For many of us, Hawaii and the South Pacific are THE idea of a bucket list destination. Hula dancers, luaus, fire dancers, leis, surf, sun, and sand all come to mind when you think of Hawaii and the myriad of Polynesian islands that dot the Southern Pacific Ocean. While it all sounds exotic (and actually, it IS exotic!) it doesn’t have to be expensive. And while you can always just fly halfway around the world and stay in a hotel on a beautiful island, cruising is the only way to check in once and see a half dozen (or more) beautiful islands.
Here are some ways to consider cruising to, or in, Hawaii and the South Pacific that suit all budgets.
Cruising in Hawaii
It is possible to fly to Hawaii and board a cruise ship that visits several of America’s 50th state’s islands. What better way to see Oahu–Waikiki, Diamondhead and the rugged North Shore, not to mention the Pearl Harbor Memorial–Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, and more? But your choices will be limited to sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America. Owing to US Maritime Law, ships that only visit American ports must be flagged in America, hence Norwegian’s Pride of America is the only ship of a major cruise line that’s an American-flagged ship. But Norwegian doesn’t exactly have a monopoly on cruising in Hawaii, as you’ll see (read on!), and there are still great deals to be had if you know when and where to look (like we do).
Cruising Through Hawaii On A Pacific Ocean Crossing
If you have a little more time to spare for your cruise, you can consider a cruise that departs from the West Coast (California, Seattle, or Vancouver) bound for Hawaii, then continues on to either Asia or Australia or returns to the West Coast. Advantages of these ocean crossings (or half-ocean crossings, as the case may be) are that they are sometimes a huge discount (being seasonal respositioning cruises), and you might get to see other tropical destinations that are otherwise difficult to cruise to (like Palau, Vanuatu, or American Samoa). You’ll have to enjoy sea days, though, and if you continue to Asia or Australia you’ll have to get airfare home.
Destination Cruises (aka Bucket List Cruises) In The South Pacific
A few cruise lines–usually the smaller ones with smaller ships–“set up shop” in South Pacific island nations during certain seasons of the year. Our favorit
e example of this is Windstar’s Tahiti cruises. A premium cruise line (luxury in style but not in price), Windstar’s small ships (think “big yacht”) can pull into small bays and coves the big ships can only view from a distance. And what’s more, Windstar’s Tahiti cruises often come with airfare from the West Coast. But there’s also luxury cruise line Paul Gauguin, which sails exclusively in the South Pacific (Tahiti, Papeete, Bora Bora).
Luxury Cruises In The South Pacific
Speaking of luxury cruises, Paul Gauguin is just one luxury line with South Pacific itineraries. Crystal, Cunard, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Silverseas all offer South Pacific itineraries, with many of those itineraries being all inclusive: and we mean all inclusive, with business class airfares, airport transfers, all shore excursions, and drinks often included. Considering the quality of the service you receive, adding all those benefits up might actually compare well to the “value” cruise lines.
Lastly, if you have lots and lots of time, or if your idea of a retirement party is a 4-month cruise around the world (and why shouldn’t it be?) a world cruise will be a great way to see more of the South Pacific than is possible any other way. And when you calculate the cost per day of a world cruise, you’ll be surprised at their value. When we decide to retire, a world cruise is on the top of our wish list!
For help in picking your Hawaii or South Pacific bucket list cruise, call us at (877) 585-SHIP.