Upgrade and capacity reduction for MS Paul Gauguin

New top-of-the-line suite and name for South Pacific luxury ship

Paul Gauguin Cruises has scheduled a renovation and overhaul of its ship MS Paul Gauguin. The project will see the luxury vessel emerge from a Singapore shipyard in May with a fresh look, reduced capacity, new suite category and new branding: Le Paul Gauguin, LATTE can exclusively reveal.

Primarily based in French Polynesia, the upgrade and enhancement of Le Paul Gauguin is being led by Paul Gauguin Cruises’ new owners, French ultra-luxury cruise line Ponant. Ponant acquired the small-ship South Pacific cruise line in mid-2019 and has already revealed plans to add two new-build ships to the Paul Gauguin Cruises’ fleet in 2022. Those yet-to-be-named hybrid electric ships will be built by VARD, and are stencilled on Ponant’s Explorer class of ship.

Rendering of the new-look Le Paul Gauguin

Among the planned works are reconfigured public spaces, new furniture, advanced water treatment, and upgrades to the deck and engines. Five cabins at the aft on Deck 7 (Balcony Staterooms 763 through 767) will be converted into two brand-new suites; an Owners Suite (7063) and a new leading suite category Tiara Suite (7064).

Suite 7063 joins sister suites 701 and 7002 that are located at the bow near the stern of Le Paul Gauguin. While the interior space of the new Suite 7063 is fractionally smaller, it boasts a 13.5-square-metre veranda – nearly double the size of the sister suites.

Le Paul Gauguin Balcony Suite
Renderings of the new-look Balcony Suite aboard Le Paul Gauguin

The 60-square-metre Tiara Suite will feature a separate living, dining and dressing area and a whopping 20-square-metre veranda. It and the new Owner’s Suite come standard with Butler service and can accommodate up to four guests.

Le Paul Gauguin Tiara Suite
The attention grabbing, top-of-the-line Tiara Suite on Le Paul Gauguin

Currently, MS Paul Gauguin has a capacity of 332 passengers. Following the ship’s enhancement, it will offer a slimmed-down maximum number of 318.

The 22-year-old ship was last renovated in 2012 during an 11-night drydock in Brisbane. This upcoming renovation will take place between late April and early May. The ship’s return to service voyage as Le Paul Gauguin from Bali to Fiji is earmarked for 20 May 2020.

According to the June 2020 to December 2021 South Pacific Islands program (viewed here) this brochure is the first joint cruise collection by Paul Gauguin Cruises and Ponant.

Le Paul Gauguin Tiara Suite bedroom
Tiara Suite bedroom on Le Paul Gauguin

“By joining forces, these two fine companies that are both renowned and well-loved can offer their loyal clients a wider range of itineraries and destinations, while continuing to prioritise the ocean voyage philosophy and shared values that have underpinned their success over the years,” the brochure boasts.

The guide also features more than a dozen sell pages for Ponant’s South Pacific program, from Hawaii to New Zealand and Vanuatu. Sailings promoted include voyages through French Polynesia, Easter Island and the northern coastline of Papua New Guinea, aboard the 132-passenger Le Boreal and Le Soleal, as well as the 122-passenger Le Lyrial.

Meanwhile, in response to the coronavirus health crisis, Paul Gauguin Cruises has temporarily ceased operations.

“The small size of our vessels, the state-of-the-art medical infrastructure on board, the excellence of our protocols and the professionalism of our crews enabled us to get through the first weeks of crisis without any case of COVID-19 contamination,” said Ponant CEO and Co-Founder Jean Emmanuel Sauvée.

“However, in an international context which became more complex from hour to hour, our ships were unable to continue to sail in good conditions, and so we made the decision, with heavy hearts, to stop operating our entire fleet from March 15, until further notice.”

Sauvée said future cruises until 19 April have been cancelled, with impacted passengers to be contacted and offered a Future Cruise Credit for a rescheduled sailing, valid for 18 months.

“Once this period of crisis has passed, we will be ready to resume our activity, more mobilised than ever to offer you exceptional travel experiences,” he said.

Image credit: Renderings feature in Paul Gauguin Cruises’ new brochure

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