First of all, you’re wise to consider experiencing the South Pacific via cruise ship. The South Pacific has wonderful land-based resorts, but you may realize greater value for your vacation dollar on a cruise, as your accommodations, meals and entertainment will all be included in your fare. Plus, you’ll easily be able to explore more than one of the lovely islands.
The South Pacific has about 7,500 islands sprinkled across a vast swath of the South Pacific Ocean. Only about 500 of the islands are inhabited. Photos will show you islands surrounded by thriving reef systems and gorgeous water in various shades of blue, with inviting white sand beaches backed by swaying palms. Be assured that the islands are even more beautiful when seen in person.
The islands of the South Pacific are usually divided into three major regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Melanesia is in the western South Pacific Ocean and includes the mountainous island nations of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji, among others. Fiji includes the stunning Yasawa Islands, famous for their turquoise waters and coral reefs.
Micronesia is also in the western Pacific, just north of the equator. This region includes several nation-states, including Palau and the Marshall Islands. Many cruises of Melanesia also include calls on Micronesian islands.
Polynesia occupies a huge virtual triangle formed by Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand. One of the best-known subregions of Polynesia is French Polynesia, which includes the very popular Society Islands, an archipelago that encompasses Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. Many cruises of Polynesia begin or end in Papeete, the lovely capital of Tahiti. The Marquesas Islands, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga are also in Polynesia.
While there are cruise ships in the South Pacific all year long, some cruise lines visit the region seasonally, as a segment of a world cruise or when repositioning a ship. The weather is warm and balmy all year, but the very best time to sail is from May to October, when there is little rain. If you cruise the South Pacific from November to April, you’ll just need to bring along a little rain gear.
For assistance in choosing a cruise of the South Pacific, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.