Pacific Islands - Cook Islands & French Polynesia: From Lautoka to Papeete 15 Day Expedition Cruise

M2023090915
Dates
09/09/23 to 09/22/23
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
15 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 12,914
Per Person
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Trip Details

Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the South Pacific. Sail on our 15-day Polynesian & Melanesian Islands Discovery cruise and explore the remote Pacific Islands of Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Tahiti along the way. On this incredibly beautiful voyage, nearly every day brings a new island and a different adventure. Discover the striking allure of tropical landscapes and the diverse ecosystems that thrive in the South Pacific. Explore pristine coral reefs, dive into sparkling lagoons, see thriving marine ecosystems, hike on forested volcanic peaks, and learn about local history and cultures on engaging shore excursions. Join us on board our boutique expedition ship around this island paradise and fall for this region’s beguiling charms.

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Trip Highlights
Experience a traditional welcome from Fijian islanders in Yasawa’s Nabukera village
Snorkel or dive in turquoise waters and lagoons, and be mesmerised by the colourful marine life
Visit Upolu island, Samoa, where Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last five years of his life
Hop aboard a traditional va’a outrigger canoe at Wallis Island
See French Polynesian dances in Moorea, and watch divers looking for black pearls in Taha’a
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Lautoka Day 1

Your luxury cruise around the South Pacific’s Islands starts today in Fiji’s second-largest city. Sometimes known by its other name, Sugar City, Lautoka is a sweet spot, best discovered with sand between your toes. There’s a photogenic esplanade set against the backdrop of Mount Koroyanitu; palm trees shade its wide, colourful boulevards; and you might like to visit the Sugar Mill, Sri Krishna Kaliya Temple or the town’s market.

Nabukeru Day 2

The vertiginous, volcanic islands of Yasawa extend in a north-easterly arc from Viti Levu, the main Fijian island. A chain of palm-fringed islands with perfect white sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons and picturesque villages, Yasawa is beautiful and mysterious. Little is known about the early history of the Yasawa people except that they were renowned as warriors and feared by the eastern Fijians. In 1789, Captain William Bligh of the mutiny on the Bounty fame, rowed through the Yasawas having been cast adrift in a small boat. He was chased by several war canoes, but fate intervened when a storm blew in, and the pursuing warriors abandoned their chase. The passage through which he escaped is still known as Bligh Water. This history is at odds with the peaceful and pleasant greeting you’ll receive when you visit the village of Nabukera to meet the islanders. It is customary for visitors to ask permission to enter a town by offering a tangled bundle of kava roots as sevusevu, a gesture of respect and sign of friendly intentions. In this highly ritualised Fijian society, if accepted, guests become part of the village ‘family’.

Somosomo, Taveuni Island Day 3

The village of Somosomo faces its namesake strait, where reef fish and manta rays dart among multicoloured soft corals at dive sites like Rainbow Reef and the Great White Wall. Look out too for pods of playful spinner dolphins and fluking humpback whales. Taveuni Island is where the International Date Line divides Fiji, giving you a fun chance to hop from one day to the next. To the east, rainforest trails lead to towering waterfalls in Bouma National Heritage Park.

At Sea Day 4

You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.

Mata Utu, Wallis Island Day 5

A pocket-size capital with Polynesian flair, Mata Utu is a small town dominated by its elegant twin-towered cathedral, built from volcanic stone, and red-roofed king’s palace. To the south, explore Talietumu, the ruins of a fortified Tongan settlement dating to around 1450. Hop aboard a traditional va’a outrigger canoe to glide across the turquoise waters surrounding Wallis Island, or dive in ancient crater lakes set amid thick jungle home to flying foxes and tropical birds.

Apia, Opolu Island Day 6

Samoa’s laid-back capital is a charming mix of lively markets and restaurants, with easy access to phenomenal natural attractions. Snorkel among tropical fish and gliding sea turtles at Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, where vivid coral lines the walls of a blue hole, or plunge into the clear waters of Piula Cave Pool. Also unmissable is the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, the home where the author spent his final five years, while Papapapaitai Falls tumbles 100 m into a deep ravine.

At Sea Day 7

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Suwarrow Atoll Day 8

A snorkelling hot spot and a haven for birdlife, this low-lying coral atoll in the northern Cook Islands is a stunning slice of tropical paradise. Peer beneath the waters of its lagoon to glimpse an astonishing array of marine life, from plunging sea turtles and stealthy reef sharks to scuttling coconut crabs and batfish crawling on the seabed. Among the million birds inhabiting the atoll are around 80,000 nesting sooty terns, soaring masked boobies and breeding red-tailed tropicbirds.

Rakahanga Atoll Day 9

A lush rectangular atoll surrounding a shallow lagoon, Rakahanga has abundant marine life and a quiet village. Lying north of Manihiki island, it’s home to around 150 people, who earn a living fishing and weaving traditional art from coconut palms and pandanus trees. Look out for sea turtles gliding around the outer reef and gigantic coconut crabs scurrying across the lagoon floor. Be sure to pop into the beautifully refurbished church, painted an eye-catching sky blue.

Penrhyn Atoll Day 10

A remote atoll rich in marine life, Penrhyn is the most northerly of the Cook Islands and surrounds a vast lagoon ringed by coral. Spanning a whopping 233 sq. km, the peaceful lagoon is famed for its wild black and golden pipi pearls and is a hugely popular spot for game fishing. Taste locally grown coconut or breadfruit, and browse traditional handicrafts like hats and jewellery woven from rito, a white fibre made of boiled, sun-dried coconut fronds.

At Sea Day 11

Today as you sail, you’ll bask in the endless comforts of your ship. From the deck, marvel at the dramatic sea views. Relax with a nurturing facial treatment or massage in the spa or delve into the ship’s learning resources. Or, simply take refuge in your cabin and enjoy the opportunity to rest.

Bora Bora Day 12

Make landfall today on an island today that is synonymous with romance and a South Pacific dream come to life. Located just northwest of Tahiti, Bora Bora is sited in the leeward region of French Polynesia’s Society Islands. Volcanic, vertiginous and ringed by a reef, on the island’s west coast is a lagoon in which the two small islands of Toopua and Toopua Iti shelter a popular harbour. Disembark to enjoy the island’s pristine palm-lined beaches scented by tiare flowers, views of iconic Mounts Pahia and Otemanu, and electric-blue lagoons. When you have your fill of diving, snorkelling or touring the bay, hiking amongst the island’s rainforest-covered basalt peaks is a tonic.

Taha'a Day 13

Encircled by a coral reef dotted with tiny islets, Taha’a is a beguiling island with clear waters, palm-lined beaches and a mountainous interior. Hike lush trails and visit a fragrant vanilla farm - Taha’a is famed for the aromatic spice - or watch divers descending beneath the water to pluck black pearls from oysters. The calm lagoon is ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding, and you can snorkel or dive to gaze at meandering moray eels and tiny clownfish hiding in sea anemones.

Moorea Day 14

Moorea captivates you with its bright turquoise water and cluster of jagged, verdant peaks towering above the sea. This heart-shaped gem is a snorkeller’s paradise, with an extraordinary variety of marine life and the chance to feed and swim with stingrays. Hike through pineapple plantations to a volcanic crater or watch a traditional Polynesian dance performance at Tiki Village. Adventure safaris head to iconic spots like Belvedere Lookout Point for spectacular views across the island.

Pape'Ete Day 15

The largest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti was first labelled a ‘utopia’ in 1768 by Philibert Commerson, a naturalist on the voyage of the French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the island famously entranced artist Paul Gauguin and author Robert Louis Stevenson. Since then, many others have fallen for Tahiti’s charms. Now too urban to be called utopic, the compact, colourful and sometimes chaotic capital of Pape’ete has a vibrant market is a must-experience. Enjoy an ice-cold coconut, fresh juice or some takeaway ma’a Tahiti (traditional food) while shopping for souvenirs – anything from pearls to pareu (sarongs).

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Rates Include
Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
All meals onboard
Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
24-hour room service
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
Standard WiFi
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
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Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
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Stateroom
Number of Guests
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
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Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK