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A sea fan in the clear waters of Fiji

Rites and Relics: From the Solomon Islands to Fiji

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Explore through the heart of Melanesia to the western edge of Polynesia, from the Solomon Islands to Fiji. Receive warm welcomes in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; you’ll be greeted with traditional dances as you land by Zodiac on remote and verdant shores, while a warm smile and Bula! greet you on arrival in Fiji. Search for endemic bird species, snorkel and dive stunning reefs and wrecks, and soak up the tranquil beauty 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
  • Australia
  • Fiji
  • South Pacific
  • Ambrym Island
  • Beqa
  • Brisbane
  • Honiara
  • Kadavu Island
  • Lautoka
  • Luganville, Espiritu Santo
  • Melanesia
  • Oceania
  • Santa Ana Island
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tanna Island
  • Taveuni
  • Vanuatu
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Brisbane, Australia

Arrive in Brisbane, Australia, where we check in to our hotel. Join us for a welcome briefing this evening to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 2: Honiara, Solomon Islands | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Have breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for a flight to Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and a strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43. 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. Then, embark National Geographic Orion in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Owaraha Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), we’re 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 4: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 our route on the navigational charts, and attend talks by our experts.

Day 5: Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the “New Hebrides” because they reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experienced one of the best wreck dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II. Alternatively, enjoy a serene canoe paddle to the Riri Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Day 6: Ambrym

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ambyrm 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 7: Lelepa, Vanuatu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Ride Zodiacs to Lelepa to visit Vanuatu’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site, the final residence and burial site of 17th-century Chief Roi Mata. Here, we’ll be welcomed with traditional songs and dance, and enter the impressive Fels Cave.

Day 8: Tanna

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On Tanna Island, visit the friendly community in Port Resolution in the shadow of Mt. Yasur. Experience some of the local traditions and dances, as well as locally made handicrafts. Sample the strong, local kava made for special celebrations.

Day 9: At Sea

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Relax on deck as we make our passage from Vanuatu to Fiji or attend talks by our expert expedition and photo teams.

Day 10: Beqa, Fiji

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
More than 300 islands make up the remote volcanic archipelago of Fiji and we will be exploring here for three days. After entering the large lagoon of Beqa, come ashore at the lovely Lawaki Beach Resort, a rustic 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. Beqa is considered the traditional “home” of the Fijian firewalker. Witness this dramatic ceremony and the incredible strength and discipline required to perform it.

Day 11: Taveuni

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 silk tails, fantails, and parrots. Visit the village of Waitabu to meet the local people, taste locally harvested fruits and prepared baked goods, and see a dance performance by some of the local, talented children.

Day 12: Kadavu

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Join the ship’s naturalists for a beautiful scenic hike to see some of the incredible vistas and the rich variety of bird life. Explore the lovely village of Dravuni, or snorkel and dive in the refreshing Fijian water, rich in marine life. Enjoy a quiet exploration of the lagoon by stand-up paddleboard or kayak.

Day 13: Lautoka, Viti Levu | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Lautoka this morning. Take a tour of western Viti Levu Island then transfer to the international airport at Nadi for flights 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

Per person starting at
$12,990
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

Included:
*All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
*Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
*24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand
*Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
*Fitness center or exercise equipment
*Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
*The guidance and company of expedition staff
*Hotels ashore as indicated in itinerary
*Meals on land, as indicated in itinerary
*Sightseeing & entrance fees
*Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
*Transfers to and from group flights
*Daily excursions
*Zodiac & kayak explorations
*Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
*Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge

Excluded:
*International and internal airfare
*Additional hotel nights
*Private transfers
*Travel Protection Plan
*Passport, visa, and immigration fees
*Expedition extensions
*Gratuities
*Alcoholic beverages
*Spa treatments
*Scuba diving
*Laundry
*Internet and phone
*Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature

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