Paradise isn’t as far away as one may think. French Polynesia is just an eight-hour flight from the U.S. West Coast, and the Society Islands offer the perfect slice of island life.
One of the easiest ways to explore the islands is to set sail with Paul Gauguin Cruises. The cruise line’s Tahiti & the Society Islands give guests the ideal overview of Tahitian life.
The seven-night cruise explores the charms of the South Pacific, which have inspired artists such as author James A. Michener, painter Paul Gauguin and many more. Marlon Brando, who fell in love with Tahiti filming “Mutiny on the Bounty,” even opened his own resort.
Guests have the chance to experience a diverse landscape from rugged mountain peaks and lush rainforests to vanilla-scented islands and crystal-clear lagoons while sailing through French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin.
This particular journey sails roundtrip from Papeete, sailing to Huahine, Bora Bora, Tahaa and Moorea.
Papeete, often overlooked as just a jumping-off point for exploration to other French Polynesian islands, is a fabulous destination where visitors will find unique culinary items, stunning beaches, waterfalls and a wonderful central market.
The ship is centrally located in Papeete’s port, making it easy to explore the market and the chic shops at the Vaima Center, visit the Robert Wan Pearl Museum and more.
Huahine is known as the “Garden Island” and is home to some of the best-preserved archeological sites in French Polynesia. Fare is the island’s main town with stores, a wharf, a swimming beach and a handicraft market.
Huahine’s major cultural and religious center is Maeva. More than 200 stone structures have been discovered along the water’s edge, and an outdoor museum contains over 40 marae (temples) and other archaeological sites. The small village of Faie is Belvedere Lookout on the slopes of Mount Turi.
Guests can take ATV excursions, explore the island by 4X4, take boat and Jeep excursions and book a three-hour snorkeling tour or a two-hour Jet Ski journey. There are also motu picnics, scuba diving trips and more to choose from.
The cruise also takes guests to Bora Bora for two full days of exploration. Here, Paul Gauguin Cruises has its own private island with access to volleyball, snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Guests can also take advantage of snorkeling trips, helicopter tours, sunset jet boat rides and more.
Tahaa offers yet another island paradise. Guests can spend the day exploring Paul Gauguin’s private islet, enjoying drinks from the floating bar and live music and lunching on a complimentary barbecue lunch.
Excursions include flightseeing, a catamaran sail, snorkeling, scuba diving and cultural tours onshore, among other activities.
The lush, rugged island of Moorea is the essence of the Tahitian experience with its high peaks and palm-lined beaches. Blue lagoons give way to steep valleys lined with flowers, fruit trees, coffee, vanilla beans and vegetables.
Guests can spend the day on the beach, enjoy an off-road safari, take an underwater walk or enjoy an island ATV tour. One of the stand-out experiences on Moorea is the Scenic Flight and Pilot Lesson, available for 40, 60 and 75 minutes.
The cruise returns to Papeete at the end of the journey. Guests can do some last-minute shopping or explore before saying “au revoir” to paradise.