The Ultimate Bucket-List Vacation You Need To See To Believe

Hint: It involves private Tahitian beaches and foie gras. 

French Polynesia is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. From Huahine’s lush green gardens to Bora Bora’s unpretentiously beautiful beaches, the exotic idylls Tahiti stun and seduce. To fully experience each Society Island’s unique flavor, a cruise is necessary. My favorite? Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” Paul Gauguin Cruises.

SEE ALSO: I Traveled Carry-On Only For One Month, Here’s What You Need.

Here are six reasons cruising Tahiti and the Society Islands aboard the MS Paul Gauguin is your ultimate bucket-list vacation.

1. Location, Location, Location

When the dew-laden breeze of the uplands creeps swiftly down, it brings with it the fragrance of the gardenia. – Tahitian Proverb

Spectacular vegetation and translucent turquoise lagoons, teeming with life, await in Tahiti and the Society Islands. From the deck, charms roll past in slow-motion technicolor. (With a crisp martini or tropical Mai Tai in hand, courtesy of 24/7 open bar.

2. Traveling between islands is incredibly easy. 

Paul Gauguin Cruises sail year-round in seven to fourteen night itineraries. My 478-mile journey brought a new location each sunrise, from Tahiti to Huahine, Taha’a, PG’s private islet Motu Mahana (more on that later), Moorea, and Bora Bora, before returning to our origin. A sampling of more than one island is best accomplished by boat, transferring your transit time to beach time.

3. You’ll savor decadent food and alcohol…

Complimentary 24 hour room servicce, wine, and spirits round out a sexy dining program. Three restaurants, L’Etoile, La Veranda, and Le Grill, serve chef-driven cusine, from French favorites such as fois gras to the Tahitian Poisson Cru–a ceviche-like dish of tuna marianted in coconut milk.

4. …and sip from a coconut on private beaches. 

Like Marlon Brando before you, get lost on your own deserted island. PG offers two private beach oases: Motu Mahana, a fully private iselt, and a secluded, white-sand beach on Bora Bora, where your most pressing decision is selecting which activity first: BBQ feast or snorkeling adventure.

5. There is one crew member for every 1.5 passengers. Each is friendly as hell. 

Energetic and gregarious, the crew and officers of the MS Paul Gauguin create a cozy community. From leading talent shows to remembering breakfast preferences down to the doppio espresso, the gracious crew and officers embody what PG labels “Polynesian hospitality.”

6. All of the activities.

Complimentary activities litter the cruise’s itinerary. For the active traveler, try the free watersports, including kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling, and paddleboarding from PG’s marina or destination beaches. A dive program, including PADI certification course, and guided snorkeling excursions are available at additional cost. For Pinterest-lovers, Les Gauguines, the PG’s troupe of Polynesian entertainers, lead daily craft-sessions, from strumming Polynesian songs to crafting traditional flower headbands.

Where do you want to go in 2017? Email me at

Photos: Nadina Gerlach, Paul Gauguin Cruises.

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