19386
Pacific Islands/Tahiti/French Polynesia
French Polynesia Below the Surface: The Society Islands & Tuamotus
Discover French Polynesia's unique culture as you snorkel your way through the islands of Tahiti and Tuamotu and meet local members of the community.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19386RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
7,995
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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15 days
14 nights
39 meals
13 B 13 L 13 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Fly to Tahiti
Tahiti
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Activity note: Late night check in at Le Meridien Tahiti upon arrival from airport.

Afternoon: Depart Los Angeles International Airport on afternoon flight to Papeete, Tahiti in French Polynesia. Refer to your personal air itinerary for specific flight information.

Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti late night. Transfer to hotel and check in.

DAY
2
Introduction to French Polynesia
Tahiti
B,L,D
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Breakfast: Buffet at Restaurant La Plantation, ground level. Served with coffee, water, and juice. Dine at leisure.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of the many activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. You will see a number of places in the daily schedule designated as free time when you can choose to do what you like and make your experience as personally meaningful, rewarding, and memorable as possible. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We will then have a class at Le Meridien Hotel introducing you to French Polynesia.

Lunch: Plated at Le Carre Restaurant with carafes of water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Snorkeling Refresher - Outdoor pool and/or off the beach in front of the hotel property. We will have social hour at Le Meridien's L'Astrolabe Bar, located on the mezzanine level, prior to dinner.

Dinner: Plated at Restaurant La Plantation with carafes of water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Circle Tahiti Field Trip
Tahiti
B,L,D
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking up to 1.5 miles.

Breakfast: Buffet at 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.

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: Plated at Restaurant La Plantation

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Museum of Tahiti, Open Market, Board Ship,Sail for Huahine
Tahiti
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Approximately 15 minute walk (up to .25 mile) to Museum of Tahiti on level ground. Walking on pavement at Open Market of Papeete (up to 1.5 miles). Stairs to board the ship on embarkation. Elevators available between decks.

Breakfast: Buffet at Restaurant La Plantation

Morning: We will walk to visit the nearby Musee de Tahiti et des Iles (Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands) with a local expert. The museum contains 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. Walk back to hotel and check out before departing on motorcoach for the Papeete Open Market

Lunch: At the Papeete Open Market

Afternoon: We will explore the Papeete Open Market to see the native fruits, vegetables and crafts of Tahiti. After our excursion, we will walk to the nearby Port of Papeete and embark the MS Paul Gauguin. There will be some free time to explore the ship and pick up snorkel gear available at the Marina on Deck 3.

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.

DAY
5
Huahine Snorkeling, Class, Sail for Bora Bora
Huahine
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

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

Breakfast: The ship provides a couple of dining venues for breakfast. Both dining venues consist of buffet options with coffee, juice, tea and other beverages available. (Room service is available as well) The dining options are: 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. 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: Class: Topic Instructor's Choice followed by free time to 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: Plated at La Veranda - This restaurant becomes a reservations-only French Bistro at dinner (7:00 - 9:00 pm).

Evening: 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.

DAY
6
Bora Bora Lagoon Exploration, Overnight in Bora Bora
Bora Bora
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

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

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service

Morning: Our excursion today is Motu and Lagoon Exploration. This is an opportunity to snorkel in Bora Bora's beautiful lagoon as well as to visit a scenic private motu (island).

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the private motu

Afternoon: Continuation of snorkeling trip. Upon your return to the MS Paul Gauguin at about 2 pm, you will have a free time 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: On your own to sample local fare or aboard ship.

Evening: 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.

DAY
7
4X4 Overview of Bora Bora, Sail to Rangiroa
Bora Bora
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Must be able to climb aboard 4X4 vehicles.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service

Morning: We will tender to Vaitape town from the ship and then board 4x4 vehicles for our overview of Bora Bora field trip. Sites include 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 Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Bora Bora or relax on the ship and take advantage of its free time activities. Ship sets sail for Rangiroa at 4pm.

Dinner: L'Etoile Restaurant, plated.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
8
Class, Snorkel Rangiroa Aquarium, Evening Sail to Fakarava
Tuamotu Islands - Rangiroa
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Snorkeling off boat in lagoon. Must be able to swim and 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). Our field trip today is to Snorkel Rangiroa's Aquarium. We will 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, we will observe an abundance of colorful fish, coral and marine life. Ship sets sail for Fakarava at 5:30 pm

Dinner: L`Etoile Restaurant, plated.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
9
Fakarava Exploration, Sail toTahaa
Tuamotu Islands - Fakarava
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

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. Free time to explore Fakarava on your own or enjoy the ship. Shore excursions are available through the ship for an extra fee.

Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.

Afternoon: 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.

Dinner: Dinner on your own aboard ship at your favorite dining spot.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
10
At Sea, Class
At Sea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

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 Time to enjoy shipboard activities.

Dinner: Le Grill, plated. At night Le Grill is transformed into a cozy indoor/outdoor restaurant serving grilled specialties in a more casual atmosphere.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
11
Tahaa Field Trip,BBQ Beach Party, Sail to Moorea
Tahaa
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Walking on uneven terrain and sandy beach up to 1.5 miles. 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 8am. We will tender to Tahaa for our field trip. Visit a private family pearl farm to see and learn about pearl cultivation, history

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, plated.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
12
Class, Dolphin Field Trip, Overnight Moorea
Moorea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Must be able 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: We will tender to Moorea for our Field Trip: Dolphins of French Polynesia. This will be a boat-based ride around Moorea to observe dolphins, hopefully including schools of acrobatic "Spinner Dolphins", and to learn of their remarkable lives at sea.

Dinner: La Veranda, plated.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
13
Overview of Moorea, Sail to Tahiti
Moorea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking on paved and uneven paths up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service.

Morning: We will tender to Moorea to visit Belvedere Viewpoint with beautiful vistas of the island. We will 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

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, plated.

Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti at 7:30 pm. The evening will be at leisure. 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.

DAY
14
Disembark MS Paul Gauguin, Program Concludes, Fly to US
In Flight
B,L,D

Activity note: Hotel Day Room check-out is by 4:00 p.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda or room service. (Le Grill is not open for breakfast the day of disembarkation)

Morning: We will say "Bon Voyage" to the MS Paul Gauguin and disembark ship by 10 am. Upon disembarkation we will transfer by bus for Le Meridien Tahiti and arrive approximately 30 minutes later. Upon arrival, we will check into day rooms. Free Time to enjoy the property and explore, relax, swim, or snorkel before lunch.

Lunch: At the hotel's Restaurant Le Carre, plated

Afternoon: Free time to relax and prepare for tonight's departure. Prior to dinner, we will have a no-host social hour at L'Astrolabe Bar.

Dinner: At Restaurant La Plantation, plated.

Evening: Late evening flight from Papeete to US Mainland. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys! Nana and Bon Voyage!

DAY
15
Arrive Los Angeles
Arrive Los Angeles





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