Favorite Exotic Cruises: Secret Pacific Islands Cruise Photos

Discover war canoes, exploding volcanoes, and more on the remote island outposts of Melanesia in this adventure with Orion Expedition Cruises. See more cruise trip ideas in the ISLANDS Best Cruises Travel Guide.

Read Ty's full cruise article. See his Melanesia travel tips.

Even though the Orion Expedition Cruises ship is small compared to most cruise liners, a Zodiac boat is the only way to get to many of the smaller islands on the itinerary. | Ty Sawyer
The Village Children of Utupua
On seeing the cruise ship Orion anchor outside the harbor, the children of the village prepared a mock ambush, meant to entertain their first guests in years. | Ty Sawyer
Meet a Maori Chief
Chief Hone Mahiki of the Ngapuhi tribe is adorned in family tattoos. He wears a wide-waisted feather loin cover. In his earlobe is a bone flute. His appearance alone commands respect. So do his actions and his voice.
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best exotic cruise orion melansia ceremonial dance
Ceremonial Dance
Ceremonial dances in the Solomon outposts tell complex stories. One marks the coming together of the Melanesian and Polynesian people who populate the region.
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best exotic cruise orion expedition melanesia war canoe
War Canoe of the Maori Warriors
The war canoes sit on a beach of peace, but everything the Maori do — dance, song, culture — has roots in battle, which is why seeing these canoes is still rather chilling. I would not have wanted to face the Maori in battle. Not Hone. Not the rhythmic chant. Not even the boat itself. A face on its prow protruded flame red and fierce, like a demon's. This angry carved visage was the first statement you received when Maori warriors came to shore.
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On this shore excursion on Tanna Island, you know when you're close to the volcano of Mount Yasur because the trees simply disappear. | Ty Sawyer
best exotic cruise orion expedition melanesia mount yasur volcano
Stand Atop an Exploding Volcano
Mount Yasur is a 1,184-foot volcano that has been active for at least 200 years, though some say it's been closer to 800 years. Getting there is not a department of tourism experience. Most of Tanna's 200 square miles are covered in thick, impenetrable vegetation. But once there the trees simply disappear, replaced by red volcanic desertscape and the smell of sulfur.
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