We recently returned from a 10 day land cruise tour offered by Paul Gauguin, and can honestly say it was the most enjoyable trip we have taken to date. The hardest part was the long (8 1/2 hour) flight from LAX to Tahiti. Coach class is not fun, and unfortunately Air Tahiti (the cruise line choice) does not offer any mid class (i.e. coach plus or business) seating. Service on the plane was as expected for coach. Having survived the flight, we elected to stay at the Omni Intercontinental for the land part of our tour. We also chose to stay in overwater bungalow which was simply enchanting, and I would highly recommend. The room was spacious and well laid out, and sitting out overlooking the water was an experience of delight. The package included breakfast (full buffet) and the wait staff were ever so polite. We ate dinner one night in their overwater restaurant watching the fish swim beneath us and enjoying delicious seafood.
After our land stay, we boarded the cruise ship. We chose a veranda room mid ship (cabin 743) to minimize any motion issues (and had none). This was our first small ship cruise (300 or so passengers.) It was absolutely delightful for these (among other reasons). We never felt crowded in any way. The ship is spacious enough so often we felt we were the only ones on it. There was no waiting for meals and reservations (if needed) were easy to get. The food was outstanding. (We live in Scottsdale AZ with plenty of high end restaurants) and the meals we had easily were as good as any we've hd. The wait staff were ultra friendly, quickly learning our names, habits (like needing an extra napkin or our seating preferences). They could not have been more polite or helpful. The same can be said of our cabin steward, and basically everyone else we encountered.
The islands we visited were all lovely to behold. Because of health issues, we opted for island tours at each stop. We found these to be quite interesting with informative guides who could speak of history and traditions of the islands. Of, course, the sceneary was beyond compare so a fully loaded camera or video is a must. Two extra bonuses on the trip. A stop at a privite outland with a fabulous lunch buffet set out. And the day of departure, an extra island tour and our own private day room to rest prior to the overnight flight back to the states (greatly appreciated).
We would highly recommend the cruise tour for any interested in see this part of the world.