Discover the True Definition of Paradise
Unplug and wind. Embrace the simple life on an island-hopping adventure.
A South Pacific cruise is a gateway to powdery white sand beaches, crystalline waters, tropical rainforests, and towering mountains. Time slows down as you indulge in the laid-back lifestyle of the islands. Swim with turtles, zip through jungle canopies, or simply relax on the beaches of Vanuatu and Fiji. Embark on a journey to the pristine islands of New Caledonia and Tahiti. Marvel at the high volcanic islands of Melanesia and the low reefs and atolls of Polynesia.
With thirteen island nations to explore and a total population of just over 6 million people, South Pacific cruises provide an abundance of rich and diverse experiences. From the Cook Islands to Fiji, Tonga to Palau, the South Pacific is a haven for culture, stunning flora and fauna, inviting beaches, and exhilarating water sports. If you’re seeking grand adventures, sandy shores, and uninterrupted serenity, look no further than cruises to the South Pacific.
A South Pacific cruise is a fantastic option all year-round, but the peak season is undoubtedly July and August. Generally, a South Pacific cruise any time between May and October is a good option as these months offer drier weather conditions. Low or shoulder season is considered November through to April, and many Australians still escape to the South Pacific between December and February to escape the scorching heat at home. This season is considered the wet season, and it is characterised by hot, wet, and humid weather with frequent tropical storms. It is also hurricane season, so keep that in mind when choosing your cruise.
Popular Cruise Lines
The South Pacific islands are featured on the itineraries of all major local cruise lines, as well as several visiting cruise lines. P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line embark on regular voyages to the South Pacific from Sydney and Brisbane. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises offer South Pacific cruises during the summer months, and they often include the South Pacific as a port of call on their repositioning cruises from other parts of the world. An impressive array of visiting ships from luxury cruise lines, including Seabourn, Cunard, P&C World Cruise, Crystal, Oceania, Regent, Silversea and Ponant, now also grace the Pacific Islands for seasonal itineraries. If a small-ship adventure cruise is what you’re after, cruise lines like Coral Expeditions, North Star, and Captain Cook frequently visit the Melanesian and Fiji Islands, while Lindblad’s National Geographic Orion diligently explores the broader South Pacific region.
Highlights of the South Pacific
No visit to New Calendonia should be without a visit to the stunning Isle of Pines. This tropical paradise, located just 48 kilometers off the coast of mainland New Caledonia, is a must-visit destination. Unlike other destinations, the Isle of Pines has managed to retain its natural beauty without succumbing to mega resorts. As you approach the island, you’ll be greeted by a picturesque ring of pine trees lining the shores. Once you step foot on the beach, you’ll be absorbed by soft sand and crystal clear waters. Keep an eye out for sea turtles and colorful fish who call this place home, and the friendly locals are always eager to share stories about the sacred rock formations and ancestral totem poles on the island. From snorkeling in secluded bays and hiking to breathtaking viewpoints, to savoring delicious island delicacies and shopping for unique souvenirs, this hidden gem is an absolute highlight on any South Pacific cruise.
Key Ports to Visit
⚓ Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Discover the beauty of Matira Beach’s powdery sands and breathe in the scent of Tiare Tahiti. Dive into an underwater wonderland just off Sofitel Marara or embark on an exhilarating hike up the iconic Mount Otemanu. From thrilling 4×4 tours to awe-inspiring underwater encounters, Bora Bora is a heavenly oasis where unforgettable adventures await.
⚓ Moorea, French Polynesia
Discover the hidden paradise of Moorea, where turquoise waters meet lush green peaks. Dive into Lagoonarium de Moorea, an enclosed lagoon overlooked by Motu Ahi mountain, take a tour of the dolphin center at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort and Spa, and swim with them in their natural environment. And before you leave, check out the nearby turtle sanctuary, home to adorable baby turtles.
⚓ Lifou, Loyalty Islands
Discover the tropical paradise of Lifou, the largest of the Loyalty Islands. Surround yourself with secluded coral reefs, powdery white beaches, and limestone grottoes. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Jinek Bay and snorkel with a vibrant array of tropical fish. Explore the native culture and visit traditional huts to learn about the rich Melanesian way of life.
⚓ Noumea, New Caledonia
Discover the captivating charm of Noumea, where vibrant cultures blend and breathtaking landscapes await. Immerse yourself in the rich Kanak heritage at the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, explore pristine beaches adorned with lemon trees, and embark on thrilling water adventures. Uncover a melting pot of traditions, warm hospitality, and endless possibilities.
⚓ Mare, New Caledonia
Mare in an untouched paradise of wild beauty, secret freshwater lagoons, limestone caves and incredible coral reefs. On this southern Loyalty Island, you can immerse yourself in indigenous Kanak culture at the Yeiwene Yeiwene Cultural Centre and witness the ancient ruins of Hnaenedr wall. Stand in the same spot as the warriors of old at Warrior’s Leap, or swim with gentle turtles in their natural habitat at La Baie des Tortues.
⚓ Mystery Island, Vanuatu
Where time stands still and modern conveniences are left behind. On Mystery Island, explore untouched shores, swim with vibrant marine life, and paddle through crystal-clear waters in true island style. Experience the serenity of this secluded paradise and leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
⚓ Port Vila, Vanuatu
In the vibrant streets of Port Vila, French charm meets Bislama-speaking locals. In the energetic capital of Vanuatu, you can explore hidden waterfalls, embrace the cultural hub at Mama’s Market, and snorkel in turquoise waters. Discover the impressive history of the South Pacific at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. Cool down at the Mele Cascades waterfall or dive into the world’s only underwater post office.
⚓ Papeete, Tahiti
Escape to the vibrant capital of Tahiti, where French sophistication meets tropical adventure. Explore the breathtaking beauty of black-sand beaches and lush jungle hikes. Dive into a world of picture-perfect beaches, perfect for surfing, volleyball, or snorkeling alongside vibrant reef fish. Uncover the secrets of striking black pearls at the Robert Wan Pearl Museum, and bring home a piece of Tahitian elegance.
The South Pacific is an incredible destination with warm and humid temperatures that make it perfect for a year-round getaway. However, the weather can vary depending on which part of this vast island region you plan to visit. Samoa and Tuvalu tend to have warmer climates compared to New Caledonia, Fiji Island, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. October is the peak rainy season for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Tahiti. Meanwhile, November marks the start of the wet season for Fiji and Tonga. Keep in mind that tropical storm season occurs throughout the rainy season, which spans from November to the end of March.
For a more consistent climate, Fiji stands out as a tropical paradise that offers pleasant and dry weather from early October to late November. However, between May and September, rain showers are more likely. Other islands such as Niue and Vanuatu have similar weather and seasonal patterns. In Tahiti, winter, which encompasses the dry months, is characterised by warm temperarutes, but with less humidity. On the other hand, summer, which lasts from November to April, brings scorching heat and occasional showers. Papua New Guinea, known for its diverse and lush flora, is best visited from December to March, during the rainy season.
While cruises are known for their cashless environment, the destinations in the South Pacific often operate on a cash basis. Some places accept both US dollars and Australian dollars, but you’re likely to receive local currency back. This can lead to difficulties in tracking exchange rates and you may potentially land up paying more than necessary. We recommend carrying a small amount of local currencies with you to make it easier to pay for things on shore.