I was myself tempted to book our cruise on Marina offering the same itinerary next year, but after making some research indeed I changed mind and chose Hapag Lloyd that will have way less people on board, so I really hope that chances are higher with them and it would allow them to land people ashore. But of course the beauty of the island and the whole story and history of theirs is in their isolation and preserved nature...
The webpage put out by Pitcairn Islanders is rather misleading. We were passengers on the very Oceania ship pictured "anchored at Pitcairn." It was anchored there all right, but no one got onto the island. We had booked the Oceania Cruise specifically in order to visit the Island, as my husband is a distant relative of Fletcher Christian, and he avidly read the whole Mutiny trilogy as a child. After having inquired if passengers would be allowed on the Island, we were given the impression that "weather permitting" we would be allowed to tender in. We booked this cruise specifically for the visit. There were a handful of other diehard fans for whom Pitcairn was to the the highlight of the trip. My husband is an experienced sailor and judged that the sea was not turbulent. He met with the officer in charge of tendering who claimed that the weather looked promising and chances of getting in were good. A very short while before we were scheduled to tender in the Islanders declared the port closed, and had already prepared about $10,000 worth of goods, including logoware made in China, to open a market on the ship. It seems that there was little intention of allowing passengers onto the Island. The upper viewing deck on the ship had been previously prepared with long rows of tables for the Islanders wares. Has anyone on a goodly sized ship ever been allowed on?
Joan - I'm sorry you and your husband didn't land on Pitcairn but as I said earlier, big ships never land passengers for all sorts of reasons - the island could be swamped and lacks any kind of facilities for large numbers of people (i.e., above 200) and the weather can be very changeable so if large numbers went ashore some might be stranded.
By the way, you probably know, the 'Bounty Trilogy' you refer to, written by Nordhoff & Hall, is pure fiction.Edited: 8 years ago
Hi folks! I am writing from Hapag Lloyd's Europa and we just left Pitcairn an hour ago! The ship anchored and we were brought ashore from the ship by the local longboats. Extreme adventure and wonderful place, and the most prominent of all are of course its people - so nice and joyful and friendly. We had one of the most memorable 4-5 hours of our trip on the island thanks to the good luck with weather and of course the efforts of the ship's captain and the locals. Hope this may serve as reference for those who seek for info on cruises to Pitcairn.
We stopped by Picairn,which was my whole purpose of the Trip,even on a Small Oceana vessel apparently too many passengers,some of the larger Cruise Ships have as many as 2500 passengers which would Wreck the Island in One day.On seeing how small Pitcairn isI can easily understand this.Half of the inhabitants came to the Ship in a small Boat with their Trinkets,T-Shirts and other Souvenirs.I found it very interesting talking with them and left a bit satisfied.You can if you take a small Launch from Tahiti,about a dozen people,get on to thr Island,some stay a coupla days,some for a week,but that Trip can be very expensive and some of those Launches are not in very good shape...cheers and good luck!
We booked on Oceania specifically for Pitcairn, as my husband is a Bounty Trilogy buff. It seems the Pitcairners always deem the port closed at the last minute and come on board to sell thousands of dollars worth of stuff - some of it handicrafts some of it made in China with Pitcairn logos. It has obviously been packed up on the longboats ahead of time. A resident gave a v nice talk. However, we did not get what was advertised - a tender trip to the Island. We got the explanation that conditions were not favourable, but my husband is an experienced open water sailor, and observed that the conditions did not seem to be the problem. It is v possible that the draft of tenders make approach to the island problematic. We have not heard of one single Oceania cruise where passengers got to set foot on the island. Each and every time it is the longboats with Pitcairners and their goods and the talk. And yet Oceania is still advertising that passengers will set foot on the island. There is a description of "activities" listed on the info about ports of call. Click "Adamstown" and check. Oceania should describe what actually happens.
Hi Joanwhimsyfish. Sorry to hear about your failed expectations with Oceania to get ashore to Pitcairn with them, but in fact no surprise for that. As a witness and a lucky one to have stepped on Pitcairn very recently, I can but confirm that indeed a few factors do play a huge role in bringing passengers from cruise ships to the island, and believe me, the islanders do not hinder it at all, if the landing possible in practice. They are very friendly and happy to see people visit their island. And the first and most important factor is of course the weather conditions - no matter how calm you may see and consider the sea waters, it is very dangerous to load people in and out from the longboats while transporting them ashore and back to the ship - a sudden wave and people can fall out. There is no other way but to use those local longboats for transfer, no tender, no zodiac can make it, as obviously only local seamen know the way to approach extremely narrow and rocky 'port' at Bounty Bay. And they have only 2 or 3 in function, which fit only 35 people all stuck together sitting on the bottom during the extremely bumpy sail. It takes up to 20-30 mins for a single run to Bounty Bay, depending on the position of the ship's anchor. How many people were on board of your ship? hundreds and even more than a thousand? How many hours a ship stays anchored? 6 to 8 in the best case? Not so surprising if making the counts brings numbers against the cruise ship passengers, even if the weather conditions would be favourable. So here I would stress the factor that indeed only ships with no more than a couple of hundred passengers utmost would have the lucky chance to make it. The Pitcairners are there just to help should a decision be taken to land people ashore, and even if they are happy to sell their merchandise no matter on the island or on board the ship (well, quite normal - it's their only source of income, and who wouldn't?), they do not block subjectively the access to their island. So indeed the issue more lies in the merchandising approach of the cruise company rather than the islanders. I hope this gives some more info.
Great answer. I was on a ship with 700 passengers and there was no way they could be brought ashore. I was always told, "never book a cruise just for one port in its itinerary"! Sound advice as weather conditions play a big part in the middle of nowhere! There are only 50 odd people live there and I don't even think most people would expect to land. When the locals come on board with their wares, thay are very helpful when it comes to discussing their lifestyle etc.
Lilit V - Just a little amendment to your excellent response. Zodiac landings at the jetty on Pitcairn are perfectly OK. I did it myself from an expedition cruise ship. Our ship was running zodiacs back and forth all day. Having zodiacs also allows access to other islands in the Pitciarn group, especially Ducie and Henderson which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(PS: Pitcairn is a doddle compared to Tristan da Cunha!)Edited: 7 years ago
Thanks for the amendment, Pausanias. I just referred to our experience, as our ship's command did not operate zodiacs even though the ship was equipped with such. Perhaps again because of the weather condition and amount of people to transport ashore.
By the way, I should confess that before our trip, while scrolling this forum, I saw your link of Pitcairn photos and I envied you so lot! Positively, I mean :o) But now I have my own bunch of memories! Thanks for good references, that also helped me while looking for a cruise in Pacific :)