Many cruises to the Pacific Islands depart from Auckland, New Zealand: Winter cruises as an escape to the tropics are especially popular.
With a P&O cruise ship now based in Auckland, New Zealand, cruise ship passengers have a wide choice of 8-day, 10-day and 12-day cruise itineraries to Pacific Islands. Many cruises take place over the autumn and winter months. These are popular with cruise ship passengers as a welcome break for sunshine and warmth, swimming and snorkelling, on tropical islands.
As the cruise ship leaves Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, it heads northwards. On several cruise itineraries, the first port of call is Norfolk Island.
Norfolk Island, a New Cruise Port of Call
On March 26th, 2010, the ‘Pacific Sun’ cruise ship called at Norfolk Island, the first time a cruise ship had visited those waters for many years. Access to the island is by ship’s tender (small boats) and is weather permitting. Sea conditions can be rough.
Norfolk Island has an interesting history. It was settled by people from Pitcairn Island after the mutiny on the ‘Bounty’. Then it was used as a penal settlement. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, convicts were sent from England, many for minor crimes, to endure a life of hard labour and extreme living conditions on this tiny island. The historical area round Kingston and especially the old graveyard give an idea of how difficult life was then.
Noumea, Capital of New Caledonia
As part of French territory, Noumea is a Pacific Island city where French is spoken. It is seen as a shopping destination, with many European goods and duty free items in the stores. The local Kanak culture combines with the French influence to make Noumea a unique cruise ship destination.
Cruise ships dock near by the main city square in Noumea and the shopping precinct is only a short walk from the cruise ship terminal. Bus tours up into the hills and along the coastline can be taken to see more of Noumea’s suburbs, beaches and environs.
Lifou, a Melanesian Cruise Port
Lifou, a large island which is part of the Loyalty Island group in Melanesia, gives the cruise ship passenger a chance to see a tribal way of life. On Lifou, old customs and traditions are still practised and visitors are asked to dress respectfully, especially in the villages.
Access to Lifou island is by ship’s tender. A local troupe welcomes cruise ship passengers ashore with traditional songs and dances.
Port Vila, Vanuatu’s Cruise Port of Call
Port Vila, the capital of the island group known as Vanuatu, is a vibrant little town. The main street is busy with minivans and cars and the many duty-free shops are well-patronised by cruise ship passengers. The Port Vila market sells brightly coloured island clothing and bags beside the picturesque harbour. Several of the nearby resorts can be visited for the day and many shore tours offer adventure activities.
Cruise ships dock at the wharf area about three kilometres from Port Vila. Taxis are waiting for the ship arrivals and it is a cheap fare into town. A bustling souvenir market is held on the flat area beside the dock.
Mystery Island, a Pacific Island Dream
Mystery Island is tiny; less than a kilometre long, and uninhabited. Its white sand beaches are fringed with coconut palm trees, pathways wind through the groves of palms to the beaches. There are no roads or commercial developments to disturb the peaceful, natural beauty of the island.
Access to the island is by tender and is weather permitting. Inhabitants of a nearby island come across to Mystery Island to offer local handicrafts for sale.
Pacific Island cruises leaving from Auckland enable the cruise ship passenger to visit a variety of islands. An itinerary that ranges from the relative sophistication of Noumea to the traditional way of life on Lifou to the deserted sands of Mystery Island has something of interest for all. Opportunities for duty-free and souvenir shopping, or swimming in tropical waters, or experiencing a very different lifestyle, are all available for cruise ship passengers on their Pacific cruises.2015-09-25