The Experience

DAY 1-3: U.S./Honiara, Solomon Islands/Embark Inaugural Voyage
Depart for Honiara, Solomon Islands and cross the international date line. Embark the ship for a champagne welcome and inaugural festivities aboard National Geographic Orion. (D)

DAY 4-5: Solomon Islands
Settled as early as 2500 BC by skull worshipping tribes, today the friendly Solomons remain some of the least visited, most dive-worthy South Pacific islands. This region was a strategic WWII battleground and we visit Kennedy Island, named after President John F. Kennedy who swam ashore here after the Japanese sank his PT-109 patrol boat. We meet the wood carvers of Marovo, reported to be the best in the Pacific, and explore isolated Marovo Lagoon, a proposed UNESCO site and an exceptional spot for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving. (B,L,D)

DAY 6-8: Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is a patchwork of mountains and jungle, home to some 700 Papuan and Melanesian tribes, each with its own language. On Kitava in the Trobriands hundreds of villagers gather to celebrate with great festivities, dancing, singing and chanting. Photographers will vie to capture the many beautiful faces. Samarai will be a new call for Lindblad; it,™s an island with a fascinating history of colonialism, missionaries and headhunters. Throughout we,™ll swim, snorkel, and beachcomb amid idyllic tropical scenery. (B,L,D)

DAY 9-10: At Sea/Thursday Island & Torres Strait, Australia
Enter the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world. Head into the Torres Strait, stopping at Thursday Island, formerly a hub of the pearl industry. (B,L,D) DAY 11-12: Lizard Island, The Great Barrier Reef
Spend a day snorkeling or diving among forests of corals that encircle Lizard Island National Park. Wander on white sand beaches, learn about the islands,™ significance to the Dingaal people, and hike up to Cook,™s Look,, where Captain Cook plotted his route through the reefs. Then sail to a remote section of the reef and discover a thrilling array of marine life. (B,L,D)

DAY 13-14: Cairns/Disembark/Overnight Hotel/U.S.
Disembark in Cairns located in far northeastern Queensland. Explore its vibrant tropical setting and spend the night at a lovely seaside hotel before flights home. (B)

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