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The Thrills of Cruising the South Pacific

30th November 2017

Clear turquoise coloured waters, powder-white beaches, swaying palm trees, and almost endless sunshine, the South Pacific is the epitome of a relaxing holiday. Cruising is the best way to take advantage of the countless islands of the South Pacific, enabling you to visit places inaccessible in any other way.

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white sandy beach
One of the many white, sandy beaches of the South Pacific

The first two days of our nine-night South Pacific cruise aboard Celebrity Solstice are spent at sea, a perfect way to get into the rhythm of the ocean and take advantage of the ship’s many activities and facilities. Some opt to just pull up a deck chair by one of the pools and kick back with a cocktail; others elect for a game of boules at the Lawn Club, a full half-acre of lush, living grass; some head to the spa and fitness centre; and those eager to fill every minute choose from onboard classes and lectures, or try their luck in the casino. There is one thing we all indulge in - the dizzying range of dining options onboard. The expression 'spoilt for choice' takes on a whole new meaning on board this vessel.


Sunset Bar on Celebrity Solstice
Sunset at the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Solstice - this is the lead ship of the Solstice-class of Celebrity Cruises' ships

Our first port of call is Noumea, a delicious slice of the French Riviera in the South Pacific. New Caledonia’s capital is a territory of France, and the centre of the country’s epicurean and cultural scene, with restaurants serving French and Asian cuisine, and shops selling top wines and other goods imported from France. With a string of bays and beaches stretching along a peninsula protected by coral reefs, and one of the largest lagoons in the world, it’s perfect for water sports such as wind surfing and snorkelling. The island also boasts many land-based activities, including the Maritime History Museum, the Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park, the Aquarium des Lagons, and museums exhibiting art and Melanesian artefacts. It's a perfect destination for gourmands and cultural connoisseurs alike.

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Maa Bay near Noumea in New Caledonia
Dusk over Maa Bay, off Noumea in New Caledonia

Want more island itineraries? How does Tahiti sound? 

Australia being 'girt by sea' means Australia has a treasure trove of islands, inlets and coastline to explore.                      Read more on cruising close to home like this South Pacific escape.


Vanuatu islands
The coconut is not actually a nut at all, but is a stone fruit

Who could resist a place called Mystery Island? This tiny, uninhabited island lies off the southernmost tip of the Vanuatu archipelago and was formerly used as a landing strip by the allied forces during WWII. Today only palm trees and sweet seclusion grow from the white sand of Mystery Island. Surrounded by clear blue waters and sheltered by coral reefs, it only takes about 20 minutes to walk around its sandy shore. The locals live across the water on the larger volcanic island of Tanna and visit the island when the ship docks, offering a range of local artefacts for sale and entertaining us with their charming dancing and singing, giving us an insight into the traditions and customs of island life.


Celebrity Solstice Solarium
Celebrity Solstice's adult's only Solarium: relax, unwind & work on your tan in modern luxury

Next up, the Isle of Pines, nicknamed the ‘closest island to paradise’, is bursting with friendly smiles, beaches as white and soft as talcum powder, and a kaleidoscope of corals and fish below the crystalline waters. Some of us take a boat tour to Turtle Bay and swim with green turtles.

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Isle of pines
Isle of Pines is known for its white sand beaches and tall pine trees

Our last destination on the cruise is Lifou, the largest island in the Loyalty Islands, known for its dramatic cliff-top views, fascinating caves, some of the finest beaches to be found in the entire Pacific, and as a centre of traditional Melanesian culture. Arriving onshore by tender, we’re greeted by an open-air market selling arts and crafts and the chance to drink pure coconut water direct from the shell. The diverse history and culture of each island is fascinating, and our shore excursions immerse us in both.


Aerial view of Celebrity Solstice
Celebrity Solstice is a ship full of "firsts." Like the first Lawn Club at sea and The first Hot Glass Show

Sailing back to Sydney, there are another two sea days and time to relax and reflect on our experiences, sort through our hundreds of photos, and plan our next cruise holiday.

Images courtesy of Celebrity & Getty