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Cabanas silhouette  on a Bora Bora cruise

French Polynesia: Beyond the Postcard

French Polynesia - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Venture to the heart of Polynesian culture and wildness on this highly immersive expedition where options abound. Choose to kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or take a bike ride for independent exploration and to connect with the people and islands on a personal level. Explore the historic ceremonial site, called a marae, on Raiatea where Polynesian seafarers would begin their bold expeditions sailing into the unknown—expeditions that would eventually lead to populating Hawaii and New Zealand. Sail among some of the 80 atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago, a string of tiny islands in an azure sea that hides thriving reefs you can explore while scuba diving and snorkeling. 
Clownfish spotted on snorkeling tripBeautiful landscapesSnorkeling girlSnorkel the clear waters of TahitiCabanas silhouette  on a Bora Bora cruise
Highlights
  • Visit one of the most important cultural sites, Marae Taputapuatea
  • Snorkel or dive some of the healthiest reefs of the Pacific in Tuamotu
  • Learn stand-up paddle boarding in gorgeous turquoise lagoons
  • Navigate Tiputa Pass into the lagoon at Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Tahiti
  • Bora Bora
  • Fakarava
  • French Polynesia
  • Huahine
  • Oceania
  • Papeete
  • Polynesia
  • Raiatea
  • Rangiroa
  • Society Islands
  • Tuamotu Islands
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Papeete, French Polynesia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning, check into dayrooms and take a brief tour of the island before embarking National Geographic Orion. (L,D)

Day 2: Bora Bora, Society Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin your voyage with a view of one of the South Pacific’s most iconic images, the angular crags of Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu. Explore the island’s interior by 4WD, for unparalleled views of the island’s turquoise lagoon, then snorkel, dive, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard from one of the motus on the outer reef. 

Day 3: Raiatea | Tahaa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Encircled by a single fringing reef, and sharing a common lagoon, Raiatea and Taha’a are islands well worth exploring. 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 on Raiatea exploring this recently named UNESCO World Heritage site, then refresh yourself with a swim in warm turquoise seas. Watch from on deck as we navigate lagoon channels en route to Taha’a, then go ashore for a visit to a small, family-run vanilla plantation.

Day 4: Huahine

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets, Huahine is well off the beaten path. Once the home of Tahitian royalty, Huahine maintains the highest density of ancient marae in French Polynesia. Visit these sites with cultural experts and archaeologists who bring them to life. Venture into the lush interior of the island on a bicycle, then explore the verdant shoreline by kayak, stand-up paddleboard or Zodiac. Finish the day with a swim in the island’s crystal-clear lagoon.

Day 5-6: Tuamotu Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Spend two days exploring some of the nearly 80 islands and atolls in the “Dangerous Archipelago.” Fakarava is one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world famous drift dive. An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Spend the day exploring limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds, then snorkel and dive among clouds of colorful fish on the nearby reef. 

Day 7: Rangiroa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The atoll of Rangiroa is a ring of slender islands known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in French Polynesia. The turquoise lagoon at its center is the second-largest in the world. Our ship passes between the islets to anchor inside the lagoon near the village of Tiputa, where local musicians greet us. Visit the village, and kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive in the rich waters here, home to large schools of pelagic fish, manta rays, dolphins, sea turtles, and hammerheads. 

Day 8: Rangiroa | Disembark | Papeete |Home

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Disembark this morning and take a short flight back to Papeete, where you’ll connect to the international overnight flight home. 

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Orion

Keep in shape in the exercise room aboard the National Geographic Orion
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
The lovely National Geographic Orion

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Deals

Complimentary Bar Tab & Gratuities
Complimentary Bar tab and gratuities included on this voyage. Contact us for details.
Valid on all departures.

Per person starting at
$8,490
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Cat 1 #316, 318-321. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
Your  Category B Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 1 Single
Cat 1S #301, 322, 323. These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, except for #301 which has a double bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a roomy shower stall with a glass door.
A Category A Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 2
Cat 2 #302-312, 314, 315, 317. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized, and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
A lovely category 3 suite on the National Geographic Oion
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Category 3
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419. These suites feature a sitting area with a large window, a sofa–except slightly smaller #401 & #402–an armchair or two, writing/laptop desk, reading lamps, flat screen TV, & climate controls. Beds are configurable (call for details). Marble bathrooms include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls. The marble bathroom is generously sized and includes a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Cat 4 Deluxe Suite with Window #511, 515. These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and armchair and a two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). Ample storage, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities.
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Cat 5 Suite with French Balcony #501, 503-506, 508. These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors opening to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details.) A sitting area with arm chairs and a sofa, a writing/laptop desk, well-placed reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the decor.
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Cat 6 Owner’s Suite with French Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510. These large, elegant suites feature a French balcony, with the exception of #509 which has double windows. Each provides a separate living area with a sofa and two arm chairs, except for #502, which uniquely offers a 'soaking tub with a view' in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity.

Notes

Cost Includes:
  • Accommodations
  • Meals indicated
  • Excursions
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff, and expert guides
  • Use of kayaks
  • Entrance fees
  • All port charges and service taxes
  • Your bar tab and all crew gratuities are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, National Geographic Resolution, and National Geographic Orion voyages. Please call for details.
Not Included:
  • Immigration fees 
  • Air transportation
  • personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyage DVD etc.
  • Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion


Rates are capacity-controlled and are subject to change without notice.

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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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