Featuring 53 cabins, the gracious and intimate National Geographic Orion takes travelers to little-known waters and isles in the South Pacific, Australia, and Indonesia to experience each location’s natural and cultural wonders up close. With her high ice-class rating, National Geographic Orion is strong enough to explore the polar regions, yet her elevated maneuverability allows for navigation of inshore waters, secluded bays, and sinuous rivers—practically anywhere accessible by sea.
At the helm of National Geographic Orion is an expert crew, capable of handling intricate operations that large cruise ships could never attempt. The ship features modern navigational equipment and technological abilities that allow her to navigate safely, even in uncharted waters. She currently holds the distinction of having sailed further south than any other vessel in the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet.
National Geographic Orion offers guests a spirited, almost clubby environment onboard. Of her many amenities and features, the most appealing is her outdoor deck space, which beckons in the balmy reaches of the South Pacific and beyond and offers a range of panoramic views of the region’s rich avian and marine life.
Explore lost civilizations amid paradisiacal, seldom-seen isles
Sailing in the wake of early Polynesian navigators, this Tahiti expedition strikes to the farthest reaches of Oceania. From remote and enigmatic Easter Island to the historically significant Pitcairn Islands through the “low islands” of the Tuamotu Archipelago to Tahiti, you’ll visit islands that are virtually inaccessible and untouched. The voyage begins in one of the most isolated landfalls of Polynesia: Easter Island. See the legendary moai statues up close and hear the leading theories on what happened to the people who created them from top experts. Walk the length of untouched tropical beaches, meet the descendants of H.M.S. Bounty mutineers, and drift dive or snorkel through an atoll pass.
DAY 1: U.S. / Papeete, French Polynesia
Depart in the late afternoon for Tahiti and arrive late in the evening on the same day. Check into a hotel room and spend the evening at your leisure.
DAY 2: Papeete / Embark
This morning enjoy breakfast at your leisure and spend some time exploring the resort while adjusting to island time. Meet your fellow travelers for lunch and then join us for a tour of Tahiti before embarking the ship in the late afternoon.
DAY 3: Makatea
An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Spend the day exploring limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds, then snorkel among colorful fish on the nearby reef.
DAY 4-8: At Sea / Tuamotu Archipelago
Today we begin our exploration of the “Dangerous Archipelago,” in Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Explore the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift snorkel. From here, your Captain and Expedition Leader will determine our next spot for exploration. In true expedition mode, we will visit some of the Tuamotus’ most remote islands, taking the opportunity to explore them by land and by sea. Navigate reefs and islets as we make our way east and explore one of French Polynesia’s many uninhabited atolls such as Tahanea.
DAY 9: Mangareva
Spend a day at sea scanning the horizon with our naturalists or relaxing on deck with a good book. We then arrive at Mangareva, the largest of the Gambier Islands, with its interesting history and beautiful lagoon. Venture underwater to snorkel, meet islanders to learn about their culture and the missionaries who made their home here, or go on a hike with our naturalists.
DAY 10-13: Pitcairn Islands / At Sea
We begin our exploration at the famed Pitcairn Island. Many of the mutineers of the legendary H.M.S. Bounty made their home here in the late 18th century, and about 50 of their descendants still live here today. Meet the residents and hear a few words of the unusual Pitkern dialect—a combination of English “sailor speak” and Polynesian phrases. Visit the gravesite of the last surviving Bounty mutineer, John Adams, and see the Bounty’s anchor, which was salvaged in 1957. We continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Henderson Island, an uplifted atoll that is uninhabited and virtually untouched by humans. Discover the island’s four endemic bird species, rich flora and fauna, and fascinating geology. At Ducie Atoll, spend time spotting frigatebirds and boobies or snorkeling among spectacular reefs. Diving is available for guests on the National Geographic Orion.
DAY 14-15: At Sea
As we voyage east toward Easter Island, head up to the Bridge to watch for wildlife and observe expert navigation at work as our skilled Captain and officers sail these historic waters. There’ll also be time to enjoy a massage in the wellness center, workout in the gym, and browse in the library. Each day our naturalists offer talks that add depth to your experience.
DAY 16-19: Easter Island, Chile / Disembark / Santiago / U.S.
Arrive at Easter Island where you will check into the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa (or similar) for two nights. Explore volcanic calderas, jagged lava fields, and sweeping grasslands to discover the colossal moai statues, the astonishing legacy of a long-lost culture. Join archaeologists to examine these statues and discuss their meaning and creation; visit burial sites, quarries, and intricately carved ceremonial altars. Join our charter flight to Santiago, Chile for immediate connection to your overnight international flight home.
Restrictions that Apply: Prize valid for one Category 1 cabin for two persons, for departure on April 16, 2023. Departure date is based on availability by Lindblad Expeditions and subject to holiday and other blackouts. Cabin booking and confirmation cannot be made until 90 days prior to sailing. If guest is unable to travel on specified date, departure will be convertible to a standard Galápagos trip on any available departure pending cabin availability 90 days in advance. Donation does not include air transportation, baggage/accident/cancellation insurance, extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, meals not indicated, travel protection plan, items of personal nature, alcoholic beverages, and laundry. Gratuities to ship’s crew at traveler’s discretion.
Generously donated by Lindblad Expeditions
* Should a travel or experience donation be canceled, postponed, delayed, or rescheduled due to force majeure (i.e., weather, act of God, state of war, terrorism, strike, pandemic, etc.) or any other condition beyond reasonable control, the purchase will be honored, per the experience provider, at the experience provider’s discretion, and the winner will be expected to either attend or transfer the purchase accordingly. No cash refunds.