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A remote archipelago in the South Pacific, New Caledonia is an intoxicating blend of France and Melanesia, where European cuisine meets island tradition. The whole of Grand Terre, the main island, is protected by a barrier reef, creating limpid turquoise lagoons lined by brilliant white beaches, overhung with coconut palms.
Luxury cruises to New Caledonia take you to three contrasting and equally beautiful spots. As well as Noumea, on Grand Terre, you’ll visit tiny Isle of Pines to the south, an Indigenous reserve where slender pine trees soar over the tropical vegetation, and the water ripples in shades of jade and cobalt blue. Different still is Maré, with a wild, rocky coast, steep cliffs, and dense forest, exquisite white sand coves forming a necklace around the island. Discover the beauty of this region on a luxury cruise to the South Pacific with Celebrity Cruises.
New Caledonia is blessed with exquisitely soft white sand thanks to the coral reefs that surround the islands. The beaches that fringe tiny Amedee Island and Duck Island, off Grand Terre, are some of the loveliest, while the long sweep of Anse Vata is just in front of Noumea. Join the locals here in a game of petanque (French bocce), or watch the kite surfers flit past. On the Isle of Pines, head for Moro Island for its powdery beach and the chance to spot stingrays and turtles in the lagoon.
Although long inhabited by Indigenous peoples, New Caledonia was “discovered” in 1774 by the British Captain, James Cook, and annexed by France in 1853. Until 1880, the now serene Isle of Pines was a French penal colony, and you can see the ruins of the old prison today. Elsewhere on the island, a statue of St. Maurice marks the arrival of the first missionaries. On Maré, visit the traditional Eni Village and listen to the stories and songs passed down by the Kanak people through generations.
The reefs around Grand Terre are magnificent for snorkelers and divers, the dazzling coral teeming with vast shoals of fish in iridescent colors. Look out for orange-and-white striped clownfish, elegant lionfish, and giant clams. The Isle of Pines is also famed for its marine life. Stand waist-deep in a warm, clear lagoon and let the fish come to you, or join a guided dive through underwater canyons and caves. At Turtle Bay, you could encounter graceful sea turtles gliding through the water.
Explore the balmy South Pacific on cruises lasting between 10 and 17 nights. You could sail round-trip from Sydney, Australia, on a voyage calling at ports in Fiji and Vanuatu, or choose a longer voyage between Sydney and Honolulu, crossing the ocean and visiting dreamy islands en route.
Cruise to New Caledonia on a stylish, contemporary ship offering everything you’ll need for a luxurious vacation in the South Pacific. All Celebrity’s itineraries here spend several days at sea, so you’ll have plenty of time to read by the pool, try a class in the gym, head to The Spa for a treatment, and enjoy cocktails in the sunshine. Solstice-series ships offer the delightful Lawn Club, where you can lie back on the grass under the tropical sunshine, while on Edge-series ships, you won’t want to miss the Magic Carpet, a blissful open-air lounge and restaurant cantilevered over the side of the ship. Upgrade your experience and choose The Retreat for all-suite accommodation and dining in the elegant and exclusive restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat.
Whichever itinerary to New Caledonia you choose, you’ll come away with a sense of having visited paradise. From exquisite beaches to kayaking through the mangroves, trekking through the forest canopy, or sampling French cheeses and patisserie in Noumea, you’ll no doubt want to return one day to this enchanting little slice of France in the South Pacific.