The South Pacific is dotted with idyllic islands – about 7,500 of them. Approximately 500 of them are inhabited, which makes deciding which islands to visit slightly more manageable. A cruise is a wonderful way to see as many islands as possible, gliding over the blue water from one fragrant port to another in comfort and style.
The islands that anchor many South Pacific itineraries include Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Fiji.
Tahiti. In addition to stunning beauty, Tahiti is known for pearls in a rainbow of colors, including rare black pearls produced by the black lip oyster. You can learn all about the island’s pearl industry and buy some to take home. But, don’t get so wrapped up in pearls that you miss the Papeete Public Market, just a block from the cruise ship dock. The market overflows with colorful fruits, vegetables, and crafts. Enjoy sipping an ice-cold coconut as you watch the flower lei makers at work.
Bora Bora. This island has a lagoon that’s generally regarded as the most magnificent in all the South Pacific – and that’s saying something. The lagoon is fronted by gorgeous beaches, but the island’s interior has a lot to offer, too. Hike (or ride in a 4x4 jeep) up verdant Mt. Otemanu, a dormant volcano. At the 2,400-foot summit, enjoy the spectacular views.
Fiji. The archipelago of islands that is Fiji is fringed with palms and protected by soft coral reefs that scuba divers love. The cosmopolitan city of Suva is the largest in the South Pacific and a center of culture. But, what many visitors enjoy most about Fiji is the friendly, welcoming people. If you have the chance, let them show you a Kava ceremony, featuring a traditional drink made from the dried root of a native pepper plant.
There are so many other islands that you can visit, such as Samoa (see the stately home of author Robert Louis Stevenson) or the heart-shaped island of Moorea (just a quick ferry ride away from Tahiti). If you venture a little closer to Australia, you might visit Vanuatu, where the water of Champagne Bay appears to fizz (a natural phenomenon created when water passes through volcanic rocks); or New Caledonia, which blends colonial French and indigenous Kanak culture.
It’s always a good time to sail the South Pacific, though you may encounter a few rain showers from November to April. Many cruise lines and ships can take you there on a wide variety of itineraries, so ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert for help!
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