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French Polynesia – Peaks & Atolls

South Pacific Cruise

Summary : Enjoy a rich French Polynesian experience taking you to the distant Marquesas Islands and Tuamotu Archipelago. Marvel at the spectacular peaks of the Marquesas Islands, observe traditional dance performances and visit ancient Marae at Ua Pau. Snorkel, swim and look for colorful reef-fish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea turtles; or for the daring, swim with sharks at Rangiroa. Explore the large lagoon and old village at Fakarava, and visit French painter Paul Gaugin’s grave at Hiva Oa. Capture it all in vivid photos to share when you return home from this trip of a lifetime.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling


Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
Papeete, Tahiti

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
Rangiroa, Tuamotu Archipelago

Rangiroa (“the big sky” in the Puamotu language), with its 42-mile-long by 16-mile-wide turquoise lagoon, is the largest coral atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago and the second largest in the world. The activity choices available during the day here are as varied and numerous as Rangiroa’s many islets and motus. The world-famous Tiputa Pass is one of French Polynesia’s top spots for drift diving and drift snorkeling. The day’s schedule will revolve around the incoming tides, allowing advanced swimmers to experience amazing encounters with three sharks species, barracuda, manta rays, eagle rays, dolphins and thousands of fish that follow this natural opening to the ocean. Close to the Tiputa Pass is an excellent reef called the “Aquarium” where there is no current, and some swimmers may feel more comfortable here viewing coral and fish that are just as outstanding. Top of the day with a visit to a pearl farm and learn all about Polynesia’s famed black pearls.

Day 3
Manihi, Tuamotu Archipelago

Explore the Ahe Lagoon and Manihi in the Tuamaotu Archipelago. Experience a traditional lei greeting, observe local crafts and taste the bountiful fruits of the region. An underwater paradise of colorful sea life and prized black pearls are the primary allure at this serene and lovely atoll located far off the beaten path. Visit with the local community and witness the art of pearl grafting at one of the 54 pearl farms in the lagoon, and then enjoy a splash in the picturesque turquoise lagoon. Divers can explore the reef wall, and perhaps watch as manta rays glide through the waters at “The Circus” dive site.

Day 4
At Sea

Become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found onboard. Gather in the lounge to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable experts in a variety of scientific fields present lectures and seminars about the upcoming ports-of-call.

Day 5
Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Fatu Hiva is one of the most beautiful and scenic islands in the Marquesas. It is also the most southerly and the most isolated island in the Marquesas group. As a result of this, many cultural traditions are still practiced. Visit Hanavave, set in lush valleys with dramatic caldera mountains all around. In the small town of Omoa, watch an impressive colorful Tapacloth demonstration. Perhaps join a hike, where you will be surrounded by beautiful scenery. Birders will want to join the onboard ornithologist and together watch for the endemic white-capped fruit-doves, Marquesas reed-warblers, and Fatu Hiva monarchs. Enjoy a greeting in Hanavave with a native dance performance, and then watch as islanders demonstrate the making of coconut oil. Divers may choose to explore Fatu Hiva’s fantastic underwater caverns. Finish this memorable day filled with nature’s beauty and fascinating cultural experiences with cocktails on deck as the sun sets in picturesque Virgin Bay.

Day 6
Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

The largest of the southern Marquesas, mountainous Hiva Oa is a dramatic sight. Early this morning, anchor in Puamau Bay and visit the Meae Iipona archaeological site. Observe the ruins of sacred ceremonial marae (meae in Marquesan) sites, the last chief’s grave, and the megalithic tiki statues including the eight-foot tall Takaii – the largest stone tiki in Polynesia and second in size only to those on Easter Island.

Later in the day, observe Mount Temetiu rising 1,213 m (3,980 ft) above sea level, towering above the village of Atuona. Paul Gauguin lived here creating some of his best work. As you walk up the hill to the cemetery, enjoy sweeping views of the harbor. Beneath a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Wander through the a cultural center dedicated to the artist.

Day 7
Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

A performance by local musicians and dancers provides a wonderful welcome to Ua Pou, and the perfect beginning to a day of island activities. Walk to the Cross View Point where and be treated to a view of the town with its beautiful backdrop of rugged volcanic mountains. Enjoy time to swim and relax at Virgin Beach with its beautiful white sand. In town, stroll through its charming streets and visit the local church. The roads are bordered on either side with fragrant frangipani trees, breadfruit, mango and thousands of colorful flowers. The town is set at the base of some very dramatic volcanic mountains, creating an exotic backdrop for an alluring performance by a local dance group.

Day 8
At Sea

Relax on deck or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked library. Indulge in the special amenities offered onboard. Before turning in, take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendor of an endless sky strewn with shimmering stars.

Day 9
Fakarava, Tuamotu Archipelago

Local musicians and dancers welcome you while stepping ashore at Fakarava. Join members of the Expedition Team for an exciting drift snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the northern Garuae Channel. Fakarava is known to have some of the best scuba diving in French Polynesia including the highly praised northern Garuae Pass where divers may encounter Napoleon wrasse, seapikes, damselfish, bigeyes, marbled groupers and manta rays. At the second dive site –Shark Hole – discover dozens of grey reef sharks! In the afternoon, Zodiacs will land upon an idyllic beach area with soft, white sand where you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling and a barbecue luncheon.

Day 10
Tikehau, Tuamotu Archipelago

Anchor outside Tikihau’s lagoon and ride by Zodiac to visit Tuherahera, a small town lush with coconut trees, hibiscus and bougainvilleas. Visit Motu Puarua or “Bird Island” to observe thousands of nesting boobies, terns, Red-footed gannets, and Brown noddies. Tikihau’s seemingly endless amount of motus with soft pink sands and crystal clear waters provide a myriad of options for swimming and snorkeling. Numerous shallow reef areas are perfect for beach combing walks to observe crabs and black tip reef sharks amongst a fascinating array of fish. Divers may encounter graceful blue dolphins en route to today’s two sites, and once underwater, will be astounded by the volume and variety of sea life including snapper, wrasse, Moray eel, anemones, clown fish, tuna, and grey or black tip sharks.

Day 11
Papeete, Tahiti

Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.


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

Wellness Expedition:
Specifically designed to improve your well-being, join health and fitness expert Natasha Eksteen, yoga instructor Jenni Kauppila, and nutrition consultant Dalila Roglieri for a complete onboard experience of yoga, stretching, pilates, aquagym classes, a complimentary spa treatment, and healthy daily menus.

Diving Program:
The program is complimentary; however, space is limited and thus booking early is recommended. Dives are dependent upon the conditions. Divers must be advanced with full certification which will need to be provided before embarking the vessel. Certification must be active and logbooks must show evidence that each guest has been diving within 12 months prior to the voyage. Dive medical travel insurance is required. Divers must bring their own gear such as BCD and regulator. Weight belts, masks, fins and tanks will be provided free of charge. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for further details.

Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; snorkeling gear; diving; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee). Subject to change without notice.

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.

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