When you picture a quintessential, remote tropical island paradise, chances are that it is the very land and seascapes of Polynesia and the Pacific that come to mind.
This part of the globe has a long-held fascination for explorers, adventurers, romantics and even filmmakers. For thousands of years, tribes from different islands have set sail to discover what other untouched islands lay beyond their own.
A long history of voyaging and European colonisation have also influenced this region. In more recent times, everyone from French post-impressionist artist Paul Gaugin and mid-20th century actor Marlon Brando were lured to live here amid the tranquil breezes of swaying palms.
There’s a staggering 40,000 islands scattered throughout Polynesia and the Pacific Islands. Each island is unique, and yet a traditional way of life still largely abounds in each region.
You’ll learn about the broad diversity of cultures throughout the many island groups which includes people and influences of Polynesian, Melanesian, Micronesian, Spanish, French and Indian origins.
These voyages will sail through the French Polynesian Archipelago, the remote Chilean islands, the Pacific islands and the islands of New Zealand.
Wherever you cruise, expect breath-taking scenery and exotic, lush landscapes that are postcard-perfect. Here are some of the island highlights that you can venture to in truly all-inclusive 6-star ultra-luxury.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora is located in the Leeward Island group, northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia, in the South Pacific archipelago. Tahiti is famous for its black sand beaches, waterfalls and lagoons – as well as its bustling capital Pape’ete. Yet it’s the spectacular volcanic mountain backdrop of nearby Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu, covered in lush green vegetation, as well as the abundant marine life darting in its waters, that will capture your heart as you visit French Polynesia.
Known as one of the world’s most beautiful lagoons, when travelling on Scenic Eclipse 16-Day Reefs & Volcanic Isles: Tahiti to Fiji voyage, you’ll see colourful fish, manta rays and reef sharks in the clear turquoise waters of Bora Bora. Your expert Discovery Team members will guide you on walks through the island’s volcanic landscape to discover the villages and meet locals – or on sea, perhaps kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding through the crystal waters. For an unforgettable aerial view over one of the world’s most romantic and picturesque islands, take to the skies in one of two Scenic Eclipse helicopters.
Hanga Roa (Easter Island), Chile, Southern Pacific
The remote, volcanic Hanga Roa (Easter Island) is a Chilean territory located in the southeast of the Polynesian triangle. Shrouded in ancient mystery, the island is most famous for its approximately 1,000, remarkable stone monumental statues, called moai, that were created by the early Rapa Nui people. Discover the hauntingly beautiful archaeological sites and petroglyphs of the Rapa Nui National Park, a World Heritage-listed site, with your expert local guides and Discovery Team members; or even scuba dive to view a submerged moai statue when you travel on the Scenic Eclipse 23-Day Journey Across the Pacific: Easter Island and French Polynesia ultra-luxury voyage
Pitcairn Island, South Pacific
Located halfway between Chile and New Zealand in the South Pacific, Pitcairn Island is one of four in the Pitcairn Island Group and is a British-ruled territory of Polynesia. What’s fascinating about Pitcairn Island, the only one of the four to be inhabited, is its remote community of just 50 residents who are direct descendants of the mutineers of HMAV Bounty in 1789, and their Tahitian companions. Spot endemic flora and birds taking flight as you join the Discovery Team for a guided hike around the steep coastline of harsh, black lava and witness drawings and petroglyphs made by Polynesians who lived here centuries earlier. Visit during the 23-Day Journey Across the Pacific: Easter Island and French Polynesia voyage.
Cook Islands, South Pacific
The Cook Islands is a nation in the South Pacific, comprised of 15 islands with strong ties to New Zealand. In the north, the beautiful Aitutaki features a vast lagoon that is considered one of the world’s most spectacular, encircled by coral reefs and islets. On the Scenic Eclipse 16-Day Reefs and Volcanic Isles: Tahiti to Fiji voyage make use of the Tiwal sailing boats to explore the idyllic waters. At Palmerston Island, take a dip in the warm waters of ‘Dukes Pool’ – named in honour of the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip who swam in this natural pool during a rare trip in the 1970s. Back on board , you can rejuvenate with a treatment+ in the luxurious Senses Spa or soothe tired limbs in the infrared saunas.
Yasawa Island Group, North-western Fiji
Say Bula to this group of 20 volcanic islands that form the Yasawa Island Group of Fiji. This tropical oasis is the very essence of jaw-dropping beauty, with lush hiking trails, caves and palm-fringed, white beaches. This region was the setting for the filming of the Blue Lagoon movies (both the 1949 and 1980 versions). Be guided to the limestone island of Sawa-i-Lau, famous for its caves that are accessed by climbing stairs from the beach, passing a small door and then jumping into the larger cave’s pool. The second cave and pool can only be reached by swimming at low tide through an underwater tunnel. When cruising through here on the 13-Day Lagoons, Reef and Cultures of the Pacific itinerary voyage, take advantage of some of the clearest water on the planet by submerging below in the state-of-the-art submarine, Scenic Neptune^, to encounter marine life with panoramic clarity.
Sail through the Vava’u island group of Tonga, consisting of one large island, Utu Vava’u, and 40 smaller coral islands in the South Pacific. Spot the imposing Mount Talau that towers over the main island. The stunning harbour opposite the town of Neiafu is popular with yacht owners. As well as the island’s production of vanilla bean, the region is renowned for its remarkably clear water, with clarity to the ocean’s floor of up to 40 metres in depth. For this reason, the beaches of Vava’u are extremely favourable for snorkelling. Head out with your expert Discovery Team members to the best, secret spots where you can enjoy a range of water sport activities, including snorkelling, at your leisure. You may also want to set off via kayak, stand-up paddleboard or Tiwal sailing boat in the numerous, sheltered coral coves. Visit during the 13-Day Lagoons, Reef and Cultures of the Pacific voyage.
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Tanna is an island of Vanuatu’s Tafea Province. It was first settled by Melanesians in about 400 BC from surrounding islands. The island’s Mount Yasur is one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes. Its ash eruptions attracted Captain James Cook in August 1774, as the first European to visit the island. As well as visiting the rim of the volcano, walking along the black sand beaches or diving the reefs, visiting the Iwea Port Resolution hot springs on the eastern side of the island is a fabulous way to immerse yourself, literally, into the island’s lush heartland. Visit with your Discovery Team members during the 13-Day Mysteries of Melanesia voyage.
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
As the most southern of New Caledonia’s islands, almost on the Tropic of Capricorn, the Isle of Pines is considered the ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, named after the tall pine trees, that line its blindingly white, sand shores. It is the largest island in the marine area of the Great Southern Lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage site. While there is much history to discover on shore, on the former 19th century penal colony, as well as fabulous views to be found from the 262-metre high N’ga Peak, you’ll find it hard to drag yourself away from the turquoise waters of its incredible beaches and bays such as Kuto Bay, Kanumera Bay, Upi Bay and Oro Bay (including its legendary natural sea water swimming pool). Let the Discovery Team transport you to all the magical spots. When you’re done, make a toast to the region’s French culture back on board with French champagne – perhaps from your private balcony or from Lumiere Restaurant and Champagne Bar. Visit Isle of Pines on the 15-Day Treasures of the Pacific: The Yasawas to New Zealand voyage.