Cruising Supplier

An Interview with Paul Gauguin Cruises

Travel Professional NEWS® speaks with Vanessa Bloy, Director of Public Relations, Paul Gauguin Cruises



First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to speak with us, we know that 2017 is showing promise as a GREAT year in the Travel Industry, can you give us some exciting things that are new with your line?


Paul Gauguin Cruises offers new, exotic 16- and 17-night Fiji & Bali itineraries in 2017 along with signature Tahiti and French Polynesia voyages: 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Also in 2017, our popular 12- and 13-night Society Islands, Cook Islands, Tonga & Fiji itineraries return.


Paul Gauguin Cruises’ new partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) offers two interactive, educational programs to enrich guests’ experience on board in 2017 and 2018. WCS has been committed to saving wildlife and wild places for over 120 years. In addition to being among the world’s leading science and conservation organizations, WCS manages the largest urban network of zoological parks, educating and inspiring millions of people at the New York Zoos and Aquarium. During the summer months and holiday season, Stewards of Nature is offered and invites children ages 7 to 17, as well as their families, to discover and value nature through hands-on interactive learning. The Wildlife Discovery Series is an onboard lecture program focusing on the environment and wildlife of our planet presented by some of the world’s most fascinating conservationists, scientists, and oceanographers.


Paul Gauguin Cruises has also launched new wedding ceremony and vow renewal packages. Couples sailing on The Gauguin can celebrate their love in a romantic setting amid the turquoise lagoons and exotic islands of French Polynesia. Two packages are offered: one at Motu Mahana, the cruise line’s private islet off the coast of Taha’a, or at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa in a glass-bottom overwater chapel.


Paul Gauguin Cruises has recently expanded its land-and-sea packages so that guests have an option of combining three nights at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa or the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa with a 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage. The package also includes roundtrip airfare between Los Angeles, Calif., and Papeete, Tahiti, and transfers between the resort and ship.


What unique value proposition does your line bring to the consumer? For example, destination, culinary, onboard experience, etc.


Since we sail year round in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific, Paul Gauguin Cruises is in a unique position which is different from most cruise lines. Our voyages explore these beautiful islands year round. We bring the destination alive authentically aboard our ship, the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin, which was designed specifically to sail the pristine lagoons of these islands, up-close, to reveal not just the beauty of this region, but its soul. Our line is also known for exceptional service that is distinguished by Polynesian hospitality and by one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios at sea.


Aboard The Gauguin, guests enjoy an immersion into Polynesian culture that only experts in this destination can share. The Polynesian spirit of welcome, warmth, and geniality is embodied aboard. Our luxury, small ship offers five-star amenities, exceptional service, local sourcing of fish and produce for the ship’s dining venues, and local Tahitian entertainment.  Naturalists, lecturers, and Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins—a troupe of Tahitian performers—provide enriching experiences of the destinations throughout each voyage. Experts in the fields of art, the culinary arts, music, Polynesian life and culture, and the wonders of the deep join designated cruises to offer insights, lectures, performances, workshops, and more.


The Gauguin also features a retractable watersports marina for complimentary kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing, in select ports. We also offer complimentary snorkeling gear to each guest to use during the voyage. SCUBA diving programs for all levels are also available. Our PADI dive team provides instructional classes and The Gauguin is equipped with SCUBA equipment, an onboard practice pool, a tank-filling station, and two inflatable dive boats with ladders so that guests can explore the underwater world.


What do you expect to be your most popular itineraries in the next year?


In 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises showcases voyages in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific.  Itineraries include: 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 7-night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands.


In addition to sailing to beautiful islands in the South Pacific, and showcasing Polynesian culture and hospitality, these voyages feature complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats—Motu Mahana, an islet off the coast of Taha’a, and a private beach in Bora Bora. At Motu Mahana, guests enjoy a day of watersports, Polynesian activities, a barbecue feast, and cocktails from full-service and floating bars. In Bora Bora, guests can relax on a white-sand beach and enjoy refreshments, a game of volleyball, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters.


There is no doubt that one of the major benefits of Small Ship Cruising is being able to go to unique destinations and go where some other lines just cannot get to! What new and exciting destinations and or areas have you been exploring?


In 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises will be the first cruise line to visit the port city of Vairao in Tahiti Iti, which is the smaller of two landmasses that comprise the island of Tahiti and offers a wild coastline, ancient petroglyphs, marae (temples), Polynesian culture, and surfing fame. Tahiti Iti is scheduled on 7-night Society Islands & Tahiti Iti voyages.


The waters of French Polynesia are our ship’s home, and this brand new itinerary gives guests the unparalleled, comprehensive view of the real Tahiti and also features Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, and our own private paradise, Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha’a.


As far as your line, what is the best advice you can provide to Travel Professionals in terms of educating their clients on the benefits of Small Ship Cruising?


Travel agents are key to our success at Paul Gauguin Cruises, and we have designed an educational program for travel agents that will give those a distinct advantage. Paul Gauguin Cruises offers PEARL’s—Partners Earn Added Rewards and Learn to Sell— a travel agent specialist training program that was conceived to provide travel professionals with a deeper understanding of Paul Gauguin Cruises, our destinations we sail to, and small ship, luxury cruising. The program is a self-paced specialist training program, providing a unique platform for agents to truly immerse themselves in the Paul Gauguin Cruises experience, enabling them to more accurately identify and connect with prospective clients and promote our line successfully and grow their travel business. PEARLS partners receive access to resources including exclusive sales and marketing trainings, advance notice of special promotions, shipboard credit offers, marketing tools, and bonus commissions.


Are you seeing an increase in family vacation bookings? 


We continue to see family vacation bookings during the summer and holidays. In 2017, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), we are offering a new way for families to explore this breathtaking part of the world together through a joint program.  During the summer months and holiday season, Stewards of Nature is offered aboard The Gauguin and invites guests to discover and value nature through hands-on, interactive learning for children ages 7-17, as well as family members.


Once aboard the ship, the WCS naturalists will gather with families and provide a program introduction and itinerary for the duration of the voyage. Every day, there will be a combination of island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. While all of the items on the itinerary are included for kids through the nominal fee paid at booking, family members are invited and encouraged to participate in most activities for the additional cost of the shore excursions.


Do you offer enrichment themed cruises on cultural or other topics? Can you explain what makes these options unique for potential clients?


In addition to the Wildlife Discovery Series lecture program, aboard designated sailings, Paul Gauguin Cruises welcomes special guests representing a wide variety of interests to offer insights, lectures, performances, and workshops aboard The Gauguin. 


Co-recipient with Al Gore of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 and recipient of a prestigious fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, Professor John E. Hay has devoted his life to studying the environment and will share his expertise during special presentations on multiple sailings in 2017.


Experts in history and culture who will be sailing aboard The Gauguin include aviation historian Dan Hagedorn, who will offer fascinating presentations on World War II history during the April 29, 2017, voyage. Distinguished professor of geography David Keeling will discuss geography of exploration and discovery in global communities on the June 7, 2017, sailing. A historian whose field of expertise is the effects of Western exploration and expansion on the cultures of the Americas, Africa, and Asia, Dr. Robert Gallacher is particularly interested in the impact America and European nations have had on creating worldwide empires and will present a series of lectures on the October 18, 2017, cruise.


The ship’s namesake has inspired the careers of several of our guest hosts next year. Art history professor Caroline Boyle-Turner—an acclaimed expert on Paul Gauguin and his circle of artists—will present during the April 15 and April 29, 2017, voyages.


The fine arts will continue to be showcased as photography experts Jerry Dallons and Zelle Olson will provide onboard lectures and workshops on the July 26, 2017, voyage. And Nancy Gregory, a contemporary artist who has exhibited widely, will present lectures and workshops on multiple sailings next year.


Music is also well represented on the roster of guest hosts for 2017. British-born Angie Lang, who performs music from musical-theater showstoppers and an eclectic mix of songs from the ’50s to the present day will perform on April 15 and April 29, 2017, sailings. Musicians Marc Otway & Abi Uttley will present an exciting musical explosion of upbeat classics through the decades on the June 7, 2017, cruise. Concert pianist Erik Berchot demonstrates his skills on the June 24, 2017, sailing. Acclaimed opera singers Catherine Cook and Kristin Clayton share the stage on the July 5, 2017, voyage. And guests on the October 7, 2017, sailing will thrill to the talents of vocalist and guitarist Jonny Ross—one of the U.K.’s most in-demand singers.


Wine experts are also perennially favorites aboard The Gauguin. Lectures and wine tastings will take place when these oenophiles come aboard. Jeffrey Stambor, director of winemaking for Beaulieu Vineyard, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility dedicated solely to the production of Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will be on the July 5, 2017, sailing.  Wine consultant Daniel Baron will share his expertise on wine during the July 26, 2017, voyage.


Chef Propriétaire of one of the finest restaurants in Paris, the Michelin-starred Restaurant Apicius, Jean-Pierre Vigato has inspired signature menus for Paul Gauguin Cruises for several years. Guests can sail with one of the world’s great chefs and enjoy an exceptional culinary program on the July 26, 2017, voyage. Italian-born Massimo Capra is now a celebrity chef in his adopted homeland, Canada, having become the head of a restaurant empire, award-winning cookbook author, and popular TV personality. This celebrated chef/entrepreneur offers a food-related lecture and Q&A session, a cocktail party, and opportunities to mingle with him throughout the September 23, 2017, sailing.


With Travel Professionals on the rise, will you be offering any new training or incentives for Travel Professionals to focus on your offerings?


In addition to our PEARLS program, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers webinars throughout the year that focus on our product, the destination, selling tips, and new offerings. We also provide sales and marketing training sessions. Our Travel Agent Center, that travel agents can access on the Paul Gauguin Cruises’ website,, provides information promotions, programs, sales support, and marketing resources.


What three things would you like to share with our Travel Professionals to assist in selling your line?


Paul Gauguin Cruises is the expert in Tahiti, French Polynesian, and the South Seas voyages, and infuses the destination in everything, from the décor of the ship, to enrichment programs, to shipboard activities, to dining—we bring the destination alive on our voyages.  No other cruise line can deliver the South Pacific experience like Paul Gauguin Cruises.


Join Paul Gauguin Cruises’ PEARLS program! This special training program helps travel professionals develop their travel business by immersing them in the Paul Gauguin Cruises experience enabling them to become an expert in the field of luxury, small-ship cruising.


Paul Gauguin Cruises is also the specialist in creating memorable celebrations. There is simply not a more romantic setting for a new beginning or personal milestone that aboard this deluxe flagship, and Paul Gauguin Cruises is renowned for the extra touches and attention to detail that make every occasion special. Marriages or anniversaries can be commemorated with a unique Polynesian blessing ceremony. Honeymooners also receive a complimentary package featuring a celebratory bottle of sparkling wine and more. Special occasion packages are also available. The Gauguin is also an ideal venue for corporate incentive groups, meetings, or charter program.


Small Ship Cruising has come a long way over the years. What do you see as the next advancement in this growing marketplace?


Small-ship cruising continues to grow and showcase fresh, creative, and innovative ideas. New destinations are emerging, and dining, onboard activities, technological advances, and exclusive experiences continue to raise the bar. Multigenerational and experiential cruising is a hot trend in 2017. And, cruising remains a great way to explore a variety of destinations at an incredible value.