Cruise days 44,45 – Feb 17,18
Our visit here in Noumea, New Caledonia was not on our original itinerary and became a first time stop for Viking. The ship apparently re-routed here (two days of out-of-the-way sailing east from Brisbane) to allow Viking time to plan further revisions on the way to Bali, and the following segment to Mumbai. The Mumbai to London segment remains unchanged at this time. We learned after boarding in January that this Ultimate World Cruise actually includes several segments along the way for folks wanting shorter cruises.
Anyway, New Caledonia is a cool French island with a population of about 300,000. We were here for two days, enough time to get a feel for the place:
During our bus tour the first morning, we learned that about 10% of the population live on boats, many tied up at the harbor. We saw hundreds of them sittin’ pretty on the beautiful azure waters.
Continuing past Lemon Bay Beach, we arrived at a high point where we could look down on the medium-sized city and most of the island. After driving through the main part of the city, we returned to the harbor and boarded an “on and off” bus which took us back for more time at Lemon Bay Beach. We had a craft beer there, and then crossed the highway to the beach where we took a walk and then just sat in the shade for a while enjoying some “island time”.
This island is quite wealthy, with much of that wealth coming from its main export – nickel. About 20% of the world’s nickel is mined here; it’s the major source of income followed by tourism. We learned that about 50,000 American soldiers were stationed here during WWII, along with a smaller contingent of Australian troops, to ward off any attacks by the Japanese (there weren’t any).
We liked the small coastal city atmosphere here, and the fact that they were happy to accept our U.S. dollars for things we purchased. The main language is French of course, but we were able to communicate OK with the people that we came across. Maybe Viking should add this place to its regular itinerary!
The ship sailed around noon on the second day, and since it was raining in the morning our plans to go back to the beach didn’t happen. But we felt we’d covered the small town and beach pretty well, and it had a vibe that we really liked!
Back on the ship:
WOW!! I’ve never seen pics of New Caledonia. Now I want to go there! What a beautiful island! Viking should definitely add it to their regular itinerary. Love the flame trees, especially. Oh, and thanks for the tip on how to get more space on public transport. 😂
Now we know how to clear a room (or a bus)! Too funny. What a beautiful island, I loved the swaying palm trees at the beach and he beautiful flame trees. A little silver lining in your last minute itinerary changes I guess.
What a sweet unplanned treat! Looks like a lovely island. The Flame Trees are so beautiful with cute blooms. Boy the virus really is freaking people out. Great that ML cleared the upper deck for you.
What a pretty place! It’s always nice when unplanned detours end up being cool destinations of their own. Those flame trees are so cool and the color is so vivid!
I don’t think there is any world cruise out there that is not segmented … not many can or want to be away for the length of some of these cruises, though Holland America’s world cruise on the Amsterdam has an impressive 1200 out of 1300 passengers booked on their 2020 voyage … they’ve got quite the repeat world cruisers.
I imagine anyone coughing now raises concerns quickly. I was at the Wetlands today and everyone around me was yelling at a guy who was sneezing all over the place.
Nice to see your pictures and get an idea of what we missed in town. When we stopped there in 2017, we took an excursion out to Amadee Island for snorkeling … it’s probably the most popular excursion when ships stop in New Caledonia.
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