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French Polynesia Below the Surface: The Society Islands & Tuamotus

Program Number: 19386RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/15/2015 - 3/29/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Pacific Islands/Tahiti/French Polynesia
Price starting at: $7,699.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 39; 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 13 Dinners    

Crystal blue waters are home to rays, dolphins, sharks and brilliantly colored reef fish of French Polynesia. Explore the marine life as you snorkel your way through the islands of Tahiti and the Tuamotu. Along the way, engage with the local French Polynesians and learn about the history and culture of these paradise islands.




Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles per day on field trips; some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.



Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Tahiti, 3 nights; aboard MS Paul Gauguin, 10 nights.



Coordinated by Hawaii Pacific University.



Days 1-4:
Arrival Tahiti (French Polynesia) / embark MS Paul Gauguin:

Expert lectures and a visit to the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands give you a geographic and oceanographic explanation of the islands and an overview of its history. Explore the island, including interesting sites like Vaipahi Gardens and Arahurahu Marae. Take an introductory snorkel.
Lodging: Comfortable beach hotel.



Day 5:
Huahine:

On an expert-led excursion, learn about this island's history, its sacred legends,and explore its underwater life through "drift snorkeling," allowing the gentle current to carry you past a beautiful coral garden.



Days 6-7:
Bora Bora:

Experience this idyllic island for two days, taking advantage of the opportunity to snorkel in its spectacular lagoon, learning about its role as an American military supply base in World War II and picnicking on a motu (reef islet).



Day 8:
Rangiroa:

Enjoy snorkeling at a natural, open-water aquarium near Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the Tuamotus. Discover an incredible array of tropical fish of all colors and sizes.



Days 9-10:
Fakarava/At Sea:

Discover the island where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water. So pure is the environment here that Fakarava is now classified a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere reserve. Spend a day at sea, with class time in the morning, and the rest of the day free to enjoy the 5-star Paul Gauguin cruise ship.



Day 11:
Tahaa:

Visit a vanilla farm and a private family pearl farm to see pearl cultivation firsthand. Spend the afternoon on the isolated islet of Motu Mahana and enjoy a barbecue lunch. If you like, snorkel in the waters off a motu.



Days 12-13:
Moorea:

Embark on a small boat for a dolphin-watching expedition with a marine biologist and witness these fascinating animals in their natural habitat. Visit the University of California’s South Pacific Research Station.



Days 14-15:
Tahiti / disembark / overnight flight to the U.S.A.




MS Paul Gauguin

The Paul Gauguin was designed specifically to sail the shallow seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia, visiting small ports that larger ships can't reach and effortlessly blending into the environment. Spacious suites and staterooms, an onboard water sports marina, a choice of three open-seating dining venues and a spa are among its attributes.


Meals and Lodgings
   Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel
  Tahiti, French Polynesia 3 nights
   MS Paul Gauguin
  Tahiti, French Polynesia
Huahine, French Polynesia
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Tuamotu Islands - Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Tuamotu Islands - Fakarava, French Polynesia
At Sea, French Polynesia
Tahaa, French Polynesia
Moorea, French Polynesia
10 nights
 Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated just 15 km south of Faa International Airport, Le Méridien Tahiti overlooks beautiful white sand beaches, calming blue waves, and majestic mountains. Located along a lagoon, the resort has an exceptional view of the island of Moorea and offers 138 garden and lagoon view rooms and 12- over water bungalows. Rooms offer vivid colors with Polynesian flair. Additionally, there’s a vibrant international arts scene occuring at Le Méridien Tahiti. L’Atelier, its onsite art space, features contemporary artists from across French Polynesia and the world. Unlike most galleries, L’Atelier draws creative guests with exhibitions as well as with artists themselves. Its loft is an inviting setting for lectures, art workshops, and openings where guests will find fresh opportunities to peruse contemporary art. Guests are free to observe artists at work and/or enroll in an art class with the visiting artist (a fee applies).
  Contact info: P.O. Box 380595
97718 Tamanu, Tahiti,   French Polynesia
phone: +011- (689) 470707
web: www.lemeridientahiti.com
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning, direct dial phone, safe, satellite television, WIFI (for a fee), minibar, refrigerator, and coffee-make. Bathrooms feature a separate bathtub and walk-in shower and hair dryer. Terraces are available in all rooms.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has a (2) restaurants- La Plantation offering a mix of Polynesian and international flavors buffet-style or ala carte, and the gourmet restaurant Le Carre, located right by the lagoon. Live music and cocktails are available at the Astroblabe bar and casual drinks can be found at the Pool Bar. Le Meridien Tahiti also provides complimentary use of its sandy bottom swimming pool (largest in the South Pacific), kayaks and outrigger canoes, aqua gym classes, tennis courts, beach volleyball court, and ping pong. Meeting rooms and business facilities are also available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: See "Addtl Nights Comments" A special group rate will be honored 7 days prior and 10 days after the “main program dates”, based on space availability. Participants must contact and pay the hotel directly for these accommodations. A credit card is required for guarantee. Participants must reference Road Scholar to receive special rates. To book, contact Le Méridien Hotel Reservations Department Tél : 47 07 29 -Fax : 47 07 28 E-mail : rez@lemeridien-tahiti.pf
  Check in time: 1:00 PM

 MS Paul Gauguin
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Most luxurious ship to sail in Tahiti on a year-round basis with a capacity of only 332 guests onboard. Designed specifically to sail the shallow seas of the South Pacific, visiting small ports that larger ships cannot reach . Crew to guest ratio of 1 to 1.5. All oceanview accommodations, nearly 70% with balconies. Space to guest ratio of nearly 58 to 1, one of the highest of any ship serving the North American market. “Highest-Ranked Small Luxury Cruise Ship” -Condé Nast Traveler, Readers’ Poll (2008).
  Ship Information: Overall Length: 513 feet (156.5 meters) Beam (width): 71 feet (21.6 meters) Draft: 16.9 feet (5.15 meters) Passengers: 332 Officers: Crew: 217 International Passenger Decks: 7 Shipyard: Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, France Gross Tonnage: 19,200 Cruising Speed: 18 knots Ship's Registry: Bahamas Propulsion System: Diesel Electric
  Contact info: 11100 Main Street, Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98004 USA
phone: 800-848-6172
web: www.pgcruises.com
  Room amenities: All oceanview staterooms feature temperature control, queen-size bed (a limited number can have twin-bed configuration) bathroom with full –size bathtub and shower, bathrobes, slippers, hair dryer, TV, CD/DVD player, personal safe, and a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, bottled water and beer. Luxurious bathrobes and cotton slippersare also provided in each bathroom as well as luxury beauty products that include shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and bath gel. Complimentary in-room movie channels and movies available. The standard electrical voltage aboard ship is 220 volts. In the bathrooms, you will find a 110-volt AC outlet to accommodate most U.S. standard shavers. There are both 220-volt and 110-volt AC outlets in the suite/stateroom beside the dressing table mirror. For safety reasons, travel irons are not permitted onboard. Guests can make telephone calls directly from their suite or stateroom. Fax messages are received and sent through the reception desk. There are nine computers and a printer. Internet and Wireless access is available.
  Facility amenities: Two elegant restaurants and one pool-side grill, all with open-seating dining. Complimentary in-room dining and Complimentary 24-hour room service. A choice of 3 dining options: 1) L'Etoile - international a la carte menu 2) La Veranda - indoor/outdoor breakfast and lunch as well as reservations-only French bistro for dinner. 3) Le Grill - casual al fresco poolside dining, serving breakfast, lunch and South Pacific-inspired cuisine for dinner. Complimentary beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, coffee and tea served throughout the ship. Well-being and vegetarian selections and special dietetic menus upon request. WiFi hotspots are available throughout the ship. There is an Internet café with terminals or guests can bring their own laptop. Onboard laundry and valet services, including pressing and dry cleaning, are available with charge and may be arranged through your stewardess for same-day service. The Medical Center is designed to provide medical care for temporary illnesses and accidents. The ship’s licensed and registered doctor and nurse are on 24-hour call for professional and emergency services, which are available at customary charges. The onboard fitness center includes a lap pull-down, seated rowing machine, ellipticals, treadmills, a stair climber, recumbent bicycle, upright bicycle, and free weights with bench. The onboard state-of-the-art retractable Watersports Marina for complimentary kayaking, windsurfing and waterskiing, optional PADI dive program and certification. Luxurious Spa and Salon with a wide array of services. The ship also has a La Boutique Gift shop, outdoor swimming pool and pool bar, reading Gallery & DVD library.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Afternoon flight to Papeete, Tahiti and late evening arrival. Monday, September 30, 2013: Orientation after breakfast at 10:30 am the following morning at Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel. You will be staying at Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Ends with Farewell Dinner at Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel, Papeete, Tahiti. You will be staying at MS Paul Gauguin the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Paul Gauguins' Guest Registration Form and the Snorkeling Equipment/General Health Questionnaire & Risk Release Form must be signed and returned to Pacific Islands Institute. Please also send a photocopy of your passport picture/information pages.
  Parking availability:
Free; however, there is limited time to rent a car prior to embarking the vessel.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Tahiti does not have a train system; there is a bus system in Tahiti but generally it is used to go around the island and does not accommodate luggage easily. For more information, please check out www.tahititourisme.com
To Start of Program
  Location:  Tahiti
  Nearest city or town:  Papetee
  Nearest airport:  Tahiti Faaa International Airport
  Transportation to site: Tahiti does not have a train system; there is a bus system in Tahiti but generally it is used to go around the island and does not accommodate luggage easily. For more information, please check out www.tahititourisme.com
  From End of Program
  Location:  Arrive Los Angeles
  Transportation from site: Although the last night of the program is spent aboard the MS Paul Gauguin, the entire group will transfer from the ship to Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel where day rooms will be available. The concierge at Le Meridien Tahiti can assist with arranging transportation to the airport from the hotel.
Equipment Requirements: It is strongly recommended that you bring your own snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, fins) for optimal fit and experiennce; however, snorkeling equipment will be available availab le for use if needed.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Flight to Tahiti/Arrive Papeete/Hotel Check In
(Sunday, March 15)
   
 Afternoon: US afternoon flights for Tahiti, French Polynesia. A snack and a meal are typically included on board flight; however subject to change dependent on airline policy.
 Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti. Transfer to hotel and check in.
   
Accommodations: Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Day 2: Introductions & Orientation/Intro to French Polynesia/Snorkeling Refresher
(Monday, March 16)
   
 Breakfast: International Buffet Breakfast - Restaurant La Plantation, ground level.
 Morning: Formal Introductions and Orientation to French Polynesia. Class: Introduction to French Polynesia
 Lunch: Lunch - Restaurant Le Carre
 Afternoon: Snorkeling Refresher - outdoor pool and/or off the beach in front of the hotel property
 Dinner: Dinner- Restaurant La Plantation
 Evening: Free Evening
   
Accommodations: Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Circle Tahiti Field Trip
(Tuesday, March 17)
   
 Breakfast: International Buffet Breakfast - Restaurant La Plantation
 Morning: Board an air-conditioned bus for a field trip circling Tahiti Nui. Depart Papeete and pass through many districts and villages. Notice how each area’s mayor tries to out do the others with enormous town halls. Passing Faaa Airport, notice that land for its runways was reclaimed from the lagoon. It was not until 1961 that modern jets were able to land here. Stop at the ancient Arahurahu marae which has been restored to its former grandeur. Next visit the Maraa Grotto, a beautiful garden and cave area, and continue on past the golf course which was once a huge cotton plantation worked by coolie labor from China. It was planted to fulfill the shortage of cotton in Europe caused by the American Civil War. A short distance further on, visit the Vaipahi Garden with its beautiful waterfall before stopping at restaurant Musee Gauguin for a buffet lunch. After lunch, drive a short distance to the Gauguin Museum located in Mataiea Village where Gauguin lived. While not many originals of Gauguin’s work are in the museum, it is fascinating and details his life and his work.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Continue on and pass through beautiful Papeari Village and along the inlet (Phaeton Bay) which has a number of fish traps; then cross the Isthmus of Taravao, pass the base where the military have been located since 1844. The ships of Antoine de Bougainville, anchored near the two small offshore islands in Hitiaa in 1786. At Mahaena, Tahitians fought an armed rebellion for three years against the annexation of Tahiti by France. Next stops will include Arahoho Blowhole, Fa`aurumai Waterfall, and Point Venus and Matavai Bay. Captains Wallis, Cook and Bligh anchored in the Matavai Bay area. Located here is a memorial to the arrival of the first Christian missionaries in 1797 and a lighthouse constructed in 1868, despite its 1867 date. Continue on to Pirae and pass One Tree Hill called Taharaa today.
 Dinner: Dinner - Restaurant La Plantation
   
Accommodations: Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Museum of Tahiti/Papeete Open Market/Board Ship/Sail for Huahine
(Wednesday, March 18)

Note: Some walking on level ground during field trip and excursion; stairs to board the ship



   
 Breakfast: International Buffet Breakfast - Restaurant La Plantation
 Morning: Field Trip: Visit to the Musee de Tahiti et des Iles (Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands) for a fascinating exhibit of all that makes up French Polynesia - the geographic and oceanographic explanation of the islands, life in the sea and on land, progressive stages of its history, pre-European artifacts, a collection of memorabilia of political, cultural and social leaders. Return to hotel and check out before departing for the Papeete Open Market
 Lunch: Lunch at the Papeete Open Market
 Afternoon: Excursion: A walking tour of the Papeete Open Market to see the native fruits, vegetables and crafts of Tahiti. After field trip, depart for Port of Papeete. Board MS Paul Gauguin, Board, locate stateroom, get settled. Free time to explore the ship and pick up snorkel gear available at the Marina on Deck 3.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner- L'Etoile Restaurant: Deck 5, Aft Enjoy cuisine amid the classic furnishings and fluted shell lighting reminiscent of one of the refined dining establishments in Paris. Here delectable cuisine is artfully presented and guests receive the most diligent attention. L'Etoile is only open for dinner (7:00 - 9:30 pm).
 Evening: Cast off for our adventure as the Paul Gauguin departs Papeete for our first stop in the Society Islands -Huahine. Just over a hundred miles from Tahiti, Huahine is actually composed of two islands - Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti ("Big Huahine" and "Little Huahine") - and is surrounded by a deep lagoon encircled by a coral necklace. The most traditional and undeveloped island in French Polynesia, Huahine exudes a laid- back small-town atmosphere.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Huahine Snorkeling/Sail for Bora Bora
(Thursday, March 19)

Note: Drift snorkeling off boat in lagoon. Must be able to swim and to climb ladders to get on and off boat.



   
 Breakfast: The ship provides a couple of dining venues for breakfast. (Room service is available as well) La Veranda: Deck 6, Aft This restaurant offers breakfast (7:30 -10:00 am), in a setting whose ambience might recall leisurely dining on a yacht club terrace on the Cote d'Azur. Le Grill: Deck 8, Mid Greet the sun with a buffet breakfast at Le Grill (7:00 - 9:30 am)
 Morning: Arrive in Huahine about approximately 8 am. Field Trip: Exploration and Snorkeling in Huahine. We’ll explore Huahine Iti aboard a comfortable motorized outrigger canoe, as you learn about the island's history, its sacred legends and insight into daily island life. There will be an opportunity for drift snorkeling at a beautiful coral garden and a stop at a beautiful white sand beach.
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Huahine on your own or enjoy the ship's various amenities and activities. The MS Gauguin daily offers a variety of cultural and educational classes and opportunities. A schedule, called the "Ia Orana" will be delivered daily to your stateroom and inform you of that day's activities. Ship sets sail for Bora Bora at 5 pm.
 Dinner: La Veranda - This restaurant becomes a reservations-only French Bistro at dinner (7:00 - 9:00 pm).
 Evening: Optional Activity: Enjoy the nightly performance offered by the ship in the Le Grand Salon on Deck 5, forward. Watch spectacular performances, such as an electrifying Polynesian show featuring the arts of the islands in the main lounge. One night it might be the soaring acappella harmonies of himene songs. Another might feature a thrilling performance of otea - a complex line dance accompanied by drums telling the ancestral legends of the Polynesian people.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Lagoon Exploration/Bora Bora Excursion/Overnight in Bora Bora
(Friday, March 20)

Note: Snorkeling off boat in lagoon. Must be able to swim and to climb ladders to get on and off boat



   
 Arrive To: Arrive Bora Bora at approximately 8 am: Surrounded by offshore motu islets inside a protective coral necklace, Bora Bora is in the center of a multi-colored lagoon world-famous for its beauty. Generations of travelers, including novelist James Michener, have regarded Bora Bora as an earthly paradise
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Excursion: Motu and Lagoon Exploration - An opportunity to snorkel in Bora Bora's beautiful lagoon as well as to visit a scenic private motu
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the private motu
 Afternoon: Continuation of snorkeling trip. Upon your return, you will have a free Afternoon to enjoy shipboard activities or venture on your own to Bora Bora for independent exploration. The Paul Gauguin will run tenders ashore to Vaitape, Bora Bora's main town.
 Dinner: Dinner at leisure on your own aboard ship.
 Evening: Optional Activity: You may wish to take tenders directly to the famous “Bloody Mary” Bar and Restaurant. This bar features sandy floors and is very popular with visitors.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Overview of Bora Bora/Free Time/Sail for Rangiroa
(Saturday, March 21)

Note: Must be able to climb aboard 4X4 vehicles.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Field Trip: Overview of Bora Bora, including WWII American military history and relics. Bora Bora was a U.S. supply base during World War II; naval gun sites can still be seen. Don't forget your camera as you will witness amazing vistas overlooking this breathtaking lagoon.
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Bora Bora or relax. Ship sets sail for Rangiroa at 4pm.
 Dinner: Le Grill - At night Le Grill is transformed into a cozy indoor/outdoor restaurant serving grilled specialties in a more casual atmosphere.
 Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available. Sail to Rangiroa at 4 pm.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Morning Class/Snorkel Rangiroa Aquarium/Evening Sail for Fakarava
(Sunday, March 22)

Note: Snorkeling off boat in deep water. Must be able to swim and to climb ladders to get on and off boat.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Class: Topic Instructor's Choice
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda
 Afternoon: Ship arrives at Rangiroa at 12 pm. Rangiroa, in the Tuamotu Archipelago, is the second-biggest atoll in the world (behind Kwajalein in Micronesia). With its string of coral encircling a turquoise and jade-green lagoon, it is also one of the world's greatest dive destinations. There are 240 tiny islets, or motu, each no more than three feet in elevation, completely encircling the deep lagoon for more than 110 miles. The lagoon is more like a vast inland sea. The motu separate two legendary bodies of water, Moana-tea (Peaceful Ocean) and Moana-uri (Wild Ocean). Field Trip: Snorkel Rangiroa's Aquarium. Depart the pier via local boat for the ride to Motu Nui Nui, a natural, open-water aquarium renowned for its marine life. Along the way, you will observe an abundance of colorful fish, coral and marine life.
 Dinner: L`Etoile Restaurant
 Evening: Ship sets sail for Fakarava at 5:30 pm Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Fakarava Exploration/Sail for Tahaa
(Monday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Ship arrives Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago at 8 am. Fakarava is an untouched world where nesting birds and marine life live in harmony with the land and water. So pure is the environment here that Fakarava is now classified a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere reserve.
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Fakarava on your own or enjoy the ship. Shore excursions are available through the ship for an extra fee.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own aboard ship at your favorite dining spot.
 Evening: Set sail at 5:30 pm for Tahaa. Tahaa is the only island in the Society Islands that can be completely circled by a ship inside a lagoon. Tahaa also produces 80% of all the vanilla in French Polynesia. Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Class/Free Afternoon
(Tuesday, March 24)
   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Class: Topic Instructor's Choice
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon to enjoy shipboard activities.
 Dinner: Le `Etoile
 Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Tahaa Field Trip/BBQ Beach Party/ Sail for Moorea
(Wednesday, March 25)

Note: When taking a tender to Motu Mahana, it will be a wet landing, in which you will go down a ramp into knee-deep water and then wade ashore. Wear reef shoes or some other footwear that can get wet.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Arrive Tahaa at approximately 9am. Disembark ship for field trip. Visit a private family pearl farm to see and learn about pearl cultivation, history & legends of the island. From there, journey to a vanilla farm to learn more about this important island industry. We’ll view other highlights of Tahaa along the way as we explore this beautiful island.
 Lunch: Barbeque Beach Party on Motu Mahana. A "motu" refers to a reef islet formed by broken coral and sand surrounding a tropical island, lagoon, or atoll.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to enjoy Motu Mahana, where the ship will be offering a barbeque lunch (weather permitting) and a Polynesian Show including music, dancing, and demonstrations. The ship will be running regular tenders to Motu Mahana, so feel free to catch any one when you're ready. The last tender back to the ship from Motu Mahana is approximately 4 pm. Ship sets sail for Moorea at approximately 5 pm.
 Dinner: L'Étoile Restaurant
 Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Free Time/Dophin Field Trip/Overnight in Moorea
(Thursday, March 26)

Note: Must be able to get on and off small boat.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service.
 Morning: Arrive Moorea at approximately 8am. Heart- or butterfly-shaped and incredibly beautiful, Moorea is 15 miles across Tahiti's "Sea of the Moon". Surrounded by white sand beaches, marae (ancient stone worship sites), and spectacular mountain vistas, it is twice as old as Tahiti. Moorea has two stunning, neighboring, fjord-like bays - Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay - which give the island its distinctive butterfly shape.
 Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.
 Afternoon: Field Trip: Dolphins of French Polynesia – A boat-based Field Trip around Moorea to observe dolphins, hopefully including schools of acrobatic "Spinner Dolphins", and to learn of their remarkable lives at sea. Tender back to ship after field trip.
 Dinner: Polynesian Dinner - La Veranda
 Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Overview of Moorea /Sail to Papeete, Tahiti
(Friday, March 27)

Note: Boarding busses, some walking.



   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service
 Morning: Field Trip: Visit to Belvedere Viewpoint with beautiful vistas of the island, stop at a well preserved and rebuilt historical Marae, view a farming valley inland of Cook's Bay the University of California Berkeley's Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station & the Atitia Cultural Centre, where we will have a delicious lunch featuring local dishes and tour the garden and grounds.
 Lunch: Polynesian lunch at Cultural Centre
 Afternoon: Continuation of overview of Moorea field trip. Tender back to ship; sunset sail to Papeete, Tahiti.
 Dinner: Le Grill
 Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti. Free Evening at pierside in Papeete Harbor or aboard ship. Pack and leave your luggage outside your door before you go to sleep so the crew can prepare to take it off the ship tomorrow morning. Make sure you have everything you need for tomorrow in an overnight-bag you'll keep with you.
   
Accommodations: MS Paul Gauguin
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Disembark Ship/Free Time/Wrap up Class/late evening flight to Los Angeles
(Saturday, March 28)
   
 Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda or room service. (Le Grill is not open for breakfast the day of disembarkation)
 Morning: Disembark ship at 10 am and depart for Le Meridien Tahiti. Arrive Le Meridien hotel- check into day rooms Free Time to enjoy the property and explore, relax, swim, or snorkel before lunch.
 Lunch: Restaurant La Plantation
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to relax and prepare for tonight's departure. Social Hour in late afternoon before dinner.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner - Restaurant La Plantation
 Evening: Late evening flight departure and arrive Los Angeles the following day
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Arrive Los Angeles
(Sunday, March 29)
   
 Arrive To: Flight arrives in Los Angeles in the morning.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Bora Bora Bloody Mary's
Bloody Mary’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience, especially at dinner. You walk on sand floors, sit on coconut stools under a thatched roof and are surrounded by exotic plants. The food impresses, too; you choose your meal from an extensive display at the entrance, with a presentation in English. Fish lovers will get a buzz here, with a tantalising array of lagoon fish and pelagics, but dedicated carnivores are also well catered for, with meat cooked the American-barbecue way. A bit touristy, but it’s a concept that has been cult since 1979, and it’s a favourite with celebrities. Such renowned artists as Jimmy Buffet, Julio Iglesias, Steven Bishop, Commander Cody and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, to name a few, played and sang concerts in the restaurant at one time or another. For additional information, visit www.bloodymarys.com
  Tahiti James Norman Hall Home Museum
From 1920 to 1951, this was the home of one of Tahiti's famous resident authors, James Norman Hall, the co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcairn's Island and other tales of adventure in the South Pacific For additional information, visit www.jamesnormanhallhome.pf/
  Robert Wan Pearl Museum
If you want to learn more about the Poe Rava (the local name for the Tahitian cultured pearl), a visit to the World’s first museum devoted to pearls. The Robert Wan Pearl Museum provides a comprehensive guide to the history and legends of pearls, crossing different cultures and civilizations. Visitors to the museum learn how the pearls are grafted and can see a collection of the world’s most beautiful cultured gems. Entry to the Robert Wan Pearl Museum is free (as of 2013). Open from Monday to Saturday, 09:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry at 4:45) Closed on Sundays and public holidays. Private tours conducted by prior arrangement (minimum 2 people) Address: THE ROBERT WAN PEARL MUSEUM BP 850 Boulevard Pomare (Facing Paofai Gardens, close to the Temple of Paofai) Telephone: +689 46 15 54 For additional information, visit www.robertwan.com/en
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific as Told By Selections of His Own Journals, 1768-1779


Author: Capt. James Cook


A Dream of Islands: Voyages of Self Discovery in the South Seas


Author: Daws, Gavan


Description: Well written chapters on various famous 19th century men who experienced French Polynesia and the Pacific such as Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stephenson, and Paul Gauguin.



Pacific Romanticism: Tahiti and the European


Author: Bolyanatz, Alexander H.


Description: An examination of life on Tahiti from its discovery by the French in 1768 to the present day.



Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life


Author: Melville, Herman


Description: A classic tale based on the encounters of Melville with Marquesans, first published in 1846.



Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia.


Author: Lal, Brij V., and Fortune, Kate


Description: A thorough and up-to-date reference work on just about every topic related to the Pacific islands, from geology to history and politics and from Papua New Guinea to Rapanui.



Gauguin by himself


Author: Thomson, Belinda


Description: This unique book is the first to give equal weight to Gaugin’s activities, both as an artist and a writer, providing rare insight into his intractable character and uncompromising ideals. Includes over 230 reproductions of the artist’s most powerful and decorative works of art, as well as rare letters to his wife and friends, including fellow painters Pisarro and Van Gogh.



Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide


Author: Gerald R. Allen; Roger Steene


Description: This comprehensive identification guide to coral reef fishes and invertebrates from Hawaii to the Red Sea features 1,800 color photographs.



Oceanic Art


Author: Thomas, Nicolas


Description: A concise, cogent and colorful overview of the gorgeous art of the Pacific Islands. Organized thematically with 182 illustrations, 26 in color





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