Best way to see French Polynesia and the Tuamotus: Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by travelthroughmyeyes
Overall Member Rating
Best way to see French Polynesia and the Tuamotus
Destination: South Pacific
Embarkation: Tahiti (Papeete)
We booked are cruise through are Platinum American Express so that we could get the most bang for our buck, American Express offered us an additional 500.00 for the cabin plus the More cruise gave us 300.00 so we had a total of 800.00 on board credit that we applied all of our excursion.
Once you get there you will not need much cash it is better to put any expense like a rental car,food, and souvenirs on a credit card so that you get a much better exchange, most vendors do take American Dollars but the exchange is terrible, use credit.The truth is once you pay for your trip you will not need much at all unless you are a big shopper and like to bring lots back home.
If you are a honeymooner take into consideration that this ship age average is over 50's the nightlife on the ship is quite even though they have an amazing band on board it is relatively quite. There is a show every evening that was very nice but they are more folkloric not like the show you are used to seeing in Carnival or Royal Caribbean lines more native to the area with real Tahitian dancers and music from the local Islands.We are in our 40's and the age group did not bother us at all actually it was quite nice we were there to enjoy the ship and the area with out crowds and noise in a classy environment and that is what we found plus there were a few other couples that were in our age group to. The dinning is open you can go from 7pm until 9:30 and you have the option to sit alone or with your new friends you may make on the ship, they were very accommodating.
This ship is low key, no huge buffets everywhere , nothing is ever crowded, getting on and off the ship is very easy,the excursion and all of the tender services were very well organized and no waiting which was a huge plus. Try to plan your excursion on the website for Paul Gauguin on your reservation number for the one you absolutely would like to do but wait to do the remainder on the ship on the day you board and after remember the ship has a small amount of people on it so they will not book up as fast as other cruises you may have been on.
If you are considering going next year wait until after the ship has been remodeled which will be in January of next year, just give Paul Gauguin a call for exact dates, but if you are going now it is still very beautiful though i do feel it is time for a face lift. It is a little outdated and the carpets need work. But still very nice and well maintained.
Also we heard lots of talk on how so many people were scared about some of the excursions, the descriptions made them seem scary and you had to be highly experienced, as i said before the age group is above 50's and 60's so they have to be careful and cautious, we did all the things that looked the scariest and it was great nothing to be scared of if you can swim, do it all they were amazing!
Enjoy yoru trip and if you would like to read more go to my blog at
Cabin review: D614
Our room was nice we had a Cat D Balcony room 614 the best part was that this side of the ship seemed to always have the best view of all of our ports. I do suggest to upgrade to a balcony, we would not have been happy arriving to those beautiful ports and looking through a window. It was so nice to just sit outside on our own during the port arrivals. We felt like it was our own private ship and we actually ate breakfast in our room every day it was so pleasant. To the ladies there is only 2 electrical switches for your tools like blow dryers, hair iron , steamers etc.. one at the desk and the other is by the TV on the left side of refrigerator cabinet.
Port and Shore Excursions
The next day we did the Rays and snorkeling by Jet boat, it seems like you are going to go very fast but in fact it was not a race boat it was very pleasant and we stopped to feed the stingrays but the best part was the snorkeling we did in the aquarium and they call it that because it is like swimming in a pool!! Tons and tons of FISH!! Just beautiful.
One thing we did not do that i really wish i had done was a Motu Picnic, if you want to do this Bora Bora is the place to do it and the best is Patrick's Motu Picnic you can look him up online.
This island was very different than Papeete, Huahine was very very clean and quaint it had excellent roads and beautiful scenery.I do suggest taking one of the land tours for this Island just to get you into the culture, the reaming day of the cruise like Fakavara and Rangiroa are the times to never skip the water excursions.
Huahine had a small town right where the tender takes you that you can go for a walk and take a look around, but going with the ships excursions is the way to go they have thoroughly planned these excursions and by no means are they cheesy, even though my husband and i hesitated at first since we were one of the youngest couples on the ship we thought the excursions were going to be at a turtles pace but in fact they were great. So if i had to choose another excursion i would do the Island tour by Wave runner we heard lots of good things about that to. Especially since this day is a short day on the Island excursions from the ship are the best way to explore.
We started the day with a walk around the island of Tiputa It was just 1 big circle, saw plenty of doggies and lots of beautiful plants and interesting church and grave yard, we walked over to the pass where the ship came in from between the 2 Islands and saw tons of parrot fish eating coral and dolphins frolicking in the waves and Mike and I thought wow I hope this is not the pass we are doing our drift snorkel in because the current was cranking and had very large waves at the entrance and it was very deep and scary looking, this pass is called the Tiputa channel and allows constant exchange of water between the open sea and the lagoon so god knows what that hell is in there ,but later we were to find out that indeed that was the pass we were going to drift through, I had a long thought about this and almost cancelled, but my husband and I had a pow wow and we both decided to do it. The ship had very few excursions for this island unless you were an advanced diver but they did have something for one seeking some adrenaline and it is called shooting the pass, and as I said above it was the Tiputa channel, I can talk about this experience for hours it was the most amazing thing I have ever done!!!!!!!! We went by a small boat with apporx 8 brave people with us and they the took us to the entrance of the channel which is the barrier reef and where the Pacific ocean meets Rangiroa inside lagoon.Ok if any of you watched the movie Nemo it was the part that the turtles rode the pacific stream to travel and they flew through the water through the pacific ocean, that is what it felt like when we jumped in the water and we had to let the very fast moving current that just carried us through the pass, it was the ultimate rush, it was like getting caught in an under tow but we knew there would be some on the other side to pick us up! They took us when the tide and current switched from Pacific going into the lagoon so that we would not get pushed out to sea in the large waves and current and we had to wait until 1:30 pm to do I. When we first got in we were all so freaked out that we missed the first part which was amazing coral and fish, it was the quickest 1/2 mile I have ever done in the water, the best part was that when the first ride was over we were all bumming out because we thought it was so fast and it was over but our guide said oh no no no we get to do it 2 more times!!! It was off the hook the second time was even better and more beautiful and we knew what to expect I cant even begin to explain how much coral and fish we saw we were drifting pass a huge wall of coral, amazing amazing amazing, the third time we went to another part of the channel that did not have as much current and saw smaller fish and a beautiful moray eel. Got back on the boat and all of us had the same look on our face like we just did the coolest thing ever! Do not miss this if you are comfortable in the water, the ship excursion desk make some of these excursions sound scary but please remeber the age group that is on this ship they must take caution. If you have snorkeled before so not miss it is truley amazing!
Lucky for us it continued they took us by boat just a minute away to Motu Nui Nui and it is a natural open water aquarium, the coral here was so healthy it look like broccoli no kidding it was green green green and very large coral heads, the small black tips showed up here and swam around us, saw eels and most of all the most fish I have EVER seen! There were so many I did not think I could swim through them. It was just so beautiful that no words can describe and this is what I came to French Polynesia to see the amazing clear beautiful water and marine life this place has to offer and the beautiful welcoming culture and people that are here. They all have a smile and are so thankful we came to visit!
Maururu ( Thank you) Rangiroa