Papeete (Tahiti) to Lautoka
13 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Papeete (Tahiti)
Departure 6:00 PM
Papeete is the center of the tropical paradise of French Polynesia, where islands fringed with gorgeous beaches and turquoise ocean await to soothe the soul. This spirited city is the capital of French Polynesia, and serves as a superb base for onward exploration of Tahiti – an island of breathtaking landscapes and oceanic vistas. A wonderful lagoon of crisp, clear water begs to be snorkelled, stunning black beaches and blowholes pay tribute to the island's volcanic heritage, and lush green mountains beckon you inland on adventures, as you explore extraordinary Tahiti. Visit to relax and settle into the intoxicating rhythm of life in this Polynesian paradise.
Day 2 Bora Bora (Society Islands)
If you have ever dreamt up your ideal island holiday, we suspect it goes something like this: Soapy blue seas? Check. Sparkling white beaches? Check. Thatched wooden huts, gently sloping palm trees and kaleidoscopic marine life? Check, check and check. And yet, even by ticking every box, first time viewing of Bora Bora still beggars belief. This tropical hideaway less than 12 m2 in the heart of the South Pacific has been toping travel wish lists for years. Long considered the realm of honeymooners – spectacularly romantic sunsets are a speciality – Bora Bora is not just for wandering with your love. If the prismatic shades of blue of the world’s most beautiful lagoon do not fill you up, then perhaps underwater scooters and aqua Safaris will charge your batteries. If exploring Bora Bora’s lush hinterland is more your glass of tequila sunrise, then trips around the island (often stopping off at the celebrity haunt Bloody Mary Restaurant & Bar) are a must. Bora Bora’s peaceful ambience has not always been the case. The island was a US supply base, known as “Operation Bobcat” during WWII. During this time, Bora Bora was home to nine ships, 20,000 tons of equipment and nearly 7,000 men. Eight massive 7-inch naval cannons were installed around the island, all but one of which is still in place. Although little is known of the history of the island, it is known that Bora Bora was called Vava’u in ancient times. This supports belief that the island was colonised by Tongans prior to French annex in 1888.
Day 3 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 4 Rarotonga Island
Rarotonga is the essence of Polynesia with its warmth, vibrant tropical plants and some of the happiest and friendliest people on Earth. As the main island of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga supports most of the country’s people and services. The island was settled about 1500 years ago by traditional sailing canoes as part of the great Polynesian expansion. Cook Islanders are proud of their culture and happy to demonstrate their traditional skills. Mesmerising dances incorporate energetic posturing of warrior men and seductive gyrations of grass skirts on the hips of women, along with graceful hand movements. An ancient eroded volcano bedecked in rainforest dominates the island. Skirting the mountain is a flat coastal strip where most people live. The island is fringed by white coral sand beaches and a shallow coastal lagoon stretching to a protective outer ring of coral reefs. Rarotonga has many modern water and land activities for visitors, but without the tourism hype of more well-known Pacific islands. An easy escape from is to trek across the island’s interior past the Needle—an aptly named volcanic rock spire. The decaying volcano on Rarotonga produces fertile soil and captures rain, ensuring lush dark green vegetation. Bird life is headlined by the Cook Islands Fruit Dove, and the Kakerori (Rarotongan Flycatcher). Kakerori were critically endangered with only 29 birds in the Takitumu Conservation Area in 1989. A dedicated conservation program has enabled a recovery of over 500 birds.
Day 5 Aitutaki
When Lonely Planet co-founder describes somewhere as “the world’s most beautiful island” you can be sure that you are in for a treat. Incredible Aitutaki, inspiring Aitutaki, unbelievable, idyllic and unimaginable, there are simply not enough superlatives to describe quite how amazing Aitutaki is. Brought to light in 1779 by Captain Bligh, the Mutiny on the Bounty meant that Aitutaki has something of a bloodthirsty history. While Europeans missionaries eventually settled on the island in the 19th century (evidenced by the white, coral-encrusted walls of the many churches) the island’s Polynesian history dates to around 900AD. Traditional songs and dances from this period still exist (although Christian hymns, known as “imene metua” are also popular), and are performed by islanders with gusto and much pride. The island is part of the Cook Islands, one of the most secluded and romantic archipelagos in the world. With its powder white sand, warm turquoise waters and sense of casual luxury, it is easy to see why the island has earnt itself the moniker of honeymooner’s island. However, there is much more to Aitutaki than just fun in the sun. With a reef that completely encompasses a large turquoise lagoon, Aitutaki is considered one of the most spectacular diving and snorkelling destinations in the world. Added to the tropical excitement is that when entering the main village via Zodiac along a narrow channel – travellers will be greeted by a traditional and customary warrior challenge.
Day 6 Palmerston Island
The low-lying atoll of Palmerston is inhabited by three families, all descendants of William Marsters (1831-1899). Members of the community are known to greet visitors and guide small boats and Zodiacs into the lagoon through a maze of coral reef to reach the only inhabited islet –commonly called “Home”. Once ashore, the whole community generally turns out to meet visitors as it is a rare occurrence. The island’s highlights include a church, the oldest house, the cemetery, the school, the underground gardens and “Duke’s Pool,” inviting for a swim or snorkel. In the lagoon’s waters it is possible to find colorful reef-fish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea turtles. Overhead there is birdlife including tropicbirds, boobies, noddies, frigatebirds and terns.
Day 7 Date Line Lose A Day
Planet Earth is divided into 24 different time zones and regardless of where you are on the planet, the time and date always changes at midnight. So, for those who travel westwards, time moves seemingly “slower” over the time zones gaining one hour per time zone crossed, but you suddenly find yourself one day older when crossing the date line from the Western to the Eastern Hemisphere since you have to adjust for the time “gained”! Just to confuse matters even further, the IDL (International Date Line) is arbitrary, and countries can request to move it as they please! For two hours of every day (between 10 am and 12 pm GMT), the world has three different dates, meaning that when it is 11.30 pm on Sunday in American Samoa (GMT-11), it will be 6.30 am on Monday in New York City (GMT-4) and 12.30 am on Tuesday in Kiritimati, Line Islands (GMT+14)!
Day 8 Day At Sea
Days 9-10 Apia
As the first independent state of Polynesia, Samoa is considered the cradle of the nation, a place where the Earth and the heart fuse seamlessly fuse together. Incidentally, were one to translate the word “Samoa” into the traditional Polynesia dialect, they would find that the words “Sa” and “Moa” mean exactly that: earth and centre. Apia, Samoa’s only town, is found central north coast of Upolu, Samoa’s second largest island. Originally a tiny village of just over 300 inhabitants (c. 1800), the town’s population has grown to be just shy of 40,000. While a population of such size might mean forgetting traditional roots in favour of modern life, this has not been the case (too much) in Apria. The Samoan way of life is still very much the order of the day; traditional open-sided houses with thatched roofs on platforms of coral or concrete, also known as ‘fales’, can be seen everywhere and nearly all of the population (including the policemen) wear the typical local dress; skirts, or ‘lavalavas’ for men, and long, mumu-style dresses for women. The markets are bursting with culture and colour, selling everything from handicrafts to cuisine and local produce. If the idyllic setting of aquamarine pools of bluey green water, framed by low fringed palms and huge umbrella trees seems familiar, that’s because it probably is. The island, and notably the southern resort of Lefaga, was used in the 1953 Gary Cooper classic Return to Paradise Beach. It is also the last place on Earth to see each day’s sunset.
Day 11 Day At Sea
Day 12 Somosomo (Taveuni)
Somosomo is the largest village on Taveuni, which in turn is Fiji’s third largest island. The village has had and still has political importance as it is the headquarters for Taveuni’s highest chief, the Tui Cakau, and Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs met in Somosomo until 2012. Somosomo and Naqara, its immediate neighboring village with a predominantly Indo-Fijian population, are the commercial center for Taveuni. Slightly west of Somosomo is the 180th meridian and a sign indicating the International Dateline (which has been moved east of Tonga by now) is about 2 miles to the southwest. Somosomo is also famous for the amount of soft coral in the Somosomo Strait, just west of Somosomo and Taveuni. The reefs along the Somosomo Strait are considered among the best in the South Pacific as tidal currents and constant year–round water temperature create the ideal environment for some 390 species of hard and soft corals and over 1500 species of fish. Other attractions near Somosomo are the Bouma National Park with its waterfalls and Lake Tangimaucia.
Day 13 Lautoka
Arrive 9:00 AM
It doesn’t get much sweeter than arriving on the sun-soaked shores of the Sugar City. Fiji’s second-biggest settlement opens up a world of blissful beaches and turquoise seascapes, while its dense jungle lures the adventurous deep into its embrace. Step ashore where the first Fijians landed, and you'll understand instantly why they chose to make this island paradise their heavenly home. Experience rich Fijian life, and see dramatic displays like warrior dances, and remarkable local practices like firewalks, which kick up burning embers into the night's sky. Legend says the city took its name after two chiefs faced each other in a duel. A spear pierced one of the chiefs, leading to the shout of 'lau-toka!' or 'spear hit!' Sugar is Lautoka’s main trade, but its botanical gardens are a sweet insight into the tropical plant life that thrives here - from pearl white lilies to tall, fragrant orchids. Explore temples, charming cafes and mills - or barter for some of the juiciest mangoes you’ll ever taste at the city’s lively market. You'll only be able to resist the beaches for so long, and it doesn’t get much more stunning than the Blue Lagoon - a heavenly blend of woven together turquoise shades. Remote, wild and unspoiled, these are some of the best tropical beaches in the world. There's more rejuvenating relaxation at the mineral-rich mud pools and spas, fuelled by the volcanic activity below. Savala Island is a teardrop of sand offshore, and another beautiful place to wander with the soft powder between your toes - along sandy spits that peter out into the water. Or swim and snorkel among its envied reefs, thronging with fish life.
All This Included
If you have ever wondered how closely linked astronomy and navigation is, then this is the voyage for you! As you journey takes you from Tahiti to Fiji via the Cook Islands and Samoa, our experts will elaborate on techniques that the original explorers used to discover these beautiful islands. As you venture further west, feel the pull and power of traditional, local lifestyles in these, the emblematic Pearls of the Pacific.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
Terms and Conditions
For Silversea terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.