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Isles, Atolls, and Pristine Corals: Southern Line Islands

South Pacific French Polynesia Cruise Information

Summary : Discover some of the world’s best dive and snorkel sites on an expedition from Rangiroa’s sparkling lagoon to the verdant peaks of Tahiti’s neighbor, Moorea. This compact voyage maximizes your time in some of the most vibrant undersea sites in the world. Plus, there’s time to stroll pristine beaches, kayak peaceful coves, and experience true Polynesian hospitality. Dive or snorkel in the Southern Line Islands and see diverse coral, clouds of tropical fish, and healthy predator populations. It is one of the healthiest reef systems in the world and a rare place virtually unmarred by the touch of humans, which is why it was identified by the National Geographic Pristine Seas project as one of the few places researchers can study.

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


Bar tab onboard ship and crew tips now included. Subject to change.

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Day 1
Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.

Day 2
Papeete, Tahiti / Rangiroa / Embark

Arrive Papeete, Tahiti early this morning and take a short flight to Rangiroa. After a brief tour, embark National Geographic Orion this afternoon. Settle in to your cabin, or linger on deck to take in the view of the island’s turquoise lagoon as you’re fanned by tropical ocean breezes. Just before sunset, watch from on deck as the ship navigates the narrow Passe de Tiputa and exits the lagoon to the north. (L,D)

Day 3 – 5
At Sea / Southern Line Islands, Kiribati

A day at sea brings you to the far-flung Southern Line Islands, where you’ll snorkel or dive some of the most remote and pristine coral reefs on Earth. Marine Ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala researched these islands as part of the Pristine Seas project and identified them as one of the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean. You’ll explore seldom-visited atolls such as Caroline Island, also known as Millennium Atoll after creative realignment of the international date line made it one of the first places on earth to welcome the year 2000. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – 7
Southern Line Islands / At Se

For your final day in Kiribati, you’ll navigate the intricate channels of the lagoons by Zodiac or, possibly, kayak, see nesting boobies and tropic birds on shore, and snorkel above beds of giant clams. Stroll along pristine white sand beaches, or meander through palm groves with your naturalists as they search for endangered coconut crabs, the largest land-dwelling invertebrates in the world. Bring binoculars and join your naturalists on deck for a day at sea, as they search for marine mammals and seabirds. Photographers will want to try and capture the perfect image of a flying fish skimming above an azure sea. (B,L,D)

Day 8
Moorea, French Polynesia

Approach the verdant island of Moorea this morning, and anchor for the day in Opunohu Bay on the island’s north shore. Spend the day hiking tropical forest trails or exploring ancient Polynesian sacred sites with an archaeologist. Take in the view of both Opunohu and Cook’s bays from the island’s famous Belvedere, then stop at the Lycée Agricole d’Opunohu to sample locally produced jam and sorbet. (B,L,D)

Day 9
Papeete, Tahiti / Disembark

Disembark in Papeete this morning and tour Tahiti before your overnight flight home.

Day 10
Arrive Home

Arrive home after your overnight flight from Papeete.


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

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. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage. If you have not made an open water dive within the past year, please contact us about a dive refresher course in Tahiti prior to your voyage.

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.

Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; use of kayaks; most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guide; crew gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; diving program; extensions; 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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