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74 Small Ship Cruise Lines Covered and Counting...

Pacific Ocean Islands

The Hawaiian Islands appear as freestanding one-week cruises leaving from Honolulu to visit four or five islands but these ships have to be U.S.-flagged. The second type of itinerary leaves from the West Coast and involves large ships. Hawaii has long attracted visitors with its combination of sea and sky, verdant landscapes, deep valleys and rugged mountains, swimming, surfing and underwater sports and more recently, an appreciation of Hawaiian culture. The best known South Pacific islands are those of French Polynesia. Most cruises spend a day in each port, maybe an overnight, and offer a wide variety of shore trips to enjoy simple beach visits or rent a car to see the islands at your own pace. Individual islands that are on many itineraries are Fiji (beaches and lagoons galore); Samoa (beauty and strong indigenous culture); Tonga (a Polynesian monarchy ruled by a king that never came under foreign rule); Pitcairn, settled by mutineers from the British ship HMS Bounty; Easter Island, located west of Chile with a mysterious history that includes the erection of 1,000 giant statues for purpose unknown; and those that recall World War II battles: Solomons and American Samoa.

Easter Island


Located over 2,000 miles west of Chile, this remote South Pacific Island’s outstanding claim to fame is a collection of nearly 900 immense statues, many with oversized human heads, that date from the 13th- to the 16th-century.


Fiji


The country is made up of over 900 islands (the main island is called Fiji) that draw visitors from around the world to experience its rugged landscapes, beautiful beaches, coral reefs, crystal clear lagoons, and to meet the locals. Oceangoing ships stop here, and local small ship operators explore the outer islands.


French Polynesia


A French overseas territory, the region is made up of more than 100 islands (best known are Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora) grouped in the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos. They are considered a tropical paradise for small ship cruising with coral-fringed lagoons, black and white sand beaches, rugged landscapes and widely scattered diverse people.


Hawaiian Islands


The 50th state draws visitors from around the world for the island chain’s scenic beauty, its beaches, mountains, varied water sports and distinctive Hawaiian culture. Cruises under the US flag need not embark or disembark passengers in a distant foreign port.


Pitcairn Island


One of the most isolated islands, a South Pacific home to less than 50 people was established in 1790 by mutineers from the HMS Bounty. It is a prized bucket list destination for its remoteness and well-known and well-documented history.