CruiseNew terminal upgrades facilities, but super-sized ships will be banned.

French Polynesia wants cruise visitors to tread lightly

The Islands of Tahiti comprise 118 islands and atolls set across five archipelagos.
The Islands of Tahiti comprise 118 islands and atolls set across five archipelagos. Photo Credit: Adobe/napa74

Work is underway on the US$71.8 million Port Autonome de Papeete cruise terminal, which will add to the experience of cruising in the islands of Tahiti.

Scheduled to be completed in March 2023, the terminal is being built with bioclimatic principles, using natural ventilation, greening of terrace and rooftop spaces, and using a rainwater recovery system.

Exhibition spaces will also be planned to raise public awareness of the maritime history of the Islands of Tahiti and offer a showcase for traditional crafts.

The capacity of ships engaged in transpacific repositioning in the Papeete Cruise Terminal will be limited to ships up to 2,500 passengers and for transpacific cruises, ship capacities are limited to 3,500 passengers.

This is intended to reduce stress on maritime infrastructure, services, and the environment in French Polynesia, particularly in remote islands.

Tahiti, Moorea and Raiatea will be the preferred islands of call for these large-capacity ships. Vessels with more than 3,500 passenger capacity will be refused.

The Islands of Tahiti comprise 118 islands and atolls set across five archipelagos filled with land and sea excursions including snorkelling, scuba diving, ATV tours, hiking, and cultural immersion experiences.

Most locally-based cruise lines feature itineraries of 7 to 14 days, where passengers can visit the main archipelago of the Society Islands, which includes Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Tahaa.

Longer 14-day itineraries include the more remote archipelagos, such as the Tuamotus or the Marquesas Islands.

In the past year, the Islands of Tahiti has welcomed turnarounds from Paul Gauguin Cruises, Aranui and Windstar, as well as Ponant, Lindblad Expeditions, Oceania, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Silversea.

This year the islands welcomed Variety Cruises for year-round small ship operations. Various itineraries include a seven-night cruise in the Society Islands, as well as 10-night and 11-night cruises in the Society and Tuamotu Islands.

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