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Cruises to Bora Bora

Bora Bora (Photo: TWEITH/Shutterstock)
Bora Bora (Photo: TWEITH/Shutterstock)

About Bora Bora

Bora Bora is an exclusive haunt loved by honeymooners and celebrities, some of whom have reportedly stayed in over-the-water villas for more than US$15,000 per night. A meal or drink at the island's famous Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora Yacht Club is a must. The bar, which has hosted stars from Willie Nelson to Nelson Rockefeller, is as much a part of the Bora Bora experience as swimming in the gorgeous blue-green lagoon, which is three times the size of the island's actual landmass. The good news for cruise passengers is it's cheaper to visit Bora Bora by sea than on a land-based holiday -- and, on some cruises, you get an overnight stay.

The island is a high-end playground dependent on tourism, but it's still not as slick and Hollywood chic as you might expect. Novelist James A. Michener, who penned Tales of the South Pacific and visited 40 islands during his WWII naval service, described Bora Bora "the world's most beautiful island". Within the warm turquoise waters and snow-white ring of sand is a mountainous interior dominated by two majestic peaks -- Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the remnants of an extinct volcano.

You can make a day of it in Bora Bora simply by lounging on the beach or floating in the lagoon. But if you find it surprisingly difficult to do nothing, there are active pursuits to enjoy on the water and on land. Bora Bora is much more geared to outdoor pursuits than to shopping and culture, although shoppers will find plenty of trinkets for sale at the Vaitape wharf and many high-end pearl shops. Snorkelling and scuba diving are world class, with surprisingly friendly reef sharks and rays. Bicycles are the recommended method of transport if you have time to spare - you can circle around the whole island in three to four hours (or less) depending on fitness levels. The coastal ring road is 32 km long.

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DAY 1: Honolulu

18 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
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Hilo, Tahiti ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Honolulu

14 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
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Maui, Kauai ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Honolulu

18 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Tahiti, Moorea ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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DAY 1: Miami

117 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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164 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Bora Bora, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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13 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Kauai, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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18 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Moorea, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Rangiroa, Tahaa ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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30 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Moorea, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Brisbane
Visiting:
Paihia, Auckland ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
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Moorea, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Rangiroa, Tahaa ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Tahiti, Moorea ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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10 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Rangiroa, Tahaa ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Bora Bora, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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18 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
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Moorea, Raiatea ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Tahiti, Moorea ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Cruise Critic Favorite

18 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Paihia, Auckland ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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32 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Hilo, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Rangiroa, Tahaa ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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28 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Hilo, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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51 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to Bora Bora

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Hilo ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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Why go to Bora Bora?

Pros:

One of the world's most stunning lagoons is best explored by boat or jet ski

Cons:

It's an expensive place and some areas are surprisingly less than luxurious

Bottom Line:

The claimed 'seven shades of blue' water will take your breath away

Bora Bora Cruise Port Facilities?

You'll find shops and market stalls in Vaitape selling souvenirs and jewellery (the famous Tahitian black pearls are everywhere), plus a handful of restaurants (all closed on our Sunday evening stroll for dinner, sadly.) Most folks don't linger too long in Vaitape; they're taking ship-sponsored shore excursions or exploring independently. You can find an ATM, post office and tourist office within easy walk of the tender pier.

Good to Know?

Much of Vaitape is closed on Sunday evenings and on national holidays. It's also expensive -- even compared to typically high island prices. Expect to pay about $30 more for a rental car here than in Moorea, for example.

Getting Around?

By Car: Avis and Europcar have offices across from the Vaitape pier. Electric bicycles are also available for hire.

By Bus: Le Truck is the island's bus service, but it is highly irregular and not recommended.

By Taxi: Taxis are available at the pier. Taxi fares are expensive in French Polynesia, especially Bora Bora. So it's advisable to ask the price before boarding. Taxis are plentiful during cruise ships visits and may offer competitive rates for short shuttle trips down to Matira Beach or Bloody Mary's restaurant. As buses charges around US$5 (A$7.50) per person for a one-way trip; a taxi ride up to $20 (for the whole cab) is a good deal.

By Shuttle Bus: Local buses turn up in droves on the days when cruise ships are docked. The buses offer trips to Matira Beach and Bloody Mary's restaurant, about three miles to the south. The one-way ride is US$5; drivers also accept French Pacific Francs -- the equivalent is around 500 XPF. The bus leaves once all the seats are full.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency is the French Pacific franc. It is officially written as XPF, but many shops write it as CFP. ATMs are found at the bank branches of Banque Socredo and Banque de Polynesie in Vaitape.

Language?

French and Tahitian are the official languages, and both are commonly used, but English is spoken and understood in most restaurants and tourism establishments.

Where You're Docked?

Ships typically anchor in Pofai Bay and passengers are tendered to the township of Vaitape. This village of shops and eateries is on the western side of the main island and perfect for sunset viewing.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Overall Cruise Destinations
  • 2018 Top-Rated South Pacific Destinations

Bora Bora Cruise Reviews

Paul Gauguin
rjeffb
Sail Date: Oct 2019
OMG, Bora Bora is beautiful. And big. And that's the problem; youll only see a tiny fraction of it. If I were to do it again, I'd do a combined Bora Bora and Fiji airplane vacation and spend a week here to do it... Read More
Norwegian Jewel
mystic1963
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We got off on the tender boat very easily and booked a land tour on this occasion. I think we paid about $30 or $35 each which, for Bora Bora is pretty decent. The wonderful Delores ( the ex-tank regiment member)... Read More
Toohey
Sail Date: Oct 2018
We had been to Bora Bora before when we did a Moto (island) break. This time we decided to relax at a local beach that we reached by a local bus for $5 USD each. Enjoyed the best coconut smoothie we will probaly... Read More
Paul Gauguin
B Mellin
Sail Date: Apr 2018
We had a week booked in Bora Bora after the cruise so chose NOT to do a formal excursion....Spent a few hours casually walking about and enjoying Viatape. In the afternoon we went to the Motu for drinks and... Read More
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