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December 15, 2023

I had booked this cruise because it visited my dream destinations of Tahiti and Fiji. When I found out the cruise also visited Samoa, the first thing that popped into my head was my Saturday afternoons of watching WWF (World Wrestling Federation) on TV during my elementary school years. Back then, there was a wrestling tag team called the Wild Samoans. The ring announcer would say "...from the island of Samoa, the Wild Samoans!". Suddenly, two men with wild hair and wild personas to match would emerge from the back of the arena. I never dreamed I would one day visit the island from where the Wild Samoans came.

We docked in Samoa's capital city of Apia. Like most of the islands we would visit on this cruise, the cruise port was an industrial port with cranes and cargo containers.

Apia Port

Traci and I did the 6-hour Aleipata District & Beach Break shore excursion offered by Norwegian. It was an overview sightseeing tour. I appreciated the opportunity to see quite a bit of the island; however, the tour did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. I think the tour operator might had just been overwhelmed with the number passengers who signed up for the excursion - 180 people! We were shuttled in a caravan of 10 buses.

We were driven along the coast past rural tropical villages. Samoans live in villages that have a chief. When I heard the words "village" and "chief" the image that came to mind was PBS documentaries from back in the day of villages around the world containing primative huts, chickens, pigs, and other animals. This is not the case in Samoa. While I did see a fair number of domestic animals, the villages consist of houses, churches, and other buildings with electricity and plumbing.

What I will remember most about Samoa is its beautiful colors. Many of the houses we saw had colorful plants in front of them. It was beautiful against the backdrop of the island's lush, green scenery.

Colorful Samoa






Our first stop on this shore excursion was at Falefa Catholic Church. Samoa is a religious island. Most are Protestant. I saw and heard a few prayer gathering that day. As for the church, we were given a few minutes to admire its beautiful interior.

Falefa Catholic Church




Our next stop was at the Sopoaga Waterfall. We could only observe it from far away but it was pretty nonetheless. While we were there, we witnessed a coconut husking demonstration to watch how Samoans use the coconut water and husk to produce coconut milk. The coconut water and coconut milk was passed around for us passengers to taste but my germophobic self declined to drink from the same coconut as everyone else.

Our guide also told us about various plants and their uses. Next, we had a look at a pit called an umu where Samoans cook their food underground for special occasions. Unfortunately, our visit did not count as a special occasion. I would have really liked to have tasted something cooked in an umu.

Sopoaga Waterfall


making coconut milk


Samoans cook meals underground in an umu for special occasions.


tropical plants


We were taken to a beach where we would also be served lunch. Traci and I spent some time wading in the water. The sights and sounds of this beach experience was different from others. As Traci and I were heading back to the pavilion where we left our towels and dry clothes, we were shocked to see a small herd of cattle grazing in front of our pavilion! We did not bother them and they did not bother us. The experience did not stop there. In the distance I saw and heard a group of Samoans singing in praying under a pavilion further down the beach.

Lunch was served buffet style. There was chicken, fruit, bread, salad, etc... The tour operators were not equipped to serve all 180 passengers that were on this tour. The buffet line was long and moved slowly. Sadly, if you happened to be at the back of the line, you did not get lunch. The tour operator ran out of food!

We were apparently running behind schedule because suddenly the tour guides began beckoning everyone back to the buses. Some passengers had to hurry out of the water to dry off, change clothes, and pack up their things.

At the Beach





We were driven past the mansion of Robert Louis Stevenson but did not stop. He was the Scottish author who wrote famous novels such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He traveled extensively throughout the South Pacific. In fact, Traci and I saw a monument dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson while we were in Tahiti.

Our tour eventually made it back to Apia. This capital city seemed lively with people out and about, cars, stores, etc... It looked like a nice place to explore but we did not have time. We were given a few minutes to walk around the parking lot of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. This blue and white Catholic cathedral is beautiful from the outside. I would have loved to had seen its interior but the building was closed for the day by the time we arrived.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral

We made a stop at Apia's market. There were a lot of vendor stalls under the large pavilion. Our guide told us we only had 5 minutes to walk through this large place. This did not work. Our guide spent at least 15 minutes trying to coral us back to the bus. In that time, I did manage to buy a Samoa refrigerator magnet. I found out that I needed to visit several stalls in order to get the best price. The first vendor I visited was selling magnets for $8. After visiting a few more stalls, I finally bought one that interested me for $2. One thing I found interesting during my time in Samoa was that despite most of the street signs, billboards, and other signage being written in English, I encountered very few people who could actually speak the language. Samoan is the language of Samoa.

Apia Market

We were finally returned to the cruise port at 4 PM. We needed to be back on the ship by 6:30 PM. I would have liked to explore downtown Apia but realized there was just not enough time as most businesses begin closing at 5 PM. It would have been quite a walk to get downtown from the ship. Therefore, we browsed some of the vendor tents that were set up at the cruise pier and then boarded the ship.

Samoans have a tradition of singing a song for departing guests. Our tour guide had sung us a song before we left the tour bus. This tradition went to a whole new level when our ship left the port. There were Samoan dancers, singers, and musicians performing for us in front of the cargo containers as we sailed away. At one point, there were men twirling fire. That was the best sailaway experience ever.

Samoans Saying Goodbye with Song and Dance




Samoa soon faded into the horizon as we continued our journey on the Pacific Ocean. Chandler and Jackie joined Traci and me for dinner in the Taste dining room. We enjoyed good conversation - so much so that we missed the evening show. Afterwards, Traci and I turned in for the night. We needed to set our clocks back an hour before going to bed to accommodate another time zone change. Continue...

Magnet Purchased At This Destination: (click to enlarge)

Entire fridge magnet collection...


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