White-sand beach with bright green palm trees beside turquoise water under a blue sky, seen on the Under The Southern Cross cruise.
Underwater scene of bright yellow school of fish swimming over top of turquoise coral seen on a New Zealand to Melanesia cruise.
Aerial view of a verdant green volcano with smaller green mountaintops in the foreground, seen on Under The Southern Cross cruise.
Group of Pacific Islanders dressed in native garb dance atop grass on the Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise.
Male diver photographs a large white fish in deep blue water on the Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise.
View Photos
Asia / Pacific Pacific Islands Cruise

Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to 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.



Itinerary

2022-23 Main Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia Itinerary

The 18-day main Under The Southern Cross itinerary embarks in Auckland, New Zealand, travels north through New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, disembarks in Honiara and ends with a charter flight to Brisbane, Australia for an overnight before departing.

Route map of Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise between Brisbane, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand, with visits to the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu & The Solomons.
Read More
Days 1 - 3
Fly to Auckland, New Zealand

Depart on an overnight flight, losing a day by crossing the International Date Line (depending on flight path). Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand and check into the hotel. Join the group for a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

n/a (days 1 - 2); Included Hotel TBA (day 3)

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 4
Explore Auckland & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
At Sea

Take advantage of a full day at sea to settle into the relaxed pace of life on board. Watch for marine life from the deck, study the route on the navigational charts and attend talks by the onboard experts.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Norfolk Island, Australia

Explore Norfolk Island, discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. Covered in dense forests of pines, it was initially valued as a ready source of shipbuilding lumber. Later, it became a British penal colony and then a settlement for Pitcairn Islanders, who themselves were descendants of the mutineers from the famous Bounty. Explore the ruins of the prison and enjoy walking around the main settlement at Burnt Pine. Later, take a long nature hike in Norfolk National Park to look for the endemic tree ferns and land birds. While leaving, look for large groups of seabirds alongside the dramatic island scenery.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
At Sea

As the ship makes her passage to Melanesia, relax on deck or attend talks by the expert expedition and photo teams.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Swim or snorkel in the beautiful Oro Natural Pool or walk through a beautiful rainforest to the site of Queen Hortense’s Cave, filled with limestone features and a variety of tropical vegetation. Alternatively, take a hike to the summit of N’Ga Peak to see incredible views over the island and the surrounding sea, or join the naturalists for a birding walk through the dense canopy of the forest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Port Vila & Lelepa, Vanuatu

Clear into Vanuatu at Port Vila. Later, go ashore at Lelepa to visit Vanuatu’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site, the final residence and burial site of 17th-century Chief Roi Mata. Here, be welcomed with traditional songs and dance, and enter the impressive Fels Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Ambrym

Ambyrm is known for its active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, mystery and magic. Arrive ashore to witness the striking Rom dance, traditionally a secret event. Involving incredible masks and elaborate outfits that represent spirits, this is a cultural experience specific only to this island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Espiritu Santo

Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the “New Hebrides” because they reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experience one of the best wreck dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II, or enjoy a serene canoe paddle to the Riri Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
Loh Island, Torres Group

Arrive to the small village of Loh Island by Zodiac, meandering along a beautiful mangrove lagoon. Meet the lovely villagers and experience some of the local kastom dances. Hike across the island to a cave and look for wildlife along the way. If conditions permit, snorkel along the beautiful fringing reef of the island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Tikopia, Solomon Islands

Tikopia is an unusual island. Just under 2 miles square, it is the caldera of an extinct volcano and boasts dramatic scenery. Officially a part of the Solomon Islands of Melanesia, it was settled by Polynesian people, whose descendants still reside there today. Made up of several villages led by different chiefs, the island retains many of its traditional practices. Visit one of the villages to meet the local people and learn about the unique culture of the island. Afterward, take a hike along the ridgeline of the caldera to see an aerial view of the island and its lagoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
Utupua

Located in the Santa Cruz Island group, Utupua is a high volcanic island surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing coral reef. Zodiac to the village of Nimbau for a welcome song and dance performance. Take a walk through the village with the locals and see a display of their fantastic fishing canoes. Take a Zodiac ride along the shores, lined with dense mangroves and boasting a variety of wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 16
Owaraha Island

On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), be greeted with a traditional dance performed by villagers in elaborate costumes, body paint and masks. Walk across the small island to Nafinotoga to see Spirit Houses containing the skulls and bones of ancient chiefs of the Snake Clan and the Turtle Clan.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 17
Disembark Honiara, Solomon Islands, Fly to Brisbane, Australia & Overnight

The expedition concludes in Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and a strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara, where some of the fiercest battles took place. Then transfer to the airport for the flight to Brisbane, where the group will overnight at a local hotel.

Accommodations

Included Hotel TBA

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Day 18
Depart Brisbane, Australia

Depart this morning for your flight home, arriving the same day due to crossing the International Date Line (depending on flight path).

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight between Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Brisbane, Australia ($450 per person in 22-23, subject to change); 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

For expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. 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:
180 or more days – $750*
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

*$750 USD will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
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.

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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The main Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise begins in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and ends in Brisbane, Australia (BNE). 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 Auckland ahead of the evening briefing on Day 3. Disembarkation in Honiara, Solomon Islands is after breakfast on Day 17 of the outlined itinerary, followed by a charter flight to Brisbane, Australia (BNE). Plan flights to depart Brisbane anytime on the final day of the outlined itinerary. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Honiara, Solomon Islands and Brisbane, Australia 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. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change. There is a strict luggage limit of one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg), and one carry-on bag weighing up to 18 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, swimming, snorkeling, birding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cultural performances, and diving (added cost). Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography 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.

2022-23 Reverse Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia Itinerary

The 17-day reverse Under The Southern Cross itinerary begins with an overnight in Brisbane, Australia, followed by a charter flight to embark in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The ship travels south through Vanuatu and New Caledonia before disembarking in Auckland, New Zealand.

Route map of Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise between Brisbane, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand, with visits to the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu & The Solomons.
Read More
Days 1 - 3
Fly to Brisbane, Australia

Depart on an overnight flight, losing a day by crossing the International Date Line (depending on flight path). Arrive in Brisbane, Australia and check into the hotel. Join the group for a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

n/a (days 1 - 2); Included Hotel TBA (day 3)

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 4
Fly to Honiara, Solomon Islands & Embark

The expedition begins with a charter flight to Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara, where some of the fiercest battles took place, before embarking the ship.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Owaraha Island

On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), be greeted with a traditional dance performed by villagers in elaborate costumes, body paint and masks. Walk across the small island to Nafinotoga to see Spirit Houses containing the skulls and bones of ancient chiefs of the Snake Clan and the Turtle Clan.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Utupua

Located in the Santa Cruz Island group, Utupua is a high volcanic island surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing coral reef. Zodiac to the village of Nimbau for a welcome song and dance performance. Take a walk through the village with the locals and see a display of their fantastic fishing canoes. Take a Zodiac ride along the shores, lined with dense mangroves and boasting a variety of wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Tikopia, Solomon Islands

Tikopia is an unusual island. Just under 2 miles square, it is the caldera of an extinct volcano and boasts dramatic scenery. Officially a part of the Solomon Islands of Melanesia, it was settled by Polynesian people, whose descendants still reside there today. Made up of several villages led by different chiefs, the island retains many of its traditional practices. Visit one of the villages to meet the local people and learn about the unique culture of the island. Afterward, take a hike along the ridgeline of the caldera to see an aerial view of the island and its lagoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Loh Island, Torres Group

Arrive to the small village of Loh Island by Zodiac, meandering along a beautiful mangrove lagoon. Meet the lovely villagers and experience some of the local kastom dances. Hike across the island to a cave and look for wildlife along the way. If conditions permit, snorkel along the beautiful fringing reef of the island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Espiritu Santo

Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the “New Hebrides” because they reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experience one of the best wreck dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II, or enjoy a serene canoe paddle to the Riri Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Ambrym

Ambyrm is known for its active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, mystery and magic. Arrive ashore to witness the striking Rom dance, traditionally a secret event. Involving incredible masks and elaborate outfits that represent spirits, this is a cultural experience specific only to this island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Port Vila & Lelepa, Vanuatu

Clear into Vanuatu at Port Vila. Later, go ashore at Lelepa to visit Vanuatu’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site, the final residence and burial site of 17th-century Chief Roi Mata. Here, be welcomed with traditional songs and dance, and enter the impressive Fels Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Swim or snorkel in the beautiful Oro Natural Pool or walk through a beautiful rainforest to the site of Queen Hortense’s Cave, filled with limestone features and a variety of tropical vegetation. Alternatively, take a hike to the summit of N’Ga Peak to see incredible views over the island and the surrounding sea, or join the naturalists for a birding walk through the dense canopy of the forest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
At Sea

As the ship makes her passage to Melanesia, relax on deck or attend talks by the expert expedition and photo teams.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Norfolk Island, Australia

Explore Norfolk Island, discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. Covered in dense forests of pines, it was initially valued as a ready source of shipbuilding lumber. Later, it became a British penal colony and then a settlement for Pitcairn Islanders, who themselves were descendants of the mutineers from the famous Bounty. Explore the ruins of the prison and enjoy walking around the main settlement at Burnt Pine. Later, take a long nature hike in Norfolk National Park to look for the endemic tree ferns and land birds. While leaving, look for large groups of seabirds alongside the dramatic island scenery.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
At Sea

Take advantage of a full day at sea to settle into the relaxed pace of life on board. Watch for marine life from the deck, study the route on the navigational charts and attend talks by the onboard experts.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 16
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 17
Disembark Auckland, New Zealand, Explore & Depart

After breakfast, disembark the ship and join a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before arriving to Auckland airport in the late afternoon for onward flights.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight between Brisbane, Australia, and Honiara, Solomon Islands ($450 per person in 22-23, subject to change); 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

For expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. 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:
180 or more days – $750*
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

*$750 USD will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
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.

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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The reverse Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise begins in Brisbane, Australia (BNE), and ends in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). 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 Brisbane ahead of the evening briefing on Day 3. Disembarkation in Auckland, New Zealand is after breakfast on Day 17 of the outlined itinerary, followed by a city tour and lunch. Plan flights to depart Auckland anytime in the evening on the final day of the outlined itinerary. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Brisbane, Australia and Honiara, Solomon Islands 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. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change. There is a strict luggage limit of one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg), and one carry-on bag weighing up to 18 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, swimming, snorkeling, birding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cultural performances, and diving (added cost). Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography 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.

2024 Main Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia Itinerary

The 16-day main Under The Southern Cross itinerary embarks in Auckland, New Zealand, travels north through New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, disembarks in Honiara and ends with a charter flight to Brisbane, Australia for an overnight before departing.

Route map of Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise between Brisbane, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand, with visits to the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu & The Solomons.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Auckland, New Zealand

Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand and transfer to the group hotel. Join the group for a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

Included Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Explore Auckland & Embark

Have breakfast at the hotel before joining a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
At Sea

Take advantage of a full day at sea to settle into the relaxed pace of life on board. Watch for marine life from the deck, study the route on the navigational charts and attend talks by the onboard experts.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Norfolk Island, Australia

Explore Norfolk Island, discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. Covered in dense forests of pines, it was initially valued as a ready source of shipbuilding lumber. Later, it became a British penal colony and then a settlement for Pitcairn Islanders, who themselves were descendants of the mutineers from the famous Bounty. Explore the ruins of the prison and enjoy walking around the main settlement at Burnt Pine. Later, take a long nature hike in Norfolk National Park to look for the endemic tree ferns and land birds. While leaving, look for large groups of seabirds alongside the dramatic island scenery.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
At Sea

As the ship makes her passage to Melanesia, relax on deck or attend talks by the expert expedition and photo teams.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Swim or snorkel in the beautiful Oro Natural Pool or walk through a beautiful rainforest to the site of Queen Hortense’s Cave, filled with limestone features and a variety of tropical vegetation. Alternatively, take a hike to the summit of N’Ga Peak to see incredible views over the island and the surrounding sea, or join the naturalists for a birding walk through the dense canopy of the forest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Port Vila & Lelepa, Vanuatu

Clear into Vanuatu at Port Vila. Later, go ashore at Lelepa to visit Vanuatu’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site, the final residence and burial site of 17th-century Chief Roi Mata. Here, be welcomed with traditional songs and dance, and enter the impressive Fels Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Ambrym

Ambyrm is known for its active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, mystery and magic. Arrive ashore to witness the striking Rom dance, traditionally a secret event. Involving incredible masks and elaborate outfits that represent spirits, this is a cultural experience specific only to this island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Espiritu Santo

Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the “New Hebrides” because they reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experience one of the best wreck dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II, or enjoy a serene canoe paddle to the Riri Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Loh Island, Torres Group

Arrive to the small village of Loh Island by Zodiac, meandering along a beautiful mangrove lagoon. Meet the lovely villagers and experience some of the local kastom dances. Hike across the island to a cave and look for wildlife along the way. If conditions permit, snorkel along the beautiful fringing reef of the island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Tikopia, Solomon Islands

Tikopia is an unusual island. Just under 2 miles square, it is the caldera of an extinct volcano and boasts dramatic scenery. Officially a part of the Solomon Islands of Melanesia, it was settled by Polynesian people, whose descendants still reside there today. Made up of several villages led by different chiefs, the island retains many of its traditional practices. Visit one of the villages to meet the local people and learn about the unique culture of the island. Afterward, take a hike along the ridgeline of the caldera to see an aerial view of the island and its lagoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
Utupua

Located in the Santa Cruz Island group, Utupua is a high volcanic island surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing coral reef. Zodiac to the village of Nimbau for a welcome song and dance performance. Take a walk through the village with the locals and see a display of their fantastic fishing canoes. Take a Zodiac ride along the shores, lined with dense mangroves and boasting a variety of wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Owaraha Island

On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), be greeted with a traditional dance performed by villagers in elaborate costumes, body paint and masks. Walk across the small island to Nafinotoga to see Spirit Houses containing the skulls and bones of ancient chiefs of the Snake Clan and the Turtle Clan.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
Disembark Honiara, Solomon Islands, Fly to Brisbane, Australia & Overnight

The expedition concludes in Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and a strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara, where some of the fiercest battles took place. Then transfer to the airport for the flight to Brisbane, where the group will overnight at a local hotel.

Accommodations

Included Hotel TBA

Meals

breakfast, lunch

Read More
Day 16
Depart Brisbane, Australia

Transfer this morning to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight between Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Brisbane, Australia ($475 per person in 23-24, subject to change); 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

For expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. 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:
180 or more days – $750*
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

*$750 USD will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
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.

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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The main Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise begins in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and ends in Brisbane, Australia (BNE). 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 Auckland ahead of the evening briefing on Day 1. Disembarkation in Honiara, Solomon Islands is after breakfast on Day 15 of the outlined itinerary, followed by a charter flight to Brisbane, Australia (BNE). Plan flights to depart Brisbane anytime on the final day of the outlined itinerary. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Honiara, Solomon Islands and Brisbane, Australia 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. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change. There is a strict luggage limit of one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg), and one carry-on bag weighing up to 18 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, swimming, snorkeling, birding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cultural performances, and diving (added cost). Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography 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.

2024 Reverse Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia Itinerary

The 16-day reverse Under The Southern Cross itinerary begins with an overnight in Brisbane, Australia, followed by a charter flight to embark in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The ship travels south through Vanuatu and New Caledonia before disembarking in Auckland, New Zealand.

Route map of Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise between Brisbane, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand, with visits to the islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu & The Solomons.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Brisbane, Australia

Arrive in Brisbane and transfer to the group hotel. Join a welcome briefing this evening to meet fellow travelers.

Accommodations

Included Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Fly to Honiara, Solomon Islands & Embark

The expedition begins with a charter flight to Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara, where some of the fiercest battles took place, before embarking the ship.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 3
Owaraha Island

On the tiny isle of Owaraha (formerly known as Santa Ana), be greeted with a traditional dance performed by villagers in elaborate costumes, body paint and masks. Walk across the small island to Nafinotoga to see Spirit Houses containing the skulls and bones of ancient chiefs of the Snake Clan and the Turtle Clan.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 4
Utupua

Located in the Santa Cruz Island group, Utupua is a high volcanic island surrounded by a lagoon and a fringing coral reef. Zodiac to the village of Nimbau for a welcome song and dance performance. Take a walk through the village with the locals and see a display of their fantastic fishing canoes. Take a Zodiac ride along the shores, lined with dense mangroves and boasting a variety of wildlife.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 5
Tikopia, Solomon Islands

Tikopia is an unusual island. Just under 2 miles square, it is the caldera of an extinct volcano and boasts dramatic scenery. Officially a part of the Solomon Islands of Melanesia, it was settled by Polynesian people, whose descendants still reside there today. Made up of several villages led by different chiefs, the island retains many of its traditional practices. Visit one of the villages to meet the local people and learn about the unique culture of the island. Afterward, take a hike along the ridgeline of the caldera to see an aerial view of the island and its lagoon.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Loh Island, Torres Group

Arrive to the small village of Loh Island by Zodiac, meandering along a beautiful mangrove lagoon. Meet the lovely villagers and experience some of the local kastom dances. Hike across the island to a cave and look for wildlife along the way. If conditions permit, snorkel along the beautiful fringing reef of the island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Espiritu Santo

Captain James Cook named the islands of Vanuatu the “New Hebrides” because they reminded him of the rugged isles off Scotland’s coast. On the main island of Espiritu Santo, experience one of the best wreck dives in the world: the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner used as a troop carrier during World War II, or enjoy a serene canoe paddle to the Riri Blue Hole, a jewel-blue freshwater source surrounded by jungle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Ambrym

Ambyrm is known for its active volcanoes, black-sand beaches, mystery and magic. Arrive ashore to witness the striking Rom dance, traditionally a secret event. Involving incredible masks and elaborate outfits that represent spirits, this is a cultural experience specific only to this island.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Port Vila & Lelepa, Vanuatu

Clear into Vanuatu at Port Vila. Later, go ashore at Lelepa to visit Vanuatu’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site, the final residence and burial site of 17th-century Chief Roi Mata. Here, be welcomed with traditional songs and dance, and enter the impressive Fels Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Swim or snorkel in the beautiful Oro Natural Pool or walk through a beautiful rainforest to the site of Queen Hortense’s Cave, filled with limestone features and a variety of tropical vegetation. Alternatively, take a hike to the summit of N’Ga Peak to see incredible views over the island and the surrounding sea, or join the naturalists for a birding walk through the dense canopy of the forest.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
At Sea

As the ship makes her passage to Melanesia, relax on deck or attend talks by the expert expedition and photo teams.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Norfolk Island, Australia

Explore Norfolk Island, discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. Covered in dense forests of pines, it was initially valued as a ready source of shipbuilding lumber. Later, it became a British penal colony and then a settlement for Pitcairn Islanders, who themselves were descendants of the mutineers from the famous Bounty. Explore the ruins of the prison and enjoy walking around the main settlement at Burnt Pine. Later, take a long nature hike in Norfolk National Park to look for the endemic tree ferns and land birds. While leaving, look for large groups of seabirds alongside the dramatic island scenery.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
At Sea

Take advantage of a full day at sea to settle into the relaxed pace of life on board. Watch for marine life from the deck, study the route on the navigational charts and attend talks by the onboard experts.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is an area encompassing more than 140 subtropical islands, boasting an abundance of wildlife and fascinating history. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a place of immeasurable cultural, spiritual and historical significance, and learn of the historical events for which these grounds are remembered.

Accommodations

National Geographic Orion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 15 - 16
Disembark Auckland, New Zealand, Explore, Overnight & Depart

After breakfast, disembark the ship and join a tour of this vibrant city center. Stop for lunch midday before transferring to the group hotel and the rest of the day will be at your leisure. The next afternoon, check out and transfer to the Auckland Airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

Included Hotel TBA (day 15); n/a (day 16)

Meals

breakfast and lunch (day 15); breakfast (day 16)

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations; meals indicated; beer, wine & full bar; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes. Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

One-way charter flight between Brisbane, Australia, and Honiara, Solomon Islands ($475 per person in 23-24, subject to change); 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

For expeditions departing prior to April 1, 2024:
In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. 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:
180 or more days – $750*
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

*$750 USD will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which only may be applied towards final payment on any future booking.

For expeditions departing April 1, 2024 onward:
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.

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.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all guests 5 years and older must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The reverse Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia cruise begins in Brisbane, Australia (BNE), and ends in Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). 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 Brisbane ahead of the evening briefing on Day 1. Disembarkation in Auckland, New Zealand is after breakfast on Day 15 of the outlined itinerary, followed by a city tour and lunch. Plan flights to depart Auckland anytime in the evening on the final day of the outlined itinerary. Note: This expedition may be traveling over the International Date Line, so please confirm departure and arrival dates with an AdventureSmith Specialist before booking flights. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight between Brisbane, Australia and Honiara, Solomon Islands 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. See Exclusions for sample airfare rates, subject to change. There is a strict luggage limit of one checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs (23 kg), and one carry-on bag weighing up to 18 lbs (8 kg) plus a personal item that can be stowed under the seat.

Activities

Activities included aboard this expedition include Zodiac cruises, swimming, snorkeling, birding, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cultural performances, and diving (added cost). Other activities may include yoga and stretching, land treks, photography 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 25 - Mar 14, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 18 days
From $15610USD
Per Person
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Oct 24 - Nov 09, 2023
National Geographic Orion • 17 days
arrows going opposite directions
From $15610USD
Per Person
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Jan 29 - Feb 15, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 18 days
From $16080USD
Per Person
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Oct 09 - Oct 23, 2024
National Geographic Orion • 15 days
arrows going opposite directions
From $16080USD
Per Person
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Dec 21 - Jan 05, 2025
National Geographic Orion • 16 days
From $17060USD
Per Person
Read More
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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

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires April 30th, 2023
Up To $1,500 Air Credit On Select Nat Geo South Pacific Cruises

Book your South Pacific cruise and receive up to $1,500 in airfare credit with this special deal.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires April 30th, 2023
No Solo Premium On Select South Pacific Cruises

Book your select South Pacific cruise as a solo traveler and don't pay the premium in this special deal.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires April 30th, 2023
No Solo Supplement On Select 2023 Northern & Central America Cruises

Solo travelers! Take your pick between a variety of 2023 trip departures in North or Central America and pay no single supplement fee.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

In conjunction with this cruise, the following pre- and post-cruise options are available for a seamless land-and-sea group travel experience with National Geographic guides and fellow passengers. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for pricing.

Queenstown & Wine Country is a 4-day pre-cruise guided journey around New Zealand’s South Island. Enjoy Queenstown sights, a helicopter tour of Milford Sound, special meals in spectacular locations and wine tasting. Then meet fellow shipmates to embark on Day 4.

Auckland & Tiri Extension is a 4-day post-cruise guided exploration of the city and its surroundings. Enjoy visiting city highlights, nearby farms, a vineyard for olive oil tasting and the island of Tiritiri Matangi with its 70+ bird species.

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8 - 15 Day Cruise
Great Barrier Reef Cruises

The most comprehensive Great Barrier Reef itinerary available, this Australia small ship cruise will reveal the underwater world of numerous exclusive reef sites with opportunities to become a relaxed beachcomber or an inquisitive adventurer on an 8-day island-hopping voyage of discovery aboard 72-guest Coral Discoverer.

From $3560USD
Oct Nov Dec
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11 - 13 Day Cruise
The Kimberley Cruise

Discover Australia’s northern, unspoiled last frontier on this exciting small ship cruise. This 11- or 13-day itinerary allows you to experience all of the Kimberley's highlights for a completely unique experience.

From $6990USD
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
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11 - 12 Day Cruise
Cape York & Arnhem Land

Experience Australia's best by combining The Top End, The Great Barrier Reef, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem Land and the Cobourg Peninsula, or simply focus on Cape York and the Great Barrier Reef. This unforgettable 11- or 12-day exploration of Australia's northern coasts will take you to spots few have experienced.

From $7775USD
Mar Apr Oct Nov
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14 - 16 Day Cruise
Coastal New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound Cruise

Cruise New Zealand's verdant coastline on 102-guest Nat Geo Orion for Maori history and culture, celebrated wines, pristine beaches, ancient rainforest and jaw-dropping fjords.

From $23330USD
Jan Feb Oct Nov Dec
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5 - 7 Day Cruise
Wild Polynesian Escape: Tahiti to Bora Bora

On this compact Wild Polynesian Escape, cruise aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion and explore French Polynesia's crystalline waters, deserted beaches and welcoming cultures with expert National Geographic guides.

Special Offer
From $6060USD
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10 - 12 Day Cruise
Pearls of the Pacific: Exploring The Society & Tuamotu Islands

On this Tuamotu and Society Islands cruise aboard 102-guest National Geographic Orion, swim, snorkel, dive, paddle, hike and connect with locals alongside expert National Geographic guides.

Special Offer
From $12350USD
Feb Mar Jun
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Under The Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia

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