Dining aboard The Paul Gauguin
During every meal onboard The Gauguin, with every sumptuous bit you sample, and each time our attentive staff fill your glass, you’ll begin to realize that dining on the high seas with Paul Gauguin Cruises is truly something special. Embark upon a five-star culinary adventure, designed just for you by some of the world’s most talented and award-winning chefs, including Jean-Pierre Vigato. What’s more, every one of the onboard dining options is included in your cruise fare. Bon appétit!
Dine al fresco or enjoy wraparound ocean views from the dining room of La Veranda, where you can find an ever-changing selection of buffet breakfast and lunch items and a la carte options, many of which are inspired by the destinations visited. In the evening, La Veranda is transformed to a reservation-only dining venue serving Jean-Pierre Vigato’s gourmet cuisine.
When your day’s plans call for a more casual dining experience, Le Grill is where you’ll want to go, located by the pool and offering a buffet breakfast, grilled lunch favorites, salads, and fresh tropical fruit. In the afternoon, stop by for tea with finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, desserts, pastries, and petit fours. Return in the evening to sample Polynesian specialties in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations required for dinner.
The exquisite main dining room is dressed to impress with perfectly appointed décor, fine table linens, and delicate china. Join fellow cruisers every evening for dinner and sample a tantalizing array of expertly prepared dishes, perfectly paired with complimentary wines.
Paul Gauguin Cruises serves complimentary wines in each dining venue, lounge, and bar which are selected by wine sommeliers. Additionally, The Gauguin features a special Connoisseur Wine List with Champagnes from France and a variety of wines from California, Washington, Oregon, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile which can be purchased by guests by the bottle.
The Gauguin’s sommeliers also provide suggestions for food and wine pairings to enrich and enhance dining experiences. Paul Gauguin Cruises also features winemakers who provide educational lectures and wine tastings on select sailings.
Travelling with Kids on the m/s Paul Gauguin
A model on a Paul Gauguin Cruises photo shoot, Elke enjoyed her shipboard experience so much, she returned as a guest—twice. She shares some of the moments that made the voyages so special for her now 11-year-old son.
What comes to mind for you when you think of French Polynesia? Visions of stilted bungalows nestled over the crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora and Moorea? Honeymooners holding hands and strolling under swaying palm trees? For me, it’s the image of my son frolicking in sun-warmed waters, giggling, with a huge smile on his face. As a seasoned traveler, I’m always surprised when people tell me, “We always leave our kids at home when we take a vacation.” I get that couple time is important. To me, though, the amazing life lessons kids learn from travel and the enrichment they receive from local culture stay with them for a lifetime and shape who they become as adults. So, for me, the question is: why wouldn’t you take your kids?
My husband, son, and I have taken the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin twice, and to me, The Gauguin is truly the best way to experience French Polynesia as a family. So many choices filled each day! The only question is: where to begin? I think the easiest way to way to explain how wonderful French Polynesia and The Gauguin are for families is to describe our experiences and adventures in each port.
My son loves history, and Huahine is a great first stop to take in the history of French Polynesia! Starting from the port town of Maroe, we took a tour around the island. From the dock, we stopped at Fare, a sleepy fishing village, where you can see the mountain whose ridge gave the island its name (literally, pregnant woman). At Maeva, there is Fare Pote’e, a replica of an open, traditional house that is a museum with historical and cultural information. Fare was the seat of local power for the island, so there are a host of marae (religious sites built from stone) scattered along the shoreline. This stop was very interesting to my son and transported us back in time to how life was lived here so many moons ago.
If you are interested in how pearls or vanilla are produced, you can easily visit farms for each here and be amazed by their elaborate production processes. My son was fascinated by both! The small boat ride out to the pearl farm was also a lot of fun.
Another stop that fascinated him was our visit to Faie, where you can see and even feed sardines to Huahine’s famous and sacred blue-eyed eels. My son was mesmerized by these friendly and curious creatures swimming around his feet.
French Polynesia is a water playground for all ages because of its calm waters, beautiful sandy beaches, and gently sloping shores. Motu Mahana, The Gauguin’s private islet, is just the place to dip in and enjoy some great snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Or you can just lounge on the sandbar or build a sand castle. My son gladly participated in all the motu has to offer! Throughout the day, The Gauguin’s troupe of Tahitian ambassadors, Les Gauguines and Les Gauguin, provided entertainment, demonstrations, and storytelling. The fascinating legend of how the coconut tree came to be was one that children and adults could enjoy equally. And everyone gets a fresh coconut to drink from while lounging under the dappled shade of coconut trees. What could be better or tastier than that?
When we were on Bora Bora, my son the history buff appreciated the stories of World War II and how Bora Bora played a strategic role in the conflict.
And here’s something else he appreciated about Bora Bora: the beautiful coral reefs that make the island an ideal place to snorkel and dive. The Gauguin offers an onboard Discover SCUBA Diving class that can count toward PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification. My son took the class on both voyages so that we could all dive together as a family. The ship’s dive team is very knowledgeable, nice, and thorough, and they put my son right at ease.
Bora Bora and Moorea both have wonderful shallow dive sites for beginners (under 30 feet) where beautiful coral and fish are abundant. The clarity is wonderful to the point that you forget you are underwater! I think I have hundreds of pictures of my son giving me underwater OK and hang-ten hand signals, he enjoyed it so much. He especially loved the blacktip sharks, giant turtles, slews of colorful fish, dynamic coral, little underwater Christmas trees, and blue-lipped clams that closed up as if by magic when he waved his hand over them.
The Gauguin also has a private beach on Bora Bora—a restful spot to lounge in shallow waters with Mount Otemanu in the background. My son played a little trick on me with a coconut that looked like an eel coming out of the water. I guess he WAS paying attention when Les Gauguines told the Polynesian legend of a prince becoming the first coconut tree. If you look at a coconut shell, it really does look like an eel’s face. Uncanny!
Moorea was our favorite island! In fact, we loved it so much, we spent another week there both times after our cruises. We loved visiting the little idyllic motus and snorkeling until our fingers and toes turned into little prunes, which was forever since the water is so warm. My son spent so much time underwater petting the gentle and graceful rays. And what little boy wouldn’t be over the moon to be face to face with blacktip sharks? He definitely had some interesting and adventurous stories to tell his buddies back home!
On our last trip to Moorea, we kayaked out to a little motu and gathered little hermit crabs along the beach and had hermit crab races, ending in a rainbow over the water. Great memories!
By land, make sure you make it up to the Belvedere lookout point, where there are lush and gorgeous vistas of Opunohu and Cook’s Bays and Mt. Rotui. Just before you get there, you can stop at Marae Titiroa to wander among the many preserved marae platforms linked by a walking track. My son loved this trek through the cool dense forest of chestnut trees that shelters these pieces of history. There are lots of signs marking and explaining everything, and the trail is easy for families to follow. The archery platform was his favorite.
Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. Need I say more? My son, the little shopper, loved le Marche de Pape’ete to buy friends, family, and himself beautiful black pearl and shell jewelry, monoi (coconut oils) and fragrant tiare soaps, and colorful island-y trinkets.
Of course, you don’t have to be visiting an island to have a great time! Life aboard ship fleshed out the experience for our family. On each voyage, we were blown away by the kindness of the ship’s crew and how especially sweet they were to my son—always joking with him and genuinely looking after him. I don’t think there was a staff member who didn’t know my son’s name and what he liked to eat and drink.
Their attention to detail is simply incredible. My son has a severe peanut allergy, which can be very stressful when you’re eating out, especially when you’re abroad. Hernie from the dining staff went way beyond the call of duty to make sure my son was safe AND enjoyed the amazing culinary creations on board. My son has broadened his palate, developing a taste for pâté and brie with baguettes, and he ate desserts with abandon. We definitely all tipped the scales a little heavier when we departed the ship!
There’s a lot more to life aboard than just the gourmet-quality local and French foods. We enjoyed interesting lectures about the history, culture, and the environment of the region by very knowledgeable speakers. My son loves the ocean and was very interested in hearing about coral reef restoration by one of the lecturers. We also learned local stories and legends and listened to beautiful songs sung by Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins along the way.
My son and I also had so much fun immersing ourselves in creating crafts with local materials, making several different types of bracelets (shell bracelets, local bean bracelets, and textile bracelets), hand-painted bookmarks and postcards on tapas (paper made from hibiscus bark), and leis (fragrant floral necklaces) with the local mamas of Moorea.
You can also go on land/sea excursions—or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the lush green islands surrounding you, as you listen to Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins strumming ukuleles as you sit on the pool deck or paddle around the pool.
My son made a friend on board, and we found that our voyage gave us a good mix of family and new-friend time.
It was with heavy hearts that we departed the ship. My son loved The Gauguin, the ports, the activities, and the crew so very much! The amazing people and places we visited linger in our hearts and minds with the melody of the islands, and we are all forever changed as a family by our experiences there. So, yes … definitely take your kids on a trip of a lifetime!
Post c/o the Paul Gauguin Cruises Blog April 12 2019
Original content can be found here
Paul Gauguin Private Island
I have cruised on the Paul Gauguin twice. The first time was a 7 night Society Island itinerary and the second time was a 10 night Society Island and Tuamotus itinerary. I preferred the 10 night itinerary, it allows you to time to visit and explore the beautiful Tuamotus islands. One of the stops on either itinerary is Paul Gauguin’s private island. It is a wonderful relaxing day spent sitting under palm trees.
If you’d like a drink no problem, wade into water to their floating bar where Le Gauguins will be happy to mix you up an ice cold beverage of your choice. Lunch is served on the island. If you want to work off a few of the calories you consumed during lunch you can take out the complimentary kayaks or snorkel in the crystal clear water. It is truly a day spent in paradise!
The South Pacific Is Made For Families
The South Pacific isn’t just for romantic getaways, it’s a wonderful destination for families. And Paul Gauguin Cruises can help create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your family to create memories you’ll relive forever with their Moana Explorer Program
Offered in partnership with Te mana o te moana, a South Pacific marine education and conservation foundation, this exciting new program invites children and teens, ages 7-15, to discover and value the natural wonders of this breathtaking part of the world through hands-on, interactive learning.
Every day of the voyage, there is a combination of naturalist-led island and/or beach excursions, science activities, crafts, games, and other adventures. Depending on their itinerary, your children might learn about underwater life through board games, create natural jewelry, conduct water experiments, go on a treasure hunt, enjoy water games in the onboard pool, go stargazing, design their own Polynesian tattoo, and more.
Best of all, there is no fee* for this special family program! It’s all part of Paul Gauguin Cruises’ extraordinary all-inclusive value.
Tahiti & the Society Islands – 7 nights
July 20; December 21, December 28, 2019
Society Islands & Tahiti Iti – 7 nights
July 27, 2019
Society Islands & Tuamotus – 10 nights
July 10; August 14, 2019
Cook Islands & Society Islands – 11 nights
June 15; August 3, 2019
The Moana Explorer program is only available on select sailings during the summer and holiday and must be reserved at time of booking.
The New Wave Of Cruise Experiences
Thirteen experiences you didn’t know you could have on a cruise.
Today’s cruising boom is good news for everyone, from aficionados who love setting sail to those ready to give a new vacation style a go. And as cruising’s popularity grows – approximately 27 million people stepped aboard in 2018 – cruise lines have diversified. It’s all about variety these days, not just in ship size – ranging from intimate, 60-passenger yachts to next-level, 6,000-person megavessels – but in style too. You can sip coffee on your balcony as you float down a European river, go searching for wildlife on an expedition ship, or get lost in a floating city at sea. Itineraries are also more creative: Culinary academies and wellness centers on board, for example, pair well with surprising shore excursions, from hiking up mountains to attending orchestra concerts. These 13 experiences are offered by cruise lines that participate in Virtuoso Voyages – an exclusive program that offers complimentary benefits and perks to travelers who book cruises through a Virtuoso travel advisor – and they’ll make you think twice about what you can do on your next sailings.
Welcome to the new era of cruising, where almost everything goes.
1 – Explore Marine Life From Inside A $3 Million Submarine
Realize your James Bond fantasies with a trip on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht that touts a three-person submersible as one of its water-based activity options. (Jet Skis, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are also at the ready.) A pilot takes two passengers at a time on explorations up to 1,000 feet below the surface, including on a seven-day, Dubrovnik-to-Venice sailing. The Esprit is an ideal vessel for scuba divers and snorkelers, and its slim size means it can call on smaller ports, including the yacht marina in Kotor, Montenegro; Croatia’s walled city of Dubrovnik; and all the way north to Venice.
Departures: Multiple dates, July 7, 2019, to August 30, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $125 shipboard credit. Submersible experience, $350.
2 – Set Sail With Your Pup In Tow
Crossing the Atlantic on Cunard’s eight-day, New York City to Southampton sailing is slow travel at its finest – rest, relaxation, and enrichment, from tango lessons and yoga sessions to fi lm screenings and music recitals. Share the adventure with your four-legged BFF on the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, which has an onboard kennel for 24 pets. Like their owners, cats and dogs receive VIP treatment, including a portrait session, fleece coat, and “turndown service” of freshly baked biscuits. The pet lounge and play area welcome animals from both sides of the pond with a Liverpool lamppost and an NYC fire hydrant.
Departures: Multiple dates, June 7 to December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include private port transfers in New York City and London and an onboard specialty-dining credit.
3 – Get Your Daily Cardio In
You’ve worked too hard to let your fitness routine slide for a week. Do as much (or as little) as you like with AmaWaterways, the river-cruise line that stables bicycles for shore excursions and employs dedicated wellness hosts to lead core and circuit training classes on board. On the new, 196-passenger AmaMagna, which debuted in May and is twice as wide as most European river ships, cruisers can log a mile on the top-deck walking track, take a stretching class in the Zen Wellness Studio, hydrate at the juice bar, or get a massage. Disembark on an eight-day, Vilshofen-to-Budapest Danube River sailing to bike along the river or hike to a castle.
Departures: Multiple dates, June 2 to December 29, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a guided tour of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace.
4 – Discuss World Affairs With A Career Diplomat
There’s nothing like sailing with an astronaut, scholar, government official, or filmmaker to vanquish the shuffleboard-and-buffets cruising stereotype. Seabourn raises the intellectual bar with its Seabourn Conversations series, featuring notable guests who don’t just lead onboard lectures, but engage with fellow passengers over meals and excursions as well. Ashok Sajjanhar – India’s ambassador to Sweden and Latvia and president of the Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi – will educate guests on the 599-passenger Seabourn Ovation during a 19-day, Dubaito-Singapore cruise with stops in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.
Departure: December 2, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Mumbai.
5 – Stay Out LATE Without Fear Of Missing The Boat
Azamara Club Cruises pioneered overnight port stays, letting guests revel in the local nightlife in addition to the standard daytime scene. The boutique cruise line is amping up its after-dark experiences with a new series of exclusive evening shore excursions, such as taking in an acrobatics performance in Valencia, Spain. On an 11-day, round-trip-from-Athens sailing on the 702-passenger Azamara Pursuit, travelers can attend a traditional Jewish folk music performance by a klezmer group at Jerusalem’s Ashdod Performing Arts Center. It’s part of an immersive, three-day stop in the holy city that includes visits to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.
Departure: September 4, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion to Jerusalem.
6 – Finally Figure Out The Difference Between A Julienne And A Brunoise Cut
Make tasty use of your time at sea on Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Marina or Riviera ships by enrolling in a cooking class or three at the onboard Culinary Center. Kick things off with Slice: Mastering Chef Knife Skills to learn the basics of mise en place before trying your hand at making pasta or grilling. The 12-day, Rio de Janeiro-to-Buenos Aires voyage on the Marina offers a balanced diet of cultural excursions in Paraty, Brazil; beach time in Punta del Este, Uruguay; and food and wine tours in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.
Departure: December 7, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include prepaid gratuities.
7 – Celebrate Your Anniversary With A Polynesian Blessing Ceremony
Cast away to the South Pacific for the most memorable of occasions aboard the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin Cruises. During an eight-day, roundtrip from Papeete sailing through the Society Islands – full of archaeological sites, lagoons fit for snorkeling, and white-sand beaches – local onboard hosts know as Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins can bless couples in a traditional Polynesian ceremony by reciting a love poem, singing, and after a Champagne toast, wrapping celebrants in a traditional patchwork tifaifai quilt. They’ll also teach you how to say “I do” in Tahitian, dance island-style, and make a basket out of pandanus leaves.
Departures: Multiple dates June 8 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Moorea.
8 – Spend All Day At The Spa
Bookending stops in Sint-Maarten, Dominica Saint Lucia, Antigua, and Saint Bart’s, four of the 11 days on Regent Seven Seas Cruises 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer’s roundtrip from Miami journey are spent at sea, offering prime time to find some inner peace in the ship’s Canyon Ranch Spa. This at-sea outpost mirrors the famous destination retreat, with yoga classes, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, reflexology, and hydrotherapy features ranging from saunas to cold rooms. Between oxygen facials and pedicures, check out the ship’s impressive art collection, including several Picasso’s, or learn about the healthful secrets of Mediterranean cooking in the Culinary Arts Kitchen.
Departure: January 8, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint Bart’s
9 – Learn How To Steer A Sailboat
Sixteen sails bound to four masts help power the 360 foot Star Flyer clipper ship, one of three throwback vessels in the Star Clippers fleet. Nautical culture meets luxury aboard this 17- passenger vessel, which has two swimming pools on its teak decks. Friendly deckhands, who hoist the sails manually each time the ship leaves port, offer knot-tying classes, ship-maneuvering lectures, and demonstrations on navigating with a sextant – a tool to measure angular distances at sea. Test your newfound skills on a 15-day, Barbados to Panama voyage, which visits Grenada, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), and Colombia and culminates in a sailor’s dream transit through the Panama Canal.
Departure: November 23, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint George’s, Grenada.
10 – Turn Your Expedition Photos Into Professional Masterpieces
Go beyond VSCO and your smartphone’s filters: The fully equipped Photo Studio aboard Silversea Cruises’ 254-passenger (200 in polar waters) Silver Cloud offers master classes in composition, editing, and Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop programs. High-tech printers encourage shutterbugs to create postcards and panoramic prints, regardless of whether they were taken using an iPhone or a DSLR. Photograph the wildlife that inhabits the bottom of the earth on a ten-day, roundtrip-from-Ushuaia expedition to Antarctica. The ship’s resident photo manager will coach passengers on adjusting shutter speeds so they can capture images of seabirds in the Drake Passage, penguins on the South Shetland Islands, and otherworldly icebergs in the Antarctic Sound.
Departures: Multiple dates, December 10, 2019, to January 20, 2021. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $300 shipboard credit per person.
11 – Read Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn On The Mighty Mississippi
The sense of freedom and possibility brought to life in Twain’s iconic novel can still be found on Ol’ Man River, and you’re likely to experience both during American Queen Steamboat Company’s nine-day cruise from New Orleans to Memphis. On board the 436-passenger American Queen, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, watch the Mississippi roll past from the ship’s decks, read a classic tome in the Mark Twain Gallery, and take in a show in the Grand Saloon. Along the way, holiday themed events and excursions reveal the history and heritage of the U.S. South. See NOLA’s ceremonial lighting of bonfires on the levee, learn how to perfect buttery biscuits in the Natchez home of award-winning chef Regina Charboneau, and more.
Departure: December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception; contact your Virtuoso travel advisor regarding an additional, soon-to-be-announced amenity.
12 – Travel Back In Time On The Nile River
From the hand-built pyramids at Giza to tranquil Nile excursions aboard a traditional felucca sailboat, travelers will revel in the ingenuity of past centuries during their time in Egypt. Seven of the 12 days on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s round-trip-from-Cairo itinerary are based on the elegant 82-passenger River Tosca. Egyptologist-guided excursions decode the colossal statues of Memnon, the mummified remains of King Tutankhamun in his Valley of the Kings tomb, and the hieroglyphics adorning temples from Luxor to Aswan. Changing pace, ride a felucca and take tea at the hotel where Agatha Christie set Death on the Nile. Go now, while tourism is growing, but before the masses return.
Departures: Multiple dates, September 28 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $200 shipboard credit per person.
13 – Get Cooking With A Celebrated Chef
The James Beard Foundation ships out its award-winning chefs and sommeliers on culinary-themed Windstar Cruises sailings, which include cooking demos, beverage pairings, and market tours. Gain firsthand knowledge by joining a talented chef and beverage expert on a ten-day, San Diego-to-Vancouver sailing aboard the 212-passenger Star Breeze, which plies the U.S. West Coast with stops in Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The chef will host a wine-paired dinner, lead a shopping trip, and provide a cooking demonstration. Work off the meals while exploring the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Departure: May 5, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a custom-curated shore event.
Original Article from Virtuoso Traveler July 2019 issue
Are You a Cruiser? Ten Questions to Ask
A floating hotel has something for everyone. Don’t believe it? Just consider these ten questions.
Cruising. Perhaps you long ago slammed this particular porthole shut, with vague ideas about buffets, crowds, and tired cabaret shows. But lately you’ve been hearing friends rave about their recent cruises, and you’re getting curious.
Whether you’re interested in glacier trekking or pool lounging, exploring secluded islands or city streets, spending days on vineyard tours or in spas – if you can name it, there’s a ship for it. And the best parts of cruising remain the same, regardless of sailing style or destination: You only need to unpack once, and the views are ever-changing.
Not quite convinced? The following questions will help you determine whether you should set sail. (The answer is yes.)
1 – Are You a Foodie?
Top chefs have expanded their empires to include the world’s waterways, and new ingredients await discovery in each port. Here’s a taste of what’s on board.
Wine lovers will savor Uniworld’s eight-day Bordeaux vineyard cruise aboard the 130-passenger River Royale, with cellar tastings in Saint-Émilion, a Sauternes-paired lunch, visits to farmers’ markets in Libourne, and bicycle rides through the back streets of Bordeaux.
Crystal Cruises’ annual Food & Wine Festival sailings feature guest chefs and sommeliers, cooking classes, and more. A roundtrip Los Angeles journey aboard the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity takes in the flavors of Mexico with stops in La Paz, Ensenada, and Mazatlán.
2 – Do You Want to See It All?
Sailings that encompass vast regions and whole seasons can write your life’s next chapter.
Spend nearly five months aboard Silversea’s 382-passenger Silver Whisper. In 2019, the line’s 132-day world cruise takes in 31 countries and 52 ports. From snorkeling on Moorea to sampling wonton soup in Hong Kong and strolling San Sebastián, Spain’s historic Old Town, this is one trip that truly earns the moniker “voyage.” (Have less time? Select one of its roughly two-week routes that’s right for you.)
Also for 2019, Crystal Cruises’ 85-day journey on the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit more than 15 countries. Explore the natural wonders of Australia and Africa, isles of the South Pacific, and top cities such as Sydney and Barcelona.
3 – Do You Prefer to Venture Off the Beaten Path?
Set sail to ports at the edges of civilization, and cruise rivers deep within Land Rover country.
Game-spot from the comfort of your stateroom during four days with AmaWaterways aboard the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen, as you navigate Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
4 – Are You a Night Owl?
Stay up late for chic theme parties, people-watching, and fun shows.
Azamara Club Cruises throws a White Night Party on its sailings, transforming outdoor decks into glamorous dancing and dining venues.
5 – Do You Like to Spread Out?
The most lavish and lovely accommodations come with endless blue views.
Cunard’s five Duplex and Grand Duplex suites on the 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2, on two levels joined by a sweeping staircase, feature two master baths and a private gym. To go all out, combine all five into one 9,000-square-foot mansion.
6 – Do You Like the Great Outdoors?
Natural encounters let you heed the call of the wild.
Join wildlife icon Jean-Michel Cousteau aboard an Aqua Expeditions vessel on the Amazon and Mekong rivers. Take guided kayak tours along quiet jungle routes to talk conservation and ecosystems, and enjoy relaxed onboard chats about Cousteau’s top photo and videography tips.
7 – Is Vacation Actually a Perfect Time to Get Healthy?
Superior spas, mindfulness, and wellness menus for self-care at sea.
Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program takes health at sea to a new level. Meditation and yoga programs address physical, social, and spiritual well-being; seminars cover topics such as anti-inflammatory foods, healthy aging, and mindfulness. Dr. Weil himself joins some sailings each year.
8 – Are You Seeking Cultural Immersion?
See destinations through the eyes of locals and respected experts
Explore Madeira’s capital of Funchal on an exclusive Virtuoso Voyages excursion on board Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Riviera during a round-trip Barcelona sailing. Ride a cable car to the hilltop village of Monte, where you can take in the churches and palaces before trying out the carros de cesto, wicker toboggans that zoom you down the hill to Livramento. You’ll also visit a wine cellar to savor the nuances of the island’s famous sweet elixir, and relax over a wine-pairing lunch at Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel.
Sail French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises to delve beyond its beautiful shores. Onboard hosts include an archaeologist who specializes in the ancient ceremonial structures of the Marquesas and an art historian with no fewer than seven books published on the cruise line’s namesake.
9 – Are You a Thrill Seeker?
Sky-high adventures via new technologies and old-fashioned daredevilry.
Star Clippers’ 227-passenger Royal Clipper is still the world’s only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship – and you can climb one of those masts, with a provided safety harness, of course, to take in the views over the vessel’s 42 billowing white sails.
10 – Do You Appreciate the Finer Things in Life?
From white-tie evenings to well-dressed breakfasts in bed.
Renowned for its commitment to the golden age of cruising, Cunard’s 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2 has a formal dress code in the main dining venues – which most guests are eager to embrace. Each sailing typically features three formal nights, such as a masquerade ball or Roaring Twenties–style dance.
On Silversea’s ships, each cabin has dedicated butlers who are trained through the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.
Guide to Cruise Line On board Gratuities
Figuring out how much to tip and who to tip while on a cruise can be confusing, even if you are a seasoned cruiser. Some lines automatically charge gratuities to your onboard account, others include them in your cruise fare, or have a special promotion where you get FREE gratuities. It seems that every cruise line has a different amount they charge and where those gratuities go.
Here is a break down of cruise line on board gratuity charges with some of the top cruise lines
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises includes gratuities in its fares.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line charges $13.99 per person per day for guests in standard rooms; and $15.99 per person per day for guests in suites.
All of the gratuities collected go to Carnival’s shipboard staff. According to its website, the amount is spread between its housekeeping team, dining team, and alternate staff.
Carnival recently announced that it would start charging 18 percent, up from 15 percent, on the automatic gratuity it charges for onboard beverages and a la carte dining outlets.
Celebrity Cruise Line
Celebrity charges $14.50 per person per day for those in standard accommodations; $15.00 per person per day for Concierge Class and AquaClass guests; and $18.00 per person per day for those in suites.
On its website, Celebrity says that collected gratuities are shared between stateroom attendants, dining services staff, and housekeeping staff.
The cruise line also adds an 18 percent gratuity to all beverages, spa, salon, and minibar purchases.
Cunard automatically charges $11.50 per person, per day, to passenger shipboard accounts in Britannia accommodations. For passengers in Grill Class accommodations the charge is $13.50.
An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills. A 15 percent charge also applies to spa treatments and services.
All of Crystal Cruises’ sailings are all-inclusive, so gratuities for its staff — housekeeping, restaurant, bar, and Penthouse butler staff — are already included in the cruise fare.
Holland America Line
Holland America increased the cost of its automatic gratuities in October, announcing that it would start charging $14.50 per day per person for all guests staying in standard rooms; and $16.00 per person per day for suite guests, starting in 2019.
Holland America states that 100 percent of gratuities go toward compensating onboard crew members.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL is increasing its gratuities starting on April 1, 2019. For all sailings after that date (excluding guests booked before on sailings before April 1), Norwegian guests sailing in any stateroom category up to a mini-suite on most ships will be charged $15 per person per day. Those sailing in any suite, Concierge, or The Haven stateroom will be charged $18 per person per day.
Standard guests on Norwegian Sky and Sun, two ships that sail with an all-inclusive price, will be charged $20.50 per person per day. Suite guests will be charged $23.50 per person per day.
Oceania automatically adds $16.00 per person per day for standard guests; and $23.00 per person per day for suite guests.
Oceania also adds an 18 percent charge to all beverage purchases, spa services, and specialty dinners.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
All onboard gratuities are included in Paul Gauguin’s all-inclusive fare.
A discretionary gratuity of $15.50 per guest for suites, $14.50 per guest for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 per guest for interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms. This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet.
A 18% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, and Lotus Spa® services. This is shared amongst the beverage staff, their support staff and Lotus Spa® personnel.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare for all of Regent’s sailings. The line also offers another option for guests who want to go above-and-beyond for their crew: donations to the Crew Welfare Fund, which is used for crew events, are welcomed at the Purser Office onboard.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean’s automatic gratuity is $14.50 per person per day for standard guests; and $17.50 per person per day for suite guests.
Gratuities are shared among dining, bar and culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.
According to Seabourn’s website, “Gratuities are neither required nor expected on Seabourn ships.”
All gratuities onboard, including all service gratuities except spa, are included in Silversea’s all-inclusive fare.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
When it officially launches in 2020, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer a fare that includes onboard gratuities for all restaurant, bar and housekeeping services, along with multiple dining venues, 24-hour in-suite dining, beverages such as beer, select spirits and wines, soft drinks, coffee, tea and bottled water in-suite and throughout the yacht, onboard entertainment and enrichment, use of the marina-style platform with access to watersports, and Wi-Fi.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking adds a discretionary hotel and dining charge of $15.00 per person per day to shipboard accounts. Those charges are shared among the waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry staff, and others.
That fee does not include Viking’s 15 percent gratuity for bar and deck service.
As part of the lead up to the 2020 launch of its first ship, Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages revealed that all of its onboard gratuities will be included in the cruise fare.
Windstar raised its daily gratuities in January of this year — now, the luxury line charges $13.50 per person per day for gratuities for all guests.
Windstar also adds a 15 percent service charge for bar service.
While it’s important to recognize that gratuities are a primary way of rewarding on board crews that make the experience of sailing special, most cruise lines allow guests to adjust (either increase or decrease) the amount paid in gratuities by going to guest services during the cruise. So you can feel confident that you are paying what you feel is fair.
Gratuity and service fee amounts valid at time of publishing
2019 Wine Voyages with Paul Gauguin Cruises
Often when you think if taking a wine themed cruise you imagine sailing around the Mediterranean sipping wines from Italy or Spain. Maybe you can picture yourself on a river cruise meandering into the famous Bordeaux region, sipping a sweet crisp Riesling along the Rhine, or along to Douro to savour the Port it is famous for?
Well wine lovers rejoice! You can indulge your love of wine while cruising in paradise. Wine experts will be aboard special 2019 sailings with Paul Gauguin Cruises as part of their all-inclusive value in luxury cruising.
Robin and Danuta Pfeiffer are the owners and winemakers of Pfeiffer Winery and Vineyards, an ultra-premium, sustainable, 70-acre vineyard with an international reputation for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Enjoy a wine lecture and a tasting of Pfeiffer Winery wines when Robin and Danuta join The Gauguin’s April 13, 2019, Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands voyage.
As the sixth generation of “America’s oldest winemaking family,” Steven Kent Mirassou began his wine career at age 13 on the bottling lines, forklifts, and warehouses of the family’s historic winery. At the ripe age of 32, he opened the Steven Kent Winery with one mission in mind: to make Cabernet in the Livermore Valley that rivals in quality the greatest red wines around the world. Steven shares his expertise during a lecture and tasting of his wines during the April 27, 2019, Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage aboard The Gauguin.
Nestled in the famous Napa Valley, the Salvestrin Winery has been growing wine grapes since 1932. It was originally planted in 1860 by Dr. George Crane, and three generations of the Salvestrin family have meticulously and sustainably farmed this historic St. Helena vineyard for 80 years. Sensitive to both the environment and the surrounding community, the family follows organic guidelines as they consistently create handcrafted wines that are fruit forward, elegant, balanced, and memorably world class. Learn more about these exceptional wines as the family shares their story during a lecture and wine tasting during the July 10, 2019, Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage.
Katie Leonardini and her family have owned Whitehall Lane for more than 25 years. In its short history, Whitehall Lane has developed into a world-class winery. The efforts of the Leonardini family are evident in the recent run of accolades from wine publications—but are even more apparent in the beautifully made, elegant wines they continue to make. Enjoy Katie’s presentation and tasting of Whitehall Lane wines aboard the July 10, 2019, Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage.
The Pejus’ Rutherford vineyard has been home to Lisa Peju since she was six years old. It was then that she moved with her parents from Southern California to wine country to begin a life devoted to growing grapes, producing high-quality wines, and finding new and innovative ways to market the family brand. Learn more about Peju Winery—and taste its delicious wines—as Lisa shares her expertise during a presentation on board The Gauguin during the July 27, 2019, Society Islands & Tahiti Iti voyage.
Shore Excursion Highlight: Stingray Ballet & Snorkel Safari
If you’ve cruised, you may have already done a Stingray Shore Excursion in say Grand Cayman? But have you ever interacted with Stingrays, parrotfish and other tropical fish in the in pristine waters of the South Pacific?
PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES STINGRAY BALLET & SNORKEL SAFARI
Length: 3 Hours
Explore the exquisite beauty and undersea denizens of Bora Bora’s lagoon during this stingray ballet and snorkeling safari aboard a covered snorkeling boat.
Depart the pier aboard the snorkeling boat for a cruise by the ancient crater rim of Motu Toopua, then past Motu Tapu. You will then drop anchor on a shallow sandbank to discover the elegant, yet harmless stingrays. Watch in amazement as your guide hand-feeds the stingrays as they glide effortlessly around you. If you are willing, your guide will even help you get close enough to touch them.
Next, you will continue on for a visit to a pristine coral garden. Upon arrival, you will receive your safety and diving instructions, then have an opportunity to snorkel in depths ranging from 4 to 5 feet. Along the way, admire an abundance of tropical and multi-colored fish, including parrotfish and butterflyfish. At the conclusion of your snorkeling session, you will be transferred back to the pier.