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From 1 October 2023, the luxury cruising “resort” will introduce Four Seasons travellers to the western Pacific Island nation of Palau, with daily embarkations to true adventure.
Remote and untouched – imagine a beautiful wilderness awash with natural and cultural wonders. Four Seasons Explorer is setting sail to one of the world's last remaining frontiers beginning later this year. Hidden in a remote part of the mighty Pacific, discover Palau – home to more than 340 emerald islands, an astonishing spectrum of marine life, and a 4,000-year-old culture still sustained by the local knowledge of 20,000 traditionally minded people - the most vital element of the unique Palauan culture.
Referred to as one of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World, with a half million square kilometres (193,000 square miles) of protected marine territory, Palau offers glorious opportunities for divers and snorkellers. But that’s just the start of the island nation’s wondrous appeal. With only 9 of the country’s 340 islands inhabited, opportunities for raw natural adventure abound, while deep cultural immersions range from insights into the rich Palauan dance tradition – awash with powerful chanting, storytelling and vibrant colours – to intriguing exploration of WWII sites, symbolic bai meeting houses, and centuries of Spanish, German, Japanese and American influences.
“The core Palauan value of omengull – respecting all and everything – deeply aligns with our values at Four Seasons,” notes Regional Vice President Armando Kraenzlin. “Right from the Palauan Pledge that all visitors are asked to sign upon arrival, visitors are immersed in one of the world’s most unique cultures, founded on tradition and respect. It’s a thrilling paradise for anyone seeking harmony with nature, and the opportunity to learn and embrace the unique Palauan way of life.”
Be among the first to experience Palau with Four Seasons Explorer: Reservations for the first adventures in late 2023 are now being confirmed, with several opening offers and daily embarkation options to choose from. Call (960) 66 00 888, email: reservations.pme@fourseasons.
Discover One of the World’s Last Remaining Natural Frontiers
More than 1,400 species of fish and 500 species of healthy corals thrive in Palau’s crystal waters and elevated lakes. The nation became the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, covering more than 600,000 square kilometres of ocean (230,000 square miles) while the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Palau’s astonishing spectrum of ocean life make it a paradise for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
With a draft of 1.9 metres (6.23 feet), Four Seasons Explorer can access locations that larger vessels can't reach, while its PADI 5-Star Dive Centre ensures expert multi-lingual instructors, the latest gear and onboard videographer, as well as custom-designed dive and excursion boats for direct entry to even the most inaccessible dive sites.
Bucket-list amazement lies around every corner for divers, from the glittering stalactite formations of Chandelier Cave to the WWII history of Helmet Wreck; the gorgonian fans of Blue Corner to the dazzling canyons of Peleliu Wall. Experiences are equally awe-inspiring for snorkellers: millions of stingless golden and moon jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake; giant 115 kilogram (250 pounds) tridacna clams in Clam City; rabbitfish, turtles and goatfish in the crystal clear Ngedebus Coral Gardens—all accessed via guided excursions with Four Seasons marine biologists.
The scattered islands of Micronesia’s Palau are home to a unique culture and intriguing heritage bound by a deep respect for the environment that has sustained generations of people. Four Seasons Explorer on-shore excursions are handled by insightful guides and include visiting Palau's oldest bai (meeting house); exploring the Badrulchau Stone Monoliths, estimated to date back to the year 161; marvelling at the cave paintings of Ulong Island; discovering the Belau National Museum, multiple WWII sites, traditional music, lush forests, majestic waterfalls, and more.
Recreational activities on offer include windsurfing, stand-up paddling and kayaking, while wellness experiences showcase soothing yoga, breathing and restorative treatments on-board or on a secluded beach. Explorer guests can bathe in mineral-rich mud, learn traditional Palauan fishing techniques, hike, bird-watch or even learn to pronounce a few Palauan phrases.
A World of Culinary Creativity
Aboard Four Seasons Explorer, each day begins with an array of à-la-carte breakfast choices. Meals served on-board are all-inclusive (with the exception of alcoholic beverages) with lunch and dinner menus changing daily, themed on regional creations from Palau and elsewhere in the Pacific, as well as Asia and the West. Highlights include regular beach barbecues complete with insights into Palauan music and culture – always with fresh (and where possible, local) ingredients – gourmet flourishes and an extensive wine list.
A Floating Resort
Four Seasons Explorer operates like a floating resort, offering daily embarkations and disembarkations, allowing up to 22 guests to explore as deeply – and for as long – as they wish. With the freedom to focus on personal areas of interest among Palau’s many bucket-list wonders, both underwater and on land, all adventures are entirely bespoke.
Guests can also look forward to a variety of on-board experiences, from connecting with Palauan people, chefs and musicians to learning from expert marine biologists and indulging in wellness experiences with spa therapists and yogis.
Given its remote location, Palau is ideally experienced in conjunction with other nearby destinations. Palau International Airport in Koror is currently accessible via Taipei, Honolulu, Guam, Manila and Brisbane, with the island nation well placed for further exploration of Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan and other islands of Oceania such as Yap, Chuuk and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Four Seasons Explorer will also be available for fully customizable private yacht charters in Palau for groups of up to 22 – including dedicated charters for surf enthusiasts with the experts from Tropicsurf, from uncrowded “best-kept secret” breaks on the east and west coast reefs to adventurous “surfaris” off the country’s fringing islands during the winter months.