2019 South Pacific Cruise to Totality Overview

DESCRIPTION ARRIVE DEPART
Monday - Wednesday June 16-26 Easter Island Exploration Add-On
Day 1WednesdayJune 26Papeete, Tahiti22:00
Day 2ThursdayJune 27At sea
Day 3FridayJune 28At sea
Day 4SaturdayJune 29At sea - Passing Gambier Island
Day 5SundayJune 30Pitcairn Island
Day 6MondayJuly 1Pitcairn Island
Day 7TuesdayJuly 2Total Solar Eclipse at sea – APPROX. 24° 48’ 38.41’ South & 133° 38’ 45.78’ West
Day 8WednesdayJuly 3At sea
Day 9ThursdayJuly 4At sea
Day 10FridayJuly 5Rangiroa
Day 11SaturdayJuly 6Bora Bora
Day 12SundayJuly 7Taha'a - private islet
Day 13MondayJuly 8Huahine
Day 14TuesdayJuly 9Moorea - Papeete
Day 15WednesdayJuly 10Disembark09:30*
* Standard disembarkation is Wednesday, July 10 at 09:30. However, the ship is actually scheduled to arrive into Papeete on Tuesday, July 9 at 19:30. Therefore it is possible to disembark after dinner Tuesday evening after dinner to connect with a late-night Tuesday flight.

Important: TravelQuest, working with its partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.

 

Choosing your ideal trip
Level 1 – Easy: short walks over mostly level terrain, with conditions that will be unchallenging for the average traveler. (Please note that choosing certain optional shore excursions could elevate this trip level.)

At TravelQuest we want to be sure you find the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Wednesday, June 26, 2019Dinner

Arrive Papeete, Tahiti

 

French Polynesia is a spectacular collection of more than 1,800 volcanic atolls strewn across the South Pacific. The largest of the islands is Tahiti, known as “The Queen of the Pacific” – and you’ll soon see why that royal title is well deserved. Blending majestic beauty with a fascinating history, it’s the kind of tropical locale that likely appears in your mind’s eye when you hear the phrase “island paradise.”

Landing at Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport (code: PPT), you can take a taxi directly to the cruise terminal pier and our waiting ship, the M/S Paul Gauguin. Embarkation begins at 15:00 (3:00 pm), and we sail at 22:00 (10:00 pm).

Overnight: M/S Paul Gauguin (14 nights)

Days 2–4 - Thursday to Saturday, June 27–29, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner daily

At sea – Passing Gambier Island

As we sail the South Pacific, the breathtaking ocean vistas are matched only by the sense of peace that comes as you realize how far you are from the usual pressures and cares. And when not simply relaxing, enjoying the views and our ship’s amenities, you can gain new insights into astronomy and Polynesian culture through our daily expert lectures.
Days 5/6 - Sunday & Monday, June 30–July 1, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner daily

Pitcairn Island

 

 

During the total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019, the Moon’s shadow will mainly pass over the Pacific – and its path will include a point just north of Pitcairn, the only inhabited island in a remote volcanic archipelago. It was here that the notorious Fletcher Christian and a few disgruntled shipmates from HMS Bounty founded a “free” settlement in 1790, after mutinying against the autocratic Captain Bligh. Today Pitcairn is still visited by only a small number of ships, most arriving with too little time for passengers to disembark.

While a Pitcairn landing is not guaranteed on our TravelQuest eclipse voyage, we’ve designed our itinerary to allow an extended window in which we hope to set foot on this tiny yet historic island. Highlights ashore include a visit to Pitcairn village to see the Bounty’s anchor and the Bible – and chances to meet the island’s inhabitants, who include descendants of the original mutineers.

Day 7 - Tuesday, July 2, 2019 Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Total Solar Eclipse at Sea – approx. 24° 48’ 38.41’ South & 133° 38’ 45.78’ West

What to Expect on Eclipse Day

by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson

Shipboard eclipse expeditions have an advantage over those on land because of their nearly unlimited freedom to move to find an opening in the clouds. The July 2019 eclipse track lies beneath the subtropical high-pressure area that dominates the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, and so cloud cover is tropical in character with many openings between convective buildups. Satellite images reflect this climatology, with average cloudiness above 60 percent along most of the oceanic track. Computer models of cloud cover at TravelQuest’s planned observing site show that 6 days of the month are sunny and 6 days overcast, leaving a partly cloudy skyscape to the remainder of the days. Ship mobility, guided by high-frequency satellite images that reveal cloud movement and development, will allow the TravelQuest eclipse expedition to exploit this uneven nature of tropical cloudiness, greatly increasing the odds of a successful expedition.

Visualization by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio on September 9, 2015

Days 8–9 - Wednesday to Thursday, July 3–4, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner daily

At sea

Experience more days of peaceful sailing through spectacular Pacific seascape, enjoying the M/S Paul Gauguin’s three dining venues, extensive spa facilities and five-star service. And each day our onboard experts share more of their deep knowledge of the region and astronomy, including the Southern night skies.
Day 10 - Friday, July 5, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Rangiroa

The Tuamotu Archipelago comprises 78 coral atolls scattered over several hundred miles of ocean. Life on these remote islands is simple, peaceful and largely untouched by modern life. In the small villages of Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the cluster, you discover the rich culture of the Paumotu people as they welcome you into their homes and invite you to join in the traditional activities of their daily lives. And the interior lagoons, which are home to many black pearl beds and tropical fish farms, are a natural haven for snorkeling and scuba diving – and our ship can provide you with basic training and all the gear you’ll need.

Day 11 - Saturday, July 6, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Bora Bora

A longstanding dream destination for seasoned adventurers, Bora Bora, with its jungle-clad peaks, white sand beaches and hidden lagoons, seems to have been created for photography. Among the iconic natural features you’ll want to capture is Mount Otemanu, whose jagged, emerald-hued peaks rise steeply from the shore. As for the island’s 4,225 inhabitants, they have a calm, laid-back spirit that will inspire you to simply relax and take in all of that unsurpassed beauty.

Day 12 - Sunday, July 7, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Taha’a – private islet

Choose among three superb shore excursions – or spend your day relaxing on our own private islet, Motu Mahana. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and lounging on the beach with an ice-cold drink from our floating bar. With a delicious seaside barbecue of local specialties, and Les Gauguines on hand to serenade you with Polynesian music and demonstrate traditional Polynesian crafts, it should quickly add up to one of your all-time favorite days.

Day 13 - Monday, July 8, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Huahine

Known as “The Garden Island” for its beautiful rainforests, Huahine offers something new to explore around every bend – from sacred landmarks and archeological sites that are among the best preserved in French Polynesia, to colorful marine life you can experience up close on a scuba or snorkeling expedition.

Day 14 - Tuesday, July 9, 2019Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Moorea – Papeete

Often likened to James Michener’s mythical Bali Hai, Moorea boasts the kind of spectacular vistas you may have thought only existed in the imagination. The island’s volcanic peaks rise like a shark’s jaw above palm tree-lined beaches along Cook’s and Opunohu bays. And the world beneath the waves is just as magical, as you encounter tuna, dolphins, sharks (from a safe distance) and schools of iridescent fish in waters that are justly celebrated by divers.

Our official disembarkation is on the morning of Wednesday, July 10 at 09:30. However, the ship is actually scheduled to arrive at Papeete the evening before: Tuesday, July 9 at 19:30. So it will likely be possible to disembark Tuesday evening after dinner to connect with a late-night outbound flight.

Day 15 - Wednesday, July 10, 2019Breakfast

Disembark

After breakfast, head ashore for onward travels from Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport.

Add-on: Sunday – Wednesday, June 16 – 26, 2019

Optional: Pre-Cruise Exploration to Easter Island

Most stand with their backs to the sea, gazing with hollow unblinking eyes across the windswept landscape. Some have been here for centuries; others were only restored recently after being toppled during the clash of cultures that followed the arrival of the first Europeans. In all, hundreds of these impassive figures – ranging in height from 5 to 33 feet (1.5 to 10 m) – were hewn from volcanic tuff and somehow transported many miles to stone platforms so they could watch over generations to come.

These are the moai of Easter Island, long a source of wonder for visitors to this remote eastern outpost of Polynesia, 2,640 miles (4,230 km) from Tahiti, and 2,300 miles (3,700 km) off the west coast of Chile. It’s a place that evokes as many questions as answers, from the significance of the giant monoliths to the origins of the people who first settled this island they called Rapa Nui. And for six days, this remote speck in the Pacific will be home to a select group of TravelQuest explorers – on a unique 11-day pre-cruise experience designed to complement our total solar eclipse adventure, commencing with a non-stop flight to Rapa Nui after a free day in Tahiti.”

 

Guided by our resident expert, you’ll explore all parts of Easter Island, from the major moai sites to recent archaeological finds that few visitors get a chance to see. At Rano Raraku you’ll walk the slopes of an extinct volcano where nearly 1,000 of the massive figures were quarried and painstakingly carved with simple stone tools. You’ll tour the quarry at Puna Pau, source of the reddish-hued topknot hats, or pukaos, found on many of the moai. And you’ll visit temple platforms around the island, from stunning Tongariki with its 15 re-erected statues, to Ahu Nau Nau overlooking Anakena beach, to Ahu Akivi in the interior, to the barren north coast, where you’ll discover rarely seen moai on a spectacular day-long hike.

Day 1 - Sunday June 16, 2019No Meals

Arrive Tahiti

When you land at Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport (code: PPT) according to your own flight arrangements, your TravelQuest representative is there to arrange the easy transfer to our hotel. For the rest of the day and evening you’re free to enjoy the gardens, spa and pools.

Overnight: InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa (2 nights)

Day 2 - Monday, June 17, 2019Breakfast

Free Day in Tahiti

Enjoy a free day of seaside relaxation, with options such as watersports, pearl shopping, a dolphin cruise or an inland excursion in 4 x 4s.

Day 3 - Tuesday, June 18, 2019Lunch

Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

At approximately 1:00 AM, we leave the hotel (late checkout is included) and head to the airport for our non-stop flight to Easter Island, arriving early the following afternoon. Once the immigration formalities are looked after, we carry on to our hotel in time for lunch and a preview from our Rapa Nui guide of the wonders you’ll explore over the coming days.

Overnight: Hotel Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa (6 nights)

Day 4 - Wednesday, June 19, 2019Breakfast

Tahai - Hanga Roa - Cave Exploration or Botanical Garden

This morning you visit the ceremonial site of Tahai, which boasts three ceremonial ahus with restored statues, as well as the remains of boathouses, a launching ramp and other interesting features. Here you also find the only statue that has had its eyes re-inserted. The nearby museum provides a helpful overview of Rapa Nui’s geology and geography, along with the history of its people. Your tour concludes at the village of Hanga Roa, a short walk from our hotel, where you can visit the historic church.

In the afternoon, you have a choice of activities:

  • The Caves of Easter Island: On a guided hike along the west coast you reach the Ana Kakenga, or “Two Windows Cave.” With flashlight in hand, and balancing caution with agility, you enter the cave through a small opening and follow an interior path (sometimes slippery with sea spray) until you come to a pair of openings in the rock that offer incredible views of the Pacific. Then, returning to the coastal trail, you walk on to Ana Te Pahu, the Banana Tree Cave, named for the lush vegetation you encounter upon exiting through a tube of hardened lava.
  • Easter Island Botanical Garden and the Tadeo Lili Teao Frechet Museum:
    Situated near the village of Hanga Roa, the botanical garden features a wide array of tropical and subtropical plants in a beautiful setting. And the nearby museum of “Tadeo and Lili” uses photographs and artworks to trace the life of a fascinating local fisherman, diver and artist.
Day 5 - Thursday, June 20, 2019Breakfast / Lunch

Rano Raraku & Ahu Tongariki

   

Our first full-day excursion showcases some of Easter Island’s most famous sights. We begin with a drive to the south coast to view several unrestored sacred platforms, or ahus, including Ahu Vaihu, on the bay of Hanga Te’e, and the Ahus of Akahanga. These sites show the impact of the tribal wars that resulted in many moai being toppled over. Next we head to breathtaking Rano Raraku, the principal quarry for nearly 900 stone statues, about 400 of which are now lying or standing on the slopes of this extinct volcano. After a barbecue lunch at the quarry’s edge, we drive on to the island’s most recent restoration project: Ahu Tongariki, a dramatic seaside site dominated by 15 impressively restored moai.

Day 6 - Friday, June 21, 2019Breakfast

Rano Kau - Orongo - Boat Excursion to Iti, Nui & Kao Kao Islands

This morning we drive up the extinct volcano Rano Kau, taking in beautiful island vistas and stopping at the edge of a crater lake with panoramic views of the Pacific. At the village of Orongo, a key site of the mysterious Birdman cult that succeeded the moai builders’ religion, there are petroglyphs related to the competitions by which leaders would be chosen. From this spectacular vantage point you can see Rapa Nui’s three islets: Motu Iti, Motu Nui and Motu Kao Kao. Then, descending the volcanic slopes, we stop to visit unrestored Ahu Vinapu, which might reflect the influence of pre-Inca architects on Easter Island culture. Our last stop is the seaside cave of Ana Kai Tangata, known for its distinctive wall paintings.

Our afternoon drive leads to the port of Hanga Piko, where you board local fishing boats to discover Easter Island from the sea – an unforgettable experience. Our boating tour winds among the three islets you saw earlier from above, crossing the waters to Motu Nui where Birdman contenders once swam to on their quest for eggs of the Sooty Tern. Your coastal excursion carries on past the village of Hanga Roa to the ceremonial site of Tahai, where you can see the monumental moai on their platforms as they were first spotted by European explorers three centuries ago.

Day 7 - Saturday, June 22, 2019Breakfast/Lunch

North Shore Hiking Exploration or Beach Day

Today you have two choices: spend a relaxing morning in our hotel’s beautiful grounds overlooking the Pacific; or travel to Ahu Akivi for a six-hour hike along rolling coastal trails, with stunning views of the island’s windswept and virtually untouched northern coast. Our route takes you to remote ahus, moai and petroglyphs – most of them seldom seen by visitors. Then in the afternoon we all meet at Anakena, one of the island’s two natural sand beaches, to swim in the Pacific, view the moai of Ahu Nau-Nau and enjoy a barbecue among the palm trees.

   

Day 8 - Sunday, June 23, 2019Breakfast/Dinner

Ahu Akivi - Earth Oven Dinner & Polynesian Dance

This morning you can create your own Easter Island experience: enjoy horseback riding, rent a bike or car to revisit your favorite sites, explore the nearby village of Hanga Roa – or get up early for an optional sunrise experience at Ahu Tongariki. In the afternoon we journey to the center of the island to visit Ahu Akivi, with its seven restored moai – which, according to island lore, represent the seven explorers sent to Rapa Nui by its original Polynesian settler, Hotu Matua. Next we visit unrestored Ahu Hanga Poukura and the quarry of Puna Pau, whose red scoria stone was used to carve the topknots of the moai.

After watching the Sun set beyond the majestic moai of Tahai, indulge in a classic Polynesian feast featuring fish, chicken, beef and local vegetables, all cooked in an earthen oven or umu. Then sit back and enjoy a folkloric performance with singing, music and dance – a perfect ending to your Easter Island adventure.

Day 9 - Monday, June 24, 2019Breakfast/Dinner

Free Time on Easter Island - Fly to Tahiti

Today you can relax or explore further on your own – returning to our hotel in the late afternoon for a farewell dinner before we transfer to the airport for the flight back to Tahiti.

Overnight: InterContinental Tahiti (2 nights)

Day 10 - Tuesday, June 25, 2019Breakfast

Free Day in Tahiti

On your last day, you’re free to combine whatever diversions appeal most: relaxing poolside, unwind in the spa, swimming in our hotel’s protected lagoon, shopping for pearls or exploring some other dimension of Tahiti you don’t want to miss… or none of the above. It’s your choice – and as every Tahitian will tell you with a smile, “there’s never any pressure here.”
Day 11 - Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Breakfast

Embark M/S Paul Gauguin

After breakfast and checkout, we transfer in mid-afternoon to the PAUL GAUGUIN and the next chapter of your TravelQuest adventure: the Eclipse 2019 South Pacific Voyage to Totality.

PRICING

$5580 USD per person, based on two people sharing one room. $7580 USD for single occupancy.

  • A payment equal to 40% of this add-on cost total is due August 26, 2018. Balance payment is due at the time of the final payment for your eclipse cruise – February 26, 2019. All pre-cruise tour advance payments become non-refundable August 26, 2018.
  • Flights Tahiti-Easter Island-Tahiti is not included in this add-on tour cost. The additional charge for these flights will be added to your invoice in Summer of 2018.

ADD-ON TRIP INCLUDES

As noted in itinerary: all deluxe accommodations, airport/ship transfers, transportation throughout Easter Island, meals as specified with coffee and water, activities and admissions, and an English-speaking guide on Easter Island.

NOT INCLUDED

Activities on free days in Tahiti and Easter Island, flights between Tahiti and Easter Island (group pricing will be provided in Summer 2018), and gratuities to Easter Island guides and driver.

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