Vibrant culture and lush tropical islands


Embark: Bali

Disembark: Honiara

The ship travels from Bali to Honiara on the itinerary below.


  • DAY 1-2: U.S./Bali

    Depart on your overnight flight to Bali. Check in to the Fairmont Hotel (or similar). Meet your fellow travelers this evening at our welcome reception. (D)

  • DAY 3: Bali/Embark

    This morning we check out of the hotel and head off into the countryside and the artist’s town of Ubud – famous for silver working, wood carving, and batik. As we wind our way up into the hills, we’ll pass exquisite Hindu temples, lush forests, small villages, and the terraced rice fields cut into the cliffs. From water buffalo, to ducks, to harvest, learn how all the pieces of rice production flow together and nothing is wasted. Following lunch and free time to wander through the galleries in Ubud, we’ll head back to Benoa where we embark the National Geographic Orion. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4: Satonda/Sumbawa, Lesser Sunda Islands

    Our first stop is the uninhabited Indonesian island of Satonda – a small circular island that is an ancient volcanic cone. Spend the morning snorkeling or diving the vibrant reefs or hike inland to the island’s sacred lake. This afternoon visit the island of Sumbawa, where villagers welcome us with a lively cultural display. Witness a traditional wedding ceremony and a local boxing match. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 5: Komodo Island

    Explore Komodo National Park, home to the world’s largest living lizard—the Komodo dragon. Learn about the conservation of these prehistoric giants from park rangers, who will join us on a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Then enjoy an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, or beachcombing at “Pink Beach,” named for the coral fragments that lend their color to the sand. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 6-7: Flores Island/At Sea

    Flores was once an important Portuguese trading center for sandalwood. Known for producing some of the finest ikat weaving in the world , we’ll meet the people of this arid island  when we travel inland from Maumere to the weaving village of Watublapi. Whereas many other local weaving communities switched to industrially spun yarn and chemical dyes for the sake of saving time and money, the weavers of Watublapi still use the traditional, handspun yarn made out of local cotton, as well as local natural dyes. We’ll also see a cultural dance presentation. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 8: Banda Neira, Banda Islands, Moluccas

    Sail into the Molucca archipelago, also known as Maluku or the Spice Islands. In the heart of the Moluccas lay the Banda Islands, where a kora kora, or traditional war canoe, escorts us to the enchanted isle of Pulau Naira. Neighboring Banda Neira was once the center of the Spice Island trade and a hub of the Dutch East India Company. Stroll past Dutch architecture and visit Fort Belgica, built to protect the profitable spice trade. Next to Bandanaira, the near perfect conical volcano of Banda Api will be visible, quietly steaming away, and the crystal-clear waters provide us with some great swimming and snorkeling. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 9-10: Exploring Raja Ampat

    Snorkel and dive one of the richest and most intricate marine regions in the world. Explore the steep coral walls and drop offs that are brimming with amazing life – colorful corals, giant clams and literally hundreds of different fish species. Above sea level, the experiences are just as amazing, with lush islands, towering limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water, and hidden white-sand coves to discover by Zodiac or kayak. On Gam Island birders may join a pre-dawn nature walk to try to catch a glimpse of the ethereal red bird-of-paradise. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 11: Maccleur Gulf/Kokas

    Soaring mountains, pristine rain forest, and dozens of the most ancient, primal tribes on the planet can be found on this amazing section of Indonesia. Use Zodiacs to get up close to 20,000-year-old rock art near the fishing village of Kokas. Explore the fascinating skull caves and rock art of the Macassan culture. See the remains of the secret underground Japanese bunkers built here during World War II. Witness the traditional gabagaba, or stick dance, and learn about the myriad cultures that have passed through this region. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 12-14: At Sea/Asmat

    Arrive in the enchanting Asmat region, which spreads across mud flats and mangrove forests, with raised wooden boardwalks linking one village to the next. Elaborately painted “warriors” escort us to one of the stilt villages on shore, where we’ll attend a fascinating welcome ceremony. Our subsequent exploration will be dictated by the tides, as we venture to neighboring villages by Zodiac and encounter the ancient culture of the Asmat people, who are renowned for their woodcarving. (B,L,D) 

  • DAY 15-17: At Sea/Gulf of Papua

    We leave the Asmat region and sail through the Aru and Arafura Seas. During the last ice age, when sea levels were over 100 meters lower than they are today, this region was a land bridge between Australia and New Guinea. We transit the shallow, island-strewn Torres Strait, which separates Australia from New Guinea, to enter the Gulf of Papua. We’ll explore the coast and scattered islands looking for that perfect place to spend some time on a deserted beach or snorkeling through a reef bursting with color and life. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy