Luxury Cruise Options to Travel French Polynesia

Luxury Cruise Options to Travel French Polynesia


Whether you’re planning a honeymoon cruise or twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebration, you’ve probably considered a Tahiti cruise. French Polynesia has a history of luring adventurers, artists, and writers to its islands. Painter Paul Gauguin and writer Herman Melville – both of whom spent time here – certainly recommended the islands of Tahiti through their works.

Gorgeous white sand beaches, Tahiti overwater bungalows, exquisite black pearls, and delicate Tiare maori flowers are just a hint of what Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea are all about. On the water you’ll enjoy diving and snorkeling. On land, hop in a 4×4 and explore the rugged island mountain peaks.

A luxury cruise is one of the best ways to discover the charms of these island chains. While Polynesian islands will never be inexpensive destinations, here are three cruise vacations offering itineraries that range from all-inclusive luxury to passage aboard a cargo ship. Which Tahiti cruise is right for you?

Luxury Tahiti Cruise – Paul Gauguin Cruises

South Pacific cruise stalwart, the 330-passenger m/s Paul Gauguin cruise ship, has been offering Tahiti packages and French Polynesia packages for years. While she was previously managed by Regent Seven Seas Cruises, her owners – Paul Gauguin Cruises – took control of the ship in January 2010 and are responsible for all aspects of the island cruise experience.

Select from seven- to 15-night all-inclusive cruises. The popular seven-night roundtrip out of Papeete, Tahiti calls upon the Society Islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, and Taha’a. Ten-night cruises combine the Society Islands and the nearby Tuamotus (Huahine and Rangiroa). For travelers who can be away from home a bit longer, there are itineraries to the Cook Islands (Aitutaki and Rarotonga) as well as the Marquesas, Tonga, and New Zealand. There’s even a Fiji cruise.

Paul Gauguin Cruises spent millions of dollars upgrading the ship in 2009 and that included the installation of more balcony cabins (70% of the staterooms do have a private veranda). The ship also deploys a retractable watersports marina so you can swim and snorkel from the aft, borrow a kayak or windsurfer, or even give waterskiing a try.

Cruise fares are all-inclusive, including staff gratuities and select wines, liquors, soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee/tea. This is a perfect cruise vacation to the French Polynesian islands.

Discount Luxury Cruise to Bora Bora – Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises, a favorite mid-level line, sails several ships in the Polynesia islands throughout the year. Its most popular itinerary is a 10-night aboard Royal Princess. (Note: The Royal Princess will leave the Princess fleet in May 2011, so if you’re sailing after that date this cruise will be offered on another Princess vessel.) You’ll begin and end your trip with port overnights in Papeete, Tahiti while the cruise itself will call on Huahine, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Bora Bora (for an overnight stay), and Moorea.

Royal Princess, with a guest capacity of 710 passengers, is more than double the size of m/s Paul Gauguin. This gives you more options when it comes to cabin selection, restaurants, and onboard entertainment. However, there’s no onboard marina and Princess Cruises doesn’t offer all-inclusive fares so you’ll need to budget for alcoholic beverages and tips. There are so many wonderful cruise holidays to consider, but this one is a true gem!

Unusual South Pacific Cruise Aboard Freighter Aranui

If you haven’t seen a photo of Aranui III, you’ll certainly do a double take when she sails into harbor. She’s part cargo freighter and part traditional cruise ship. When you think about it, combining the two in French Polynesia is sheer genius!

Aranui III sails out of Papeete, Tahiti and visits the Tuamotu Islands and the remote Marquesas Islands. In fact, the ship is what links the Marquesas to the outside world…bringing supplies to them and taking away noni fruit, coconut, and copra.

This roundtrip tropical island cruise out of Papeete, Tahiti visits Fakarava, Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata, ua Huka, and Rangiroa.

Like other cruise ships, you’ll have a variety of staterooms to choose from…some with portholes and windows and some suites with private balconies. (Note: “Class C” accommodations are dormitory style with upper and lower berths and shared bathrooms.) Meals are served family-style in the dining room and there’s no formal dress code so you can come as you are (shorts and sandals are fine). There’s a pool and gym and even a guest lecturer series. This freighter cruise is a terrific South Pacific vacation.

No matter which luxury cruise ship you choose, the Polynesian Islands will capture your imagination and convince you that one trip to the islands just isn’t enough.