I first write you to make you aware what my friends (all 11 of us) and I experienced on the Tere Moana which departed Venice on the 31st of August. I have sailed on over 20 cruise ships including the Paul Gauguin in 2012 to French Polynesia. Our experience on the Paul Gauguin was fantastic; it was one of the best ships we have ever sailed on. Every aspect of the ship left us wanting for more, eager to be a repeat customer. On that cruise we were given an introduction to the Tere Moana expecting the same type of luxury experience. We feel that the sales staff were terribly misinformed regarding most aspects of this ship and we did NOT get what we paid for, in fact it was the worst cruise we had ever been on. It seemed as though we were subjected to a trial run of a ship operated by a inexperienced cruise line just starting out.
I am also writing because Paul Gauguin Cruises claimed that they had received only three letter of complaint when I know at least 15 people wrote letters of complaint and handed in survey complaining.
I am not sure if all the feedback surveys filled out by passengers would ever reach their intended destination. Everyone in our group and most of the people I met had a major complaint. Yesterday my friends and i received letters from Paul Gauguin Cruises treating our complaints as trivial and unimportant.
After the first day I asked myself: Would Paul Gauguin Cruises ever allow this ship to sail if they were aware of what was going on aboard this ship? In general, the Tere Moana fell terribly short in food, entertainment, atmosphere, and service.
The itinerary was fantastic and the intimacy of the ship was unique.
The wait service, bar and housekeeping staff were pleasant and efficient, caring, but that is about as far as my compliments can extend. Most of the key staff members either lacked the experience or had not been trained to the level of the Paul Gauguin. Here are some specific examples:
Problems usually arise when there is misinformation or lack of information. This sums up the failure on the part of the staff members who did not communicate needed information about the ports, and what to expect upon arrival. Basic points of interest or highlights of the port were never mentions. In fact, several passengers were given misinformation which led to problems.
The biggest disappointment was the food which was far below standards of the Paul Gauguin which I would rate mediocre at best. Some passengers waited to pull into a port to eat ashore. On several occasions I witnessed people pushing their food away!
The Greek lunch buffet was a joke! The breakfast buffets were not special in any way. The variety of desserts was limited and what was presented was awful. The dry cakes must have come out of a packaged box mix. I sent back undercooked fish dishes on two occasions and meat was so tough I could not cut it with the knife I was given. On four occasions the soups were watery and cold whereas the ice creams were served melted. Twice during afternoon tea we called the wait staff to point out that the rolls were hard and stale. We really felt like we were being served left-overs. Incidentally there was no cream for coffee (just milk) and the teas were of poor quality and the food was not served in a timely manner.
The entertainment like the food, got progressively worse. The musical entertainment was so bad that we actually thought it was a joke! His amateurish playing and singing off key was actually offensive. PG cruises must think it's passengers highly unsophisticated,totally unaware of the caliber of people who would choose a high end cruise line.
Recorded music could have been provided instead, which was noticeably missed during the meal times along with proper floral arrangements.
I would also like to make note of the make-shift appearance of the ship. We noticed that the maintenance had left taped paper around light fixtures in several areas. There were also tacky spiral energy saving bulbs that protruded out of light fixtures.
That was the tip of the iceberg...the staff made many social errors that offended several people.
I asked myself: In light of all these obvious issues: Might there be any other problems aboard ship that we were not aware of that Paul Gauguin did not take responsibility for?
Paul Gauguin has set the bar so high for us that everything seemed to fall short, however there were enough obvious upsets and disappointments on the Tere Moana that truly ruined our cruise. It is sad that Paul Gauguin cruises markets and advertises the Tere Moana to be an equal product. The bottom line is that we did not get what we paid for. Place yourself in the position of passengers such as myself and my friends who flew great distances just to take this cruise...a terrible disappointment compounded by great a loss of time, and money.
In the light of the insulting response that my friends and I received from Paul Gauguin Cruises I would recommend another cruise line entirely!