We planned our trip on the PG 6 months prior to sailing. We had read many reviews on many websites and decided to go ahead with the booking for a 7 night cruise. Considering the price and its comparisons to other cruise lines including 6 star ones, we proceeded and couldn't wait for the holiday to come around.
Our holiday started with a week at the Hilton Moora in a fantastic OWB and we loved every minute of the stay.
From Moorea we took the ferry across to PPT to board the MS Paul Gaugain on 6th October 2012. The boarding process was simple, not a flash place to board the ship but it was fine. Registration was done in the theatre and we were quickly checked in and given keys. A glass of sparkling wine was also offered during the process. Once keys were issued we were to make own way to the cabin.
Our cabin was very small, half the size of the staterooms on the Silversea ships and tiny bathroom.
Unfortunately our room was below the bridge and above the theatre, which made it noisy at night. Also, when the ship drops anchor, the noise is alarming and very noisy. Mostly anchor drops at 630am so not a very good start to each day.
We never saw a maid or "steward" for 2 days. Mini bar does not include alcohol. When we asked for a bottle of champagne to be put in our room we were told "no!". This was to be a common response to most the requests many other people received on the ship. They could only bring you a glass of champagne not a bottle.....that's policy....another constant response.
There were times throughout the cruise you could only order room service during the day as everything seemed to close .
If you arrived at a restaurant or high tea etc and they were 10 mins from closing you would not be encouraged to stay. The staff are extremely unfriendly and don't anticipate anyone's needs, except for a few of the crew such as the excellent Cesar in the main restaurant who always helped us with anything.
Food very poor and unless you book a restaurant on day one you won't get in without a fight with the Maitre d.
Don't expect many good quality wines to match your food..... It's pretty bad wine served with mediocre food so it's well matched.
Anyway...I could go on and on about the bad restaurant service but I don't want to, let me start on reception.
The women on reception (one in training) we the most UNFRIENDLY crew I've encountered and couldn't have made any request more uncomfortable. We had a A blackjack tournament we registered for on the last night which we wanted to room charge ( which you do opwhen playing at the casino) however they would do it, or payout a $100 note. It's policy apparently. So after tense words with the Financial Officer I got the $100. We paid almost $10000 for this cruise and they didn't want to give us $100 charged to our account as it was the last night. When you travel Siversea nothing is a problem.
I could go on and on about the unfriendly staff at reception... But I need to add positives.
The itinerary is what got us through.! The destinations were incredible and the islands of French Polynseia are spectacular. I was amazing and we loved every minute......it was the only ship that did this itinerary, if other lines were available hindsight would have been great.
Bora Bora is as picturesque as the movies and photos and we loved loved it! Dinner at Bloody Mary's is a must!
Raitea and tahaa were very pretty and the snorkelling was fantastic. You must do the Sting Ray swim in Bora Bora or the jet ski around the island.... Both the best tours we did in 2 weeks.
We had dreamed of Tahiti for so long and loved the islands and our time there, it was the ship, staff and food that was the let down.... However focusing on where we were helped us detach from the messy cruise we were on.
I know this is a quick and messy review but I had to put something on. If you are considering the PG, think seriously about your options and whether the $ you spend is very important. It would be cheaper to fly In between islands and spend time on a couple of different ones, it may end up more fabulous and cheaper than the PG.