Set sail for paradise in the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises
Set sail for paradise in the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises
Mention the words South Pacific and Paul Gauguin Cruises in the same breath and you will conjure images of immersive cultural experiences, stunning tropical islands lapped by turquoise waters, a luxury small-ship and fabulous food.
If you’ve always wanted to experience the South Pacific in all its glory, Paul Gauguin Cruises is set to welcome passengers with a new-look ship and fabulous itineraries.
There are 39 exciting voyages planned for next year featuring Tahiti, the Society islands, the Tuamotus, the Marquesas, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji. The South Pacific-based luxury small-ship operator is ideal for New Zealand and Australian cruise lovers as it’s not too far from home.
Chairman of PONANT Asia Pacific and Paul Gauguin Cruises, Sarina Bratton says bookings are strong for the 2022 South Pacific voyages. “In a post-pandemic world, small and non-crowded environments are what travellers are seeking. More meaningful and sustainable ways of exploring by small ships is definitely a trend that has become increasingly evident, appealing to those who are curious, with a sense of adventure.”
Cruises started again in August with the US and European markets stepping aboard.
Senior Business Development Executive for PONANT and Paul Gauguin, Bianca Bratton, who is based in New Zealand, says there’s a trend for booking longer cruises.
“I think when the borders all open up people want to really enjoy themselves and make the most of the beautiful destinations, so they are looking at longer cruises,” she says.
“The Paul Gauguin voyages are very special and combine cultural immersion with the most beautiful scenery such as white sandy beaches, pretty islands, swaying palm trees and blue waters.”
Bratton says her South Pacific cruise is one of the most memorable ever. “The Tahitian landscapes and surrounding islands are best appreciated from the sea. A new day dawns, as does a new and different discovery of an interesting culture, friendly locals, lush rainforests or underwater scenery as you venture between islands,” she says.
“It’s such a welcoming environment for families, couples celebrating a milestone anniversary or honeymoon and adventure travellers alike. The relaxed setting provides the perfect opportunity to kick back, enjoy the temperate Tahitian climate and enjoy the wonders of the South Pacific – it’s the ultimate destination holiday experience.”
The luxurious 332-guest Le Paul Gauguin, which is part of the PONANT family, features seven decks and 166 spacious stateroom and suites: all with sea views and most with balconies. Passengers will see changes to staterooms, suites and public spaces plus Le Grand Salon, three restaurants, Piano Bar, La Palette Lounge, spa and salon, boutique, pool deck, and reception area.
Bratton says that the new refurbishment is impressive with its fresh new colour and texture palette which incorporates lagoon shades, a range of green and natural tones, warm colour touches, vegetal patterns and traditional woven textiles. “Exotic panoramic prints and artworks inside seamlessly complement the captivating beauty of the lagoons, mountains, turquoise waters and coral atolls outside.”
Renovations were designed by Studio Jean-Philippe Nuel and completed in dry dock in Singapore. The décor evokes South Seas elegance that is reflective of the narrative of the islands and sea.
Bratton says that the voyages provide an intimate experience, offering an elegant yet casual ambience with luxurious accommodation options, exceptional service, gourmet dining, trademark Polynesian hospitality, private beach retreats and all-inclusive value. Complimentary outdoor activities embracing the natural wonders of the South Pacific include snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding and scuba diving excursions (surcharge applies). There’s exclusive access to the line’s private island, Motu Mahana and a private beach on Bora Bora.
Bratton says amenities have also been enhanced to complete the onboard experience with inclusive unlimited wi-fi and a tribute art gallery of more than 150 paintings by artist Paul Gauguin.
There’s a choice of dining in all three of the ship’s restaurants and a 24-hour room service, complimentary open bar including select wines, beer and spirits and onboard gratuities for room stewards and dining staff.
The 39 South Pacific voyages available throughout 2022 include options of 7, 10, 11 and 14-night itineraries. Highlights include a 10-night Society Islands and Tuamotus, 7-night Tahiti and the Society islands, 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands voyages, 11-night Cook and Society Islands and 11, 12- or 13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook and Society islands voyage. Bratton says that the popular 7-night Tahiti and Society Island voyage focuses on the iconic Polynesian highlights of Moorea and Bora Bora including an overnight stay at each, as well as Huahine and Taha’a (Motu Mahanu). There are 17 departures in 2022.
The 10-night Society Islands and Tuamotus itinerary features visits to the private island Motu Mahana where guests can enjoy a day of water sports, Polynesian activities, a traditional barbecue feast and cocktails from the floating bar. There are six ports of call, from Huahine, Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Bora Bora and Moorea, in the Society islands, plus Fakarava and Rangiora in Tuamotu before heading back to Papeete.
The 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands itinerary is the most comprehensive Paul Gauguin cruise. “It captures the highlights of the two previous itineraries plus voyaging further afield and adding Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Tahuata and Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas,” says Bratton.
“It’s an enthralling adventure in paradise, taking in the luscious landscapes, world-class snorkelling and the picturesque white-sand beaches that Tahiti is renowned for.”
There are five departures of this cruise from April to December 2022.
The two 12-13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands and Society islands voyages in September and October 2022 showcase the French Polynesian Islands and stunning Cook Islands, Vava’u in Tonga and the delightful Savusavu, Suva and Beqa Islands in Fiji. Bratton says the cruises were created to provide enjoyable, meaningful and authentic experiences with the island communities, cultures and natural wonders that make Tahiti, French Polynesia and the entire South Pacific so alluring.
“Every detail of Le Paul Gauguin’s renovations reflects her islands-home base including the ships’ décor, artwork, special Polynesian dishes in the restaurants, enrichment programs and cultural activities led by Les Gauguines and Les Gaugins, the ship’s talented group of Tahitian ambassadors and entertainers,” says Bratton. The true spirit of Paul Gauguin Cruises, the Gauguines and Gaugins love sharing the magic of the Polynesian lifestyle via songs, dances, stories, language and culture.
Guests’ experiences are enriched by their knowledge of the enchanted South Pacific.
Le Paul Gauguin was designed specially to sail the sea and pristine lagoons of the South Pacific. “It’s a small ship with shallow draft that allows for quick, intimate access to the islands and lagoons,” says Bratton. There’s a great emphasis on minimising the impact on the environment, one of the company’s high priorities. In 2019 Paul Gauguin took two major measures in the sustainability field. The line completely eliminated the use of heavy fuel oil by using a much cleaner fuel and undertook to offset 150 per cent of its carbon emissions.
“Le Paul Gauguin’s environmental upgrades follow this path which also includes water treatment and consumption optimisation along with energy-saving initiatives,” she says.
Points of Difference
Bratton says that there’s a saying that Tahiti sees the same number of tourists in a year that Hawaii sees in a day and is the perfect destination for a relaxed holiday.
“Paul Gauguin cruises offer extraordinary value in luxury cruising with all-inclusive pricing, exceptional service with a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.5, which is among the highest at sea, and includes their own troupe of Tahitian entertainers.
“The convivial atmosphere makes the perfect setting to make new friends onboard, while expansive deck space means there is always a quiet corner to relax and unwind.”
Enrichment programmes include presentations by local naturalists, and select sailings feature special guests. Longer port stays provide the chance to experience island life with full days in port and overnight calls on Bora Bora and Moorea on most itineraries.
For the kids, the Moana Explorer Program is available during select school holiday sailings, which introduces young travellers to the natural wonders of French Polynesia. Children might learn about marine life through board games, craft natural jewellery, conduct water experiments, go on a treasure hunt, play water games, go stargazing and design a Polynesian tattoo.
Top Cruise Destination Selections
Bianca Bratton reveals her top picks when it comes to Paul Gauguin’s itineraries:
Mythical Bora Bora offers a natural spectacle of captivating beauty, with white sandy beaches, famous lagoons and colourful fish in waters of incomparable turquoise. The island is covered with tropical vegetation and dominated by the majestic outline of Mount Otemanu.
The secluded Huahine, known as the flower island, is amazing. Guests can explore the local village on foot, wander through lush rainforests, float in crystal-clear lagoons and explore hidden coves, remote creeks and archaeological remains.
Bathing in the beautiful waters of the Pacific Ocean, this unique chain of islands is home to exceptional flora and fauna, black-sand beaches, cultural experiences and stone sculptures said to be linked to the famous statues of Easter Island.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Fakarava is a biosphere reserve that is home to unique flora and fauna, grey sharks and untouched coral reefs. Make the most of the warm waters and snorkel or scuba dive among the coral.
This is Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private beach. A jewel in the Taha’a lagoon, Motu Mahana is a sumptuous little private island paradise only accessible by Paul Gauguin guests.
To learn more, visit pgcruises.com