If you've ever imagined yourself on a tropical isle, chances are you were dreaming of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Fiji, or another palm-fringed paradise in the South Pacific. Cruising can actually be an economical way to visit these honeymoon havens, since resorts can be pricey. It's best to go between late April and early October; hurricane season starts after that, bringing hot, muggy weather. While some cruises leave from Australia or New Zealand, others simply weave among the islands. Itineraries typically range from one to two weeks, and stops may include private islands or beaches.
What We Love
Friendly Locals: You'll get a warm, genuine welcome from Pacific Islanders.
A Million Shades of Blue: The waters here will continually astonish you with their clarity and endless hues, from turquoise to cobalt.
Best Known For
Pristine Beaches: Whether they're pink sands or glistening white, gorgeous beaches abound.
Snorkeling and Diving: Clear waters and abundant reefs make for great underwater sights. Paul Gauguin Cruises even offers trips with Jaques Cousteau's son Jean-Michel.
Shop for Cruises
Champagne Bay, Vanuatu: One of the world's most beautiful beaches, this curved, pink-sand wonder comes with a bonus —fizzy water.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia: With white sands and an inviting lagoon, plus two volcanic mountains in the interior, this island could fill up your camera card. No wonder it's a favorite of celebs and beautiful people. Hop a bike, snorkel, or play paparazzi.
Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia: Looking for more action? In this capital city, shop for black pearls, dine on international cuisine (or hit the food trucks), and trek to Fautaua Waterfall.
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea: Military buffs can explore Japanese tunnels and a command bunker, plus a war museum. Or visit Mount Tavurvur, an active volcano, and nearby hot springs where locals boil eggs.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Beware the Kava: This root-based drink is presented as a gift to heads of villages; it's bitter tasting and has mild sedative powers. But if you want to partake, first learn the etiquette of the ceremony.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.