Pack your sun tan lotion and your snorkelling gear, this cruise is all about blue sea and fantastic weather. Between Australia and the islands of Hawaii are some of the most beautiful, unspoilt islands anywhere. Starting in the Whitsunday Islands, off Australia’s east coast, sail eastwards to the islands of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Tahiti.
The big cruise liners pass this way, but if you want tranquillity and freedom to visit some of the sheltered coves and to dive straight from the deck, a better option is to take one of the smaller boats or a tall ship to explore the area.
Here the tropical waters are always warm and the weather changes very little throughout the year, averaging around the mid 70’s. The best time to sail is considered to be May to October; the area is cooled by the winter trade winds bringing very pleasant temperatures. November to April, the austral summer, is prone to tropical thunderstorms followed closely by hot sunshine. If you want to avoid the crowds it goes without saying to avoid the holidays over Christmas and New Year and also July and August, the summer holiday season in Europe.
The smaller ships sailing in the Pacific do anything from a two night to a seven night itinerary, many taking in a stop between today and tomorrow on the international dateline. If you choose one on the tall ships be prepared to lend a hand hoisting the sails after receiving instruction from the crew of course. Onboard accommodation will differ depending on which company you choose and how many passengers the boat carries, some will have cabins allowing guests to stay on board overnight and others will moor overnight in port with accommodation being in small local hotels or perhaps even camping on the beach.
The 7 night itineraries usually concentrate around the islands surrounding Fiji’s ‘main island’ with some of the ports of call being:
- Ovalau Island. Visit the town of Levuka with its 19th century colonial buildings and atmospheric waterfront parade.
- Tavenui Island. Take a dip in the Bourma Waterfall lagoon and stand between today and tomorrow on the 180º Longitude meridian.
- Savusavu. Experience the thermal springs from the extinct volcano and buy souvenirs at the market.
If you plan to take excursions into the interior of some of the islands remember that the temperature on the top of that beautiful mountain you saw from deck will be a lot cooler, so take something warm to cover up with.
For those who wish to travel further a field set aside between 2 and 3 weeks to visit Bora Bora, Cook Islands and Tonga. Whichever itinerary or boat you choose some of the best experiences will be swimming with manta rays and psychedelic Angel fish, lazing on deck, walking along white sandy beaches and cool forests, fishing in the crystal clear waters and maybe even witnessing the Leonid Meteor shower, around the middle of November, from right in the centre of the pacific.