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Mariana Islands Cruises

A volcanic, crescent-shaped archipelago in the southern Pacific, the Mariana Islands make up a small overall landmass, but a huge part of modern human history. 

 Lying south-southeast of Japan and west-southwest of Hawaii, the Mariana Islands are divided into two US jurisdictions – the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the territory of Guam. This latter island is your port of call with P&O Cruises.

A few years ago, archaeologists reported findings which indicated that the people who first settled the Marianas, the Chamorro, arrived there after making what was at that time the longest uninterrupted ocean voyage in human history. Spaniards landed in the islands in the early 16th century, named them after their Queen Mariana, and colonised them. Eventually they were sold to Germany, saw constant fighting throughout WWII, and were annexed by the United States.  

The famous volcanoes here are mostly dormant now, and a cruise to the Mariana Islands reveals densely wooded forests, offshore coral reefs and the occasional smoking crater for effect. 

Top 5 interesting facts

  • The lowest point on the Earth's crust, the Mariana Trench, is near the islands. 
  • Textiles used to be big business here.
  • Coral reefs surround the southern islands’ coasts. 
  • The roads in Guam are partly made of coral.
  • More than 10 of the northern islands are uninhabited.
 

Highlights

Diving

The flora on the Mariana Islands is dense woodland with tropical vegetation. The unusual geography of these islands, caused by deep ocean trench subduction pushing up the volcanoes from the sea floor, makes for incredible swimming and scuba diving off their shores. 

Guam is the perfect destination for adventurous folk on a Mariana Islands cruise. If you like scuba diving, you’ll love the fact that Guam is consistently ranked as one of the best dive sites on earth. Expect incredible visibility, colourful coral reefs, dolphins and shipwrecks as standard.  

Marine life

Of course the paradise beaches are the main attraction here, with Ypao Beach Park being a first port of call for most. It’s a beautiful spot for snorkelling, as the marine life rest just below the surface. A visit to Underwater World makes for a fun few hours for anyone who doesn’t want to get their hair wet. In this marine theme park, you can see what’s going on under the sea in huge tanks, and you may even spot a shark or two. 

 

Food and culture

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Some of the indigenous tribes’ traditions have survived, but most Chamorro customs have been influenced by various foreign visitors in one way or another. 

The common cuisine on the islands is red rice, red meat, fish or poultry, on the grill or cooked in coconut milk, tropical fruits, as well as apigigi – a young coconut with cassava paste wrapped in banana leaf. The Mariana Islands have a food culture that is very much based on sharing, and villages will often have celebrations where guests bring food and share it amongst family and friends. 

 As well as local food that’s distinct to this part of the world being on offer, you will also find more familiar options with everything from bakeries, to fast food restaurants, to other cuisines like Mexican being available too. 

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting Mariana Islands

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