Itinerary Spotlight: Tahiti & the Society Islands


Itinerary Spotlight: Tahiti & the Society Islands

August 30, 2012

The idyllic and authentically preserved islands and culture of the South Pacific have inspired artists of the likes of Gauguin, Matisse, and Melville for centuries. One of the best ways to experience these scenic islands is on the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage. The Gauguin was designed specifically to sail the seas of Tahiti and French Polynesia, visiting small ports that larger ships can't reach and effortlessly blending into the stunning natural beauty of the South Seas.

m/s Paul Gauguin

Papeete, Tahiti
The cruise starts and ends in Tahiti, which is the largest island in French Polynesia. The capital and economic center is Papeete and is the port The Gauguin sails from.

Papeete, Tahiti

The city is famous for its expansive public market, which features tropical flowers, fruits, fresh fish, Polynesian handicrafts, carved wood sculptures, and colorful fabrics. Late evening, the ship departs the pier.  

Public Market in Papeete, Tahiti

Raiatea, Society Islands
In the morning, the island of Raiatea extends a warm greeting. The island is known for its cultural, religious, royal, and political significance in French Polynesia. The Taputapuatea marae —a scared gathering site and national monument—is located here and deemed the most important and largest marae in the Society Islands. The highest peak on the Raiatea is Mount Tefatoaiti, towering at 1,017 feet, and is the only place in the world where the white Tiare Apetahi flower grows. The island also features the Faaroa River, the only navigable one in French Polynesia, which can be explored by kayak or canoe. 

Raiatea, Society Islands

Tahiti is known for its beautiful black pearls which are indigenous to remote lagoons of French Polynesia.  A few of the pearl farms that cultivate these luxurious Tahitian gems can be visited from Raiatea. 

   Tahitian Black Pearls

Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands
Close to Raiatea is Taha’a, its sister island. One of the highlights of the voyage is to visit Paul Gauguin Cruises Motu Mahana off the coast of Taha’a.  Guests are transported from the ship via tender boat to this South Seas paradise featuring white-sand beaches, palm trees, crystal-clear waters, and gentle breezes.  Chaise lounges are perfectly positioned with sweeping  views of the lagoon. Live Polynesian music drifts through the island.  Spirited games of volleyball take place while others kayak in the calm, sparkling water. 

Taha'a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands

An expansive barbecue lunch is served featuring grilled fish, hamburgers, hot dogs, tropical fruits, and Polynesian fare.  Refreshing drinks in coconuts are handcrafted at the motu’s bar as well as at the floating bar in the lagoon.   

Floating Bar in the Lagoon

Bora Bora, Society Islands
With one of the most beautiful, turquoise blue lagoons on Earth and breathtaking Mount Otemanu rising above, lies the pearl of the Pacific—Bora Bora. The Gauguin spends two blissful days here. 

Bora Bora

The Gauguin’s exclusive, private beach in Bora Bora is located on a motu off the coast of the island.  In this tropical oasis, you can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and even engage in a game of volleyball followed by a cool drink. The Gauguin offers optional shore excursions including aqua bike and waverunner adventures, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, helicopter flightseeing, island sightseeing tours. 

Enjoy the Lagoon in Bora Bora

Another option is to take a tender boat from The Gauguin to the wharf in Vaitape.  Browse this harbor town’s local Polynesian craft market, pearl shops, and boutiques. 

Vaitape Wharf

Located south of Vaitape, is one of the world’s best beaches—Matira Beach, with its sugary white sands and azure lagoon.  Along the way, visit the world-famous restaurant and bar, Bloody Mary’s, which boasts a long list of celebrity patrons. 

Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora

Moorea, Society Islands
From Bora Bora, sail on to the lush island of Moorea with its two bays – Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay.  This magical island features native gardens, waterfalls, ancient marae, pineapple plantations, and scenic views. The Gauguin overnights in Moorea, allowing guests to fully enjoy the island. 

Moorea, Society Islands

Kayaking, wind surfing, and paddleboarding is available from the ship’s watersports marina, and optional shore excursions include parasailing, trail hikes, waverunner adventures, underwater walks, ATV tours, dolphin watching, golfing, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving. 

Parasailing in Moorea

In early evening, set sail for Tahiti. From the deck, delight in stunning views, an amazing sunset, and star gazing aboardThe Gauguin.

The Gauguin Sailing at Sunset

For more information onThe Gauguin’s 7-nightTahiti & the Society Islands voyages click here.