Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces Family-Friendly Itineraries in French Polynesia

Youngsters onboard m/s 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 on ships. Experiences such as visiting a sea turtle care center, playing real-life beach "Survivor," and snorkeling among coral reefs are aimed to encourage guests ages seven to 15 to learn about the islands, ocean environment and Tahitian culture. The Moana (or "ocean") Explorer Program 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" itinerary 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 & Tuamotus" in June; and 11-night "Cook Islands & Society Islands" in December.

While the activities vary by length of itinerary, one activity that's 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.  

Another activity held on a beach in Bora Bora is "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. 

On another beach day, kids will get a chance to bond through team spirit—during such activities as crab racing, rope pulling and group snorkeling (a swim test is required). On Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private patch of tropical beach, Motu Mahana, youngsters may 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 m/s Paul Gauguin is a small, 330-passenger luxury ship, which works well for families. It has a variety of dining choices, allowing for flexible mealtimes. Its family-friendly accommodations 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.

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