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Doubt It

Best Time of Year To Cruise PG?

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Greetings folks:

 

I have a 40th wedding anniversary in 2022, contemplating my first PG cruise.

 

To maximize the best weather for this trip - what is the best time of year to go?

 

I am somewhat aware of typhoon season down there during the northern summer period - so I assume that would not be the best time.

 

Your assistance would be appreciated.

 

Doubt It

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We first attempted to go to Moorea and Bora Bora for our honeymoon back in June of 1992. We had planned to stay at Club Med in both places and in March, they were both wiped out by a storm. So we ended up going to St. Barts and Anguilla instead, and it was much cheaper from the East coast of the US, and the places we stayed were much more upscale than any Club Med. We loved our honeymoon, but we still wanted to go to Tahiti.

In 1995, we took our first trip to Tahiti. We stayed for a week at the Sofitel on Bora Bora, when the island was still an uninhabited, and the boat ride to it was free. We stayed for a second week at the Beachcomber Park Royal on Moorea. Both weeks were in very nice overwater bungalows, but back then, they did not have AC, just ceiling fans. We loved it, and considered it a once i a lifetime trip. Airfare from Newark, and hotel with MAP (just breakfast and dinner) was just under 10,000 dollars back in 1995.

So, 3 years ago, after retiring and deciding to sell our own boat that we had traveled to often to the Bahamas, we checked out going back to Tahiti. From Florida, it was cheaper to take a cruise around Tahiti than it was to stay at hotels and eat there - and it was less than we had spent in 1995. While we looked at Windstar, Paul Gauguin cruises was owned by the same owners who had bought the Beachcomber hotels. So we decided to give it a try and we loved it. We made a reservation for our second cruise while onboard our first, and the third while onboard the second.

As for weather, on our 1995 trip, we were there the first 2 weeks of March and had good weather, but that was when the hotels were wiped out in 1992. Our first 2017 trip was then end of January and the beginning of February. It was the 14 day trip from Tahiti to the Marquesas and back. The weather was great except for some large swells in the Marquesas on 2 days. We took a trip the first 10 days of December in 2017 from Tahiti to the Cook Islands and back, with 2 nights on Tahiti at the Intercontinental  hotel  each end. We had big swells at Aitutaki  in the Cook Islands, but otherwise, we had only a few showers at sea.

Our next cruise is September, which we have heard is a great time to go. It's Tahiti to Fiji, with 4 days at sea along the way. We were told by the crew that there should be humpback whales sighted along the way. We're also booked on the April cruise from Fiji to Bali. This is the repositioning cruise heading for the refurbishment that's done every 3 years. We aren't worried about things looking worn at that point, but are a little worried about how rough the seas will be in that area on a small ship.

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The dry season in French Polynesia is roughly May through September. The wetter season is November through March. I believe April and October are somewhat transitional months.

 

We had great weather for our recent seven night Society Islands cruise June 8-15. Nothing more than a passing tropical sprinkle or two on a couple mornings. Most days were sunny to at most party cloudy. Our day on Motu Mahana was maybe closer to partly to mostly cloudy, but we still had a good amounts of sun even that day. Our first day on Moorea had a few clouds/showers around that morning, but sun was out by afternoon.

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On 8/27/2019 at 8:01 AM, Doubt It said:

Greetings folks:

 

I have a 40th wedding anniversary in 2022, contemplating my first PG cruise.

 

To maximize the best weather for this trip - what is the best time of year to go?

 

I am somewhat aware of typhoon season down there during the northern summer period - so I assume that would not be the best time.

 

Your assistance would be appreciated.

 

Doubt It

 

When is your anniversary?  We've been twice in May/June and it was lovely.  Once in April and it was very hot and humid.  Once in December up to the Marquesas and it was great, but hot and humid back in the Societies.  Then once in October which was great too.  So the northern summer period is "high season" there, and as someone else said, the dry season.  I suspect the worst for humidity and storms is January to March.

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I've been on the PG several times November - December and only once was there rain for more than an hour. Been in July and the weather was fine but some flowers/fruit were not available because it was to dry. Been in October ad it was fine. 

 

As world weather seems to be in a bit of un-decision it's anyone's guess. Personally I prefer a bit of rain here and there as the skies are more textured and the sunrise/sunsets more magnificent. As  a photographer I live for that kind of light 😉

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Weather is always variable, and patterns such as hot and humid in April are often not the case for a particular April.  So, my advice is find a convenient date between January 1 and December 31.

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We sailed in early July when Heiva-i-Tahiti was scheduled. We were able to watch the "dress rehearsals" in almost all of the other islands before seeing the final competition in Papeete. It was an unexpected cultural bonus and a great culmination of the cruise.

 

https://www.heiva.org/en/event/heiva-i-tahiti-2019-2/

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We have been early July during the festival and it was nice, weather still some passing showers and rough seas out of Tahiti. Then a return many years later end of November short showers also mainly at night but very hot and humid, still loved it. When stopped for Cook Island Aitutaki it was so rough it pulled the ring hook out of ship with the rope. Needed a quick fix.

Edited by Trend

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We've completed our September cruise, and it was not a good time to travel this year. The crew told us that the cruise before ours (first week of September) rained almost the entire time. We saw rain clouds sitting over Moorea while we did our pre-cruise stay at the IC Tahiti, while we enjoyed sun at the pool. Once we boarded, we had sunny, but cold and windy weather. Living in Florida, we like warm water and the water was cold all the way to Fiji, as well as our 3 nights post there. It was too cold for me to snorkel even with a long sleeve rash guard. We had rain and wind for many of our sea days heading west, and it was windy for most of the Fiji portion of the cruise. We didn't see any whales, but a few people onboard saw one off the ship. The whale watching excursion in Moorea saw a few whales. I would not choose September in the future since we like it warm. If you don't need it warm, I would still recommend a shorty wetsuit  if you plan to snorkel that time of year in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga of Figi.

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Don't take the current year as normal, it isn't. There was/is an El Nino effect happening this year and it changes the weather especially around the equator but the fringes do have a bit of a weather change as well. 

 

September is usually a great month for weather in French Polynesia  ....

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That's a real shame. I think Kahuna is probably right.  When we did September the weather was very nice--one stormy evening as I remember.

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Posted (edited)

We’ve cruised PG in August and September, Society Islands and Tuamotus. Very little rain, one morning in Bora, one afternoon in Taha’a, and an evening in Moorea. A windy day in Moorea. Not too hot either trip but nice and warm. The water for snorkeling was a little cooler in August. All of this can vary. They do have kids programs in mid-summer and the holidays, which I imagine makes for a more family oriented vibe. 

Edited by happydolphin

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On 10/3/2019 at 5:35 PM, SWFLAOK said:

We've completed our September cruise, and it was not a good time to travel this year. The crew told us that the cruise before ours (first week of September) rained almost the entire time. We saw rain clouds sitting over Moorea while we did our pre-cruise stay at the IC Tahiti, while we enjoyed sun at the pool. Once we boarded, we had sunny, but cold and windy weather. Living in Florida, we like warm water and the water was cold all the way to Fiji, as well as our 3 nights post there. It was too cold for me to snorkel even with a long sleeve rash guard. We had rain and wind for many of our sea days heading west, and it was windy for most of the Fiji portion of the cruise. We didn't see any whales, but a few people onboard saw one off the ship. The whale watching excursion in Moorea saw a few whales. I would not choose September in the future since we like it warm. If you don't need it warm, I would still recommend a shorty wetsuit  if you plan to snorkel that time of year in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga of Figi.

 

I realized after posting before that you were not on a typical Societies or Societies/Tuamotus cruise, but went over to Fiji.  So the climate thing really varies I think in the South Pacific, and many people here wouldn't have done the Fiji trip, so would not be familiar with the weather at a particular time of year.

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That is very good information!

 

It seems there is general consensus that Aug/Sept would be a good weather window.

 

I am also thinking of a first PG cruise!

Edited by ABoatNerd

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On 10/6/2019 at 11:26 AM, Wendy The Wanderer said:

 

I realized after posting before that you were not on a typical Societies or Societies/Tuamotus cruise, but went over to Fiji.  So the climate thing really varies I think in the South Pacific, and many people here wouldn't have done the Fiji trip, so would not be familiar with the weather at a particular time of year.

The cruise before ours was a typical Society Islands cruise, and that's the one that had rain the entire time. We heard this from several high level crew members that we spoke with. It was also mentioned on a loudspeaker announcement that gave the forecast for the day, early in our cruise, which pointed out how lucky we were to have a sunny day. We had 3 days in the Society Islands, at Moorea, TaHa'a, and Bora Bora, and all were sunny, but also windy and cool. If we didn't want to snorkel, it would have been perfect weather while in the Society Islands.

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I know the best answer is "it depends" but what about water temperature in early-mid July? We plan on bringing long sleeve rash guard shirts but for those that have cruised the Societies during this time of year, should we be concerned about overly cold water while snorkeling (not diving).

 

As Ryndam said above, we hope to catch some of the Heiva festival as well. Just won't know what their schedule is until the last minute, I guess. Island time, ya know? 🙂

 

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(Very) generally speaking.... around August water temp high 70s April mid 80s.  We like Nov when it’s around 80.

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Thanks, Sita. As we plan to spend a lot of time in the water, I wonder if we should seriously consider shorty wetsuits or at least, a wetsuit vest, to add to our luggage (somehow!)? We're from Central Florida so we tend to abhor the cold. 

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We snorkelled  both times of year as I mentioned above and the Nov was very hot which was fine for me. We also found the July warm water was ok also and I am small and hate cold water.

We always had rash guards on as the sun both times of year can burn you fast while snorkeling.

Weather today is unpredictable but the good point is it doesn’t last.

We did the Fiji cruise at end of November and they told us the cruise before had terrible weather.

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We went last February and only had rain one time, when we left the ship to go to the airport. Think we were lucky.

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On 11/3/2019 at 11:12 AM, jdvmd said:

We went last February and only had rain one time, when we left the ship to go to the airport. Think we were lucky.

 

Wish me luck this Feb! 🙂

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