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Published in: Cruise News

In July, the Paul Gauguin made the first visit to Vairao, in South Tahiti, another unique destination on offer in French Polynesia. It adds an additional port opportunity on the Windward Islands, said Bud Gilroy, president of the Tahiti Cruise Club.

More airlift is some big news in Tahiti, with added service from United Airlines and French Bee. Meanwhile, a new cruise terminal is moving forward in Papeete.

That cruise terminal will become the base of operations for ships in the area, as 2018 is looking to be a record season with 1,070 total calls and 140 turnarounds in Tahiti. Projections call for 15 percent more traffic in the first half of 2019.

“We have experienced continuous growth since 2012,” Gilroy said. “It's a very good season for Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, but also for neighboring island calls, in Marquesas, Tuamotus or the Leeward Islands.

“Similarly, the entire South Pacific islands region, including New Zealand, Fiji and Tahiti, now accounts for over three percent of world cruise activity,” he added, noting that has doubled in the last six years.

With numerous call opportunities sailing from Papeete, Gilroy said ships can have unique itineraries up to 21 days, and can keep their casinos open in port or at anchor.

"The destination is ideally located at equal distances from the North American and Australian markets and can therefore offer an advantageous alternative for these important markets to Caribbean or Mediterranean destinations,” he said.

Four ports in Tahiti can take big ships, making them well suited to mix in on a repositioning voyage.

“However, most of our business has an average of 400 passengers per call. Ships, up to 1,500 passengers, are perfectly sized to operate turnarounds in Polynesia and operate from several weeks to several months in this navigation area,” Gilroy added.

The Tahiti Cruise Club works hard to harmonize berth schedules, working to avoid conflicts and ensure a smooth experience well in advance.

“The expected capacity growth will bring more ships to our region. With our future terminal, we will be able to handle turnarounds of ships with 2,400 guests,” Gilroy continued. “Our islands are also the perfect match to answer the demand of the smaller expedition and luxury vessels with islands that are still pristine and with so much to discover with the people and their culture.”

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