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Passage Through Polynesia | Pape’ete - Cook Islands - Nuku’alofa | 14 Nights

Tahiti to Tonga via the Cook Islands

14 Nights | Departing Pape’ete 24 December 2021 | Arriving Nukua’lofa 8 January 2022 | Onboard Coral Geographer

On our expedition from Tahiti to Tonga, enjoy a leisurely exploration of the Society Islands, the southern Cook Islands and the little-visited gems of tiny Niue and vibrant Tonga.  The emerald mountains of Huahine and Raiatea welcome you and you will discover the sacred cultural home of Polynesia at the 1,000-year-old UNESCO-listed remains of Marae Taputapuatea. The Cook Islands, known for beautiful beaches and lagoons, are full of remarkable experiences. Known as the island of birds, Atiu Island is the perfect place to spot species such as the Rarotonga monarch, Cook Islands fruit dove, Atiu swiftlets and the chattering kingfisher. Taste a local brew made from fermented oranges, see Capt. James Cook’s 1777 landing site and enjoy the island’s untouched beaches. At Aitutaki, considered one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful lagoons with its palm-fringed atolls and translucent aqua water, diving, snorkelling, beachcombing and kayaking opportunities abound.  Niue Island will charm you, as the locals welcome you excitedly to explore the remarkable limestone caves and natural swimming pools of this tiny nation. For a leisurely journey through some of the most beautiful islands in the world, look no further.

Extension Voyage: Add on a 5-night extension voyage from Nuku’alofa to Auckland (New Zealand) & save 10% on both voyages. LEARN MORE >

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Expedition Highlights

  • Explore the lush jungles of Huahine to find sacred marae with cultural experts before kayaking the crystal clear lagoon.
  • Admire Bora Bora’s striking mountainous landscape and enjoy free time to explore its French Polynesian culture and marine wonderland.
  • Visit the ‘sacred heart of Polynesia’, UNESCO-listed Marae Taputapuatea, an ancient place of learning and sacrifice. This centre of religion and culture over 1000 years ago was the departure point for the voyaging canoes that reached as far as Hawaii.
  • See the Kopeka birds at Atiu in the Cook Islands, who use echolocation to navigate the island’s caves.
  • Swim, snorkel and dive amongst a myriad of tropical fish at Aitutaki’s turquoise lagoon in the southern Cook Islands.
  • Meet the descendants of eccentric 19th century Englishman William Marsters, the sole residents of Palmerston Island.
  • Explore the limestone caves and swimming holes at Niue, one of the smallest independent nations on earth.
  • Snorkel and dive the brilliant reefs, explore limestone caves, and discover the stories of Vava’u Islands in the Kingdom of Tonga.
  • Learn about maritime history at the Ha’apai Group, where Captains William Bligh, James Cook, and Abel Tasman spent time.



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 are one night’s hotel accommodation and welcome function prior to your cruise.


Small Islands of The World - Tahiti to Tonga Map


Embark: Board at 4:30 pm at Pape’ete, Tahiti, on 24 December 2021
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at 8:00 am at Nuku’alofa, Tonga, on 8 January 2021

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

Pape’ete > French Polynesia: Huahine, Bora Bora, Taha’a and Raiatea > Cook Islands: Atiu, Aitutaki and Palmerston > Niue > Tonga: Vavau Group, Ha’apai Group, Eua > Nuku’alofa.

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.

Society Islands: Huahine, Taha’a, Raiatea & Bora Bora

Huahine, one of Tahiti’s best-kept secrets, offers the slower pace of old Polynesia. Only eight villages are scattered across the island, but Huahine was once the home of Tahitian royalty and has the highest density of ancient temples, marae, hidden in the lush forests. Surrounded by a deep and clear lagoon, Huahine also boasts stunning white-sand beaches.  Here we will explore the lush shoreline of the lagoon by snorkelling or kayaking, visit the archeological site at Maeva Village with local guides, or take a nature walk into the forest to encounter sacred blue-eyed eels.

The second largest of the Society Islands, Raiatea means ‘bright sky’ in Tahitian. Regarded as the centre of ancient Polynesia, it is likely that the organised migrations to Hawai’i and New Zealand started here. Raiatea is home to rare flora and fauna species such as the Tiare ‘apetahi’ flower, which is found nowhere else in the world.  Here we will have the privilege of visiting the sacred site of Taputapuatea Marae, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the world of the living intersected with the world of the gods. Considered the religious and central temple of Eastern Polynesia.  The Marae was established over a thousand years ago as a place of learning where knowledge of navigation and the origins of the universe were shared. Human sacrifices were also performed here, and the chiefs of Ra’iatea were invested here. We will explore the site and learn about the ancient knowledge and religious practices of the Tahitian people, and how they voyaged from Raiatea to the far corners of the Polynesian islands. This afternoon cross to neighbouring Taha’a to visit a fragrant vanilla plantation and soak up the tranquil traditional lifestyle.

Bora Bora, in the Leeward Group, is a bucket list destination for many travellers. The iconic landscape of white beaches and sparkling turquoise lagoon, backed by the distinctive peak of Mt Otemanu is as beautiful as you imagined. Here you will have free time to enjoy the atmosphere of this remarkable place, or enjoy walking or hiking expeditions, a tour of the WWII historical sites and enjoy swimming and snorkelling amongst the tropical fish and reef sharks in the lagoon.

Cook Islands: Atiu, Aitutaki, & Palmerston Island

Atiu is known as the ‘land of the birds’. The island, which lies in the southern Cook Islands, is home to around 400 proud warrior people. A true expedition location, Atiu boasts untouched beaches, remarkable limestone caves, and a genuine insight into island living.  Here we will disembark to a traditional welcome with the blowing of the Triton’s trumpet shell and warrior’s challenge. Enjoy birdwatching tours to spot the rare kakekori, Cook Islands fruit dove and Atiu swiftlet, which we find in the Anatakitaki Caves, where they nest and use echolocation clicks to navigate the darkness.

Aitutaki, known for a bright blue lagoon and beaches lined with palm trees, is one of the world’s most beautiful islands.  Here, we will enter the lagoon by zodiac, and step over sacred stones to be greeted by a warm Polynesian welcome. Here, we will experience the traditional food and culture of the village – Cook Islanders are known for their gift of communal singing and dancing. We may also visit the oldest church in the Cook Islands at Arutanga. Later, you may relax or join a snorkel in the aquarium-like lagoon, teeming with tropical fish.

Palmerston Island, uninhabited when Cook discovered it in 1774, was settled by William Marsters in 1863, who arrived with Polynesian wives. The inhabitants of Palmerston Island are his descendants, and this is the only island in the Cook Islands where English is the native language. This fascinating history comes alive as we go ashore and meet the local people. Be welcomed by the leaders of the community before touring the village. Enjoy the taste of fresh coconut, and if time permits a swim and snorkel in the lagoon.

Niue: Arrive Pape’ete

Niue or ‘the Rock’, is one of the world’s largest ‘coral islands’.  The centre of the island, a plateau rising 200 feet above sea level, is surrounded by cliffs and terraces with slopes down to the sea. Many limestone caves pepper the coastline. Here we will visit Alofi Village, the capital. The stamps here are the most sought after in the world, and you may purchase one at the Philatelic Bureau, before exploring the limestone caves and finding a remarkable swimming location at Matapa Chasm.

Kingdom of Tonga: Va’vau, Ha’apai & ‘Eua

Tonga, meaning ‘southwards’ is the southernmost group of the islands of central Polynesia. Not a tourist destination, Tonga in an authentic island kingdom where life progresses as its own pace. The Va’vau Group of islands is one of Tonga’s most popular destinations, particularly during the humpback whale migration of July to October. Here, it is believed that the demi-god Maui created the islands by pulling them up from the bottom of the sea with his magic hook. Here we will snorkel and dive over the brilliant reefs and explore the coastal limestone caves by zodiac or visit the charming village and nearby vanilla plantation.

In the Ha’apai group, we remember the history of the Bounty mutiny, which occurred near Tofua on 28 April 1789. The 62 islands in the Ha’apai group comprise of lagoons, barrier reefs, and active volcanoes. Here we will discover the history of the region, relax on the white sand of the beaches, and explore the coastline by snorkelling and zodiac.

‘Eua, often called the forgotten island of Tonga, is windswept and mountainous, perched on the edge of the deep underwater Tongan Trench. It is hilly, with hidden caves and cliff-top lookouts perfect for discovering on walks with our guides. ‘Eua (pronounced ‘a-wah’) is home to endemic plants and the koki or red shining parrot. Enjoy a taste of laid-back Tongan life on the small and little-visited island as you conclude your journey through Polynesia.

Day 15: Arrive Nuku’alofa

Arrive in Nuku’alofa to disembark 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  
24 December 2021 24 Dec 2021 08 January 2022 08 Jan 2022 $11,200 to $22,260 $11,200 to $22,260 Coral Geographer Available Book

January 2022

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
24 December 2021 24 Dec 2021 08 January 2022 08 Jan 2022 $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.


Additional Information: