SCUBA Diving

Float effortlessly over rainbow-colored coral reefs and come nose to nose with parrotfish, clownfish, giant clams, and sea turtles. Dive deeper to swim alongside colorful sea anemones, eagle rays, sharks, and octopi. Polynesia’s translucent, shimmering aqua lagoons are begging to be explored. And there’s no better place to do so than from The Gauguin’s retractable watersports marina, where you can embark on an optional SCUBA adventure.

Even if you have never SCUBA dived before, as a guest aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, you can witness spectacular marine life up close and swim among beautiful, rainbow-colored coral reefs within a matter of hours.The Gauguin’s SCUBA diving excursions are designed for all levels of experience, and we are the only luxury ship in the French Polynesian islands to offer PADI certification onboard for novice divers, as well as refresher courses.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, Oceanographer & Environmentalist
Join our special guest, legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau aboard select sailings of The Gauguin in 2015 to accompany him on several dives from the ship. In addition, Mr. Cousteau will also offer many lectures with videos of his work. Click here for details.

Here are highlights of what else you might expect to find in dives off specific islands along the path of your itinerary: 

Society Islands

Moorea | Catch a glimpse of black-tipped reef sharks, impressively large moray eels, sea turtles, and barracudas.

Bora Bora | View lemon sharks and manta rays up close.

Tuamotus Islands

Rangiroa & Fakarava | In this premier diving location, look for hammerhead sharks (December-February) or manta rays (September-October). In addition, dolphins, turtles, eagle rays, barracuda, and other fascinating fish species are often spotted here, among coral reefs and canyon passes.

Marquesas Islands

Nuku Hiva | The steep cliffs and caves off this island reveal a variety of unusual marine life, including hammerhead sharks, manta rays, moray eels, and scorpion fish.

Tahuata | Jump into underwater wilderness and observe grey sharks, rays and schools of juvenile fish dancing between predators such as giant trevally or tuna. 

Click here for details about our Shore Excursions, including SCUBA diving expeditions available on your itinerary.

Click here for details about our onboard PADI certification page.
Click here for diving policies in French Polynesia
Click here for PADI Experience Programs Medical Statement
Click here for PADI Experience Programs Liability Release
SCUBA Booking Forms by itinerary: 7-night, 10-night11-night, 14-night
For Frequently Asked SCUBA Questions, in English, click here. For French, click here
Diving Forms:
We encourage guests to review and complete the following forms prior to embarking on the m/s Paul Gauguin.
Open Water Certification:

Full Open Water certification has three requirements:

  • Knowledge Development (theory): Text (5 chapters of the Open water diver manual) and video study of basic diving techniques and the effects of diving on the body, diving safety, equipment selection and maintenance, and dive planning. Each chapter is sanctioned by written exams plus a final exam.
  • Confined Water Training: 5 pool session (or shallow lagoon) with several skills to be performed.
  • Open Water Training: 4 open-water dives with several skills to be performed at depth gradually increasing in no less than two days.
  • Swimming, threading and underwater navigation performances are required to be completed.

The certification requires an average of 40 hours to complete.

Open Water certification is usually offered on board at a price of $750 (USD), depending on the availability the instructors. In order to expedite the process and maximize diving time available during the cruise, guests are encouraged complete the theory portion of the training online at the PADI website prior to embarking ship ship. The course is called E-Learning and available at

If possible, guests are also encouraged to complete their pool sessions in a PADI dive shop in advance, to considerably reduce the time involved in getting certified during their cruise. Once these pool sessions are complete and referral forms obtained, guests need only complete 4 open-water dives to get certified. This referral is sold on board at $540 (USD).

Diving certifications are subject to availability.