Cruise

Sea Food

by Lexi Dwyer

Paul Gauguin, Radisson Seven Seas

Overview:
Radisson Seven Seas' posh Paul Gauguin lagoon-hops through French Polynesia's waters. Setting out from her base in Papeete, Tahiti, she travels through the rest of the Society Islands (Moorea, Bora Bora, Tahaa, and Raiatea) as well as the less-explored chains of the Cooks, Marquesas, and Tuomotus. With room for only 320 guests per sailing, the ship's diminutive size means it can trawl cerulean waters that would be off-limits to its larger sisters.

The Eats:
After a day of snorkeling with manta rays or hiking past waterfalls, guests savor meals conceived by Jean-Pierre Vigato. (His Parisian restaurant, Apicus, has two Michelin stars.) His cuisine is showcased in La Veranda restaurant, where curvy railings and art deco furnishings lend a retro feeling. Vigato believes that simple preparations best highlight exceptional ingredients; he uses traditional French cooking methods but draws on Asian influences, which complements the South Pacific's tropical climate. A few highlights include shrimp-leek terrine, caviar atop a potato charlotte, and fresh mahimahi on bacalao mousseline.

The Crowd:
Thanks to the South Pacific's legendary status as a romantic mecca, you'll spot plenty of honeymooners onboard, along with well-heeled 40-somethings and the over-50 set.

The Digs:
There are no interior cabins, and about 50 percent of the rooms have attached balconies. You could splurge on a suite with floor-to-ceiling windows, a massive deck, and butler service, but even the smaller rooms have picture windows, marble bathrooms, and crown moldings. Tip: Of the less expensive rooms, those in Class D are positioned highest, on Deck Six.

Standout Port:
When the ship anchors off Raiatea, ride a canoe down Polynesia's only navigable river, the Faaroa. Don't forget to wave at the local kids doing cannonballs off the embankment.

Good to Know:
Leave the tuxes and beaded gowns at home: In a nod to its relaxed, sultry surroundings, the Paul Gauguin has no formal dinner nights. You'll still want to look your best among this crowd, but think khakis and stylish sundresses.

To book, call 877-505-5370 or go to www.rssc.com.
Seven-night sailings from $1,795 per person.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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