Fiji, Tonga, Cook, and Society Islands

A Voyage through the South Seas aboard the Paul Gauguin

Note: Cruise rate includes air from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti.

Overview

Voyage to some of the world’s most exquisite beaches and pristine waters to discover four distinctly different South Seas archipelagos—these settings are so picture-perfect you may not believe they’re real! Fiji is full of fascinating cultures and colonial charm that blends with the buzz of urban life, and you’re sure to receive a warm welcome in the palm-shaded hidden paradise of Savusavu. In Tonga, the only South Pacific nation never colonized by Europeans, soak up traditional culture at a Polynesian dance performance, and in the Cook Islands, swim in blue lagoons on the reef-enclosed island of Aitutaki. Bora Bora and Tahiti? Every bit as magnificent as you might imagine. Delicate tiare blossoms, emerald-green mountain peaks, eye-poppingly colorful reefs, and sensational tropical sunsets over endless stretches of white sand—simply paradise!

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1
Embark / Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji

Known as “Sugar City” for the green-gold sugarcane that surrounds it on three sides, the town of Lautoka is the largest in the Fijian islands and the place where your South Pacific sojourn begins. Save some time to browse the shops along the city’s stately, royal palm-lined main thoroughfare and visit the botanical garden.

Day 2
Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji

The capital of Fiji since 1883, Suva is the largest urban area in the South Pacific, outside of Australia and New Zealand. Spend your day exploring the fascinating modern and colonial atmosphere in this sophisticated city, which is perched on a hilly peninsula between two picturesque harbors.

Day 3
Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji

A day spent in Savusavu is a trip to a charming, unspoiled paradise. Known as the “Hidden Paradise of Fiji,” this beautiful town is tucked away on the largely undeveloped northern Fijian island of Vanua Levu. Explore at your leisure, or join one of many available shore excursions available, including a visit to a black pearl farm, a Fijian village, or a plantation.

Day 4
At Sea

Spend the day enjoying The Gauguin’s Polynesian ambiance: casual, leisurely, and graceful. Perhaps you’ll take in a lecture by one the ship's special guests, and then chat with fellow travelers over classic French cuisine at L’Etoile.

Day 5
Vava’u,Tonga

Tongan culture takes center stage here, undoubtedly because of the country’s status as the only South Pacific nation that was never colonized by the Europeans. Also called the “Friendly Islands,” Tonga consists of 170 islands divided into three main groups. Many Tongans still live in village communities and follow traditional customs. Tongan arts and handicrafts, using bone carving, wood carving, and basket weaving can be found throughout the islands. Enjoy a Polynesian cultural show, sample traditional Tongan food, and marvel at a lagoon so clear, you can see to a depth of 130 feet.

Days 6-7
At Sea / Cross the International Date Line

The next two days will be at sea, which affords you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the amenities and entertainment onboard The Gauguin, including the award-winning spa, casino, and lectures by on-board experts.

Day 8
Aitutaki, Cook Islands

While the island of Aitutaki may be small, it’s big on beauty, thanks to its coral reef-enclosed lagoon. Witness its splendor up-close with a leisurely beach visit. Don’t forget to make time to venture into the village of Arutanga, where you’ll find the oldest church in the Cooks, which dates from 1829.

Day 9
At Sea

Relax poolside, watch the South Pacific pass by, play some table tennis, or learn about the next port in the reading gallery during your day at sea.

Day 10
Bora Bora, Society Islands

A bucket list destination for many, stunning Bora Bora welcomes you to explore lush peaks, white-sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, and romantic lagoons. Experience the natural beauty of the island with an optional snorkeling excursion, a sunset jetboat ride, or a 4x4 tour around Bora Bora’s iconic Mount Otemanu. You can also spend time at a private beach where you can play beach volleyball or head into the sparkling blue waters for snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Day 11
Taha’a (Motu Mahana), Society Islands

Embark on your choice of exciting shore excursions today, or spend your whole day relaxing on Motu Mahana, a paradisiacal private islet. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, or simply lounge on the beach with a chilled beverage from the floating bar. The ship’s crew will also be on hand to provide musical entertainment and demonstrate traditional Polynesian crafts. Enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch on the beach.

Day 12
Moorea, Society Islands / Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands

Vibrant colors abound on Moorea, in everything from fresh fruits and flowers to multi-hued lagoons, and from spectacular mountain peaks to palm-fringed beaches. Shop for local handicrafts, embark on an optional dolphin-watching expedition with a marine biologist, and sample the local pineapples, said to be the most delicious in all of French Polynesia.

Day 13
Disembark / Papeete, Tahiti

Tahiti’s capital city of Papeete welcomes you with emerald hillsides, sapphire waters, and warm breezes. If you’re not ready for your South Pacific vacation to end, spend a few days here experiencing resorts, spas, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.

Reverse Itinerary-in-Brief

Day 1: Embarkation Papeete, Tahiti
Day 2: Moorea
Day 3: Taha’a
Day 4: Bora Bora
Day 5: At Sea
Day 6: Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Day 7: At Sea
Day 8: At Sea
Day 9: Vava’u, Tonga
Day 10: At Sea
Day 11: Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Day 12: Suva, Viti Levu,
Day 13: Beqa Island
Day 14: Lautoka

Highlights

Highlights

Visit two separate ports in Fiji, the sophisticated capital city of Suva and Savusavu, the "Hidden Paradise of Fiji"
Immerse yourself in the unique culture of Tonga, the only South Pacific nation never colonized by Europeans
Cross the International Date Line en route to Aitutaki, home to the world's most spectacular lagoons
Live the idyllic life on Motu Mahana, a picture-perfect private islet

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $8145  
Arrive: Lautoka, Fiji
Depart: Papeete, Tahiti
Lodging: 12 nights aboard a premier cruising vessel
Meals: All onboard meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling, Photography, Diving, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

12-day cruise, optional cultural expeditions, walking tours, shore excursions, and diving expeditions