Boasting 118 islands and atolls stretched over a swath of ocean that’s roughly the size of Europe, there’s a whole lot more to French Polynesia than most travelers get to experience. The best way to see all that this gorgeous country offers? On a 7- to 14-night voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises, whose small ship helps visitors travel deeper among French Polynesia’s communities, cultures, and natural wonders.
Specially designed to navigate the shallow waters of the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin stops at intimate ports and private, unspoiled beaches that aren’t accessible to larger ships, making immersive island exploration, such as hiking, shopping at local markets, visiting villages, and more expertly curated excursions possible. The onboard experience is no less memorable, with unparalleled touches such as authentic cultural presentations from local Tahitians, a full-service watersports marina, recently renovated accommodations, and a 1:1.5 guest to crew member ratio that ensures personal attention whenever you need it. Read on to learn why a cruise on The Gauguin is one of the ultimate ways to visit this incredible part of the world.
See more in one trip
While the logistics and pricing of visiting French Polynesia by land often limits travelers to no more than a couple islands, sailing with Paul Gauguin Cruises enables guests to explore multiple destinations in style. Join a wildlife expert for whale- and dolphin-watching expeditions in Moorea. Ride on an outrigger canoe inside Bora Bora’s stunning lagoon as you watch the sunset. Browse for crafts, Tahitian pearl jewelry, vanilla, and monoi, coconut, and tamanu oils, at the 155-year-old public market Le Marché de Papeete in Tahiti. Take your pick from itineraries that are full of adventures in the Cook, Society, Tuamotu, and Marquesas Islands. What’s more—you only have to unpack once.
Discover hidden treasures
A small-ship cruiser’s dream, The Gauguin sails to French Polynesia’s most intimate hideaways that are inaccessible to larger ships, including a private beach on Bora Bora and Motu Mahana—the cruise lines’ exclusive islet close to the near-uninhabited island of Taha’a. Depending on your itinerary, spend a day or two escaping from reality. Snorkel with colorful tropical fish, play a game of volleyball, or sunbathe as you gaze at Bora Bora’s postcard-perfect views of Mount Otemanu. On Motu Mahana, feast on sumptuous barbecue, complete with cocktails from the floating bar, or treat yourself to an overwater massage.
Enjoy the ultimate onboard experience
Thanks to The Gauguin’s five-star personalized service and high-quality amenities, it’s possible to explore one of the most remote parts of the world in total comfort. Relax at the spa, sip cocktails at The Piano Bar, and treat yourself to fine French cuisine at La Veranda, one of three dining venues.
Each evening, settle into one of the ship’s newly decorated, spacious suites or staterooms, more than 70 percent with private balconies for enjoying the dreamy views. While overnighting in Bora Bora and Moorea, don’t miss dinner at Le Grill. The ship’s crew will set up poolside tables where you can dine al fresco on Polynesian specialties surrounded by the islands’ magnificent mountains and azure lagoons. The best part? The ship’s all-inclusive pricing, with complimentary 24-hour room service, Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment, and butler service for many room categories, allows you to spend more time relaxing, and less time worrying about planning.
Immerse yourself in authentic Tahitian culture
When you travel on The Gauguin, you can meet those who live on French Polynesia’s many islands—each more fascinating and welcoming than the last. On one island that The Gauguin stops at, Huahine, you can see Maeva village, one of the country’s most important archaeological areas and visit a family-run Tahitian pearl farm on Taha’a. And the cultural immersion doesn’t stop on board.
During your journey, you’ll be accompanied by Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins—local Tahitians who serve as hosts and hostesses, entertainers, and storytellers. Spend the afternoon learning how to open a coconut, tie a pareo, or the art of traditional Polynesian crafts. Additional entertainment, such as special lecturers and onboard visits from local dance troupes and musicians.
Make the most of your time at (and in the) sea
Most imagine turquoise blue lagoons and fish-filled reefs ideal for exploring when they picture French Polynesia. TheGauguin’s watersports marina helps you take full advantage of all the delights of the ocean, providing direct access to the water. Enjoy paddle boarding and kayaking off the marina in select ports,and check out complimentary snorkeling equipment to use throughout your trip.
For those looking to dive in deeper, the ship even has an onboard PADI scuba program (at an additional charge) for novices and seasoned divers alike. The marina serves as a perfect base to launch Zodiacs for excursions on some of the world’s most pristine reefs in Fakarava, Aitutaki, and more. Whether on land or at sea, the adventure just keeps going—you simply need to decide how you want to explore with The Gauguin that day.