Arrive Papeete / EmbarkArrive at Papeete in the morning and transfer to your day room at a hotel. Attend a lecture and join a guided tour to introduce you to the culture, history, geology, and archaeology of French Polynesia. Visit the Musťe de Tahiti et des őles and trace the legacy of some of Polynesiaís most famous explorers at the Paul Gaugin Museum. Board the National Geographic Orion in the evening and set sail.
Bora Bora, Society IslandsArrive at Bora Bora, a spectacular location with aquamarine lagoons, tiny islets, and angular volcanic crags. Explore the islandís slopes and shores with the Expedition Team, or venture out to dive and snorkel the island's fringing reef. You may also hike to the summit of Mt. Paihia.
Tuamotu Archipelago / At Sea
Sail for the Tuamotu Archipelago, where natural forces have uplifted the atoll of Makatea and exposed a raw geology of coral and limestone cliffs, deep caves, and landscapes of riddled rock. Wander through the ruins of early 20th century phosphate mines, take a swim in an underground grotto, or join birders in search of the islandís endemic fruit dove. Sail to Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia, and attend a welcome festive performed by traditional dancers. Learn about the islandís pearl industry and see its historic sites, such as a 19th-century church which was built out of coral. Snorkel among the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift-dive.
Continue to Raroia to meet the local community and hear the tale of the Kon-Tiki, a wooden raft built by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. Navigate the jewel-like reefs and islets during a day at sea on your way to Pukarua. Attend another ceremonial welcome by the friendly people of this remote atoll.
Mangareva, Gambier Islands / At SeaThe largest of the Gambier Islands, Mangareva, is famous for its black pearls. Venture underwater to snorkel and dive, or stay to meet the islanders and learn about their culture and the missionaries who made the island their home. Go on a hike with your naturalists before spending a day at sea. While on board, attend lectures, visit the sauna or gym, or watch footage of the ocean with an undersea specialist.
Pitcairn Islands / At Sea
Pitcairn Island was the home to many mutineers of the legendary Bounty in the late 18th century, and about 50 of their descendants still live on the island today. Visit this last remnant of the British Empire and learn about its place in 18th-century exploration. Meet the locals and hope to learn a few words of their unusual Pitkern dialect, a combination of English 'sailor speak' and Polynesian phrases. Visit the gravesite of mutiny leader Fletcher Christian, and see the Bountyís anchor, which was salvaged in 1957.
Next, sail for Henderson Island, an uplifted and uninhabited atoll. Take a hike or go on a zodiac excursion to discover the islandís four endemic bird species, rich flora and fauna, and fascinating geology. Spend a day on Ducie Atoll and watch for frigatebirds and boobies.
Set out on the final eastern leg and spend two days on board on your way to Easter Island.
Easter Island / Santiago
Disembark on Easter Island and check into your hotel before setting out to explore the landscape of volcanic calderas, jagged lava fields, and sweeping grasslands. Discover the colossal Moai, statues representing the astonishing legacy of a long-lost culture. Join up with archaeologists to examine the statues and discuss their meaning and creation.
After time to explore on your final morning, fly to Santiago to connect to your overnight flight home.