Papua New Guinea: Explorers’ Cruise

In a previous century, a sea voyage to this remote Pacific island would have secured your credentials in a private explorer’s club. Today, the MV Orion sails to inaccessible areas with butlers and a full crew at your service.

Sarina Bratton, founder of Orion Expedition Cruises, visits with children in Watam Village in East Sepik Province.

A trip to Papua New Guinea no longer requires daring and a disregard for comfort. Today, the MV Orion provides access to remote areas all the while pampering passengers with five-star luxuries. But no one would fault you for not roughing it.

More like a yacht than an expedition vessel, the Orion has marble bathrooms, a health spa, internet access and a crack staff that includes a celebrity chef, naturalists, sport instructors and destination experts.

The garden town of Madang is known for its crafts market where you can find jewelry, wood carvings and woven bags that you need for the beach. Swimming and snorkeling in turquoise water is a daily occurrence. The smooth, white sand is not only good for sunbathing. On Fergusson Island, locals cooking a meal in a beachside hot spring may ask you to join them.

In the Trobriand Islands, in Milne Bay Province, most of the 12,000 indigenous inhabitants live in traditional settlements. Trobrianders sail to visit trade partners in seagoing Kula canoes, exchanging shells called kula.

The MV Orion is anchored off Kitava in Papua New Guinea’s Trobriand Islands with a Kula canoe on the beach.

The main highlight is the optional charter flight to the New Guinea Highlands, a populous region of mostly tropical rainforest that runs the length of the island. In the Goroka Highlands mud-men perform war dances and wear mud masks once used to frighten enemies. From time to time, the masked warriors reappear in payback raids against neighboring villages to address wrongdoings.

— CT Editors

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