Sail Date: January 2018
I feel that the ship was terrific in all ways except Communication between the Activities/Excursions office and the passengers. Since they no longer print out the daily opportunities, many people stated that they had missed some as they ... Read More
I feel that the ship was terrific in all ways except Communication between the Activities/Excursions office and the passengers. Since they no longer print out the daily opportunities, many people stated that they had missed some as they didn't know they were occurring. Yes you can pull it up on the t.v. or get a printout after 6 p.m. from the Desk, but there's so much more convenience in having a piece of paper to mark on and carry about during the day (Old school I know, but still it works better we feel). Thank you! The dining room managers were awesome and the servers always cheery and attentive. They remembered our names and our special requests from the day before - they are so well trained! Thank you to all! Our cabin was comfortable and had well-designed storage. The outside deck was comfortable and spacious for two. The linens were very nice, and the bed very comfortable. Having room service for breakfast was great as the food arrived in a timely manner allowing us to prepare for the early excursions. We enjoyed every minute! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Visiting the South Pacific has always been a dream of mine. As my wife was approaching her 60th birthday we decided to make this dream a reality and chose Paul Gauguin cruises. First, we are ardent cruisers having done more than 30 to ... Read More
Visiting the South Pacific has always been a dream of mine. As my wife was approaching her 60th birthday we decided to make this dream a reality and chose Paul Gauguin cruises. First, we are ardent cruisers having done more than 30 to date. We are not brand loyal and choose our cruises based upon their itineraries. Prior to Paul Gauguin, our smallest ship had been the Oceania Nautica at 682 passengers. There was quite a bit to like about this cruise: staterooms were much larger than expected given the size of the ship and number of passengers. There was a lot of shelving space available, more than enough for all of our clothing and other assorted goods. Embarkation was a breeeze. We were told in advance that boarding would begin at 3:00 pm. At 2:55 we were given the OK and were in our stateroom within minutes. Our bags were promptly delivered within a half hour. The food and service were the best we've experienced on any of our cruises. Whether in the main dining room or either specialty restaurant, service quality was high and the food was excellent, though I would give La Verandah a slight edge in ambience and menu. I would really like to highlight amazing service offered by Raffy, one of the head waiters. My wife has a gluten allergy which we reported prior to sailing. Raffy was in charge of 36 people with dietary issues. Each night, he would find us and present us with the menu for the next day, whether it be in the main dining room or one of the specialty restaurant. One night, we went to the wrong restaurant and he still tracked us down. Unlike other ships, my wife could order anything on the menu and it would be prepared gluten free. Incredible service!!! On another occasion, I had slipped on an excursion and skinned my knee quite badly. William, one of the deck stewards, we had gotten to know quite well, noticed my injured knee and promptly brought a first aid kit and attended my injury. He cleansed the would with alcohol, sterilized it with iodine and then gave me some bandages to help protect it. Once again, great service above the call of duty. Our cruise director, Artur, was a quirky fellow... in a good way. He had a very impish personality and always seemed to have a glint in his eye. He was also a very good magician and hosted a few sessions with interesting sleight of hand. I also have to give kudos to the crew who supported the tender transfers. At Rarotonga, sea swells had to be at least 8 feet, yet they still managed to get people ashore and back. Four able bodied seamen had the routine down pat to time the swell and help passengers move to/from the ship and tender. I've been on other cruises with much calmer seas where tenders had been cancelled. On the other hand, there were a couple of concerns about this cruise that I would like to express. This ship was designed with a shallow hull to facilitate transit in lagoons. This design element was also a deficiency in the deep seas. This was without question, the rockiest ship I have ever been on. Even in relatively mild seas, this ship yawed and rolled quite a bit. The ship is also showing its age. It could use a refurb to bring it up to current cruise standards. There is some wear and tear and it lacks what is now basic technology on other cruise ships. For example, they are going paperless with their itineraries posting them electronically on the TV set in your stateroom and in the elevators. This proved to be quite a nuisance. If they want to save paper I would recommend sharing this information electronically on free WIFI as many other cruise lines now do. Finally, and I profess that I like to be entertained, I found entertainment on this ship lacking in both variety and quality. As a luxury cruiseline, I expected a higher standard. Although "Les Gaugines" were excellent hostesses, their routines became repetitive by the end of an 1 day cruise. During the day, activities were limited as well. I am used to having options on larger cruise ships and would have appreciated a bit more variety on this one. Evening shows were adequate, with British singing duo of Mark and Abby being a standout, as was the Polynesian dance troupe from Tahiti. All in all though, this was a great cruise and is one that I would recommend. Happy to answer any questions you may have. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We went to see the different islands. If we had known in advance there are no ports with docks we would not have chosen this cruise as I have back issues. One must tender in to all the islands. I had signed up for excursions in advance of ... Read More
We went to see the different islands. If we had known in advance there are no ports with docks we would not have chosen this cruise as I have back issues. One must tender in to all the islands. I had signed up for excursions in advance of the cruise but had to cancel all. Such a disappointment. This is not the trip for older adults. I did not see any information offered by the ship in regards to tendering. From our cabin all the islands looked beautiful. Our in room service by our butler was excellent. The food was very good and we did enjoy Le Veranda for dining. The dining crew were exceptionally good. They could not do enough for everyone. We did wish there had been onboard lectures about the islands. There were experts on board but we could not find where they might lecture if they did so. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had cruised on Paul Gauguin once before, and gave a disappointed review for disorganization, among other things. We had not planned on ever going back, but we were given some incentive after the previous experience, and the South ... Read More
We had cruised on Paul Gauguin once before, and gave a disappointed review for disorganization, among other things. We had not planned on ever going back, but we were given some incentive after the previous experience, and the South Pacific is just too good to stay away. SO glad we gave it another try. First, we were treated to an uncrowded ship. There were about 230 on board, though the capacity is 332. Turned out to be a timing thing, as our sailing ended on Dec 23rd. We were told the shorter Christmas cruise was to be full. The ship was lively, but there was never a wait or any difficulty getting deck chairs, dinner seating, etc. That was nice. The service, the itinerary, and fortunately even the weather, were exemplary. Though it was the rainy season, we had showers but no all day rains. The seas were calm the whole 10 days, and dolphin sightings were frequent. My wife is vegan, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they now have vegan options on the menu. Nevertheless, head waiter Raffy was extremely helpful for her. We like lunches out on the deck at La Veranda, and Raffy would escort her through the buffet every day to discuss details of the ingredients and prep. We also had great personal service from Ricardo and Eduardo (these gentlemen have been on the Paul Gaugin for 20, 10, and 6 years, respectively). Best line of the cruise came when my wife asked about the kiwi soup, and was told “It is the fruit, not the bird, madame.” Having been out there before, we booked only one excursion on this trip because we had a pretty good idea what to do on our own on most islands. Pia and her excursion staff were still helpful. We’re doers, not shoppers, so we snorkeled, biked, hiked, and even rented a car on Moorea (the excursion desk scanned our drivers licenses and all the car rental paperwork was done on the ship the day before) The one booked excursion was to make sure we swam with sharks and stingrays. It was great—but we ended up seeing them on our own in a couple of other locations as well. We met several very nice people on the ship. You get to know people a bit because it’s a smaller ship, and you’ll see people with similar tastes a lot. ( i.e. We morning people are always up on Deck 8 at La Palette for coffee and fresh juice drinks by 6:30 am). We still have a few other bucket list destinations to see, but once those are done, we will certainly consider the South Pacific on Paul Gauguin again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
On a scale of 1-10, my wife and I would rate our December 2-13 (2017) Paul Gauguin cruise to French Polynesia a 9.9. Our central goal was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in style, and we set high expectations for our trip. This ... Read More
On a scale of 1-10, my wife and I would rate our December 2-13 (2017) Paul Gauguin cruise to French Polynesia a 9.9. Our central goal was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in style, and we set high expectations for our trip. This cruise exceeded our expectations in nearly every respect. The few issues we encountered we’re minor but we’re more than happy to share our general impressions and recommendations with you. Because we wanted this trip to be “extra special,” and as worry-free as we could make it, we chose to make all of our travel arrangements through Paul Gauguin, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles to and from Papeete, arrangements for our vow renewal ceremony, and a two-night stay in an overwater bungalow at the end of the cruise in Tahiti. Trip arrangements and transfers were flawless. We’re glad we made this decision. But this brings us to a couple of recommendations to consider. The flight on Tahiti Nui to Papeete is scheduled to get you in quite late (10:55 p.m. in our case.) Our particular flight was delayed in LA and as smooth as the transfers were, we didn’t board the ship until nearly 1:00 a.m. The ship actually began to pull out of the dock before we had our cabin keys in hand. It made for a very short first night on board the MS Paul Gauguin. We would highly recommend that you arrange to arrive one day before you embark. This will also give you the advantage of boarding early, unpacking, having a nice “first dinner” on the PG, making your dinner reservations at La Veranda and Le Grill, and getting a good first night sleep. Also, consider saving the over-the-water bungalow experience for Bora Bora or Moorea. We do recommend that you conclude your trip with an additional night or two back in Tahiti. This was our second cruise but our first “small ship” experience—and our first trip on the MS Paul Gauguin. What a difference! This is a ship that strikes a perfect balance between informal and formal. PG describes it as “country club casual.” By day, just about anything goes and you’ll see shorts and sandals. Think Tommy Bahama at night… slacks or khakis and tropical shirts for the men and sun dresses for the ladies. Don’t pack the jeans and dinner jackets for this voyage. (And probably leave the kids home for this one.) We were assigned Stateroom 615 (Category D) with a balcony that made our living space feel brighter and more spacious. The layout of our cabin was generally well thought out and there is ample storage room. We used the balcony to store our snorkel gear and reef shoes. Now for the bad news: There are two standard electrical plugs in the cabin (one by the vanity at bedside and one underneath the television). None in the bathroom. We’d suggest you pack one or two “multi-plugs” or powerstrips. And internet service is hit and miss and numbingly slow. That’s it! We would be hard pressed to identify another complaint or concern about life onboard the Paul Gauguin. It’s that good. The over-all ship layout is terrific. Everything is quickly accessible but think “downsize” in comparison to larger cruise ships. The smallish swimming pool, Le Grill, and the La Palette Lounge are on Deck 8… La Veranda, the spa, a decent sized fitness center, boutique, a small library, a jigsaw puzzle table are on Deck 6… the small casino (one blackjack table and 13 slot machines), comfortable piano bar, the internet café, photo shop, and the multi-functional Le Grand Salon where you’ll enjoy evening performances in a comfortable, casual, and close-up setting… the reception desk, dive desk, and concierge are on Deck 4… and an innovative watersports “marina” is on Deck 3. We didn’t choose to scuba dive on our trip but fellow passengers who did so, raved about it. On the downside, there’s no hot tub, sauna, or jogging course on board. Service is impeccable… really. Almost over-the-top at times. (Did I really need someone to carry my breakfast plate back to the table for me?) You’ll be on a first name basis with wait staff in a short period of time and you’ll probably have one or two favorites who seem to keep an eye out for you. My wife has wheat and dairy intolerances and we couldn’t believe how well she was taken care of during this trip. Dining options are great as well. All three restaurants offer the same fare at breakfast and lunch. I’d personally rate the breakfast and lunch buffets as very good but not great… maybe B+. If time is pressing (e.g. you have a morning excursion scheduled), the buffet is the perfect answer. If you have the time, you might have a slightly better experience ordering off of the menu. For dinner, L’Etoile on Deck 5 is the ship’s principal restaurant and reservations are not required. Reservations ARE required on the two smaller more specialized restaurants (La Veranda on Deck 6 featuring French cuisine and Le Grill on Deck 8 with more of a Polynesian flare). All were terrific. Consider making your dinner reservations on your first day for the two smaller restaurants. The rule of thumb is that you are limited to a total four reservations—two at each. Near the end of the cruise PG schedules a Polynesian Night and the menus are the same in all three restaurants. You might want to verify when this is scheduled and avoid using a reservation for this particular event. On those days when you don’t have an onboard dining reservation, consider trying one of the island restaurants. We had a great dinner with two other couples at the St. James Restaurant in Bora Bora and experienced a great dinner and the best sunset viewing of our trip. You’ll receive a daily La Orana newsletter that will detail shipboard activities. Typically there are port talks and guest lectures in the Grand Salon… a range of onboard Polynesian activities led by Les Gauguines & Gauguins… and good (but not great) evening entertainment in the Grand Salon that typically run from 9:30 to about 10:15. We would highly recommend that you book your “must do” excursions in advance of your cruise. Some fill up pretty quickly. Excursions are pretty subjective things. Our favorite experiences were the Lagoon Cruise with Beach Break on Aitutaki (our favorite stopover)… the Pa tour on Rarotonga… the Sharks and Stingrays Encounter on Bora Bora… and the Sunset Sail on Moorea. We’d also suggest that you make a point of getting down to the ship marina the first day at sea to check out your snorkeling gear. With a maximum of 332 guests, you will get to know a good many fairly quickly. There is a feeling of community that you won’t find on larger ships. On this particular sail, most of the passengers were about our age… in their 50’s and 60’s. A significant number (maybe a third) were French-speaking. Other than a fun block party on one of the first few days where the ship organizes cocktail parties in hallways for passengers to meet their “cabin neighbors,” PG doesn’t need to work at getting people together. It just happens. By the end of the cruise, you’ll be on at least a face-recognition basis with nearly everyone, and you’ll likely make some good new friends along the way. Our Paul Gauguin experience was a wonderful one. It will not be the cheapest traveling you’ll ever do but it will be among your best. And we can’t think of a better way to celebrate a special occasion… like a 50th wedding anniversary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted to try small ship cruising as our one experience on a large ship convinced us that large ships weren't for us. We also wanted to cruise in warm waters with lots of opportunity to snorkel and swim. Every part of our Paul ... Read More
We wanted to try small ship cruising as our one experience on a large ship convinced us that large ships weren't for us. We also wanted to cruise in warm waters with lots of opportunity to snorkel and swim. Every part of our Paul Gauguin cruise exceeded our expectations. Our cabin was spacious and beautifully appointed. Category C #767 is a large suite with a double sized balcony and a wonderful bathroom. There is a large walk-in shower with no tub which is perfect for us. The tiles are gorgeous designer glass. (Other C-level bathrooms seem to be consistently white.) Our cabin "stewardess", Reahlyn was excellent. We chose all water-based shore excursions, and all were excellent, though rather expensive. Our favourite of one was at Bora Bora where we got to swim with the lemon sharks, stingrays and tropic fish. Our favourite day was the free shore day on the private motu. There were plenty of chairs, a wonderful buffet provided by our ship's crew, and cocktails served in coconut shells. Even the snorkelling immediately off the beach was quite good. What more can one ask for?? There are three restaurants onboard. All are excellent and all have different menus. Our favourite was the main dining room "L'Etoile" because the menu changed everyday, no reservations were needed, and we had the choice of a table for two or joining a larger table to meet new people. We often chose the latter. On the last day, we had a day room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete as we waited for our flight. The hotel is related to PGC and we highly recommend taking this option. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
The deck 8-veranda stateroom was perfect, wait staff and food exceptional as promised. I swam with sharks and stingrays, viewed the beauty of the coral and incredible life in the clear warm waters. I met and dined with charming people ... Read More
The deck 8-veranda stateroom was perfect, wait staff and food exceptional as promised. I swam with sharks and stingrays, viewed the beauty of the coral and incredible life in the clear warm waters. I met and dined with charming people from various countries but never experienced or ever again want to encounter an American Cruise ship prioritizing a size-able French cluster traveling with the expectation that everything would be done in French (apparently an agent told this group that would be the case). Early into this voyage a boisterous fellow stood up during the evening show and started ranting they were obligated to communicate in French… a bit alarming in this day and age for those not cognizant of what he was bellowing about. This lead to numerous lectures as well as day trips -- one sentence was English, next sentence was French back and forth it would go kind of like a Ping-Pong match leading to the length of the presentation and for me a headache. Everything took extra long, and even more irksome to me was overhearing various performers and staff members copiously apologizing for not being able to speak French. I am not anti-French but I also am not going to feel apologetic nor step aside because French citizens expect to take precedence. The perfect example I shared on my mid-cruise evaluation and reiterated this to the company upon my return home was the inept cruise director’s (Arthur) publicized lunch for solo travelers' found on the daily program. Most did not know other solo travellers so we were directed by the staff to a few tables where a specific special seat had been set aside by the restaurant for the expected cruise director. Cruise director 20 minutes late entered the dining room carrying a full plate of food, strolled past our allocated table, totally ignored 2 solos sitting at different tables and was called back then shown the seat set aside for him. Arthur proclaims “oh no I’m going to sit with them” indicating a table out on the balcony. There he was dining with the ship's Brazilian entertainer and 4 French solo ladies. He never even came back into the room, let alone approached the group for a quick how’s it going pitch or making an attempt to make us feel welcomed. The written response I eventually received from the cruise line said they publish the daily program and menus in English as well as French since they were sailing in French Polynesia – making no statement on how lectures were presented. They explained that they could not be held responsible for any rudeness or behavior of fellow passengers. The cruise line also would look into the Solo Gathering incident. If this is the focus that The Paul Gauguin Co. wants to pursue I respect that right but do count me out. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
My husband and I booked the November 11th sailing for our honeymoon. We booked in March 2016, so we definitely had a long wait. I read the cruise critic boards like an addict prior to departure, and some of what I read concerned me. I ... Read More
My husband and I booked the November 11th sailing for our honeymoon. We booked in March 2016, so we definitely had a long wait. I read the cruise critic boards like an addict prior to departure, and some of what I read concerned me. I began to question our decision. However, I am glad to report we had had a fantastic time and wouldn't hesitate to go back. My husband and I drove 4 hours to the Saskatoon airport (We live in Northern Canada). We then boarded a flight to LAX and stayed overnight. We arranged for a car service to pick us up at the airport. We used MGCLS, they were great, they texted me when I arrived and arranged pickup at a door outside the baggage pickup. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Santa Monica. It was a newer hotel, used points to get it and it was right next to the pier which was great. We also used the same car service the next day to go back to LAX. We arrived at the airport and their was a PG rep (Lois) waiting for us. What a great start! Security line was long, but that is to be expected. Boarded the flight, have to say I was pleasantly suprised with the food on Air Tahiti Nui.. the reviews were not good, but it wasn't bad at all. The complimentary wine was also good. 8 hour flight went by pretty fast, we landed in Tahiti around 10:40 PM. We did not book our Pre-Stay through the PG. I acutally booked a catarman through AIrbnb and it was fantastic. Eric, the owner picked us up at the airport and drove us to the marina. We stayed on his CAT for 3 nights, eating, sun bathing and snorkelling. (Highly recommedn, it was a fraction of the cost of the IC) Embarkation day came, we had to be out of the CAT at 11am, so Eric's wife ALic dropped us off at the PG. We couldn't board yet, so we walked across the street sat at a bar. I enjoyed some Mai Tai's while my husband enjoyed beer and soccer. At 2:40 we walked across the street, and we were on board at 3:00 sharp. Having cruised larger ships, this was by far the easiest embarkation ever. Glass of champagne, swipe you AMEX and then our cabin steward Rona escorted us to out cabin. Cabin was great, were in 606 a D class balcony. Bathroom was bigger than previous cruises which was great. Bed was comfy and mini bar was stocked well. Dinner every night was fantastic! I had fresh fish every night (Get the Wahoo & the Red Snapper) and the wine service was fantastic. we elected to sit at large tables to meet new people. We had a 7 course meal every night, I miss that already. Lunch was just as good, everyday was a themed buffet, I elected t visit Sammy the chef for the make your own pasta station. Always enjoyable. Can't really comment on breakfast, we never made it. We ordered croissants and fruit from room service every morning. It was prompt and good. Don't miss going to Tea every afternoon, it was a hidden gem. I had three massages at the spa and they were all fantastic. I also had my hair curled there and I was also satisfied. (Note: The spa is a little overpriced though) The dive team was great, very patient as I am a new diver. In Bora Bora we did an excursion through Pure Snorkeling and it was excellent. A must do. We saw a hammerhead shark from our balcony in Moorea. Highlight for us. The ship was well layed out. Easy to find everything and never a line. We would absolutely return! The guest speakers were great. I only wish there were more lectures. A dead whale washed up on the reef when we were at Motu Mahana, so they advised us to stay out of the water. I would highly recommend this cruise, the food was great, staff were great! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our first cruise aboard the Paul Gauguin and to the French Polynesia. We want to start by saying that the whole crew, from housekeeping, excursions, waiters, deckhands to entertainment staff were simply amazing. Impeccable service ... Read More
This was our first cruise aboard the Paul Gauguin and to the French Polynesia. We want to start by saying that the whole crew, from housekeeping, excursions, waiters, deckhands to entertainment staff were simply amazing. Impeccable service and all of them greeted us warmly throughout the day and night. We found the food on board very good, but not excellent. Breakfast lacked variety as it did not change from day to day. For dinners, we were surprised at the lack of shellfish except for Thursday night when lobsters and crab legs were served at all restaurants. Meat was served most other nights. That said, the lamb chops,lamb rack and beef tenderloin were excellent. For dessert, our favorite were the different flavors of sorbets and the mint chocolate chip ice cream - among the best sorbets and ice cream we had tasted. We were told they were all made on-board. We were disappointed that the mint chocolate chip ice cream was only on the menu one night. Luckily, when we asked for it the following night, our waiter cheerfully checked in the kitchen and was able to satisfy our request. That's service. We found the ship a little dated in terms of decor and some amenities. For example, there was only 1 electrical outlet in our cabin which was by the dresser. Luckily, we brought along a multi-USB charger so we could charge more than one device at once. If you need to plug in a laptop, you would need to remove the charger. AC and USB outlets by the bedside tables would have been convenient. The air condition in our cabin barely kept us cool. The ship only had a small pool and no whirlpool on deck. We never saw anyone using the pool aside from it being used for scuba checkout dives. We took a few land excursions, namely bus tours around Moorea and Bora Bora. They were well scheduled and planned. We also went on 1 shark dive. The 2 dive masters we had were excellent and very patient with our group given we had not scuba for many years. Docking at Bora Bora for the 2 days, we took advantage of the launch to the free motu. Note that they only serve drinks at this motu, but we really enjoyed the lack of crowds on the beach and lagoon where we spent time snorkeling. Our friends opted for the $138/person Intercontinental beach excursion one day instead as it included lunch at the hotel and use of the beach. We are glad we did not participate. Now that we ticked off another bucket-list, not sure whether we would return. Perhaps when Paul Gauguin launches a new ship, we may return. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my second sailing with PG. In fact my first ever cruise was on the PG 12 years ago. This time was as wonderful as the first. So impressed with the overall qualities of the ship and staff. I did have some maintenance issues ... Read More
This was my second sailing with PG. In fact my first ever cruise was on the PG 12 years ago. This time was as wonderful as the first. So impressed with the overall qualities of the ship and staff. I did have some maintenance issues with my room but that was overshadowed by the service and dining. I was traveling alone and, at times, seating one person in a dining locale, seemed difficult for them but they always found a way to find a reasonable table for me. The ports were interesting and had good options for desired activities. The integration of the Gauguins and Gauguines was really nice--they were part of the service that makes the PG so great. I have to say that both embarkation and disembarkation was smoother than any other cruise I have sailed. I would love to cruise again on the PG and tour other sites in the South Pacific. Read Less
Paul Gauguin Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 2.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.2
Enrichment 5.0 4.1
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.1

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