The rumor that Paul Gauguin Cruises was up for sale has been confirmed: the cruise line announced last night that it has been acquired by luxury resort leader Pacific Beachcomber.
But don't worry Tahiti-bound cruisers: You won't notice a thing.
David Giersdorf, President and CEO of Paul Gauguin Cruises, tells us that "there will be no changes to the product or behind the scenes. We'll have the same team onboard and ashore." So if you're booked on a Paul Gauguin cruise in 2010, you can expect the same onboard experience; your cruise booking will not change, and existing early-booking deals -- offering 50 percent off fares and free or discounted airfare -- will remain in place.
The owner of luxury cruise ship Paul Gauguin, Vantage Deluxe World Travel, formed Paul Gauguin Cruises in January of this year to take over operations and sales from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, whose contract with the ship terminates at the end of 2009. Paul Gauguin Cruises' new parent, Pacific Beachcomber, owns multiple luxury resorts in French Polynesia including the InterContinental Resort Tahiti, InterContinental Le Moana Resort Bora Bora, InterContinental Resort & Thalasso Spa Bora Bora, and InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea.
Interestingly, Pacific Beachcomber is no stranger to Paul Gauguin -- first Regent Seven Seas and now Paul Gauguin Cruises have worked with the company to offer passengers the option of pre- and post-cruise resort stays.
So what's in store for this fledgling cruise line under its new ownership? Giersdorf says the main focus will be a seamless cooperation between the resorts and the cruise line, which could lead to expanded pre- and post-cruise options. With its new Tahiti-based owner, Paul Gauguin will likely intensify the relationship between the ship and the destination; the ship is already very integrated with French Polynesia with its Gauguines dancers, onboard naturalists and comprehensive shore excursion program.
At this point, expansion of the cruise line is not under discussion.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Paul Gauguin Cruises Sold, Business as Usual for South Pacific Travelers
August 18, 2009