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7 Night South Pacific Cruise from Tahiti

7 Night South Pacific Cruise from Tahiti (Papeete)

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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Tahiti (Papeete)
  • Day 2
    Vairao
  • Day 3
    Huahine
  • Day 4
    Tahaa
  • Day 5
    Bora Bora
  • Day 6
    Bora Bora
  • Day 7
    Moorea
  • Day 7
    Tahiti (Papeete)
  • Day 8
    Tahiti (Papeete)

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin - Paul Gauguin Cruises

Pros

Top-notch service and gourmet dining in three restaurants

Cons

Limited onboard activities during days in port

Bottom line

Active cruise that highlights French Polynesian destinations


Cruise Reviews

4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my 6th cruise on everything from a converted fishing trawler to a mega ship. We chose this cruise because we wished to visit a variety of South Pacific islands (Cook and Society). I'd give the cruise a B+ and our overall ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise on everything from a converted fishing trawler to a mega ship. We chose this cruise because we wished to visit a variety of South Pacific islands (Cook and Society). I'd give the cruise a B+ and our overall vacation an A. The pros include: 1) ports, 2) ease of access, 3) size of ship/number of passengers, 4) quality of food, 5) cabins, 6) excursions. The cons include: 1) mediocre service especially in restaurants, 2) entertainment, 3) tender schedule, 4) poor communication. Our window cabin felt relatively spacious (438) and was very quiet. Full bathroom and lots of storage. I wished we could have controlled how many lights were on at a given time. Beds were narrow but very comfortable. We did "separate" beds, which meant there was a sliver of space between the two. There was a small loveseat, which in this room is an extra bed. Ports we visited were really enjoyable though we heard that the last two ships had not been able to tender at Aitutaki because the water was too rough. That would have been a disappointment. Also, we were told that you don't want to book these cruises during cyclone season Dec-Feb. Except for Tahiti we tendered everyone. Mostly very short tender rides (starting at 8:30) but the schedule is once every 30 minutes in each direction not matter how close we were, and sometimes that was 2-3 minutes away. If you just miss a tender or want to be able to run back to the ship you end up with a lot of time killed. Our ship was about 2/3 of the 330 capacity. It felt busy enough up on deck. Chairs would be taken so I don't know where another 100+ would fit. And because of the relatively smallness of the ship and the multiple uses outside areas are put to, the chairs around the pool deck would start "disappearing" well before sunset as the area was readied for the next event. I found that annoying. Maybe I'd like to lounge at 4:30 or 5:00 and not have the place packed up around me. Food was good overall. We thought many of the lunch offerings were excellent. Breakfast was the weakest offering. Dinners had good choices and different menus across the three dining rooms. But acquiring the necessary reservations in two of the restaurants was a challenge between their hours and some other mystical force. Most nights if we inquired about the availability of last-minute reservations we were told "all booked up." Meanwhile, we'd peer into the windows of the restaurant throughout the evening to see myriad empty tables. And mind you, the ship was only 2/3 full. My husband was convinced the Maitre D liked it that way. Restaurant service was a whole other story. It sucked to put it bluntly. Just about no one learned our name or preferences over 11 days. During breakfast and lunch buffets good luck getting someone to offer you anything from coffee to water to taking an actual order. One morning I nearly got into a fight with a server who cleared my still-full coffee mug from the table and refused to give it back. One night, after 20 minutes had passed and no one had offered me wine, I had to resort to flailing my arms. And the alcohol may be "free" but I did not have one decent glass of wine (and there are many other choices than the two bottles of the night they highlight, which I didn't learn until almost the end of the cruise). If you order one of something, expect that two will arrive. And even if you don't order something, it may appear because you asked about it. And during dinner service the waitstaff would deliver your food and never, ever check back with you to see if it were to your liking or if you needed something else. The entertainment was passable. The piano player couldn't carry a tune and played a non-dynamic range. The magician was decent. The onboard Gauguines are cute to watch for a show or two but after that they got a bit monotonous. The best entertainment was the last night when an award-winning troupe came aboard. There were assorted activities such as craft projects and cultural talks to attend but most of these were scheduled just as excursions started. A number of passengers expressed frustration about there not being more offerings later in the afternoon as people returned to the ship. There are a wide range of high quality excursions to choose from and in many cases the vendors are the same as you would book independently. Pricing was decent. We booked some PG excursions, some on our own, and rented cars on some islands (taxis are expensive and often few and far between). We received contradictory information about excursion length (which according to cruise staff includes tendering time). A hike we booked on Moorea was listed as 4 hours one place, 5 another, and in the end was more like 6 (which caused us to nearly miss lunch - that's a whole 'nother story and yet another example of unaccommodating dining room staff). They are accommodating when it comes to rescheduling and cancelling excursions. There is a decently-equipped gym. Unfortunately, you couldn't walk the upper deck before 8:30 a or in the evening. We had to be creative in going for onboard walks. There is a steam room you can access by reservation in the spa. I managed laps in the postage-stamp sized swimming pool. The advertised onboard marina was a disappointment. Only once, in Huahine, were we able to use paddle board and kayaks. That was it from the ship. Embarkation and disembarkation are really straightforward. We arranged our own transfers and hotel, which I think made for a more pleasant experience on the last day. You can use your room until 9:30. We left the ship at 10 for a full day at the Intercontinental. Passengers being transferred by PG had to mark time on the ship until 3 when they were transferred. A lot of what I'm sharing wasn't readily communicated. One example of poor communication was that one evening we were told everyone would have to present themselves for customs in the Grande Salon when we arrived back into French Polynesia the next morning before they could get off the ship. What they failed to mention was that the entire ship would get a 7:45 a wake-up announcement and that your cabin phone would start ringing at 8 a if you hadn't shown up. I don't know why they made it sound like you could do this at your leisure rather than first thing in the morning. I don't appreciate being awakened while on vacation. I'm happy to answer questions offline: cambiare2011 at gmail. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 ... Read More
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 of us in our group ranging from 8 to 82 years old. Overall, the ports of call, excursions, crew service, food and cabin were superb. We loved the fact that it was a small cruise (300+ passengers) because everything was more personal. The Good - The food was top notch. Good breakfast and lunch selection and very good dinner selections. The waiters were very attentive. - The cabin was comfortable and nice, but the extras (food, cleanliness, special requests, etc) made it special. - The excursions were entertaining and varied; scuba departing from the on-ship marina was a very nice touch. Room for Improvement - It was somewhat of a hassle having to stay in a hotel a day before departure and during the day of disembarkation. In addition, it wasn't clear what kind of food was included at the hotel; the food was just OK and expensive. - The pool is definitely small and it more for show than actual usage. - The online excursion reservation system was fine, but make sure you do it before the cutoff date. - The entertainment was adequate, but having the same band for "everything" during the cruise got a little tiring. We enjoyed immensely our cruise and next time we will probably do the tuamotus... One last piece of advice, even though the gratuities are included, do leave gratuities to the 4 or 5 people that were outstanding during the cruise; they do appreciate it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Orana, We arrived two days prior to departure to allow our bodies to acclimate to the time change. We chose May as this is the start of the winter season, which means less rain and kids still in school. Time difference was only 3 hours, ... Read More
Orana, We arrived two days prior to departure to allow our bodies to acclimate to the time change. We chose May as this is the start of the winter season, which means less rain and kids still in school. Time difference was only 3 hours, but if traveling from east coast would highly recommend doing this. We arrived late, 10:10 pm. We arranged through Paul Gauguin to stay 2 nights at the Intercontinental Resort. Transportation was provided to the resort and then to cruise ship terminal. Pape’ete was 5 mi from resort, Too difficult to walk. We spent our first morning in town, then afternoon at the pool. The resort had a nice restaurant and bars, so really no need to leave. Boarding the ship was easy. Can’t get onboard until after 3pm so no need to arrive early. Once onboard the food and drink experience begins! We stayed in a balcony room 622 - port side. Having a balcony came in handy to dry out all our wet things from rain and water excursions. If we didn’t have a balcony we would have taken advantage of unlimited laundry service they offered, I think for only $200. Our room was centrally located, close to everything - using the stairs as only 2 elevators. Room was adequate size. Lots of storage. Have plenty of both 220 & 110 plugs available, no need to bring converter. The shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel seemed cheap or diluted. No lather noticed when used. Other cruisers who had rooms on the 6th floor more forward, above the Le Salon, said they heard the evening shows from their room each night. They said it was very loud. Our cabin stewardess Clara, was wonderful. Very helpful! Day 2 in Variao-Tahiti Iti. Paul Gauguin is the only Cruise ship to come here. Not much to offer for excursions. We did Boat to Teahupoo surf site, exciting to see surfers in action with great photos, then we went to a snorkeling site. Few fish, not great, but fun to be in the water. Day 3 -Huahine -We took a Safari tour in am. It was very humid, so going early was good. We toured Huahine Nui. Roads all paved and in good shape. Went to Pearl/Pottery farm by boat, vanilla farm, sacred sites and few other good photo op spots including a Belvédère. Guide Josefina was very informative. We used bug spray for all land excursions and didn’t get any bites. Day 4- Paul Gauguin Motu. We didn’t do an excursion this day as all was provided. Take first or second tender over to claim a spot & lounge chair. We snorkeled here, saw more than in Vairao. You could kayak as well. The BBQ was excellent and again unlimited drinks. Many local people selling their wares including pearls. I thought they were a little pricey. Day 5 - Bora Bora We took the Safari Jeep Tour 4x4 in the morning. It rained all morning, jeep trail was rough going up mountain. We Toured around the island, visiting World War 2 Artillery sites, a plantation with a view while watching an artist painting a pareo. In the afternoon we walked around the small town. Went to Tahitian Pearl Market and bought a pendant and earrings. (FYI: We attended the Pearl Lecture offered on the ship which was very informative. We have a whole new appreciation for pearls) I picked my own pearls to be mounted. They give you a certificate of authenticity and duty free price. This was fun and fair priced compared to others we saw. Day 6 - Bora Bora Went scuba diving twice. First site Tapu was lovely. Lots of coral, fish and a few reef sharks. Second dive was Anau- it was awful! Low visibility and saw nothing! A Rare fish and little coral. That afternoon we hired a local as wanted to see more sharks and rays. (M/S PG excursions book up fast for this and rightfully so) Got to see lots of reef sharks and manta rays. It rained on and off all day. Make sure you have a waterproof bag to protect your phone and camera. Day 7 - Moorea Beautiful island. Went scuba diving in the morning to “The Ledges”. This was our best dive. Got to see turtles, reef sharks, lots of fish and coral. In the afternoon took the slow paced E-bike tour. We rode over 20 miles! Thank goodness for the electric support which made it much easier. Went to top of a Belvédère for great photos, Stopped at agricultural school for treats, as well as a pineapple farm. Thought I would be sore the next day but pleased I was not! That night we set sail for Pape’ete and arrived back in port early that evening. Lots of activities to do on ship. We didn’t partake during the day as always off the ship enjoying island sites. Every morning we went up to deck 8 at La Pallette to view our new port. Phillip would make us a yummy juiced beverage and a cappuccino to start our day. We always came back to ship at lunch. Each day in La Verranda they had a themed lunch (Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc) Such variety! Each afternoon as the ship set sail the Santa Rosa Band played around the pool. It was great to sing along and have a refreshing beverage. They were awesome! We loved to go to the piano bar to meet up with new found friends and have a pre dinner drink/appetizer. Anthony always was prepared for us! We played different trivia games, which were hard, but thankful for my husband/friends, we won 3 out of 4 nights! (We shared our prizes with second place teams as we only needed one pen and magnet). We only saw 2 of the shows at night. A tribute to the Beatles by the Santa Rosa Band was great and the Variety Show (not so good). They started each night at 9:30 - difficult for us to stay awake. We heard the crew show was great! The restaurants were all different- L’Etoile - main restaurant, menu changes daily. Always something good to choose from. No reservations needed. La Verranda- came here for breakfast and lunch on most days. Lovely view! Have same menu for dinner which was Okay but not favorite. Must make a dinner reservation. Le Grill - must make a reservation here for dinner also. Same menu nightly. It was outdoors, no a/c, so warm for lunch. Departure- we didn’t fly out until midnight so had a day room arranged by Paul Gauguin to go to La Ora Resort in Pape’ete. In the morning, we got to stay onboard the shop and enjoy all amenities including lunch. We departed at noon, went by bus on a 2 hour tour of town, then to the resort. Again, it was cloudy and rainy, but lovely grounds to walk about. Rooms were comfortable. Pool side restaurant served dinner and had local band. We were able to relax, shower, then taken back to airport. If you have access to internet would check in for your flight home. Even though we had assigned seating, the check in process would have been much faster if we had pre- checked before arriving at airport, allowing us to go through much shorter line. Air Tahiti Nui service was great! We were served 2 meals each way. All beverages were free including alcohol. Offered over 40 movies and many video games to choose from. Made for a “quick” 8 hour flight to LAX. We chose the 240 hr internet package on board the ship. Make sure you logout fully as directed. Many passengers didn’t and lost all their hours overnight! We quickly checked our emails once a day. At end of cruise we still had over 100 hours to use! All and all, our experience with Paul Gauguin was wonderful, a trip that will never be forgotten! Hope this post was informative and helpful. Happy cruising!! Read Less
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