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One of the elegant French interiors of Paul Gauguin

French luxury line Ponant, which is quickly growing its fleet of small ships to 14, has acquired one of the oldest names in boutique cruising, Paul Gauguin Cruises.

Paul Gauguin, a one-ship line, has been sailing the South Pacific year-round since 1997, and has become something of a legend in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific.

The Paul Gauguin is a 332-passenger vessel. It will be reflagged in France next year, and the brand will continue to remain separate and grow.

Ponant intends to expand its own presence in the South Pacific.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul Gauguin Cruises to our Ponant family,” said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Founder and President of PONANT, in a statement.

“Our guests can now select from a wider range of iconic destinations and become enriched by cultural and expedition cruises of their choice, that literally travel to the ends of the earth from the most remote ports to more perennial favourites, on our combined fleet of small ships. We share the same core values.  The synergy between our operations makes this the perfect collaboration while preserving the unique DNA of both brand experiences.”

The Paul Gauguin has plied the waters of the South Pacific since its launch in 1997.
She carries the name of the French impressionist and interiors reflect the period.

Despite its small size, the line has a dedicated following and has won several awards.  The ship won best service, best cabins, best entertainment and best embarkation in the 2019 Cruise Critic Cruisers Choice Awards.

Ponant says the two cruise lines will keep their management, with Diane Moore acting as CEO of Paul Gauguin with her team still based in Bellevue, Washington, and Navin Sawhney acting as CEO Americas of Ponant, based in New York.

Monique Ponfoort, Vice President Asia Pacific for Ponant revealed the two brands will remain distinct and retain their identities.

“These two brands are of great value, and very close to each other in terms of attributes on the luxury small ship niche market,” she told Cruise Passenger.

“Our two companies share the same philosophy of authenticity, environmental consciousness, amazing destinations, small ships, respect and relationship with locals.

“We intend to globally develop on a worldwide basis in parallel the two brands.”

She said the South Pacific offers a wide range of cruising opportunities.

“We are indeed considering expanding our fleet in this region.  However, it is too early to be more specific on this subject.”