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A sea fan in the clear waters of Fiji

Rites and Relics: Fiji Firewalking, Vanuatu Volcanoes, and Beyond

Solomon Islands - Fiji - Example 15 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Join this 15-day cruise aboard the National Geographic Orion from the heart of Melanesia to the western boundary of Polynesia, spanning from the Solomon Islands to Fiji. Experience heartfelt hospitality in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, where travelers are greeted with traditional dances upon arriving on secluded and lush coastlines via Zodiac boats. In Fiji, a warm smile and the embracing Bula spirit await upon arrival. Engage in the quest for unique bird species, explore breathtaking coral reefs and shipwrecks while snorkeling and diving, and indulge in the serene allure of palm-fringed beaches.
Snorkel with sea turtles as you cruise the South PacificSail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef systemA Polynesian canoeThe South Pacific is fringed with errupting blowholes A sea fan in the clear waters of Fiji
Highlights
  • Explore Solomon Islands for a series of traditional dances and music, then walk to see the island’s traditional spirit houses
  • Discover crystal-clear Riri River to the spectacular Riri Blue Hole grotto on Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo Island
  • Visit mysterious Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, known as a place of magic and spirits
  • Spot rare and colorful birds and flowers on Fiji’s spectacular “Garden Island,” Taveuni
Places Visited
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1-2: Brisbane, Australia

Depart the U.S. and arrive in Brisbane, Australia, where you check into your hotel. Meals are on your own.

Day 3: Brisbane, Australia

  • 1 Dinner
Today, you join for a welcome briefing this evening to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 4: Brisbane | Honiara, Solomon Islands | Embark

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for a flight to Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and strategic World War II battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–1943. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara, where some of the fiercest battles took place, before embarking on National Geographic Orion.

Day 5: Owaraha Island

On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), you are greeted with a traditional dance performed by villagers in elaborate costumes, body paint, and masks. Walk across the small island to Nafinotoga to see Spirit Houses containing the skulls and bones of ancient chiefs of the Snake Clan and the Turtle Clan.

Day 6: At Sea

Take advantage of a full day at sea to settle into the relaxed pace of life on board. Watch for marine life from the deck, study the route on the navigational charts, and attend talks by the experts.

Day 7: Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the New Hebrides because it reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experience one of the best wrecks dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II, experience the Matevulu Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Day 8: Ambrym

Ambrym is known for its active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, and mystery and magic. Arrive ashore to witness the striking Rom dance, traditionally a secret event. Involving incredible masks and elaborate outfits that represent spirits, this is a cultural experience specific only to this island.

Day 9: Moso Island

Arrive on Moso Island to experience some of the most incredible marine life in the South Pacific. There is an exceptional range of pristine soft and hard corals, reef fish, and pelagics. Search for turtles, eagle rays, and cowtail rays via diving, snorkeling, or glass-bottom Zodiac. A range of marine mammals like dolphins and dugongs are sometimes seen.

Day 10: Tanna

On Tanna Island, visit the friendly community in Port Resolution in the shadow of Mount Yasur. Experience some of the local traditions and dances, as well as locally made handicrafts.

Day 11: At Sea

Relax on deck as you make your passage from Vanuatu to Fiji or attend talks by the expert expedition and photo teams.

Day 12: Beqa, Fiji

More than 300 islands make up the remote volcanic archipelago of Fiji, where you spend three days exploring. After entering the large lagoon of Beqa, come ashore at the lovely Lawaki Beach House, a rustic resort and beautiful place to spend the day. Take a boat ride and hike across the island to a local village. Taste local fruits and snorkel off the beach in the beautiful Beqa Lagoon. Sample the strong, local kava made for special celebrations.

Day 13: Taveuni

Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island, is known as “The Garden Island” for its rich vegetation, which includes several species found nowhere else in the world. Head inland to discover the waterfalls of Bouma National Heritage Park and search for species such as orange fruit doves, endemic silktails, fantails, and parrots. Visit the village of Waitabu to meet the local people, taste locally harvested fruits and prepared baked goods, and to see a dance performance by some of the local, talented children.

Day 14: Kadavu

Join the ship’s naturalists for a beautiful scenic hike to see some of the incredible vistas and the rich variety of birdlife on the islands of Kadavu. Explore a lovely village or snorkel and dive Fiji’s Great Astrolabe reef, which is rich in marine life. Enjoy a quiet exploration of the sheltered lagoon by diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, or by glass-bottom Zodiac.

Day 15: Lautoka, Viti Levu | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
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 your hotel. Breakfast and lunch are included today; dinner is on your own

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

Per person starting at
$14,060 2-3 travelers
Rates are subject to change without notice. Book early to get the best rate.
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

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available but is subject to availability.
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Assistance by the onboard National Geographic Photography Expert
  • Access to the OM System Photo Gear Locker with the latest gear to try out on loan (aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet) 
  • Beer, wine, cocktails, and spirits are available aboard the ship. Additionally, a selection of super premium wines and liquors is offered for purchase.
  • Crew gratuities
  • Complimentary Starlink-enabled Wi-Fi internet is available to all guests aboard Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet, enabling email, messaging, and social media.
  • Park and site entrance fees, special access permits, and port taxes
  • Excursions, hotels, and airport transfers, as indicated in the itinerary 
  • Selection of exploration tools curated to your destination, such as Zodiacs and glass-bottom boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment (including wetsuits, masks, and fins), and other state-of-the-art gear
  • Guidance and company of leading expedition staff
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary, both aboard and onshore. Meals are inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • Hors d’oeuvres inspired by regional cuisine and locally sourced where possible
  • 24-hour access to snacks, premium coffees and teas, non-alcoholic beverages, and filtered water
  • Presentations on your destination by expedition staff and expert guest speakers
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • The services of a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or paramedic  where available
  • Morning stretch classes and 24-hour access to exercise equipment where available
  • 24-hour access to lounges, observation decks, library stocked with regionally relevant literature, and other shared spaces 
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic certified photo instructor
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Laundry, spa treatments, scuba diving, Wi-Fi and phone services (except when indicated as included)
  • We strongly recommend our guests to take Travel Protection Plan. A Plan with comprehensive coverage to protect you from cancellation fees, costs incurred due to trip delays/interruption, damaged or lost baggage, medical assistance, and evacuation during your travels
  • Airfare (except flights when indicated as included), pre- and post-expedition extensions, additional hotel nights, and private transfers (except when indicated as included)
  • Travel protection plans and passport, visa, and immigration fees 
  • Enhanced and premium Wi-Fi plans, which may enable video chat, web browsing, and streaming (connectivity permitting)

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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