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The Marquesas

Tahiti to Hawaii: In The Wake of The Ancient Navigators

At a glance

Duration: 16 Days, 15 Nights

Coverage: Papeete, Tahiti to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

From: $10,800

Season: May, September

Activities: Culture, History, Wildlife

Book this Trip › or call us toll-free 1-888-815-5428

Lindblad Expeditions, in partnership with National Geographic

Revel in idyllic islands and the allure of the high seas.

Follow in the path of early Polynesian navigators on this epic voyage that spans over 2,700 miles of the Pacific, calling at some of the most remote and pristine reaches of French Polynesia before arriving at the Big Island of Hawaii. From Moorea’s verdant peaks to the vibrant reefs of Kiribati, explore lush trails, stroll secluded, palm-fringed beaches, and kayak idyllic coves. And in the far-flung Southern Line Islands, experience something few ever have or ever will—one of the most pristine underseas in the world. Snorkel or dive these waters teeming with tropical fish, diverse coral, and healthy predator populations. Then cap off the adventure in one more island paradise—explore Hawaii’s stunning Kona coast or head inland to witness geological wonders at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Expedition Highlights

  • Hike through tropical forest trails and discover ancient Polynesian sacred sites on the verdant island of Moorea.
  • Snorkel or dive in the Southern Line Islands, identified as one of the healthiest reef systems in the world by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Enric Sala.
  • On the Big Island, spend a day exploring the geologic marvels of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
  • Enjoy engaging onboard presentations on a wide range of topics from National Geographic experts.

Lindblad Expedition's French Polynesian holiday expedition seeks to reveal as many wonders as possible during your week with us. Our hallmark is flexibility—allowing us to take advantage of events, like wildlife sightings, as they occur to give you the richest, most dimensional experience.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

Days 1 - Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.

Days 2 - Papeete, French Polynesia/Embark

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti and arrive in Papeete early the following morning. Check into dayrooms and take a brief tour of the city before embarking the National Geographic Orion. (L,D)

Days 3 - Moorea, French Polynesia

Approach the verdant island of Moorea this morning, and anchor for the day in Opunohu Bay on the north shore. Spend the day hiking tropical forest trails or exploring ancient Polynesian sacred sites with an archaeologist. Take in sweeping views of the island from Belvedere Lookout, then stop at the Lycée Agricole d’Opunohu agricultural school to sample locally produced juice, jam, and sorbet. (B,L,D)

Days 4-6 - At Sea/Southern Line Islands, Kiribati

A day at sea brings us to the far-flung southern Line Islands, where we’ll snorkel or dive some of the most remote and pristine coral reefs on Earth. Marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in Residence Enric Sala explored these islands as part of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project and identified them as one of the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean. Spend two full days exploring seldom-visited Caroline Island, also known as Millennium Atoll after the realignment of the international date line made it one of the first places on Earth to welcome the year 2000. Navigate the turquoise waters by Zodiac or kayak, spot nesting seabirds, and swim among colorful reefs. (B,L,D daily)

Days 7-9 - At Sea, Southern Hemisphere

Settle into life aboard National Geographic Orion, and enjoy the daily rhythms at sea as we navigate the Pacific—the largest body of water on the planet. Spend time with your fellow travelers, stop by the bridge to meet the Captain and his officers, or join our naturalists on deck to scan for marine mammals and seabirds. Attend a wide range of engaging talks: hear about Polynesian way finding from master navigator Tua Pittman, learn the science of marine protected areas, and get insights into vanishing cultures from Keolu Fox and Randy Olson. (B,L,D daily)

Days 10-11 - Exploring The Northern Line Islands

The Line Islands are one of the longest island chains in the world, stretching across some 1,500 miles of the Pacific Ocean. Stop at Kiritimati (Christmas Island), the largest of this group and one of the few inhabited islands in this part of the Pacific. Continue north to Tabuaeran, also known as Fanning Island, and beyond. These far northern Line Islands are the closest landfall to the Hawaiian Islands, thought to have been a stopover for the ancient Polynesians that eventually settled Hawai’i. Opportunities for remote island exploration abound here. (B,L,D daily)

Day 12-14 - At Sea, Northern Hemisphere

Spend three days at sea enjoying the amenities on board. Unwind with a book in the library, enjoy a workout in the fitness center, or treat yourself to a massage. Learn photo tips from our National Geographic photographer and photo instructor, and head out on deck to take advantage of the opportunity to capture stunning images of wildlife like flying fish. Spend evenings discovering the equatorial constellations under starry skies. (B,L,D daily)

Days 15 - Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

Arrive at the Big Island of Hawai’i and spend the day exploring its flora and fauna. Hike part of the scenic Nā Ala Hele trail system and explore its kipuka—protected forested areas surrounded by lava flows. Alternatively, ascend Mauna Kea volcano to 9,200 feet and learn about the famous Keck, Subaru, and Gemini observatories, or choose a birdwatching hike to see the native habitat of the endangered palila. This evening, join the Captain for a farewell dinner aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Days 16 - Kailua-Kona

Disembark the National Geographic Orion this morning and venture into Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park—a geologic wonderland centered on the smoldering crater of Kīlauea. Hike, walk, or explore the visitor’s center to learn about the 70 million years of volcanic activity that has formed the park’s otherworldly landscapes. Have lunch before continuing to our hotel. This evening, join us for a thrilling night snorkel among some of the largest manta rays in the world. (B,L)

Days 17 - Kailua-Kona

Begin the day with a visit to the fragrant and colorful Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, home to over 2,000 species of plants. Or embark on a hike along a winding trail to the Captain Cook monument, which overlooks the sparkling waters of the Kona Coast. Spend an afternoon at leisure enjoying the hotel’s amenities, before celebrating our journey at a final farewell dinner. (B,D)

Days 18 - Kailua-Kona/Home

Depart from the hotel and transfer to the Kona airport for your flight home. (B)

Tahiti to Hawaii itinerary map

Dates & Rates

Dates 1 2 3 4 5 6 1S 3S
May 23, 2019 Call Call Call Call Call Call Call Call
Sep 24, 2019 Call Call Call Call Call Call Call Call


National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion

National Geographic Orion is a state-of-the-art expedition ship, designed to safely explore the remote regions of the planet. Orion carries 102 guests in 53 cabins, nine of them with balconies. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs, an ROV, and the capacity to accommodate Scuba divers. Her size and nimbleness offer the perfect combination of safety and the ability to go to the out-of-the-way islands of the South Pacific and other places where large cruise ships cannot go. View ship details...