The kids are grown and gone, the mortgage is paid off and it is winter! For the first time you are free to let reality and fantasy trade places with thoughts of lush faraway places. And now it's your turn.
Staring at my bookshelf the other day, one volume stood out. "Mutiny On The Bounty"! A tale of sea going excitement and bravado through the breath taking South Pacific.
Ah, why not an adventure to the islands of French Polynesia, to Tahiti and the Society Islands. And what better way to do it than by modern cruise ship. The delightfully informal and un-regimented way of life emulated on board a luxury vessel!
Fortunately, the tribulations of Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh will not accompany you on your journey. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Princess Cruises can be your passport to this place of exquisite passion and beauty.
Radisson's m/s Paul Gauguin, named after one of France's greatest painters, is dedicated to Tahiti and the surrounding islands where he spent much of his most productive years. In fact, Gauguin is quoted as saying, "I have come to an unalterable decision - to go and live forever in Polynesia".
In the 1890's, it took Paul Gauguin two months to reach Tahiti. Today you can reach your beautiful ship in just seven and a half hours from Los Angeles - only two more hours than flying to Hawaii.
A visit to the ship's "Fare Tahiti Gallery", filled with books and videos on the history and culture of Polynesia will introduce you to the islands' colorful heritage. On board lecturers and exciting folklore shows featuring the arts of the islands are given on board to enhance your dream vacation. Each cruise will bring the post card beauty right to your cabin door.
You can experience an electrifying performance of ote'a - a complex line dance accompanied by drums telling the ancestral legends of the Polynesian people. Or, imagine yourself taking a lesson in the technique of paddling an outrigger canoe (it's easy once you know the secret!)
The Tahitians, renowned for their health, physical beauty and spiritual serenity are more than familiar with the medicinal and cosmetic benefits of the plants and flowers of their islands and aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin you are offered an environment that is equally conducive to health, beauty and happiness.
The beautiful on board pool invites you to an early morning dip and the fitness center features a full range of exercise equipment and health spa to provide the spoiling you have waited so long to indulge in.
Imagine a ship, which is more your private yacht, hosting only 300 guests and taking you through the reefs of Tuamotu Archipelago, renowned for world class diving. The ship's small size and shallow draft allows it to navigate shallow shimmering lagoons and narrow channels where larger vessels cannot go.
My favorite feature (in addition to the fine French cuisine and complimentary wines with dinner) is the specially designed, retractable water sports platform at the aft of the ship which takes you down to sea level to hop aboard a Windsurfer, launch a kayak, try a little water skiing or don snorkeling or scuba gear to explore underwater adventures in pristine waters.
Ready to eat! Did I mention that the m/s Paul Gauguin features French and continental fare with menus inspired by two-star Michelin chefs served in open dining, allowing you to eat and sit with whom you want, when you want and where you want. Not only do you have your choice of two elegant restaurants, but also an outdoor grill and 24 hour complimentary room service.
Your cabin is spacious and as relaxing as the gentle trade winds wafting through your open window. Freshly picked tropical flowers spill out of a vase competing for your gaze with the view from your private verandah.
In addition to Radisson, Princess Cruises offers 10-Day Polynesia/Cook Islands, and 10-day Polynesia/Marquesas Islands aboard the Tahitian Princess and 29-day Hawaii/Tahiti/South Pacific aboard the new Diamond Princess. Many of these Tahiti cruises have overnight stays at the ports of call!
Tahiti is my favorite part of this wonderful planet we call home. Now is the time for you to enjoy the sky and sea in harmony with the magnificent and sensuous sights of Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Moorea and the Marquesas, all inclusive, and you unpack only once and awake to find a new piece of paradise at your doorstep each morning.
Sailing the beautiful French Polynesian Islands is like stepping into one of Gauguin's paintings, only better, because you're free to move around.
Cruise Vacations Guide
Sid Kaplan has extensive experience in the travel business. He owned and operated a large retail cruise only agency in Canada and his wife has 25 years experience working for major cruise lines. Their website is Cruise Vacations Guide which offers advice and tips to those looking to create memorable cruise vacations. Shore excursion and land tour information is also provided. Cruise, hotel, car rental and vacation adventure booking online.