Faces of Polynesia: Fiji to Tahiti
Before You Go
For most activities a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs and tenders for diving and snorkeling activities and excursions ashore. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances over beaches and sometimes rough terrain. Average daily temperatures will range from the low to upper-70s°F to mid-80s°F, though high humidity can make it feel warmer. Though this voyage occurs during the dry season, rainfall is always a possibility.
Trip Preparation: Gear Up!
Swim and snorkel the days away in the South Pacific in your UPF 50-rated rashguard, with its promise to protect you from the sun and even the occasional run-in with “stingy things.” Out of the water, it’s quick-drying as you load up your gear in your nylon snorkeling/fin bag, with ample room for fins, snorkel, mask, towel, and sunscreen.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
- Activity Level
- Arrivals & Departures
- Baggage Allowance
- Diving & Snorkeling
- Extending Your Stay
- Flight Information
- Health Information
- Internet & Phone
- Local Time
- Packing Suggestions
- Passport & Visa Requirements
- Payments & Cancellations
- With Our Compliments
For most activities a moderate level of exertion is required. Participants should be in good general health. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs and tenders for diving and snorkeling activities as well as land excursions. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances over beaches and sometimes rough terrain. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your international flight at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival at your destination city so that we may inform our expedition staff.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates only. If you are arriving prior to the group day and Zegrahm Expeditions has booked additional night(s) at our group hotel in Nadi, Fiji, a transfer from the airport to the hotel will be provided.
Airlines change flight times frequently and Zegrahm will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
Airline baggage limitations and charges for checking bags vary by airline, destination, and class of service you are traveling. If you have purchased your tickets from Zegrahm Expeditions and have questions, please contact our Air Department for the specific allowances and limitations for the airline you are on. If you have booked your own arrangements you will need to visit the airline website or contact the airline directly.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.
PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
Generally the climate should be similar throughout the many South Pacific islands on our voyage—warm, sunny, and humid with occasional, cooling tropical showers. Average daily temperatures will range from the upper 60s°F to upper 80s°F, though high humidity can make it feel warmer. This voyage occurs during the dry season, but rainfall is always a possibility.
If you wish to do your own research on the region’s climate, you may want to check local weather conditions on the Internet at sites such as the Weather Channel and Accuweather shortly before departure.
The following are average high/low temperatures in October for selected locations on our itinerary:
The British pound is the standard currency on board the Caledonian Sky. However, most guests will pay via credit card at the end of their stay. Please note that a financial transaction fee may occur on some cards. Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your credit card. The Caledonian Sky will charge your credit card in British pounds and your bank will convert the charge to the currency it honors.
The currency of Fiji is the Fijian dollar; Niue and the Cook Islands utilize the New Zealand dollar (NZD); and French Polynesia and Tahiti utilize the French Pacific franc (XPF).
As of May 2015 the exchange rates for $1 US dollar (USD) are as follows:
• 2.03 Fijian dollar (FJD)
• 1.98 Tongan pa'anga (TOP)
• 1.32 New Zealand dollar (NZD)
• 106.97 French Pacific franc (XPF)
Money can be exchanged into local currency at banks during business hours in Nadi. While major credit cards are accepted at some shops, they will not be useful on the more remote islands. ATMs can be a good option for obtaining local currency if you have a VISA or MasterCard debit or credit card, but access to ATMs, again, varies greatly from island to island. Please have some cash available as back-up. Also ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs. Please note that some vendors require your credit card PIN in lieu of a signature.
Diving & Snorkeling
There will be several opportunities for diving and snorkeling on this expedition. Although there is a supply of masks, fins, and snorkels on board, we recommend you bring your own equipment for best comfort and fit. Where we plan on diving and snorkeling, the sea temperatures range from 77-86°F. Depending on personal tolerances to water temperatures, the base recommendation for divers is to bring a full 1-2mm wetsuit. For snorkelers, we strongly recommend bringing a lightweight wetsuit, or if you do not get cold quickly, a quality Lycra or PolarTec suit may be adequate.
For those interested in scuba diving, Zegrahm requires Advance Open Water (AOW) certification or comparable, and you must complete two open water dives within 12 months prior to the expedition’s departure. Required forms including a Physician’s Certificate, Diving History, and Release from Liability Agreement are available on request. Please note they must be completed and returned to us no later than eight (8) weeks prior to departure date. Further diving details for this expedition, including the equipment available on board and items you will need to bring with you, are outlined in these forms. Diving is limited to 16 Advanced Open Water (AOW) certified scuba divers and will be on a first come, first served basis, based on the return of all completed forms.
You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.
The Caledonian Sky is equipped with North American style outlets (two flat prongs) at 110V.
In Fiji, the electrical current is 240-415V with flat, slanted 3-prong plugs. In Tahiti it is either 220-240V with flat, slanted 3-prong plugs or 110V with flat North American-style, 2-prong plugs. If you are bringing standard, North American appliances with you to use while in Fiji and Tahiti, you will need a converter and an adapter.
Extending Your Stay
Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information.
Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Nadi and Papeete/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
A yellow fever vaccination is not required for anyone strictly following our group itinerary. If you are deviating from the group itinerary, please be advised that a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Fiji if arriving within ten days after leaving or transiting infected or endemic areas. Yellow fever vaccination is also required for subsequent entries into most of the other countries we will be visiting during this voyage. Please refer to the World Health Organization website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries.
Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for 10 years, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health departments. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and carried with you on your trip. Your local or state health department can provide information regarding the locations and hours of yellow fever vaccination centers.
No other vaccinations, inoculations, or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition at this time.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
Insect bites can be a problem, and we urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect repellent and bite relief products.
Protect yourself against the heat and the strong sun. Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
During our program, all food and drink taken as part of our itinerary and at our hotels are safe. However, tap water is best avoided. Bottled water will be provided.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
For Internet access, the Caledonian Sky has Wi-Fi access available throughout the ship as well as two desktop computers in the Panoramic Lounge. Rates will be provided with your final documentation, along with contact information for the ship, including phone and fax numbers, as well as email address. Please note that internet connections aboard the ship are low-bandwidth and intermittent.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00a.m. on the North American west coast:
|10:00a.m.||New York, NY|
|2:00a.m.||Fiji (the NEXT day)|
|4:00a.m.||Cook Islands and French Polynesia (the SAME day)|
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
Clothing On Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended.
Typically there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: the captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate, dressy attire, and men, possibly a jacket and tie. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.
Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers are recommended. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two while touring.
Shore excursions will involve a fair amount of walking and possibly hiking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide better support than shoes. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.
Sport sandals with a sturdy sole are the best type of footwear for frequent wet landings, especially where there are rocky and/or coral covered beaches. They provide excellent protection and dry quickly. Other footwear you may wish to bring includes Teva-type sandals and/or canvas sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. You will want to wear pants that are easy to roll up, shorts, or a sarong for wet landings.
You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six (6) months after your return home, through May 1, 2016. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. Please be sure you have at least one page for each country visited available in your passport for entry/exit stamps, and secure additional pages if necessary. We suggest that you carry a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Visas are not required of U.S. nationals for entry into any of the countries we will be visiting during this voyage. If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the voyage, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the U.S. should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
• 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
• 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
• 60 through 119 days prior to departure: 50% of expedition fare
• 1 through 59 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.