our flight left los angeles, ca in the afternoon and we arrived in tahiti, before midnight, were met by a Gauguin rep and immediately transferred to the ship. A glass of champagne greeted us as we were quickly checked in and shown to our ... Read More
our flight left los angeles, ca in the afternoon and we arrived in tahiti, before midnight, were met by a Gauguin rep and immediately transferred to the ship. A glass of champagne greeted us as we were quickly checked in and shown to our cabin. We were starving, as the food on the plane was below average. Room service rapidly delivered delicious salmon, vegetables, and potato chips along with two glasses of chilled white wine. Delicious. Our 4th level cabin had a large window, plenty of storage, a very comfortably firm bed, and was attended to by Gessell the entire trip. We always had fresh fruit and fresh towels and a bucket of ice. We didnt miss having a balcony, Dining onboard was fantastic, and waitstaff cheerful and responsive to every request. There were very few children on board, and those lucky few who were, well, they were VERY well behaved considering this is mainly an adult cruise.
We didnt plan any excursions, we'd just take the first tender off the boat in the morning and see what was available for us to do. We rented an electric car on Bora Bora and drove around the island, Stopped to hike to the cannons after paying 500f each to be shown to the path by a local. Nice little hike on volcanic rocks, I had flip flops on and made it ok. Beautiful view and a bit of history. Met a couple who encouraged us to do a whale watch in Moorea with Moorea adventures. (100$each), well worth it. We did so, and even tho we were unable to swim with them, what we saw was amazing. OUr guide didnt want us to get in the water with them as the couple were "having a moment" and were flapping tails and doing a ritual that made it a bit rough and dangerous to get too close! After that performance, we were treated to a swim with rays and sharks. We returned to the ship just before the lunch service ended at 2. Seems like most days we barely made it back for lunch service, but the staff were wonderful to let us come running in at the last second before doors shut! Not to worry if you miss it, there is always wonderful room service and your next meal is never far away.
On Bora Bora we also took a jet ski tour around the island, 230$ for 2 people, one machine. Fun morning on the water, with a stop between the Four Seasons and St. Regis for some fruit and a quick swim. The water colors are BEAUTIFUL on this tour.
On huahine we took the tender to the pier, then LE truck to town. Not much going on, swam at the beach, but on return, while waiting at the pier for the tender I saw a shark, a ray and many fish. Was very sorry I didnt have my nice snorkel gear from the boat as staff told me it was ok to swim off the pier and there was plenty of fish to be seen.
I did buy some vanilla to bring back in a vacuum sealed package. The larger package was about 20$ -saw it for $70 at the airport!
Paid 49$ each for a 3 hour tour in Moorea. Delores was our guide and driver and we were SO pleased we'd decided to do this. A trip around the island with stops for pictures, she spoke non stop with bits and facts about her homeland. Up the hill to Belvedere outlook was amazing. A local was coming down from a hike carrying chestnuts and Delores was able to get a few from him that had been cooked ( steamed?) to eat. DELICIOUS!! A local sells coconuts nearby and the water was refreshing and the young coconut delicious to eat. Beautiful chickens roam the area with their chicks in tow!
We attended to lecture on board about the coral reefs one night, very informative and glad we attended. Mutiny on the bounty lecture was not as enlightening, enjoyable but went on a bit too long.
We didnt attend any shows, or activities on board. Happy to sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine and the scenery-day or night. Compliments to bartenders on board, they make delicious drinks!
THE CONS: Air tahiti Nui needs a makeover. Nice staff, bad food, dirty plane. I saw no soap in the bathroom, carpet well worn, and the cup holder near the drop down tray was FILTHY...not sure if it was dirt or mold but it was black. And it wasnt only at my seat! Pouch with magazines in from of me torn on both planes! Ok, we got to our destination on time, and in one piece so I guess thats the best we can ask for. Suggestion, bring your own food and entertainment..movie choices are slim.
Also, for our day room we were sent to the Tahitian Pearl. Others with us had spent a pre-trip at the Intercontinental and were amazed at the difference between that and the Pearl. Our room was clean with 3rd floor ocean view, but the beach was a public beach, with black sand and no life guard or water toys to rent. No adult pool, it was filled with kids. Far from the shopping areas. Some compared it to a motel 6 vs the intercontinental. We were only there for a few hours, and ate a delicious dinner before we left for the airport.
Paul Gauguin was excellent as a whole and I think it was a wonderful way to see the Society Islands. If you're interested in seeing this part of the world, this is a first class way to do it! Read Less