My husband treated me to this cruise for our 20th anniversary. We travel to Europe and the Caribbean every year. We are not cruise people. This was our first cruise. We chose to take this cruise because it was a small boat and we could see many of the islands without having to take small planes from one island to another. Also we had no idea what to see or do in Tahiti. we read the reviews and decided to give it a try. Hard to not sound over the top but it was magnificent from the moment we stepped onto the ship. Even though we travel a lot we were anxious as we do not ever cruise and had some negative feelings about cruises.
We were on the 8th floor in a large room with a lovely balcony which was so worth the money. Sitting on your own private balcony and watching the beautiful ocean and scenery while enjoying a cocktail and snack just cant be beat! Our room was lovely.....very well appointed. Big bed,bath and plenty of storage space. We brought so much stuff but there was no problem storing any of it. We had 6 suitcases...all fit under the bed. There were so many cubbies and places to put things. We own a boat and were amazed at the storage.
We had a butler! And what a wonderful human being he was. When we talk about the cruise (which we do daily) we always say what we miss most is Abner!!! He made the cruise for us. He was so informative, cheerful and kind. He really deserves some sort of award for his treatment of guests. if you think having a butler is a wasteful indulgence, you just have never had one. He had our clothes pressed and back in our closet before dinner on the very first night. Abner advised us on everything including what excursions he thought we might enjoy. Having him appear every morning with our breakfast and saying "good morning!"...how are you today? What will you be doing today? was the perfect beginning to everyday.
The excursions were wonderful and we did a lot of them. My husband scuba dived three times and we took many snorkeling trips and a whale watch tour. We rented a car in Moorea. Thank you Abner! We went to Bloody Marys in Bora Bora. We did a lot but it was all so effortless. The Gauguin makes these excursions so very easy and stress free. You get a schedule the day before of all the wonderful things you can do the next day and you just pick what you want. What could be easier?
The food was so very good. We eat in NYC a lot and we know good food! Excellent selections and preparations. The Grill was our least favorite but perhaps we caught them on a bad night. All the waiters and restaurant managers were outstanding. We ate every breakfast in our room on our balcony. Ok....one more time.....Thank You Abner! Great selections and presentations. We often were not on the boat for lunch......no problem. Room service whenever....what ever you want.
The entertainment was just right. A lot of the local culture was provided with beautiful costumes and wonderful music. We didn't go on a cruise to Tahiti to see plays we see on Broadway!
Lets face it, after dinner we were pretty wiped out. An hour show was just right. A nightcap and off to bed. A big Broadway production would have been too much. Almost everyone we met was very active during the day. A special thanks to Steve the cruise director. We had the pleasure of dining with him one night and it was a great evening. He also was responsible for the shows every night.
The ship is immaculate. Housekeeping the best we ever had. Our room was constantly being picked up as soon as we left it. Really unbelievable service.
When we booked our trip our consultant wisely suggested we a night or two on and stay at one of the bungalows at the Hotel Intercontinental. We stayed two nights in a bungalow out in the ocean. Best suggestion ever. We were actually pretty tired after all of our wonderful adventures. It was so wonderful to just relax in our own little bungalow and go swimming right off our deck. Again, everything first class and wonderful. . We would highly suggest doing this. We were really totally rested when we began our journey home.
Everyone complains about the flight from LAX to Tahiti. Not us! We each took an Ambien and slept on both legs of the journey. No big deal. And yes Tahiti Airlines was very nice.
All in all.............the trip of a lifetime. Although we are already saving up to do it again!
This will spoil you for all other vacations ever..........promise!