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Island Escape Small Ship Cruises



Island Escape Cruises are a privately-owned small ship cruise company, based in New Zealand who offer 7 and 10-night cruises around New Zealand and French Polynesia.


The company was started by Peter Bissett in 2004, after he retired from owning major shipping companies, and wanted to start his dream company of a small, luxury cruise business. He worked with maritime professionals to design and build his unique vision, a luxury small ship cruise vessel, with spacious cabins and public areas for just 24 guests, within the 42 metres they had to play with. They achieved this by utilising a catamaran-style hull, giving the additional width needed, nearly 13 metres, to provide the desired space. This also provided a stable vessel small enough to get into small bays and shallow estuaries, but big enough to provide the large cabins and bathrooms he wanted, spacious lounges and dining room, an expansive aft sundeck, a rooftop helicopter, two motorboats, a transfer tender plus numerous kayaks and paddleboards for guest use. And thus, the 'Island Passage' was born!  Once he had the ship, Peter put together itineraries around 2 of his favourite places; the gorgeous coastline of New Zealand and, initially, the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, and starting in 2016, changing the routing to cruise around beautiful French Polynesia.


Fine dining and excellent wines are offered on all their cruises, with a gourmet menu serving local seafood (maybe even caught that day by you or another guest), organic New Zealand lamb, local poultry and beef, and fresh produce from the local farmer's markets, along with an extensive wine cellar of award winning Australian and New Zealand wines. One of their Reislings has been voted one of the best in the world!  All drinks, including premium spirits and champagne, are now included in the price.


Although the ship looks functional on the outside, inside, the accommodation has been designed to feel more like a luxury yacht than a small cruise ship. The light and airy Cabins and Suites are spread across 3 decks, with 5 Castaway Cabins on the main deck, 1 Castaway Cabin, 3 Hideaway and 1 Runaway Suites on the Promenade Deck and 2 Runaway Suites on the Bridge Deck.


The Castaway Cabins are 16sqm/175sqft with wide portholes with ocean views, hotel-style Queen or Twin solid wood beds with luxurious linens and bedding, individual bedside lights, an ensuite bathroom with shower and complimentary premium toiletries, a roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers, individual air conditioning and a 26" flat screen TV with 250 on-demand movies. The Hideaway Suites are 18sqm/195sqft with a large window and opening door to the Promenade Deck, and provide the same same facilities and amenities as the Cabins.  Suite 4, the Motutapu Suite, has an accessible wet-room style showerroom. The 2 Runaway Suites are located at the front of the Bridge Deck with fantastic views from the large picture window and the opening door to the Bridge Deck, and offer 22sqm/235sqft of space, a King bed with luxury bedding, a 32" flat-screen TV and bathrobes in the spacious ensuite bathroom. The Runaway Suite on the Promenade Deck offers the same facilities as the Bridge Deck Suites, but has 1 Queen bed. Each night, regardless of room catagory, they provide a turndown service, with complimentary chocolates and bottled water.


The Cruises offer the best of each destination, providing journeys between 7 and 10 night journeys. There are 2 tours around French Polynesia and 3 around New Zealand.  The French Polynesia cruises operate from May round to October and visits a number of beautiful islands in the Society chain on each tour.  Please see the detailed itineraries below for more information.


The New Zealand cruises operate between December and April, and offer 7 night cruises around the North and South Island.  Between February and April they visit the World Heritage site of Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park, on the west coast of the South Island, and between December and early February, the beautiful Bay of Islands and the islands around Auckland, on the north coastline of the North Island. For more information on these cruises please click HERE or visit our dedicated New Zealand section.


To visit Island Escape Cruises own website, please click HERE

Hotel Facilities (Click to expand)

room Facilities (Click to expand)

Activities (Click to expand)

Child Policy

Children are welcome but this cruise is not recommended for children under 12 years.  Most activities are geared more toward adults and there is no special provision for children.

Airport Transfers

Round trip Airport transfers are included in your cruise price.

Check-in Details

On arrival from your international flight into Papeete (10 night cruise), you will greeted by the crew at approximately 2.30pm, and transferred to the ship at Pier de Pacquebots on the Papeete waterfront ready for boarding time.


On arrival in Bora Bora, (7 night cruise), the airport ferry will transfer you to Vaitape town, where the ship is moored.  The crew will meet you at the ferry terminal at approximately 4.30 with light refreshments, when they will transfer you to the ship.

Flights (Click to expand)

Pricing Policy

Prices are based on a per cabin, per cruise all-inclusive price, which will include airport transfers, accommodations as booked, cruise transportation, all meals onboard, all beverages, soft drinks, bottled water, coffee and tea, cocktail on boarding, use of kayaks, water sport equipment and facilities, port and handling charges, shore excursions and tender transfers, Government fees and taxes.


Bar expenses, optional shore excursions, telephone charges, shopping items, travel insurance or anything you buy from the local villagers or markets is not included.  There are no cash withdrawal facilities on the ship, so it is advisable to bring sufficient local currency for your trip, as villagers and local markets won't  accept credit cards, though they can be accepted for on board expenses.


Tahitian Affair 7-Night/8-day Cruise

The Tahitian Affair 7-night/8-day cruise visits some of the beautiful islands of the Society Islands, stopping at Bora Bora, Raiatea, Huahine and Taha'a.


2017 Sailing Dates: 7th May; 11th June; 18th June; 25th June; 16 July; 20th August; 27th August; 3rd September; 24th September; 1st October; 8th October.


Price per person per 7 night cruise

(prices may change slightly due to exchange rate differences)

Castaway Cabins     From £3375

Hideaway Suite        From £4550

Runaway Suite         From £5075

Price per person Single occupancy Castaway Cabin £4550
Bed Configuration

2 Twin beds, 1 Queen

or 1 King bed

Sleeps up to 2 Adults
Extra Person rate N/A
Number available

Castaway Cabins  6

Hideaway Suites 4

Runaway Suites 2



Day 1 - Sunday - Bora Bora. After being met at the airport in Bora Bora, you get to enjoy a short scenic helicopter transfer over the turquoise lagoon, to board the ship between 3.30pm and 5.00pm.  After dinner is served, you are invited to enjoy Captain's Cocktails as the sun sets over the Bora Bora lagoon.


Day 2 - Monday - Bora Bora to Taha'a & Raiatea. There's time for a quick morning swim in the lagoon before the ship departs Bora Bora at 10.00am to arrive at Taha'a and Raiatea in time for lunch in the lagoon of Herepiti Bay, Taha'a.  After lunch, you have a guided tour of a local pearl farm, where you can dive for your own pearl oyster and see what you find inside. Later in the afternoon, you dock at Uturoa, the main town on Raiatea, to explore local shops and markets, cafes and bars, before dinner is served back on board around 6.00pm, followed by a quiet evening relaxing in the bar, on deck or in town.


Day 3 - Tuesday - Raiatea to Huahine. After breakfast and a little shopping time, you board a large outrigger canoe for a guided tour of the eastern lagoon and the winding Faaroa River, with a local character guide.  You return to the ship late afternoon for more water activities if you wish, before dinner and overnight anchorage in Teapaa Bay in Huahine.


Day 4 -  Wednesday - Huahine. After breakfast on deck, The morning is spent swimming or exploring Teapaa Beach.  Lunch is served as you glide to the pretty village of Fare.  The afternoon gives you time to utilise all the on-board 'toys'; snorkeling, kayaks, paddleboards etc, or just relax on the beach or on deck.  At dinner this evening, a local choir join you to entertain with a cultural show, singing and Tahitian Dance.


Day 5 - Thursday - Huahine to Taha'a Today is the beginning of 3 gorgeous beach days!  After breakfast,you up anchor for the short cruise back to Taha'a.  Lunch is served as you cruise inside the reef.  Turquoise lagoons, small white sand motus, this is a paradise to swim snorkel and enjoy the water activities organised by the crew.  You can paddleboard, kayak or have one of the crew take you on the tender to explore. After lunch, there is a guided tour of a local vanilla plantation before moving to night achorage.  After a delicious dinner, you could join the crew with some fishing off the aft deck, and maybe catch lunch for tomorrow!


Day 6 -Friday - Taha'a to Bora Bora Today, you sail back to Bora Bora lagoon, arriving mid morning. Today is a Do-As-You-Please day.  Enjoy lunch on board or take the Le Truck (bus) to famous Bloody Mary's Bar.  Or get the crew to tender you to a deserted motu with refreshments and equipment, for some quiet, romantic time swimming and chilling.  Every one returns to the ship for the Captains dinner at 6.00pm, whilst moored in the lagoon, and enjoy the sun setting over Bora Bora.


Day 7 - Saturday - Bora Bora After breakfast,the tenders will take everyone to one of the larger motus, Motu Tapu, for more water activites, which includes a guided ray and shark experience.  Then rejoin the ship to move round to the eastern lagoon, and explore some of the exclusive resorts here, before your final night beach Barbecue dinner and a traditional entertainment show.


Day 8 - Sunday - Bora Bora After breakfast, everyone is transfered via the tenders back to the Vaitape Ferry terminal and from here, you will take the ferry transfer back to the airport, or if you are staying a bit longer in Bora Bora, to your Resort.

Tahitian Affair 10-night/11-day Cruise

A 10-night cruise around the Leeward islands in the Society chain, including stops at Bora Bora, Raiatea, Huahine and Taha'a,


2017 Sailing Dates: 26th April; 17th May; 31st May; 5th July; 26th July; 9th August; 13th September; 18th October



Price per person per 10-night cruise

(prices may change slightly due to exchange rate differences)

Castaway Cabin      £4680

Hideaway Suite   £5860

Runaway Suite   £6450

Price per serson Single occupancy Castaway Cabin £5860
Bed Configuration 2 Twin beds or 1 King Bed
Sleeps up to 2 Adults
Extra Person Rate N/A
Number Available

Castaway Cabins  6

Hideaway Suites 4

Runaway Suites 2



Day 1 - Wednesday - Papeete to Moorea. Guests begin boarding today from 4:30 pm, for a late evening departure from the Pier de Pacquebots on the Papeete waterfront. Welcome snacks and drinks are served, as you sail for Cooks Bay on the island of Moorea. Dinner is served on deck when you arrive, accompanied by the most spectacular volcanic mountain backdrop. We remain inside the lagoon for a comfortable sleep at anchor.


Day 2 - Thursday - Moorea. Time for a quick swim after breakfast before a morning ray dive/snorkel at taihura, a snorkel safari along the inner reef, where you will see colourful tropical fish, and maybe rays and even dolphins if you are really lucky! Or you can take the on-board kayaks or paddleboards and explore the coastline or go ashore and explore inland on a 4WD buggy, car or scooter.  After lunch, there is a scenic island tour from Opunohu round to Cooks Bay.  Back on board in the early evening, drinks and canapes are served on deck followed by dinner and gorgeous sunsets.


Day 3 - Friday - Moorea to Huahine. Whilst you enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, you will sail across to the outer island of Huahine.  As this is a longer sailing day, today is a relaxing day, chilling with a book, chatting with the other guests and crew over a cold drink or trail a line off the stern and see what you can catch for dinner.  You will drop anchor in Maroe Bay, Huahine, at around 4:30pm, giving time for a swim or kayak, before returning to the ship, when drinks will be served followed by dinner in the main saloon or on deck if you wish.


Day 4 - Saturday - Huahine. After a fresh breakfast, you are free to go ashore at a secret beach, for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding, generally just relaxing and enjoying the sun and beach.  Later in the evening, the ship moves to Haapu Bay and enjoy a cultural show and traditional Tahitian dance .  After dinner, you can relax with a drink or 2 on deck, or join the fishing team on the aft deck and see what could be on tomorrow nights menu.


Day 5 - Sunday - Taha'a. This morning is a leisurely cruise into the beautiful Taha'a lagoon, with all the water activities available if you wish.  After lunch, you visit a local vanilla plantation, then back to the ship for a late swim, or relaxed drink in the bar, followed by dinner overlooking sunset views of Bora Bora island in the distance.


Day 6 - Monday - Taha'a to Raiatea. There's time for a morning swim or snorkel in the coral gardens in the turquoise lagoon, or have the crew take the tenders out to explore a bit further afield.  Lunch is served on board, the there is a guided tour of a pearl farm, where you can dive for your own pearl oyster.  Later in the afternoon, we anchor in Uturoa, the main town on Raiatea, where you can explore local shops and markets, cafes and bars. Dinner is served back on board ,followed by a quiet evening relaxing in the bar or on deck, or back on shore for an evening stroll.


Day 7 - Tuesday - Raiatea. After breakfast, there is time for a visit to the local shops and shell market before you explore the Faaroa River, with a local character guide. You return to the ship mid-afternoon for more water activities if you wish, before dinner and overnight anchorage next to the white sand motu.


Day 8 - Wednesday - Raiatea to Bora Bora. After breakfast, there is a short cruise to Hurepiti Bay, where lunch is served, before a 3 hour cruise to Bora Bora gives you some time to relax and watch the Pacific slip by.  Once anchored inside the lagoon, the Captain leads everyone for cocktails at the famous Bloody Mary's Bar.  Or get the crew to tender you to a deserted motu with refreshments and equipment, for some quiet, romantic time swimming and chilling.  Every one returns to the ship for the dinner at around 7.00pm, whilst moored in the lagoon, and enjoy the sun setting over Bora Bora.


Day 9 - Thursday - Bora Bora Lagoon. After breakfast, the ship will position to the south end of Motu Teviaora, which is inaccessible to the larger boats.  Tenders will take you to explore the lagoon, home to some of the premier Resorts on Bora Bora, as well as some beautiful little motus.  On returning to the ship, all the water activity equipment is available for you, and a nearby coral garden makes for excellent snorkelling.  Dinner is served watching the sun set over the lagoon.


Day 10 - Friday - Bora Bora Lagoon. After breakfast, the ship will reposition off Motu Tapu, where a ray and shark feeding excursions has been arranged.  The tenders will take everyone to and from the ship, for more white sand, sun and all the water activites. After lunch, the ship moves to Motu Toopua for some chill time. The tenders will shuttle guests to and from the ship all afternoon , as required, then at 5:00pm, all guest will be tendered back to Tevairoa, for your final night beach Barbecue dinner.


Day 11 - Saturday - Bora Bora. After your last breakfast served on deck, the tenders will transfer everyone back to the Vaitape Ferry terminal for some last minute shopping around the town, then take the ferry transfer back to the airport for your onward flight, or if you are staying a bit longer in Bora Bora, transfer to your Resort.  An optional scenic helicopter airport transfer is also available.



contact us

If you have any questions regarding the islands of the Pacific Ocean or you would like us to provide a quote for your planned itinerary, then please contact us, we will be more than happy to help.


Phone: 01342 840555

Fax: 01342 841623

Email: team@transpacificholidays.co.uk

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