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.
Don’t bother with local currency – all the local shops and markets will take US dollars. And take aqua shoes, impossible to walk in the sea otherwise.
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.
Indonesia: Benoa (Bali)
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.
The sweltering city of Semarang, on the north coast of Java, is an intriguing mish-mash of Chinese, Islamic and Dutch colonial influences. We recommend escaping the heat with a trip up into the mountains to visit a coffee plantation, or joining an excursion to the extraordinary temple complex at Borobudur.
Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara)
Muara is the main port of Brunei Darussalam, a tiny Islamic sultanate on the northern coast of Borneo. The sultan’s wealth is legendary, as is his sprawling 300-acre palace, although the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, is a surprisingly understated and likeable place, with an intriguing mix of Malay, Chinese and indigenous cultures.
Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to the Malaysian state of Sabah and makes for an excellent base, whether you’re planning on scaling the commanding heights of Mount Kinabalu, exploring the islands and turquoise waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, or embarking on a trip into the jungle to encounter Borneo’s fantastic wildlife.
Philippines: Puerto Princesa
Puerto, as the locals call it, is the capital of Palawan province, founded by the Spanish in 1872. The city is the only major metropolis in this otherwise pristine and sparsely populated region, and the main attraction here is the spectacular Subterranean River National Park just to the north.
Coron is the name of both the largest town on Busuanga Island, in Palawan province, and of a smaller island just offshore. This region is the ancestral home of the Tagbanua people, and the waters surrounding the islands offer some excellent diving, with numerous Japanese shipwrecks from the Second World War lurking on the seabed.
Manila is a sprawling, chaotic conglomeration of soaring skyscrapers, faded colonial facades and ramshackle slums, and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you have the stamina and an inquisitive nature, there is plenty to be enjoyed in the Philippines’ boisterous capital.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city and one of the world’s largest container ports, situated on the south west coast of the island. Formerly a rather grim industrial centre, the city has been transformed in recent years, with new parks, cafés, galleries and museums popping up all over the place.
Taiwan: Keelung (Taipei)
Keelung is a fairly unremarkable port city close to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. Taipei draws on an interesting mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western influences, and is home to attractive temples, a burgeoning street food scene and Taipei 101, which was the world's tallest building until it was eclipsed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa in 2010.
Japan: Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki is the most developed of the Yaeyama islands, an idyllic tropical archipelago located closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan. The offshore coral reefs make this a popular spot for diving and snorkelling, while the jungle interior offers some great hiking opportunities.
The small, laid back city of Kochi is situated on the south coast of Shikoku island, an important place of pilgrimage for Japanese Buddhists. Three of the 88 temples on the pilgrimage route are in Kochi, and the city is also known for its elegant 17th century hilltop castle.
Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city, though it remains well off the radar of most tourists, overshadowed by nearby Tokyo and Kyoto. The city is an important manufacturing hub, home to companies including Toyota and Lexus, and sights include a fascinating railway museum featuring maglev and ‘shinkansen’ bullet trains.
Arriving in Tokyo
Tokyo is a dazzling introduction to Japan and its utterly unique culture. With more neon than Las Vegas and more Michelin stars than Paris, it's a real assault on the senses, but an efficient public transport system means it's easy to explore. Asakusa is an atmospheric district where you'll find Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, Akihibara spills over with shops selling electronic gadgets, and Harajuku is the place to marvel at the latest colourful Japanese fashions. It's also easy to escape the crowds and find a spot of peace and quiet, with tranquil parks, shrines and lotus ponds dotted around the city.
The world’s busiest pedestrian crossing at Shibuya. Take the metro to the station of the same name and watch as thousands cross simultaneously when the traffic lights turn red.
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.
Explore the islands
If you are visiting Bora Bora tour the island by open bus - Le Truck.
Extend your stay in Tokyo
The Park Hotel at Shimbashi in the Shiodome Media Tower offers premium rooms with great views from the 25th floor up!
Get on your bike
The 25km Tokyo Great Cycling Tour is one of the city’s greatest trips. See both secret back streets and landmark attractions on this full day extravaganza.