Summary : From black pearls and underwater wonders to blue lagoons and raised coral islands, this is a voyage of adventure and discovery. Explore underwater wonders, view unimaginable vistas in Bora Bora and be transfixed by the awe-inspiring beauty of Aitutaki's lagoon. Meet local communities and be inspired by the friendliness of the Pacific Islanders. Join us to look for the Pearls of the Pacific.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins
$9,800 to $25,200
Embark the ship and depart on your exciting expedition. This afternoon, after settling in and before setting sail, you will participate in a mandatory safety drill. Familiarize yourself with your new home away from home and meet some of your fellow travelers at the Sail Away Cocktail.
Your Expedition Leader will introduce important members of the crew and the Expedition Team, before the Restaurant Manager and Executive Chef invite you to enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
No superlatives can adequately describe the spectacular beauty of Bora Bora’s emerald-green hills and tranquil sapphire-blue lagoons. Silver Explorer will enter the narrow channel into the lagoon at dawn. Be out on deck to watch the sun rise behind Mount Pahia and Otemanu and look for dolphins playing at the entrance to the lagoon.
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 with spectacular vistas of the lagoon and distant islands, old WWII remnants and popular Matira Beach. Sample local fruits and watch a pareo (sarong) demonstration before returning to the ship.
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 lagoon. See cannons remaining from the American’s presence during WWII.
Optional flight excursion:
Perhaps the most spectacular way to see Bora Bora is from the air on a helicopter flyover. This optional flight aboard a 5-seat “Squirrel” helicopter circles the island for spectacular views of the lagoon fringed with white sandy beaches and a network of smaller islets.
If you would like to see Bora Bora’s underwater world, a snorkel safari permits you to swim with rays and with reef sharks.
Leaving French Polynesia behind, Silver Explorer will sail west towards the Cook Islands and Aitutaki. Let lecturers entertain you with talks about Polynesia’s natural history and human settlement or take the time at sea to indulge in a Spa treatment. The Connoisseur’s Corner and Panorama Lounge with coffee, tea, cocktails, fine spirits and cigars will offer shelter from the sun while the Executive Chef and his team will tempt you with South Pacific delicacies.
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 and enter a narrow channel leading to the island’s main village. Before coming ashore, a local warrior will appear and challenge all visitors. Local tradition requires stepping across a special stone, and then visitors are free to do as they please on the island.
The excursion continues aboard local boats, crossing the spectacular lagoon to the small islet of Tapuaetai for a delicious barbecue luncheon in a lush South Pacific setting. Look for Red-tailed Tropicbirds or take your snorkeling gear to see the underwater world. You can also stroll along the beach out onto a sand cay.
During the late morning, approach the low-lying atoll of Palmerston and Home Islet where three families—all descendants of William Marsters (1831-1899)—live a simple life. Several of the men will come out to guide the Zodiacs into the lagoon. Once ashore, the whole community will be there to greet you. This will be followed by a presentation of speeches, prayers and church 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 you will be invited to swim and snorkel.
Attend lectures or seminars during the morning.
At lunchtime Silver Explorer will approach Beveridge Reef and look for a protected area to offer swimming and snorkeling at this eastern outpost of Niue. Only small portions of the reef are above sea level at high tide so the Zodiacs will be used as snorkeling platforms from where to explore this rarely visited part of the Pacific.
Today Silver Explorer will drift in front of “the Rock” as Niue is locally known. The island is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the Pacific. As such it has no lagoon and the coastline shows steep cliffs. Once ashore, take locals buses to see some of the scenic and historical highlights of the island. The coast features various caves that can be visited and there are two areas where snorkeling can be done. Not only are Niue’s waters crystal clear, the island is also known as a hotspot for black-banded sea kraits—see them at the landing sites or while snorkeling.
In the afternoon, Silver Explorer will head for Tonga and you'll cross the dateline in a westerly direction and lose a day. The lecturers will use this time to prepare you for Tonga.
The Vava’u Archipelago is quite famous for its raised islands and has one of the most picturesque harbors. Once ashore, begin your visit with an excursion to the Botanical Garden. A knowledgeable local guide will describe the heritage of the island’s plant life and specifically point out species that have medicinal properties. Enjoy traditional entertainment and a chance to shop for arts and handicrafts before returning the ship.
For guests wanting a more leisurely morning, a walking tour of Neiafu might be of interest.
In the afternoon Silver Explorer will relocate to Nuku Island via the Ava Pulepule Kai Channel. You can spend the afternoon ashore and relax on the beach or swim and snorkel. You might also take to the Zodiacs to explore some of the islands. Various types of seabirds nest or roost here, and you may even see flying foxes hanging in the trees and swiftlets that nest in caves.
Your final stop in Tonga will be in the rarely visited Ha’apai Group, south of Neiafu. Silver Explorer will anchor in front of Uoleva, an island of palm forests, endless beaches, and clear blue water. Today will be a day to unwind, to swim and snorkel, and to feel the true South Pacific.
Depending on permits and conditions, your Hotel Department will arrange for a beach barbecue and beach bar, so that you can make the most of your day ashore.
Today will be a day to scan the seas for seabirds as we head for Fiji, traveling on a course that was taken almost exactly 230 years ago by Lt. William Bligh and his loyal crew members after the mutiny on the Bounty near Uoleva.
Your lecturers will want to talk about Fiji’s natural history and topics relevant to the area Silver Explorer will be traveling through. You can also make use of the Spa and Gym, or relax on the Sun Deck.
Vanua Balavu, the third largest of the Lau Islands, is protected by a reef area that promises excellent snorkeling: snorkeling from the beach, snorkeling from an anchored Zodiac or perhaps even drift snorkeling.
Visit one of the villages, where a yaqona (kava) ceremony will be held to welcome you. A hike from one village to the next or up into the higher areas of Vanua Balavu will appeal to those wanting to stretch their legs. As the Lau Group was once under Tongan rule, there will be a folkloric presentation to enjoy in which Fijian and Tongan music and dance have formed a special union.
If conditions permit, take the Zodiacs to explore the bay and the many photogenic little islands.
Cobia Island is part of the Ringgold Isles, a small group of islands to the northeast of Taveuni. Cobia is the lush remnant of a former volcano with two small white sand beaches. The crater’s rim has disappeared on the northeastern side and has permitted seawater to come in, forming a beautiful blue lagoon.
One of the main attractions on the island would be a hike to the summit of the crater. To do so you will land on the south side of the island for those that want to climb the crater’s rim for a spectacular view of the interior of the crater. After the hike you can relax on the beach or go snorkeling in the clear waters; visibility is said to exceed 120 feet. Conditions and permits pending, you might also explore the lagoon inside the crater by Zodiac.
The seven Ringgold Islands hold internationally important numbers of nesting seabirds. Bridled Terns have been observed on two of the islands. Lesser Frigatebird, Black Noddy and Brown Booby are said to represent over 1% of the global number for each species, thereby qualifying the island group as an Important Bird Area. Other birds include Red-footed Boobies, Brown Noddies, Common White Terns, and Bristle-thighed Curlews. Three of the islands have significant numbers of turtle nests and the sea surrounding the Ringgold Islands is the main foraging area for hawksbill and green turtles. The Pacific Black Skink, listed under Fiji’s Endangered and Protected Species Act, has also increased in numbers.
Explore some of the islands via Zodiacs and depending on conditions you might go ashore, to look at birds. You may get a chance to snorkel as well.
Silver Explorer will anchor in Buasali Bay, right off the village of Nabukeru and next to one of the Yasawa Islands most famous islands: Sawa-i-Lau. Go ashore to visit the village and its school, which is shared with the neighboring village of Tamusua. Village visits are normally accompanied by a kava ceremony in which the guests (in this case us) bring a gift of yaqona (kava roots) and then drink the ground up roots mixed with water.
Apart from the village and school visit, a climb to the hilltop behind the two villages for spectacular panoramic views of the northern Yasawas will be offered. If you do not want to partake in the strenuous hike, relax on one of the beaches, go swimming and snorkeling in the bay, or venture into the island of Sawa-i-Lau. This limestone island has caves in which one can swim.
Enjoy sundowners on deck as Silver Explorer leaves Buasali Bay for your final destination, Lautoka.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Onboard accommodation; Wi-Fi aboard ship; onboard meals; butler service onboard ship; snorkeling; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises