Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by ikemd: great cruise despite a rocky start
Overall Member Rating
great cruise despite a rocky start
Destination: South Pacific
we sailed on dec 14. first time on the PG. we have sailed on regent several times and once on celebrity. We had room 438 and 436. My husband and myself and our two daughters 19 and 24. We arranged our own air and hotel room for the day. It was easy. My oldest daughter missed her connection in Denver and missed the first night of the cruise. We made arrangements to fly her into Raiatea,(when I made these arrangements at LAX air Tahiti nui desk there was a rep from the cruise ship that I tried to confirm we would be landing on time at Raiatea, but she wouldn't speak to us b/c we made our air reservations on our own) our published 1st stop, but only found out once on board, we were to land in Huahine. No one had notified us prior to our embarkation. Apparently they thought they notified our travel agent, but the message never was received. I only was made aware when I went to the excursion desk to sign up for excursions and I noticed a sign advertising Huahine. We then had to scramble to More
contact our daughter in LAX to change her arrangements to get connections to the new island. Flights were sold out, she did catch a flight from Papeete standby. We of course not able to confirm this until she landed the 2nd day of the cruise. Jacques, one of the officers on board was so gracious and did all that he could do to right the situation. Thank you Jacques for making sure our daughter could join us. In the future it would be great if the cruise line ensures that all passengers are notified of itinerary changes prior to leaving the country.
Our rooms had a large picture window, which was perfect, even if we had a balcony, we wouldn't have used it as we preferred the main deck by the pool and bar where there was never a crowd and there were always chaise chairs for us to use. I preferred to spend the extra money on business class seats for air to arrive in comfort than to use it for a room we hardly spent time in other than to sleep. Personal choice that's all. We had excursions each day. Land trip on Huahine, nice overview of the island, guide was so nice, cut fresh mangos from the tree, saw the maraes(religious sites), pearl farm. Tahaa, drift snorkel and deep snorkel, Marie the French guide and Manu were wonderful. You could tell they love their island and reef system. We were served fresh fruit then delivered to the private motu for a great beach bar-b-que. I had a Nikon inexpensive underwater camera that took great pictures of coral and amazing fish and a manta ray. Bora Bora is the most amazing of the islands, unbelievable water colors and underwater sea life, we did the snorkel picnic combination which included swim w/ sharks, feed and swim w/ stingrays. The beach we picnicked on was amazing and we had local fish and fruit on a picnic table in the water with little fish swimming around our legs. The following day we jet skied around the entire island complex of Bora Bora, also amazing. It was with one guide and my husband,myself, one other couple, and our 2 daughters(4 jetskis). We were amazed by the neon blue hues of the water, we rode past all of the various overwater bungalos which would probably be nice for honeymooners-looked very quiet. Shopped at Tahia pearl (best quality of pearls for smaller purchase of earrings and pendants for my girls) as well as Tahitian pearl market, very pleased w/ purchases. I wanted a string of Tahitian in mixed colors for a reasonable price, Mihari Pearl in Papeete open M-Fri 9-5, Sat 9-1, They were very nice and patient, 8-12mm various grades mainly B lustre almost round, $1600. The above stores were recommended by the Gaugines on board. Moorea we rented a car from Albert's $90 drove the island road, went to more pearl stores, the juice and jam store, the juice is processed in a juicer for you and is amazing as is the fruit sorbet. We went to Belvedere point lovely. We stopped for crepes at capt cooks, delicious. Our last day we did the catamaran snorkel it was heavenly. We saw spinner dolphins right off the bow of the boat... no need for the dolphin tour.
We at at the grill the first night and for lunch- all good. Lunches had different themes, the Asian buffet and Italian buffet were my favorite. Stir fry to order shrimp and scallops or chicken selections. Italian buffet included pasta to order as well as eggplant parm and veal scallopine that was superb. We ate breakfast at the main restaurant each day al fresco. Fresh omelets to order, pastries, delicious fresh fruit, sauted spinach etc, no lines, food was brought to the table after ordering, service was always quick. My only complaint was the cappuccino was not of the quality that a restaurant or a ship of this caliber should serve. It was comparable to vending machine cappuccino. Dinner was always fresh and delicious w/ many options. Service was excellent, no wait for seating no need for reservations. The restaurant that required reservations was comparable to the main restaurant so we only ate there once.
What to bring, mosquito repellant-I had a solid stick which we only used when on land. Lots of sun screen-sun is so strong here. You don't need more than carry on bag of light clothing, we wore shorts to breakfast, and were in bathing suits and cover-ups for the day and wore casual capris/ sundress for night time. Every one on board, passengers and crew were so nice. Our fellow passengers were so chill. Everyone was pinching themselves that we couldn't believe we were actually in paradise. It was so BEAUTIFUL. We were lucky, everyday the weather was perfect. The ship was beautiful and sparkling clean. The seas were calm. Each island is encircled with a coral reef so that the water is like a lake. This ship is a good deal, luxury, great ports, well organized excursions, delicious food, alcohol included. The ship gives you snorkel sets for the cruise and we also utilized the stand up paddle board and kayaks off the back of the boat. I have compared this w/ Regents re introduced cruise to French Polynesia and I think this ship was a better choice and better deal for this trip for us( we prefer no sea days-we like to cruise to go to ports) The on cruise entertainment the Guagines were lovely, they brought locals in to make leis which smelled great and we had demonstrations re the pareos. We used the workout room which was small but adequate. All in all...PERFECT Less
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