Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Song of the South . . .Pacific, that is!

Our month-long journey that sliced through a mere section of the South Pacific has come to an end.  We sailed 18 days across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to reach Australia and flew home to Seattle in 17 hours. We sampled a tiny bit of a very vast region, overwhelmingly vast. . .

The Pacific Ocean covers 63.78 million square miles, 165.2 million square kilometers.

We knew it was big but didn’t comprehend its vastness until we found ourselves aboard the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia.

The Pacific Ocean is home to some 25,000 islands; some 6,000 – 10,000 of which are inhabited.

We visited six in a month’s time.

When remembering those visits – aside from the sheer joy of seeing land each time we approached a new island – we remember the welcomes we received by the Pacific Islanders who shared their proud heritage and culture with us through song and dance. . .


This Hawaiian troupe from the Lahaina, Maui Senior Center showered us with sweet ‘aloha’ through their songs and dances.


Six days later when we reached the next island in our journey, this band of troubadours greeted us in Pape’ete, Tahiti. And just footsteps beyond, another group performed for us:


We had reached French Polynesia, almost a mid-way point in our journey. Before leaving Tahiti we were treated to a bit more entertainment as we returned to the ship for a mid-day break from the 90-degree temperatures, which didn’t stop these two from performing.

PicMonkey Collage

Then it was on to Bora Bora and Mo’orea, where musicians again filled the air with lyrical welcome.

DSCF1168The old adage, ‘first impressions count’ couldn’t hold more true than for cruise passengers disembarking at new locations. Those first few steps off a ship can say a lot about a place. Here, it was warmth and welcome

When we think French Polynesia now, we think of the warmth of smiles and the Songs of the South.

Hope you’ll sign up to receive our reports about the South Pacific – you can do so on our home page,TravelnWrite. We’ve got a lot of places and people to tell you about in the coming weeks, and we'll take you behind the scenes on board the Solstice, and we've got some new tips for finding cruise deals! See you again soon.

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travel.


  1. Awesome, makes me want to hop on a boat and go island hopping! The ship looks really huge, quite top heavy though ;) I'd probably be thinking it might tip! Silly me!

    1. Actually, the sea and wind out there in the 'big blue beyond' was so rough, I wouldn't have wanted to be in a smaller one than this. I have a whole new respect (and fear) of the weather in the Pacific. . .ours was considered 'moderate' - not sure I'd want to experience any more extreme than that! Thanks for stopping by today, Johanna.

  2. Oh wow, I bet all of that music and dancing was so enjoyable to watch and listen to, Jackie! What really caught my attention was the 6,000-10,000 islands being inhabited! Wow! I had no idea on that. Good post :)

  3. Hi Jackie, that such a grand cruise! After several days of sailing, I'm sure there's nothing more welcoming than the warm smile of the islanders accompanied by their lovely music and graceful movements. Did you find it hard to go back to the ship after spending sometime on those heavenly islands?

  4. No, it wasn't difficult because we knew the new tops (New Zealand and Australia) would also have new treasures to be discovered. . .I have to admit we were ready for land by the time we finished each 'sea day' segment.

  5. I have enjoyed seeing some of the photos you posted on your Facebook page on your journey. This is one of my cruising dream itineraries if I ever accumulate 18 days of vacation. It sounds so relaxing and exotic. I'm glad you had a grand time. As someone who grew up on the Pacific Islands, there is nothing that compares to these cultural greetings through song and dance. It's a warm embrace whether you're a local or a visitor.

    1. To a person, everyone we encountered was warm and welcoming on this journey whether it was a grocery store clerk, a vendor, a person on the street . . .it makes you ask yourself, "I wonder how visitors to (fill in the blank) Seattle, Kirkland. . .etc. speak of their introduction to our area. I hope with the same positive memories!"

  6. Hello Jackie & Joel

    How great that you were away on such along voyage. I love 'days at lea' when cruising. Your images are wonderful

    1. Thanks much, Helen. Yes, those days at sea were a great time for introspection and taking a look at life - it is good to be cut off from technology and the world you know for a period of time!

  7. I still cannot get over how incredibly tall that ship is. I wonder how far it extends beneath the waterline. I like all the hospitality you enjoyed at each port of call. I've only seen these types of performances in a cultural village, so it must be extra special to see them on the actual home islands.

    1. It was such an uplifting greeting. And the group from the Senior Center performed so well that you'd have thought they were a professional troupe. I hope they are passing the songs and music on to their younger generations.

  8. What a warm welcome! We should really adopt that custom in the States. Looks like a colorful piece of paradise! I didn't know there was a cruise from Hawaii to Australia - that sounds heavenly.

  9. Thanks for visiting today Erica, hope you'll be a regular visitor here. Our cruise was one of the seasonal 'repositioning' cruises; after the ship finishes its 'spring and summer season "Down Under" it will do a similiar run North to bring the ship back to its Seattle base for Alaska cruises. It is a good way to get a lot of cruise, for a little amount of money.

  10. Jackie and Joel,

    Ahoy, there!


    Welcome home! How does it feel to walk on land, again? Do you keep waking up in the morning expecting to see the sea and nothing else in sight?

    Your travels sound so wonderful! It really looks like you had the time of your lives and visited so many beautiful and amazing places. Can't wait to hear about all the details.

    Happy Sunday to you both!



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