EAT: Each of the islands on Star Flyer’s South Pacific itinerary offers an abundance of yummy treats.
With stop-offs in Pape’ete, the capital of Tahiti, as well as the lush islands of Huahine, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Moorea and Bora Bora, you’ve got ample opportunity to try the local, succulent maki maki fish and ripe, juicy, fruit.
Onboard the ship (which is part of the Star Clipper group of masted sailing ships) there are six food ‘presentations’ a day, from a scrumptious breakfast buffet through to freshly made afternoon waffles on deck and a midnight feast, via lunch and dinner delights such as lobster, suckling pig and vegetarian treats.
SHOP: The Star Flyer’s onboard shop is teeny, but you can pick up essentials such as sun tan lotion and branded clothes in it.
On the islands, you can buy everything from tourist T-shirts to wood-carved tiki statues, shell jewellery, flower garlands, local handicrafts and sarongs (the local sarong-type garment is called a pareau and is worn by both men and women, although we can’t see too many Norn Irish blokes wearing one!).
You can also stock up on locally-grown vanilla and the region’s famous ‘monoi’ oil which has a variety of different uses – locals use it as a perfume, as a moisturiser and as a conditioning hair treatment, among other things.
Prices in French Polynesia are quite high, so save your pennies for a special treat, such as jewellery made from local black pearls.
DRINK: You can sip the ship’s cocktail-of-the-day from the comfort of a sun lounger on board Star Flyer while you admire the scenery – idyllic islands, turquoise lagoons and fertile valleys or celebrate with a bottle of chilled champagne.
On the various different islands, do like the locals do and stop off at a café or bar for a chilled Hinano beer, the local brew. It’s been supped since 1955 and there are even several Polynesian songs in honour of it.
Due to French Polynesia’s location mid-way between California and Australia, you can also pick up US and Aussie beers and spirits in shops and bars.
SLEEP: As you sail around this group of volcanic islands and coral atolls that go under the name of the Society Islands, you can be sure of drifting off to sleep, lulled by the gentle rocking of the waves as the ship cuts a path through the South Seas.
The cabins on Star Flyer, which is more like a mega, luxury yacht than a traditional cruise ship, are mostly compact but come equipped with everything you could need on your voyage, from hairdryers to TVs and DVD players.
Decorated in a nautical theme, there are different categories and sizes so you can pick the one that suits your needs and your budget.
THE SIGHTS: Nature is one of the most attractive sights you’ll find in this far-flung, tropical paradise.
From gazing at crystalline lagoons to counting the palm trees, you’ll never tire of admiring nature’s bounty. If you’re feeling energetic, you can go diving, scuba diving, jet-skiing, surfing, hiking or stay onboard and climb the ship’s mast or help to raise the sails.
Star Flyer also offers shore excursions, from dolphin watching trips to visits to pineapple plantations and 4×4 safaris to see the remains of traditional religious temples.
Back on board, the evening entertainment ranges from amateur talent contests to deck discos.
THE LOW DOWN: Star Clippers offers seven, ten and eleven night voyages around Tahiti and Her Islands on board Star Flyer.
Wedding packages are also available. Book direct and one week costs from £1,209 per person based on two sharing, including all meals and port taxes (flights excluded). Visit www.starclippers.co.uk or call 01473 292 029.
New for 2009, Star Clippers is offering all passengers £200 per person towards the cost of the flights to Tahiti. You can book flights directly through the Star Clippers office or independently and Star Clippers will deduct £200 per person from their final invoice. Air Tahiti Nui (www.airtahitinui.com ) offers flights to Tahiti from France and the US and can be matched up with flights from other airlines such as British Airways (www.ba.com ) from the UK.
For tourist information visit www.tahiti-tourisme.co.uk or call 0207 202 6378.