Tahiti Cruising: Paradise in the South Pacific
Tahiti refers both to the islands of French Polynesia, and the largest island in the group. Despite its isolated position in the South Pacific between Oceania and South America, Tahiti is fast becoming a favourite for cruise lines, and it has also has two specialist Tahitian lines plying its waters. It's easy to see why- the islands are some of the most beautiful in the Pacific, and the local Polynesian people are wonderfully friendly and laidback.
The Ports: Cruises To Tahiti
Papeete is the capital city of Tahiti, and the primary cruise port. It is an embarkation and disembarkation port for many cruises in the islands, and all cruises to or from Tahiti will likely stop there. The city is on the island of Tahiti, the biggest French Polynesian Island and part of the Society Islands group. Papeete has a French feeling to it, underlied by the fabulous and friendly native culture. Foodies will enjoy the opportunity to sample authentic French food and wines. Ships dock downtown at the cruise pier, making it easy to explore on foot.
Bora Bora is another island in the Society Islands group, and is home to many upscale resorts. A volcanic island surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, Bora Bora has not lost all of its charm with the tourism developments but is still an excellent cruise destination. Many itineraries allow two days there so passengers can fully take in the spectacular island. Most ships anchor offshore in Pofai Bay.
Huahine is an isolated and rugged island which contains some important Polynesian archaeological sites. The main village on the island is called Fare, and there are several other small villages, but Huahine is known and loved for its quietness and lack of habitation. It has plenty of long white beaches for sunbathing, swimming or just relaxing! Ships anchor offshore and transport passengers by tender to a dock in the village of Maroe.
Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands, less frequented than Moorea and Bora Bora but just as naturally beautiful. It was once a cultural and religious centre of the region, and is now lightly populated and quiet. It has no real sandy beaches, although there are some amongst the small islands in the lagoons. Ships can tie up to the Gare Maritime in Uturoa, the island's main town.
- Moorea is an island not far from Papeete, and one of the most-visited islands in French Polynesia. It is a land of towering mountain peaks, blue lagoons and green vegetation, along with the requisite white sand beaches. Cruise ships anchor offshore near the villages around the island.
These are the primary cruise destinations in Tahiti, although the smaller Tahiti cruise lines visit many more delightful small ports and towns amongst the islands.
Cruise Lines and Cruise Deals to get you there
Of the major cruise lines, Princess operates the most Tahiti cruises, with many departing from Papeete, and some long itineraries making the round trip from Los Angeles. Other big-ship lines, including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, stop in often as their ships traverse the Pacific.
Paul Gauguin Cruises is a Tahiti-specialised small-ship luxury line. The MS Paul Gauguin, one of the line's two ships, is designed for the shallow waters and lagoons around Tahiti and the other Society Islands, so it can run in-depth cruises which stop in at many small ports, beaches and islands.