If you're planning on adding Pitcairn Island as a destination for your Cruise Ship, please Contact Us
Legendary Pitcairn Island is visited by a small number of cruise ships every year and each visit is a big occasion on Pitcairn. Local residents are very aware that stopping at Pitcairn Island is a real highlight for many international travellers and the entire Pitcairn community is always at the ready to ensure that these excited, one day visitors enjoy a truly memorable visit to the island's rocky shores - this is a truly unique travel destination.
In close communication with the island prior to arrival, visiting cruise ships often arrange for a local lecture and Pitcairn Curio & Craft Market to be held on board if sea conditions are not suitable to safely land passengers.
But, when sea and weather conditions are right, hundreds of lucky visitors get to make it ashore throughout the season. Visiting Cruise ships generally opt to use their own tenders making the trip to the landing at Bounty Bay a short journey. Once ashore passengers are heartily welcomed by Pitcairn Islands Tourism staff before making their way up the Hill of Difficulty to Adamstown and beyond either on foot or on the back of a 4-wheel drive Quad Bike!
It was one of the best visits we’ve had to a port without actually setting foot on land. It will be fondly remembered.
On average there are between 10-15 cruise ships booked to stop at Pitcairn each season. To book your vessels visit to Pitcairn Island, please contact the Pitcairn Island Office.
Please be advised, Most ships booked in to stop at Pitcairn with large numbers of passengers onboard (1,000+) only stop for 3 hours or so. This is NOT sufficient time, we recommend a minimum of 5-6 hours. If you cannot land your passenger, the Pitcairn Islands Tourism Department will liaise with the ship to arrange the Pitcairn community boarding to set up their curio & craft market and to provide lectures.
Zodiac landing passengers ashore from the MV L’Austral, October 2018
Passengers disembark a Zodiac from the cruise ship MV L’Austral, October 2018
Curio & Craft Market at the town Square, October 2018
"With the number of visiting cruise ships steadily increasing each year, Pitcairn's cruise ship season is always a busy time. Typically it starts around Oct/Nov and runs through to April the following year. The size and type of ship ranges from small expedition vessels, carrying 100 or so passengers, to huge ocean liners carrying up to 2500 - 3000 passengers. With this in mind, Pitcairners must find time to get into their studios and workshops to create their carvings, curios and artwork. These days there's a huge range of Pitcairn keepsakes available, from jewellery, to all types of wooden carvings, bowls and platters, caps & T. Shirts, hand-woven traditional baskets, Bounty and Longboat models, handmade soaps and, of course, Pitcairn Honey.
Most cruise ship companies confirm their booking to visit the island at least a year or so in advance. The booking is confirmed by the Island's Immigration Officer, an announcement of the pending visit made over the radio and the ship's name, arrival and departure times added to the Cruise Ship Bookings List which is ever present on the Public Notice Board at the Square.
As the day of arrival draws near the Immigration Officer, Tourism Coordinator, Mayor and Provisions Officer start corresponding, via email, with the ship to coordinate activities for the day. This varies depending on roles and whether the ship's Captain intends to land passengers or feels it's safer to have the Pitcairn Community go on-board to set up the Pitcairn Island Curio and Craft Market, deliver a lecture and mix and mingle with passengers for a few hours. These days approximately 35 - 45 Pitcairn residents might go out to visit a ship which is unable to land passengers. Those who are unwell or perhaps a little too frail to climb the Jacob's ladder to board the ship are encouraged to allow friends and family to take their goods on board for them - ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to trade and benefit from sales.
Landing cruise ship passengers is always at the Captain's discretion, depending on weather and sea conditions on the day. This means that everyone must be ready to either get themselves and their curio and crafts to the landing in time to go out to the ship or to set up their goods and trading tables along the main road or at the Square in Adamstown. Either way it's always a happy and exciting time with no one really sure which way it will go until the Captain has made his or her final decision.
If the decision is to land passengers, the Captain will opt to use either the ship's own tenders or the Pitcairn Longboats to ferry passengers ashore. And, with the first arrivals everything falls into place. Tourism staff welcome the passengers as they arrive at the Bounty Bay landing, providing them with walking maps and general visitor information. A handful of local Quad Bike Operators provide taxi services up the Hill of Difficulty to the Square and later, once everyone's ashore, guided tours of the island. Frequently though, after several days at sea, many passengers prefer to 'walk the island' taking in Pitcairn's natural and built attractions at their own pace. And, for such a small island, there is a lot to see – including the Church where the Bounty Bible is on display, the Pitcairn Islands Museum, the cemetery and the local market. Those who are fit and healthy wander up over the hill to the top of the island and beyond, visiting St. Paul's Pool, Highest Point, Ship's Landing Point and if they're lucky, the island's one and only Galapagos Tortoise Miz.T
For many cruise ship passengers, getting to Pitcairn is the highlight of their trip. Whether they are able to land or not most convey that having the opportunity to personally meet the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers and learn about their day to day lives is what really makes their time at Pitcairn so truly memorable. And it's a mutual experience. Over generations Pitcairners have forged lifelong friendships with passengers, captains and crew who have visited via cruise ships. At the close of a typical visit both visitors and locals are refreshed and revitalised - satisfied with the day's events, sights seen and friends made".
The Government of Pitcairn Island partners (GPI) acted swiftly to close the island’s border in March 2020, when the COVID-19 (C-19) pandemic spread around the world. GPI recognises that the pandemic will continue to impact Pitcairn’s visitor economy, essential travel to and from the island and the secondary health care needs of its community.
The border has been re-opened on the 31st March 2022.
Document last updated: June 22nd, 2022
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