It’s all about the superlatives when describing cruising the South Pacific, because it is all about the bluest of blue lagoons, the whitest of white sandy beaches, the friendliest of friendly people, and so it goes…
We have taken three popular cruising spots in the South Pacific and looked at different ways of cruising, where size does matter.
Fiji’s capital, Nadi is the entry port for a large number of islands, in particular the spectacular Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, where you can anchor in private lagoons, laze on golden beaches, or swim, snorkel or dive in crystal clear blue waters.
If you are seeking a smaller ship type of experience, Blue Lagoon Cruises operates a small fleet of ships that explore these beautiful parts of Fiji with 3-7 night itineraries. Also Blue Lagoon conducts 70-passenger catamaran cruises to remote islands north of Fiji like Rabi and Kioa.
Another smaller ship operator is Captain Cook Cruises. This operator with its 130-passenger ship, the Reef Endeavor also offers similar 3-7 night cruises to the Yasawa Islands, and a seven-night option to remote northern Fiji.
Going slightly bigger again, is the legendary Aranui 5. This mixed passenger/cargo vessel that tops its passenger numbers at around 200, makes regular 16-day trips from Tahiti to the Marquesas and Tuamotu atolls. In addition to working as a cargo ship, with a day job of delivering supplies to the Tahiti group of islands, the Aranui 5 also operates as a luxury cruise ship.
The Aranui 5 delivers a voyage of discovery, both on-board and on-shore activities, with a range of amazing educational lectures, and port visits (Aranui can access the more remote ports due its size) throughout this incredible part of the South Pacific.
Paul Gauguin Cruises also take cruisers to the Marquesas with its 332-passenger ship, the Paul Gauguin. The ship’s cruises include the Society Islands, Tuamotus, Cook Islands, and the Marquesas.
In the same vein as its namesake, the Paul Gaugin, built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti and French Polynesia, follows the legendary artist’s footsteps throughout these idyllic waters of the Pacific.
Windstar Cruises is a 5-star cruise ship line that operates a fleet of small luxury cruise ships (maximum 300 passengers) that also sails year-round in French Polynesia. On their smaller ships like the Wind Spirit, cruisers can experience true luxury cruising into the magic islands of Bora Bora, Moorea, Fakarava, and other exotic Tahitian destinations.
Once again, superlatives just don’t do this jewel of the Pacific justice. New Caledonia blends French culture, its great food and cafes, with all the best of the South Pacific – the corals, caves and pristine white sandy beaches. And most of the big cruise lines make sure to include New Caledonia in their South Pacific itineraries.
Cruising on the big cruise ships, like P&O, Carnival, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean, provide another great way to experience this enchanting French corner of the Pacific. Not only do you get to visit beautiful places like the Isle of Pines and Lifou Island, with their long stretches of white sandy beach, small coves of azure water, limestone caves, and imposing cliffs – you also get the diversity of on-board activities and facilities that are part and parcel of the big cruise lines.
Each of the Pacific destinations can be explored via very different cruising styles – so maybe you need to take the Goldilocks approach, and try each to find the perfect one.
Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on cruising to the South Pacific .