My DH and I went on this cruise to be able to mark off one more destination on our bucket list. It may get crossed off, but won't be forgotten. What a wonderful relaxing and truly magnificent vacation. One thing I have to say about everyone that works on the Paul Gauguin, is that you can see they are so happy to be working there. They always have a smile on their face and they truly all get along with each other. It is like a big family and you can feel this thruout the ship.
We flew into Papeete the day before the shipped sailed. We stayed at the InterContinental and it was great. Nice and clean rooms and the grounds are beautiful. Breakfast and lunch came with the package which was really nice.
Embarkation was the easiest we have ever had. You walk upon the ship and are handed a cold cloth, then a glass of champagne. Before you finish the champagne you are escorted to your cabin and luggage is already there.
SHIP--As everyone else has said, the ship is in need of a total update. It is tired looking, but still very clean. Wish I would have taken the cruise next year. I would like to see the improvements. But, that did not take anything away from the best cruise we have ever taken. When they say all inclusive, that is what they mean. You want it....you got it. Top shelf everything. After we booked the cruise we read that someone else had cabin 731 and it is right below the pool deck. Chairs being moved in the evening and early morning. One thing about it is that it makes you get up early in the morning and that is ok, because we did not miss a thing. Sitting on your balcony, drinking coffee and watching us come into the ports is beautiful. You really get to see the islands in a different way. Don't miss it!
FOOD---I have read over and over that food is 5 Stars. I would not go that far, but I do have to say that it was very good. We only ate at one of the restaurants that needed reservations,The Grill, and the rest at the main restaurant. The main restaurant was the best. Very good variety of entrees were offered each night and was able to sit with other people and make alot of good friends. Take advantage of sitting with others. The ship is so small you become acquainted with so many great and interesting people.
DRESS CODE---CASUAL for dinner. We totally over packed. My DH wore Dockers with Polo shirts or Hawaiian shirts and top-siders for shoes. I wore sun dresses or Capri's with a light weight top. That was so nice not having to wear formal attire after a full day in the sun and water. Make it easy on yourself and pack light.
ISLAND EXCURSIONS---This was the hardest thing for us to decide on. What to do where?
Papeete....actually there is not much to do here. We just went into the city and shopped around.
Raiatea....We did the Faaroa River and Island Exploration 4X4. This was a great excursion. Since the Island is closed on Sunday, find an excursion. This was a good one.
Taha.......We spend all day on the Gauguin's Motu and had alot of fun. Big bar-b-que, lots to drink (as usual)snorkeling, music..fun fun
Bora Bora..Sting Ray Ballet and Aqua Safari Underwater walk. The Sting Ray was good. Lots or rays and sharks then you got to snorkel in a different area. Underwater walk was good, but then we talked with
some people that did the same thing on Moorea and it sounded alot better on that island. Just an FYI
Moorea.....Trails of the Ancients the first day and it was also very good. Mark does a couple of talks on the ship prior to this excursion. Well worth attending. Second Day on Moorea 8 of us went on land and hired Albert to take us around the Island. Very good and took time telling us all about the Island and made numerous stops for photos and shopping. Just take the tender to the dock and either he or one of his family members will be there
We are not divers, so none of our excursions included that. We did alot of snorkeling and was very good. Watch out for the coral...it really hurts when you don't watch what you are doing....ha ha
If you are thinking about going to Tahiti and doing this cruise and not sure it is worth the money....well....IT IS! Book it now and have fun doing just what you want to do.