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Explorations Of French Polynesia | Pape'ete - Marquesas - Pape'ete | 14 Nights

The Tuamotus & Marquesas

14 Nights | Departing Pape’ete 10 December 2021 | Arriving Pape’ete 24 December 2021 | Onboard Coral Geographer

Cruise through the ruggedly beautiful landscape of the Marquesas Islands, where steep volcanic slopes rise near vertical from the ocean. The most striking of the twelve islands are Ua Pou with its towering peaks, along with Fatu Hiva whose narrow central ridge is so eroded in parts that sunlight shines through the opening. Experience unique Polynesian cultural performances backdropped by towering basalt columns, visit stone-walled churches, sacred tikis and archaeological sites, and take on hiking trails to secluded waterfalls. In the atolls of the Tuamotus, learn about the famed black pearls of the archipelago, kayak, dive and snorkel tranquil lagoons and be immersed in the customs of the South Seas with dance performances unique to French Polynesia.

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Expedition Highlights

  • Spend six days immersed in the stunning islands of the Marquesas, whose dramatic landscapes circled by azure seas were the inspiration for authors and artists.
  • Pay tribute to artist Paul Gauguin, whose final resting place is high on the hill of Hiva Oa overlooking scenic Ta’aoa Bay.
  • Visit archaeological sites of Nuku Hiva with their prehistoric petroglyphs and moss-draped stone tiki’s, hike through fertile valleys looking for rare birds and experience a dance performance at a Marquesan me’ae (meeting house).
  • Feel the mana (or spirit) at sacred places and archaeological sites that Polynesians hold close to their hearts.
  • Hike the trails lined with vegetation-draped volcanic pillars and watch the moment the sunset lights up the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Virgins.
  • Admire the exquisite skills of Marquesan master carvers and perfumers and purchase directly from the artisans.
  • Spend 5 days in the Tuamotus Islands with the opportunity to snorkel and dive the iconic underwater world of Tahiti at the largest atoll in the Tuamotus, Rangiroa, known as ‘The Aquarium’.
  • See the wild horses of Ua Puka and feel small surrounded by the otherworldly basalt spires of Ua Pou.
  • Take a guided tour of a black pearl farm at Manihi.
  • Swim with manta rays at Tikehau before sinking your toes into the pink sand beaches of this beautiful atoll.
  • Discover the geologically unique uplifted coral atoll of Makatea and swim in the magnificent underground grottos.



Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $22,260 n/a
Explorer Deck Balcony $17,500 $26,250
Promenade Deck $13,860 $20,790
Coral Deck $11,200 $16,800

Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.

Included in your fare is one night’s hotel accommodation and welcome function prior to your cruise.


Small Islands of The World - Pape'ete Trip 1 Map


Embark: Board at 8:00 am at Pape’ete, Tahiti, for a 9:00 am departure on 10 December 2021
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at 8:00 am at Pape’ete, Tahiti, on 24 December 2021

Included in your fare is one night’s hotel accommodation and welcome function prior to your cruise.

Pape’ete > Rangiroa > Manihi > Ua Pou > Nuka Hiva > Ua Huka > Hiva Oa > Tahuata > Fatu Hiva > Takapoto > Tikehau > Makatea > Pape’ete

Day 1: Depart Pape’ete

Enjoy a welcome function and one-night accommodation in Pape’ete, before boarding Coral Geographer at 8:00 am for a 9:00 am departure. This evening, join the Captain’s welcome drinks and meet your crew and fellow guests as the sun sets.

Day 2- 14:

These are expedition itineraries covering remote regions. Your Captain and Expedition Team may make changes to the daily schedule when necessary to maximise the guest experience. Below are the highlight destinations of your voyage.

The Tuamotus: Rangiroa, Manihi, Takapoto, Tikehau & Makatea Atolls

Begin your exploration of the Tuamotus at Rangiroa Atoll, the largest of the Tuamotu atolls and one of the world’s greatest destinations for scuba diving. Rangiroa, meaning ‘immense sky’ in Tahitian is made up of hundreds of tiny islets, or motus, strung around a deep lagoon. Famous for its manta rays, Rangiroa also attracts schools of dolphins, turtled, humphead wrasse, and hammerheads. Today we will be welcomed to a local village where we will see the fine shell jewellery produced here. A pearl farm offers the chance to learn about the pearl cultivation and see the stunning shades of black pearls produced here. Then, enter the endless lagoon to snorkel or swim. There is even a vineyard on Rangiroa, Dominique Auroy Estate, and we may have to opportunity for a wine-tasting.

Next, Manihi or the island of pearls will welcome you. This secluded atoll, with white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, is very peaceful. During our half-day here, we will learn about the natural cultivation of the black pearl oyster, enjoy kayaking or snorkelling over the lagoon, and discover an ancient marae, constructed from blocks of coral.

As we return from the Marquesas towards Tahiti, stop at the pristine Takapoto Atoll. The closed lagoon is an untouched haven, and black pearls are naturally produced here by the Pinctada margaritifera oyster. Spend time on the beach and discovering the fish parks made from coral stone.

The atoll of Tikehau, known for its pink sand, is a graceful crown of white beaches and motus around the shimmering lagoon. Home to only 500 Tahitians, the atoll is rich with marine life. Jacques Cousteau, who undertook a scientific expedition here in 1987, said it had the richest marine life in the South Pacific Here, we will visit the local village and enjoy a breathtaking moment as we snorkel with manta rays at La Ferme aux Mantas, a cleaning station where manta rays gather.

Our final stop in the Tuamotus is the uplifted coral atoll of Makatea. This geologically unique atoll is surrounded by high cliffs, peppered with limestone caves and grottos. It had a prosperous phosphate mining industry 100 years ago, but now is home to less than 100 people, although the remnants of mining are still visible. Here we will explore the abandoned mining village, and explore the underground grottos for a swim in extraordinary surroundings.

Marquesas: Ua Pou, Nuka Hiva, Ua Huka, Hiva Oa, Tahuata & Fatu Hiva

We will be privileged to spend six days in the remarkable Marquesas Islands. Sight the remarkable basalt spires of Ua Pou soaring to over 3,500 feet, our first vision of the Marquesas. Ua Pou, ‘the entrance pillars to God’s house’, is named after legendary warriors and overlook the village of Hakahau Bay, where we go ashore. Feel the magic and mystery of the place, as we are welcomed by traditional dancing, including the bird dance, and have the opportunity to hike for a magnificent view. Visit the artisan’s centre and take in the moment.

Nuka Hiva, the ‘beams of God’s house’, is a marvellous island characterised by forested volcanic peaks, a high plain from which waterfalls tumble, and a remarkable archaeological heritage. Here, we will explore Taipivai Valley, where the author Herman Melville hid for three weeks and was inspired to write the novel Typee. Enjoy nature hikes with naturalists to bird-watch or admire the sweeping views, explore the ancient centre of Tohua Kamuihei and Hikoku’a to see the immense ruins, petroglyphs and tiki. In the village, enjoy local cuisine, see traditional dances, and visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame, famous for its stonework and sculptures.

Ua Hika, a secluded and largely arid island, is home to herds of wild horses and goats roaming the high plains. It is the least inhabited of the Marquesas, and the ancestors are still intrinsic to the islander’s everyday life.  Home to the pati’oti’o and pihiti, two endemic birds only found here, Ua Hika offers a unique experience from the moment we cruise into the remarkable narrow Invisible Bay. We will visit a cultural centre and petroglyph museum to learn about the history of the island, before enjoying a hiking option.

Hiva Oa, a lush garden-like island, is the last resting place of the painter Paul Gauguin who spent the last 5 years of his life here. The island’s rugged landscape is arrestingly green and verdant, scattered with archaeological sites and the largest tiki statues in French Polynesia. Black sand beaches and sharp cliffs add to the dramatic landscape. Here we will discover the tohua, the restored site where chieftains would sit, and walk to the grave-sites of Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel. Accompanied by expert guides, learn about the religious significance of the ancient site of me’ae lipoma at Puamau.

A half-day in Tahuata reveals the smallest island of the inhabited Marquesas. Tahuata is rich with art and culture, with exquisite carvings of tikis and other symbols produced. We will have the opportunity to purchase these works from their makers and visit the impressive church which is decorated with carvings and stained glass. There may be time to relax on the white sand beach or swim.

Our final stop in the Marquesas is Fatu Hiva, ‘the roof of God’s house’.  Fatu Hiva is lush and spectacular, and it is also a place of remarkable traditional craftsmanship.  Our arrival into the stunning Bay of Virgins will coincide with sunset, as the volcanic peaks bordering the bay will be illuminated by the setting sun. A warm Polynesian welcome will lead us into the village of Omoa, and here we will have the opportunity to see the creation of tapa cloth, made by hammering bark from breadfruit trees, which is then dried and painted. Birdwatching walks are available or hike through a dramatic landscape marked by granite boulders to an isolated waterfall.

Day 15: Arrive Pape’ete

Arrive in Pape’ete at 7:30 am to disembark the Coral Geographer at 8:00 am.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. The itinerary includes the possibility of interaction with wild animals and this interaction is subject to the presence of this wildlife on the day.

December 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
10 December 2021 10 Dec 2021 24 December 2021 24 Dec 2021 $11,200 to $22,260 $11,200 to $22,260 Coral Geographer Available Book

Your cruise price includes:

  • The services of an expert Expedition Team and Guest Lecturers
  • An authentic, flexible expedition itinerary
  • All daily guided excursions
  • Lectures, workshops and demonstrations onboard
  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Selected wines and beer with lunch and dinner service
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Events, and Open Bridge Access
  • 24-hour coffee and teas
  • Use of all onboard facilities, including a reference library

Your cruise price does not include:

  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping not required

Our friendly reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Contact our team on 1800 079 545 during business hours in Australia or email



Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. Please refer to our Pre-Departure page for facts that should be considered and shared when speaking with Travel Insurance suppliers.


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