The islands of Polynesia are a gorgeous collection of volcanic islands and atolls strewn lazily across the grand Pacific Ocean. The island of Tahiti proper is the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that comprise French Polynesia. Papeete, the modern capital of Tahiti and her islands, contains government offices, hospitals, banks, and many other services dedicated to serving the islands, as well as guests who come to these islands for a life-enriching experience. Embark The Gauguin here this afternoon and have time to settle into your cabin before dinner onboard later in the evening. The ship will set sail tonight.
The first port of call is Huahine, known as “The Garden Island” for its lush rainforests and dramatic terrain. While here, cruise the expansive lagoon, explore the island’s culture, or picnic on the beach. Arrive in Bora Bora this evening.
Have two full days to explore this magical island on your own. Perhaps relax on an exclusive, private beach on a motu just off the island. Or take your pick of optional shore excursions: circle the island by waverunner or jetboat, traverse the interior by off-road safari, enjoy a romantic overnight escapade at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, and so much more.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener described Bora Bora as “the most beautiful island in the world.” Behold Mount Otemanu rising up from the horizon. The rest of the day is yours to admire the island’s picture-postcard beauty.
Divers from all over the world flock to Rangiroa to experience the extraordinary visibility of its lagoon and witness the multitude of tropical fish, manta rays, and dolphins. Here, snorkeling or SCUBA diving is a must. Spend a day beneath the water’s surface dazzled by an underwater technicolor fish frenzy in the reef passes surrounding the world’s second-largest atoll. Ashore, discover the daily activities of the Paumotu people, perhaps at one of the interior lagoons’ black-pearl farms. Or indulge in the island’s second-most popular pursuit: doing nothing at all.
Known in the days before modern navigation as the “Dangerous Archipelago” for its shallow passages, the Tuamotus islands are a diver’s paradise. Call first on Fakarava, whose diverse ecosystem has earned it the designation of a UNESCO-Classified Nature Reserve. There are two massive passes on the island where experienced divers can descend up to 130 feet into a world of cauliflower coral, gray sharks, and fish schooling by the thousands. Or stay on land and explore the island’s charming villages, ancient temples, and 19th-century coral church.
Enjoy shipboard life today: relax poolside, watch the South Pacific slip by, play some table tennis, or take advantage of the Reading Library.
Motu Mahana, an islet adjacent to Taha’a, is your very own South Seas paradise, featuring white-sand beaches with swaying palms, crystal-clear waters, and gentle breezes. As an exclusive event, spend a full day on this idyllic island doing exactly as you please. Relax in the shade of a palm tree, engage in a game of volleyball, snorkel in the motu’s turquoise lagoons, and enjoy a delicious al fresco barbecue lunch with Polynesian entertainment.
With its abundance of fresh fruits and flowers, spectacular mountain peaks, peaceful multi-hued lagoons, and palm-fringed beaches, Moorea features a magnificent beauty that is unsurpassed. White-sand beaches lapped by the translucent shimmering lagoon water and shaded by palm, coconut, and ironwood groves stretch for miles. During your visit, take an optional air-conditioned coach ride around the island to admire the stunning views.
Perhaps try an optional SCUBA diving excursion among the sea turtles and staggering amount of fish species that call Moorea’s waters home. Or simply relax and revel in the island’s natural splendor. Late this afternoon, the ship casts off for Tahiti’s capital, where you’ll enjoy a final overnight.
Disembark the Paul Gauguin this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
|Porthole Stateroom (F)||Window Stateroom (E)||Balcony Stateroom (D)||Balcony Stateroom (C)||Veranda Stateroom (B)||Veranda Suite (A)||Grand Suite||Owners Suite|
|Join one of the most highly acclaimed oceanographers and environmentalists, Jean-Michel Cousteau, on the March 2, June 1, and September 21 departures.|
Port, security and handling charges: $170 per person