BELLEVUE, Wash. – April 7, 2014 – Paul Gauguin Cruises (www.pgcruises.com), 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, features unique, optional shore excursions for its Fiji & Australia sailings highlighting marine life, culture, natural wonders, and World War II history.
These distinctive voyages aboard The Gauguin include remote islands with colorful and rich histories as colonial trading hubs and World War II sites, rarely explored Papua New Guinea, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and exotic Fiji.
On the 11-night Fiji to Australia voyage, The Gauguin departs Lautoka, Fiji, and visits Port Vila, Vanuatu; Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Kieta, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and Cairns, Australia. Cruise fares on the June 14, 2014, voyage start from $5,995 per person and include airfare from Los Angeles.
The 12-night Australia to Fiji voyage departs Cairns, Australia, and visits Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea; Kieta, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands; Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Malolo Island, Fiji; and Lautoka, Fiji. Cruise fares on the August 18, 2014, voyage start from $6,395 per person and include airfare from Los Angeles.
Select optional shore excursions offered on the Fiji & Australia voyages include:
- Cairns, Australia—Great Barrier Reef: From an offshore reef pontoon, enjoy an underwater view of the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef from the pontoon’s view chamber, or take the semi-submersible or glass-bottom boat tour to view matchless panoramas of colorful tropical fish and intricate coral gardens. A tropical buffet lunch and time to swim or snorkel are also included.
- Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—Blue Lagoon Tour: See the sights of Espiritu Santo’s scenic countryside, swim in a pristine blue lagoon, and learn about the many uses of copra, a coconut product.
- Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—Canoe the Riri River: View the stunning natural formation of Vanuatu’s famous blue holes and lush tropical foliage on a unique journey by traditional wooden dugout canoe on the Riri River.
- Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—Santo Village & Fire Walking Tour: Experience traditional life in Vanuatu by visiting Runsuc Village. At the village, experience a welcome performance, discover customs and traditions, see warriors demonstrate traditional dance and share fascinating legends, view the ancient art of sand painting and the preparation of dyed mats, and learn the secrets of preparing traditional lap lap, a snake-based dish cooked on hot stones. Guests also witness the rite of passage into manhood – fire walking, demonstrated by the men of the village.
- Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—Relics of World War II: Examine the remnants of World War II wreckage up close on the beach, swim or snorkel in a calm bay with views of Elephant Island, and enjoy a refreshing dip in the island’s renowned blue holes.
- Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu—Water Music Experience: Discover the unique culture of a village inhabited by residents who hail from the Banks and Torres islands. Be greeted by fierce-looking warriors and see a cultural demonstration that includes the preparation of the ceremonial drink kava, dances, and sacred rites. Enjoy mystical water music of the remote island of Gaua by the women who are traditionally adorned with crowns and armbands of flowers and leaves, who wade into the water up to their waists and splash and cap their hands to make percussion-based music, accompanied by singing.
- Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands—Honiara City Highlights: Embark on a guided tour of scenic, cultural and historic interest including the Parliament House, U.S. War Memorial marking the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, and local flora and fauna of the islands at the Botanical Gardens.
- Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands—Kakabona Village Cultural Tour: Visit Kakabona Village, which is built in a traditional setting; learn how meals are prepared over hot stones; and enjoy demonstrations of coconut husking, fire building, and home building.
- Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands—World War II Historical Highlights: Boasting more war sites and relics than any other islands in the Pacific, Guadalcanal has monuments and museums that are of great significance. Accompanied by a guide, walk in the footsteps of the Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen who fought, visiting sites such as the U.S. Memorial, the Bloody Ridge, Henderson Field and Memorial Garden, and the Coast Watchers Memorial Lighthouse.
- Kieta, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea—Arawa Tour: Enjoy a guided tour to Arawa. Once a bustling town, Arawa was destroyed during a 1989 campaign for independence from Papua New Guinea by the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The town has been largely restored, but it remains a symbol of the locals’ resolve never to turn to civil war again.
- Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea— Half-Day or Full-Day City Tour: This tour provides a guided overview of the city’s famous landmarks. Visit the Parliament Haus, National Museum, National Capital Botanical Gardens, Burns Peak lookout, Fairfax harbor, stilt village of Hanuabada, Airvos Avenue, Ela Beach, PNG art artifacts warehouse, Holiday Inn handicraft market, and Waigani fresh food market, and see a traditional dance performance. The Full-Day Tour also includes visits to Bomana War Cemetery and Varirata National Park, which is renowned for its abundant bird life.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu—Cascade Falls: Get close to the natural wonders of Vanuatu on a guided hike to Cascade Falls, a 150-foot tumbling waterfall that boasts crystal-clear water and naturally eroded rock pools, set deep within a lush rainforest. Take a dip in the sparkling water and enjoy music of an island band.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu—Circle Island Safari: Discover Efate, the most populous of the 82 islands that make up Vanuatu, on a guided tour of its history, customs, and traditions, and attend the preparation of a fire-walking ritual. Then, stop at a natural swimming hole at Eden on the River for a refreshing dip, or wander through tropical gardens before passing by reminders of American forces’ involvement in Vanuatu during World War II.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu—Ekasup Cultural Village: See the traditions and customs of the Melanesian people on a guided tour of Ekasup Village in Erakor rainforest. The Chief in his native costume and warriors in full regalia welcome guests and showcase their lifestyles. See villagers prepare native products, demonstrate hunting and trapping, cook a traditional dish, show the ancient art of sand drawings, and tell tales of the tribe’s history.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu—Port Vila By Helicopter: Embark on a guided helicopter tour of beautiful Vanuatu with views of the rainforest, coves, local villages, beaches, and resort areas.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu—Tranquility Eco Island & Turtle Sanctuary Experience: Visit the Tranquility Eco Lodge and Turtle Sanctuary, where baby hawksbill turtles are raised, tagged, and released into the wild, on a narrated tour of the facilities.
- Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea—Walking Tour: Discover this charming island community on a guided walking tour, and experience local life from the traditional Melanesian way of singing and dancing to arts and crafts displays and demonstrations.
On board the ship, a variety of special guests will lecture, perform, or provide demonstrations on Fiji & Australia voyages, which are included in Paul Gauguin Cruises’ all-inclusive fares. Environmentalist & Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau, champion freediver Herbert Nitsch, “extreme artist” Jean Francois Detaille, and Paul Gauguin expert Caroline Boyle-Turner will be aboard the June 25, 2014, voyage. Joining the August 18, 2014, sailing are Nobel Peace Prize winner John E. Hay, islands expert Helen Henry, destination specialist Mick Fogg, rock violinist Aaron Meyer, and musicians Seth Taylor and Monica Ripamonti. On both voyages, renowned archaeologist and scholar Mark Eddowes and a World War II expert will provide a series of lectures.
For shore excursions rates and additional information, contact a Travel Professional, call 1-800-848-6172, or visit www.pgcruises.com.
About Paul Gauguin Cruises
Owned by Pacific Beachcomber S.C., French Polynesia’s leading luxury hotel and cruise operator, Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the 5+-star cruise ship, the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin, providing a deluxe cruise experience tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia. It is one of the top exclusive charter and incentive group venues in the industry and has completed more than 570 South Pacific cruises, serving more than 176,250 guests, including more than 15,000 honeymooners, since its inaugural sail in 1998. The Gauguin’s accolades include recognition as “Top Small-Ship Cruise Line for Families” in Travel + Leisure’s 2013 “World’s Best Awards” and one of the “Top 20 Small Cruise Ships” in 2013 for the 15th year in a row by readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
In December 2012, the m/v Tere Moana began sailing under the Paul Gauguin Cruises banner after completing a multifaceted renovation and offers voyages in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. At 330 feet long and 46 feet wide, The Moana has a draft of 11.5 feet and accommodates 88 guests with a staff of 62. In 2013, The Moana received “Best New Small Ship” and “Best Way to See the Greek Isles” in Cruisereport.com’s Editors’ Choice Awards.