The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa
The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa

The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa

© Samoa Tourism Authority

What are the Cruise Ports in Samoa?

So, Samoa is included on your cruise ship itinerary. Lucky you! Admittedly, there’s only one cruise port in Samoa, the capital Apia, which is stunning yet small enough to explore even in just a day when your cruise ship is docked in the easy-to-access harbour. Despite the limited variety of ports of call in Samoa, it’s easy enough to explore the cosmopolitan capital and/or the greater island of Upolu awash in waterfalls, verdant jungles and beaches.

In this guide to the cruise port of Samoa, we not only go over where it is but offer ways to enjoy this destination beyond what your cruise ship sells to you (which will be much cheaper too).

Which Cruises Visit Apia in Samoa?

Want to know which cruises to book that actually visit Samoa’s only port of call, Apia? Check out the list of cruise companies in the 10 Best Cruises that Go to Samoa.

The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa© Samoa Tourism Authority

Apia, Upolu

The one and only port of call in Samoa for cruise ships, Upolu offers a vibrant and versatile port of call to explore. You’ll land in the main harbour along the central northern coast of the island, in the nation’s small but contemporary capital, Apia.

Apia – The Capital of Samoa

For those who don’t want to venture too far from the ship (or too much time away from the spa), Apia has its own display of eateries, sights and cultural experiences.

Mingle with the locals at the array of markets, such as the Fugalei Market awash in handicrafts and authentic local food. Sometimes pop-up markets are set up at port to greet incoming ships. The Samoa Cultural Village is a fantastic free experience showing demonstrations of cultural traditions with a local meal included. Venture to the city outskirts and you also have attractions like the stunning snorkelling spot Palolo Deep (best at high tide), the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, breathtaking views from Mt Vaea, and the waterslides of Papase’ea Sliding Rocks.

To see a mixture of Apia highlights with a fantastic local tour guide, check out the “Apia Highlights Tour” with Tour Samoa, including dinner and a show on a stunning south coast beach.

Plan more of your visit to Apia with the 25 Best Things to Do in Apia and find places to eat in The Food Guide to Apia. You can even plan an independent tour of the city in A Self-Guided Trip Around Apia: One Day Itinerary.

Must-Dos on Upolu

If you have time to explore the whole island, which most cruise passengers do, here are some of the places well worth visiting and things well worth doing:

  • Explore the east side of Upolu to plunge into the paradise of To Sua Ocean Trench, marvel at Sopoaga Falls, relax at the white sand Lalomanu Beach and take a day trip to Namu’a Island
  • Head down to the central south coast on the Cross Island Road to stop by the Baha’i Temple, Papapaitai Falls and explore nature’s paradise in the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park
  • On the west side of Upolu, snorkel at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary, go on a canyoning adventure on the Falease’ela River Walk or even take a day trip to the lesser-visited Manono Island.

For more details about these activities, as well as much much more experiences, check out the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu.

The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa©

The Best Upolu Tours for Cruise Ship Passengers

Take the hassle out of exploring the island by joining one of the guided tours of Upolu! If the shore excursions offered by your cruise ship are a bit out of your price range (we all know that cruise ships can sometimes charge up to three times the price of what you would pay for the tour if you booked independently), then these are the best tours to take you around the island which you can book yourself.

  • Samoan Island Adventures – Accomplish four different fresh and saltwater swims in one day, including the Piula Cave Pool, Lalomanu Beach, To Sua Ocean Trench and Togitogiga Waterfall
  • Tour Samoa – An easy-going tour exploring Samoa’s capital before crossing the island to a beautiful beach
  • Tai’s Native Experience – It couldn’t get more authentic than joining a Samoan high chief, Tai, for a tour around his native homeland
  • Samoa Scenic – Boasting one of the most extensive lists of tours in Samoa, Samoa Scenic is sure to have a shore excursion to suit. We like the “Essence of Upolu” tour.

More information about these tours can be found in the 5 Best Shore Excursions in Samoa, while even more options are listed in the 10 Best Day Tours of Upolu.

The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa©

How to Tour Upolu Independently

If you’d rather make your own way around Upolu, you can either hire a car or hire a taxi driver. Car hire is available in abundance in Apia with some rental companies even delivering vehicles to port. Find out more in the 10 Best Car Rentals in Samoa.

Alternatively, you can still enjoy the full flexibility of having your own vehicle without the hassle of driving by hiring a taxi driver for the day. Taxis wait eagerly at the Apia Harbour to meet incoming ships. Drivers can take you to the desired stops on your itinerary, or they can take you to their suggested stops, much like a private tour. Find out more about hiring a driver in How to Hire a Driver in Samoa: A Guide to Private Drivers in Samoa.

Finally, if you need inspiration for an itinerary of exploring Upolu in a day, then we have just the guides for you! Check them out in A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Upolu: East Coast Itinerary and A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Upolu: West Coast Itinerary.

The Complete Guide to the Ports of Call in Samoa© Pixabay

What About American Samoa?

If you were wondering where our guide was to visiting Pago Pago in American Samoa, well, American Samoa is actually a different country altogether.

While the port of Pago Pago in American Samoa is often on the same cruises that also stop at Apia in Samoa, you will actually be visiting two different countries.

Until we write “American Samoa Pocket Guide” (watch this space), we don’t have much information on the port of call of Pago Pago. However, you can learn more about the differences between these two countries that are only 70 km (43 mi) apart in What’s the Difference Between Samoa and American Samoa?

More About Cruises and the Ports of Call in Samoa

We hope you found this guide to the ports of call of Samoa helpful for your cruise to Samoa. If it was, then you might also find these other cruise-related guides pretty darn useful too:

Finally, discover more ways to get to Samoa with our guide, Getting Here: How to Get to Samoa.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Samoa Tourism Authority, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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