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Variety Cruises' 2023 Tahiti debut includes rarely visited Makatea

The limestone cliffs tower over the coast of Makatea
Variety Cruises launched two new itineraries in Tahiti next year, the first time the company will operate in the destination.

Sailing round-trip from Papeete, the seven-night and 10-night itineraries uncover the Society Islands of French Polynesia onboard 50mtr long motor yacht Panorama II, with a maximum capacity of 49 guests.

The company is adding the rarely visited destination of Makatea to its 10 day sailings. 

‘There is something about magical civilizations that has always intrigued me,’ said the company’s CEO Filippos Venetopoulos.

‘Being Greek, of course this is something I grew up with, being surrounded by the wisdom of the ancient philosophers. French Polynesia also envelops my soul. Much like how Greece can capture you, these islands seem to give you something you never knew you needed. I couldn’t be more thrilled to share that with the world, and thus, create, a better life at sea, one cruise at a time.’

Warm welcome

‘The Islands of Tahiti is pleased to offer a warm welcome (maeva) to Variety Cruises as they launch their new voyages this coming year,’ said Kristin Carlson, managing director for Tahiti Tourisme North America.

The seven-night cruise, visits Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Moorea and launches February 3, 2023 through December 2023. Optional activities include a visit at the UNESCO protected site of ancient Marae (an open-air temple) of Taputapuatea, snorkeling excursions with stingrays and sharks, observing and feeding the sacred blue-eyed eels of Faie Bay, as well as lagoon explorations.

The 10-night cruise, Tahiti, the Society & Tuamotu islands, running from mid January to December 2023, allows a deeper discovery of the Tuamotu islands.

This cruise takes passengers through the same route of the seven-night cruise and then onwards to rarely visited Makatea, Rangiroa, Tetiaroa and Mo’orea. 

Endemic birdlife

On Makatea, the limestone cliffs tower over the coast and the island’s interior shows significant vegetation, complete with a few species of endemic birds and a peculiar expanse of limestone holes.

In the early 20th century, important reserves of phosphate were discovered in these naturally occurring holes, and for over 50 years the island was the center of a thriving phosphate mining business. The mining ceased in the 1960s, and the island went from a population of thousands to less than 100 inhabitants. Today, this sleepy but spectacular island is home to three species of threatened endemic birds: the Makatea fruit dove, imperial pigeon and reed warbler.

On-the-ground activities include: visiting a beach with rock pools and grotto and swimming into an underwater cave system full of stalagmites and stalactites.

Fam rates

Variety is offering active travel professionals special fam trip rates on all Tahiti 2023 itineraries.