Christmas Island, or Kiritimati Island, was discovered by Captain James Cook on Wednesday, December 24, 1777. He anchored off and landed on the small islet at the entrance now known as Cook islet. The island is known as the world's largest coral atoll with more than 100 lakes or ponds dotting the interior that support a huge number of birds. There 18 species of marine birds - large populations of red-tailed tropicbirds, phoenix petrels, Christmas shearwaters, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and nearly 15 million sooty terns. It is also known as the best bone fishing site in the world. The surrounding water offers a profusion of marine life, providing spectacular diving and a clear blue lagoon ideal for swimming.
The people of Kiritimati are Micronesian and come from the Gilbert Islands located 3,200 km west of the island. These islands became part of the British protectorate of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1916 and part of the independent Republic of Kiribati in 1977. There are (reportedly) no ill effects from the British hydrogen bomb tests held there in the '50s and '60s.
There are no cruises currently listed for this port of call.