P&O Cruisers Australia has warned raunchy bikinis on the New Caledonian island of Lifou could mean ships could be banned because of a lack of respect for local customs.

One passenger took to Facebook to note that despite a warning in P&O’s daily newsletter Good Times, cruisers were still wearing ‘bikinis’ and ‘g-strings’. 

Emma Godfrey said: “For anyone doing a South Pacific cruise that includes Lifou, please read the Good Times about the wearing of bikinis. It was so disappointing to see women sitting, eating and shopping today in g-strings with no respect to the culture and that it may cause the cancellations of ships there.”

What the cruisers say

Other cruisers like Rosie Milners have reported the same ignoring of warnings. 

“We were at Lifou in December. I saw at least a dozen females in g-strings and they had either see-through clothes or no covering over them, despite it being advertised in Good Times. I think it is time for staff members to be checking passengers off the ship, and to tell the offenders to go back to their cabins and put some kind of cover over their itsy bitsy swimwear.”

Cruisers are being warned about their choice of swimwear
Cruisers are being warned about their choice of swimwear in New Caledonia.

Cruiser Cindy Brennan has seen this behaviour persist over many years. She wouldn’t be surprised if this could soon spell the end of cruising in Lifou.

“I’ve been to Lifou many times on different ships and different cruise lines. Unfortunately, I see this disrespect every single time. They’re not asking for much. It’s a privilege to visit these beautiful islands, yet people just don’t care, and wear whatever they want every time. I will not be surprised when the day comes when they’ve had enough and tell us all to bugger off permanently.”

Clear guidelines required, say cruisers

However, many other cruisers suggested that this should perhaps be made more clear to cruise passengers.

Suze Carroll wrote “Maybe they should tell you when you book, so you take appropriate swimwear”, with Esther Lepherd adding “Perhaps the cruise company need to make this very evident during the booking process?”

P&O’s warning on raunchy bikinis

Under the heading cultural respect, P&O wrote in Good Times: “As you probably know, Lifou is a tribal island vastly populated by the proud Kanak Indigenous people. The Kanak culture is based on respect and is highly religious in its majority.

“As such, the wearing of bathing suits at the markets or inside churches is not permitted. The local community has asked that guests should only wear traditional one-piece or full-piece swimsuits. Refrain from wearing lingerie, or monokini-type swimsuits whilst ashore in Lifou, even on the beach. 

“This can cause cultural frictions that may lead to unwanted attention ashore. In the long term, cause the cancellation of ships in Lifou. We thank you for understanding.”

P&O similarly has advice on their website on how to dress on the island.

“To observe the local customs of the South Pacific islands a respectful dress code is required. Swimwear should only be worn at the beach or pool and should be modest. G-strings, thongs, and mankinis should not be worn. Topless sunbathing is also not permitted at any time. When exploring the Islands and the local communities casual clothing should be worn. As a visitor to these beautiful islands please respect the wishes of residents.”

Other P&O passengers have reported the handing out of flyers containing the same information, as well as signage on the island.

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