Asia / Pacific Pacific Islands Cruise

Roots of the Pacific: Exploring New Zealand & Melanesia

On this island-hopping journey, follow in the wake of Captain Cook by sailing between New Zealand’s North Island and the Solomon Sea. Delve into a fascinating history of intrepid explorers, convicts and traders, and learn about the rich cultures of the Maori and the Melanesians. Examine traditional carved houses and ancient caves and meet villagers on some of the most remote islands of the South Pacific. Along the way, don a snorkel and fins to discover incredible coral reefs and lagoons.

Encounter an impressive diversity of cultures from the Maori of the Bay of Islands to the spear dancers of the Solomons, and delve into their artistic and spiritual traditions. Venture to the former penal colony of Norfolk Island, now a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting the unusual trees called Norfolk Island pines. See the stunning limestone geology of New Caledonia at Isle of Pines and visit a cave filled with primitive tree ferns. Visit important World War II sites, including the wreck of the S.S. President Coolidge and the Battle of Guadalcanal. Go ashore at Tikopia to meet the local chiefs of the traditional villages and learn about the cyclone that almost devastated the island in 2002—without any loss of life. And see the fantastic fishing canoes of the people of Utupua, and take a Zodiac ride along their mangrove-studded lagoon.

The 102-guest National Geographic 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 island-hopping trip comes with attentive service.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Pacific Island cruises and Pacific Island vacations.