Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Depart:||Hanga Roa, Easter Island|
|Lodging:||16 nights aboard a 114-passenger vessel|
|Meals:||All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising|
16-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
Such a fabulous place and the crew leaders were over the top!Lynda C.—Hermosa Beach, CA
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.
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.
Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.
With its dreamy, postcard-perfect scenery of palm-fringed beaches and azure lagoons, Polynesia is the very definition of paradise. From legendary Tahiti, we head to the Marquesas, with their sky-piercing volcanoes, lushly carpeted canyons, and chiseled bays. In the low-lying Tuamotu Archipelago, whose remote atolls—rings of coral dotted by tiny islets enclosing aquamarine lagoons—we experience some of the world’s most dazzling snorkeling. We step ashore on seldom-visited Pitcairn, witness the amazing birdlife of uninhabited Henderson and Ducie Islands, and conclude our adventure with a discovery of Easter Island.
Papeete, Tahiti / Rangiroa
Fly to Papeete and overnight at hotel. The next day we join a tour of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia’s largest island. We pass by orchards of papaya as we drive along the stunning coast. At the renowned Gauguin Museum, we learn about the life of the artist in the islands, and also visit the Museum of Tahiti, which traces the islands’ history. In the evening we embark on the Caledonian Sky and cruise to Rangiroa, one of the world’s largest coral atolls.
Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands
Though remote and sparsely populated, the far-flung Tuamotus comprise the world’s largest atoll chain. These venerable coral constructions rise just high enough abovethe water to be called land, and if it weren’t for their waving coconut palms, they might be entirely invisible from any distance. We step ashore on Rangiroa this afternoon, whose name translates into “vast sky.” More than 400 motu—low-lying islets and sandbars—sit atop a ring of coral through which at least 100 channels flow. The dazzling lagoon is hailed as one of the world’s greatest dive destinations, and whether snorkeling or diving, we will be rewarded with unparalleled underwater vistas. Birders can watch for blue lorikeets, red-footed boobies, and great frigatebirds, while a beach walk takes us to Tiputa village to meet locals who demonstrate energetic traditional dances.
We attend informative lectures today as the Caledonian Sky cruises toward the legendary Marquesas Islands.
Considered one of the most beautiful island groups in the South Pacific, the Marquesas lie farther from a continental coast than any other islands in the world. Unlike other Polynesian islands, the Marquesas have no surrounding reefs or placid lagoons. Their wide, deep bays are havens for vessels such as ours. We spend three days exploring this dazzling collection of islands whose breathtaking vertical peaks reach into the clouds, while carpets of lush tropical vegetation drape cliffs and canyons that descend to sea-sculpted bays and countless sooty, fairy, and bridled terns circle tiny, rocky pinnacle islets. Zodiacs bring us ashore on a variety of islands, to be greeted on some by dancers and drummers adorned in leis and tapa cloth, and welcomed to others by the blowing of large conch shells—the traditional pu greeting. On walks we may see petroglyphs or tiki figures representing deified ancestors, flanked by banyan trees, fragrant plumeria, blooming orchids, and silvery waterfalls. Open-air craft markets display baskets, shell jewelry, and wooden carvings. Birders can search for the endemic Nuku Hiva pigeon and Marquesan swiftlet. Though the islands lack fringing reefs, snorkelers and divers will discover many colorful fish against a backdrop of sheer walls and dramatic arches covered in soft corals.
Puka Puka, Tuamotu Islands
Delightful music and dancing welcome us to this idyllic island—the first land sighted in the Pacific by Europeans. We visit the small village whose residents raise taro, bananas, and coconut palms for copra (dried coconut). Birders search for Pacific golden plover while snorkelers and divers explore the fringing reef.
Coconut palms and breadfruit trees cover the beautiful islets that surround Puka Rua’s lagoon. Garland-bedecked dancers greet us in the tiny village whose 150 hospitable inhabitants earn a living selling copra. We witness the process of coconut drying, enjoy a local crafts market, or stroll along the lagoon shores watching crested terns circling overhead. In the afternoon we explore this lovely atoll’s underwater wonders.
Conditions permitting, we explore one of the many uninhabited Tuamotu Islands and enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or diving.
As we cruise toward the Pitcairn Islands, we attend lectures enhancing our understanding of the amazing cultural and natural riches we have witnessed, and the wonders that await.
Pitcairn , Pitcairn Islands
Remote, enchanting, and tiny at six miles around, volcano-crowned Pitcairn was the fabled hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. We step ashore and visit with the 50 hospitable inhabitants of Adamstown, who are the direct descendants of the nine mutineers and 18 Polynesians. The anchor of the Bounty rests beside the courthouse and the ship’s Bible resides in the church. After our island visit, the warm and inviting waters are perfect for a swim, snorkel, or dive.
Sheer limestone cliffs surround this elevated coralline island, a World Heritage Site, pockmarked by caves and blowholes. Henderson’s astounding natural selection has produced ten endemic flowering plants and four endemic species of land birds, including the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet. In the afternoon, we snorkel or dive in the marine-life-rich waters.
This small, uninhabited, and rarely-visited atoll is rimmed in white-sand beaches that in turn surround a crystalline lagoon. As we walk along the shore, we witness a vast variety of seabirds—tens of thousands nest here, including Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels, masked boobies, frigatebirds, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Underwater forays bring us face-to-face with legions of rainbow-hued fish in the warm, clear waters.
We relax on deck and enjoy the ongoing lecture series as we cruise toward Easter Island, a World Heritage Site and one of the most mysterious places on earth.
Our full-day tour begins with a visit to the ceremonial center of Ahu Vinapu where the monolithic stonework is reminiscent of the Inca civilization in Peru, contributing to the theory of contact between the islanders and South America. We continue to Tahai for our first look at the intriguing stone heads, moai, built on massive stone platforms. We view nearly 400 monolithic statues in various states of completion at the spectacular volcanic tuff quarries. At Ahu Tongariki we visit the largest ceremonial site in Polynesia—a five-year archaeological restoration project was completed in 1996. We then drive to the Rano Kau volcano to view the giant caldera, its sprawling floor dotted with lakes. The ceremonial village of Orongo, dedicated to the fascinating “birdman” cult was built on the rim of this crater and we may explore the old houses and rock walls carved with hundreds of petroglyphs.
Easter Island / Disembark / Santiago , Chile
After breakfast we disembark the Caledonian Sky and enjoy a short tour before heading to the airport for our afternoon flight to Santiago, connecting with homeward-bound flights, and arriving home the next day.
2016 Cruise Collection
We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.
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.
Oct 29-Nov 18, 2015 Caledonian Sky
Prices are for 2015
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
Single/Category 2: $27,480
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.
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; passport and/or visa fees; scuba diving equipment where required; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Arrival & Departure Information
Arrival & Meeting Place
Group Hotel (TBA)
Date: October 29, 2015 (Day 1)
Suggested arrival time: evening
Suggested Arrival Airport
Fa'a'a International Airport (airport code PPT)
On this program you depart the US (West Coast) on Day 1 and you arrive in Papeete on the same evening. The trip begins with a transfer at the group hotel in Papeete. There is a scheduled city tour of Papeete on on Day 2 and embark the Caledonian Sky in the late afternoon.
Easter Island, Chile
Date: November 17, 2015
Fly from Easter Island home via Santiago, Chile
Suggested Airport for Departure
Mataveri International Airport (airport code IPC)
PASSPORTA 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.
VISANo visa is required for US Citizens traveling to French Polynesia or Chile (Easter Island).
MEDICALWe recommend checking the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov should you have any international health concerns.
INOCULATIONSNo inoculations are currently required for entry into French Polynesia or Chile (Easter Island).
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.