More than 100 years ago, famed French impressionist Paul Gauguin was so beguiled by the lush, secluded islands of Tahiti that he chose to live out his days amid the splendor of this island paradise. It is here too where another South Seas legend, Regent Seven Seas Cruises 330-guest luxury vessel Paul Gauguin, makes her home year-round, herself earning a spot in the history books for the longest continuous deployment of any luxury cruise ship in one region. Now having carried more than 100,000 guests to these enchanted islands, Paul Gauguin enters her eleventh year of uninterrupted service in the region and celebrates her continued ranking among the top 10 small cruise ships in the world. Looking toward the future, there seems only one suitable way to announce her 2008 cruise program - following are the "Top 10" highlights for the Paul Gauguin's 2008 voyages:
#1 Paul Gauguin's intimate size, tasteful elegance and all oceanview accommodations (more than 50% with private balconies) make her voyages the ideal way to visit and explore the islands of Tahiti. Her nimble size offers guests the opportunity to explore lesser visited islands, all while enjoying exquisite onboard amenities including fine dining and the Carita of Paris spa. A selection of 43 voyages in 2008 includes itineraries from seven to 11 nights calling on the Society and Tuamotu Islands, and longer voyages exploring the Marquesas, Cook and Austral Islands. In response to increased demand from guests, Regent Seven Seas' 2008 program features a greater number of shorter, seven-night cruises than in recent years.
#2 Guests aboard the Paul Gauguin may extend their vacation in paradise through any one of seven pre and post-cruise land programs in Tahiti in 2008. In addition to the established programs offered on the island of Tahiti (at the InterContinental Resort and the Radisson Plaza Resort), Bora Bora (at the InterContinental Le Moana Resort and Thalasso Spa Resort), and Moorea (InterContinental Resort and Spa), two new properties will be offered. Le Taha'a Private Island and Spa, offering unsurpassed views of Bora Bora island and secluded beaches; and the Moorea Pearl Resort and Spa, a traditional Polynesian-style resort. Special extensions are also offered to Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with select departures.
#3 Through an exclusive partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau and his conservation organization Ocean Futures Society, young guests and their parents may participate in "Ambassadors of the Environment" Circles of Interest aboard 12 sailings in 2008. Promoting ocean responsibility, the program engages guests with fun activities to educate them about marine and island ecosystems and traditional Polynesian culture both on board and ashore. The cost per young guest is $199. Adults are also encouraged to participate in related shore excursions (charged at the published rates for those specific tours). Select sailings in 2008 also feature onboard lecture programs with naturalists from the Ocean Futures Society, while Jean-Michel Cousteau himself will sail aboard the 14-night Cook, Austral, Tuamotu and Society Islands voyage (departing September 27, 2008).
#4 Paul Gauguin offers the most unique and diverse selection of shore programs in the region, ranging from a jeep exploration of Huahine and up-close look at blue-eyed eels to underwater snorkeling eco-tours to a vanilla plantation and black pearl farm visit in Taha'a.
#5 Each one of Regent's 2008 Tahiti cruises features a call to the island of Bora Bora, voted among the world's five best island destinations by readers of both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines in 2006 (Pacific Rim category), and Moorea, also among the highest-rated destinations in the South Pacific.
#6 Insider access and exclusive opportunities are the hallmark of any Regent voyage. Guests aboard many of Paul Gauguin's 2008 voyages will have the opportunity to luxuriate on Regent's own "motu" or private islet, Motu Mahana, and enjoy a delicious al fresco feast. Paul Gauguin guests also enjoy exclusive access to a private beach in Bora Bora and other special arrangements.
#7 Guests aboard the 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands cruise (departing round-trip from Papeete on January 5, 2008) will travel in the company of Regent President Mark Conroy, as part of a special "President's Cruise" featuring special onboard events.
#8 Regent's Paul Gauguin features one of the world's only PADI-certified diving programs on a cruise ship, with optional onboard SCUBA lessons and certification as well as complimentary watersports from the vessel's own retractable marina. Optional SCUBA excursions are offered for beginner and seasoned divers alike, exploring coral reef ecosystems during the day or even at night.
#9 In addition to her natural beauty, what truly distinguishes Tahiti is her people, whose culture, hospitality and beauty are renowned the world over. A memorable element of any Paul Gauguin voyage is the opportunity to interact with local peoples, through onboard programs with local lecturers, traditional music and dance by onboard entertainers Les Gauguines as well as other local entertainers, small-group shore programs and Polynesian theme nights in onboard restaurant La Veranda. Through her tenure in the region, the Paul Gauguin herself has become an icon of the region.
#10 Tahiti is one of the most romantic destinations on earth, and how better to celebrate a honeymoon, vow renewal ceremony or special anniversary than on the beautiful, intimate Paul Gauguin in this magical destination? The complimentary honeymoon package offered by Regent Seven Seas is highlighted by an authentic Polynesian blessing ceremony on the open deck, where each couple is wrapped in a traditional Tahitian cloth administered by the ship's own Gauguines.
Paul Gauguin's 2008 voyages offer unforgettable experiences at a tremendous value. Per person prices for 2008 cruises start from $2,195 for seven-night roundtrip cruises of the Society Islands from Papeete, Tahiti. Cruise fares include all shipboard gratuities, complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits served throughout the ship, complimentary 24-hour room service, refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, beer and bottled water replenished daily, and an in-suite bar setup in butler suites. Many sailings also offer a ‘third guest sails free option, available in select staterooms.