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French Polynesia: Beyond the Postcard

French Polynesia Cruise Information

  • National Geographic Orion
  • Luxury Expedition Ship
  • 102 Capacity
  • 10 Days
  • 2020, 2021 View Departure>
    • 2020
    • Apr 14 Tue Offer
    • May 5 Tue Offer
    • May 12 Tue Offer
    • 2021
    • Apr 12 Mon Offer
    • May 3 Mon Offer
    • May 10 Mon Offer
  • Price from
  • $8,360
  • I'm Interested

Summary : Venture to the heart of Polynesian culture and wildness on this highly immersive expedition where options abound. Choose to kayak, stand up paddleboard, or take a bike ride for independent exploration to connect with local people and the islands on a personal level. Explore the historic ceremonial site, called a marae, on Raiatea where Polynesian seafarers would begin their bold expeditions sailing into the unknown—expeditions that would eventually lead to populating Hawaii and New Zealand. Sail among some of the 80 atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago, a string of tiny islands in an azure sea that hides thriving reefs you can explore while snorkeling and scuba diving.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins


Just-Released Offer

  • Free international airfare from select gateways (or $1,200 air credit)
  • Book two or more South Pacific voyages and save 10%
  • Offers apply to select dates; may not be combinable; conditions may apply

View offer details

Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!

Prices from
$8,360 to $18,410

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Day 1
Depart U.S. / Papeete, French Polynesia

Depart the U.S. and land in Tahiti in the evening. Check into your hotel.

Day 2
Papeete / Embark

Wake up to a view of Tahiti's azure lagoon, and spend the morning at your leisure as you adjust to island time. Connect with your fellow travelers for lunch and take a brief tour of the island before embarking National Geographic Orion.

Day 3
Bora Bora, Society Islands

Begin your voyage with a view of one of the South Pacific’s most iconic images, the angular crags of Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu. Explore the island’s interior by 4WD, for unparalleled views of the island’s turquoise lagoon, then snorkel, dive (extra fee to dive), kayak, and stand up paddleboard from one of the motus on the outer reef.

Day 4
Ra'iatea / Tahaa

Encircled by a single fringing reef, and sharing a common lagoon, Ra'iatea and Taha’a are islands well worth exploring. One of the most important cultural sites in the Polynesian world, Marae Taputapuatea was a center for Polynesian seafarers and the location from which they set out for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawaii, and New Zealand. Watch from on deck as the captain navigates lagoon channels en route to Taha’a, then go ashore for a visit to a small, family-run vanilla plantation.

Day 5

One of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets, Huahine is well off the beaten path. Once the home of Tahitian royalty, Huahine maintains the highest density of ancient marae in French Polynesia. Visit these sites with cultural experts and archaeologists who bring them to life. Explore the verdant shoreline by kayak, stand up paddleboard or Zodiac. Finish the day with a swim in the island’s crystal-clear lagoon.

Day 6 – 7
Tuamotu Archipelago

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 (extra fee to dive). An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Spend the day exploring limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds.

Day 8

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. The ship passes between the islets to anchor inside the lagoon near the village of Tiputa, where local musicians greet you. Visit the village, and then have a chance to kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive (extra fee to dive) in the rich waters which are home to large schools of pelagic fish, manta rays, dolphins, and sea turtles.

Day 9
Rangiroa / Disembark / Papeete, Tahiti

Disembark this morning and take a short flight back to Papeete (extra fee), where you’ll connect to your international overnight flight home.

Day 10
Arrive Home

Arrive home after your overnight flight from Papeete.


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

Reverse Itineraries (Rangiroa/Papeete): 5/12/2020, 5/10/2021

Optional Diving Program:
Scuba divers must be certified by an internationally recognized dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Please contact us for certification and additional requirements. Due to the remote nature of this expedition, and the inherent risks of diving, we require that you have coverage via the Divers Alert Network (DAN), which among other services provides for evacuation and medical care in the case of a diving emergency. Subject to change.

Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.

Optional Pre- or Post-trip Extension: The Brando, Tetiaroa
Idyllically sited on the atoll of Tetiaroa, The Brando features a level of quality that more than merits its mystique. Built on land Marlon Brando purchased in the 60s after falling in love with the region and his Tahitian co-star while shooting Mutiny on the Bounty, and inspired by his original vision, it is an exceptional way to start or cap off any of our South Pacific itineraries.
*Two night minimum stay required.
*Payment Information: 100% of the total amount due at the time of booking.
*Cancellation Information: A 20% fee applies if the booking is cancelled between booking and 121 days prior to the arrival date; a 100% fee applies if the booking is cancelled 120 days or less prior to the arrival date; no reservation name change is allowed; travel Insurance is strongly recommended.
*Private flight required - Air Tetiaroa: From $535 per person, roundtrip
*2020 Low Season (Apr 1 - Jun 30): From $4,575 per villa per night (plus taxes)
*2020 High Season (Jun 30 - Oct 31): From $5,130 per villa per night (plus taxes)

Optional Pre- or Post-trip Extension: Bora Bora
Transport yourself to one of Bora Bora’s tranquil and picturesque outer motus and fall into island time at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Check into a stunning overwater villa, surrounded by turquoise waters and lush tropical gardens, and explore as much (or as little) as you choose during this two-day stay. Discover the resort’s pristine beaches, browse the treatment menu in the resort’s renowned spa, or luxuriate in the comfort of your own private villa, all while taking in the incredible views of Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu. 2 Days.
2021 Double Occupancy from $2,090 per person
2021 Single Occupancy from $3,330

Optional Post-trip Extension: InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa
On the isle of Moorea, volcanic peaks rise from sapphire seas in an explosion of emerald-green splendor, creating an arresting backdrop for a French Polynesian escape. Settle into your waterfront accommodation and enjoy a selection of activities with a complimentary $150 resort credit. Kayak, snorkel, and paddleboard among pristine coral reefs, unwind on white-sand beaches, and explore dense tropical forest where bright hibiscus blooms and rare birds roost. 3 Days.
2020 Double Occupancy from $1,410 per person
2020 Single Occupancy from $2,090
Please inquire about different rates for overwater bungalows

One pre-cruise hotel night in Tahiti; transfers between airport/hotel/ship if booked on recommended flights; shipboard accommodations; kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding; certified photo instructor; video chronicle of your trip; gear on loan (snorkeling gear and wetsuit); all meals onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; crew gratuities. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; scuba diving; extensions; premium alcohol; passport and visa fees; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including Internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos: © Bennett Goldberg

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