What better way to experience one of the world’s most stunning archipelagos than on a small ship cruise? This 11-day adventure around Tahiti, the Society Islands and Tuamotu showcases some of the most pristine parts of the world – from jungle, to coral reefs and everything in between. Learn about the fascinating cultures of the ancient French Polynesian people and take your pick of a wide range of optional activities each day of the trip. Couple that with an abundance of fresh tropical fruits and one beautiful beach after another and you’ve got yourself a holiday to remember.
Ia Orana, welcome to Tahiti! This afternoon make your way to your floating home for the next eleven days – the Panorama II, which is docked in Papeete Port. Meet your fellow travellers, crew and cruise coordinator between 2:30pm and 4:00pm and after a welcome briefing and safety drill you will set sail for Bora Bora. On this trip, all meals are included on the boat, so you will enjoy dinner at sea before rocking to sleep with the gentle waves.
Arrive in Bora Bora first thing this morning. After enjoying breakfast with a view of Bora Bora lagoon and the famous Mount Otemanu in the backdrop, you’ll have a choice of a number of optional activities to fill both today and tomorrow. These include a cultural tour with a local guide in a 4x4, a snorkeling trip where you can keep an eye out for the sharks and sting rays in an open-air lagoon aquarium or an island tour in a local, open -air truck where you can taste locally grown fruits and hear about relics left behind by the US military. Tonight, you will spend the night anchored in Bora Bora Lagoon.
This morning you will have a chance to take part in an exploration boat tour and snorkeling trip where you can keep an eye out for the sharks and sting rays in an open-air lagoon aquarium. Then, after lunch on board the boat you will cruise out of Bora Bora towards the island of Taha'a, which shares a magnificent lagoon with neighbouring Raiatea Island. This lush island is extremely fertile and is covered with banana, watermelon, vanilla orchid’s and coconut groves. Today you’ll have the chance to explore the beautiful island by 4x4 vehicle on an optional tour. You’ll visit a pearl farm, a traditional vanilla plantation and a rum factory. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try some of the local fruits that are grown in the region and take in some of the incredible views of Ha'amene Bay. The afternoon is free for swimming and snorkeling on the “motu”, or reef islet, or exploring the area around the reef on your own. Tonight, will be spent anchored in the lagoon.
First thing this morning you’ll sail across the lagoon to reach Raiatea, which is considered the homeland of the ancient Polynesians. While it was previously known as Havai’i, Raiatea translates to “faraway heaven” and “sky with soft light”. Today you’ll have the chance to take part in an optional excursion that will introduce you to the highlights of Raiatea. Meet your guide for an informative and intimate tour by minibus. Enjoy a panoramic drive through the main town of Uturoa, the cultural and administrative center of Raiatea. Shortly after leaving town, you will see Mount Temehani, endemic home to the Tiare Apetahi. Our highlight stop is at the main ancient Marae (open air temple) of Taputapuatea, which recently became a UNΕSCO protected site. Your guide will cover the origins and history of this famous landmark. In the afternoon you have the option to kayak the Faaroa River, French Polynesia's only navigable river, with an expert guide leading the way through Raiatea's verdant interior. Overnight at anchor.
Morning sailing to Huahine, which was once home to Tahitian royalty, is considered the cradle of Polynesian culture. The two islands maintain the largest concentration of ancient marae (temples) in French Polynesia, some of which are believed to date back to around 700 AD. Huahine is a colossal tropical jungle burgeoning with coconut plantations, vanilla orchids, banana groves, breadfruit trees and watermelon fields. Today’s optional full-day tour takes you by 4x4 vehicle around the island to visit the small villages of Fare and Maeva, an archaeological site, and a vanilla plantation. There will also be an opportunity to see and feed the sacred blue-eyed eels of Faie Bay before heading to Motu where a delicious lunch will be served. Evening sailing to Makatea, overnight at sea.
The island of Makatea is quite unique and very different to other Islands found in French Polynesia. Unlike a coral atoll, Makatea is a raised island of coral. The limestone cliffs tower over the coast and the island’s interior shows significant vegetation, complete with a few species of endemic birds and a peculiar expanse of limestone holes. Today, this sleepy but spectacular island is home to three species of threatened endemic birds: the beautiful Makatea fruit dove, the impressive imperial pigeon, and the attractive, reed warbler. Today’s half-day optional tour will take you across this unique island to a magnificent beach with rockpools to explore before we visit an incredible grotto. Swimming deep inside the grotto, this underwater cave system will slowly open out to reveal a spectacular watery cathedral, full of weird and wonderful stalagmites and stalactites. Late afternoon departure to Rangiroa. Overnight at sea.
This morning you’ll arrive in Rangiroa, the largest island in the Tuamotu Archipelago and one of the largest in the world. Today you can choose an optional excursion to visit the Blue Lagoon, a natural pool formed by islands and reefs within the central lagoon. At less than five metres deep, the Blue Lagoon is an ideal location for swimming, snorkeling, and spotting the wide variety of sea life that live there. Lunch today will be a traditional Polynesian picnic at the lagoon, before returning to the ship late in the day to spend the night anchored.
This morning you’ll arrive at Tikehau, also known as the Pink Sand Island. The lagoon here is formed by a nearly circular stretch of coral and is home to rich marine life. Jacques Cousteau, the marine researcher says that this lagoon contains a higher concentration of fish than any other lagoon in French Polynesia. Today you can opt to take part in a walking tour to a local family-owned fish-farm, where different species of fish are kept in a maze of underwater fencing. Many of the fish are shipped to Papeete and sold at the local markets. You will then make your way to the islet of Tuherahera, one of the only inhabited parts of the island. Tuherahera is one of the prettiest villages in the Tuamotu Archipelago, as it’s covered with native colourful flowers like hibiscus and bougainvillea. Afternoon sailing to Tetiaroa.
A haven for birds, sea turtles and all kinds of marine life, Tetiaroa is treasured among Tahitians who know it as a sacred place. So sacred, that at one time the coconut-dotted white sand beaches and crystalline lagoon of this uninhabited atoll was an exclusive getaway for Tahitian royalty. It’s not surprising that actor Marlon Brando fell under its spell during the filming of “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1960 and later went on to become its owner. We will spend the morning in this charming island, exploring the lagoon and snorkeling in its crystal- clear waters. Enjoy an optional guided walking tour to the islet of Tahuna Iti, the Birds’ Island. The islet shelters one of the largest colony of birds in Tahiti and is a national reserve for seabirds, frigates, sterns, phaetons (straw tails), brown gannets and other petrels. Afternoon sailing and evening arrival at Moorea.
Mo'orea is thought to have inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. Eight huge mountain peaks that rise from its lagoon create a distinctive silhouette visible from the western coast of Tahiti. Today, the optional activity is a nature and cultural tour in a jeep or van. You’ll be exploring the inner crater of the island’s volcano, visiting a pineapple plantation and an agricultural school, as well as seeing the incredible landscapes of the island. In the afternoon, join the optional snorkel safari tour where you can snorkel in beautiful turquoise waters and if you are lucky, see sting rays and sharks. Everyone will meet back on the ship later in the day and enjoy a farewell dinner together, before spending a night anchored in the lagoon.
This morning you’ll set sail early for Tahiti, arriving in Papeete by 9am. From here, you will say farewell to your fellow travellers and the crew before disembarking the Panorama II.
Minimum: 1 Maximum: 47
10 Breakfasts, 10 Dinners
Take a tour of a local fish farm in Tikehau, also known as the Pink Sand Island.
Snorkel, swim and spot marine life in the Blue Lagoon in Rangiroa.
Take a jungle hike in Mo'orea, the island that inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific
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