Trip Details at-a-Glance
|Lodging:||14 nights aboard 114-passenger expedition vessel|
|Meals:||All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard|
|Activity:||Small Ship Cruising|
15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling
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.
By wind, waves, and stars the ancient people of Polynesia ventured to the farthest reaches of the South Pacific. Isolated by miles of ocean over thousands of years, these fascinating island cultures developed a pantheon of gods, myths, and legends that remain to this day. We uncover this captivating narrative as we voyage from French Polynesia and the Cook Islands to the Kingdom of Tonga and the isles of Fiji. Warm cultural encounters, spectacular natural beauty, nature hikes, fantastic snorkeling over vivid coral reefs—it’s no wonder we are drawn to the South Seas’ magical shores.
Papeete, Tahiti / Raiatea / Taha’a
Arrive in Papeete, embark on the Caledonian Sky, and set sail for Raiatea, the cultural heart of all French Polynesia. Recognized throughout Tahiti as its “Sacred Island,” Raiatea was the center of religion and culture more than 1,000 years ago. Historians believe it was the main stopover for early Polynesians newly arrived from Hawaii and it still lends enchantment to ancient legends told to this day. Our morning island tour includes a visit to celebrated Mt. Temehani. On the neighboring island of Taha’a, where the rich aroma of vanilla lingers heavily in the air, we get a glimpse of the traditional, tranquil life of the Tahitians.
One of the most stunning islands on the planet, Bora Bora’s interior is crowned by majestic eroded volcanic formations and a distinctive black basaltic peak. Our tour brings us past colorful villages, archaeological sites, and World War II relics, and ends with a cocktail at the infamous Bloody Mary’s bar. The afternoon is free to explore independently or snorkel in the clear waters.
Atiu, Cook Islands
Our first stop in the Cook Islands is the small island of Atiu, and with only 560 residents, we are guaranteed a special welcome. We join a local bird expert to search for Rarotonga monarch, chattering kingfisher, Cook Islands fruit dove, and Atiu swiftlets, or take an island tour that includes James Cook’s landing site from 1777, the coffee plantations, and a visit to some of the local houses.
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
On Aitutaki, we can snorkel in a lagoon famous for its fascinating coral formations and brightly hued tropical fish, or explore the island’s lush forests, the sleepy village of Arutanga, home to the oldest church in the Cook Islands, see the lush forest of Nikaupara, and enjoy breathtaking views from the top of Maunga Pu.
Palmerston Island / At Sea
The engaging history of the William Masters family comes alive as we meet the descendants of this eccentric 19th century Englishman who took three native brides. We will be welcomed by the local officials before enjoying a walking tour with our local guides. Extremely fine handicrafts are made on this island and here the birdwatchers should catch sight of the red-tailed tropic birds. We also have a chance to snorkel from the beach where large coral blocks team with goatfish, boxfish, groupers, stingrays, and turtles. Day 7 is at sea.
In the island-country of Niue, we explore Alofi village and stop at the Philatelic Bureau, where some of the world’s most sought-after stamps may be purchased. At Matapa Chasm, a secluded cleft in the sea cliffs, we discover the perfect swimming hole.
After crossing the International Date Line, we arrive in Vava'u in the kingdom of Tonga. The snorkeling here is magnificent, with more than 150 different species of colorful fish, and we hope to see the graceful black-and-yellow angelfish and curious clown fish on the surrounding reefs.
Ha’apai Islands, Tonga
We arrive at the Ha’apai group, a string of 62 islands with lagoons, barrier reefs, and active volcanoes. The islands have a rich maritime history: Abel Tasman was the first European to visit the islands in 1643, while Captain James Cook visited twice in the 1770s. But the most famous event was the mutiny of the HMS Bounty, which occurred between the islands of Lifuka and Tofua. It was on the island of Tofua that Captain William Bligh landed after being cast off from the Bounty with limited provisions and nautical equipment. A hostile reception from the islanders meant they quickly fled to sea again, but we hope to receive a warm welcome as we land today. Tropical forests grow along gentle slopes here and at the center of the island is the volcanic crater, with a clear blue lake at its base. We can hike to a lake with our naturalists along a trail that leads through a spectacular forest full of birds, unique tree ferns, and ironwood.
Our first call in Fiji is Fulaga, famous for its woodcarving and the crafting of large outrigger canoes. More than 100 tiny islands in the Fulaga Lagoon have been undercut into extraordinary mushroom shapes and the surrounding waters are tinged with striking colors by the dissolved limestone.
On Taveuni, the “Garden Island,” we take a 4WD vehicle to Dos Voeux Peak for fantastic views of Taveuni and across to Lake Tagimoucia. Here we also see tropical plants, palms, and rainforest, and hope to spot spectacular birdlife such as orange breasted doves, silktails, ferntails, and parrots. Or, we can join a walking trip to Bouma Heritage Park to see waterfalls and enjoy a swim. The view from the highest waterfall is spectacular! We also visit a traditional Fijian village, watch a cooking demonstration, and enjoy fantastic snorkeling opportunities.
Savusavu, Vanua Levu
Often referred to as Fiji’s hidden paradise, Savusavu is much the same as it was 30 years ago. Originally a trading center for sandalwood and copra, it is nowadays a small bustling town with an interesting heritage. We disembark in Lautoka on Day 15 and enjoy an island tour before flights home.
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.
Nov 1-16, 2014 Caledonian Sky
Prices are for 2014
Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy
|Standard Suite Forward (SOLD OUT)||$9,265|
|Deluxe Balcony Suite||$11,295|
|Premium Balcony Suite||$11,645|
|Corner Suite (SOLD OUT)||$12,665|
- Standard Suites on Castle Deck with four portholes, en suite bathroom with shower. 244 sq. ft. Suites 254-262. Standard Suites (Forward) 250, 252 have two portholes.
- Superior Suites on Caledonian Deck with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (except for suites 329-331 that feature only a shower). 233 sq. ft. Suites 329-348.
- Premium Suites on Promenade Decks with large window, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower (suites 431 and 432 feature a bathtub). 217 sq. ft. Suites 431-434.
- Deluxe Balcony Suites on Bridge Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with bathtub and shower, and a private balcony measuring 45 sq. ft. 215 sq. ft. Suites 505-512.
- Premium Balcony Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 217 sq. ft. Suites 416-428.
- Owner’s Corner Suites on Promenade Deck with walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom with shower, two forward-facing portholes, and a private balcony measuring 60 sq. ft. 243 sq. ft. Suites 414-415.
Trip Cost Includes:
- Accommodations aboard the Caledonian Sky
- All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
- Shore excursions
- Use of quietvox earphones during excursions
- Use of snorkeling equipment
- Gratuities to crew and while on excursions
- Guest speakers
- Port taxes
Trip Cost Does Not Include:All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; items of a personal nature such as laundry, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges.
Trip Payment Schedule*
At time of reservation: 10%
100 days prior to departure: Balance
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*
More than 90 days prior to departure: 10% of trip cost
70-89 days prior to departure: 40% of trip cost
50-69 days prior to departure: 60% of trip cost
30-49 days prior to departure: 80% of trip cost
15-29 days prior to departure: 90% of trip cost
14 days or less: 100% of trip cost
*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.
Arrival & Departure Information
Arrival & Meeting Place
Aboard the Caledonian Sky, Papeete, Tahiti
Suggested flight arrival time: Morning of November 1, 2014
Embarkation: must be on board by 4:00pm
Ship departure: 7:00pm
Papeete Airport, Tahiti (airport code: PPT)
We recommend that you spend at least one additional night in Papeete before the cruise begins, to allow for any unforeseen flight delays. We can help you book your hotel and airport/hotel or airport/ship transfers. Please call our office for more information.
Date: November 16, 2014
Suggested flight departure time: no earlier than 12:00pm (noon)
Nadi, Fiji (airport code: NAN)
The ship is expected to disembark at 9:00am in Nadi. Please do not book your departure flights before 12:00pm (noon) on November 16. If you require a transfer from the ship to the airport, please let us know.
Built in 1991 as a private yacht, the MS Caledonian Sky has been completely refurbished to become an elegant expedition vessel providing 5-star comfort in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Each of the 57 spacious suites offers ocean views, sitting area (some also offer a private balcony), well-appointed bathroom, flat-screen TV, telephone, personal safe, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, hairdryer, and mini-fridge. The MS Caledonia Sky also features a dining room, two bars (one has a 24-hour tea and coffee station), library, lounge with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, medical clinic and doctor, small gym and salon, ample outdoor decks, and an elevator that serves all decks. The vessel is equipped with the latest safety, navigation, and communications equipment, along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. The Captain and officers operate an open-bridge policy that allows passengers onto the bridge at most times. A fleet of Zodiacs are available for landing at remote locations.