Travel to Tahiti: No Honeymoon Required

“I thought I’d have to get married to travel to Tahiti,” my friend and solo traveler Lisa said to me while we were sipping pina coladas on the upper deck of Windstar’s Star Breeze. Lisa joined me and a few other friends on this Windstar Dreams of Tahiti cruise.

She is an avid diver and snorkeler and was excited to finally visit Tahiti, a place she had always wanted to visit.
“I didn’t think Tahiti was accessible to me as a solo traveler because it was not really fiscally responsible or attainable. I didn’t even know that a small ship cruise was an option, and it exceeded my expectations!”

This was my first trip to Tahiti, too, and I had the same preconceived ideas about it that Lisa had. It was for couples and honeymooners, it was romance overload, it was expensive, and it was hard to get to—making it even more expensive! However, I like to go against the grain and live my single life to the fullest, so Tahiti was a good place to achieve that as a solo traveler.

I convinced a few other friends to join me on this unique way to travel to Tahiti. A married girlfriend whose husband wasn’t interested in Tahiti (Michaela), a solo traveler (Lisa), and a married couple (Brian and Colleen), we all set out to try cruising around Tahiti as a friends’ adventure – and not a honeymoon.

What Can You do in Tahiti beyond Romance?

Sooooooo much! If you love water, you are in luck – there are so many water adventures. And it’s not just diving or snorkeling in the dreamy turquoise waters. We also did kayaking, dolphin tracking, ebiking, visited vanilla and pearl farms, stand-up paddle boarding, met locals, visited artists, and did jet skiing!

I feel like my friends and I turned Tahiti from romance islands into adventure islands!

Is it Tahiti or French Polynesia?

Let’s clarify this first. French Polynesia is the territory, and Tahiti is the biggest island, with the capital city being Papeete. 119 islands make up French Polynesia, with a population of 283,000. However, most people (and the internet) refer to all of the islands as Tahiti instead of French Polynesia. This is sort of like Hawaii, which refers to one specific island. Still, people refer to the collection of islands as Hawaii.

I will continue to use Tahiti and French Polynesia interchangeably – because that’s what we are used to – but know that it’s not exactly correct.

One of my biggest ‘duh’ moments after I arrived is that this is FRENCH Polynesia—therefore, everyone speaks French, and the entire place operates like France. Many of our guides were originally from France but lived in French Polynesia their entire lives. They had French accents but had the laid-back vibe of Polynesians and island life—how exotic! Expect some great French restaurants and great wine among the local seafood favorites.

Benefits of a Tahiti Cruise

It was pretty clear from the beginning that there were many benefits to cruising around Tahiti rather than traditional ‘land’ travel.

1. Visit All the Islands

Windstar’s Dreams of Tahiti Cruise stopped at the five main Society Islands: Tahiti, Mo’orea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, and Huahine. Each one had a different vibe and a different level of tourism. Huahine was the quietest, Tahiti the most bustling, and Bora Bora the most heavily touristed. We were fortunate to be able to visit each one and experience these differences, meeting locals from each island.

However, suppose you travel to Tahiti the more conventional way. In that case, you will typically be forced to pick only one island (two tops) to visit due to time, logistics, and money constraints. Most travelers go to Bora Bora, and that’s it. By doing a Tahiti cruise, we were able to cover much more ground

2. Easier to Meet Other Solo Travelers to Hang Out With

Solo traveling can be intimidating in Tahiti. Tahiti tourism really pushes romance and couple experiences. Most tours require a minimum number of people to operate, making it hard to find experiences you can do as a solo traveler. Finally, with many people there honeymooning, they aren’t really looking to meet other travelers, so it can be somewhat isolating.

In contrast, our ship was filled with various travelers, families doing reunions, couples, and many solo travelers! In fact, on the first full day on the ship, Windstar traditionally hosts a solo traveler meetup so that solo travelers can meet each other early on. Plus – the crew is always eager to introduce you to other travelers and eat as a communal group. You are only alone if you want to be!

3. It’s Cheaper – Over the Water Bungalow Vs. Windstar Cruise Suite

Bora Bora is known for its over-the-water bungalows—for many people, staying there is a bucket list item. However, on average, a Bora Bora bungalow costs about $1000 a night. Stay there for four nights, and that’s potentially what you would pay for the entire cruise—plus all of your food and drink is included on the ship!

“We completely debunked Bora Bora – I didn’t want to spend $1000 a night for a bungalow – but thought that was the only way to do it”


Most people don’t even know that a cruise in Tahiti is a possibility, but when you compare the costs for the same number of nights and the food and drink, the cruise will end up being cheaper. In addition, cruising around Tahiti is also cheaper than a seven-day Hawaii vacation in hotels!

And if you are worried that staying on a cruise ship will prevent you from getting that beautiful opportunity to walk out of your bungalow and jump right into the water off your porch—don’t fear! The Star Breeze has the coolest watersports platform that turns the entire South Pacific into your swimming pool! We all loved the watersports platform and utilized it every time it was available. It’s pretty cool to float around next to your ship!


4. French Polynesian Culture Travels with You

You might think that being on a ship means you wouldn’t be as close to the islands’ culture. However, Windstar has doubled down on cultural experiences that travel with you on the ship.

Pearl, our French Polynesian cultural ambassador, is part of the crew organizing events such as Tahitian dance and language lessons, crafts, a Ukulele performance, and more. She was so lovely, always socializing with guests when she wasn’t entertaining them with her ukulele skills and singing. She grew up in Tahiti and was a super person to talk to when you had questions about Tahiti!

In addition, the ship holds special events each sailing that bring other local groups on the ship in certain locations to teach travelers how to make a lei, tie a pareo, and enjoy Tahitian music and dancing. Windstar also has an immersive cultural even in Bora Bora on a motu (private island) where guests enjoy an al fresco dinner with traditional foods, live music and local fire dancers lighting up the night.

The culinary team purchased fresh fish from local fishermen when we were in port, so we got the freshest local catches as we cruised between islands at night.

Finally – the ship is filled with local Tahitian art, and each night, our beds would be turned down with a little local gift from the islands, like oils, candies, and more.

There is no lack of culture on this Tahiti cruise!

Read about my other Iceland Windstar Cruise I did with girlfriends

Cruise Excursions to do in French Polynesia

Of course, you will want to spend as much time as possible in the crystal clear waters, but in addition to water sports, there are plenty of other things to do. We did a mix of ship excursions and independent travel.
However, be aware that the island communities are so small that you can’t just get off the ship and have stuff to do – you must organize it before arriving. Lisa got off the ship a few times and tried to book excursions at the last minute in several places but could only do that in one spot.

We only had a day on each island, so I couldn’t do everything they had to offer. But here were the things I did on each island that I loved.

Mo’orea Island

I did a dolphin discovery tour that took us around the island’s bays in search of dolphins. We came across a few different pods and could follow them at a safe distance. The thing I found the most stunning about the island was its landscape. From a landscape perspective, I found it to be even more beautiful than Bora Bora. There are plenty of snorkeling excursions available in Mo’orea or you can just go ashore and take a taxi to the nearest public beach and enjoy the white sand and turtles!

Raiatea Island

Considered the birthplace of Polynesian culture, Raiatea was the first island in the region to be inhabited. It is also where you’ll find Faaroa River – the only navigable river in Polynesia. It should be no surprise that I did the excursion that took you out onto that river. We kayaked up the river to see the unique flora along the banks. It started wide, and the deeper we went, the narrower it became. Dense foliage framed the riverbanks, and our guide was able to talk about the various plants and animals as we paddled in this lush environment.

Taha’a Island

A small island next to Raiatea is considered the vanilla island. We visited a vanilla plantation and learned what makes Tahitian vanilla so different. It is a lighter, fruitier flavor with notes of cherry, anise, and even a hint of licorice. This variety of vanilla is often used in desserts and baked goods, but it is also versatile enough for savory dishes.

We also snorkeled with black reef-tipped sharks, and Windstar spent the day on a private island just off the coast of Taha’a. The island was perfect for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and a beach nap!

Bora Bora

We spent two days on this island, and I mainly focused on getting in the water to see the coral gardens, fish, stingrays, and sharks! I took a couple of different snorkel tours that took us to specific spots where these animals could be found.

I really loved snorkeling with the sharks, but the stingrays sort of freaked me out! One thing to know is that most of the companies feed the rays and sharks, which is why you’ll find them swarming you. I’m not a fan of this practice, and it’s debated by locals.
Sadly, though, it’s a fact of life in Tahiti currently.

If you are looking for a company that doesn’t feed marine life – then check out H2O in Bora Bora.


One of my favorite things was having a local lunch at a picnic table in the water. As we ate, colorful fish swam around our feet.
In addition, stingrays and sharks showed up, too.

Huahine Island

Here I decided to forgo the water and try ebiking instead! This was a beautiful way to see the island and its small communities. It was relatively flat, and there was a refreshing wind. In addition to biking, we stopped at a local beach to swim and have some drinks. I finished off the bike ride with an ice-cold coconut from a local by the port.

The island was lush and green – which is why Huahine is dubbed the Garden Island. However, the thing that stuck out to me the most was how undeveloped it was for tourism.

It was reminiscent of the original Polynesia. The island and the locals reminded me so much of Molokai, Hawaii—the uber-local, non-touristy Hawaiian island. I loved it!

Tahiti Island

We started and ended the cruise from the island of Tahiti and the port of Papeete. I didn’t get to do as many water activities as I did on the other islands, but I used my time on Tahiti to really learn about Polynesian culture.

I found Unique Tahiti Tours, a local tour company that focuses on being as different as possible from typical ship and water sports excursions. Tracey, the owner, took us around the eastern shore and introduced us to the true Tahiti. We visited small valley villages, artists’ homes, a local factory where they made pareos by hand, blow holes, and churches. We were even able to go inside a local’s home, which was really fascinating.

In addition, Tracey gave us restaurant recommendations, tips on where to buy pearls, and more!

If you are in Tahiti waiting to get on a flight or a cruise, check out Unique Tahiti Tours – it was fabulous.

Plan a Non-Honeymoon Trip to Tahiti with Windstar

No honeymoon – no problem.
No ‘honey’ at all – no problem.
Girlfriend trip – no problem

A Tahiti cruise with friends or solo is the best way to visit French Polynesia, and it couldn’t be easier to plan. You don’t have to worry about booking accommodations or figuring out where to eat each night—the Star Breeze ship makes that a simple task. You don’t really have to do anything but show up and choose a few excursions.

See all of the Windstar Tahiti Cruise itineraries

The Star Breeze is a 312 person passenger small ship with a hint of luxury and a lot of adventure. Every room is a spacious suite – it’s honestly the biggest cabins I’ve seen on a ship for standard cabins. There is a sitting area, a sleeping area, big closet, and a large bathroom with two sinks!

They do a few different itineraries around French Polynesia. Enjoy the watersports platform at the back of the ship, choose from multiple restaurants on board, and enjoy the spa for a little break from the sun.

I highly recommend the All-In Package, Windstar’s all-inclusive package. It includes tips, alcohol, and Wi-Fi for your whole trip. And it’s cheaper than booking it on board if you purchase it online when you book.
This All In Package includes:
Unlimited beer, wine, and cocktails/hard liquor. More than 40 liquors are included in this.
Mini-bar drinks
Unlimited WiFi
All ship gratuities

“I’m not a cruiser – but I’m glad we did this. 240 people haven’t seemed overwhelming at all. We haven’t waited for anything. The food wasn’t a 24/7 food factory like most cruises, which I appreciated. I learned so much more about the islands than I ever thought. The ship exceeded my expectations in terms of the quality of the staff and making sure you are comfortable and happy.”


Tahiti Cruise Cost for the Solo Traveler

My friend Lisa (who is way more organized than me!) kept track of all of her costs as a solo traveler and determined that a solo traveler paying a single supplement for the cabin, getting the All Inclusive Package, and taking an average of 3 to 4 excursions will spend about $4000 to $4500 for the 7 day trip. This doesn’t include airfare. For Tahiti and an additional single supplement, this is pretty reasonable.

It will be even cheaper if you go with a girlfriend or as a couple and share a cabin like I did!

Read my 20 Solo Travel Tips

Other Tahiti Travel Tips

Due to flight scheduled, I had to arrive a couple of days before the cruise in Tahiti – oh darn. I stayed at the Intercontinental which was Windstar’s hotel they partnered with for pre/post cruise. Based on my experience, I would suggest to look at all of your options for lodging in/around Papeete. Or, if you do book the Intercontinental – take the all inclusive package because everything is really expensive there if you aren’t on the ‘food package’. It’s a resort that is not near any other food options or markets – so you are kind of stuck eating their expensive food.

In addition, the room we were put in was very basic and in the old part of the hotel. However if you are an IHG member – let them know that ahead of arriving and you’ll get upgraded. I suggest you shop around a bit for hotels around Papeete.

Also, taking a taxi to and from airport is very reasonable and ended up cheaper and faster than the group transfer option. That’s not always the case, but for Papeete is was.

What to bring on a Windstar Tahiti Cruise

My group of friends did a deep dive into what we packed and what we wished we had! I feel like this is a pretty comprehensive list of things to consider when packing for a Tahiti Cruise.

Bring a hat with a chin strap!

Bring rashguards!

Cruise Clothing

Focus on light and breezy clothing, multiple swimsuits, a coverup, and a few sundresses for the ship.
Men must bring at least one pair of pants for a couple of the dining options on the ship where shorts are not allowed. Bring water shoes – I lived in my Chacos! And be sure to bring compression socks to wear on the long flight.

Chaco Womens Z/1 Classic, Outdoor Sandal, Tetra Moss 8 M


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My top pick

VIM & VIGR Compression Socks & Sleeves

Compression socks are great for faster muscle recovery and to fight blood clots on long flights or long road trips.

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You don’t need a raincoat (it’s warm enough that if it rains, it doesn’t really matter), you don’t need sneakers (none of us wore ours!), and you don’t need a towel (the ship has plenty).

Sun Protection

The sun in Tahiti is powerful – so you’ll want to ensure you bring lots of sun protection for this trip. Bring multiple rashguards for snorkeling and swimming. Bring hats with a big brim, but it’s an excellent idea to have a chinstrap so you can secure them when you are on boats and when you are on decks on the ship. Bring a buff for neck sun protection for biking or kayaking.

Bring lots of sunscreen. Reef-safe sunscreen is best for snorkeling and water sports; however, test it first to ensure that you buy one that really works well. My group of friends had some reef-safe sunscreen that didn’t work that well and ended up getting sunburned a bit. So make sure you take it for a test run first! It’s a good idea to bring a good after-sun moisturizer, too.

Favorite Brand – Woman Owned

Wallaroo Hats

I love all of their styles and normally always have at least 2 of their different hats with me on every trip I take! All of their styles offer superb sun protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the material of every Wallaroo hat with a UPF rating and a 3+ inch brim as an effective UV protectant. Plus – they have so many fashionable styles!

Use my Discount code, OTTSWORLD20, for an extra 20% regular priced items!

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Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick

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I wish I had a tote bag to take stuff with me to the beach, on excursions, and carrying things around on the ship. I recommend a bag that can withstand the elements (drybag) for the excursions to protect your camera and keep some dry clothes. It’s nice to have a small purse or hip pack to carry around ship to put your card key and phone in at dinners, etc.

SealLine 18-Liter Minimalist Waterproof Dry Daypack


Waterproof protection in a backpack! This is for the ultra rainy adventures such as my Iceland trip – it kept all of my day pack gear and camera gear completely dry while hiking to waterfalls or doing whale watching. In addition it’s also great for expedition cruising and riding in splashy zodiacs. The backpack straps evenly dispurse weight making it much better than a regular dry bag.

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Cotopaxi Kapai 1.5L Hip Pack


A fun pop of color to your travels. It’s easy to sling across your body and keep track of your important travel possessions. 2 zippered areas lets you separate the important stuff.

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Other Cruise Items

When you arrive in Papeete, get local cash out for tips in local currency. Bring a water bottle, and remember your diver certification card if you have one!

Overall, my friend group unanimously said that a cruise around Tahiti was the best way to experience French Polynesia. We all had different things we wanted out of the trip, and we were able to achieve that by cruising with Windstar!

Cruise with Friends!

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