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Cruising Article – 2011-04-22

Cultural immersion in American Samoa

Australia/New Zealand Cruise Destinations

If you're booking an Australian and New Zealand cruise, one port that you may want to consider is the island of American Samoa in the South Pacific. The town of Pago Pago is your gateway to this culturally rich and stunningly beautiful island.

The first thing you'll notice when arriving in Pago Pago is the amazingly scenic harbor. According to researchers, the harbor was once a mountainous region. Yet over time, the natural walls collapsed, allowing seawater to rush in and fill the harbor. There's still remnants of the past here today, as the harbor is surrounded by large mountains on both sides.

One of the more memorable parts of your stay in Pago Pago will certainly be the Ava Ceremony. Performed by the Samoan inhabitants, this traditional island welcome is typically reserved for the most important of guests, but you'll have a chance to see one through the shore excursions offered here. The ceremony gets its name from the delicious Kava fruit that grows on the island - which you'll get to sample in the form of a tasty beverage while you watch the performance.

If you're interested in learning more about the Samoan people, you're in luck. It's possible to book a trip to one of the island's many villages, where you'll again be greeted warmly by your hosts. The villagers are extremely hospitable, and you'll have a chance to sample one of their home-cooked dishes. This is the perfect opportunity to spend a relaxing day immersed in the island's culture.

Dive even deeper into the island's heritage with a trip to one of its top museums. The Jean P. Haydon Museum offers a wide range of Samoan art and artifacts, along with exhibits that explain the history of this fascinating island and people.