Pohnpei again welcomes passengers from adventure luxury cruise ship - Caledonia Sky

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 3, 2018

 MG 4763Pohnpei—The Pohnpei Visitor’s Bureau assembled a fine greeting for passengers aboard the Caledonia Sky small cruise ship who arrived in Pohnpei at approximately 9:30 on the morning of March 3, 2018.  Passengers aboard the 90 meter long luxury cruise ship crowded the decks to watch a group of talented young local dancers from U perform for them as the vessel edged toward the dock in the pouring rain.

The local dancers were the Nan Welin Rohi U Traditional Dancers.

The Visitor’s Bureau also arranged for several local businesses to display handicrafts and other items for sale.  As passengers scurried to their buses for their tours at the beginning of the day, there wasn’t much time for them to make purchases but time was arranged at the end of the day before the vessel left for the passengers to make any purchases they wanted to make.

As the passengers, each of whom had paid anywhere from nearly $13,000 to over $22,000 for the 15 day excursion disembarked, the young dancers were at the end of the gangway to present mwaramwars and to welcome them to Pohnpei.  Though the weather was blustery, nearly without exception, the travelers appeared to be delighted with the greeting.  Great happy smiles abounded on both sides. MG 4774

The annual cruise is marketed by Zegrahm Expeditions which runs highly reviewed small vessel cruises to exotic locations as “The Best of Micronesia: Rabaul to Palau”.

Current information on their website is for next year’s cruise that will also take place in March.  This year’s cruise had a similar itinerary, though details may have differed for the current cruise.

After meeting in Cairns, Australia, passengers then flew to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea where they embarked on the Caledonia Sky.  On board they were then treated to lectures on the island’s World War II history. Later they were entertained by the Baining tribe’s fire dance.  From Rabaul, the vessel made a stop in PNG’s Tingwon and Tsoi Islands.

The cruise’s first FSM destination was Kapingamarangi where passengers were transported by Zodiac boats to the shore where they can tour the island and snorkel in the lagoon.  The cruise company paid to transport three FSM officials to Kapingamarangi so that passengers could be cleared for entry to the FSM.  The officials traveled at excursion expense with the cruise ship through Nukuoro and into Kolonia, Pohnpei. 

 MG 4851While in Pohnpei this year, passengers could participate in one of two possible tours during the eight hours they were in Kolonia’s port-of-call.  Some travelers chose to tour Lenger Island to explore WWII ruins with an onboard historian.  Other travelers chose to visit Nan Madol and Kepirohi Falls.  Due to weather and a short stay, a proposed “birding” excursion could not be accommodated.

After leaving Pohnpei, the vessel moored in Oroluk for a tour conducted by the Atoll’s eight residents, following a time of beach combing, and snorkeling.

Leaving Pohnpei’s waters, the vessel would arrive at unspecified lagoon islands in Chuuk where divers could explore the famous sunken wrecks from WWII’s Operation Hailstorm or enjoy white sandy beaches and go snorkeling.  From there, the vessel would head to Chuuk’s Pulap and Tamatam.

Departing Chuuk, the vessel would head to Satawal, Yap’s easternmost island.  The next day would be spent at Ifalik where they would be treated with local dances and have an opportunity to admire and perhaps purchase some of the island handicrafts. Their next day’s destination would be Yap’s Sorol Island, followed by Ngulu Atoll.

The disembarkation point of the cruise is Koror, Palau where passengers will be able to take part in a visit to Jellyfish Lake before checking into the Palau Pacific Resort for a night before departing. MG 4836

The Caledonian Sky accommodates a maximum of 114 passengers in 57 suites.  Common areas aboard ship include a Club Lounge featuring a bar on the top deck.  It has a library featuring reference books that pertain to the places the vessel is visiting.  The library also features daily newspapers and magazines based on local availability.  The vessel’s amenities are designed for well-heeled adventurous passengers.

The cruise line has been to the FSM before but this was the first time that The Kaselehlie Press was asked to cover the visit.