On this South Pacific cruise, the region's incredible diversity of scenery is front and center. Discover the isle of Huahine, renowned for its spectacular rainforests. Then experience the unique majesty of the Cook Islands. Arid Aitutaki is virtually flat - so much so that you can spot the ocean from nearly any point on the island, sitting in sharp contrast to sister island Rarotonga's jagged peaks and deep valleys. Rarotonga's fertile slopes of red earth and sparkling aquamarine lagoon call to mind the classic Victorian ideal of paradise, which the island was called by its first European explorers. Return to the Society Islands for days in alluring Bora Bora, Taha'a, Moorea, and Papeete.
Snorkel in the crown jewel of the South Pacific, Bora Bora
Spend a relaxing day on Motu Mahaha, your very own private islet
Visit the tiny island of Aitutaki, home to world-famous lagoons
The islands of Polynesia are a gorgeous collection of volcanic atolls strewn across the grand Pacific Ocean, and the island of Tahiti is the largest of all 118. Explore the dynamic dining, nightlife, and shopping in the capital city of Papeete before embarking on The Gauguin.
Known as “The Garden Island,” Huahine’s lush rainforests and dramatic terrain surround sacred sites and legendary landmarks that are among the best-preserved archaeological sites in French Polynesia. If Huahine’s expansive lagoon is calling your name, enjoy a SCUBA diving excursion or picnic on the beach.
Spend the day enjoying The Gauguin’s Polynesian ambience: casual, leisurely, and graceful. Perhaps take in a lecture by a special guests, and then reflect on your day over classic French cuisine at L’Etoile.
While the island of Aitutaki may be small, it’s big on beauty, thanks to its coral reef-enclosed lagoon. Witness its splendor up-close with a leisurely beach visit. Don’t forget to save time to venture into the village of Arutanga, where you can find the oldest church in the Cooks, which dates from 1829.
Call today at Rarotonga, capital of the Cook Islands and the most mountainous of the group. Although this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to do nothing, you have a plethora of options for getting as active as you want. Snorkel in the crystalline waters of Muri Lagoon, or encounter the lushness of tropical nature in the Takitumu Conservation Area. Take an easy ride all the way around the island, or make a rugged hike into its lush interior with “Pa,” a local naturalist.
The time you spend onboard The Gauguin offers endless opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment, whether that means sampling gourmet cuisine, indulging in a spa treatment, watching the sunset from a chaise lounge on the sun deck, or simply making the most of your in-room amenities.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener described Bora Bora as “The most beautiful island in the world.” You might wish to explore the island with a number of activities, such as a tour of the island paradise that affords breathtaking island views. Or, glide over crystalline waters on a glass bottom boat to see the island's famous marine life without getting wet, take a thrilling helicopter ride over the ship and island, or simply spend a few hours lolling on the island's beautiful beach which offers volleyball, snorkeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
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 Paul Gauguin event, guests spend a full day exploring this idyllic, isolated island, and relaxing with a delicious barbecue lunch and Polynesian entertainment featuring strolling musicians and singers.
Covered in an abundance of fresh fruits and flowers, spectacular mountain peaks, peaceful multi-hued lagoons and palm-fringed beaches, Moorea's awesome beauty 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, you might wish to take an optional air-conditioned coach ride around the island to admire the stunning views. Shop for local handicrafts, embark on an optional dolphin-watching expedition with a marine biologist, and sample the local pineapples, said to be the most delicious in all of French Polynesia.
Perhaps today 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 Moorea's natural splendor.
Day 12: Disembark in Papeete
Tahiti’s capital city of Papeete welcomes you back with emerald hillsides, sapphire waters, and warm breezes. If you’re not ready for your South Pacific vacation to end, spend a few days here experiencing resorts, spas, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!