25 Pacific Ocean, west coast USA, Galapagos, Polynesia, Panama

This is a far side of the world few UK cruisers venture to, the insurance alone might frighten many off. However, it is a paradise repeated over and over again. We have spent quite some time there, but most before we were building Doris Visits. We will be back in 2019 so the site will fill with more films and information on our return. It is huge with many sea days, but, if it makes it easier almost all of these islands were first discovered by men in dugout canoes chasing smoke that had to come from (volcanic) land.

Polynesia

The land of the Gold Rush, the reason the Panama canal was built, and the centre of western movie making. Three cruise ports, one new one extended for the new large ships – see film.  World Cruise Center terminal 91-92    World Cruise Center terminal 93    Long Beach cruise terminal

The Panama canal can feature in many an Atlantic Ocean Cruise. Once through, the Ocean is so huge, you can go many ways. We have been right to California, straight on to Tahiti, never been to Galapagos but we have films from Mogens who has. We have spent much time down in Fiji, and in 2019 will be heading to Sydney. As always on Doris Visits, the section will only expand.


IN BRIEF: A archipelago of islands south of Panama, just off the coast of Ecuador. Very specialist cruising. Nature at its best. Mobility is a serious consideration as many tours are by rib to stony shores. Very near the Equator in the Pacific Ocean are several hundred small islands, there are a dozen or so larger ones. Their cruises tend to circle a few islands.

  • CURRENCY: There are no shops, well, the few that are take the US dollar which is the official currency of Ecuador.
  • LANGUAGE: Some English is spoken.

  • IN BRIEF: Manta is a happening city, which relies on the Tuna fishing and canning industry. It is also where Panama hats are made and there is much colonial architecture.
  • CURRENCY: The US dollar is the official currency of Ecuador.
  • LANGUAGE: Some English is spoken.

Hawaii

IN BREIF: the 50th American state. Visa required. Honolulu is on the island of Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands. It is very American, from super expensive ships and trendy restaurants to budget noodle cafes. The buses are excellent and regular. A bus ride away there is the monument that is Pearl Harbor (see film below), the north shore that is surf and hippies, and the Polynesian Cultural Centre, ideal for kids. There is a public bus stop by the pier, see our many films. Don’t take any form of a bag to Pearl Harbor, they will not let it in.
CURRENCY: US Dollars
LANGUAGE: English


  • IN BRIEF: Papeete is a busy island of Tahiti and important port in French Polynesian collection of beautiful islands. The port and port town are limited in what they offer. See our look at the town, then a look at a resort. Most of the good beaches are resort owned.
  • CURRENCY: It is expensive. French Pacific Franc abbreviated to CFP or XPF. They will take US Dollars, but then the deal gets worse.
  • LANGUAGE: French. English is spoken widely.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: Many world tours, like Arcadia. Ovation of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Sea Princess etc.

  • IN BRIEF: Bora Bora is a small tender port. It has a few shops, a bar nearby famous for Bloody Marys, a beach and a bus tour round its one road. The port has little to offer other than pearls. Iy is expensive and it can rain. A day at a resort is the best choice. The queue at the tender to get back for lunch gets busy.
  • CURRENCY: It is expensive. French Pacific Franc abbreviated to CFP or XPF. They will take US Dollars, but then the deal gets worse.
  • LANGUAGE: French. English is spoken widely.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: Many world tours, like Arcadia. Ovation of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Sea Princess etc.

  • IN BRIEF: The setting of the film South Pacific. This is no longer called Western Samoa, it is, Samoa.
  • CURRENCY: Samoan Tala is the currency. The code still sports the W WST. ATM’s found in main city. They will sometimes accept US dollars.
  • LANGUAGE: English is spoken widely.
  • MEDICAL: The islands are free of major tropical diseases and no vaccinations are required.
  • LOCAL DRINKS: Vailima Breweries and Samoa Beverage Company. Vailima is Samoa’s local beer.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: ms Europa, Queen Victoria, MSC Magnifica.

  • IN BRIEF: Fiji is a large number of Islands. You are likely to cruise into Viti Levu, the largest island. It’s government has just been re-elected but the British Embassy there is finding it hard to have effect as we found many times. We spent months there, through a cyclone, filming the movie Bula Quo for Universal, our guaranteed tax rebate was never paid. Lautoka is a market town with an old sugar port. The buses can be a challenge, but a visit a resort is in order if you wish a beach. Nadi is the main tourist area seen in Bula Quo. Suva the capital is too far from Lautoka on a day stop.  Port of Lautoka.
  • CURRENCY: Fijian Dollar.
  • LANGUAGE: English is spoken widely as it was close to the UK.
  • MEDICAL: There are recommendations. See here
  • LOCAL DRINKS: Vonu beer is good. There are others.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: Arcadia, Queen Victoria, MSC Magnifica.

  • IN BRIEF: Port Vila is a tender port. Made of about 80 islands you will find boat trips galore, wonderful lagoons and friendly people. The clearest lagoons, beautify waterfalls or a trip to Ekasup village, a Kanak settlement. It is, however, subject to cyclones and volcanos eruptions, so see advise
  • CURRENCY: Vanuatu Vatu.
  • LANGUAGE: English is spoken widely as it was close to the UK.
  • MEDICAL: There are recommendations. See here
  • LOCAL DRINKS: There is an endless number of beers, Seven Seas Happy Dog seems number 1 rated, Tusker seems the up and rising one.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: Arcadia.

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  • IN BRIEF: Beautiful Paradise Beaches and cosmopolitan cafes. Noumea is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia, on Grand Terre, east of Australia. Bird watching, nature reserves a walk into Coconut Square or just a tour on the road train – you will love this island. 
  • CURRENCY: South Pacific Franc or Cour de Franc Pacifique which is tied to the Euro.
  • LANGUAGE: French. English is spoken though 28 distinct Kanak languages are spoken here, in addition to Indonesian, Vietnamese, Tahitian, Wallisian, and Chinese.
  • MEDICAL: And recommendations will be here. See here
  • LOCAL DRINKS: Craft beers can be found here. Hinanu Export is a lager, Havannah is a pale ale.
  • SHIPS SEEN HERE: A busy port. Arcadia, ms Maasdam, Ruby Princess, Seven Seas Navigator.
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