Young man & woman each paddle a yellow paddleboard in turquoise water with palm trees behind on an Ancient Polynesia cruise.
Close up of man's neckline with tribal tattoos & a necklace made of bone & shell, seen on an Ancient Polynesia small ship cruise.
Aerial view of blue & white Nat Geo small ship sitting in bay in tropical location with turquoise water & verdant green hillside.
travelers on a covered zodiac skiff atop turquoise water of the pacific islands on a sunny day with a small white sand beach in the background
Woman in tropical-print dress stands beside stone statues under a thatch roof during an Ancient Polynesia small ship cruise.
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Asia / Pacific Pacific Islands Cruise

Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands Cruise

On an expedition to some of the world’s most remote islands, volcanic peaks rise dramatically from turquoise lagoons, 20 species of whales and dolphins thrive in protected waters, and welcoming villagers share their ancient cultural traditions. Join the legacy of explorers, writers and artists like James Cook, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Paul Gauguin who crossed oceans seeking distant primordial landscapes and distinct ways of life in a region that embodies paradise in both the breathtaking landscapes of its islands and in the abundant biodiversity of the surrounding sea.

Begin in the renowned diving destination Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago, where 16-foot manta rays, colorful butterfly fish, whales and sea turtles flourish in pristine, nutrient-rich waters. Exploring the sparsely populated Marquesas Islands, encounter moss-covered giant tikis on Hiva Oa, thousand-year-old petroglyphs on Nuku Hiva, the wild horses of Ua Huka, and lush rainforests with rare birds and rushing waterfalls.

Highlights of this Marquesas cruise include diving and snorkeling among whales, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles; connecting with island residents over dance and food; learning about about Polynesian history on visits to an 8-foot tiki and ancient petroglyphs; experiencing the world’s largest marine mammal sanctuary; taking in the artistry of the region; and birding in search of endangered ultramarine lorikeet, zebra doves, manikins and fairy terns.

The 102-guest Nat Geo Orion acts as floating basecamp during these Tuamotu Islands cruises. 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 learn more about AdventureSmith’s Pacific Island cruises and Pacific Island trips.



Itinerary

Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands Itinerary

The main, northbound Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands cruise operates round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti, cruising north through the Tuamotu Archipelago to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands and ending with a charter flight back to Papeete.

Route map of northbound Ancient Polynesia Tuamotu & Marquesas cruise, operating round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti, with visits to Rangiroa, Takaroa, Fatu Hiva, Ua Huka & Hiva Oa.
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Day 1
Arrive Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia & Embark

Arrive in Papeete and transfer directly to the ship. While in port this morning, take some time to freshen up and settle into your cabin as the ship crew prepares to depart. Alternatively, choose to walk around downtown Papeete and visit the central market where vendors sell fresh fruit, pareos, artwork and coveted black pearls. Join for lunch aboard and be on deck as the ship sets sail from Tahiti toward the Tuamotu Archipelago. This afternoon meet the staff and fellow travelers and settle into island time.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 2
Rangiroa, Tuamotus

Today and tomorrow, visit the Tuamotu Archipelago. The atoll of Rangiroa is a ring of slender islands known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in French Polynesia. The turquoise lagoon at its center is the second largest in the world. Kayak, snorkel and scuba dive in the rich waters here, home to large schools of reef fish and dolphins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Takaroa Atoll

Today visit Takaroa Atoll, a remote island nearly 350 miles from Tahiti. Here you can explore the main village and snorkel or dive stunning healthy reefs, kayak and stand-up paddleboard in its turquoise lagoons, and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
At Sea

Spend the day at sea relaxing en route to the Marquesas. Enjoy talks by the expedition staff; a large open foredeck with room to move about, dine and view wildlife up-close from outside vantage points; the Observation Lounge, providing panoramic vistas of the scenery; and the fitness center, spa,and sauna, staffed by wellness specialists.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 5 - 8
Exploring the Marquesas

Spend the next 4 days exploring the Marquesan Islands of Tahuata, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka and Fatu Hiva. Accompanied by a team of knowledgeable local guides, visit remote island villages to learn about religious rites, see ancient petroglyphs, witness spectacular dance performances at a Marquesan ma’ae, sample local foods in the villages, and peruse unique arts and crafts.

Choose to attend a local church service with stunningly beautiful music or hike up a valley with naturalists and local guides in search of rare birds and spectacular views. Marvel at the rugged silhouettes of these legendary islands from Zodiacs and kayaks or dive below the surface of the nutrient-rich waters to see the colorful and spectacular undersea world.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 9 - 10
Exploring, Disembark Hiva Oa, Fly to Papeete & Depart

This morning, let nature be the guide. Set out exploring one of the Marquesas’ remote, uninhabited islands. In the afternoon, arrive at Hiva Oa and visit the village of Puamau to explore a well-maintained Marquesan sacred site, a me’ae Iipona. Accompanied by the team and knowledgeable local guides, learn about religious rites and photograph one of the largest, most arresting ancient tikis in Polynesia. On the last morning (Day 10), visit the village of Atuona before disembarking the ship and flying by charter aircraft back to Papeete. This evening, transfer to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion (day 9); n/a (day 10)

Meals

breakfast, lunch and dinner (day 9); breakfast and lunch (day 10)

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals as indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Hiva Oa to Papeete (your Adventure Specialist can confirm pricing during the booking process); diving (advance reservations, certification and experience required-contact your Adventure Specialist); immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation 

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.) 

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The main Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands cruise begins and ends in Papeete, Tahiti (PPT)We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Papeete by 6:00am on Day 1 of the itinerary. Following disembarkation, a charter flight brings guests back to Papeete ahead of evening flights home or to onward travel. Plan flights to depart Papeete no earlier than 9:00pm on Day 10. Group flights via Los Angeles have an included transfer upon arrival and departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Hiva Oa and Papeete is not included in the cruise price, but is arranged for you by AdventureSmith Explorations through your ship. Your Adventure Specialist will book this flight for you on the scheduled charter flight for your particular departure. Airfares vary by departure; your Adventure Specialist will detail these (as well as luggage weight limits) for you in their proposal and on your invoice. There is a strict luggage limit of 50 lbs (23 kg) checked luggage (maximum size under 150cm of combined length, width and height including wheels and handles) and 11 lbs (5 kg) cabin baggage (maximum size 45 x 35 x 20cm including wheels and handles) on the flight between Hiva Oa and Papeete.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most any expedition to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include swimming, snorkeling, diving (excluded), kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, cultural visits, land treks, birding and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance orget a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Reverse Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands Itinerary

The reverse, southbound Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands cruise operates round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti, starting with a charter flight to meet the ship in Hiva Oa, Marquesas, before cruising south through the Tuamotu Archipelago to disembark back in Papeete.

Route map of southbound Ancient Polynesia Tuamotu & Marquesas cruise, operating round-trip from Papeete, Tahiti, with visits to Rangiroa, Takaroa, Fatu Hiva, Ua Huka & Hiva Oa.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fly to Hiva Oa, Marquesas & Embark

Arrive in Papeete and take either a charter aircraft or commercial flight to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, where you’ll proceed directly to the ship for embarkation. While in port this morning, take some time to freshen up and settle into your cabin or choose to explore the town of Atuona. This afternoon, meet the staff and fellow travelers and settle into island time.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 2 - 6
Exploring the Marquesas

Spend the next 4 days exploring the Marquesan Islands of Tahuata, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka and Fatu Hiva. Accompanied by a team of knowledgeable local guides, visit remote island villages to learn about religious rites, see ancient petroglyphs, witness spectacular dance performances at a Marquesan ma’ae, sample local foods in the villages, and peruse unique arts and crafts.

Choose to attend a local church service with stunningly beautiful music or hike up a valley with naturalists and local guides in search of rare birds and spectacular views. Marvel at the rugged silhouettes of these legendary islands from Zodiacs and kayaks or dive below the surface of the nutrient-rich waters to see the colorful and spectacular undersea world.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
At Sea

Spend the day at sea relaxing en route to the next destination. Enjoy talks by the expedition staff; a large open foredeck with room to move about, dine and view wildlife up-close from outside vantage points; the Observation Lounge, providing panoramic vistas of the scenery; and the fitness center, spa and sauna, staffed by wellness specialists.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Takaroa Atoll

Today and tomorrow, visit the Tuamotu Archipelago. Your first stop is Takaroa Atoll, a remote island nearly 350 miles from Tahiti. Visit the main village and snorkel or dive stunning healthy reefs. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard in its turquoise lagoons and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Rangiroa, Tuamotus

The atoll of Rangiroa is a ring of slender islands known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in French Polynesia. The turquoise lagoon at its center is the second largest in the world. Kayak, snorkel and scuba dive in the rich waters here, home to large schools of reef fish and dolphins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Disembark Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Arrive in Papeete and choose to visit the downtown area or the central market where vendors sell fresh fruit, pareos, artwork and coveted black pearls. In the afternoon, disembark and check into a hotel room. This evening, transfer to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations, including a day room following disembarkation; meals as indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight from Papeete to Hiva Oa (TBD in 2025); diving (advance reservations, certification and experience required-contact your Adventure Specialist); immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation 

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.) 

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The reverse Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotu & Marquesas Islands cruise begins and ends in Papeete, Tahiti (PPT)We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Papeete by 6:00am on Day 1 of the itinerary, as a charter flight to Hiva Oa follows. After disembarkation on the final day, guests will have a day room (true hotel room) before being transferred to the airport in the late evening for the flight home. Plan flights to depart Papeete no earlier than 9:00pm on Day 10. Group flights via Los Angeles have an included transfer upon arrival and departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Papeete and Hiva Oa is not included in the cruise price, but is arranged for you by AdventureSmith Explorations through your ship. Your Adventure Specialist will book this flight for you on the scheduled charter flight for your particular departure. Airfares vary by departure; your Adventure Specialist will detail these (as well as luggage weight limits) for you in their proposal and on your invoice. There is a strict luggage limit of 50 lbs (23 kg) checked luggage (maximum size under 150cm of combined length, width and height including wheels and handles) and 11 lbs (5 kg) cabin baggage (maximum size 45 x 35 x 20cm including wheels and handles) on the flight between Papeete and Hiva Oa.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most any expedition to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include swimming, snorkeling, diving (excluded), kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, cultural visits, land treks, birding and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Feb 08 - Feb 17, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 10 days
From $12488USD
Per Person
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Feb 18 - Feb 27, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 10 days
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From $12488USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Orion

102-guest National Geographic Orion is one of the most sophisticated vessel in its class. Small ship cruises aboard the Orion offer a luxurious exploration of Chile, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Save $500 per kid under 18 when you book your 2024 or 2025 departure from a variety of National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

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Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on a variety of 2024 or 2025 National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

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Book your select South Pacific cruise as a solo traveler and receive up to 33% off the single cabin rate.

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