The Island Of Lelepa – Royal Caribbean’s New South-Pacific Hotspot
If you’ve never heard of Lelepa, you are not alone. Lelepa is an island in the southwestern Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.
Lelepa is located off the northwest coast of the larger island of Efate.
One of 83 both large and small islands in the South Pacific Ocean, Lelepa is east of Northern Australia, west of Fiji, and south of the Solomon Islands.
The archipelago in which Lelepa is situated is volcanic in origin, and that type of topography makes the Vanuatu area a favorite for coral reef scuba diving.
One of the draws for scuba divers is the wreck of the U.S.S. luxury cruise ship Coolidge. The ship was a converted troop carrier that was sunk during WWII.
Sunk off Espiritu Santo Island in the archipelago, the ship is one of the world’s largest shipwrecks that is accessible for recreational diving.
Vanuatu is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with over 1,000 languages spoken among a population of only 250,000. The area also has some of the best food in the region, with locally sourced in waters surrounding the many islands.
Artist’s rendering of the future Perfect Day at Lelepa
Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day At Lelepa
While the Vanuatu Islands may be a lesser-known destination, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) cruise lines have had their sights set on Lelepa for a few years.
There are plans in the works to develop the island into a private destination, much like RCI’s Coco Cay located in the Bahamas.
Calling their new endeavor ‘Perfect Day at Lelepa’, RCI will have select cruises out of Australia that will include an automatic beach day on Lelpa.
In October 2019, the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salawi, made a joint announcement for developing Perfect Day with RCI’s President and CEO, Michael Bayley.
As the whole world can sympathize with, RCI’s plans for Perfect Day were derailed by the pandemic.
There is not yet an opening day for RCI’s newest island, but there is speculation that it may not be until the spring of 2024 before this port island is open for RCI passengers.
At this point in time, (Feb 2023) RCI’s announced itineraries out of Brisbane and Sydney do not include Perfect Day at Lelepa as a port of call.
RCI has released few details about Perfect Day at Lelepa, but they have said that it will reduce the carbon footprint of cruise ships and passengers visiting the island.
When RCI first announced the new project, they stated that the area would be created in partnership with the community of Vanuatu.
Michael Bayley, RCI’s President, and CEO, said that the project would “showcase the distinct natural ecological beauty and diverse local culture of the island nations as well as provide employment and education opportunities.”
Perfect Day at Lelepa will serve fewer guests than Coco Cay, with about 800,000 guests annually, compared to Coco’s 2.5 to 3 million. All buildings on the island will also be done with sustainability in mind.
RCI also said that “We believe our destinations should be sustainably designed. That idea goes beyond simply protecting the ecological features of Lelepa and includes showing respect for the people and traditions that make this a special place.”
Royal Caribbean is wanting to develop Lelepa to offer pristine beaches, swimming pools, and lagoon-like bays. There are plans for cabanas and over-the-water bungalows too.
Shopping options, food and beverage, and indigenous entertainment are also in the plans for Perfect Day at Lelepa, along with a few unique tours and excursions.
It is presumed that this port of call will not feature the water-park atmosphere and thrill rides that are part of Coco Cay destination but have a more laid-back, chill atmosphere.
When completed, Lelepa will be the first private, carbon-neutral destination in the world. With an emphasis on protecting the ecological features of Lelepa, RCI will also seek to preserve and respect the people and traditions of Lelepa.
Again, there is currently no opening date for the island, but when visiting the RCI website, they still list in their Frequently Asked Questions: What is Perfect Day at Lelepa?
If you want to be in the list to learn more about the opening of Perfect Day at Lelepa, you can sign up here: Perfect Day at Lelepa | Royal Caribbean Cruises
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