2019 South Pacific Cruise to Totality Overview
|Monday - Wednesday||June 16-26||Easter Island Exploration Add-On|
|Day 1||Wednesday||June 26||Papeete, Tahiti||22:00|
|Day 2||Thursday||June 27||At sea|
|Day 3||Friday||June 28||At sea|
|Day 4||Saturday||June 29||At sea - Passing Gambier Island|
|Day 5||Sunday||June 30||Pitcairn Island|
|Day 6||Monday||July 1||Pitcairn Island|
|Day 7||Tuesday||July 2||Total Solar Eclipse at sea – APPROX. 24° 48’ 38.41’ South & 133° 38’ 45.78’ West|
|Day 8||Wednesday||July 3||At sea|
|Day 9||Thursday||July 4||At sea|
|Day 10||Friday||July 5||Rangiroa|
|Day 11||Saturday||July 6||Bora Bora|
|Day 12||Sunday||July 7||Taha'a - private islet|
|Day 13||Monday||July 8||Huahine|
|Day 14||Tuesday||July 9||Moorea - Papeete|
|Day 15||Wednesday||July 10||Disembark||09:30*|
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.
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)
At sea – Passing Gambier 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.
Total Solar Eclipse at Sea – approx. 24° 48’ 38.41’ South & 133° 38’ 45.78’ West
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.
Taha’a – private islet
Moorea – Papeete
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.
Optional: Pre-Cruise Exploration to Easter Island
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.
Overnight: InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa (2 nights)
Free Day in Tahiti
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Overnight: Hotel Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa (6 nights)
Tahai - Hanga Roa - Cave Exploration or Botanical Garden
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.
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.
Rano Kau - Orongo - Boat Excursion to Iti, Nui & Kao Kao Islands
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.
North Shore Hiking Exploration or Beach Day
Ahu Akivi - Earth Oven Dinner & Polynesian Dance
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.
Free Time on Easter Island - Fly to Tahiti
Overnight: InterContinental Tahiti (2 nights)
Free Day in Tahiti
Embark M/S Paul Gauguin
$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.
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.