Making the most of your time & interest in the South Pacific

This expedition offers an in-depth opportunity to discover the rich wildlife of these remote islands and interact with the intriguing, friendly people who live here. Relax on secluded beaches and snorkel above or near some of the world’s finest coral reefs. 


Embark: Papeete

Disembark: Lautoka

The ship travels from Papeete to Rautoka on the itinerary below.


  • DAY 1-2: U.S./Papeete/Embark

    Depart on an overnight flight to Tahiti and arrive in the early morning. Check into a day room at our group hotel and in the afternoon, join us for a tour before embarking National Geographic Orion in the late afternoon. (L,D)

  • DAY 3-5: Taha'a/Ra'iatea/At Sea

    Spend the day acclimating to island time at beautiful Taha’a. Surrounded by a sparkling turquoise lagoon, make use of our private motu choose to snorkel, swim, kayak or just enjoy your surroundings from the white sandy beach. 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. Spend the morning exploring this site on Ra'iatea, then refresh yourself with a swim in the island’s lagoon. Spend time on deck during a day at sea, mesmerized by deep, sea-blue water while scanning the horizon for marine mammals and seabirds. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6-8: Aitutaki, Cook Islands/At Sea

    Known for its turquoise central lagoon, Aitutaki has been described as the perfect South Pacific island. Board Zodiacs to enter the lagoon via the pass on the western side of this “almost atoll.” Once ashore, you’ll step over sacred welcome stones to be greeted with a traditional Polynesian welcome. Explore the lagoon, walk palm-fringed beaches and finish with a swim in the warm, clear lagoon. Or, meet the friendly residents and experience traditional Polynesian food, culture and hospitality on a visit to an interior village. Then enjoy life aboard National Geographic Orion as we spend two days sailing west toward Samoa. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9-10: Samoa

    With its spectacular beaches and dense green foliage, hidden waterfalls and lava-sculpted landscapes, Samoa captures the essence of the South Pacific. During our time on these islands, hike through rain forests vibrant with flowers and birds, take a dip in a swimming hole, go snorkeling or diving, and soak up the languid rhythms of island life that drew Robert Louis Stevenson to these shores.

  • DAY 11-12: Wallis and Futuna

    Another of France's South Pacific territories, the tiny island nation of Wallis and Futuna lies between Samoa and Fiji. In Wallis, we are greeted with local dancing and singing. Visit the beautiful crater lake Lalolalo and a cathedral built of blue volcanic stone, chiseled by hand. In Futuna, stop at a historic "cannibal oven" and learn of the history of these fascinating people, before a warrior dance performance in front of the Cathedral of Poi.

  • DAY 13-15: Exploring Fiji

    Enter the island nation of Fiji with a stop at Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island, known as “The Garden Island” for its rich vegetation—which includes several species found nowhere else in the world. Experience warm Fijian welcomes at the village of Waitabu, and snorkel in one of the Pacific’s most successful community marine parks. Explore the waterfalls of nearby Bouma National Heritage Park, and dive nearby reefs. Witness a dramatic firewalking ceremony, at Beqa Island. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 16: Lautoka/Disembark/Home

    Disembark in Lautoka this morning. Take a tour of western Viti Levu Island then transfer to the international airport at Nadi for flights home or choose to extend your stay and check in to our hotel. (B,L)

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

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