Asia / Pacific Pacific Islands Cruise

French Polynesia: Beyond the Postcard

On this 10-day cruise aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, venture to the heart of Polynesian culture and wildness. Options abound on this highly immersive French Polynesia vacation. 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 to be explored while scuba diving and snorkeling.

Highlights of this expedition include visiting one of the most important cultural sites in the Polynesian world and a recently named UNESCO World Heritage site, Marae Taputapuatea; snorkeling or diving some of the healthiest reefs of the Pacific in the Tuamotu Archipelago; stand-up paddleboarding in gorgeous turquoise lagoons; and watching on deck as the ship navigates Tiputa Pass into the lagoon at Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls in the world.

The 102-guest Nat Geo Orion acts as floating basecamp during the voyage. This small expedition ship is technologically advanced and equipped with a full set of exploration tools, including an ROV and enough kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and Zodiacs to send all guests out exploring at the same time. Additionally, select cabins offer private balconies for special moments taking in the awe-inspiring wilderness. The National Geographic Orion features a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio, ensuring that your trip to paradise comes with attentive service.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Pacific Island cruises.