The Fiji archipelago consists of over 800 tiny coral atolls and mountainous forest-clad islands of volcanic origin, and is famed for its aquamarine waters and white sand beaches. The capital and principal port, Suva, is located on island of Viti Levu while the smaller port of Lautoka is located on the opposite side of the island. Other islands in the archipelago include Yasawa, Vanua Levu (the Sacred island), the Waya Islands, Naviti and Mataca Levu.
These days Fiji is thought of as a sun-drenched, easy-going mid-Pacific nation, but it was once known as the 'Cannibal Isles' and its people were believed to be fierce and hostile. It has a unique history in the Pacific and today it is an interesting blend of Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese and European influences. For nearly 50 years until the military coup of 1987 the indigenous people of Fiji represented an ethnic minority in their own land. Fiji was the trade centre for the South Pacific during the 19th century, and the British claimed it as a colony in 1874. During the century or so Fiji remained under British colonial rule, tens of thousands of indentured Indian labourers were imported to work on sugar plantations. Indigenous Fijians, however, managed to hold onto their traditional rites and practices.
The following 4 cruises call at Fiji.
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