Thursday, 16 March 2017

Cruise Ship Destination: Lautoka Fiji

The last time we were in Fiji it was our honeymoon – 37 years ago. This trip, sailing on Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas, Day 5 saw us in Fiji again. 
The ship offered about 10 port tours ranging from $70US to $200US. We chose to do our own thing. When one goes to many of these pacific islands, although different in many ways, we find the tourist experiences to very similar, so we no longer do these tours.
Lautoka is a port that is on a small container wharf. It is a 15-20 minutes walk to town, but the ship provided tickets for a return coach ride for $8US each. It was recommended on board to get tickets prior to disembarking to avoid the queues at the wharf – well we need not have bothered, as we queued to get tickets the day before arrival, and then had to queue again behind with those who had not obtained tickets, while they purchased them – for the same price and were also able to charge to the cabin. No advantage booking on board.
After room service breakfast on the balcony overlooking the dock and watching the locals selling goods at a pop-up markets, we headed to the bus and the town.
Lautoka itself wasn't much. Retail shops, smelly fish markets. The locals were friendly and many smiled and said Bula. We walked around a few blocks and Peter bought a swimming rashie. I did find a fabric shop and purchased over 6 yards for fabric for about $35 AUS.
The shuttle bus dropped us off at a department store, which was crowded with ship passengers.
We caught the shuttle back to the ship to enjoy the un-crowded decks. We did look at the dockside markets, and almost bought another 'ship dress, but didn't. In total I think we spent about 90 minutes away from the ship.
Is Lautoka worth getting off? Yes and no. We would probably get off next time and walk into town, just to spend more time seeing different things - and to go to Maccas to use their free wifi, certainly won't need any food. As we slowly sail off into the sunset.

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