Sailing from French Polynesia
Setting sail from Papeete
If you are in search of paradise, don't expect it to be easy to get there! It's a long old haul to get to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. And once you are there, Papeete itself is by no means the most magical spot - you need to venture forth to see the other islands, and luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, rugged mountain peaks and coral reefs. Expensive and remote, these islands have maintained their uncommercial magic, with excellent hotels and a warm Polynesian welcome everywhere you go.
The island of Raiatea – extraordinary scenery, like being in Jurassic Park.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
French Polynesia: Uturoa (Raietea Island)
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
American Samoa: Pago Pago
The little fishing town of Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa, a rarely visited but utterly enchanting archipelago in the South Pacific. Pago Pago sits on a beautiful natural bay on the island of Tutuila, a lush and mountainous place where Polynesian traditions remain strong.
Apia is the capital of Samoa, situated on the north coast of the island of Upolu. Highlights include the colourful markets and Robert Louis Stevenson's former house, now a museum, though you may just want to use the city as a jumping off point for the beautiful beaches located further along the coast.
Suva is Fiji’s bustling capital, situated on the southeast coast of Viti Levu on a fine natural harbour. This is one of the more attractive port cities in the South Pacific, with a handsome core of colonial buildings that hark back to the days when Fiji was an outpost of the British Empire. The colourful wooden buildings of Cumming Street are particularly pretty.
Lautoka is Fiji’s second largest city, known as the ‘Sugar City’ due to its important role in the local sugarcane industry. The waterfront area is pleasant enough, but we’d recommend using Lautoka as a jumping off point to visit some of the smaller surrounding islands, or the forests and waterfalls of the interior.
Vanuatu: Mystery Island
Mystery Island, or Inyeug as it is known locally, is a small uninhabited island at the southern edge of the Vanuatu archipelago. There are no roads, no electricity and no hotels here, just idyllic white sands and tranquil tropical waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
New Caledonia: Isle of Pines
The beautiful Isle of Pines (Île des Pins in French) is part of New Caledonia, a Pacific archipelago that was so named by James Cook because it reminded him of Scotland, unlikely as that may seem. The island is rustic and unspoilt, a beach lover’s paradise with wonderfully soft sands and great snorkelling.
New Caledonia: Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific. The city is cosmopolitan and sophisticated, home to lovely little bistros and chic boutiques, providing quite a contrast to the rugged landscapes of the surrounding countryside.
Papua New Guinea: Alotau
Alotau is the capital of Milne Bay province, on the remote eastern tip of mainland Papua New Guinea. Milne Bay was the scene of heavy fighting during the Second World War, and today you can dive amongst the wreckage left behind. Alotau also serves as a base for visiting the nearby islands, including the fascinating Trobriand archipelago.
Papua New Guinea: Port Moresby
Named after the British naval officer Sir Fairfax Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital is the biggest city in the South Pacific. It’s a gritty place that has its fair share of problems, but it’s also home to some interesting sights, including the striking Parliament Haus building and the National Botanical Gardens.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
Indonesia: Celukan Bawang (Bali)
Celukan Bawang is the main port in northern Bali, with quite a different feel to the more touristy parts of the island. Here you can see the magnificent Bugis schooners of Sulawesi, and nearby sights include the former Balinese capital of Singaraja, the wildlife sanctuary of West Bali National Park and the black sand Lovina Beach.
Arriving in Benoa (Bali)
It's no surprise to us that Bali remains Indonesia's most popular tourist destination; though the island is not the undiscovered gem it once was, it's still a wonderful place to travel. The beaches, spectacular volcanic scenery and lush green rice terraces lend Bali a natural beauty that seems to dovetail perfectly with the island's distinct Hindu culture, which adorns the landscape with stunning temples. We advise steering clear of the backpacker beaches around Kuta, and heading instead for the quieter south coast resorts or the charming inland town of Ubud, the spiritual centre of the island.
Bali is seriously busy – it’s a long way for us, but just on the doorstep for Australians. The central mountains, or north and west coasts, are quieter.
Your home from home
Small enough to operate fascinating port-intensive itineraries, but with the space for dining options, comfortable accommodation and more, sister ships Insignia, Nautica, Regatta and Sirena are for many the perfect size.
What we love
These four boutique style sister ships carry just 684 guests apiece, with a comfortable, relaxed country house style and plenty of intimate corners. We love the alternative restaurants - Oceania is rightly renowned for great food - and the pretty little library up on deck 10.
|Crew||400 International Staff|
|Style||On Oceania it's all about the time spent ashore, so back on board it's relaxed and unpretentious, with no dressing up. Open seating throughout creates an atmosphere which is friendly and sociable.|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in French Polynesia
For the ultimate eco-hotel experience, go for the Brando! Eye wateringly expensive, but a bit special.
If you have time, make the slightly complicated journey via Labuan Bajo on to Rinca to see the Komodo Dragons.