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The name Paul Gauguin is synonymous with the South Pacific. And, Paul Gauguin Cruises is synonymous with the ultimate South Pacific travel experience.
The line operates the longest continually-sailing luxury cruise ship in the region, the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin.
Ranking atop "best of' award lists year after year, the Gauguin ventures to Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific. Her most popular itineraries include a seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands cruise; a 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus journey; plus, the 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands and 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands combinations.
Of course, no line remains at the head of its game without rolling out something new.
For 2018, Paul Gauguin Cruises added Tahiti Iti to its itineraries. The smaller of two landmasses that comprise the island of Tahiti, "Iti" is known for its diverse and wild coastline. It's home to ancient marae (temples) and modern-day global surf competitions.
Paul Gauguin guests can explore Tahiti Iti by e-bike, riding from the port city of Vairao to the village of Teahupoo to see the famous surfing spot. They can then venture up to Belvedere Point for panoramic views of Tahiti and Iti. Additional new activities include diving excursions at the Marado or The Sea Fans dive sites off Vairao Bay.
In 2019, Paul Gauguin Cruises returns to Fiji, with 12 and 13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands itineraries. Cruises call on lush Fijian Islands, cross the International Date Line and visit the fascinating Kingdom of Tonga.
Stunning destinations make the Paul Gauguin experience special. But, guests also enjoy unique offerings within those locations. Cruises feature exclusive access to Motu Mahana, the line's private islet off the coast of Taha'a. Sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, Polynesian activities, a full-service bar, a floating lagoon bar, and a delicious barbecue are all on the menu.
In Bora Bora, guests can access a private, white-sand beach to enjoy beach volleyball, sunbathing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and refreshments.
The legendary scenery and exclusive access aren't the only features that make Paul Gauguin cruises so exceptional. Life aboard the Gauguin is an adventure in itself. Nearly 70 percent of the ship's suites and staterooms feature balconies.
Three dining venues include the elegant L'Etoile, plus La Veranda and Le Grill for breakfast and lunch. In the evenings, dishes designed by French celebrity chef Jean-Pierre Vigato are available in La Veranda, while Polynesian specialties are served poolside at Le Grill.
Additional amenities aboard the Gauguin include a luxury spa, fitness center, watersports marina, and extensive outdoor decks with chaise lounges and a pool.
In a region so rich with culture, nature and history, it's no surprise that Paul Gauguin offers enriching onboard experiences for guests.
They take the form of a resident Tahitian dance troupe, performing throughout the voyage. Each cruise also features presentations by onboard experts. Among them, an expert on Polynesian history, the ancient culture of the Marquesas and the true story behind "Mutiny on the Bounty." Another expert is a distinguished marine biologist known for his research and conservation efforts to preserve coral reefs.
Guest hosts also join select cruises, making a sailing with Paul Gauguin Cruises all the more special. They come from an eclectic array of backgrounds. The selection for 2018 includes illusionists, classical and contemporary musicians, singers, photographers, motivational speakers, geologists, conservationists, cookbook authors and a hypnotist. Also sailing: a direct descendant of Captain Bligh, who will "set the record straight" about his famous ancestor.
The lineup of guest hosts for 2019 includes representatives and winemakers from several notable California wineries.
As if all of this is not enough to make a Paul Gauguin cruise special, here's something more to consider. The line's all-inclusive fare includes roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles. It also includes all shipboard dining; complimentary beverages of select wines and spirits, beer, soft drinks, bottled water, and hot beverages served throughout the ship; plus, onboard gratuities for room stewards and dining/bar staff.
Ana Figueroa is a veteran travel industry writer based in Los Angeles. She's a former contributing editor for Travel Agent...
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