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The islands of the South Pacific make for beautiful travel destinations, and the ability to cruise to them makes it so much easier to see them, or parts of them at least.

Islands like Vanuatu’s 神秘岛 and New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands can be very expensive and difficult to get to via any other mode of travel.

The most popular destinations are Vanuatu and New Caledonia since they are the closest to 澳大利亚’s cruise terminals and therefore the most accessible. Fiji and Tonga are also close enough for slightly longer cruises. Some cruise lines also visit the beautiful Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

So, the question is, what are the best cruise ships for exploring the South Pacific Islands?

Golden Princess docked in Auckland

Well, it depends!

It really depends on what kind of experience you are looking for combined with how many sea days the itinerary gives you.

I’ve been to the South Pacific islands on 海洋光芒, 海洋航海家, Explorer of the Seas, Dawn Princess (now Pacific Explorer), Golden Princess, and Pacific Explorer. Every one of these ships is a different experience – although there certainly are similarities between the two Voyager-class ships, Voyager and Explorer of the Seas.

Explorer of the Seas anchored in Mare, New Caledonia

Do you have lots of sea days or want lots of shipboard facilities?

If so, a bigger ship might be for you!

If your itinerary has a lot of sea days, you might prefer a larger ship that has more facilities, like Explorer of the Seas, but of course you have the trade-off of more passengers, more people in port, more wait for transfer buses or boats (eg water taxi’s to the city in Port Vila) and so on.

海洋航海家 anchored at 神秘岛, Vanuatu

Many of the island ports are tender ports with the exception of the major centres like Suva, Lautoka, 努美阿, Port Vila, and now also Luganville (which has only just recently completed a dock capable of handling cruise ships). If you’ve never taken a tender before, what this means is that the ship anchors somewhere off the shore, usually in a protected bay, and you are ferried to shore on small tender boats.

The bigger ships manage tenders very well, but it can still take longer to get ashore from a big ship than a small ship in a tender port. That said, it’s usually not much time. The bigger issue is that more people means some of the smaller ports of call can feel very overrun, particularly 神秘岛 and the Sacred Rock snorkelling site on the Isle of Pines.

Of the docked ports, 努美阿 actually has two cruise dock locations, one is a working port that requires buses to bring passengers into town to the actual cruise terminal, and the other is, of course, the actual cruise terminal.

This is where the other downside of big ships comes into play. Ships even the size of 海洋光芒 or Golden Princess cannot dock at the cruise terminal in 努美阿 – they are too big. This means bus transfers from the working port into town. So smaller ships that are able to dock at the actual cruise terminal in 努美阿 will get you in port for longer and with the ability to easily walk off the ship into town.

Many of the island ports that you can dock at are also working ports and some of them, like Port Vila, require transfers arranged (you can do so there) and will not allow you to simply walk out of the terminal. Again, more people means there can be bigger delays to get you into town.

So, that’s the negatives of a big ship. The positives!

Bigger ships simply have more to do. Explorer of the Seas will give you access to an ice skating rink, the flow rider, more performance spaces, more activities, and typically more dining choices. If you have a lot of days at sea – which you might if you are headed to Fiji or Tonga – then all these extra activities, entertainment and dining options can help to make the sea days more interesting.

Ice Skating show on Explorer of the Seas

A big positive of bigger ships is that they handle rougher seas better, and given the South Pacific Islands are regularly subjected to cyclones during cruise season, this may be an important factor to consider.

Mini Golf on Explorer of the Seas

Travel on a bigger ship and you are less likely to get seasick. Travel on a smaller ship, and you will get rocked around more. Even ships the size of Pacific Explorer can really suffer from relatively small swells in comparison to just a little bit bigger like 海洋光芒.

I will say, my experience has been that all the 皇家加勒比 ships have handled the seas better than the Princess or P&O ships I’ve been on, but it’s always a trade-off.

Pacific Explorer docked at Circular Quay in 悉尼 Harbour

Would you prefer to visit more islands in one trip?

If you are looking for an itinerary to visit lots of islands, you will be better served by a ship that sails out of Brisbane rather than 悉尼 or any other port in 澳大利亚. Brisbane is closer to many of the islands meaning you can fit in more ports and see more of these beautiful places.

Most of the cruises that visit the islands of Papua New Guinea only depart from Brisbane as well. What this means is that your choice of ship is also more limited. Until the new terminal in Brisbane is completed, you are limited to the smaller ships that can fit under the Gateway Bridges. At the moment, these are almost exclusively ships operated by P&O Australia.

This, at least for now, brings you back to the trade-off between small and large ships.

So which ships are the best for exploring the South Pacific Islands?

You have to decide which things are the most important to you in order to determine which ships are going to be the best. I would submit though that if truly ‘exploring’ the South Pacific islands is what you want to do, that the P&O fleet of ships will give you the best platform for exploring more islands.

If you are concerned about motion sickness though, then go with a larger ship and sail from 悉尼 instead. You probably won’t visit as many islands unless you pick a longer itinerary, but the bigger ship will give you more stability and better handle any rough weather you might encounter. Since almost every sailing from 悉尼 to the South Pacific islands has at least 4 sea days, a bigger ship will also ensure you have more to do while you are at sea.

Cruising Tips and Tricks

Don’t know what to budget for a cruise?
Cruise costs can vary wildly depending on your travel style, length of the cruise, number of ports, and more. Learn more about what costs to expect and how much to budget.

Save money on your foreign currency purchases
Foreign currency transactions can cost you a lot in exchange fees. On a cruise, you can visit multiple countries using multiple currencies in a single trip and foreign cash purchases can be expensive.

I use and recommend TransferWise Borderless accounts with an attached multi-currency debit card. These accounts can save you loads on foreign exchange.

Read more about how to save money on foreign currency purchases using TransferWise.

Book Your Before & After Accommodation
For smaller cruise terminals, like 悉尼’s White Bay, your best bet is to book a nearby 爱彼迎。对于大多数大型国际邮轮码头,通常可以在附近找到酒店。我用 雅阁 对于大多数非美国目的地,我发现它们通常返回最便宜的价格。对于美国,我使用 Booking.com.



前往 我的邮轮区 了解更多规划技巧!



旅行货币和货币换算: 我们同时使用 向上银行明智的 通过支持 Apple Pay 和 Android Pay 以及出色的应用内客户支持,在您旅行时获得最佳货币兑换率。

航班: 我们检查了几个网站的不同价格。从澳大利亚出发,我总是直接检查澳航的奖励航班,但除此之外,我会检查并比较航班费用 天巡.检查替代路线和日期总是值得的,尤其是在有多个中途停留选项或附近替代机场的情况下。

住所: 我们通常通过预订 雅阁 因为我们发现他们的价格最低,取消政策+忠诚度福利效果最好。我们也用 爱彼迎 时。

汽车出租: 我们用 欧洲汽车展 将租车价格与 Europcar、Budget、Hertz 和 Avis 等所有大型国际品牌进行比较。我们通常最终使用 阿维斯 要么 欧洲汽车 因为他们提供最优惠的价格(请务必查看他们当前的优惠折扣),并且都使用相对较新的车队维护他们的车辆。

旅游与活动: 我们通常会尝试通过这些第三方网站之一预订活动 领航者获取指南 & 客路 由于他们灵活的取消政策(为我们在 COVID 后旅行节省了很多钱)和价格保证(通常比直接预订更优惠的价格)。我们也通过预订 红气球 偶尔会有更多独特的澳大利亚和新西兰活动。




Matt in Noumea

Matt专职从事数字营销业务, TerraMedia。不过,在业余时间,他喜欢和妻子一起旅行,所以他们通常都会做很多事情。

您可以阅读有关马特及其故事的更多信息 这里.