San Francisco, USA
Cable cars, the Golden Gate rising from the fog - welcome to San Francisco, arguably the most romantic and cosmopolitan city in the United States. San Francisco has it all: a colorful history, superb restaurants, sophisticated museums, world-class shopping, and that elusive air of romance and abandon that's part of the tang of the city.
Home to nearly half a million people, Honolulu is Hawaii's state capital and only major city. The city of Honolulu and the island of Oahu offer a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions. Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head are two of the city's enduring symbols. Pearl Harbor, site of the USS Arizona Memorial and the "Punchbowl," are haunting reminders of the tragic events of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor forced America into World War II. Honolulu is also home to the historic Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii's last royals. Beyond the city lie tropical rain forests, the Pali Lookout and the North Shore known for its surfing beaches.
Maui has always occupied a special place in the hearts of Hawaiians. The great warrior King Kamehameha, who united the islands under his rule, chose to make Lahaina his capital and Ka'anapali was once the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty. And no wonder - Maui boasts stunning landscapes and superb beaches. Mt. Haleakala, a dormant volcano, rises 10,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Once hailed as "The Valley of the Kings," Maui's Iao Valley is a tropical paradise dominated by the Needle, a volcanic monolith towering over the valley floor. Then there is Lahaina, once home to a royal court and a raucous port-of-call enjoyed by 19th-century Yankee whalers.
Cross International Date Line
When you step off the ship in the city of Apia, your first thought might be "where's the city?" While Apia is technically considered to be a city, and has a population of more than 50,000, it won't likely look like any urban center you've ever visited. Frommers writes that Apia grew from one local village into a collection of settlements over the area of a few square miles, but the villages continue to operate somewhat distinctly, with roads interconnecting them all. The individual villages now comprise the neighborhoods of the "city" as a whole.
You may have never heard of Nukualofa or the country of Tonga, which can serve to make the experience all the more enjoyable. Tonga is an island chain that is technically located in the Polynesian region, and Nukualofa is the capital and largest town on the biggest island, Tongatapu. Tonga stands out in the region because this country has never been conquered or colonized by Western civilizations. That means that Tonga is perhaps the best example of pure, undiluted Polynesian culture in the world.
Auckland, New Zealand
With more boats per person than anywhere else on the globe, Auckland is known as ‘the City of Sails’. Marvel the famous Waitomo Caves, a magical grotto sparkling with the glow of thousands of tiny glow-worms.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
North of Auckland along the narrow Northland peninsula lies the shady “cathedral” created by some of the largest trees in the world: the giant kauri trees which can stand up to 170 feet tall and are over 1,200 years old. Here the captivating Bay of Islands shelters 150 islands, enchanting wetlands of birdlife, fish, seals, dolphins and even whales.
Sydney is a cosmopolitan, multicultural city surrounded by golden sand beaches, World Heritage areas, lush national parks and acclaimed wine regions. Sydney owes much of its splendor to its magnificent harbor. Arriving by ship provides an unequaled impression, showing off the city's famous landmarks: the dramatic white sails of the iconic Opera House and the celebrated Harbor Bridge, looming over the skyline.
Once considered the "country cousin" among Australian cities, Brisbane is today the nation's third-largest metropolis - and one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Lying on the banks of the meandering Brisbane River, this cosmopolitan city boasts elegant 19th-century sandstone buildings, a lively cultural scene and superb parklands. Brisbane is also your gateway to uniquely Australian adventures, be it the theme parks of the Gold Coast or Queensland's dazzling beaches.