Islands to meet with villagers and explore the plush terrain. This itinerary sails on January 23 and February 2, 2009, and starts at $4,099 per person with maximum early booking savings.
Legends of the Pacific
The 16-night Legends of the Pacific journey explores Micronesian islands, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, traveling between Guam and Fiji. SCUBA divers can choose from three separate excursions.
The Honiara/Guadalcanal trip explores the Western Battlefields of World War II at the beach of Ruanui, where divers will investigate a Japanese transport ship teeming with coral and pelagic fish life; the second dive will search another Japanese transport ship with anti aircraft guns on the wreck. Cost per two-tank dive: $120
The Chuuk dive explores Ã¢â‚¬Å“Operation Hailstorm,Ã¢â‚¬Â a battle that sank more than 60 ships more than 60 years ago. Schools of jacks patrol the outside of the ships while stunning soft corals are attached to the ribs and beams. Cost per two-tank dive: $199
The third SCUBA excursion, at PohnpeiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest surrounding lagoon, offers a choice of three world-class dive sites: Palaikir Pass, home to a Ã¢â‚¬Å“shark cityÃ¢â‚¬Â of 100 grey reef sharks; Mwand Pass, with branching green tubstreas, gorgonian fans, and schools of colorful small reef creatures; and Manta Road, an underwater channel located between two reefs where manta rays are spotted nearly every day of the year. Cost per two-tank dive: $185
The Legends of the Pacific brings guests to areas seldom visited by other travelers, on an insiderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expedition of native villages, World War II sites and tiny islands. The itinerary sails on December 28, 2008, and February 26, 2009, and starts at $6,449 per person with the maximum early booking savings.
For additional information on the South Pacific itineraries visit www.cruisewest.com/destinations/south_pacific or call 1-800-296-8307.
~ Up-Close, Casual and Personal Cruising ~
Cruise West offers the opportunity to explore remote and distinctive destinations throughout North and Central America, Asia and the South Pacific. Small-ship cruising allows for personalized experiences not offered by larger cruise lines. Guest capacities aboard Cruise WestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nine ships range from 78-138. Guests may expect personal enrichment through onboard narrative and presentations by local experts. The shipsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ forward lounges and ample outdoor deck space provide outstanding viewing opportunities, and inflatable boats allow for up-close exploration and shore landings. For more information visit www.cruisewest.com .