Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

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  • Search for Okinawan dugongs while snorkeling among Japan’s remote islands, and dive the shipwrecks of Chuuk Lagoon.
  • Visit the fascinating ruins of Nan Madol, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Micronesia that remains cloaked in mystery.
  • Spend a day exploring the atolls of Tokelau, one of the most remote and difficult to reach island groups on the planet.
  • Cap off your voyage on the French Polynesian isles of Raiatea and Tahaa, visiting the ceremonial center of Taputapuatea marae and enjoying the sea and sand from our private motu.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Travel to some of the most far-flung tropical islands in the world, plying the Pacific from the glittering skyscrapers of Taipei to the idyllic shores of Tahiti. Among the wispy atolls of Chuuk and Kiribati, trace the history of war in paradise, exploring the battle sites and shipwrecks of World War II. Encounter a range of remarkable cultures, including the Chamorros of Guam and the handful of residents descended from the first English settler of Palmerston Island. Enjoy leisurely days on turquoise seas, and immerse yourself in a dazzling marine world while snorkeling, kayaking, and diving among pristine reefs.

This trip is operated in collaboration with Lindblad Expeditions.

Days 1-2: U.S./TAIPEI, TAIWAN

Depart on an overnight flight, crossing the international date line, and arriving in Taipei on Day 3. Check in to our hotel and join your fellow travelers for a welcome briefing in the evening.

Accommodations:Grand Hyatt Taipei or similar
Day 3: TAIPEI

After breakfast at the hotel, head out on a city tour to discover centuries-old temples and historic monuments tucked amid ultramodern architecture. Late this afternoon, embark the National Geographic Resolution and set sail.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

National Geographic Resolution for the remainder of the trip

Day 4: RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN

Scattered in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Kyushu, Japan, these tiny islands offer some of the best coral reefs and beaches in the region. Spend the day exploring above and below the water. Ride a Zodiac through the mangroves to spot mudskippers, ruddy kingfishers, and whistling green pigeons. Snorkel vibrant coral reefs and look for the elusive Okinawan dugong, a distant relative of the manatee.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 5-8: AT SEA

As we set a course for Guam, settle into life aboard the ship. Enjoy discussions with our naturalists about the wonders that await, and spend time on deck, scanning the horizon for seabirds and whales.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 9: GUAM, U.S.

Today we explore Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands. With a dynamic mix of cultures and over 4,000 years of intriguing history, this isolated landmass offers much to discover. Venture to Guam’s remote beaches and get acquainted with the island’s unique Chamorro culture.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 10-11: AT SEA

During two days at sea, we traverse over 500 nautical miles en route to Micronesia. Enjoy free time to take advantage of the ship’s amenities; and attend talks by our expedition team about the history of Pacific navigation, as well as the flora, fauna, and geology of the islands we will visit. Join our naturalists on deck to identify the seabirds that follow us as we sail east.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 12-16: CHUUK AND POHNPEI, MICRONESIA/AT SEA

One of the four states of Micronesia, Chuuk is a living piece of history. Amid swaying palms and gorgeous lagoons lie the sunken carcasses of fighter planes and boats, torpedoes and wayward propellers—all visible reminders of the islands’ trials during World War II. We’ll visit the waterside monument to those who died during the massive U.S. air attack of 1944. Snorkel or dive among Chuuk Lagoon’s renowned WWII shipwrecks, now blooming with corals. Spot wildlife on rainforest walks that weave past waterfalls and deserted beaches; and learn about the everyday traditions of the islands, largely unchanged over the centuries.

Spend a day at sea en route to Pohnpei, a Micronesian paradise that is home to the ruins of the mysterious city of Nan Madol. As we visit this UNESCO World Heritage site built entirely on coral flats, learn what we know of its history—and how it has confounded archaeologists for decades. Kayak among Pohnpei’s pristine mangrove forests and snorkel amid stunning undersea life before we sail on toward the far-flung archipelago of Kiribati.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 17-18: KIRIBATI

With a maritime boundary larger than the landmass of India, the 33 islands of Kiribati are home to just 120,000 people. Our first stop is Butaritari Atoll, an isolated isle with an unexpected history, having been occupied by the Japanese and later home to an Allied air and naval base during the World War II. Set out on walks to discover the four different species of mangrove that grow on this particular island. Spend a day on Tarawa Atoll, a long and narrow reef measuring just 12 square miles that hosts Kiribati’s capital and about half the country’s population. Delve into the local culture and learn about Kiribati’s role during WWII.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 19-23: AT SEA/TOKELAU, NEW ZEALAND

Choose from an array of shipboard activities as we sail south toward Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand made up of three tiny atolls. Attend a photography workshop with our National Geographic photographer, treat yourself to a massage or a wellness class, or compete for prizes in a National Geographic GeoBee. After three days at sea, arrive at remote Tokelau, which is only accessible by sea. Learn about the island’s strong Polynesian culture, and snorkel and dive the rich coral reefs here.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 24: Cook Islands

Today we let nature be our guide as we discover the pristine Cook Islands. Perhaps snorkel among colorful coral, or choose to kayak or stand up paddle board in the warm, crystal waters.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 25-26: AT SEA

Enjoy the rhythms of life at sea as we continue our course east toward the Society Islands. Take in the views from an infinity-style hot tub, enjoy a stretching session in the glass-walled yoga studio, or relax in the sauna. Attend engaging presentations on a range of subjects, from ancient Polynesian navigators to how to edit and share your photographs.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 27: RAIATEA AND TAHAA, FRENCH POLYNESIA

Encircled by a single fringing reef, Raiatea and Tahaa are vastly different islands that share a common lagoon. Steep-sided Raiatea is home to the second largest town in the Society Islands, as well as Taputapuatea marae—one of the most important spiritual sites in the Polynesian world. Visit this ceremonial center, where Polynesian seafarers once set out for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawai‛i, and New Zealand. Watch from on deck as we navigate lagoon channels en route to the much smaller and quiet Tahaa, then go ashore at our private motu and explore both above and under water.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 28-29: PAPEETE, TAHITI/U.S.

Arrive in Papeete and disembark after breakfast. Take a tour of the Tahitian capital before your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily