Sitting at the Captain’s table on night one of my four-night Yasawa Islands cruise with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji, I can’t think how special it is to have the captain’s ear to ask questions, hear ‘salty tales’ and discuss the history of this old maid, the Reef Endeavour.
And you might say that I’m lucky sitting with Captain Ian Davison – which is true. But the fact is that on small ship cruises with Captain Cook Cruises, the captain is very much accessible – especially Captain ‘Call me Ian’ Davison – and happy to chat with guests as he goes about his daily business.
Large ship captains are often nowhere to be found. But one need only stroll the decks of the Reef Endeavour for a few minutes before bumping into Ian.
The Reef Endeavour is a 23-year-old vessel. Ian says, “we don’t try to hide that fact”. The ship may not be cutting edge or teeming with the comforts of home – although it is incredibly comfortable, clean and in ‘ship-shape’. It’s the experiences on offer that make this cruise truly special, and it’s the comfort of the passengers that is a priority for the captain.
If it’s the choice between going slow and saving money on fuel or “putting the hammers on” to get to a calmer harbour for the night, Ian chooses to face the scorn of his bosses over passenger discomfort. If he sees someone looking a little confused or serious, he’s the first one to see if he can do something to make their cruise even better.
He’s been working with the Reef Endeavour for about 20 years of its 23-year-old life.
“I worked out last week that I’ve spent a total of seven years on this ship, so I know her pretty well,” he says.
And you can get to know the captain, too. Look for him sipping a drink at dusk on his pool deck table near the bar, during his bridge tour (another bonus on small ship cruises) or helping passengers as they alight from one of the many amazing snorkelling, village or beach tours.
If you need a conversation starter, get him talking about his on-shore passion – beekeeping.
“They are really interesting little insects,” he says. “When my time at sea is over, which won’t be any time too soon, that’s probably what I’ll do. Show people how to keep bees because, like how coral is important to the sea, bees are important to what goes on on the land. The more bees we have, the better.”
Head to www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com to find out more about small ship cruising through the wonderful Fijian Islands.
If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.