Soft Breezes and Azure Seas: A Mini Guide to Touring the South Pacific

The South Pacific is one of the most popular areas in the world for cruises. Boasting tropical islands, perfect weather, picture-postcard beaches, amazing sunsets and friendly people, it is the ideal destination for a luxury cruise. It also has a huge number of islands to visit, meaning you could return to the region time and time again and always see something new.

If you would like to go on a cruise in this beautiful region of the world, here is a short guide to help you prepare.

The Three Main Regions

When you decide to go on a cruise in the region, you will first have to decide which region you want to visit. The South Pacific covers a vast expanse of ocean, and the islands are divided into three main groups, so choosing one of these is the first decision you will have to make.

Melanesia comprises the island nations of the Western Pacific, just to the north of Australia and New Zealand. It is easy reach, making it a particularly popular option. Countries in Melanesia include the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

South Pacific
South Pacific

Micronesia is the region directly above Melanesia, and it contains five countries and three United States territories including Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Kiribati and Palau.

Polynesia is a triangular-shaped region to the east of Melanesia and Micronesia. As well as including New Zealand, it also includes the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, French Polynesia and Hawaii. It is the largest of the three regions, and contains over 1,000 islands.

Choose Your Region

Wherever you choose to visit, you will encounter unique cultures, new languages and stunning scenery. Melanesia is just north of Australia, making it a convenient option. It tends to be popular with smaller cruise ships, and contains some of the most popular destinations including Fiji and New Caledonia. Polynesia is also popular due to the sheer variety of itineraries available in this vast region.

The best thing to do is decide upon which destinations you are particularly keen to see, and to draw up a list of them. You can then use this to help you choose your preferred itinerary.

South Pacific
South Pacific

Popular Destinations

If you are having difficulty deciding upon the best destination, you may want to check this list of destinations that are particularly popular for people going on cruises.

Vanuatu is one of the best destinations in Melanesia. It contains highlights such as Mele Cascades, Nanda Blue Hole and Mount Yasur, a live volcano where you will see the lava bubbling inside the crater.

Fiji is another top destination in Melanesia, with places like Lautoka attracting visitors throughout the year to enjoy spectacular diving and to see attractions like the Garden of the Sleeping Giant.

New Caledonia is especially popular with Australian tourists. It is very easy to reach, whether on a cruise or by plane, and it has attractions such as the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, which is the second-longest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other top destinations include Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Bora Bora. In nearly all the islands, you will be able to enjoy excellent snorkelling, diving and hiking, and most islands have their fair share of white sandy beaches.

South Pacific
South Pacific

Planning Your Cruise

Cruises are such a great way to see the different islands in the South Pacific because they allow you to see a number of different islands in a single holiday. Some islands can also be very expensive to stay on, so a cruise can work out as more cost effective.

After deciding on an area to visit, you will next have to find a suitable cruise to join. Many companies run cruises in the region.

Cruises run at different times of year and for different lengths of time, from a week to a few months. If your time is limited, don’t try to cram it all in. Instead, find a cruise that visits a few of the places you are most keen to see and join it.

South Pacific
South Pacific

When to Go?

The great thing about the South Pacific is that the tropical climate is good all year round. However, in Melanesia and Polynesia, May to October is the best time to go because this is the dry season, and the rest of the year is hotter and more humid. In Micronesia, the dry season is from December to June.

See the South Pacific on a Cruise

The South Pacific is one of the most beautiful regions in the world, and a cruise is the perfect way to see it. Keep the above information in mind, and start planning your cruise to this wonderful region so that you can discover it for yourself.

Ryan Posa has criss-crossed the Pacific on the high seas. After founding Cruise Republic in 2008, he has enjoyed helping others with the travel bug discover exotic and beautiful locations. Follow Ryan’s adventures on Twitter here.

South Pacific photos: Pierre Lesage, vgm8383, Corey Hamilton.

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