Faces of Polynesia: Fiji to Tahiti

Fiji to Tahiti aboard the Caledonian Sky

Faces of Polynesia: Fiji to Tahiti route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $13,980  
Length: 17 days
Arrive: Lautoka. Fiji
Depart: Papeete, Tahiti
Lodging: 14 nights aboard 100-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level: 15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
1

Highlights

  • Enjoy exuberant welcomes from traditionally clad dancers and experience warm hospitality as you are invited to join kava rituals and sample local delicacies
  • Search for a bevy of rare and endemic birds, including Fiji orange doves, chattering kingfishers, and Cook Island fruit doves
  • Snorkel or dive nearly every day to discover dazzling coral reefs and healthy populations of tropical fish
  • Photograph lush, emerald islands rising from turquoise lagoons, white-sand beaches framed by lanky palms, and lovely dancers adorned in flower leis and tapa cloth

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Book-ended by the fables islands Fiji and Tahiti, this South Pacific journey strings together a dazzling array of palm-fanned islands ringed in waters of incredible hues. From the jungle-draped volcanic mountains of Tonga to the tiny, low-lying atolls you’ll explore as part of the Cook Islands tour, this voyage reveals a world of supreme natural beauty and people proud to share their ceremonial traditions of music and dance. Along the way discover seldom-visited Niuatoputapu and search for endemic species in the lush rain forests of Atiu. Snorkel or dive nearly every day of your Fiji to Tahiti adventure travels and soak in iconic scenery that defines the essence of paradise.

Itinerary


Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Days 1-2
Depart USA / Nadi, Viti Levu, Fiji

Depart the USA on your independent overnight flight to Fiji. Cross the International Date Line en route, losing a day.

Day 3
Nadi / Lautoka / Embark Caledonian Sky

After an early morning arrival, check in to your hotel day-room to enjoy a morning at leisure before lunch. In the afternoon, set out for an island exploration, including a visit to The Garden of the Sleeping Giant, started by the late actor Raymond Burr in 1977 and showcasing more than 2,000 varieties of orchids. Then visit the Vei Sei Sei village, and make a stop for magnificent island views at Vudu Lookout. In the city of Lautoka on the western, or  “sunshine coast,” of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, embark the Caledonian Sky.

Day 4
Taveuni

The Fiji Islands, considered part of Melanesia, cover an area of 386,000 square miles. Of the 325 islands large enough for habitation, only 106 have permanent residents. The third largest, Taveuni, is a dazzling emerald known as “the garden island,” and you have several excursions to choose from here. Hikers enjoy a visit to beautiful waterfalls in Bouma National Park, while birders explore the lush forests, keeping a lookout for collared lories, Fiji orange doves, and blue-crested flycatchers. A cultural tour highlights traditional Fijian village life, a kava ceremony, and demonstrations of cooking, tapa-cloth production, and basket weaving. Snorkelers and divers investigate the submerged wonders of the sea, including Fiji’s famed soft corals and an incredible diversity of fish.

Day 5
Futuna, Territory of Wallis & Futuna

Though linked through French colonialism, the language, customs, culture, and artistic traditions of Wallis and Futuna are distinctly different. While Wallis has ancestral ties with Tonga, Futuna traces its roots to Samoa. Be on deck as the ship approaches Futuna, whose verdant slopes ascend into the clouds. Stunning beaches fringe the east coast and Mt. Puke, the island’s largest volcano, soars to nearly 2,500 feet. In a traditional village, visit the impressive shrine to the South Pacific’s only saint, Pierre Chanel. The interior is covered in elaborately decorated tapa cloth. Birders keep an eye out for red-footed boobies, white-collared kingfishers, and blue-crowned lorikeets. Lunch on board is followed by snorkeling or diving in the clear waters to view longnose filefish, anemonefish, and colorful corals.

Day 6
Wallis

Tour the regional capital, Mata Utu, to visit its distinctive stone cathedral, then drive to one of the island’s beautiful crater lakes. Stroll through the interesting remains of a 14th century fort, and browse local handicrafts.

Day 7
Savaii Island, Samoa

Lovely, lesser-visited Savaii Island is the largest of the Samoa Islands chain. Step ashore to discover palm-fringed beaches backed by lushly forested slopes and plunging waterfalls. On nature walks, search for 82 species of birdlife, including 10 that are endemic to Samoa. Or slip into the warm, inviting waters for a swim, or explore healthy coral reefs during snorkel and dive excursions.

Days 8-9
Tokelau, New Zealand

Consisting of three tiny coral atolls, Tokelau’s combined land area consists of a mere four square miles. Go ashore on the “Chiefly Island” of Fakaofo to view the traditional village hall and meet with welcoming locals. With no industry and few motorized boats, the clear waters of Tokelau support a variety of healthy corals teeming with brilliant tropical fish.

Day 10
At Sea / Cross the International Date Line

Cross the International Date Line and regain a day. Spend the day at sea attending
lectures on Polynesia’s fascinating natural history, geology, and cultures.

Day 11
Pukapuka, Cook Islands

A warm welcome awaits on Pukapuka, where friendly locals share their unique customs and
give you a glimpse of daily life on this most remote of the Cook Islands. In the afternoon,
slip into the inviting, crystal-clear waters to swim, snorkel, or dive.

Day 12
Suwarrow Atoll

Join naturalists on deck to witness clouds of seabirds—red-tailed tropicbirds, sooty terns, and frigatebirds to name a few. In 1978, this pristine island was set aside as a National Park of the Cook Islands due to the plentiful marine and bird life it supports. Permission pending, go ashore to meet the caretaker and learn about important ongoing environmental conservation efforts. The large lagoon offers excellent snorkeling while divers explore the outer reef.

Day 13
At Sea

Spend your day relaxing on deck and attending informative lectures.

Day 14
Aitutaki

Like a miniature Bora Bora, Aitutaki’s central peak rises above a reef-encircled lagoon, and we are welcomed by villagers performing some of the Pacific’s finest dances. Local guides accompany us on an island tour highlighting the natural and cultural attributes of the island. After lunch on the ship, enjoy snorkeling or diving off a remote motu in the crystal clear waters dotted with coral heads.

Day 15
At Sea

Attend lectures today and join naturalists on deck to search for seabirds and marine life.

Day 16
Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Be sure to be on deck early this morning as the ship enters the dazzling sapphire-hued lagoon of Bora Bora, surrounded by soaring cloud-wreathed peaks. Tour this lush island, driving along roads lined with fragrant frangipani. Then venture to the large lagoon to snorkel or dive, watching for graceful stingrays and colorful fish such as fairy basslets and teardrop butterflyfish. Birders seek out chattering kingfishers and gray-green fruit doves. Be sure to be on deck early this morning as the ship enters the dazzling sapphire-hued lagoon of Bora Bora, surrounded by soaring cloud-wreathed peaks. Tour this lush island, driving along roads lined with fragrant frangipani. Then venture to the large lagoon to snorkel or dive, watching for graceful stingrays and colorful fish such as fairy basslets and teardrop butterflyfish. Birders seek out chattering kingfishers and gray-green fruit doves.

Day 17
Papeete, Tahiti / Disembark / USA

After breakfast, disembark the Caledonian Sky and set out to explore this beautiful island. Visit the superb Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands, dedicated to the history and culture of the people of Polynesia, and drive along the stunning coast. After a stop at the Gauguin Museum, the former home of the artist from 1891–1893, continue to the InterContinental Resort Tahiti to check in to dayrooms. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the hotel and to rest before your late evening flight homeward.

Day 18
USA

Arrive in the USA and connect with homeward flights.

Note: This cruise is not an exclusive Wilderness Travel departure. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Zodiac landing crafts are used to explore the coastline and transport passengers ashore for walks to wildlife sanctuaries, scenic nature areas, and local towns and villages. There are also ample opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. Some agility is required for getting in and out of the Zodiac landing crafts.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

2015
Oct 15-31, 2015  Caledonian Sky

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Category 1 $13,980
Category 2 $14,890
Category 3 $15,780
Category 4 $16,580
Category 5 $17,680
Category 6 $19,880
Single/Category 1: $18,780
Single/Category 2: $20,780

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 25% of trip cost
130 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $750 per person
180-120 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
119-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
59 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan

 

Cabin Descriptions

All suites feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be reconfigured into one queen, a sitting area, a well-appointed en suite bathroom, large closets, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hair dryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American style outlets (two flat prongs) at 110 volts.

  • Castle Deck has Category 1 suites that are 240 square feet and have three portholes.
  • Caledonian Deck has Category 2 suites that are 230 square feet with large picture windows.
  • Promenade Deck has Category 3 suites that are 220 square feet with a picture window; Category 4 suites that are 220 square feet with direct deck access via a sliding glass door; and Category 5 suites that are 240 square feet and feature two forward-facing portholes and direct deck access via a sliding glass door.
  • Bridge Deck has Category 6 suites that are 215 square feet and have patio doors leading to private balconies that are 45 square feet.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations in our hotels and on board Caledonian Sky as outlined in the itinerary
  • All meals onboard the ship and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, wine, and beer with lunch and dinner (alcohol is non-premium brands)
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • All group activities and excursions
  • Landing and port fees
  • All gratuities
  • Pre-voyage extensions include all of the above

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; travel insurance; scuba diving equipment where required; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages except as listed, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

Arrival & Departure Information

Arrival & Meeting Place
Date: October 17, 2015
Group Hotel, Nadi, Fiji (day room provided)

Suggested flight arrival time: Morning of October 17

Ship Embarkation: afternoon
Ship Departure: evening

Arrival Airport
Nadi, Fiji (airport code: NAN)

For this program, Days 1-2 are travel days, assuming you are flying from the United States.  The trip actually begins on Day 3 (October 17, 2015).  We recommend that you spend at least one additional night in Nadi before the cruise begins, to allow for any unforeseen flight delays. Embarkation aboard the ship is the afternoon of Day 3 (October 17).

Departure
Papeete, Tahiti

Date: October 31, 2015
Disembarkation: 9:00am
Suggested flight departure time: no earlier than 1:00pm

Departure Airport
Papeete, Tahiti (airport code: PPT)

The ship is expected to disembark at 9:00am in Papeete.  Please do not book your departure flights before 1:00pm on October 31.  If you require a transfer from the ship to the airport, please let us know.

Expedition Details

PASSPORT

A valid passport is required for this trip.  Be sure to check the expiration date.  Your passport must be valid for six months after the conclusion of your trip. It is a good idea to carry photocopies of your passport photo page in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.

VISA

No visa is required for US Citizens traveling to Fiji and French Polynesia.

MEDICAL

We recommend checking the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov should you have any international health concerns.

INOCULATIONS

No inoculations are currently required for entry into Fiji and French Polynesia.

Caledonian Sky

The all-suite, 100-guest Caledonian Sky is a spacious, yet intimate, expedition vessel. Refurbished in 2012, her beautifully designed public spaces include a single seating dining room, a large lounge with piano, elegant bar, enclosed panoramic viewing deck, library, and gym. Outside decks feature a rear sun deck where meals are served in pleasant weather, and the promenade deck is available for scenic photography as well as wildlife and seabird viewing. All suites have an ocean view and feature a sitting room, en-suite bathroom, flat screen television, spacious wardrobes, and dressing table. Wireless internet access is available throughout the ship. The Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs for excursions ashore.