insights from the ultimate cruising team

8 ways to cruise Tahiti

8 ways to cruise Tahiti

One of the most idyllic destinations in the world, cruising French Polynesia is one of life’s true treats. The serenity of the islands with their picture perfect beaches, turquoise lagoons and gentle people are the perfect backdrop for a decadent life aboard a luxury cruise ship.

Because of the ideal cruising waters, there are a number of cruise lines sailing these waters. So which one to choose? Today we’ve got 8 ways to cruise French Polynesia.

Aranui 5

Cruising Tahiti's Marquesas Islands with the Aranui 5 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Different from traditional cruising, the Aranui 5 is a working freighter - the lifeline for the people living on the remote Marquesas Islands as the freighter delivers essential supplies. Everything from fresh goods to cars and building supplies arrives via Aranui 5 and watching the unloading operation by the dexterous crew is fascinating! 

Aranui Cruises began solely as a freighter service, adding passenger accommodation in 1984 with Aranui I. As demand for more passenger berths increased, the ships have been replaced and now the Aranui 5 combines the freighter requirements with comfortable passenger accommodations, restaurant, bars, swimming pool and more. Passengers are able to experience the magic of cruising Tahiti's spectacular isles whilst seeing the freighter in action.

Shore excursions are included throughout the cruise, should you wish to participate.  The Marquesas Islands are so remote that you won’t be overrun with other tourists. The ship is eagerly awaited by the locals who will greet you and welcome you ashore. The children are likely to take your hand and the women will delight in showing you their crafts. You can learn about the ancient traditions of tattooing, the history of famous writers and artists who called the Marquesas home, or enjoy the guided walks. You may wish to do some or all of the activities on offer, or simply sit back and watch the crew in action. However you decide to enjoy the Marquesas, this is one trip that will stand out from the rest.

Wind Spirit

Feel the warm Tahitian breeze in your hair as you set sail amidst Tahiti’s intoxicating vista of islands bathing in the remnants of another sun-kissed, perfect day. This is romance personified as you sail the islands of Moorea, Taha’a, Raiatea, Huahine and the spellbinding Bora Bora.  When you imagine luxuriating in the tropical beauty of Tahiti, cruising on-board the Wind Spirit is exactly this and more.

Elegant, sophisticated yet surprisingly down-to-earth, Wind Spirit takes you on a voyage amid some of Tahiti’s most picturesque islands. Ducking into coves and secluded beaches whilst treating you to an experience second to none, Wind Spirit is truly decadent, making it feel like your own private yacht.

With just 148 guests and 101 crew, the service is impressive with the crew remembering your name and always on hand to make your cruise unforgettable. There is a choice of two restaurants and expansive deck space so you have enough space to enjoy other guests’ company, yet never feel crowded and you can always find a quiet spot up on deck to enjoy your surroundings.

There are two itineraries to choose from – the seven day voyage taking in Moorea, Bora Bora, Motu Mahaea and Raiatea in the Society Islands, or add an extra 3 days to also include Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu group. Your voyage includes all meals and non-alcoholic beverages on board. Shore excursions are not included in the price but most can be pre-booked before you go.

This is a truly magical way to experience Tahiti! 

Paul Gauguin

Designed specifically to sail Tahiti’s shallow waters, the Paul Gauguin is an icon of Tahiti cruising. Small enough to access areas the larger ships can’t get to, yet big enough to offer you three restaurants, pool, bars, nightly entertainment, casino, beauty spa, boutique and more.

With a friendly, professional crew waiting to make your cruise exceptional, your voyage will entail decadent days relaxing on board, enjoying the water sports available at the specially designed water sports platform, indulging in the exquisite cuisine and dancing the night away. Life on-board Paul Gauguin is all about enjoying yourself!

Accommodations are spacious and offer spectacular oceanviews. Approximately 70 percent of staterooms and suites have balconies – perfect for enjoying peaceful moments or savouring the gorgeous Tahitian sunsets.

Your voyage includes all meals (including room service), complimentary beverages including select wines and spirits, beers and soft drinks, selected water sports and on-board gratuities.

The Paul Gauguin offers 7 and 10 night voyages within Tahiti, cruising the Society and Tuamotu Islands. Once a year, a 14 night voyage extending this cruise to also visit the Marquesas Islands is on offer. If you prefer to venture further afield in the South Pacific options are also available to include the Cook Islands, Fiji, Melanesia and Indonesia.

Whichever itinerary you choose, you can be assured of an exceptional experience where decadent days are served up with lashings of luxury. You’ll never want to go home!

Haumana Cruises

Discover the magical islands of Bora Bora and Taha’a on an elegantly intimate cruise with Haumana Cruises. With just 12 cabins on this luxury catamaran, you’ll experience the beauty of the islands without the crowds and enjoy sun-kissed days relaxing on the deck or exploring the wonders of the water by snorkelling, kayaking or paddleboarding. On-board, you’ll find a restaurant, bar, panoramic lounge and plenty of deck space to soak up the Tahitian warmth.

Four day itineraries journey from the picturesque Bora Bora to Raiatea (or vice versa), via the Vanilla Island of Taha’a – arguably one of the most beautiful islands in Tahiti. Crystal clear waters and turquoise lagoons welcome you at every turn, with tropical marine life performing an aquatic ballet for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy lunch on a motu, shore excursions to a pearl farm or vanilla plantation or simply relax and enjoy the recreational facilities on offer.

But perhaps one of the best features of Haumana Cruises is the crew. Proud of their culture and history, the Polynesian crew are attentive, friendly and eager to share their special part of the world with their guests. Enjoy the incredible beauty, warmth and allure of Tahiti, surrounded by those who know her best.


Known for their luxurious French-themed vessels, Ponant offers 5 star luxury with exceptional service. Suites and staterooms are beautifully appointed and your voyage is all-inclusive with meals, beverages and shore excursions all part of the package. You’ll also have an on-board lecturer specializing in French Polynesia to give you insights into the culture, marine life and flora and fauna.

Although Ponant don’t operate in French Polynesia year round like some cruise lines, Le Boreal sails from Hawaii to Papeete, then does a 9 night round trip ex Papeete followed by a Papeete to Easter Island voyage.

The Hawaii to Papeete voyage is a delightful blend of beautiful scenery with rich culture. From the beautiful beaches and volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands to the remote isolation of The Marquesas and into the beautiful, turquoise waters of Rangiroa, this cruise is an idyllic combination!

The 9 night package takes in French Polynesia’s postcard perfect islands of Rangiroa, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Moorea. The scenery doesn’t get much more spectacularly beautiful than this and the luxury of Le Boreal is a perfect way to enjoy it!

You can easily combine these two voyages (ask us about back-to-back savings when booking two or more cruises!) or combine the 9 night package with the Papeete to Easter Island. This cruise is a treat for those interested in sociology and anthropology. Leaving Papeete, you sail via beautiful Rangiroa to Pitcairn Island – a island with just 50 inhabitants and so remote you can only access it by ship. From there, it’s onwards to Easter Island, home of the famous Moai statues and another remote, beautiful and intriguing island.

Crystal Cruises

Elegantly decadent, Crystal Cruises offers six-star luxury where your every want has been considered and anticipated. With an array of inclusions from fine wine, champagne and premium spirits to pre-paid gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi 24 hour room service and butler service in every suite, life just does not get much better than this! You’ll find wellness areas, feng-shui inspired spas and state-of-the-art fitness centres as well as a 360˚ Promenade Deck.

Crystal Cruises currently offers French Polynesia as part of their Los Angeles to Papeete or Papeete to Auckland voyages (or you can combine them for a full Los Angeles to Auckland voyage). These sectors are also part of Crystal Cruises’ incredible world voyage. Check with us for all the details.

Oceania Cruises

Known for offering “The Finest Cuisine At Sea” Oceania Cruises have won numerous awards for service and onboard dining. Having undergone a dramatic refurbishment programme, Oceania Cruises’ Regatta will operate a selection of voyages in French Polynesia in 2020. Every surface of every suite will be entirely new, while the public spaces have been refreshed with a palette of soft sea and sky tones.

As well as the round-trip Papeete voyages that include Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Moorea as well as the less-frequented Nuku Hiva and Fakarava, you can also sail “Papeete-to Sydney” “Auckland-to-Papeete” or “Papeete-to-San Francisco”. Be sure to ask us about the “OLife “ inclusions that may apply to your voyage that will included added extras such as 6 free shore excursions, free internet, free house beverage package and a shipboard credit.


Offering 5 star luxury with all the trimmings, Silversea Cruises is a cruising experience to remember! All-inclusive, Silversea treats you to exceptional service from the time you board to the time you wave farewell. You’ll want for nothing with a staff-to-guest ratio of nearly 1:1 and butler service for every suite. Everything from beverages to gratuities and excursions are included in your fare so all you need to do is simply enjoy!

Silversea don’t position a ship in French Polynesia, but you can still enjoy the Silversea service in Tahiti with their Papeete to Lautoka voyage. The bonus about this is that you can experience Bora Bora and Papeete, but also discover the Cook Islands’ Aitutaki, Niue’s Alofi, Tonga’s Vavau Group and Fiji’s Lau and Yasawa Islands. Now that is a truly idyllic voyage!

Ultimate Cruising are experts on cruising Tahiti and her islands. In fact, we’re the largest seller of cruises to Tahiti in the Southern Hemisphere. We’re also the largest seller of Aranui Cruises worldwide so we’ve got loads of experience and expertise to make your trip unforgettable. We also throw in some extras for our clients such as complimentary chauffeur driven transfer from your home to the airport and back again so your holiday starts from the time you step out of your front door.*

To see some of the voyages we have on offer, you can click here to go through to our Tahiti cruise packages page, or to have a chat with one of our team, click here to request a call.

*Within 35 kilometres of your nearest international airport