I have cruised with Paul Gaugin-before Tahiti-New Zealand which was amazing so when I received the information on the Tere Moana I though great as I was interested in travelling to the Caribbean, however due to work commitments I was unable to go on any of the Caribbean cruises so I decided to book a cruise in Europe and intended to book the Panama Canal cruise in 2014. I choice the black sea cruise as it was an area I was interested in. I became very worried about the cruise after reading many of the reviews on this site. I e-mailed Paul Gauguin several times asking for further information in respect to what they were doing about the complaints. I eventually received a reply after my fourth attempts my questions were not answered nor was I given what I considered enough information regarding disembarkation (in order for me to book my transfer).
Paul Gauguin’s customer care gets a very low 2 out of 10.
I was therefore very concerned and almost cancelled my cruise however decided to go ahead anyway. All in all my experience of the black sea cruise was mainly good however there were many areas that need to improve to bring the Tere Moana up to the standard of the Paul Gauguin.
So here is my personal views which obviously may well differ from others who took the same cruise.
Very good, bags taken straight away and I was on the ship within 10 mins. Staff onboard very welcoming, glass of champagne in the lounge and canopies provided. After approx 30mins I was shown to my stateroom.
Embarkation 9 out of 10
As a single traveller I had take a smaller stateroom (only 25% instead of 100% charge on top) it was smaller than the Paul Gauguin, the bathroom had a pod shower but it was comfortable. I was surprised to find no tea/coffee making facilities which I expected and did miss, as room service was not 24/7 as advertised but 6am-9am so no hot drinks after that time. Cleaning was immaculate staff very friendly.
Stateroom 7 out of 10
Yes there are two dinning areas L'Etoile and La Veranda however again the advisement was misleading as you do not get a choice as to were to eat.
Breakfast and Lunch is served in La Veranda and dinner is served in L'EToile. Paul Gauguin line appears to have acted on some of the negative reviews as I found the food choice and quality very good and the service most of the time was good. The service was not up to the standard of the Paul Gauguin but it appears to have improved from the earlier reviews. GEDE and ALAN were both very attentive. What does not seem to have improved is the wine, there were some good wines but there were more that were un drinkable, (mainly white). One evening I was served an Austrian wine that I could buy in my local shop for £5. The cruise is not cheap so why does Paul Gauguin believe its ok to serve cheap wine to its guests.
Food 8 out of 10
Wine 4 out of 10
Service 7 out of 10
Room service 8 out of 10 (would have been 10 out of 10 if 24/7)
As already stated the wine was at times not drinkable, I tried some of the cocktails but they were not as good as served on the Paul Gauguin or that I have had elsewhere, I found myself wondering if this was just a lack of training which is a simple thing to address. The bar also closed early in the evening at 12.30 on night a group of us were drinking went to get another drink at the bar and found that the staff had all gone to bed without any warning. One of the guest when to his room and brought out a bottle of wine he had bought on a trip to a winery early and we shared that. That is just unacceptable.
Bar 5 out of 10.
there was a piano player, not to my taste, he was good but it was in my opinion mainly background music. The evening that the staff entrained us was very good (look out for Alan he was amazing). And that was the entertainment. Most people including my self went to their staterooms directly after dinner. In my case it was not that I was tired, there was just no entertainment to intise me to stay. On the last night in Istanbul we dinned outside (barbecue )which was great. It could have been so much better if perhaps they brought on some local entrainment like the Paul Gauguin did on the New Zealand cruise. There was also no guest lectures on the Tere Moana. The Black Sea has so much history, it would have been so much more interesting if there had been some lecturers on board, as there is on the Paul Gauguin. So entertainment is another area that fell short and in my opinion needs to be addressed.
Entertainment 4 out of 10
Onboard watersports marina -not available
Fitness center-2 walking machines (one faulty) and one bike (I only used gym once machines were old and tired)
Pool-water was freezing-a few people put their feet in in (myself included ) but I never saw anyone actually get in the pool.
Hot tub-was faulty for most of the cruise (not very warm) and was closed for maintenance on one day. Still was not very hot afterwards.
Internet-don't bother very slow very expensive-I was actually told to use my Iphone as the laptops provided were not up-to-date enough to handle a simple activity as obtaining a boarding pass. Again not expectable, the ship is support to have been fully refurbished surely getting the internet sort out can not be that hard.
Activities 4 out of 10
Reception Julie at reception was very helpful both in respect to information about ports visited and sorting out my boarding pass.
8 out of 10
I only went on one trip that was in Yalta, Places of the Tsars. This was because the shore excursions were very expensive this half day trip cost 139 dollars. The places of the Tsars trip was good however I feel a trip in a cable car to the top of the mountain would have made the trip more interesting but was not offered. More than half the guests went on this trip which arrive back late at the boat, lunch was missed, room service was the only thing that was offered unfortunately some people did not get any lunch that day. I think they could have had some sandwiches ready.
I enjoyed visiting most of the ports, the ship laid on shuttle buses to the town when necessary.
Ports visited/information provided 8 out of 10
Choice of excursions 6 out of 10 I would have liked more activity based tours
Very easy, staff very helpful. One tip book your own transfers prior to your cruise. Tere Moana was charging 59 dollars for a 10 Euro trip to the airport.
Disembarkation 9 out of 10
I met some very interesting people from America, Germany, Australia and Canada,
(I do not intend to name them) they made the cruise a memorable experience.
Other passengers 100 out of 10,
In summery this cruise was not at the same standard as the Paul Gauguin however the staff are trying very hard to improve and appear to be committed to do so, which is great but it does not help those of us that have already cruised on the ship and been disappointed. I agree with the previous reviews on this site that this is not a five star cruise even though it has a five star price tag. There is no excuse for this Paul Gauguin is an experience cruise line, this is their coir business so what is going wrong. I am sorry to say I would not recommend the Tere Moana to my friends nor will I take another cruise with this ship until it has been bought up to the same standard as the Paul Gauguin.