I have just returned from a seven night cruise aboard the Pacific Eden from Cairns to the Trobriand and New Guinea Islands. The beauty of cruising is that they take you to places you might not think to go, or be comfortable travelling to any other way. This was the case for me. I need the holiday and I could not see myself going to New Guinea any other way, so this cruise was perfect.
The Pacific Eden was a Holland America ship, the Statendam, which P&O bought and rebadged as a P&O ship.
Departing from Cairns and their heritage terminal we sailed for a day and our first port of call was Alotau on Milne Bay, scene of a major battle in World War II. We arrived on the final day of the Kundu and Canoe festival which brings villages and tribes from all over the Milne Bay province to compete and share traditional dance and song.
We opted to do the traditional cooking class which was great fun. All decked out in aprons and gloves we were set to chop vegetables and greens, scrap coconut and generally prepare the base of the claypot cooked traditional chicken and pork dishes. We got to eat the food for lunch. Traditional vegetable like yams and taro features strongly. Very filling, and quite starchy, but good nonetheless.
And of course the locals were very friendly, especially the kids.