Niue and South Pacific Cruise Tips
There’s no denying that the South Pacific is one of the world’s top cruising grounds. Sailing from coral atolls to volcanic islands, discovering diverse cultures, swimming among the fish in warm clear waters… What’s not to love? If you’re eyeing up a cruise with Niue on the itinerary then you’re in for a treat exploring the largest atoll in the world. However, there are a few things you need to know about taking a cruise to Niue and the South Pacific, which we dive into in the tips below!
1. Look for Cruises that Depart from Auckland, Tahiti and Fiji
Only a select few cruises include Niue in the itinerary, mainly because the island can only be accessed by Zodiac boats, so finding a cruise visiting “The Rock” is often a challenge. The most popular routes with Niue included are between Auckland and Tahiti and Tahiti and Fiji. With this in mind, you’ll often get the best luck of finding an idyllic South Pacific cruise visiting Niue which departs from either Auckland (New Zealand), Papeete (Tahiti) and Lautoka (Fiji). Check out The Cruises That Visit Niue where we’ve done most of the work for you.
2. Niue Shore Days Can Be Cancelled
Niue’s Port of Call is Alofi, the small capital of this island nation. The town can be easily walked around, making it a pleasurable destination to visit even if you haven’t booked any shore excursions. However, the unfortunate thing with Niue’s port of call is that the only access to the island is via the island’s wharf which is only accessible in ideal weather conditions. This means a lot of Niue’s shore days are cancelled, so be aware that this can happen.
3. Bring Snorkelling Gear, Swimwear and Reef Shoes on Your Niue Shore Excursion
If you do manage to make it onshore, you have an amazing island to explore. One of the highlights of Niue is its vividly clear waters and reef snorkelling just off the shore. With this in mind, it’s highly recommended to bring snorkelling gear, swimwear and reef shoes with you on Niue’s shore excursions. However, note that it is prohibited to walk around the villages and the town in swimwear, so also bring something to cover up after swimming. Check out more essentials to bring in 10 Essentials to Pack for Niue.
4. Book Tours Independently
It’s no secret that cruise ships mark up tour prices considerably. While it’s more convenient to book shore excursions through your cruise, it’s much cheaper to book directly. Although not all tours are able to be booked prior to arrival in Niue (some tours are pretty old school and can only be booked through the Visitor Information Centre or over the phone), a few are able to be booked online, such as Explore Niue and Niue Orientation Tours.
5. Prepare for Days at Sea
Cruises in the South Pacific spend quite a few days at sea, so make sure you’re prepared for that. Cruises will have their own entertainment, including spas, restaurants, bars, lounges and libraries, but you might also want to bring some of your own entertainment.
6. Know How to Pay in Niue
For Niue and any of the South Pacific Islands, it always handy to have cash on you in the local currency as not all businesses accept credit card (or at least will have surcharges of 5% if they do). The legal tender in Niue is New Zealand Dollars, while MasterCard, Visa and New Zealand bank cards are accepted by many businesses. Learn more in What is the Best Way to Pay in Niue?
7. Be Aware of the South Pacific Seasons
Being close to the equator, the South Pacific Islands only have two seasons, the wet season and the dry season. Most cruises to Niue occur in the wet season when the seas can be rough and the weather is hot and humid. If you’re a bit of a weak sailor, consider choosing one of the cruises later in the year, around May, June and September. Learn more about the seasons in Niue here.
8. Stretch Your Legs
After days at sea probably not moving too much but eating too much, it’s a good idea to take every opportunity to move around once you reach the shore. Alofi has a number of amazing sea tracks to explore, where admittedly, getting between the sea tracks will be where you spend most time walking. See the 6 Best Sea Tracks in Alofi for locations and what there is to see there.
9. Be Aware of Niue’s Tide Times
For visiting Niue’s most popular coastal attractions, you need to be aware of the tide times if you want to swim, snorkel or reef walk. Typically, the best time to visit the attractions on the west coast is at low tide, but be sure to assess the swell and waves before jumping in. See What You Need to Know About the Tide Times in Niue for further advice.
10. Pack Right for a South Pacific Voyage
Niue and the South Pacific have warm temperatures all year round, so a light tropical wardrobe is needed for a South Pacific cruise. If you’re starting a cruise in Auckland, you might want some warmer layers to start with, while some evenings might be a little cooler that’s worth packing one sweater for. You’ll also want to remember swimwear, reef-safe sunscreen, flat shoes (making slippery decks easier to walk on) and comfortable walking shoes for days at shore. See more recommended items for the packing list in The Complete Packing List for Niue.