Pearls of the South Pacific

South Pacific Cruise

  • Silver Discoverer
  • Expedition Ship
  • 128 Capacity
  • 13 Days
  • 2015 View Departure>
    • 2015
    • Oct 14 Wed
  • Price from
  • $10,850

Summary : Discover the South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands and breathtaking Bora Bora. Snorkel, swim and look for colorful reef-fish, sea-cucumbers, rays, and sea-turtles and explore a Lau Island lagoon with its mushroom-shaped limestone islands. Enjoy whale watching, mountain biking, kayaking and tropical bird watching for frigates, boobies, noddies and terns. Cross the International Dateline and cruise the only navigable river in French Polynesia by kayak or Zodiac. Meet island natives, accept the challenge of a Cook Island warrior and see ancient marae stone temples. Capture it all in vivid photos to share when you return home from this trip of a lifetime.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling

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Prices from
$10,850 to $26,650

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Itinerary
Day 1
Lautoka, Fiji

Embark the ship in the evening and meet your Expedition Team and attend a safety briefing. Enjoy time to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, and meet fellow travelers.

Day 2
Ovalau, Fiji

Excursions ashore highlight both the historical and natural aspects of Fiji. In the morning, pay a visit to the island of Ovalau located off the east coast of Viti Levu. It is one of the smaller islands of Fiji, but its town of Levuka has the honor of having been Fiji’s very first capital where King Cakobau reigned and the deed of cession to Queen Victoria was signed in 1874. Many of the old buildings in the town have remained nearly unchanged since the late 1800’s, and during a walking tour town see the “Cession Stone” commemorating the signing between Fiji and Great Britain. Meet many of Levuka’s residents and hear stories from the town’s rich and interesting past. If you desire, explore outside the city and join members of the Expedition Team for a hike through pristine rainforest to the village of Lovoni, situated within the crater of an extinct volcano. Learn from local guides about jungle medicines and bush food, and take in the magnificent natural beauty of the surrounding area. At the conclusion of our hike there will be a welcome opportunity to take a refreshing swim.

In the afternoon, relocates to Leleuvia, an island resort almost completely surrounded by a reef, ideal for snorkeling. The onboard marine biologist will describe the different kinds of coral and colorful reef-fish that can be seen close to the shore. The little island offers good birding and a chance to relax in the shade of palm trees, enjoying the songs of local guitarists.

Day 3
Fulanga, Fiji

Explore a lagoon by Zodiacs and its dozens of mushroom-shaped little islands. Once inside the lagoon, perhaps visit one of the small villages along the north side. Fijian tradition states that a visit must begin with a Yanqqona – a Kava-ceremony – and all are invited to participate. Several of the rock islands have beautiful beaches and depending on the tide, either enjoy an afternoon on the beach or continue exploring this seldom-visited paradise. Hikers also have the option to trek across the uplifted coral onto the seaward side of the island.

Day 4
At Sea

Having left Fiji, cruise next to the Kingdom of Tonga retracing the route of the famous British ship HMAS Bounty. Listen as the onboard historian expands on the story of the “Mutiny on the Bounty” in preparation for your visit to the Vava’u archipelago. The waters surrounding the archipelago are a favorite stomping ground for humpback whales, so be sure to have your binoculars and cameras ready throughout the day.

Day 5
Neiafu, Tonga

In the Vava’u archipelago, the flat top of Mount Talau is famous both as landmark and legend. The story goes that its peak was cut off and stolen by Samoan warriors. Explore the Botanical Garden with a knowledgeable local guide who will describe the heritage of the island’s plant-life and specifically point out species that have medicinal properties. Afterwards, head to the beach for a refreshing swim or snorkel. If you want a more energetic outing, explore the island on a guided tour by mountain bike! Breathe in the fresh island air en route to a picturesque beach for a swim in tropical blue waters! Cycle along at a leisurely pace, passing homes, villages and plantations; observe locals going about their daily routines; and stop for photo opportunities at scenic viewpoints. Alternatively, kayak enthusiasts can explore the island on a full-day guided kayak tour inside Swallows Cave and over colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish.

Day 6
Alofi, Niue

Today is a special day of time-travel — leave Tonga in the evening of October 18 and arrive in Niue shortly after lunch of October 18 ahead of your departure! While crossing the International Dateline between Tonga and Niue, an Expedition Team member will explain the intricacies of the dateline and all it implies.

Niue, or “The Rock” as it is known to its inhabitants, is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the Pacific. Arrive during their Niue Constitution Celebrations, celebrating 40 years of self-governing in free association with New Zealand. Celebratory events may include canoe races, fishing competitions and also traditional dancing and singing performances. Spend some time exploring Niue’s coast, stopping at areas of historical and scenic interest including an opportunity for snorkeling and swimming.

Day 7
At Sea

Today will be a day to scan the seas for humpback whales while cruising towards Palmerston Atoll, an area chosen for scientific observation of humpbacks in the Cook Islands. Lecture staff will prepare you for visiting the outer islands, and talk about the natural history, seabirds, and marine life, as well as the early settlers and their interesting stories.

Day 8
Palmerston, Cook Islands

Approach the low-lying atoll of Palmerston and Home Islet where three families will welcome the ship and guide it into the lagoon. Once ashore, the whole community will welcome you, followed by speeches, prayers and songs. Afterwards, tour the island in small groups to see its highlights: the church, the oldest house, the cemetery, the school, the underground gardens and “Duke’s Pool” where we will be invited to swim and snorkel. The onboard marine biologist will be there to point out the varied species found in the lagoon waters, including colorful reef-fish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea turtles. Watch too for local birdlife, identifying tropicbirds, boobies, noddies, frigate birds and terns with the help of an ornithologist.

Day 9
Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki is rightly known as one of the most spectacular destinations in the Cook Islands. Its reef completely encompasses a large turquoise lagoon. Board the Zodiacs but before stepping ashore, a local warrior appears and challenges all visitors. Though once you have stepped across a special stone, you are free to do as you please on the island. So, that is exactly what we will do! Continue the excursion aboard local boats, crossing the lagoon to the small islet of Tapuaetai for a delicious barbecue luncheon in a lush South Pacific setting. Look for red-tailed tropicbirds, grab some snorkeling gear and see what’s underwater or stroll along the beach out onto a sand cay.

Day 10
At Sea

Today is a day to relax on deck or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked library. Set sail towards the Society Islands and participate in watching for birds, whales and dolphins on deck, or head to The Theatre to learn more about “French” Polynesia and the various artists that tried to make Tahiti their home.

Day 11
Bora Bora, Society Islands

No superlatives can adequately describe the spectacular beauty of Bora Bora's emerald-green hills and tranquil sapphire-blue lagoons. Select from a variety of excursions and activities today. Enjoy a leisurely, open-air ‘le truck’ tour of Bora Bora’s highlights: ancient marae stone temples, the Faanui Protestant Church, scenic lookout points to the lagoon and distant islands, old WWII remnants and popular Matira Beach. Alternatively, climb into a specially designed, open-air, off-road vehicle, to circle the island and visit some of its most dramatic sites that are only accessible by four-wheel drive. Veer inland following a trail that leads up the mountain to an amazing 360-degree panorama. From this height, you can view Bora Bora’s breathtaking multi-colored lagoons. Regardless of which tour you choose, your experienced guide will eagerly share his knowledge of the history, local legends, flora and fauna of this beautiful island. Of course, you may choose instead to simply spend the day swimming or snorkeling and savoring this idyllic tropical paradise.

Day 12
Raiatea, Society Islands

Raiatea, meaning "faraway heaven", is not only famous for its stunningly beautiful bays and landscapes, but also its rich culture and history. Anchor in Faaroa Bay and travel by either Zodiac or kayak up the Faaroa River, the only navigable river in the whole of French Polynesia whose historic waters launched migratory journeys to faraway islands now called Hawaii and New Zealand. Navigate through dense tropical rainforests with trees that dip gracefully into the water, to a botanical garden where you will learn from a local guide about the island’s plant life, possibly sighting the rare tiare apetahi flower. Later, a scenic driving tour past a vanilla plantation arrives at the dramatic and well maintained Marae Taputapuatea. As Raiatea is considered to be the birthplace of French Polynesia, this is a highly significant Marae site with many associated legends involving both the sacred and magical. In the afternoon, land on the sandy beaches of tranquil Moto Iriru to swim and snorkel above colorful underwater gardens or drift snorkel through the more challenging Iriru pass.

Day 13
Papeete, Tahiti

Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.

Notes

This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Included:
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee).

Not Included:
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; park entrance fees; government fees and taxes; passport expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.