January 25, 2024
The Most Romantic Place on Earth?
We think so
As the season of love approaches, an enchanting air of romance floats on the breeze in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. From handwritten notes of affection to the sharing of chocolates, roses, and heart-shaped tokens, the 14th of February beckons us to celebrate in myriad ways—including dreamy escapes to idyllic locales. From the cruise line that has called French Polynesia home for more than 25 years, here we are delighted to share 14 reasons why this tropical paradise is the most romantic place on Earth.
Serene, magical, and utterly romantic, Tahitian sunsets paint the sky in a stunning palette of warmth and wonder; and they’re best viewed from the boutique luxury of a small, intimate ship.
1. Sunsets (and sunrises!)
Whether watching the sun melt into the ocean’s horizon, or seeing it dip below Bora Bora’s Mount Otemanu, sunsets in French Polynesia are blissfully romantic. Each is a spectacular tapestry of color where the deepest of oranges, pinks, and purples kiss verdant peaks of green and shimmer across a sea of blue. Daybreak is equally awe-inspiring, especially when witnessed from a private balcony over breakfast.
2. Starry, starry nights
Picture this: It’s nighttime somewhere in the South Pacific and you’ve found a quiet spot on deck aboard your small, luxury ship. Above, a blanket of stars illuminates the sky—more than you could ever count or imagine. Their reach seems endless, vast, and deep… just like your love. French Polynesia’s remarkably low light pollution and proximity to the equator make these stars worthy of a Van Gogh painting (but please don’t tell Gauguin!).
Eons in the making, each of the 118 islands in French Polynesia began as a volcanic isle. Erosion, massive waves, and cyclones battered the islands and reefs, depositing debris in shallow lagoons. Motus rose. Volcanoes sank. And atolls were born.
3. Fabled blue lagoons
With their gin-clear waters in hues of turquoise and aquamarine—protected by dazzling reefs and rimmed with sandy beaches—French Polynesia’s iconic lagoons are legendary. While Bora Bora’s may be the region’s grand dame, Rangiroa’s is its largest, home to Blue Lagoon (a lagoon within a lagoon!). Heart-shaped Moorea boasts two symmetrical lagoons, and Fakarava is home to a UNESCO Marine Biosphere.
4. Private Beaches
Beyond the lagoons and their mesmerizing reefs, it is French Polynesia’s palm-fringed beaches of pure white sands that capture the heart, and a journey with Paul Gauguin Cruises rewards with two private beach experiences: one on Bora Bora with Mount Otemanu as a backdrop; the other on Motu Mahana, our own islet in Taha’a’s lagoon, complete with a swim-up bar and authentic barbecue. Blissful perfection!
5. Technicolor coral reefs
French Polynesia’s reefs are revered worldwide for their snorkeling and SCUBA diving, making for a tempting invitation to jump in and create underwater memories together. With temperatures averaging 82°F/28°C year-round, you’ll enjoy exploring a vibrant world brimming with coral gardens and marine life, from Napoleon wrasse, butterfly fish, angelfish, octopus, and eels to sharks, rays, turtles, and more.
Guests traveling with Paul Gauguin Cruises can embark on optional SCUBA adventures throughout French Polynesia. Beginners can get their PADI certification on board, too.
6. Water sports
Built specifically to navigate shallow waters, the m/s Paul Gauguin offers complimentary kayaking and paddle boarding directly from its aft marina. For more thrilling pursuits, couples can embark on wave runner and outrigger adventures, catamaran cruises, dolphin- and whale-watching expeditions, and all manner of snorkeling and SCUBA excursions. We also offer PADI certification for beginner divers, too.
7. Scents and scenery
From the scent of Tahitian vanilla that lingers on the air in Taha’a to the sway of towering coconut palms that line the beaches throughout all French Polynesia, a journey through these idyllic islands ignites the senses. Add to that the sight of lush mountain peaks piercing a broad blue sky or wispy white atolls dotting a cerulean sea and the romantic allure here is simply undeniable.
8. Artistic inspiration and ancient lore
For centuries, French Polynesia’s extraordinary natural beauty has captured the muses of artists and authors, inspiring Paul Gauguin to paint his visions of Marquesan life and James Michener to write his epic Tales of the South Pacific. Centuries earlier, Polynesian’s built half-man, half-god stone tikis in the rain-forested jungles of the Marquesas, and marae (sacred sites) in Raiatea, the most sacred of all French Polynesia’s isles.
Throughout each journey aboard The Gauguin, couples enjoy the welcoming hospitality of Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines, local Tahitians who are happy to perform a complimentary Polynesian blessing ceremony on board.
9. Cultural charm and friendly hospitality
French Polynesia is renowned for the warm and welcoming spirit of its people, and the locals here embrace visitors with open arms, proud to share their traditions, dance, music, and genuine sense of community. Only aboard The Gauguin will you find Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines, local Tahitians who live aboard ship as hosts and entertainers, ensuring guests enjoy a truly authentic experience.
10. Seafood and French flair
Tahiti is a foodie’s paradise, with the bounty of the sea playing a starring role among a cast of French influencers. The national dish is poisson cru, a ceviche- or poke-like delicacy of fresh tuna prepared to perfection, and the roulettes (food trucks) are legendary, serving everything from shish kabobs and Asian fare to the catch-of-the-day, steaks, pommes frites, and more.
11. Artisan crafts, pearls, and tattoos
From the intricate carvings made of rosewood, walnut, bone, and shell found throughout the Marquesas to the famed pearls (revered as a symbol of everlasting love and loyalty) farmed in Huahine, Taha’a, and the Tuamotus, French Polynesia’s artisans create exquisite pieces using traditions and techniques passed on through generations. The art of tatau (tattoo) began in these islands, too.
French Polynesia’s leading lady, Bora Bora’s reputation for romantic enchantment is well deserved, and nearly every itinerary of The Gauguin features an overnight stay here.
12. Bora Bora!
Michener called it the most beautiful island in the world, and with her towering peaks, legendary lagoon, and iconic beaches, it’s easy to understand why Bora Bora is consistently voted the world’s #1 honeymoon destination. A quick Google search for the “world’s most romantic island” returns results with this island “created by the gods” topping nearly every list.
13. Island hopping
Decisions, decisions. There’s no need to limit your romantic escapades to one fabulous island when an all-inclusive voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises, French Polynesia’s destination expert, allows you to explore as many as you wish. With more unique 7- to 14-night itineraries than any other luxury line in the region, you are spoiled for choice when choosing how to celebrate your love.
Discover paradise with French Polynesia’s destination expert; the artfully authentic discovery and all-inclusive luxury of a voyage with Paul Gauguin Cruises rivals land-based resorts in every way.
14. The m/s Paul Gauguin
Explore French Polynesia aboard The Gauguin, an overwater “bungalow” that sails, and unpack only once as you set forth on a romantic journey of tropical discovery. Plus, only Paul Gauguin Cruises invites you to commemorate your love with a complimentary Polynesian blessing ceremony. Now how romantic is that?!
Our love note to you: Take Your Sweetie to Tahiti on select 2024 sailings and enjoy a $500 Shipboard Credit, bottle of Champagne, and Chocolate treat! Book by February 16, 2024.