Is­land idyll

Rhi­an­non Tay­lor, ed­i­tor of life­style web­site In Bed With, goes is­land-hop­ping through the South Pa­cific on a lux­ury cruise ship.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Fiji / Cook Islands / Tonga / Niue - crys­tal­

The no­tion of cruis­ing the South Seas is deeply ro­man­tic, but it’s also the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence a part of the world scat­tered with thou­sands of is­lands, most of them in­ac­ces­si­ble by air. To­day, so many ships reg­u­larly sail the South Pa­cific, from small schooners to me­ga­lin­ers. So it’s im­por­tant to find a cruise that suits your style. Rhi­an­non Tay­lor — ed­i­tor of In Bed With, a life­style web­site that re­views and pho­to­graphs beau­ti­ful ho­tels around the world — ex­pe­ri­enced lux­u­ri­ous small ship Crys­tal Sym­phony’s

Poly­ne­sian Pal­ette itin­er­ary for Vogue Liv­ing, sail­ing from Lau­toka in Fiji to Raro­tonga in the Cook Is­lands by way of Nuku‘alofa in Tonga and Alofi, cap­i­tal of the world’s small­est na­tion, Niue. “It’s per­fect for cou­ples,” says Tay­lor of the 1070-pas­sen­ger ship, which is con­sid­ered in­ti­mate in these days of lin­ers that carry more than 5000 guests. “I trav­elled with my fi­ancé, Caleb Tiller, and we loved the qui­eter mo­ments when we could sit on our ve­ran­dah, watch the sun­sets and re­lax.” En­sconced in one of the spa­cious Seabreeze pent­house suites on Deck 9, the cou­ple felt like they’d checked in to a gor­geous bou­tique ho­tel. “It was very chic,” says Tay­lor. The 45-squareme­tre suites aim to cre­ate pri­vate en­claves of com­fort to help guests feel at home, with all the con­ve­niences — a walk-in wardrobe, queen-size bed, lux­ury shower with body jets, espresso ma­chine, ul­tra­thin satel­lite TV and pull-out trays to mix cock­tails and store the Riedel stemware. The pair spent their days dip­ping in and out of is­lands, such as Fiji’s beau­ti­ful Ya­sawa-i-Rara, the back­drop of the 1980 Brooke Shields film The Blue La­goon — fa­mous for its white sandy beach— and Tonga, with its rugged land­scape of vol­canic rock and blow­holes shoot­ing plumes of wa­ter into the air. Ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded snorkelling in pris­tine wa­ters, spelunk­ing in Niue’s coastal caves and a beach bar­be­cue of suck­ling pig on a Ton­gan beach to the drum­beats of tra­di­tional dance. Among the fac­tors that at­tracted Tay­lor to the Crys­tal Sym­phony are its on­board of­fer­ings, in­clud­ing the spa where she in­dulged in an in­dul­gent hot-stone mas­sage and scrub. The Pi­lates classes in the well-equipped fitness cen­tre were also huge draw­cards, as she prac­tises Pi­lates at home ev­ery day. Tay­lor and Tiller also tried their skills at karaoke and dressed up for the black-tie evenings, com­plete with danc­ing in the foyer. The ship’s en­ter­tain­ment fea­tured screen­ings of re­cent-re­lease movies in the cin­ema and a glow-in-the-dark per­for­mance by New York-based dance com­pany iLu­mi­nate, best known for com­pet­ing on Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent.

Per­haps, though, it’s the food that truly draws guests. From af­ter­noon teas to the Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream bar, there’s hardly a mo­ment when some­thing de­li­cious isn’t on hand. The ship’s restau­rants are des­ti­na­tions in them­selves, such as Umi Uma, with a menu of Ja­pa­nese-Pe­ru­vian dishes by cel­e­brated chef Nobu Mat­suhisa; Silk, where mod­ern Chi­nese plates are served in an al­fresco set­ting; and Chur­ras­caria, where guests can grab Brazil­ian-style grills along with zingy Caipir­inha cock­tails. When she and Tiller wanted to spend time alone, they could or­der in-suite din­ing, served by course, with cock­tails and bub­bles de­liv­ered by their own but­ler. (The cruise is all-in­clu­sive of al­co­hol.) Cosy­ing up on their pri­vate ve­ran­dah, watch­ing the sun set over a craggy Pa­cific is­land… it couldn’t pos­si­bly get more ro­man­tic than that.


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