South Pacific Jewels: Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora

The South Pacific is often called one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and Holland America Line features an exciting menu of cruise options like the upcoming 74-day South Pacific Explorer and Great Barrier Reef voyage on ms Volendam.

For those with less time on their hands, the 12-day Pacific Treasures voyage on ms Noordam also calls at beautiful South Pacific favorites.

This tropical playground is dotted with some of the most idyllic and pristine islands that majestically rise out of the ocean, adorned with lush landscapes and golden beaches. Water lovers will marvel at the brilliant turquoise waters that are teeming with a colorful display of marine life, making them the perfect locations to snorkel and dive.

When Mariners Jan and Dick Yetke cruised the world on Amsterdam this year, they visited three of the beautiful islands of the South Pacific: Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora. Jan and Dick explore the islands on their own and captured the ambiance of the South Pacific through stunning images.

Papeete, Tahiti:

The good thing in Papeete is that the cruise pier is right down town so easy walking to shops in town, the ferry pier, and a beautiful park that goes along the waterfront. We wanted to bike but it was really hot – 96F degrees, bright sun, and humid!!!! So, we took the bikes off along with our beach bag full of swimsuits, snorkel gear, and towels. We folded the bikes and put them in the back of the rental car along with our stuff and headed off.

The plan was to hopefully get to another part of the island, find a place to swim, and a place to go for a nice bike ride. Since there was a very nice Le Meridian hotel nearby we decided to stop there for lunch. We had a very nice table right over the beach and water.

Each time we got out of the car, we were blasted by the heat!!!! The AC in the car felt great. Long story short, we kept driving and ended up driving around the whole island. On the east side, windward side, it was really neat since the road was close down along the beach and waves were crashing up on the beach. Would not be able to drive that road if there was a storm – road would be under water.

We went back to the ship, returned the car, took our bags back onto the ship, and then went for a short bike ride thru the park to the end and back, only a total of 2.5 miles, but felt good since it had cooled down a little. Ship did not sail until 5 am the next morning so we had time. — Jan and Dick

Scenes from the Yetke's day at Papeete.

Scenes from the Yetke’s day at Papeete.


Moorea is a very short distance from Papeete. It is a beautifully, scenic island. It is the top of a volcano so is a lush, mountainous island with a reef around it. The ship sails in thru an opening in the reef and anchors in a very calm bay. We decided to rent a car and drive around the island and stop at a beach or two, a nice resort, etc.

Our friends from the Black Tie entertainment group, Val and Yuri Mavridis, went with us. We got a rental car there and away we went. We saw the sign pointing up the hill to the Belvedere Lookout and decided to go there. It is a very picturesque viewpoint perched up in the mountains between the two main bays – Opunohu Bay and Cook’s Bay.

Part-way up we noticed when we looked up that a storm was moving in and the area was “socked in” in fog so we decided to not go further up. We kept driving and finally came to a beautiful public beach just before the Sofitel Resort. After walking for a few minutes on the beach, the rain started so we headed back to the car and by the time we got there, it was raining hard. Pretty soon we were 3/4 a way around the island and the rain finally stopped. We stopped to walk around a “marae” which is an ancient sacred site. There are many of these around the island. We then came upon the Intercontinental Resort and had no problem going in there and using the beach or buying lunch and drinks. While there, it did rain a couple times, but finally the sun came out and we had a great swim and snorkel. We figured out that the best snorkeling was by the overwater bungalows. We made it back to the tender dock by 4 p.m. and the last tender was at 4:30 pm so no problem. — Jan and Dick

Moorea provided an excellent opportunity to go snorkeling.

Moorea provided an excellent opportunity to go snorkeling.

Bora Bora:

Yes, Bora Bora is a really, magical, beautiful island!!! The sail in is spectacular. You go thru the opening in the reef into a beautiful, turquoise body of water called the lagoon and anchor. The tenders take us in to a really nice dock right into the small town. It was another gorgeous day – blue skies, sunshine, and no rain. But of course it was extremely hot again!!! So, once again we got off the ship about 11 a.m. or so and headed for the Avis car rental place. Managed to negotiate a car for the afternoon. We ran into our Distinctive Voyages hostess, Helen, and one of the ship’s junior officers, Eddie, and invited them to join us in the car for the afternoon. We didn’t have too much time so we headed out the coast road to Matira Beach and the Intercontinental Hotel. ot there and went in to the hotel, had a very nice lunch at the beach restaurant, and had a very nice swim. We found the fish and coral under the overwater bungalows.

On the way back, we passed the famous Bloody Mary’s Restaurant and Bar but no time to stop this trip. It is really neat inside – all sand floor, huge bar, and beautifully decorated restrooms. The most unique one is the men’s room. You will see an underwater photo of a pretty, long shell. We picked it up since we didn’t see any critter in it. Well, as you can see from another photo, when we got onto the tender, the critter started coming out. After taking the photo, Dick threw it back into the sea so it could live happily ever after. In the tender on the way back to the ship, we watched several of the local people in their outrigger canoes “ride” the stern waves created behind our tender. In one of the canoes was a father and young son. They were able to keep up with it the whole way back to the ship. We really enjoyed watching the young boy paddling hard to do this. I didn’t get a photo of him then, but I did take photos from the ship of them following another tender back so that is what you see. All in all it was a great day in Bora Bora!!!! Such a beautiful place!!! — Jan and Dick

It was another gorgeous day at Bora Bora.

It was another gorgeous day at Bora Bora.

Have you been to the South Pacific? Let us know below if you agree that it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the world.


Join the Discussion


  1. Laura Sklar July 3, 2014 at 12:28 am - Reply

    I’ve never been to South Pacific Jewels, but I will sooner or later. Planning sailing again as soon as possible. Wait for me Holland!!! Loving memories with Ms. Maasdam.

  2. Joseph Brecker July 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    We have these ports on our 42 day Mexico/Hawaii/Tahiti Collectors cruise this December. This will be our second time doing the south pacific run and this is so exciting for us. My husband and I are looking forward to revisiting the bathwater clear lagoons and warm hospitality of the locals.. not to mention purchasing more exquisite vanilla beans and black pearls.

  3. Jos Bruijstens July 7, 2014 at 5:13 am - Reply

    It is definitly one of the most beautiful parts of the world!
    The people who live there are so blessed with the nature they received.
    We made this 30 days, dream come true cruise last april and enjoyed every minute of it.
    Every port of call was special in his own way, our highlights are Hilo, Rangiroa, Moorea & Bora Bora, but visiting Fanning Island was awesome and made the biggist impression on us.

    Jos & Monique

  4. Barbara Colburn July 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Interested in your lowest price, mexico, Hawii, tahiti via Holland America lines.

  5. Barbara Colburn July 5, 2017 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    leaving in Dec. 2017

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