Arriving at Port Vila: A Guide for Cruise Passengers.

Port Vila is one of the most popular cruise stops in the South Pacific.

Did you know that over 100 cruise ships visit Port Vila every year!  Carnival, P&O, Royal Caribbean and Princess Ships (amongst others) all call there.

I hope you are lucky enough to be a passenger on a cruise ship stopover in Port Vila.  If so this Blog Post is for you!


Where is Port Vila?


Port Vila is in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is made up of a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, around 2000km North/East of Australia.

Port Vila is the Capital of Vanuatu, and it is located on the Island of Efate.


So When you visit Port Vila, you will be visiting the Island of Efate.

When cruising, Port Vila will be 2 sea-days from Brisbane, or 3 sea-days from Sydney.


When you visit Port Vila, remember this saying


This is so often true of the towns of the South Pacific – a small dusty, dirty commercial centre will not teach you a thing of the beauty of Vanuatu.  Please make the most of your day in Port and GET OUT OF TOWN!!

First things first:

Your ship will cruise into the Bay past several small islands, it’s a pretty sight so spend some time on deck to enjoy the scenery as you arrive.  Your ship will dock at the Commercial Ship Pier just outside the main township, if you gaze to your left you will just make out the buildings of the town.

As the ship arrives, you will see the local markets that have been laid out on the docks below you.

Exit from the ship is easy via the gang-plank straight onto the docks.


**TIP** Take a quick photo (on your phone) of the final boarding-time information the ship will have posted as you leave the ship.

If you do this you will have absolutely no confusion of when you need to be back on board.  You don’t want to miss your ship because you mixed up the departure time!!


If you have booked a Shore Tour from the Ship, you will have instructions of when to meet your tour group, and as you leave the ship you will turn right toward the pre-arranged ship tour area.

If you are not going on a ship-arranged tour you will turn left as you exit the ship and you will walk the labyrinth of market stalls to exit the dock area – the stalls are set up all day so you will have time to browse & buy either before your day ashore, or when you return to the ship.

**TIP** There is a money-exchange tent set up at the beginning of the market stalls, which is a good place to get some local currency if you don’t want to waste time doing it in town.  Yes, the exchange rate is a little worse than in town, but for the amount you are likely to want for the day it is worth doing here for the convenience.

(For more information on currency and exchange rates read Part 2 – coming next week).

Once you have negotiated the market stalls you will come to the exit where you will be met by the Vanuatu Taxi Welcoming Party!


At this point, don’t be put off and run back to the ship!

If you are reading this post before your trip to Port Vila I would recommend the next thing you do is take a look at our Unique Experiences in Port Vila – Book with Go By Sea and you will have a great local guide ready beyond the exit to show you what Port Vila is really all about!

You will be whisked away from the Port with a small group of like-minded travellers, away from the crowds to WALK, PADDLE, COOK or experience LIFE in the villages.