Have you ever been on a cruise to the beautiful South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, gone for a quick wander among the port markets and found something you wanted to buy but didn’t have enough local or accepted currency to make the purchase?

P&O Cruises has taken steps to simplify this process. Beginning early next year, the line will trial the introduction of a dedicated pop-up stall onboard all five ships where passengers can purchase goods made in Vanuatu, designed as a way of offering an additional opportunity to pick up a locally produced memento from their cruise. The stall will open soon after the ship leaves Port Vila and be open for a few hours that evening, with a successful trial resulting in the possibility of the stall becoming a permanent feature on P&O ships visiting the region.

Products available will range from hand-woven bags, skincare products including soaps, bath lotions, specialty coffee, chocolate, spices and even vanilla – one of the most popular and well-known exports in Vanuatu.

P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell said many vendors found in Vanuatu employ local people and source materials from other communities to make their wares and that by buying these goods, passengers will help boost the incomes of these local merchants and will raise the profile of Vanuatu as a nation skilled in making such goods.

The stall will carry ‘local made’ branding so guests know the proceeds from their purchases will go back to helping these small business people and their suppliers in Vanuatu, some of whom are local farmers who can find themselves regularly hit by natural disasters.

“There is always a real buzz onboard when our guests return from day tours in Vila and its surrounds and there is a genuine affection for the place. This initiative is a way of keeping that feeling going and, at the same time, showcasing the locally made handicrafts, spices, roasted coffee and other products that Vanuatu has to offer,” Myrmell added.