French Polynesia is
a step back in time
REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES
By Ralph Grizzle
THIRTY YEARS AGO, a 21-year-old boy
from North Carolina ventured all the way to
Los Angeles and hopped a flight to Tahiti.
What possessed him to pursue such a notion?
Coconuts. I know, because that boy was me.
Months before my journey, I had seen a
photograph of one of the Tahitian isles—an
island blessed with verdant volcanic peaks
shrouded in wispy clouds, ocean as blue as
Windex and thick groves of coconut palms. I
wanted to be there, among the coconut groves,
and so I charted a course for this picture-per-fect paradise.
I was not alone in falling under the spell
of Tahiti. Since the first sailing ships from
Europe dropped anchor among French Polynesia’s lagoons and coral atolls, the magical
islands have symbolized romance and natural beauty.
The descriptions the first Europeans sent
home planted the seed for a romantic image
of French Polynesia that endures to this day.
One of those Europeans was the artist Paul
Gauguin. The former Paris stockbroker who
became one of history’s most renowned artists spent his last years—and did some of his
best work—in Tahiti.
Gauguin left France for Tahiti in 1891,
looking for a society more elemental and simplistic than his native country. He found it, and
today, more than 100 years later, you can too.
While Costco Travel offers a variety of
ways to explore the South Pacific, one excellent way to discover what Gauguin discovered
is on a luxury cruise ship that bears his name.
The Paul Gauguin, operated by Regent Seven
Seas Cruises, was designed specifically for
sailing French Polynesia year-round.
This exquisite vessel offers an extremely
Costco Travel offers a variety of vacations
and cruises to Tahiti. For details, call Costco
Travel at 1-877-849-2730 or visit Costco.com.
comfortable and affordable way to experience the romance of the South Pacific isles.
The luxury ship functions as an extension of
the informal, relaxing environment of the
islands, but always with Regent’s superior
service and comfort.
The vessel’s beloved troupe of Gauguines
—part cruise staff, part entertainers, part
storytellers—adds the unique personality of
French Polynesia to every cruise. Life on
board is laid-back, casual and pampered,
from the bottles of water provided prior to
shore trips to the complimentary wine or
beer pours at lunch and dinner.
The Paul Gauguin, which boasts spacious
suites and staterooms (more than half with
private balconies), a watersports marina, a
choice of three open-seating dining venues
and an extensive spa, is a floating tribute to
the culture-rich region. Photos of ancient
Tahiti line the interior walls, while Fare Tahiti,
a mini museum, exhibits manuscripts and
finely carved Polynesian artifacts.
Polynesia is a gorgeous collection of volcanic islands and atolls strewn across the
The Paul Gauguin’s itinerary begins in
Papeete. Tahiti’s capital city is home to the Paul
Gauguin Museum, nestled in a spacious garden and housing a few of the artist’s original
works. The museum provides an interesting
retrospective of Gauguin’s life in the islands.
The itinerary also includes the islands of
Raiatea and Taha’a (Motu Mahana), and
overnight stays on Bora Bora and Moorea.
Standing on the decks and admiring the
beauty in each destination the ship visits,
you’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled into a
Paul Gauguin painting, and, in fact, that is
precisely what you’ve done in this picture-perfect paradise. C
Ralph Grizzle cycled across America and
Europe and island-hopped the South Pacific
before becoming a travel writer.
4AHITI BY 'AUGUIN
Executive Members receive an additional
$100 per-suite shipboard credit.
Member exclusives valued
at up to $800 per person:
Welcome cocktail reception
Two-night pre-cruise stay in an Ocean-View
Room at InterContinental Tahiti
s $400 per-suite shipboard credit†
Lagoonarium shore excursion on Bora Bora
Seven-night cruise with
Round-trip economy class airfare from
Los Angeles to Papeete
Seven nights in an Ocean-View Suite
Private beach party on Motu Mahana
All onboard gratuities
Complimentary beverages, including select
wines and spirits, served throughout the ship
In-suite refrigerator aboard ship replenished
daily with soft drinks, beer and bottled water
Choice of multiple open-seating dining venues
A post-cruise tour of Tahiti and a day
room at Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti††
from $4,179 per person*
Ocean-View Suite with airfare (Category E)
Valid for 9/19/09 sailing.
Call Costco Travel toll free at
1-877-849-2730 or visit Costco.com.
A $200 per-person non-refundable administrative fee is included in your deposit
at the time of booking. Price is per person based on double occupancy, includes
airfare, is valid for select stateroom categories only, is true and accurate at
time of printing, and might not include government taxes/fees. Restrictions and
blackout dates might apply. All offers and inclusions are subject to availability,
may change or be terminated without notice and are valid for new bookings
only. Unless otherwise noted, offers are not combinable with select rate codes,
coupons or other offers. Executive Member offer is valid for primary cardholder
only. Travel purchases are not included in the Executive Membership 2%
Reward program. Offer shown is valid on 9/19/09 sailing only. Cancellation and
change fees might apply. Costco Travel disclaims liability for any inaccuracies or
typographical errors. Ship’s registry: The Bahamas. †Shipboard credit is per suite
based on double occupancy. For bookings made within three weeks of departure,
shipboard credit is not guaranteed. ††Post-cruise tour and day room at Radisson
Plaza Tahiti are offered only with the purchase of airfare. Costco Travel is
registered as a seller of travel in each of the states listed: California
registration number: CST 2054248-50 · Florida registration number:
ST 32555 · Hawaii registration number: TAR 5595 · Iowa registration
number: TA 620 · Nevada registration number: 2007-0060 · Washington
registration number: WST 602042600. Registration as a California Seller
of Travel does not constitute approval by the state. 09TR0501 1/09