DH and I sailed on the 3/31 7 night cruise. This was our 2nd time on the Paul Gauguin (1st time was 10 years ago when it was owned by Regents). Again, she did not disappoint!
PG just completed a multi-million dollar renovation a few months ago and she looked brand new. We were on deck six in a balcony stateroom. We enjoyed breakfast for the first few mornings and then we ate breakfast upstairs in Le Grill. The service is top notch and the food is 5 star cuisine!
When we docked in Riatea, it was a Sunday, so the entire town was closed. We decided to walk to the nearby Protestant church. It was a very hot and humid day, but we were so glad we went. The service was spoken entirely in the Tahitian language and the Tahitian people were so warm and welcoming. The church's name was "St. Petera, te fare de te Atua", which translates to St. Peter, the church (house) of the God. The service began at 10am and ended at 11:30am. We loved every minute of it! We decided to do an afternoon excursion onboard an air conditioned bus. We visited a marae and several historic sites. Since the town was closed, we were not able to do any shopping.
The next day, we went to the private motu in Taha'a. This was one of the best ports! At the motu, the PG was tendered due to the shallow water. As you exit the tender boat, Les Gauguines welcome you with their singing and playing instruments. They are very pretty Ambassadors for the ship. PG served a wonderful BBQ lunch. They served grilled, skewered Marlin which was delicious! They also served the typical burgers and hot dogs, chicken, etc. Lots of side dishes, cookies, etc. Also, there was a separate bar area where they served soft drinks, water and alcoholic drinks in real coconuts. This place was paradise! There were restrooms near the bar area. There were sea cucumbers everywhere on the ocean floor, but they are not dangerous. I did step on a few of them and they are quite slimy. There is great snorkeling here and you can easily walk out 200 feet from shore and still be standing in knee deep water. PURE HEAVEN!
The next two days, we were tendered in Bora Bora. While traveling on the tender boat, several local Tahitian canoe'ers would paddle right behind our tender. It was so fun to see them paddle so hard to keep up with the tender. The tender boat created some waves for them and challenged them with their paddeling. Apparently, there is a canoe race in French Polynesia in May, so perhaps there were preparing for this. There were canoes everywhere. PG passengers also had access to a private beach here; although there were no restroom facilities and no lunch would be served. They did have a small bar, which included drinks and snacks (bowl of peanuts, chips, etc) There was a lot of coral here, but surprisingly less fish than at the private motu. It was a very nice beach, but it is inhabited by friendly locals. It appears the owner rents the beach area to the PG.
On the 2nd day in BB, we decided to do a 4x4 Land Rover excursion. This was a lot of fun. It was very bumpy, so definitely not for those with back and neck problems. Also, it rained on and off that day, so it was pretty muddy. Our tour guide, Sandy, was very informative and funny. He took us to black pearl farm and also on top of a mountain overlooking the motu with the Four Seasons and St. Regis and the Bora Bora airport. It was a breathtaking view up there. He also took us to a fare that hand-painted beautiful pareos. I didn't buy one because they were a bit pricey at $80 US dollars.
Our next port for the next 2 days was Moorea, which is my favorite island of all. This was also a tendered port. On the 1st day, we did the ATV tour. This was our most favorite excursion of all. We were the only passengers that signed up for it, so it was a private tour, which was great! Our guide was fantastic. I don't know how to spell his name, but it's pronounced Cot-Q. His ATV business is based at the Hilton, so you can also book him directly there and it will probably be cheaper than booking through PG. His ATV's are newer, color green and I felt very safe. He supplies you with a helmet and goes over all the ATV controls with you until you are comfortable. We visited a local flower garden, pineapple plantation, Belvedere Point, and a local gift shop that served us samples of Tahitian rums. This was the funnest excursion that we did!
The food on the PG was 6 star cuisine; the service was top notch. We made several friends on the ship and will definitely cruise this ship again in 3 years. The only thing they could improve on is the fitness center is too small. The machines were always occupied and there was very little room to work on the exercise ball. Also, when we were in our cabin, we could hear the passengers above us, so it would be nice if PG would invest in some type of insulation in their floors and walls. It would be nice if PG would install disposable seat covers in the public toilets.
Diane Moore, president of PG Cruises, was on this itinerary with us. She was very pleasant and easily approachable. We enjoyed meeting her and her husband.
We can't wait to sail the PG again!!