The Enchanting Islands of the South Pacific
Scattered across a vast area of the Pacific Ocean, the islands of the South Pacific provide a beautiful array of cruise opportunities. There are more than 7,500 islands, about 500 of which are populated. Cruises generally focus on islands in one of the three major regions of the South Pacific:
Micronesia, which lies just north of the equator, includes Guam and the Marshall Islands.
Melanesia includes the mountainous islands of the western South Pacific, including New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Polynesia is a large triangle with Hawaii as the northern point, Easter Island in the east and New Zealand in the west. The triangle encompasses Samoa and American Samoa, the Cook Islands, and some of the most popular South Pacific destinations such as Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora.
Anywhere that you cruise in the South Pacific, you can expect expanses of water in gorgeous hues of blue and turquoise, lush tropical forests, palm-lined white sand beaches, reefs, colorful sea life, lots of sunshine, and warm, friendly people. Still, the islands have their own characteristics and, having been settled by different groups of people, their own cultural traditions.
Many vacationers cruise in the part of Polynesia known as French Polynesia, which is well-served by several cruise lines. Cruises often begin in Papeete, Tahiti, visiting Bora Bora and its famous lagoon; mountainous Moorea; and Tahaa, where the scent of vanilla-producing flowers fills the air. Some cruises also visit Rangiroa, a favorite of divers, and the rugged Marquesas Islands.
Fiji is a starting point for cruises of Melanesia, which typically sail to the Yasawas, an archipelago of islands that have stunning white sand beaches, deep blue water and coral reefs. Some cruises of Melanesia begin on the island of Guam and visit other islands of Micronesia, too.
Virtually every island you’ll visit will offer wonderful shore excursion opportunities like hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. Many islands offer unique shore experiences, too, such as a tour of the beautiful Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu Temple in Nadi, Fiji; or, Robert Louis Stevenson’s last home, Villa Vailima, in Apia, Samoa.
As you plan your South Pacific cruise, remember the time you’ll need to fly there and back, which can add a day or two to your itinerary on each end. Discuss the options with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, who will help you plan all the details of a memorable South Pacific cruise.