Open Jaw

Paul Gauguin: The Cure For The Common Cruise

Bora Bora anyone?

As Open Jaw’s Nina Slawek put it after cruising the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises: “You could probably be on a raft in French Polynesia and still feel spoiled.” Such is the beauty of Tahiti and her islands, which for many is the ultimate definition of paradise.

Water waiter

That said, cruising on the m/s Paul Gauguin is a whole lot different than a raft. Slawek refers to it as “360° of indulgence.” And she travelled on the ship prior to its $7 million renovation that has given staterooms and public areas a fresh, lighter, brighter feel.

360° of indulgence

“The Paul Gauguin is not a common cruise,” says Richard Bailey, Managing Director of Pacific Beachcomber which now owns the ship, along with a number of Intercontinental Hotels on the Society Islands. “In fact, the Paul Gauguin is the cure for the common cruise.”

The m/s Paul Gauguin carries just 322 guests in staterooms and suites ranging from 200 to 588 sq. ft., 70% of them with private balconies. Most staterooms also feature queen size beds and spacious bathrooms with a full size tub. There’s an in-suite bar setup and butler service in categories B and above. The ship features a staff of 217, making for one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios at sea.

New for 2013, the m/s Paul Gauguin has a ‘little sister’ ship, the m/v Tere Moana (Tahitian for ocean traveller) carrying just 90 guests and a staff of 57. It will sail  in Europe, the Caribbean and the Panama Canal this year.

Paul Gauguin Kayaking

Bora Bora Lagoon

Both Paul Gauguin ships offer an all-inclusive experience, including all shipboard meals in a choice of venues, complimentary 24 hr. room service, complimentary beverages – including wine, beer, spirits and hot beverages -- all onboard gratuities, shipboard entertainment and more. The m/s Paul Gauguin features a retractable watersports marina where guests can enjoy complimentary kayaking, windsurfing and paddleboarding. Scuba diving is optional and popular.

In 2013, the Gauguin offers 5 award winning itineraries in exotic French Polynesia featuring a host of island jewels with white sand beaches, aqua lagoons, mist-laden mountains and warm Polynesian culture. Itineraries include: 7 night Tahiti & the Society Islands; 10 night Society Islands & Tuamotus; 11 night Cook Islands & Society Islands; 11 night Australs & Society Islands and 14 night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands.

Staying on an all-inclusive ship cuts daily costs by at least half. Without cutting back on quality.

Slawek says the Paul Gauguin all-inclusive model offers great benefits, and not just in setting a carefree tone to the cruising experience. With the South Pacific so far away from major markets, land based tourism is expensive.

“Having visited some of the islands - Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea - one quickly realizes that to stay, eat and drink in this part of the world for a whole week can add up very quickly,” says Slawek. “Staying on an all-inclusive ship cuts daily costs by at least half. Without cutting back on quality.”

Paul Gauguin South Pacific cruises come complete with air from LAX aboard Air Tahiti Nui. Slawek says the 8 hr. flight to PPT features fine service, food with a French flair and plenty of French champagne. “Jet lag, what jet lag?” says Slawek.

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