Here is your opportunity to discover a South Pacific paradise well off the tourist map. Aboard the deluxe m/s
Paul Gauguin, you,™ll visit hidden gems that are inaccessible to larger vessels, as you cruise from Fiji to New Caledonia and Vanuatu and back again. Begin your discoveries in Lautoka, at the heart of Fiji,™s sugar industry, where you,™ll board your award-winning small ship. Then, sail to New Caledonia, where you,™ll call on four exotic ports: Ile des Pins, named by Captain James Cook for its landscape of stately pines ,¦ the islands,™ capital, cosmopolitan Noumea ,¦ Ile de MarÃ©, with its spectacular scenery ,¦ and Ile de Lifou, where local traditions are proudly maintained. Continue on to Port Vila, Vanuatu, where you,™ll find a rich artistic heritage of storytelling, song, dance, and art. Your voyage ends where it began in Lautoka where you,™ll disembark, treasuring memories of a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime voyage.
Day 1 Embark the m/s Paul Gauguin in Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji
Located on the west coast of Viti Levu, the largest of the Fijian islands, Lautoka is known as Sugar City, for the green-gold sugarcane that surrounds it on three sides. Here, you,™ll embark your luxurious floating home for the next 10 nights: the m/s Paul Gauguin.
Days 2-3 At Sea
Take advantage all The Gauguin has to offer. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a massage at our luxurious spa ,¦ toss back a drink at Le Grille ,¦ relax poolside, watching the South Pacific slip by ,¦ play some table tennis ,¦ and take advantage or our Reading Library.
Day 4 Ile des Pins, New Caledonia
Located about 750 miles east of Australia, New Caledonia, like its South Pacific neighbor, was once a penal colony. There could surely be no more idyllic place to be incarcerated than these sleepy islands with white-sand beaches, entirely surrounded by a pristine lagoon. Discovered for Europe by Captain James Cook, these islands were settled by Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, eventually becoming a French possession in 1853. Today, while New Caledonia is becoming increasingly independent, it retains its French sophistication, blended with influences of its Melanesian heritage.
You,™ll begin your discovery of these islands in the Ile des Pins. This island received its name (literally, Isle of Pines) in 1774 from Captain James Cook, who first glimpsed it on his second voyage to New Zealand. The local Kunie people will make you feel right at home as you enjoy diving, snorkeling, or bicycling in this tropical paradise at the southern tip of the archipelago.
Day 5 At Sea
Spend the day enjoying The Gauguin,™s Polynesian ambiance: casual, leisurely, and elegant. Perhaps you,™ll work out in the fitness center and later enjoy specialties inspired by one of the top chefs of Paris over dinner in La Veranda.
Day 6 Noumea, New Caledonia
An important Pacific military base during World War II, Noumea boasts the most sunshine of any Pacific island capital and is also the most European-influenced. Just off the coast, the longest barrier reef in the world shelters 350 species of coral and 1,500 species of fish.
You,™ll have a full day to explore the cosmopolitan capital of these islands. Stroll through Coconut Square in the heart of the city, discover Chinatown, or browse the boutiques along rue de SÃ©bastopol. Admire colorful tropical fish at the Aquarium of the Lagoons, or learn about the island,™s heritage at the Tjibaou Cultural Center and the Museum of New Caledonia. Or simply enjoy the beach.
Day 7 Ile de MarÃ©, New Caledonia
The southernmost of New Caledonia,™s four Loyalty Islands, Ile de MarÃ© is an island of wild beauty, with the archipelago,™s highest peaks, dusky forests, charming creeks nestled among rocky headlands, and long pristine beaches fringed by coconut palms. Once a lagoon, the central plain is pitted with caves, and its natural fresh- and saltwater pools with their ever-changing shades of green and blue provide a home for interesting fish and turtles. Perhaps you,™ll embark on an island tour. Or delve into island heritage at the tribal village of Eni.
Day 8 Ile de Lifou, New Caledonia
The largest of the Loyalty Islands, Ile de Lifou is a devoutly Christian island, due to the work of 19th-century Anglican and French Catholic missionaries. Yet, the friendly people of this island also proudly maintain the customs of their heritage, as you may see in their agricultural techniques and traditional huts. The waters off the Ile de Lifou offer some of the most extraordinary visibility you are ever likely to encounter, and the topography is just as magnificent as the marine life you are apt to see.
Day 9 Port Vila, Vanuatu
In the South Pacific, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia, lies the island nation of Vanuatu. Tradition and culture remain strong in this archipelago, where 80% of the population lives in thatched-hut villages surrounded by thick jungle. From your port call on the capital city, Port Vila, on the island of Efate, you can discover a rich artistic heritage of storytelling, song, dance, and art, including tattoos, masks, and carvings. Those interested in the natural world can admire large open stretches of water, dense jungle, and a mountainous terrain, as well as a wide variety of sea life.
Day 10 At Sea
Take more time to enjoy shipboard life on the m/s Paul Gauguin, your own personal South Seas isle.
Day 11 Disembark in Lautoka, Fiji
End your idyllic voyage in Lautoka, where you might take advantage of the opportunity to browse the shops that line its stately, royal palm-lined main thoroughfare. Or perhaps you,™ll visit its beautiful botanical garden.