Paul Gauguin Offers New Series of Family Friendly Itineraries in Tahiti
Kids onboard the Paul Gauguin for summer and holiday cruises in French Polynesia and beyond will have the opportunity to participate in a naturalist-led Moana Explorer Program that goes beyond the typical camp-like activities of other ships. Experiences such as visiting a sea turtle care center, playing real-life beach "Survivor," and snorkeling in reefs encourage guests ages 7-15 to learn about the islands, ocean environment and unique Tahitian culture.
The Moana (ocean) Explorer Program on on Paul Gauguin was created in partnership with the South Pacific marine education and conservation foundation Te mana o te moana, which focuses on protecting the Polynesian marine environment, specifically sea turtles. The program is available in 2022 on select family sailings such as the seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands sailings in July.
These cruises visit the rainforests, white sand beaches and clear lagoons of the Society Islands, including Bora Bora (with an overnight). The youth program is also available on deeper-exploration itineraries such as the 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus sailings in June, July and December; 11-night Society Islands & Tuamotu in June; and 11-night Cook Islands & Society Islands in December.
While the activities vary by length of itinerary, always included is meeting the turtles at Te mana o te moana's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center on the island of Moorea. Parents are welcome to join to see the rescued green, hawksbill, Olive Ridley and loggerhead turtles, many of whom arrived injured. The center's goal is releasing the turtles back into the wild.
The spirit of discovery that is embraced by the Moana Explorer Program comes to life with another fan-favorite activity held on a beach in Bora Bora. It's "Survivor, Tahitian-style," where youngsters learn about Tahitian culture while building a shelter made from natural materials found on the beach, eating fruit while blindfolded, and picking up some traditional Tahitian wrestling techniques.
Another beach day allows kids to bond through team spirit during such activities as crab racing, rope pulling and group snorkeling (a swim test is required). On Paul Gauguin’s private patch of tropical beach paradise, Motu Mahana, kids can participate in a reef quest to observe underwater life and see how many species of coral they can identify and record in an underwater field journal.
Daily activities often include sessions on specific topics, such as plastic pollution and its effect on marine life, saving coral reefs, or insight into sharks and stingrays. There's a short video presentation, games and discussion around each subject. It's both preparation for what the kids will experience each day on the islands and skill-building. Before they leave the ship, kids will learn skills such as making shrimp using palm leaves and how to use binoculars, which are provided for sessions exploring the geology of the islands and for spotting dolphins and other wildlife.
On longer itineraries that add Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, kids will learn about dolphins and, during a visit to a local village, spot the animals through binoculars in the famed Tiputa Pass. The Cook Islands & Society Islands itinerary adds the opportunity to learn about giant clams at the Ministry of Marine Reserve on the island of Aitutaki and to mingle with local youth on a visit to a public beach on Rarotonga.
The small, 330-passenger luxury ship works well for families. The variety of dining choices allows for flexible mealtimes, while family friendly accommodations on Paul Gauguin include Owner's, Grand and Veranda suites that sleep up to four guests. Led by the naturalist staff, the Moana Explorer program is complimentary onboard (some fees apply to select excursions), with as many as six activities each day.