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48_Polynesie_Francaise_BoraBora©StudioPONANT-Guillaume_RobinFrom 2026, PONANT is extending its French Polynesian cruise portfolio with two distinct propositions, reflecting the range of experiences that the company offers. Le Jacques-Cartier will be positioned from September 2026 to March 2027 in the Polynesian and Pacific archipelagos offering a unique expedition experience, while the m/s Paul Gauguin continues its 25-year legacy of delivering authentic, culturally immersive voyages year-round.

“Paul Gauguin Cruises is French Polynesia’s Destination Expert and its award-winning m/s Paul Gauguin’s relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome have enchanted guests for more than 25 years,” Hervé Gastinel, CEO of the PONANT group, “With Le Jacques-Cartier, we are bringing a complementary offer, combining expertise in the destination and the PONANT DNA. We will offer an expedition cruise format, in direct contact with nature and local populations, with the ‘French touch’ that characterises us.”

The m/s Paul Gauguin was specially designed to sail in the archipelagos of the South Pacific, as her reduced draft allows the ship to get much closer to shallower lagoons and remote islands. Extensively refurbished in 2021, there reigns on board a unique and genuine French Polynesian atmosphere, thanks mainly to Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins and their legendary hospitality. The musicians and dancers, whether aboard or ashore are the true ambassadors of French Polynesia, always keen to introduce guests to the wealth and diversity of island cultures. The French Polynesian way of life is a source of inspiration for the gastronomy, service, and design of the 165 staterooms and suites with views of the lagoons.

From summer 2026, Le Jacques-Cartier will offer a whole new experience where the exploration of nature takes centre stage. The multi-sensory Blue Eye Lounge really comes into its own as an ideal place to admire, listen and feel like you can almost touch the magical underwater world of biodiversity gems in the heart of Polynesian lagoons. Naturalist guides who are experts in this destination will be on board to introduce guests to the wonders of the fauna and flora while sailing and during zodiac landings. A themed line-up is designed to bring out all the history and cultures of the many archipelagos visited. The modular marina and semi-submerged platform provide easy access for swimming and a range of water sports (kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.) in idyllic environments.


“PONANT’s expansion in French Polynesia marks a pivotal moment in our commitment to delivering unparalleled expedition experiences.” Says Deb Corbett, General Manager Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific, “With the introduction of Le Jacques-Cartier alongside the enduring legacy of m/s Paul Gauguin, we’re unveiling two distinct avenues for travellers to delve into the rich tapestry of this breathtaking region. With these new offerings, we’re not just providing travel experiences; we’re facilitating profound connections with the wonders of French Polynesia. It’s an invitation for guests to immerse themselves wholly in the essence of this remarkable region”.

Further deployment details on Le Jacques-Cartier will be announced soon.

m/s Paul Gauguin 2024 and 2025 sailings are still available to book. To view the full catalogue of itineraries, click here.