Fiji. Tahiti. Bora Bora. Easter Island. Australia. New Zealand. Simply saying the names of these South Pacific destinations calls to mind paradise. Whether you are the Rodgers & Hammerstein “South Pacific” set, “The Blue Lagoon” set, or a millennial who’s unfamiliar with either reference, you still get the immediate mental images of turquoise seas, sugar sand, palm trees, tropical sun, delicious eats and drinks, and rich cultural heritages.
There are 7,500 islands in that part of the world; and the inhabited 500 are usually grouped into three areas: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.
Polynesia – This famous triangle of Pacific Ocean includes the popular destinations of Tahiti, Bora Bora, and the other locations within the Society Islands. The three geographic points are New Zealand, Easter Island, and Hawaii.
Melanesia – This area of the Western Pacific includes the geographically mountainous islands of the Solomons, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji.
Micronesia – Popular with cruise lines, this region boasts eight distinctive nation states with a wide diversity of cultures, landscapes, and languages. It is considered by most as the perfect location for island hopping. Also, cruisers like this area due to the lack of crowds!
Below the equator, you’ll find tropical climates all year long. The two seasons are ‘wet’ and ‘dry.’ May to October (for Polynesia and Melanesia) is considered the dry season with less rains, but more wind. November to April is wet season with more rain, higher temps, and increased humidity. Reverse the seasons for cruises in Micronesia.
On a general note, traveling between islands can be a calm voyage. There is less ship movement on the larger stabilized ocean liners, yet all sizes of ships are susceptible to the wind and waves. Also, the rougher seas are usually in the wide open ocean. So traveling long distances between destinations might require some anti-seasickness help (or maybe that’s just me!).
To reach the beauty that is the South Pacific, you can fly to Australia or New Zealand, and enjoy a vast range of options for cruise lines, itineraries, and shore excursions. If you like the mega ships, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America all have regular cruise vacations in this vast ocean. With a quick online search, you’ll discover a host of small specialized cruise lines also ply the waters around and between these lush islands.
You may also want to fly in to Micronesian destinations from Hawaii. Either option gives you the chance to extend your cruise vacation with a land stay. Book extra days before or after your cruise. Take this time to explore the cities and the countryside of your port of embarkation.
Another suggestion for extending your South Pacific cruise vacation is to book back-to-back cruise accommodations. Savvy travelers have discovered that two contiguous cruises not only offer more opportunities for exploring; it is also cheaper than a land stay on some of the islands. (Think $800 or so per night for those gorgeous ‘over-the-water’ bungalows!)
Read about the Best Cruise Shore Excursions in the South Pacific.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com