Starting in November, 2010, the five voyages explore from Easter Island to Tahiti (Voyage 19); the Tahitian Islands to Fiji (Voyage 20); the Fijian Islands to New Zealand (Voyage 21); The Maori Coast (Voyage 22); and a thrilling New Year’s Eve discovery of Australia (Voyage 23). Shore excursions are included at every port and each voyage will be enhanced by an extraordinary ‘Ultimate Explorers Experience’ (UEE), designed to bring guests into direct personal contact with fascinating people, cultures and natural wonders.
Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com), the world’s leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, offers the South Pacific voyages of discovery sailing aboard the 120-guest, all-suite Spirit of Oceanus – recently named by Frommer’s as the Top Small Ship for 2010. Guests will save up to $2,900 per cabin when booking and paying in full by March 26, 2010.
An exploration of the rich Pacific begins on Easter Island
Described as a “string of island pearls,” the South Pacific islands beckon travelers bent on warm water exploration. Voyage 19: Easter Island to Papeete, Tahiti travels to such uninhabited locales as Henderson and Ducie Islands, renowned for their rare birds and indigenous flora, pristine coral atolls, and remote beaches; and Fakarava, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. A highlight of the tour is a visit to Pitcairn Island, where Fletcher Christian brought the HMS Bounty following a mutiny against Captain Bligh.
Accompanied by anthropology expert Dr. Charlie Urbanowicz -- a Life Member of the Polynesian Society, and the Association for Social Anthropology of Oceania, who will offer his keen insights into the islands’ peoples and cultures throughout the voyage -- this 17-night voyage departs Nov. 1, 2010; prices start at $11,895 per person before savings.
Sailing further into the heart of the Polynesian island chains, Voyage 20: Papeete, Tahiti to Lautoka, Fiji offers visits to atolls and villages not accessible by larger cruise lines including Maupiti, Atiu, Palmerston and Vava’u. Highlights of this serene exploration include an exclusive cultural performance, visits to inland villages, and the living coral gardens of Aitutaki (UEE). Zodiac visits to private islands, snorkeling safaris, cave swimming, a Fiji firewalking ceremony and a traditional kava ceremony fulfill the promise of an unforgettable experience.
Joining Urbanowicz on this voyage as co-lecturer is Dr. Aldona Jonaitis, noted expert on arts and culture of aboriginal people and a much sought after speaker on the arts of the South Pacific. This 15-night voyage departs Nov. 17, 2010; prices start at $7,895 per person before savings.
Voyage 21: Lautoka, Fiji to Auckland, New Zealand –- Delivering a true explorer experience, this voyage visits the most remote islands of the South Pacific to view elaborate dances on Ambrym and indulge in pristine snorkeling and wildlife viewing accessible only via Zodiac boat. Guests will learn about the centuries old Maori culture and early New Zealand history in the historic areas of Waitangi and Kerikeri before concluding the voyage in Auckland, one of New Zealand’s great scenic cities. Highlighting this voyage is ascending the slopes of Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island (UEE), one of the world’s most active volcanoes that often spews molten rocks in thrilling pyrotechnic displays.
With Jonaitis continuing as guest lecturer, this 14-night voyage departs Dec. 2, 2010; prices start at $7,195 before savings.
Known as “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” New Zealand is the focus of Voyage 22: Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. Guests will immerse themselves deep into Maori culture, explore the famous geothermal region of Rotorua with bubbling hot springs and the country’s most active volcanic landscape (UEE). Napier offers Art Deco architecture and wine tasting, while British culture abounds in Christchurch, ripe with art galleries and museums. After celebrating Christmas at Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park – a stunning natural paradise with rare trees and vegetation, and native birds -- the voyage visits Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a series of dramatic fiords and inlets. After a visit to beautiful Milford Sound, the voyage concludes in Sydney Harbor just in time to see the firecracker lavish spectacle on New Year’s Eve.
Accompanied by special guest speaker Dr. Kirt Kempter, an expert in plate tectonics and related volcanism, this 17-night voyage departs Dec. 15, 2010; prices start at $14,395 before savings.
The Land Down Under is the final star in this five-voyage constellation that begins with the New Year. Voyage 23: Sydney to Darwin, Australia brings guests up close and personal to a country and continent that boasts unique flora and fauna blended with sophisticated metropolitan culture. With no less then three UNESCO World Heritage Sites featured in the 19-night itinerary, highlights of this Australian adventure include cruising up the Brisbane River, visiting a koala sanctuary, exploring the Kuranda rainforest, and delving into Aboriginal culture through art, music, and dance. Heritage site, Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, features the natural marvel of tall rainforests growing on sand dunes over 700 feet high. Heritage sites Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands offer exploration of the Great Barrier Reef (UEE) via a glass-hulled, semi-submersible coral viewer or through numerous world-class snorkeling opportunities. Traversing the northern coast of Australia, the voyage concludes in modern Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory and situated on a gulf of the Timor Sea.
Special guest speaker Clyde Roper, a senior emeritus zoologist in the Smithsonian’s Department of Invertebrate Zoology, will lend his insights and research in marine biology and bioluminescence. A popular tour lecturer, Roper’s field studies have taken him on extensive explorations of the South Pacific.
This 19-night voyage departs Dec. 31, 2010; prices start at $10,695 before savings.
Book by Individual Voyage or Multiple Segments
The five voyages mark the fifth chapter of the Voyages of the Great Explorers – a series of 24 separate and unique cruises that combine to form a 335-day circumnavigation of the world along the major routes inspired by history’s great ocean explorers. Beginning March 5, 2010, the world voyage will sail ever westward, returning to Singapore on February 3, 2011.