Our Story

Our Story

At the turn of the century, impressionist Paul Gauguin traveled to the tropical shores of French Polynesia to create some of his most renowned masterpieces. Today his namesake, the 330-guest m/s Paul Gauguin, transports discerning guests to the same romantic Tahitian vacation paradise—to explore, enrich and escape. 

The m/s Paul Gauguin sailing in French Polynesia.

Providing an extraordinary luxury cruise experience uniquely tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific, Paul Gauguin Cruises is the undisputed destination expert, delivering an artfully, authentic, and all-inclusive luxury vacation.

In 2023, The Gauguin Experience celebrated 25 years of sailing in French Polynesia continuing to charm travelers from all over the world to discover the wonders of French Polynesia with its one-of-a-kind expertise.  The Gauguin remains the region’s gold standard in small-ship luxury cruising with her beautifully reimagined décor, her carefree ambience, and most especially her exceptional crew who bring the enriching experience to life every day with heartfelt passion and genuine care. 

Built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France in 1998, The Gauguin was designed specifically to allow guests the freedom to discover the exotic ports of the South Pacific without limitation. In September 2019, Paul Gauguin Cruises joined PONANT’s family— a designer of inspiring voyages on board small exploration ships.

The Gauguin hosts voyages ranging from 7- to 20-night itineraries, featuring such exquisite destinations as Tahiti and the Society Islands, Tuamotus, the Cook Islands, Marquesas, Tonga, and Fiji. Each of these exclusive voyages highlights the sheer beauty that defines the South Seas. Stunning islands, white-sand beaches, blue lagoons and the vibrant Polynesian culture of this region combine to provide a welcome tropical escape for guests yearning for the ultimate getaway. 

Onboard this award-winning ship, guests relish the all-inclusive luxury enjoying indulgent suites and spacious staterooms – many with a private balcony; exceptional dining in three restaurants, 24-hour room service and complimentary beverages including select wines, beer, and spirits with onboard gratuities for room stewards and dining staff included; authentic explorations ashore and below the water with the ship’s retractable watersports marina and onboard PADI diving program; and genuinely hospitable service. With one crew member for every 1.5 guests, the highest level of personal attention is assured and discerning guests will feel welcomed and pampered in every situation. Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines – a local troupe of Tahitian hosts who live on the ship -- provide quintessential Polynesian hospitality. 

As the destination expert, Paul Gauguin Cruises is dedicated to environmental stewardship and giving back to the communities it calls home. The company utilizes low-sulfur fuel and strategic itinerary planning to reduce speed and fuel consumption, fosters recycling and pollution prevention programs, the elimination of single-use plastics by 2026, reduces waste and overall reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. We work closely with local suppliers to purchase as many local products as possible and we have partnered with Te o mana te o moana, a South Pacific marine preservation organization, to provide enrichment to our youngest guests through our Moana Explorer Program.

Most recently, we have partnered with the French Government to provide healthcare assistance in the region’s most isolated islands. The partnership aims to meet the health needs of the people in these remote areas in two ways: first, by offering volunteer consultations by the doctors of the The Gauguin during scheduled port calls; and second, by providing transportation free of charge aboard the ship to health professionals commissioned by the government’s Health Directorate to ensure advance specialized consultations (CSA). This collaboration – a first for the cruise industry in French Polynesia.

The Gauguin is one of the most highly awarded luxury cruise ships in the world, regularly receiving top honors for superb luxury, quality, service, itineraries and value. The line was voted as the “World’s Best Small-Ship Ocean Cruise Line” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2022 and one of the “Top 2 Small Cruise Lines” in the Condé Nast Traveler 2023, 2022 and 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. The line was also recognized for the 4th time for having the “Best French Polynesia Cruises” in the AFAR Travelers’ Choice Awards.