As a repeat customer to the Paul Gauguin Cruise lines, I had the same expectations for execelence on the Tere Moana that we recei ved on The Gauguin in Tahiti. We arrived in Venice 3 days before departure on the worst cruise experience of my life. Also, we paid six star prices for two star service and delivery on this cruise. Because of our experience and many other complaints which the management at Paul Gauguin ignores or brushes off, some cruise providers have downgraded this ship. The officers were the most unprofessional group with very poor management abilities. I have been on 6 other Mediteranean cruises, the Baltic, The Caribbean and Tahiti and do understand the service levels one should receive.
The emabarkation in Venice was one of the easiest I have ever experienced. However the rooms were not ready at the designated boarding time and this was an indication of the poor service and planning for this shiip. However, our room was ready within 30 minutes and we were able to unpack in of the best designed rooms I have had a cruise. The room has great storage and allows you to put everthing away. The only negative we noticed was the room would get hot in the middle of the night. The room space was the best thing about the ship.
With only 68 passengers, you would expect the staff to provide you incredible service. The first day I spoke with the front desk about reservations since 12 people were traveling in our group about a table in the dining room. I was assured it would be no problem. I guess no providing the table as requested is their answer to NO PROBLEM. The first night in the dining room we sat at two tables of 6 persons, we all ordered and received our appetizers and salads then the other table received their food and dessert while we were waiting on our entree. We waited 40 minutes before we were served food we did not order. The kitchen had run out of prime rib but decided to substitute a sirloin that was so tough you could not cut it with a knife. The staff did not acknowledge that they had changed our menu selections until confronted. It is kind of like ordering a Lobster then being served a shrimp but expecting you to pay for the LOBSTER. The second time we ate in the dining room we waited 1 hour and 20 mintues to be served. During the cruise we did not have one meal where we were served all food as ordered in a timely fashion. This was the WORST food I have ever been served on a cruise.
The reason we chose this cruise was for the ports. It would have have nice to have a cruise director gives us information about the ports each night but they oney were interested in telling us how many spots they had to sell. No information about what to see or expect. The cruise director was not informative and was rude to passengers and other Gaugin employees during his presentations. Since we did not book any tours from the ship I cannot speak to the quality. However, the cruise director in order to sell his tour to Delphi stated that if you didn't buy his overpriced tour that there was nothing to do. We hired private taxis and went to Delphi on our own for 25 euros a person. The people on his tour paid several hundred dollars to ride on a BUS. Several persons we saw while there expressed how unhappy they were with the price and the tours. We started in Venice then went to Zadar, Dubrovnik, Katar, Corfu, Delphi and ended in Athens.
This is a very small ship. We saw several private yachts that were larger than our ship. So, it has very limited services, HORRIBLE food, poor management, a poor excuse for a gym but a great bar. By the way, the last 5 cruises I have taken have been on ships with a capacity of under 320 persons. So, I really like small ships. The only consistent service on this ship was the BAR and our Room steward.
The enterainment was worse than a karoke experience. They had a person playing keyboards who should have only played one at the time. He sang off tune and poorly played. Actually he played the piano pretty well as long as he only played and did not sing. We had several ameteur persons on the ship that sand and played which made him look even worse. Again, 2 star entertainment on a supposeded 6 star ship.
After our experience, we wrote letters to Paul Gauguin management and I now understand why the service is so poor. In my business had I received a 3 page letter explaining the issues we discussed, I would have been talking to my customers. We received a one page letter that basically said we are sorry but that is the best we can do. When you disembark they ask you to complete a Survey that doesn't allow you to rate them below fair. However, if Ivprovided the level of service they are providing I might not want to know either. This cruise line is living off the reputation they received when it was run by Regent.
My final advice is to choose one of their competitors. You will receive better service for a much, much lower price.