day 1 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Thanks to its supply of fresh water, Papeete has long been a gathering place – the name means “water basket.” Today it’s the main population center of the Polynesian islands. The bustling city meets the sea on a long, walkable waterfront. Peruse the lively Marche de Papeete, where local venders sell food and handicrafts, and dine at enticing restaurants serving French and Polynesian cuisine. Popular local dishes include poisson cru (raw fish with coconut milk and lime). For quiet time, walk to one of the city’s gardens. Mother Nature is close at hand in the island’s interior, where jungles and waterfalls are accessible on hiking and Jeep excursions. Or head to a black-sand or white-sand beaches for lounging time or snorkeling among colorful tropical fish. Some beaches are popular with surfers.
9:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
day 2 Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Approaching this legendary island’s darkly mysterious volcanic peaks feels like one of those good-to-be-alive movements. There’s something almost sacred about the sight. Once on shore, the swaying palms, white-sand beaches and sea in various shades of turquoise are so seductive they’re nearly hypnotic. Romance is quite literally in the air. Get in the water to snorkel or dive with black-tipped sharks and petting stingrays, their skin velvety smooth. The diving here is excellent. If diving is new to you, try Discover SCUBA options in shallow water. Or, for something different, choose a Helmut dive, going down 10 feet while tethered (and without wetting your hair), no experience required. The sights under the sea also may also be viewed from glass-bottom boat tours. Explore the island and its mountains and lush valleys, stopping in the hills to see American World War II cannons still in their original locations. Or get a birds-eye view of the volcanic peaks on a thrilling helicopter flight. Fans of “South Pacific” will want stop by Bloody Mary’s Restaurant & Bar. You’ll have plenty of time to explore since your Windstar Bora Bora cruise experience includes an overnight in this island oasis, with the option of leaving the ship for a stay in a romantic over-the-water bungalow at one of the island’s leading resorts.
7:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
day 5 Avatiu, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
The natural playground of Rarotonga is the hub of the Cook Islands. Surrounded by a lagoon, it offers palm-studded white-sand beaches, excellent snorkeling in the sparkling blue waters of Muri Lagoon and lush jungle forests. Just 20 miles (32 km) around, this popular island is becoming a foodie location with its numerous cafes and artisan and organic food scene. Other sights to see include Te Rua Manga peak (“The Needle”) and Takitumu Conservation Area.
11:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
Charming Niue is one of the largest raised coral atolls on earth. Step back in time and enjoy the laidback pace of relaxed clear waters and pristine beaches, the coral reefs everywhere and the vibrant, friendly locals who delight to meet you. Spend time on the beach or find the Taoga Niue Museum, the Ekalesia Church, Palaha Cave, and Hikulagi Sculpture Park.
12:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
Crossing International Date Line
day 9 Crossing International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, the imaginary line of navigation that runs down the middle of the Pacific Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole roughly following the 180⁰ Longitude north-south line. The IDL was established in 1852 in Greenwich, England.
8:00 AM TO 10:00 PM
Known as the “Garden Island of Fiji” cigar-shaped Taveuni’s most famous tourist attraction is Lake Tagimaucia, the habitat of the rare tagimaucia flower. It is also the home of three major diving areas, with Rainbow Reef recognized as one of the world’s best soft coral dives. Two sanctuaries, Ravilevu Nature Reserve and Taveuni Forest Reserve have been created to protect Fiji’s wildlife.
7:00 AM TO 3:00 PM
Known as “the hidden paradise of Fiji,” beautiful Savusavu with its abundance of waterfalls, hiking trails, rainforests and black pearls, has recently been realized to be a tourist hotspot. The shabby-chic main street is a hodgepodge of eclectic watering holes, a bustling market, and a variety of shops and cosmopolitan restaurants. Find a black pearl farm, see the Vuadomo and Nakawaga Waterfalls or kayak, snorkel, sail, fish or take an easy hike. Bula!
Welcome to the capital of Fiji with its broad streets, majestic British colonial buildings, lively farmer’s market and lush, green parks. Considered the most multiracial, multicultural country in the South Pacific, find a variety of excellent cuisine here including Indo-Fijian, Chinese, Italian and Japanese. Highlights here include the Fiji museum, Thurston Gardens, Colo-I-Suva Forest Park and Albert Park.
Nicknamed the “Sugar City” due to its expansive sugarcane plantations, Lautoka’s biggest employer is the Lautoka Sugar Mill, founded in 1903. Lautoka is the birthplace of PGA star Vijay Singh and is lovely with its tree-lined streets, colonial homes, outdoor markets and a cheerful, vibrant culture. Sights to see include South Sea Orchid Garden, Sabeto Village and Nadi Marketplace or Temple. This is also the place to make time for a relaxing mud pool bath.
*Rates shown are per person, based on double occupancy, reflect all discounts and include non-discountable amounts. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional.