Written By: Vanessa Bloy, Director of PR, Paul Gauguin Cruises
The enchanting islands of French Polynesia and the South Pacific are graced with 118 islands and atolls and countless motus, each with its own distinct beauty, atmosphere, and myth.
The Society Islands, which include Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Huahine, offer crystal-clear waters teeming with technicolor fish, palm-lined beaches, and majestic emerald-green mountains towering over turquoise lagoons.
The most populous island is Tahiti. Located on the island is Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. The city’s famous, bustling downtown market sells everything from fresh produce to brightly colored pareos, monoi oils, and black pearls.
Graced with crystalline aqua lagoons, pristine white-sand beaches, and jagged volcanic peaks, Bora Bora appears like a postcard. Circle the island by waverunner or jetboat, traverse the interior by off-road safari, dive beneath the surface for a chance to swim with reef fish and moray eels.
Rugged peaks, volcanic craters, and lush interiors thick with tropical fruit, fragrant flowers, and forests of gigantic maple, or chestnut trees, make Moorea’s mountain scenery nothing short of spectacular. The island also features two picturesque bays on the north shore—Cook’s Bay and Opunohu.
Coined the “Garden Island” for its lush interior, Huahine is home to more than 200 stone marae site. The island’s diverse geography includes small villages and untouched beaches which dot the coast, and azure lagoons brimming with thousands of colorful fish.
Rugged islands rising sharply from the sea, intricate wood carvings, ancient culture and wild horses running free are just a few of the unique features in the Marquesas Islands that inspired renowned French painter Paul Gauguin to call home.
The diving mecca of the Tuamotus islands features fascinating marine species among coral reefs and canyon passes, drawing divers from around the world.
Hospitality in the friendly, easygoing culture of the Cook Islands, is as warm as the tropical sun overhead. Snorkel the clear waters of Aitutaki’s world-renowned lagoon and venture into the jungle peaks of Rarotonga on a nature hike.
One of the best ways to explore these islands is by cruising on the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin which offers unique voyages in French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Itineraries include 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands; and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands sailings.
One of the highlights of each French Polynesia sailing aboard The Gauguin is exclusive access to Motu Mahana, a private islet off the coast of Taha’a where guests can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, Polynesian activities, a full-service bar, a floating lagoon bar, and a delicious barbecue. In Bora Bora, guests can enjoy complimentary access to a private white-sand beach for snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding.
In addition to these signature itineraries, exotic 16- and 17-night Fiji & Bali itineraries will be offered in 2017. The 16-night Fiji to Bali voyage departs April 29, 2017, from Lautoka, Fiji, and visits Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Merauke, Indonesia; Dili, Timor-Leste; Komodo Island, Indonesia; Lembar, Lombok Island, Indonesia; and Benoa, Bali, Indonesia. The reverse itinerary, Bali to Fiji, is 17 nights and departs June 7, 2017.
The Gauguin is the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the region. The Polynesian spirit of welcome, warmth, and geniality is embodied aboard. This luxury, small ship offers five-star amenities, first-class hospitality, elegant oceanview staterooms and suites with nearly 70 percent featuring a private balcony, a variety of shipboard entertainment, and a pool.
The Gauguin offers complimentary 24-hour room service, complimentary beverages including select wines and spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, and hot beverages served throughout the ship, along with an in-stateroom refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer, and bottled water.
The Gauguin also features a retractable watersports marina for complimentary kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, in select ports. Optional SCUBA excursions designed for all levels of experience, refresher courses and PADI certification for novices are also available.
Dining aboard The Gauguin offers a sumptuous array of tempting specialties, presented in refined surroundings and accompanied by exceptional service in choice of three venues.
Elegant décor, crisp linens, and a choice of culinary creations await in our exquisite main dining room of L’Etoile. Open for dinner only, L’Etoile features expertly prepared cuisine presented on china by our solicitous staff, ever ready to top off your glass when needed.
Warm ocean breezes, expansive views, and the tantalizing trademark fare fill your senses in our indoor/outdoor dining venue La Veranda for breakfast and lunch. In the evenings, La Veranda features signature dishes designed by Jean-Pierre Vigato, Chef Propriétaire of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Apicius in Paris.
Enjoy more casual dining in Le Grill, where breakfast and lunch are served buffet style with additional items available to order from a menu. For dinner, Polynesian-inspired delights set the table amid lively conservation and attentive service. A reservation-only dinner option is available in the evenings featuring Polynesian specialties.
All guests aboard The Gauguin can bask in the deluxe amenities and exquisite, Polynesian-style hospitality while spending the day doing exactly as the please, exploring the islands, the lagoons, or simply the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Naturalists, lecturers, and the Gauguines and Gauguins—a troupe of Tahitian entertainers—provide enriching experiences of the destinations throughout each voyage. Special guests representing a wide variety of interests are on select voyages of The Gauguin. Experts in the fields of art, the culinary arts, music, magic, Polynesian life and culture, and the wonders of the deep will join designated cruises to offer insights, lectures, performances, workshops, and more.
With its unrivaled approach to beauty and rejuvenation, the ship’s Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm combines the art of gentle pampering with services that are uniquely tailored to the needs and wishes of each individual. The spa offers an extensive range of services, enveloped in an atmosphere that both tranquil and luxurious. Shipboard treatments include skin care therapies, skin exfoliation, massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, body wraps, facials, beauty treatments, nail services, and hair styling. Relaxing overwater massages are available during the day at Motu Mahana, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private South Pacific paradise.
The Gauguin’s fitness center is outfitted with the latest fitness equipment, including Lifecycles, treadmills, stair climbers, and weight machines. Other onboard fitness opportunities include a morning mile-long walk around decks 8 and 9 and a sunrise Polynesian-inspired Zumba class, both hosted by Les Gauguines.
With a crew-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.5—one of the highest at sea—you can be sure that everyone aboard The Gauguin, from our friendly hospitality and wait staff and experienced concierge team to our expert dive instructors and guests lecturers, are dedicated to ensuring that the experience is nothing short of exceptional.
In the evenings, enjoy live entertainment in Le Grand Salon or the piano bar, or just relax at La Palette lounge with a cocktail under the stars.
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a wide variety of optional shore excursions including waverunner adventures, treks with an archaeologist, island tours, cultural tours, snorkeling experiences, underwater walks, jetboat excursions, helicopter flightseeing, dolphin watching expeditions, ATV guided tours and many more.
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 our deluxe flagship, and we are renowned for the extra touches and attention to detail that make every occasion special. Commemorate a marriage or anniversary 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.
For families in 2016, the Ambassadors of the Environment Family Program is featured on summer and holiday cruises for a nominal fee aboard The Gauguin. Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society created this unique, groundbreaking program that introduces young travelers (ages 9-17) to the extraordinary natural wonders of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive learning. Under the guidance of expert Ocean Future Society naturalists, some of the activities offered include lectures, day and night snorkeling, swimming with rays and sharks, onboard games and activities, cycling, rainforest hikes, and sustainable living lessons. Parents are encouraged to join their children on excursions and other activities aboard and ashore.
Paul Gauguin Cruises is also pleased to announce a new global collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS has been committed to saving wildlife and wild places worldwide since 1895. Beginning in 2017, WCS will offer educational programming for adults and families aboard The Gauguin. The series will comprise lectures about marine science and wildlife conservation in the South Pacific and beyond. Additionally during the summer months and holiday season, WCS will inspire guests to value nature through our experiential family program. WCS aims to protect half of the world’s biodiversity, while ensuring a positive impact on millions of people. Paul Gauguin Cruises is proud to collaborate with WCS in support of a healthy and sustainable planet.
For travel agents, Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a PEARL’s– Partners Earn Added Rewards and Learn to Sell – specialist training program that was conceived to provide travel professionals with a deeper understanding of Paul Gauguin Cruises and our cruise line’s destinations. 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 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.