Fodor’s Expert Review
Paul Gauguin, formerly part of Regent Seven Seas, is known as the best ship in Tahiti.Read More
The kids will be your responsibility most of time. This is a small ship and most of the guests are older. The kids will love the islands and watersports, but nightlife might seem a little boring to them.
All cruises from June through August and on select holiday cruises feature a special kids program created by explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society. Ambassadors of the Environment introduces young travelers aged 9 to 17 direct, hands-on, interactive experience with knowledge of the unique Polynesian marine and island ecosystems. Young Ambassadors will explore coral reefs, hike rainforest trails and visit marae (ancient Polynesian temples). They’ll learn how white and black pearls are cultivated, how volcanic islands become atolls, and how to paddle an outrigger canoe. Parents are encouraged to join children on eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore.
This program is available on for a nominal fee of $269 per child.
Paul Gauguin Cruises was created when it’s original cruise line Radisson Seven Seas was acquired by private company Apollo Management. This equity investment firm which also owns Oceania Cruises and a ruling stake in NCl (Norwegian Cruise Lines) decided to spin off the single ship Paul Gauguin solely for logistic reasons. And so, the rest of Radisson became Regent under Prestige Holdings, and Paul Gauguin Cruises became a new, one-ship cruise line. It is currently owned by Pacific Beachcomber which operates four InterContinental resorts in French Polynesia.
The m/s Paul Gauguin was designed specifically to sail the shallow seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia, visiting the lesser-known small ports on these exotic islands that the larger ships can’t reach. With spacious suites and more than 70% of staterooms boasting private balconies, the Paul Gauguin is a small luxury ship with an onboard water sports marina, a choice of three open-seating dining venues and an extensive spa. Since the ship is located permanently in the Society islands of Tahiti, and has been her entire life, the atmosphere aboard ship screams Polynesian flair. A beloved troupe of Gauguines – a local Tahitian group who serve as cruise staff, entertainers and storytellers – add the unique personality of Tahiti to every cruise.
The average is generally well over 55 and well-traveled. The onboard atmosphere is low-key, with few feeling the need to dress to the nines at night. They prefer to dress tastefully yet comfortably. They are worldy in their knowledge and experiences, and look forward to the line’s remarkable schedule of guest lectures.
Expect a lot of water-related activities from scuba to snorkeling, kayaking and just relaxing in the sunshine. On shore 4-wheel jeeps take you to the interior of this mystifying volcanic island chain.
Jean-Michel Cousteau will join the ship on the May 22, 2010 sailing to Fiji, Tonga, Cook and Society Islands to offer a series of lectures with videos of his work as well as accompany several dives from the ship.
Gratuities are included in your fare.
Paul Gauguin voyages highlight the beauty for which French Polynesia and the South Pacific are noted and where the ship sails exclusively. Cruises range from 7 to 20 nights to such exotic destinations as Tahiti and the Society Islands, Tuamotus, the Cook Islands, Marquesas, Tonga, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia.
At only 19,200 tons, Paul Gauguin is well suited for luxury cruises through Tahiti and the South Pacific. The ship has sailed continuously through the region longer than any other vessel, and its reputation as a luxurious and romantic ship is well deserved. Built in 1998, the Gauguin initially sailed in the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet and joined Pacific Beachcomber, SC in 2010.
While previous rejuvenations provided updated accommodations by converting 26 ocean-view staterooms to balcony staterooms, the Paul Gauguin underwent the most extensive renovation in its history in January 2012. At a cost of $7 million, the ship emerged from dry dock with extensive enhancements throughout. Renovations included all new flooring, furnishings, window treatments, and wall panels, resulting in a lighter look and more tropical feel. The ship’s dining venues were also renovated and the casino expanded.
Cruises on the boutique luxury ship range from seven to twenty days and roam as far as New Zealand. The focus is naturally on the beauty and exotic ports found in the South Pacific and the cultures of their people. Soft adventure and water sports are the highlights of most sailings, when the ship visits private beaches for a shoreside barbeque and exploration. Snorkel equipment is provided for passengers to enjoy the underwater sights.
With one ship built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific and synonymous with luxury and exotic destinations, Paul Gauguin Cruises remains a top choice for discerning travelers and honeymooners. The MS Paul Gauguin has been in service since 1998 and lays claim to being the only luxury ship in history to have offered a single-destination focus and high level of expertise on a year-round basis for such an extended period of time. The line now has a second ship that will sail in Europe and the Caribbean.
The well-loved ship sailed for over a dozen years under the flag of Radisson (later Regent) Seven Seas Cruises until the ship was sold. Paul Gauguin Cruises began in 2010 with the single ship when the Paul Gauguin was acquired by Pacific Beachcomber SC, the largest luxury hotel and cruise operator in French Polynesia. In order to offer similarly luxurious cruises in other regions—Europe in summer months and the Caribbean during the winter season—the line introduced a second vessel, MVTere Moana in 2012.
Intimate and luxurious, Paul Gauguin ships offer a cruise experience tailored to the regions in which they sail. On board you can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool or simply relax poolside in a deck chair, with a good book and a beverage from the nearby bar. You won’t want to miss the Fare Tahiti art exhibit in front of La Veranda restaurant on Paul Gauguin, although you may want to bring your own reading material as the library has only a few shelves of mostly English-language books. Passengers aboard Tere Moana fare a bit better with a larger library. A relaxed atmosphere prevails throughout both vessels, but the cruise line definitely has a split personality, with voyages on MS Paul Gauguin limited to the South Pacific and those of MV Tere Moana as varied as the Caribbean and Europe.
- 7 passenger decks
- Specialty restaurant
- dining room
- 2 buffets
- 1 pool
- Fitness classes
- steam room
- 4 bars
- show room
- Children’s programs
- laundry service
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What to expect on board
Staterooms & Cabins
All accommodations are outside and luxuriously appointed with a seating area and decor inspired by soothing tropical colors. Nearly 70% of suites and staterooms have private balconies. Most have a traditional queen-size bed, while a limited number have twin beds that can be configured as a queen. Amenities include bathrobes for use during the cruise, slippers, hair dryer, flat screen TV, CD/DVD player, safe, and a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer, and bottled water. Butler service is available in accommodations categories B and above to assist with unpacking, packing, arranging excursions, and the daily delivery of canapés.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are marble-lined, and most have a full-size bathtub with shower; however, eight staterooms have stall showers only. Toiletries include shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and bath gel.
One stateroom is wheelchair accessible; select staterooms can accommodate three guests.
Food & Drink
The formal restaurant L’Etoile, open only for dinner, offers French-inspired cuisine with a dash of Polynesian flair. For breakfast and lunch, you either order off the menu or make your selections from the extensive international lunch buffet in La Veranda. A limited breakfast is available in La Palette Lounge. Tea is also served in La Veranda or La Palette Lounge, where seating is available indoors or on the adjacent deck. In the evening, La Veranda is transformed into an elegant, reservation-only dining venue featuring a menu showcasing the culinary creations of Jean-Pierre Vigato, of the restaurant Apicius in Paris. Le Grill is a more casual alfresco dining experience, where a breakfast buffet is served and lunch includes a choice of grilled favorites, salads, fresh tropical fruits, and international dishes. Dinner by reservation at Le Grill features Polynesian specialties in a relaxed atmosphere. While reservations are required for alternative dinner options, there is no surcharge. Complimentary wines chosen to complement the menu are freely poured at lunch and dinner. Room service is available around the clock, and select items from the L’Etoile menu can be ordered during dinner hours for in-room dining.
The Grand Salon is well suited as a venue for cabaret-sized shows, either performed by the ship’s staff, the ship’s Tahitian hostesses Les Gauguines, or a guest Polynesian troupe. Live music is featured nightly in both the piano bar and in La Palette Lounge for listening and dancing indoors or beneath the stars on the deck aft. For couples, a honeymoon/anniversary blessing ceremony is a highlight.
Spa & Fitness
The Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm is noted for combining the art of gentle pampering with services that are uniquely tailored to each individual. A full menu of treatments includes facials utilizing an AlgoDerm machine, skin care therapies and exfoliation, massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, and body wraps. Unique treatments include the “supreme gold” massage, inspired by traditional Russian methods, and Algo Silhouette contouring, toning, and firming techniques. Relaxing overwater massages are also available on Paul Gauguin’s private motu off the coast of Taha’a. Use of the steam room is complimentary.