By Michael Coleman
Princess Cruises has just unveiled a series of 2011-2012 itineraries to Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific.
Sun, sand, swaying palm trees, the scent of topical flowers in the air and breathtaking island scenery set the stage as the line offers 43 sailings of 10 itineraries to 33 ports. Voyages run from September 2011 through May 2012.
Cruise passengers will find that each of these island destinations has its own charms. In Hawaii they’ll enjoy the spirit of Aloha throughout the island chain, while Tahiti and the other islands of French Polynesia showcase a unique mix of South Seas appeal and French culture.
Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu each offer their own style and island allure, and all feature the stunning vistas found throughout the South Pacific.
Travelers interested in the convenience of a roundtrip voyage from Los Angeles can choose to sail aboard Golden Princess or Sapphire Princess to the Hawaiian Islands or on a new 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific cruise aboard Sapphire Princess.
Cruisers to Tahiti will enjoy the small ship ambiance of Ocean Princess on several itineraries, and Princess’ Aussie-style sailings from Down Under feature Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess sailing roundtrip from Sydney or Brisbane.
The Hawaiian Islands each have their own personality.Â On Oahu, the state capital of Honolulu offers a wealth of historic, cultural and scenic attractions, including famous Waikiki Beach, America’s only royal residence the Iolani Palace, and Pearl Harbor. The Big Island, the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian Islands, has the most varied in landscape — with striking black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, and the famed Volcanoes National Park, home to three volcanoes, including the actively erupting Kilauea.
Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai offers lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls and geological wonders, such as the dramatic NÃ£ Pali Coastline, and spectacular Waimea Canyon.Â The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui boasts some of the world’s most superb beaches and dramatic mountain landscapes.Â Visitors can also explore the port town of Lahaina which was once King Kamehameha’s capital.Â
Made up of more than 130 islands, French Polynesia includes some of the most dreamed about South Seas islands, such as Tahiti and Bora Bora. This is the South Pacific of Melville, Gauguin and Michener.Â Particularly immortalized by Gauguin’s paintings, Tahiti evokes exotic island images and the South Seas state of mind.Â Nearby Moorea boast precipitous mountains that reach for the sky, creating picture postcard views. And, no name captures the imagination of paradise as well as Bora Bora. Â Perhaps the most stunning island in the South Pacific, its majestic landscape was sculpted by ancient volcanoes, showcasing a shimmering lagoon and barrier reef.Â Passengers on Ocean Princess’ 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia itinerary will enjoy a two-day experience in Bora Bora with extra time to enjoy the island’s charms.
The two islands of Huahine are surrounded by a deep lagoon encircled by a coral necklace. Connected by a bridge, both islands boast white-sand beaches, vanilla and banana plantations, and some of Polynesia’s most significant cultural sites.Â The largest atoll in French Polynesia, divers from all over the world flock to Rangiroa, to explore the undersea world of its 42-mile aquamarine lagoon filled with unique marine life and magnificent underwater scenery.
Samoa and American Samoa lie at the heart of the South Pacific.Â Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa, the southernmost territory of the United States.Â Here abundant rain creates a lush green landscape marked by ancient volcanoes and thriving coral atolls.Â Apia, the main township of Samoa, personifies the fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way), and conjures up images of the perfect South Seas island town.
On the web — www.princess.com