Follow in the path of early Polynesian navigators on this epic voyage. From the aquamarine atolls of the Tuamotu Islands to the lush volcanic peaks of the mysterious Marquesas, you’ll visit some of the most remote and compelling sites in the far reaches of French Polynesia. You’ll have the option to continue onboard with us on a relaxing seven-day sea voyage, as we trace the path of master Polynesian navigators and make our way across the equator to Hawai’i.
• Venture into the lush tropical forest and discover ancient Polynesian sacred sites on the verdant island of Hiva Oa.
• Snorkel or dive in the Tuamotus, and see abundant fish and thriving coral reef ecosystems.
• Learn stand-up paddleboarding in gorgeous turquoise lagoons.
• Watch on deck as National Geographic Orion navigates into dramatic Hanavave Bay.
Depart on an overnight flight to Tahiti.
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning and check into your room at the tropical InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa. Spend the day adjusting to island time and enjoying the resort’s many amenities, or join us for a leisurely afternoon excursion. This evening, connect with your fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail party.
Today, join an island tour and have lunch at a local restaurant before embarking National Geographic Orion. (B,L,D)
Spend two days exploring this idyllic archipelago. Experience with all your senses while learning the geological distinction between volcanic islands, atolls, and uplifted coral atolls, like the stunning island of Makatea, one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. See the spectral remains of a mining operation as you hike through a primeval landscape with your expedition team, to discover an incredible limestone grotto. Birders might add endemics such as the imperial pigeon or the Makatea fruit dove to their lists. Snorkelers will revel in the protected reefs of gorgeous Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Conditions permitting, ride the current into the vast lagoon on a world-famous drift dive or snorkel. (B,L,D)
A relaxing day at sea brings us to one of the most remote and historic island groups on Earth, the Marquesas. One never forgets the first sight of lovely Hanavave Bay, fronting one of the world’s most soul-stirringly beautiful islands-Fatu Hiva. Be sure you’re on deck and camera-armed as we arrive at one of the most storied shorelines in the entire Pacific. Enjoy a warm Polynesian welcome on a visit to a remote village where you’ll see displays of well-made, uniquely Marquesan arts and crafts. Choose a challenging hike through landscapes studded with sculptural granite and stunning flora to a remote waterfall, or Zodiac to the next bay where local transport takes you birdwatching deep in the Omoa Valley. (B,L,D)
At Hiva Oa, we plan to land at Atuona. Stop for a fresh-baked French baguette before a short visit to Calvary Cemetery and the gravesites of French artist Paul Gauguin and Belgian, Jacques Brel, both revered on the island. We’ll visit the village of Puamau to explore a well-maintained Marquesan sacred site, a me’ae Iipona. Accompanied by our team and knowledgeable local guides, we’ll learn about religious rites, and get the chance to photograph one of the largest, most arresting ancient tikis in Polynesia. (B,L,D)
If you read Herman Melville’s Typee in prep for your voyage, you’ll thrill doubly to the green-mantled, rugged silhouette of Nuku Hiva, the largest and most imposing of the Marquesas. Choose to end your Polynesia adventure here, and fly via chartered plane back to Papeete, and connect to your flight home. Or continue: spend seven relaxing days at sea following in the wake of the great Polynesian explorers north to Hawai’i. (Day 9: B,L)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.