An unforgettable expedition into the heart of the Pacific Ocean with National Geographic and PONANT. This 14-day expedition introduces you to breathtaking turquoise waters, white sand beaches and endless beauty as we sail through some of the most magnificent waters in the world. Begin your journey in Easter Island, home to the iconic & striking Moai, or “walking statues”, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make your way towards the Pitcairn Islands, the Gambier Islands and the Tuamotus Islands where unspoiled subtropical environments, multicoloured lagoons and thriving underwater life can be found. This expedition cruise to Polynesia & Easter Island will furthermore take you to explore the historic Michael's Cathedral in Rikitea and to Aukena where you will discover a pearl farm.

This Expedition Cruise is onboard Ponant’s Le Soléal ship, part of the Sisterships fleet. View full details including deck plans and features onboard here.

Trip highlights

Enjoy magnificent islands as you sail from Easter Island into the heart of Pacific Ocean towards French Polynesia, exploring Pitcairn Island, Temoe Atoll and Gambier Islands.

Explore numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: from Hanga Roa, discover the impressive Ahu Tahai and its monumental statues.

Visit a pearl farm in Aukena, which produces some of the worlds finest pearls and is currently the second greatest economic activity in French Polynesia.

During your time in Rikitea, visit St. Michael's Cathedral which was built in 1839 by missionaries of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary where the interior is richly decorated with mother of pearl and the altar has ornamentation of fine pearl oyster engravings of Mother-of-pearls, encased with black pearls.

Itinerary - 14 Days

1-3 Hanga Roa, Easter Island

Easter Island’s Hanga Roa is the main town and most famous of Easter Island. Explore this iconic town and discover the island’s spectacular treasures, particularly the moai, the iconic enigmatic monumental statues. The Polynesian Hanga Roa culture and its traditional houses are a sheer delight. As evening approaches, make your way to the charming fishing port where weather permitting, you can admire the captivating light of the setting sun.

4-5 At Sea

Spend two days at sea and make the most of the amenities on board Le Soléal. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the on board spa whilst gazing out to sea or take a dip in the swimming pool. You may be able to catch up with our on board National Geographic Experts and Photographers as they give greater insight into the destination via communal workshops. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below.

6 Sailing Along Ducie Island

Ducie Island is a lost atoll in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Discovered by the British Captain Edward Edwards in 1791, it was named after Baron Francis Ducie, a captain in the British navy. Very few ships have approached it, and it has apparently never been permanently inhabited. Sailing away from this coral atoll, you will be able to admire from afar the volcanic island of Pitcairn, whose summit culminates at 330 metres and which has around fifty inhabitants.

7 Adamstown, Pitcairn Island

Secluded from mainstream tourism, the Pitcairn Islands are ideal for those who seek adventurous travel. Made up of four volcanic islands in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, this area is home to remarkable untouched, subtropical islands, crystal-clear waters and rich flora and fauna.
Rimmed by steep cliffs several hundreds of metres high, the volcanic Pitcairn Island is to be explored on foot. In Adamstown, the only village on this 5-square-kilometre land, you’ll meet the 50 sole inhabitants of the entire archipelago who descend from the mutineers of the Bounty. The call to Pitcairn is subject to weather and sea conditions.

8 At Sea

Spend the day at sea and make the most of the amenities on board Le Soléal. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the on board spa whilst gazing out to sea or take a dip in the swimming pool. You may be able to catch up with our on board National Geographic Experts and Photographers as they give greater insight into the destination via communal workshops. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below.

9 Sailing Around Temoe Atoll & Rikitea, Gambier Islands

Sailing around the Temoe Atoll is breathtaking. Trapezoidal in shape, it is the most easterly atoll in French Polynesia. There are several ancient Polynesian remains and archaeologists are attempting to preserve the integrity of the former heritage of the atoll by faithfully rebuilding certain coral monuments. In the waters around the atoll, it is common to see shoals of tuna or sea bream following the coastlines: a unique and marvellous spectacle.

Rikitea is a small town on Mangareva which is located in the Gambier Islands, surrounded by a magnificent coral reef and blessed with generous vegetation, this island, a cradle of Catholicism, has exceptional cultural heritage, with many vestiges of religious buildings dating from the 19th century. Nestling in the heart of this historic site with idyllic landscapes, do not miss the small village of Rikitea, where one of Polynesia’s wonders, Saint Michael’s Cathedral.

10 Aukena, Gambier Islands

The 4th largest of the Gambier Islands, Aukena has a small population of 30 inhabitants and was discovered by the sailor James Wilson in 1797. There are several remnants of this missionary period, such as the watchtower serving as a landmark on the southwest of the island or the Church of St. Raphael, constructed in 1839. These buildings nestling in the forest lead to sumptuous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Take the time to explore this island in the Gambier archipelago, and get a taste of French Polynesia’s gentle way of life.

11-12 At Sea

Spend two days at sea and make the most of the amenities on board Le Soléal. Enjoy a relaxing massage in the on board spa whilst gazing out to sea or take a dip in the swimming pool. You may be able to catch up with our on board National Geographic Experts and Photographers as they give greater insight into the destination via communal workshops. Alternatively, venture to the upper deck to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you may be lucky enough to observe marine wildlife in the waters below.

13 Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands

Rangiroa is a secluded atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago and one of the biggest atolls in the world. Admire the transparent waters, rose-white beaches and famous “Blue Lagoon” seated in the middle of the large lagoon and witness the exotic and thriving world of marine wildlife that lives beneath the crystal-clear waters. Rangiroa is furthermore the centre of Polynesian pearl culture.

14 Tahiti Island

End your expedition cruise in Papeete, the capital city of French Polynesia. Before embarkation, take some time to explore the local area which offers cultural landmarks such as the colonial cathedral and the Maison de la Reine Marau, natural wonders such as the Vaipahi public gardens and an eclectic offering of cafes, bars and restaurants where you can soak up authentic Polynesian culture.

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