History of Blue Lagoon Cruises
The history of Blue Lagoon tells the story of a love affair with the islands of Fiji – and of a man who dared to dream about creating one of the most enchanting cruise experiences in the world.
Captain Trevor Withers, a young New Zealand stockbroker with a passion for the sea, founded Blue Lagoon Cruises in 1950. Withers and his friend, Harold Gatty, a renowned Australian aviator, came to Fiji at a time when tourism to the pacific nation was virtually unknown. Visitors to Fiji, for the most part, were in transit at Nadi Airport or were shipped passengers enroute between North America and New Zealand or Australia.
A simple story of a dream that became a reality and a reality that fulfilled a dream.
Withers and Gatty had a vision to establish a fishing industry in Fiji. To start the venture, the duo visited the islands to pay respects to the Chiefs. It was at the magnificent Yasawa Island, Waya Lailai, where they enlisted the help of a young villager, Epeli Voli, as an interpreter. With Epeli’s help, Captain Withers obtained the full support of the Yasawa people for his fishing venture and established firm friendships with the chiefs and the people of the Yasawa Islands.
After four years of effort, Withers and Gatty concluded that their hopes of establishing a tuna fishing industry in Fiji were not viable. But, both men had fallen in love with Fiji and wished to remain in the islands. Gatty went on to establish Fiji Airways, the forerunner to Fiji's national airline, Air Pacific (now once again called Fiji Airways). However, the future for Withers was not so clear. He still had his mind on the sea and began to dream of taking visitors on a cruise through the idyllic Yasawa Islands: a dream that was to become Blue Lagoon Cruises.
By 1966, Blue Lagoon Cruises had established an international reputation and Withers, now suffering from poor health, was ready to retire to his beloved Waya Island. After much deliberation, he sold the venture to Captain Claude Millar, a well-known New Zealand ship owner, so completing the first chapter of the Blue Lagoon Cruise history.
Blue Lagoon Cruises today
Blue Lagoon Cruises is managed by the successful South Sea Cruises.
As a result, Blue Lagoon Cruises has undergone a series of changes and improvements, to bring the cruise itineraries up to a whole new level of experience for visitors to Fiji’s wonderful islands.
Blue Lagoon Cruises still retain their important link and special relationship with the Yasawa village locals. The company supports the Yasawa Islands community through association with the Vinaka Fiji Volunteer Progammes, run by the Yasawa Trust Foundation. Blue Lagoon Cruises also remains an important factor in the Yasawa Islands' economy, providing the opportunity for the people of the islands to earn revenue through the company's payments to access beaches and visit villages, for performances of traditional Fijian entertainment and for the sale of village market crafts to guests. Further assistance in times of need also made freely.