French Polynesia: Pearls of the Pacific

French Polynesia: Pearls of the Pacific

French Polynesia: Pearls of the Pacific

Writer and adventurer Jon Bowermaster’s sea kayak expedition took him to the South Pacific, 1,000 miles through the remote Tuamotu Archipelago north of Tahiti. The magazine account of the trip appeared in National Geographic Adventure in August 2003. A veteran of expeditions ranging from Antarctica to Kenya, Jon will sea kayak in each of the seven continents, plus Oceania, for his OCEANS 8 project—supported by a National Geographic grant.

Experience the French Polynesian islands in style aboard the luxurious ship Paul Gauguin, built specially to cruise in Polynesian waters. Visit Papeete, Raiatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Admire soaring volcanic peaks, crystal clear lagoons, ancient temples, and tropical forests abundant in pineapple and breadfruit. Learn about Polynesia’s culture and history, and snorkel, swim, and ride off-road to immerse yourself in this tropical paradise!
October 1 Los Angeles/Papeete, Tahiti
Depart for Papeete, Tahiti, arriving the same day. Pass vendors of fruit and shells, and swaying palm trees en route to our home for the next seven nights—the elegant Paul Gauguin, a sleek and relaxing cruising vessel moored in Papeete’s picturesque harbor. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner with National Geographic writer and adventurer Jon Bowermaster.
Paul Gauguin (D)

October 2 Raiatea
Once the religious and cultural center of Polynesia, Raiatea is believed to have been a staging area for ancient Polynesian mariners who first discovered and settled in Hawaii and New Zealand. In the company of local archaeologist Mark Eddowes, discover Raiatea’s numerous archaeological sites. At the legendary Marae Taputapuatea, the coral and sandstone temple dedicated to Oro, god of war and fertility, learn about the powerful deity whose cult spread throughout the islands and the human sacrifices once made at the temple.

October 3 Taha’a
Explore Taha’a, a small island enclosed within the same barrier reef as Raiatea, still untouched by modern life. A true tropical paradise, it is surrounded by azure and emerald green waters. Join Jon Bowermaster for a day of kayaking, snorkeling, and a mini-expedition amid the coral lagoons of Polynesia.

October 4 Bora Bora
Discover the steep terrain of Bora Bora’s lush, mountainous interior aboard open four-wheel-drive vehicles. Climb Pahonu Hill for spectacular views of the island’s rugged valleys and serene lagoons, discover the gun emplacements left by American forces stationed here during World War II, and stop at a traditional plantation set high in the mountains just below Mount Pahia. After lunch, relax aboard the Gauguin or swim and snorkel in Bora Bora’s lagoon.

October 5 Bora Bora
Today, enjoy time to kayak, windsurf, snorkel in the clear blue waters, or join Mark Eddowes on a special expedition to discover Polynesia’s fascinating past. This evening, we set sail for Moorea, “the sacred yellow lizard.” Enjoy the Gauguin’s many amenities as you cruise through turquoise seas and past emerald green islands.

October 6 Moorea
Once moored in Moorea, join a local marine biologist and his team in search of dolphins and whales. Learn about these intelligent mammals’ habits and environment. Look for pods of acrobatic spinner dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, and pilot and humpback whales. Later, there’s time to take a swim in Moorea’s blue-green lagoon. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner.

October 7 Moorea/Papeete
Join Mark Eddowes for a journey into the remote Oponohu Valley set in Moorea’s mountainous interior. Explore ancient temples, discover the history of the tribes who once lived here, and learn more about their natural lifestyle based upon the lush forest environment. Visit the landing place of Captain James Cook and see spectacular views of the sacred mountain of Rotui. Enjoy a final cruise as the Gauguin returns to Papeete where she remains docked overnight. This evening, enjoy the glittering lights of Papeete and dinner aboard the ship.

October 8 and 9 Papeete/Los Angeles
Visit the Museum of Tahiti and relax in day rooms. Depart Papeete for Los Angeles on an overnight flight. Arrive the next day and connect with your flight home.

French Polynesia: Pearls of the Pacific
Paul Gauguin Known for her casually elegant atmosphere, exquisite service, and fine cuisine, the award-winning Gauguin has the feel of a private yacht. Choose a luxurious stateroom with sweeping ocean views, offering either a picture window or a private balcony. All 160 staterooms feature a sitting area, TV, VCR, safe, complimentary stocked mini-bar, international direct-dial phones, marble bathroom with bathtub, hair dryer, and cotton robes. Evenings feature the ship’s own Tahitian dance troupe, and dining in a choice of three restaurants. The marine sports platform offers opportunities for kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing, and waterskiing.

D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

Writer and World War II historian Thomas B. Allen spent more than a year researching and writing “The Lost Heroes of D-Day” for National Geographic magazine. He was also the author of the magazine’s article “Pearl Harbor: A Return to the Day of Infamy,” as well as articles on the Battle of Midway and World War II. Tom has authored more than 20 books, including World War II: America at War, 1941–1945 and Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage. Click here for National Geogrpahic’s detailed D-Day feature as reported by Tom.

Tom will accompany the May departure.

On this specially crafted National Geographic expedition travel from London to Portsmouth. Then cross the English Channel by ferry, following in the wake of the invading armies to walk the beaches where the soldiers landed, and visit places of extraordinary heroism.

Day 1 New York/London, England
Depart for London.

Day 2 London
Arrive in London and check into your hotel. Explore the H.M.S. Belfast, the 11,500-ton battle cruiser that served throughout WWII and was one of the first to open fire on German positions on June 6, 1944. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner.
Jury’s Great Russell Street Hotel (D)

Day 3 London
Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral to pay respects at the American Memorial Chapel. Senior staff introduce the Imperial War Museum’s collections chronicling World War II in imaginative interactive displays. Enjoy lunch in a private room of the Imperial War Museum. Discover the real story behind the legend of the Enigma code breakers at intriguing Bletchley Park.

Day 4 London/Winchester
Visit the Cabinet War Rooms, in a fortified basement deep below Whitehall, where Winston Churchill directed the British war effort, safe from the bombing raids. See maps, telephones, and bunks perfectly preserved since 1945. After lunch at the White Lion Pub, an officer’s mess during the planning stages of the invasion, a special guide takes you through Southwick House, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, where Eisenhower made the “let’s go!” decision. Check into the charming Royal Hotel in the cathedral town of Winchester.
Royal Hotel (B,L)

Day 5 Southsea/Portsmouth
Join the curator of military history at the D-Day Museum in Southsea. We’ve arranged for a special tour of the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. Here, Mulberry harbours—enormous portable harbors crucial in transferring troops to the other side of the Channel—were constructed. This was also where the wounded from the beaches were received. Retrace the dramatic night of embarkation during a cruise in Portsmouth Harbour with a naval historian.

Day 6 Portsmouth/Cherbourg, France/Creully
Board a ferry in Portsmouth for the Channel crossing to Cherbourg. During the passage, remember the rough seas and the flat-bottomed landing craft experienced by the Allied Expeditionary Force. Check into your home for the next three days, a picturesque manor house in the scenic Normandy countryside.
Ferme de la Rançonnière (B,D)

Day 7 Utah Beach/Sainte-Mère-Église
Visit the Utah Beach museum and the monuments along the shore. In Sainte-Mère-Église, wander the picturesque market square, church, and streets where American paratroopers landed in a hail of gunfire. A parachute has been attached to the roof of the church and special stained-glass panes inserted in the chapel, commemorating this heroic commando action. Visit the museum for a dramatic exhibition about the night the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions dropped from the sky.

Day 8 Pointe du Hoc/Omaha Beach/Colleville-sur-Mer
Stand on the high bluffs overlooking Pointe du Hoc; walk Omaha Beach, site of the bloodiest fighting of the invasion day; and lay a wreath at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. Be welcomed by the owners of the Château de Creully where BBC correspondents began reporting the war operations.

Day 9 Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches/Arromanches/Caen/Paris
See the Mulberry harbour at Arromanches—known as Port Winston—a remaining prefabricated concrete harbor designed to assist in landing Allied supplies. This afternoon, explore the Caen Memorial Museum, where exhibits and a series of films trace the period following WWI, through the Depression and the rise of Hitler to the Battle for Normandy and the end of the war. Later, transfer to Paris, and bid farewell to your travel companions during a dinner at our hotel.
Millennium Hotel (B,D)

Day 10 Paris/New York
Depart Paris for the return flight to New York via London.

Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

Akram Allam
Recognized as a leading scholar of ancient Egyptian history, “Aki” Allam has been a licensed Egyptologist for more than 15 years. Born in Cairo, he received a university degree with a specialty in ancient Egyptian history. An entertaining and enthusiastic teacher, Aki will reveal the wonders of the monuments as well as the ancient spiritual history and significance of the artwork you will encounter. Aki has guided many well-known Americans through Egypt, and will share with us his extensive knowledge of and insights on his native land.

On this Nile odyssey, the wonders of ancient Egypt come to life as we journey to the Pyramids and the Sphinx, the temples of Karnak and Luxor, the tomb of King Tutankhamun and the temples at Abu Simbel. Cruising the Nile from Aswân to Luxor, see how the Nile has sustained the land and the people since antiquity.
Days 1 and 2 New York/London/Cairo, Egypt
Depart on an overnight flight to London. The next day, fly to Cairo, arriving late evening.
Conrad Cairo Hotel

Day 3 Cairo
Cairo, Egypt’s capital, is a blend of ancient and modern civilizations. Visit the world-famous Egyptian Museum, with its fabulous collection of artifacts dating back to 4000 B.C. Highlights include the treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamun and the stunning Royal Mummies Room. Tonight, gather for a festive welcome dinner at our hotel.

Day 4 Cairo
After breakfast, enjoy a lecture by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Visit Gîza for a private tour of the latest discoveries, and explore one of the world’s most spectacular sights, the great Pyramids. Stand in awe before the imposing figure of the Sphinx. Continue to the Solar Boat Museum, the reassembled funerary boat of King Cheops.

Day 5 Cairo
Visit Memphis, capital of the ancient kingdom, and see the magnificent statue of Ramses II. Just outside the city, stop at the famous Step Pyramid built by King Djoser in 2700 B.C. Later, explore the Pyramids of Dahshûr. This evening, dine in the Bazaar area, and afterwards transfer to see a folklore performance.

Day 6 Cairo/Abu Simbel/Aswân
Fly to Abu Simbel to see the amazing Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor, dedicated to Ramses II’s favorite wife, Nefertari. Fly to Aswân, where you will board the Sun Boat IV, our home for the next four nights. Weather permitting, sail along the Nile in a felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat. Return to the Sun Boat IV for dinner.

Day 7 Aswân/Kôm Ombo/Idfu
Pay a visit to the Aswân High Dam, a masterpiece of modern engineering. Later, at the “unfinished obelisk,” get a lesson in the methods that ancient craftspeople used to create the huge monuments. Travel to Kôm Ombo and visit the beautiful Greco-Roman temple, dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed sun god; and Sobek, the crocodile god.

Day 8 Idfu/Isna
Explore the Temple of Horus in Idfu. This well-preserved structure makes it easy to imagine what temple worship in ancient Egypt might have been like. Sail to Isna, and visit the Temple of Khnum, 36 feet below the present level of the town and covered with hieroglyphics. Return to the Sun Boat IV and sail to Luxor.

Day 9 Luxor
Spend the day on the West Bank of the Nile. Continue to the fabled Colossi of Memnon and the mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh. At the Valley of the Kings, step from a dramatic landscape of sun and sand into the dark silence of the many tombs discovered here to date. Experience the most famous of them all, the awe-inspiring tomb of Tutankhamun. See the Great Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak and the Temple of Luxor.

Day 10 Luxor
Disembark the Sun Boat IV in Luxor, often called the world’s greatest open-air museum. Luxor is home to a vast array of temples and other monuments of ancient Egypt. Attend a talk by the director of Luxor’s antiquities about the new findings on the West Bank. Then, explore the Ramesseum, Ramses II’s stupendous mortuary temple. After lunch, ride by horse-drawn carriage to the new Luxor Museum where you will see beautifully presented artifacts.
Le Meridien Luxor Hotel (B,L)

Day 11 Luxor/Cairo
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Cairo. After lunch, you are free to explore one of the city’s oldest districts, the bazaar of Khan-al-Khalili, alive with the sounds and excitement of age-old bargaining. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner in a private Egyptian home and experience true Egyptian hospitality.
Conrad Cairo Hotel (B,L)

Day 12 Cairo/New York
Transfer to Cairo International Airport for your return flight to the U.S.

Petra, Jordan
February 21-24; March 21-24; October 24-27; November 14-17, 2005
Participants on the Egypt trip may join a post-trip extension to Petra, Jordan, led by an English-speaking Jordanian guide. Following is a detailed itinerary.
Day 1 Cairo/Amman, Jordan
Upon arrival in Amman, transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel with your fellow travelers.
Four Seasons Hotel (D)

Day 2 Amman/Petra
Today you travel through the countryside to Petra. Pass through the beautiful Gorge of Amman, known today as Wadi Mujib, to Madaba, where dozens of mosaic tiles from Byzantine churches have been uncovered; continue on to the burial sites of Moses on Mount Nebo, and to Kerak, a former Crusader village, built and walled for defense.

At sunset there will be an excursion using 4×4 vehicles to Wadi Rum, where T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) lived with Bedouin friends and allies during World War I. Explore amid sand dunes and rose-tinted mountains where bedouin tribes still camp. See the inscriptions the bedouin have engraved on the rocks representing animals, people, and events of their world.
Petra Movenpick Hotel (B,L)

Day 3 Petra/Amman
Enjoy a full day exploring the city of Petra. Enter Petra by horse through its only entrance, known as the “Siq,” a very narrow passageway, which could be easily defended against attack by an invading army. Visit the major sites include the baths, markets, the Treasury, the Temple of the Winged Lions, the Corinthian Tomb, and the Palace Tomb. Later this afternoon return to Amman for dinner.
Four Seasons Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4 Amman/USA
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Mysteries of Ancient Egypt
M.S. Sun Boat IV The 84-passenger M.S. Sun Boat IV, our home for the four-night Nile cruise, is one of the newest ships cruising the Nile. Facilities include a comfortable lounge, swimming pool, restaurant, two sundecks, gymnasium, boutique, and library. All cabins have windows with Nile view, private bathroom, and individually controlled air-conditioning.