- Complimentary Roundtrip Airfare on Select Expedition Cruises
Book by July 31, 2020 for free round-trip air between Los Angeles and Papeete. Free air is based on round-trip, economy group flights from Los Angeles to Papeete and must be ticketed by Lindblad Expeditions. New bookings only. Baggage fees may be additional. Call for details.
- Watch the National Geographic Orion navigate the Tiputa Pass into the lagoon at Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls in the world.
- Go ashore at the seldom-visited isle of Huahine, former residence of Tahitian royalty, and visit ancient sites with an archaeologist.
- Grab one of our ship’s stand-up paddleboards or kayaks and glide across serene turquoise lagoons.
- Take in spectacular views over Bora-Bora from one of its emerald crags, and then snorkel or dive from a private motu—an islet on the outer reef.
Experience the heart and soul of French Polynesian while exploring island cultures as well as natural wonders above and beneath the sea. Take to the waters by kayak or paddleboard, go biking to local villages, and connect with the people and traditions of the islands. On Raiatea, discover the historic ceremonial site, called a marae, where Polynesian seafarers would begin their bold sailing expeditions into the unknown—voyages that would eventually lead to populating Hawai'i and New Zealand. Sail among some of the 80 or so atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago, and dive or snorkel the thriving reefs along this string of tiny islands.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning, check in to dayrooms, and take a brief tour of the island before embarking the National Geographic Orion.
Jutting out from an aquamarine lagoon ringed with tiny islets, Bora-Bora’s angular volcanic crags are a spectacular sight. Explore the island’s slopes and shores by 4x4 and enjoy unparalleled views of the island’s turquoise lagoon. Then snorkel, dive, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard from one of the motus, or islets on the outer reef.
Encircled by a single fringing reef and sharing a common lagoon, Raiatea and Taha'a offer plenty to explore. One of the most important cultural sites in the Polynesian world, Marae Taputapuatea served as the starting point for Polynesian seafarers heading for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawai'i, and New Zealand. Spend the morning exploring this site on Raiatea, then enjoy a refreshing swim in warm turquoise seas. Watch from on deck as we navigate lagoon channels en route to Taha'a, then go ashore for a visit to a small, family-run vanilla plantation.
One of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets and the former home of Tahitian royalty, Huahine maintains the highest density of ancient marae in French Polynesia. Visit these sites with cultural experts or archaeologists who will bring them to life. Trace the perimeter of the island on a bicycle, then explore the verdant shoreline by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Finish the day with a swim in the island’s crystal-clear lagoon.
Spend two days exploring some of the nearly 80 islands and atolls in the “Dangerous Archipelago.” Fakarava is one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift dive. An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Navigate limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds. Then, conditions permitting, snorkel and dive among colorful fish on the nearby reef.
The atoll of Rangiroa is a ring of slender islands known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in French Polynesia. The turquoise lagoon at its center is the second largest in the world. Our ship passes between the palm-fringed islets to anchor inside the lagoon near the village of Tiputa. Visit the tranquil village and spend time with its friendly residents. Kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive in the waters here, home to large schools of pelagic fish, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, and hammerheads.
Disembark this morning and take a short flight back to Papeete, where you’ll connect to your overnight flight home.