The island of Tahiti is the stuff honeymoon dreams are made of lush green trees swaying in a warm tropical breeze, bordering soft sand beaches that stretch for miles next to aquamarine water and coral reefs. A Tahiti cruise will get you there in style and take you to some of the best parts of the island.
Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France located in the South Pacific. Tahiti is shaped like a figure eight with each circle comprising a different part of the island. Most of the action takes place on Tahiti Nui (the larger section of the figure eight) near the main city of Pape'ete, which is also where Tahiti cruises pull into port.
Tahiti’s beauty has attracted artists over the decades, including American writer James Norman Hall and French painter Paul Gauguin. During a cruise to Tahiti you’ll also start to understand the allure of this beautiful island and may find yourself never wanting to leave either.
Tahiti cruises pull into port in Pape'ete, which is a gateway to the rest of the island and all its beautiful sights. Embark on an excursion to one of its historic sites or walk around the markets of Pape'ete before finding a beach to lounge on.
The water off the coast of Tahiti is home to an array of tropical fish and other sea creatures. Making snorkeling even better is the water, which has extremely high visibility and feels as warm as a bath. You can snorkel right off one of Tahiti’s gorgeous beaches or take a boat to a prime snorkel spot.
James Norman Hall was the American writer of Mutiny on the Bounty who loved Tahiti so much after visiting he decided to make it his home. The house he lived in is now a museum and it is an excellent opportunity to see a traditional Polynesian home – and to learn more about this talented author.
Travelers on Tahiti cruises will have the chance to visit the only restored marae (an ancient temple or meeting place) in French Polynesia: Arahurahu Marae. You’ll be able to walk around the grounds and learn about the history and significance of the place.
Marché de Pape'ete is the main market of Tahiti and will give you a great introduction to French Polynesian lifestyle and culture as you browse through stalls filled with local agriculture, artisan crafts, and Tahitian pearls. To learn more about Tahitian pearls, visit the Robert Wan Pearl Museum.
Cruises to Tahiti pull into port in Pape'ete, which is located on the larger part of the figure eight that makes up the island of Tahiti. Depending on your time in port and your interests you may choose to spend the day exploring the area around Pape'ete or using the port city as a jumping off point to the nearby island of Mo'orea.
Shore excursions in Tahiti are all about experiencing the beauty of the island and getting a taste of the local culture. You can do this via water or land, or head to a beach for the best of both worlds. During certain Tahiti shore excursions, you’ll also have the opportunity to stop at one or more of the Tahiti highlights listed above.
A catamaran cruise is a great way to explore the gorgeous South Pacific water surrounding the island of Tahiti. You’ll have panoramic views of Tahiti’s coastline and will often get the chance to swim in a lagoon, visit Opunohu Bay by the island of Mo'orea, or snap photos of an epic sunset.
A relaxing and sundrenched way to spend a Tahiti cruise port of call is with a day pass to one of Tahiti’s epic beach resorts. Lounge by the pool, swim in the ocean, or get seaside drinks during your beach break shore excursion. Some Tahiti resorts even have private lagoons in which you can snorkel.
A guided drive around the island of Tahiti is a great way to experience many of the wonders of the island when short on time. Choose an excursion itinerary that goes to the west coast of the island and visits grottos and gardens, or focus on the east coast and historic sites like Venus Point.
Many of the main sights of Pape'ete are in walking distance of the cruise ship, meaning you can do a morning or afternoon shore excursion and still easily have time to visit the market and pearl museum if you so wish.
If you’re planning on doing shopping, it’s wise to bring cash since not everywhere will accept credit cards, particularly at market stalls. Tahiti accepts French Polynesian francs and you’ll be able to find ATMs in Pape'ete dispensing this currency.
Pack your bathing suit in your day pack even if you don’t think you’ll be swimming – you never know how you’ll feel once you come across some of the warm, crystal clear, turquoise water surrounding Tahiti, and you may find yourself wanting to take a dip after all.
It’s also good to stick in sunscreen and a sun hat and/or sunglasses so you don’t spend your day worrying about getting sunburned or squinting at the sights and can just enjoy the gorgeous South Pacific sunshine.
A cruise to Tahiti on one of our luxurious ships will typically happen in April or September. Our Tahiti cruise stop is part of Transpacific cruise itineraries between Australia and Hawaii, two other incredible destinations you’ll get to explore.