BELLEVUE, WASH. – July 22, 2015 – Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, offers exotic fall Fiji sailings on The Gauguin that feature optional shore excursions celebrating the destination’s culture, history, and traditions.
10-night Roundtrip Fiji Voyage
Adventuresome travelers with a taste for exotic discovery will thrill to this voyage, which sails from the heart of Fiji’s sugar industry to New Caledonia—an impossibly beautiful island group that blends French sophistication with influences of its Melanesian heritage. Special guests on this voyage include ¿Qué Bolá? Magic, violinist Chris Watkins, and coral experts Dr. Chris Roelfsema and Diana Roelfsema-Kleine. The sailing departs from Lautoka, Vitu Levu, Fiji, on October 31, 2015, and calls on Ile des Pins, New Caledonia; Noumea, New Caledonia (overnight); Ile de Lifou, New Caledonia; Tanna Island, Vanuatu; Port Vila, Vanuatu; and Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji, before returning to Lautoka. Cruise fares start from $5,445 per person, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles. Highlighted optional shore excursions, which range from $45 to $179 per person, include:
- Ile de Lifou, New Caledonia: Cliffs of Jokin—From the small village of Jokin, a guided tour showcases a lush vanilla plantation redolent of aromatic vanilla pods. Then, a village stroll leads to a spectacular viewpoint of cliffs built up from layers of ancient, compressed coral and tropical reefs.
- Ile de Lifou, New Caledonia: Forest & Secret Grotto—The natural world of New Caledonia comes alive on an informative nature tour, which includes a visit to a secret torchlight grotto with different formations of stalagmites and stalactites. After, demonstrations of traditional hunting techniques for wild pigs and coconut crabs are enacted.
- Ile de Lifou, New Caledonia: Melanesian Encounter—New Caledonia’s Melanesian heritage can be discovered at the village of Hnathalo. Highlights include stepping inside the circular, thatched Chief’s Hut, which has the distinction of being one of the largest of its kind in New Caledonia, and local guides explaining the method of cooking traditional bougna (literally, “bundle”), where ingredients are wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on heated rocks.
- Ile des Pins, New Caledonia: Kuto Bay Boat Trip—A traditional Kanak boat trip around the “Isle of Pines” offers views of the natural beauty and crystal-clear waters of Kuto bay.
- Ile des Pins, New Caledonia: Oro Natural Pool—Oro Bay is magical with a natural pool bordered by coral cliffs and sheltered from the ocean waves by the banks of the pine-tree forest. It is also a popular snorkeling spot that guests can partake in.
- Noumea, New Caledonia: Dubmea River Kayak & Swim—A perfect blend of adventure and eco-tourism await on a kayaking tour of the Dumbea River, which meanders through one of the prettiest valleys in New Caledonia.
- Noumea, New Caledonia: New Caledonia’s Botanical Garden & Bird Sanctuary—On this tour, guests ascend to an elevation of 548 feet, to experience a park that covers 85 acres. Twenty acres are open to visitors and showcase ponds, lakes, and beautiful gardens that are home to a large variety of wild and domestic birds.
- Noumea, New Caledonia: Amdee Lighthouse Island—Amdee Lighthouse Island is a naturally protected marine park. After a tour of the island, guests board a glass-bottom boat to see sharks and other colorful marine life. Then, coconut-tree climbing and sarong-tying are demonstrated before an exotic lunch buffet and island dance performance takes place.
- Noumea, New Caledonia: Segway Experience in Forest Park—Via Segway, the gardens and a variety of plants and animal species can be discovered in Forest Park.
- Noumea, New Caledonia: Tjibaou Cultural Center—A unique collection of Kanak and South Pacific art are on view at the Tjibaou Cultural Center, which offers a 45-minute guided walk detailing myths and beliefs of Kanak society.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu: Secret Gardens—An exploration of an outdoor cultural center set in botanical gardens reveals reptiles and birds of Vanuatu, a Chief’s nasara, a clearing used for dances and outdoor gatherings, and a large collection of World War II artifacts.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu: Tranquility Eco Island & Turtle Sanctuary—Hawksbill turtles are raised and released into the wild at this special sanctuary. A visit here is followed by a tropical bush walk and beachside picnic lunch.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu: Ekasup Cultural Village—At Ekasup Cultural Village, a Chief in his native costume, along with his warriors in full regalia, welcomes guests and provides a tour of the compound and the tribe’s unique lifestyle. Highlights include the preparation of native products, hunting and trapping skills, handicrafts skills such as basket-weaving, the secrets of preparing traditional laplap (a snake-based dish cooked on hot stones underground), and the ancient art of sand drawing, demonstrated by the tribe’s youths.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu: Round Island Safari—A comprehensive guided overview of Efate, the most populous of the 82 islands that make up the nation of Vanuatu, includes dense rainforests, dramatic coves, traditional villages, vast cattle ranches, coconut groves, cascading waterfalls, and windswept beaches.
- Tanna Island, Vanuatu: Volcano Drive and Cultural Village Visit—A safari by off-road vehicle features a visit to a Cultural Village to learn the traditional way of life on the island and a tour of Yasur Volcano.
- Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji: Waisese Jungle Safari & Uprising Beach Resort—This excursion encompasses a Fijian rainforest, a waterfall, natural swimming pool, mangrove estuary, and a ride on a long boat along the coast to Uprising Beach Resort for lunch.
- Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji: Zipline—In the heart of the rainforest lies ZIP FIJI's private eco-reserve with Fiji’s distinctive flora and fauna. Guests whoosh over eight ziplines high above the forest floor and the Wainadio River Valley.
- Viti Levu, Fiji: Molituva Village Tour—A guided tour reveals the ancient tribal fort of the people of Molituva, a village that was once the dwelling of Fiji’s fiercest and most feared warriors. Highlights include the ruins, traditional dances, and a tribal war reenactment.
12- and 13-night Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands Voyages
These comprehensive voyages follow in the wake of explorers, encompassing the exquisite Society Islands, home waters of The Gauguin, and the Cook Islands with its unique culture and exquisite lagoons. Other highlights include sailing across the International Date Line, a rare visit to the Kingdom of Tonga, and the paradisiacal Fijian islands. The 13-night voyage departs October 17, 2015, with special guests ¿Qué Bolá? Magic, Hawaiian singer Jamie Lawrence, airline pilot Lou Thieblemont, and photographers Jesse and Helen Kalisher, with cruise fares from $7,195 per person. The 12-night sailing departs November 10, 2015, and features special guests ¿Qué Bolá? Magic, violinist Chris Watkins, and singer Angie Lang, with cruise fares from $6,695 per person. Both sailings include roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles. Ports of call on the voyages are: Papeete, Tahiti; Moorea, Society Islands; Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands; Bora Bora, Society Islands; Aitutaki, Cook islands; Vava’u, Tonga; Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji; Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji; Beqa Island, Fiji (13-night sailing only); and Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji. Highlighted optional shore excursions in Fiji and Tonga range from $75 to $109 per person and include:
- Beqa Island, Fiji: Village Visit and Firewalking Show—Legend has it that, more than 500 years ago, the men of Beqa Island were given the gift of being able to walk on fire by an eel in exchange for its life. Today, the descendants of these warriors carry on the tradition and offer a demonstration during a village visit.
- Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji: Fijian Village Tour—A memorable tour of Nukubalavu Village gives guests the opportunity to experience the day-to-day life of the Fijian people. The excursion includes a village tour, visit to the home of the paramount chief of Savusavu, and the chance to witness a kava ceremony and taste traditional Fijian fresh green coconut juice.
- Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji: Nukutoso Plantation Tour—Nukutoso (literally, "Shifting Sands"), a famous golden beach, is featured on this excursion. Guests will also visit one of the few surviving copra plantations on Vanua Levu, where, guided by the owner, they’ll view the cutting of copra and the drying method of mature coconut, which is then transported to the mill to be processed into coconut oil.
- Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji: Waisale Rainforest and Reserve—One of Fiji's natural rainforest reserves features an incredible variety of flora and fauna and a cascading waterfall.
- Vava’u, Tonga: Ene’io Tongan Feast—From the township of Tailulu College, guests enjoy views of Mount Talau, scattered islands, and Port of Refuge. A festive island feast also takes place, which includes a variety of local foods and international cuisine and a cultural floorshow by locals performing traditional songs and dances.
- Vava’u, Tonga: Polynesian Cultural Show—This truly interactive experience highlights Polynesia of yesterday and native lifestyles through guided, onsite, live demonstrations and gentle strolling tours among the lush tropical paradise of the stunning and only Botanical Garden in Tonga.
- Vava’u, Tonga: Swallow Cave and Island Getaway — A boat ride through the harbor leads to the island of Kapa, where a beautiful swallow’s cave perforates a cliff at its northern end. The cave is inhabited by hundreds of swiftlets that flit about in the dim light and nest in the darkness of the cave’s upper reaches. A visit to Falevai Mui Houma Beach, one of the most exquisite beaches on Vava’u Island, ensues.
Shore excursions are available for pre-booking 90 days prior to sailing by calling Paul Gauguin Cruises at 800-848-6172.
For information and reservations for voyages on The Gauguin, contact a professional travel agent, or call 800-848-6172.