Travelling with Kids on the m/s Paul Gauguin

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 594 0

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.

Huahine

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.

Motu Mahana

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?

Bora Bora

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

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.

Tahiti

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.

Aboard ship

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 Celebrations

Celebrate Your Love In Paradise

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 688 0

Designed specifically to glide through the shallow seas of the South Pacific, Paul Gauguin Cruises flagship, The Gauguin is a small-ship cruiser’s dream. She delivers travelers to intimate ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships, all the while providing an onboard experience that is nothing short of luxurious

A South Pacific voyage on The Gauguin is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion, a wedding, renewal of vows, anniversary—or simply each other. Take in the beauty of French Polynesia from the privacy of your suite or stateroom, sway to the sounds of a chanteuse at La Palette Lounge, explore paradise on excursions by land and sea, dine al fresco under a starry sky, and enjoy a Polynesian blessing ceremony performed by members of Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins—the ship’s own troupe of Polynesian entertainers. The Gauguin is renowned for the extra touches and attention to detail that make every occasion special.

Wedding ceremony† and renewal of vows packages allows you to celebrate your love in a romantic setting amid the sparkling lagoons and exotic islands of French Polynesia. Choices include Motu Mahana, the cruise line’s private islet off the coast of Taha’a, and the luxurious InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.

Sailing on The Gauguin to celebrate your honeymoon? Paul Gauguin has a Gift Registry, where you can choose a “wish list” of gifts, ranging from shore excursions to spa options. Friends and family can visit the registry quickly and conveniently to select the gift (or gifts) they would like to give, and Paul Gauguin Cruises will take care of the rest.

 

Interested in celebrating with Paul Gauguin? Here are a few examples of ways you can!

Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows – $315

~ Private Polynesian Blessing Ceremony on Motu Mahana
~ Congratulatory letter from the Captain
~ Invitation to dine with an Officer
~ In-stateroom celebratory bottle of Champagne
~ Reception cake and box of chocolates
~ Heis (crowns of flowers)
~ Deluxe flower arrangement
~ One 8″x10″ photo portrait

 

Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows at Thalasso – $950

~ Bride’s arrival at the chapel on a traditional outrigger canoe ride through the lagoonarium
~ Tahitian blessing by a local priest, in an air-conditioned chapel with glass floors showcasing the lagoon below, and splendid views of Mount Otemanu
~ Flower leis for the bride and groom
~ Tapa certificate with the couple’s Polynesian name
~ 2-course lunch at the resort
~ Love lock to attach to a palm tree in the resort’s Secret Garden of Love to seal and symbolize the couple’s eternal love in Polynesian style
~ Use of the resort’s facilities after the ceremony
~ Transfers

 

Private Dinner on the Ship’s Marina in Bora Bora – $250-$400

Dine onboard the luxurious m/s Paul Gauguin on the watersports marina while in Bora Bora. Dinner for 2 or 4 at the marina (weather permitting), featuring a La Veranda menu, wine, and a personal waiter. Limited space per sailing.

$250 for a table for 2 guests
$400 for a table for 4 guests

 

Anniversary – $155

~ Congratulatory letter from the Captain
~ In-stateroom bottle of Champagne
~ Flower turndown service
~ Anniversary cake and box of chocolates
~ One 8″x10″ photo portrait

 

Many other ways to celebrate like Honeymoon Packages or Romantic Escapades are available, connect with a Cruise Specialist to make your getaway experience extra special.

 

 

 

Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows at Thalasso
Save $50 by combining this package with the “Romantic Escapade” shore excursion or a pre- or post-cruise stay at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa when arranged by Paul Gauguin Cruises.
Wedding ceremony is not legally binding. Limit: 2 Wedding Ceremony and/or Renewals of Vows per sailing, subject to availability. Bora Bora Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows package must be booked in advance of departure, subject to availability; additional guests may attend by booking the “Day at the Beach” shore excursion at the listed price. Additional services are available for a nominal fee; please call for details. Payment is due upon booking of the event. Cancellation fees apply as follows: 50% for cancellations up to 8 days prior to event; 100% for cancellations 7 days or less prior to event.
Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows
Wedding ceremony is not legally binding. Limit: 2 Wedding Ceremony and/or Renewals of Vows per sailing, subject to availability. Motu Wedding Ceremony or Renewal of Vows package must be booked at least one week prior to sailing, and availability is subject to weather conditions. Payment is due upon booking of the event. Cancellation fees apply as follows: 50% for cancellations up to 8 days prior to event; 100% for cancellations 7 days or less prior to event. Click here for more information.