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Cruise With Kids: Champagne Bay, Vanuatu

My family has taken two different South Pacific cruises, and each time our favorite port was Champagne Bay, Vanuatu Island (part of Espiritu Santo).

Here’s why we love getting to spend the day on the little patch of paradise.

3 Things To Do on a Cruise Stop at Champagne Bay

One of the most beautiful beaches in the world

Champagne Bay from the waterChampagne Bay is simply stunning, even at first glance from the cruise ship. The gorgeous white sand running a ribbon between deep green jungle and crystal blue water, dotted with colorful sarongs that clash (wonderfully) with one another is impossibly perfect.

When you step off your cruise ship tender boat, you plunge into a different world. Beautiful native songs and dances of welcome drift seductively to your ears and eyes as you try to take in beauty beyond words. Locals step up, offering live, tamed wildlife for photographs­–lizards, snakes, even turtles. Local women call to braid your hair in intricate patterns. This idyllic paradise is what I came on a South Pacific cruise for. It’s enough to spend the day foraging through the fascinating market for souvenirs, or lying on the pristine beach gazing at the ocean.

But the true beauty of Champagne Bay lies beneath the surface; to swim and snorkel here is a treat that shouldn’t be missed. The water is so blue, it’s almost as though someone decided to pour in food coloring. Bright coral and colorful fish are everywhere. Gentle, shallow water means that our youngest family member could view the underwater spectacle with a pair of goggles.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon fresh water pool on Vanuatu

There are several local excursions you can do inexpensively on your own. We opted to hop in a ute taking people to the Blue Lagoon, one of several fresh-water pools on the island. Several people were standing on the back of the truck but with kids we opted for a safer seat inside the cab.

After a short drive we paid a small fee to the local tribesman, then took a short, steep-ish walk to a beautiful blue waterhole. It reminded me of gigantic, very deep aquarium; I couldn’t reach the bottom. We had a couple of hours to swim and expolore before returning to Champagne Bay.

Meet the Locals

souvenir shopping on vanuatuThe local people have given us some of our best memories of Vanuatu. They flock to the port to sell their wares whenever a ships pulls in (which is only every couple of weeks). They come across as friendly and welcoming and at the same time shy, appreciative and humble. They’re not demanding or rude. And some and the prices for their lovely arts and crafts were so low, I found myself supplementing them in an attempt to give them their worth.

At one point, when I was buying a souvenir, I lost sight of one of my children for a moment. Seeing my worry, the shopkeeper dropped everything, left his shop and recruited surrounding stall-holders to help me find her. She was playing just metres away, of course, but their help for those few scary moments mad me feel like family.

Champagne Bay is an outstanding destination worth planning your next cruise around. See it for yourself, and I’m sure you will agree it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Learn more and price a South Pacific cruise on Cruise Direct

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Champagne Bay, Vanuatu is our writer's favorite stop on a South Pacific cruise. The beautiful beach, colorful markets and scenic Blue Lagoon make it any easy and fun port-of-call with kids. #vanuatu #cruise #kids

Barbara Bryan writes the Australian travel blog Let’s Go Mum about single-parent family travel. You can see her weekly on YouTube and follow her on Instagram.


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  1. January 27, 2018 at 2:43 pm — Reply

    What a beautiful part of the world – I would love to explore the area more and this cruise looks perfect! The colours of the water are picture perfect! ‪#familytraveltips‬

  2. January 24, 2018 at 7:43 am — Reply

    Oh gosh, the locals sound amazing. What a horrible moment for you and a relief that they were so helpful. Vanuatu looks so beautiful, that Blue Lagoon is so appealing right now! Thanks for linking up to #familytraveltips

  3. January 21, 2018 at 3:59 pm — Reply

    A cruise is still very much on our bucket list and this certainly sounds an amazing place to go. #familytraveltips

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