0 comments on “Unexpected Culinary Adventures in Nuku Hiva

Unexpected Culinary Adventures in Nuku Hiva

Nuku Hiva

By Oceania Cruises Guest June S.

Nuku Hiva, filled with paradise valleys, sacred tikis, dramatic waterfalls and Robinson Crusoe beaches, is the kind of spectacular South Pacific island that seems too dreamy to be real. In fact, I didn’t think a place like this really existed until we arrived at the dock via tender and were greeted with tribal conch shell blowing, rhythmic chanting and locals in colorful traditional dress. It quickly became evident that Nuku Hiva, one of the largest and most isolated French Polynesian islands, did not receive many visitors and when they did – it was a very special event. Even better, I was set to experience otherworldly Nuku Hiva through a Culinary Discovery Tour led by Chef Instructor Noelle Barille and our local guide, Ani. I could go on for pages and days, but below are a few highlights from our tour, “Traditional Polynesian Culinary Experience.”


Traditional Underground Oven Demonstration
We took an incredibly picturesque drive to the Taipivai cultural site, nestled in the heart of Taipivai Valley, for this unique demonstration and to enjoy a traditional Polynesian lunch. The literary nerd in me delighted in the fact that this was the area where Herman Melville lived for three weeks with locals when he deserted his ship, and had experiences that eventually inspired his novel, Typee. Here, we learned how the Ahi Ma’a, the traditional underground oven covered with banana leaves, is opened after the food has been cooking over hot volcanic stones – in this case, for more than two days. This method of cooking imparts an earthy flavor to the food and is found throughout the South Pacific.

The Ubiquitous & Essential Breadfruit
We quickly learned that Uru, or breadfruit, is a Nuku Hivan staple and is one of the island’s essential trees. In fact, locals love building with breadfruit wood because it’s one of the few types of wood termites don’t like. Breadfruit makes its way into everything culinary on the island and can be prepared a variety of ways – fried, roasted, steamed, boiled, sliced into chips or mashed with coconut milk, which is called Ka’aku. Before lunch, we watched as one of the local women mashed the breadfruit and later had a chance to sample it with coconut milk.


Polynesian Goat Stew & Purple Bananas with Traditional Music
As a former vegetarian for many years, meat dishes are not typically the courses I’m most excited about, but the goat stew, cooked in coconut milk of course, was delicious – savory and not at all gamey. The roasted bananas, which turn a surprisingly vibrant shade of purple when roasted, were another favorite – they were tropically sweet with just a bit of tartness to balance it. The roast suckling pig was a hit with all as was the poisson cru, a fresh South Pacific-style ceviche. We enjoyed it all in characteristic island-style, to the relaxing beat of traditional Polynesian music thanks to a local band that cheerfully played throughout lunch.

Family Taro, Manioc & Honey Plantations
After lunch, Ani and Chef Noelle accompanied us to Ani’s uncle’s farm, which was lush and full of taro, manioc, sugarcane and many other crops. Amongst the dense tropical foliage, Ani’s uncle showed us how they don’t need any tools other than the taro stalk to help plant the next round of taro and manioc plants. We learned that each taro plant takes about 8 months to grow and that these root vegetables make up an essential part of the local diet. We also sampled fresh sugarcane and spotted a prized noni fruit tree. Next up was a honey farm in another village where we received an insider’s look at how local honey products are made and tasted the local floral honey – deliciously sweet with a tropical fragrance.


Needless to say, at the end of the day I was thrilled to have one more full day to continue exploring this incredible island in the middle of the deep blue South Pacific.

1 comment on “Our Destination Experts’ Insight: The South Pacific in 2019-2020”

Our Destination Experts’ Insight: The South Pacific in 2019-2020

Overwater bungalows surrounded by bright turquoise water, verdant fern-lined valleys, locals donning blooms of tiare flowers and grass skirts, the strum of a ukulele in the distance. Even if you’ve not yet had the delight of traveling to the storied islands of the South Pacific, the paradise of the region is likely alive in your mind from myriad photos, videos and films. With the blissful South Pacific voyages featured in our new 2019-2020 Tropics & Exotics Collection, you will discover that the real thing far exceeds your imagination. Delve into Polynesian culture, and uncover the lasting legacies of author Herman Melville and painter Paul Gauguin, who were so inspired by these stunning lands. Glide above vibrant coral reefs, smell the sweet perfume of hibiscus, and listen to the rustle of palm fronds over an impossibly white beach. Shaped by an array of native cultures and fascinating geological history, the South Pacific islands certainly beckon for a deeper exploration to truly appreciate all they have to offer. Below, we share more on one of our exciting new ports, plus featured voyages to inspire your travels.


New Port Spotlight: Maré Island, New Caledonia
Given its proximity to other popular islands of New Caledonia, it is remarkable that Maré Island remains so untouched by the outside world. Ancient tectonic forces lifted this coral atoll above the sea, creating a striking landscape where lush forests suddenly plummet into limestone caves encircling natural freshwater pools. Swaying palms and feathery pines adorn
ragged cliffs that soar into the air and then plunge into grottoes and hidden lagoons. White swaths of sand lie along waters that appear the brightest shade of turquoise from a distance, but upon approach become so clear as to almost disappear. In this pristine paradise, the arrival of a ship is a major event, and the island’s small population will welcome you with traditional songs and impromptu markets offering local wares. Embrace their friendliness and learn where to find the most scenic spots on the island.

Destination Specialists’ Featured Voyages
Sublime South Pacific | November 17, 2019Papeete to Sydney aboard Regatta | 18 Days
On this voyage that includes an overnight in Bora Bora and off-the-beaten-path ports such as Port Vila, Vanuatu and Noumea, New Caledonia, you can completely let go of your cares and surrender yourself to the relaxed lifestyle of the South Pacific before returning to the excitement of the Australian cities of Brisbane and Sydney.

Stunning South Pacific | February 17, 2020Auckland to Papeete aboard Regatta | 18 Days
On this alluring voyage that takes you from New Zealand’s lush Bay of Islands and one-of-a-kind Maré to South Pacific legends such as Fiji and Bora Bora, you’ll be very glad for the chance to repeat a date as you cross the International Date Line – it means more time to feast on the exquisite panoramas and heavenly colors of the South Pacific.

Legends to Lagoons | March 5, 2020Papeete to Papeete aboard Regatta | 10 Days
This journey through the legendary islands of French Polynesia will make you want to linger awhile and will leave you with memories of island adventures for a long time to come. From Papeete and Bora Bora to lesser-known treasures like Fakarava and Nuku Hiva, warm breezes, fragrant flowers, delicious local foods, laughing voices and stunning panoramas abound.


Isn’t it time you lived your South Pacific dreams?

1 comment on “Top 5 Romantic Islands Around the World”

Top 5 Romantic Islands Around the World

Seeking a serene escape for you and your significant other? From secluded beaches and famed lagoons to dramatic cliffs, epic sunsets and lush rainforests, these islands span the four corners of the globe and make it hard not to swoon. For your next romantic getaway, here’s what our Destination Specialists say are your best bets.

1. St. Lucia

St. Lucia


What’s not to love about settling into the relaxing rhythm of St. Lucia amidst the stunning backdrop of the UNESCO-protected Pitons? This lush island is favored by honeymooners and those looking to escape and reconnect. Stroll the French colonial gem of Soufrière hand-in-hand, explore the majestic old-growth rainforest or perhaps spice things up and learn the island secrets of traditional St. Lucian dishes on one of our popular Culinary Discovery Tours™.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Island Spices & Cooking Tour

2. Santorini

Is there any place in the world that can compete with the vistas of Santorini? Dramatic cliffs, ancient ruins, picturesque villages – all with your significant other by your side. You really can’t go wrong with adventures in this Greek paradise, but one involving Santorini wine tops our list.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Food & Wine Trails: Santorini’s Boutari Winery, Oia & Fira Visits

3. The Seychelles

The Seychelles


A naturalist’s paradise, the Seychelles are one of those locations on the planet that truly are a world away. La Digue offers gorgeous and romantic beaches, while mountainous Mahé offers excellent hiking and beautiful natural parks as well tropical beaches.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: these secluded islands need no advance planning – arrive, relax and savor every moment of the surreal beauty.

4. Boracay

Declared “World’s Best Island” by Travel+Leisure, Boracay Island is dreamy hidden paradise free from crowds. White Beach is perfect for lazing in the sun by day and enjoying leisurely sunset strolls by evening. The surrounding waters are ideal for snorkeling and often lead you to even more secluded and tranquil stretches of beach that you can enjoy all to yourself.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Island Beach & Snorkeling

5. Bora Bora

Bora Bora


From the island’s fabled lagoon to off-the-beaten-path villages and beaches, Bora Bora offers endless corners of paradise to uncover together. There are plenty of options for adventures both on land and by sea – off-road safaris, island tours, snorkeling, lagoon cruises and more. Why not cap your Bora Bora island experience off by indulging in a sumptuous dinner at St. Regis on our new exclusive Culinary Discovery Tour?

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Gourmet Dinner at St. Regis Bora Bora

A romantic island cruise vacation is the perfect chance to rekindle and re-connect – explore more options now.

0 comments on “South Pacific Recipe: Tahitian Poisson Cru”

South Pacific Recipe: Tahitian Poisson Cru

According to locals, one of the favorite dishes in French Polynesia is Tahitian Poisson Cru. A refreshing island-style mixture of tuna and fresh vegetables prepared with lime and coconut, the dish is a traditional and delicious taste of the French Polynesia. You’ll find plenty of local restaurants on the islands that serve it, and you can enjoy this dish on board at Terrace Café when you’re cruising the South Pacific. Try the recipe below to bring a taste of the islands to your home.

1 comment on “Guest Post: Village Life in Papua New Guinea”

Guest Post: Village Life in Papua New Guinea

By Guest Lecturer Dr. Ken Beattie

The amazing island paradise of Papua New Guinea is rife with contrasts. Papua New Guinea, or PNG as many refer to it, is the eastern portion of the island of new Guinea. The western region is simply known as Western Papua and is part of Indonesia. Millions of years ago, when the seas and oceans were shallower, a natural connection between this island and Northern Australia existed at the Torres Strait. As ancient as time itself, Papua New Guinea is still relatively untouched, especially in the outer villages and in the highlands, and makes for unique and exotic adventures.