The South Pacific in particular Bora Bora and Tahiti are top of so many people’s bucket list but it isn’t the cheapest vacation you can take. One way to potentially save money on your Tahiti travel is to take a South Pacific Cruise. In this guide we round up the best South Pacific Cruise Tips to help you have an amazing trip!
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What Are Some South Pacific Cruise Destinations
When I think about a South Pacific cruise I tend to think about French Polynesia however there are so many different South Pacific Cruise Destinations such as:
- French Polynesia – Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora
- New Caledonia
- Cook Islands
What cruise lines go to the South Pacific?
And there are several cruise lines servicing this region with several departure ports such as Sydney, LA, Tahiti and Australia and New Zealand. Many world cruises will also stop in the South Pacific on their round the world itineraries. So if you are wondering what cruise lines go to the South Pacific they are:
- Royal Caribbean
- Holland America
Best South Pacific Cruise Tips
So now you have picked the right cruise line and departure port for you we look at the best South Pacific Cruise tips to help you make the most out of your cruise.
While cruises tend to be a cashless place, the destination you will be going to in the South Pacific will often be more a cash society. We found some places did except both US dollars and Australian dollars however you could get local currency back and it is hard to keep track of exchange rates doing it this way and you will often be paying over the odds this way so having a small amount of local currencies is advised.
Expect to tender
Not all of the ports of the South Pacific are big enough for a cruise ship to dock in. For instance Tahiti has a dedicated and relatively large for the South Pacific cruise port so you are able to walk right off the cruise ship as was also the case in Tonga. However in Moorea for instance we had to tender on to the island. Tendering for first time cruisers (for more first time cruise tips click here), is where you use, usually, one of the ships lifeboats which will take you to land.
These tenders are often ticketed and timed so it can delay you getting off the boat, but usually shore excursions are given priority
Book Morning Shore Excursions if going through ships
So if you are tendering in a port you might want to consider doing a morning shore excursion. This way you will get to be on one of the first tenders off the boat – and not have to wait around or queue for tickets like those on independent tours.
Also by booking a morning shore excursion means you will also have the afternoon to explore the island independently.
Don’t just do ship shore excursions
While taking a ship shore excursion can be useful in ports where you tender you might want to consider taking shore excursions independently especially in ports where you have a lot of time. This can be cheaper option and if you are travelling with kids particularly this can be very helpful as you set your own agenda.
Contact Hotels about Beach Days Early
Our absolute favourite independent shore excursion we did while travelling doing a South Pacific cruise is going to some of the most amazing luxury hotels in French Polynesia and do beach days. For a fee you can basically use all the luxury hotel facilities such as the pool and beach and can hire kayaks and snorkelling equipment there too.
If you want to have a hotel beach day by advise is to contact the hotels well in advance. Most hotels will allow you to make bookings a month in advance and they will cap the number dependent on how busy the hotel is to make sure it retains exclusivity. So be sure to book these in advance.
Some of the hotels we found in French Polynesia that offer cruise passengers beach days are:
- Hilton Moorea
- Intercontinental Bora Bora and
- Intercontinental Tahiti
Be sure to make contact with them well in advance!
What to Wear on South Pacific Cruises
For me the key for packing for a South Pacific is to pack lightweight clothing that are loose and comfortable. I always stick to cottons when I cruise as they don’t require ironing, can be tumble dried and are really breathable so perfect for tropical weather.
On top of that I would recommend taking lots of Swimwear with you. I would recommend packing at least 3 bathing suits, bikinis or trunks if you are a man as the is what you will be wearing 90% of the time on the island! I always like to have a couple of changes of clothes with me especially for when I am doing snorkelling.
On top of that be sure you have plenty of Beach cover ups with you! The sun is very strong in French Polynesia so you definitely want plenty of pretty beach covers with you. I would also advocate for taking a decent rash vest with you! It is easy to forget how strong the sun is if you are snorkelling and the back can get easily sunburnt.
On top of that be sure you have a range of beautiful Beach Hats
What to Pack for a South Pacific Cruise
If you want to snorkel while on your South Pacific cruise I would recommend taking your own snorkel equipment with you to save on hiring costs. I tend to use a full face mask. I just find them easier to use!
Water Shoes are an essential when walking in lagoons and on the beach as Lion Fish are found in the waters around French Polynesia! Water shoes will protect your feet and I would advise wearing whenever you go in the water.
Take plenty of Sun Screen
The sun in the South Pacific is really strong so be sure to back plenty of sun screen with you. Normally sun screen can be bought on ship but it is expensive and I found the same in the South Pacific ports so be sure to take this with you.
I would also advise getting one that has good water resistance in case you decide to do lots of swimming and snorkelling.
In case the worst happens and you get sun burnt be sure to have some aloe vera after sun with you.
Shampoo and Conditioner for Sun Damage
The sun is pretty strong in the South Pacific so I would advise packing a shampoo and conditioner to protect your hair against this – especially if you use hair dye.
Anywhere tropical has insects so be sure to protect yourself against it.
I don’t like to be a pessimist but I would always rather travel prepared! With snorkelling, being close to coral and just general holiday fun you will be glad to have a small medical kit with you.
I think you will want a combination of traditional camera equipment but on top of that have a Go pro or similar camera for underwater photos as the South Pacific has some of the best snorkelling in the world.
Whenever I am somewhere beautiful I am reminded about the importance of combating plastic pollution. Be sure to take a reusable water bottle with you to help you stay hydrated and environmentally friendly.
It is likely you will have a few sea days on your cruise itinerary. Be sure to either take some reading books or a reading device that can handle reading in sunlight.
This is one of my favourite cruise past times and always travel with a pack wherever I’m going.
Another cruise essential no matter the destination.
For a complete cruise packing list check out this post!
Have you been on a South Pacific Cruise? If so we would love to know what your best South Pacific Cruise Tips are! Also What did you wear on a South Pacific Cruise?
Monday 27th of January 2020
Thank you for the information! I am going on a 18 day cruise to the South Pacific in a few weeks. I love the idea of contacting hotels for beach day excursions. We are heading to Bora Bora and I looked into the intercontinental bora bora and found there are two of them in bora bora. Can you confirm which one you went to?
Friday 3rd of January 2020
Great tips! Cash is definitely a good idea and power adapters! Easy to forget them! I am hoping to embark on a cruise one of these days! The South Pacific is at the top of my list for sure.