46 Paul Gauguin Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruise Reviews

The purpose of my review is to give you some insight on cruising with Paul Gauguin cruises and to offer some tips to make your vacation more enjoyable. I talk about the good and the bad, so that you can be a better-informed consumer. ... Read More
The purpose of my review is to give you some insight on cruising with Paul Gauguin cruises and to offer some tips to make your vacation more enjoyable. I talk about the good and the bad, so that you can be a better-informed consumer. This is my second cruise with PG cruises. My wife and I like that the m/s Paul Gauguin (PG) ship visits exotic locations, the crew and staff provide great service, and the ship is a smaller ship, with only 332 passengers. Our previous one was 7 years ago and the itinerary was Society Islands & Tuamotus. This time, my wife and I wanted to revisit French Polynesia and see Fiji, and hopefully find vibrant corals that have not been bleached out (we found some!). We also had family members who wanted to experience the allure of the South Pacific. So, seven of us and a family friend went to the cruise from Tahiti to Fiji, which occurs every two years. Six of us did a pre-trip stay on our own at the Hilton in Moorea. Five of us did a post-trip stay at the Intercontinental Fiji, through PG. Overall, our cruise portion of the trip was very good to excellent. People in our group were impressed with all the beauty of the area and the turquoise blue water at the islands. The staff were friendly and helpful. We were routinely greeted in the hallways with “Ia Orana” (Hello). Our room was kept spotless (thanks to excellent room steward Rosenita). The food was very good, especially in the main dining room (L’Etoile). There was Afternoon Tea (with yummy pastries and snacks) in Le Grill. Bar staffer William took very good care of us for our drink orders. When we previously cruised with PG, all the shows were on the pool deck. Now there is a showroom called the Grand Salon on Deck 5. The PG “ambassadors”, Les Gauguines & Les Gauguins, performed Polynesian dance routines twice in the Grand Salon during the 13-night cruise. We had the musical talents of the Duo Marc & Abi and the Rhodes Brothers. We had the amazing magical shows by Gustavo Vierini. Gustavo also demonstrated his remarkable mentalist abilities in the Piano Bar several evenings. The Sound Wave Band provided live music and featured some excellent voices. Alex provided beautiful piano music before and after dinner in the Piano Bar. My wife and I had a Category C, balcony room, cabin #741. It was cozy without being claustrophobic. There was a sitting area with sofa and stool by the balcony door. There was also a round glass top table by the sofa. Our room attendant kept a basket of fruit for us on the table. In that area was a large cabinet with multiple shelves, a small TV, and a refrigerator. The shelves were not very deep, so storage of clothes was limited. Behind one of the cabinet doors was the room safe. It was very temperamental. Most of the time, even if I had the safe open only a short period of time, it would not lock when I closed it; I had to keep reprogramming it with the original code I used. The balcony had a small table and 2 high-back chairs. The refrigerator was stocked with waters, soft drinks, and some beers (as I recall). It would be restocked for free the next day. There were wine and other drinking glasses above the refrigerator area. There is a small desk towards the front of the room, by the bed, with a stool for sitting on. It is flanked by 2 closets. The leftmost closet has side-wall-to-side-wall hanging space and 3 large area shelves for clothes or other items. The rightmost closet has about half the hanging space of the other closet, 3 small shelves, and 1 large shelf. There is a small hanging bar attached to the back side of both closets. The desk contains the only practical outlets for plugging in your devices, and there are only 2 outlets: one the US style and the other the European style. The bed was comfortable with 2 pillows for each side. Controls for lights by the room were at each bedside. There was room underneath the bed to store several large suitcases. A key card needed to be kept in the slot by the door, to provide power in the room. Our room attendant provided one for us. The room attendant also provided 2 fresh towels for pool use every day. In the hallway were 2 hooks, and a small dresser with 4 drawers for storing clothes. [Tip to passengers: bring magnetic hooks to attach to the walls of the cabin for hanging hats, clothes, etc. on.] The bathroom has 1 sink, a central area to put toiletries on, and two medicine cabinets with shelves for more toiletries. One problem in the bathroom is the placement of the toilet paper; it is hard to reach, because it’s on your extreme left side, and mostly behind you. If you’re right-handed, you have to reach across and behind you. My wife found a workaround, especially at night. Take out one of the loose rolls of toilet paper from underneath the sink and place it on top of the counter—easy access then. The bathroom has a combination shower and tub, with a handheld shower head. There are pump bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. Bar soap is provided by the room attendant. I think there was more shopping than on my previous cruise. There were high end pearls that could be purchased in La Boutique (the gift shop). I don’t think the t-shirt selection was as good as it used to be. Apparently PG stopped selling several years ago the PG Cruise t-shirts with a map of the islands being visited. There was a table set up for working on a puzzle on Deck 6. Three to four puzzles were completed during the cruise. There was a library area with lots of books. There was a compact Fitness Center with work-out machines, mats, free weights, 3 treadmills, and 2 elliptical machines. You could watch TV from some of the treadmills and ellipticals. My wife and I both had massages at the Spa. I had the Polynesian massage which seemed to involve using thumbs to get at some of my tight muscles. Even without a spa appointment, you could reserve the excellent Hammam (steam area) for a 30-minute period at the Spa desk. The Hammam had a steam room, and a hot and cold shower room with towels and bathrobes. There were enrichment lectures presented during the cruise—on Captain Cook and his voyages, and on Polynesian culture. I found the one on Polynesian tattoos fascinating. I was surprised that one of these lectures was scheduled by PG on an At Sea day during the time of a crew safety drill; the lecture was repeatedly interrupted by Public Address (PA) announcements and the ship alarm alert system. There are many other activities going on during the day and evening, as shown in the daily program: shuffleboard, morning stretch, Polynesian dance class, social bridge, trivia, karaoke, disco, and many others. There was a salt-water pool on Deck 9, with lots of lounge chairs around the pool. My wife and I did water aerobics in the pool to work off some of the delicious food we were eating. There was no hot tub. Something unique about the ship is that there is a Marina on Deck 4 (aft), and the back of the boat can swing down to water level. This allows boats to pick up scuba divers for some trips. You can also kayak and paddle board from that area—when it is allowed. On my cruise, you could only do it at the stops in French Polynesia at Moorea and Taha’a (but not Bora Bora for some reason). You could also kayak—which we did—at PG’s private island, Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha’a. My wife and I didn’t do any shore excursions at Taha’a, so that we could spend more time on the Motu. We enjoyed the floating bar at the Motu. There were plenty of lounge chairs and shade on the Motu. One highlight was the Barbeque Lunch. Another was being served drinks in your personal coconut. There was an area for snorkeling. We liked feeding the fish near the shore. [Tip to passengers: don’t feed bread to fish; it’s not good for them; instead bring some fish food from home.] You could buy souvenirs from local vendors who came to the Motu. In general, the food was very good on the cruise. And you could get free wine, beer, and alcoholic drinks with lunch, Afternoon Tea, and dinner—and from any bar at other times. There were premium wines and top-shelf alcohol that you could purchase. For example, you could get a Margarita with Don Julio tequila, but you would have to pay $5 US to get Patron tequila. At the dinners, there would be 2 featured wines, one red, one white, that would be served. You could ask for something different (e.g., a Chardonnay instead of a Sauvignon Blanc). The wine steward/bar staffer would take care of drink orders during meals. Initially we planned to eat multiple meals at the specialty restaurants, Le Grill and La Veranda. Instead, we ate at each of the Specialty Restaurants twice and changed back to the default restaurant, L’Etoile, because the food was just as good, we liked the atmosphere there, and the servers Angelo, Dave, and wine steward Glenn knew us by name and learned what we liked. PG was willing to sit our group at the same table of eight each night we dined there. (We did give the Dining Room manager a heads-up when we planned to eat there.) Be aware that the menus for the specialty restaurants change about halfway through the cruise. It’s the same menu for the first half of the cruise, and the same menu for the second half of the cruise. We selected our dining days so we could have the different menus at the specialty restaurants. We decided that we liked breakfast and lunch at La Veranda better than at Le Grill. You had a view out the back of the ship, you could eat outside, and the buffet had lots of tempting choices. My only complaint with L’Etoile was that most of the time when I ordered meat cooked “medium”, it came out undercooked (not even medium rare); I would have to send it back to be cooked some more. I was disappointed one night when we ate at the French specialty restaurant, La Veranda, and saw that a regional Bordeaux wine was served rather than an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) quality wine. One of my group noticed one time at lunch that expired (for 6 months) olive oil was being served at Le Grill; that was brought to the attention of management, and the problem was fixed. We generally liked the PG shore excursions that we did. We tried to do as much snorkeling as we could. I learned from the Shore Excursions Director (formally the Travel Concierge Manager) Sorin that PG vets the excursion operators. For example, PG interviews companies for suitability for whale watching. Sorin and sometimes the Ship Safety Officer check boats for safety (e.g., enough life jackets), attitude towards sea animals and the environment, and willingness to work with a cruise ship. Sometimes there are lapses. I heard from a family member that the boat for the snorkeling trip at Beqa Lagoon almost left 2 passengers in the water. There were large swells, and the 2 other passengers were not easily seen. The missing passengers was brought to the attention of the boat captain before he was about to leave, who then located them. On the other hand, on one of my snorkel trips, the boat captain called out passenger names after each snorkel stop, before leaving, to make sure all passengers were present and accounted for; that was an excellent practice by that boat captain. If you like diving with sharks, there were several such dives during the cruise. At the dive at Beqa Lagoon, there were lots of sharks, including bull sharks. Dive staff from the ship accompanied the divers and watched out for sharks from the front and back; they had long metal poles with hooks to deter sharks that got too close to the divers. Because PG only travels to Fiji every 2 years, some information was outdated. For example, there were no changing rooms at Beqa beach for those who wanted to attend the Fire Walking show and go swimming later. The Port Talk indicated that there would be such facilities. Maps for each of the ports were available at the Shore Excursions Desk (formally the Travel Concierge Desk). The quality of the maps varied. There was more information on the maps for French Polynesia ports. Shore Excursions arranged for currency exchange when we visited Tonga and Suva, Fiji. Passengers were told at the Port Talk that the exchange for Tonga would be on the ship starting at 8 am and would last until 2 pm. That would allow those going ashore on the first shore excursion, with the tender leaving the ship at 8:30 am, to exchange some money before leaving on their excursion. At the last minute, the currency exchange was moved to the pier at Vava’u, Tonga. That practically prevented those on the first shore excursion from getting Tongan money, because tours generally left as soon as all the passengers got off the first tender. And then, the bank representative left in the morning, and did not stay around until 2 pm to buy unused currency back. Passengers had to walk to the Bank of South Pacific to re-convert money. Fortunately, the currency exchange worked better at Suva, Fiji, when the ship was able to actually dock (so, no tenders needed), and the exchange was at the dock as you exited the ship. I generally do not purchase Internet usage on a ship. I find the prices expensive and not cost-effective. Service can also be slow. I try to find free or cheap Wi-Fi at the ports. At Bora Bora, I found free, adequately fast, Wi-Fi at the Bora Bora Visitors Center by the pier; the network name and password are posted. At Aitutaki, Cook Islands, I found Wi-Fi I could purchase at the Bluesky Post (BlueZone), a short walk from the pier; for $5 US, I could download 200 MB worth of data. In Vava’u, Tonga, I purchased Wi-Fi at the Tropicana Café (3 Tongan dollars, about $1.30 US). At Suva, Fiji, I did the Uprising Beach Resort shore excursion; I got free Wi-Fi at the resort. We used PG Cruises for some parts of our vacation and not others. We did not use the PG hotels for our pre-stay. We did an air deviation, because we did not like the itinerary that PG offered—arriving late at night to board the ship: we like to arrive a day in advance in case there are flight delays and to start adjusting to the time change. (And then we decided to do a pre-stay on our own, which also would have required paying for the air deviation.) We did use a PG hotel for our post-trip stay. The only PG transfers we had were in Fiji—from the ship to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport for our flight back home. Be aware that the flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is about 8 hours long, and the flight from Fiji back to Los Angeles is about 10 hours long. We did our own pre-stay, because we did not like what PG was offering. We wanted to stay close to Tahiti, and not take any inter-island flights which would reduce how much luggage we could carry for our 3-week vacation. The Intercontinental (IC) Moorea was being renovated, and we wanted to avoid the noise and construction. It was a good decision. Employees at the hotel ended up going on strike, and PG had to move guests booked at the IC Moorea to the IC on Tahiti, which was OK but not as exotic. My wife’s brother has also stayed multiple times at the Hilton Moorea, and highly recommended it. It was easy to get to (take taxi to ferry terminal, take Terevau ferry to Moorea, take taxi to Hilton). It was a wonderful pre-stay. Our pre-cruise (while-at-home) experience with PG was not good. Shore excursions were not available to book until 60 days before departure. For my previous cruise, I think that shore excursions could be booked sooner. There should be some advantages to booking a cruise early, like being able to sign up for some—the more popular—shore excursions 6 months or so before the cruise. Anyway, the more popular shore excursions were booked within hours of becoming available in July: whale watching/dolphin expeditions in Moorea, snorkeling in Savusavu, and snorkeling at Beqa Lagoon. When my wife and I tried to sign up online, we discovered we were locked out of signing up for any shore excursions. We contacted our travel agent to get the problem fixed. By the time that happened, we missed out on signing up for those popular tours. We tried to get on waitlists. Our travel agent said we were. But when we called PG, we were told we were not signed up for wait lists—which we then requested. That was the first of several situations where PG told our travel agent one thing, and PG told us something different when we called up. That is a surprising situation for a company with PG’s reputation. [Hint to passengers: sign up for shore excursions as soon as possible; if you have any problems, call PG directly and have them sign you up while you’re on the telephone with them.] None of the waitlists ever cleared. I did check on availability, almost daily, in the three weeks before leaving to go on the trip. On two occasions, I found a single slot open for one of the previously-fully-booked snorkel trips. I signed up immediately, and got a morning slot for my wife, and a few days later, an afternoon snorkeling slot for me. Once I got on the ship, the Shore Excursions Desk opened up another snorkel time, and I was able to get my wife and I signed up for the same time. (But then the Shore Excursions Desk did not notify each passenger who had signed up previously that the times had changed. One family member showed up at the time printed on his original shore excursion ticket, and missed the snorkel tour. There were good intentions, but flawed follow-up.) For the whale watching trip, I was able to book an alternative private tour based upon a suggestion made by one of the passengers on Cruise Critic’s roll call for the cruise. I signed up for a tour by the Moorea Activities Center (MAC). What I learned on the ship was disappointing. I talked to Sorin about all the problems I had signing up for shore excursions. He told me that he was never informed by the PG Main Office about any of the wait lists. He only learned about the booked sign-ups a few days before the cruise. He did get complaints from passengers about the full snorkel tours for Savusavu, and his team was able to arrange for a third snorkel tour to accommodate the requests. [Hint to PG: notify the team on the ship in advance about the demand for wait lists for shore excursions.] PG did not provide sufficient information to do planning for your own tours. When I scheduled my private whale watching tour, I relied on the information PG provided about the itinerary, namely an 8:00 am arrival in Moorea. I selected a morning tour, meeting a representative from MAC on the pier about 8:20 am. Unfortunately, PG did not publish more useful information: that there would be tenders from the ship to the pier, and the first tender would not leave the ship until about 8:30 pm. [Hint to PG: let passengers know at the time of booking when they will first arrive physically at a port to do something, not when the ship arrives.] Then, another situation came up. PG prioritizes who can get on the first tender leaving the ship: namely, those who have booked a PG shore excursion, not passengers like me who have booked a private excursion. Fortunately, my party was able to get on the first tender, and the MAC representative did wait for us, because we were in the first tender to arrive at the pier from the ship (two other guests did not show up, and missed their tour). Remark: PG personnel are only checking that you have a PG shore excursion ticket to board the first tender; they are not reading it to check that it is for that day and time. Tickets are collected on the pier for each PG shore excursion. Sorin later told me that passengers should come tell the Shore Excursion Desk that they have booked private tours and need to get to the dock by such and such a time. That way, the Shore Excursion Desk can decide if more than one tender is needed at a certain time. Communication between passengers and the Shore Excursion Desk is important. [Tip to passengers: if you’re on a private tour, let the Shore Excursions Desk (Travel Concierge Desk) know.] There was an issue with my PG transfer in Fiji, and I don’t know where the fault lies. We were transferred via PG to our hotel; we actually did a very enjoyable shore excursion on the disembarkation day and ended up at our post-stay hotel. When we checked in to the IC Fiji, there was absolutely no information about when we would leave the hotel to catch our ride to the airport several days later—this should have been an included PG transfer. One of us recalled that the excursion we took before we arrived at the IC Fiji was through Rosie’s Tours. There was a Rosie’s Tour desk by the main restaurant at the IC Fiji. Someone checked with them, and they had the transfer information. Nothing was ever delivered to our rooms. Originally they told us that we would leave the IC Fiji at 6:30 pm to go to the airport. The Nadi airport was a minimum of a 1-hour drive away. And Fiji Airways asked for a 3-hour check-in for international flights (ours was scheduled to depart at 9:40 pm). There was no way to arrive on time with the scheduled departure time from the hotel. I had to go to the tour desk and complain to get an earlier departure time of 5:30 pm. (There was a Captain Cook tour group staying at the hotel with some guests who had the same flight as us; Rosie’s refused to move their departure time up from 6:30 pm.) Be aware that Ponant recently purchased the m/s Paul Gauguin ship, and perhaps even the PG cruise line. The purchase supposedly happened at the beginning of the cruise; two of the owners came onboard the ship at Bora Bora, and stayed on for the rest of the cruise. There could be some future changes. Hopefully management will not mess with the successful elements of a PG cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
No longer a 5 star ship but now a 4 star ship. The cabin was very spacious. l'occitane was not provided in the room. They use a big bottle of local shampoo and conditioner. I was expecting this but they no longer have it. The ... Read More
No longer a 5 star ship but now a 4 star ship. The cabin was very spacious. l'occitane was not provided in the room. They use a big bottle of local shampoo and conditioner. I was expecting this but they no longer have it. The slippers provided was even cheap. The food was excellent. The service was very good. The ship is a bit dated. The was only 1 restroom around the major dining areas. Always a long line up when it's dinner time. The salt water pool was excellent. The bar service was good. All the staff was very tentative. All the employees know your name after meeting you for 1st day. They do not have any cognac except for the local brand which did not taste good at all. All other cognac was an extra premium. I expected more due to the amount we have paid for the cruise. I was expecting 5 star service but really only received 4 stars due to the room amenities. Lack of local fruits and dishes served. There was not much shrimp. Only 2 days did I see shrimp on the menu. 1 night of lobster. We did meet some amazing people on this cruise. Everyone was so friendly and just wanted to have a good time. The private island was wonderful to be on. Read Less
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
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti ... Read More
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti airport and taken to hotel was smooth and efficient, as was embarkation, quick ,efficient, and with in minutes we were escorted to our cabin. My only disappointment with the cabin was the dated bathroom, still a bath tub with shower attachment......needs to be updated. Everything else was great.Our room stewardess just couldnt do enough for us, and when she found out it was our 50th anniversary, decorated our cabin with balloons,banner,flowers on the bed and more.....Anna was a darling. 3 restaurants gave way to a great variety of great food , wine, spirits ,beer was free flowing throughout the dining and day, mainly French wines but you only had to ask for one of your chose. Lots of activities going on during the day , piano bar with a very talented piano player to entertain. Crew night and nightly entertainment by the Polynesian dancers, disco and an amazing band, or just sit and chill out on deck. Plenty of shore excursions to choose from, also 2 days at the Paul Gauguin private beaches. One could not fault the service all members of the crew gave. Would we go again, yes,but for longer next time,7 days just was not long enough.........not everything was perfect hence I did not rate as Excellent, but it was so close........ Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Everything about this cruise was wonderful, including staff, food, and excursions. We were particularly impressed by the food and restaurant service, with the exception of the on deck restaurant which at night was purportedly a fine ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was wonderful, including staff, food, and excursions. We were particularly impressed by the food and restaurant service, with the exception of the on deck restaurant which at night was purportedly a fine dining restaurant which needed special booking.Unlike the other La Veranda fine dining restaurant, which had amazing food and wonderfully attentive service, Le Grille food was limited in choice and in our view mediocre, and there was little ambiance when we went on 14th September. Our six thirty booking was early, and they must have overbooked for later because our three courses were rushed to the extent that by 7.20 pm 50 minutes later we were being asked if we wanted coffee with our desert! Couple this with a waiter who firstly forget my order for Cointreau without ice with my coffee, and when reminded took another ten minutes to bring a bottle over and asked if I wanted it on the rocks. I confirmed again no, and he went off for a further ten minutes, and then came back with it on ice! When the maitre de asked how things had gone I told him, and he was almost rude in his defence of the rushed meal (we always serve the coffee with the desert) and his defense of the waiter (he's very busy and he has to go all the way to the bar for drinks) What a let down on an otherwise wonderful cruise! So, forget special bookings at Le Grille, and make extra ones at La Veranda, but the main restaurant was also superb both in food choices and great service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
As the other reviews will tell you, this is a top-class ship, not too large, with excellent cabins, good choice of included wines and cocktails, and luxurious amenities. The head waiter was especially helpful in sorting out my wife's ... Read More
As the other reviews will tell you, this is a top-class ship, not too large, with excellent cabins, good choice of included wines and cocktails, and luxurious amenities. The head waiter was especially helpful in sorting out my wife's Vegan diet each day and giving her a special choice of meals. BUT there are some 'buts'! 1) Ship reception was often shambolic. Second muster drill (on the first morning, for late arrivals) was totally confused; wrong messages were sent to room; mini-lectures on the next port were poor, poorly attended and told us much less than the guides on the trips; wrong film was played in the theatre one day and they didn't understand how to read the DVD menu to play the second part (following this, they showed the film they MEANT to show on a continuous loop or days on end on the ship's TV channel!!!) 2) Restaurant staff were generally very efficient (though the wine waiter sometimes seemed to disappear when our glasses were empty) - but we would have liked just a bit more courtesy ./ formality and not for them to be so over-friendly (we didn't want to be their buddies) 3) One afternoon there was supposed to be a wine lecture. This was taken by the owner of an Oregon vineyard who was using the ship as leader of an affinity group for the vineyard. We were expecting a tasting but got a lecture from someone who knew his own wine very well but had eccentric views based upon limited knowledge of wines from the rest of the world but was quite certain his opinions were spot-on. Furthermore we had no coaching in the wines, were not guided as to how and when to taste them, and the tasting glasses were so huge that it was impossible to judge the wines anyway. He served two wines of the same provenance from different vintages and expected us to be impressed by how different they tasted (one was three times as old as the other, for Goodness' sake; it would have been better if he had explained to us how he expected the younger one to age, but I expect he didn't actually have any idea) 4) It seems that, whenever six or more Americans get together (whether it's around the poll, in the bar or - worst - in the restaurant) they find it necessary to shout at each other. Most annoying, uncouth, intrusive and bad manners 5) Somehow most of our fellow passengers seemed to like the on-board singers / dancers "Les Gaugines". We beg to differ: they were out of step more often than not and were frequently out of tune. The karaoke was better. 6) At the end of the cruise we were told to leave our suitcases outside our rooms the night before, so that they could be loaded onto the dockside overnight. My wife watched as one of the handlers retrieved suitcases from the ramps, opened out their extending handles, then used these extending handles to swing the cases around and throw them through the air. It was only after we collected our suitcases the next day that we realised that they had bent and broken the handles on one of the cases (surprising they hadn't broken all three actually!). The worst part is that Paul Gauguin initially refused to pay any compensation, and it was only after three exchanges of emails and my having to point out they they were responsible for clear negligence and wilful misconduct that they paid for a new suitcase. Airlines would do this without hesitation, but Paul Gauguin tried to rely on their contract small print . Shame on you, Paul Gauguin. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the South Pacific and because we heard they had excellent service and food. We were not disappointed with one exception. Scuba Diving is one activity that they provide. The other departments ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the South Pacific and because we heard they had excellent service and food. We were not disappointed with one exception. Scuba Diving is one activity that they provide. The other departments provided excellent service. The Marina and Scuba Staff did not. They were staffed by young Frenchmen that did not understand the importance of introducing themselves or relating to those who they were guiding on underwater adventures. With that exception, we had a wonderful time exploring the area. The Polynesian people and the Philipino staff were so light-hearted and fun that they added to our experience. The shore excursions we almost all good to great. We were in cabin 765 which is a suite located on the stern of the ship. It has views out both sides and often was the best place to be on the ship. Overall I would recommend this cruise and would suggest to Paul Gauguin that they replace the French staff on the Marina with the great Philipino help they have throughout the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Hi folks. We were on the Feb.24, 11 day cruise with Paul Gauguin from Tahiti . the cruise itself was very nice. I have both Pro' s and cons from the cruise...... Pro's = only 320 people, ....Best ever, on and off the ship , ... Read More
Hi folks. We were on the Feb.24, 11 day cruise with Paul Gauguin from Tahiti . the cruise itself was very nice. I have both Pro' s and cons from the cruise...... Pro's = only 320 people, ....Best ever, on and off the ship , no big line ups , no elbow to elbow, no frustration......service was excellent ,my wife loved being escorted to the dining table and the napkin being put on her lap, ...me, it was a little over the top, but nice.... food was good and if you didn't like what was on the menu you could order some thing else....nice that the ship could go to places the big can't......... Now the cons= Expensive wow.....very very small casino, 12 slots , 1 blackjack, 1 roulette table, not much if you like gambling......the loading of passengers to get on a tender boat was way to crowded, no room.... no where to get a bit to eat at 3or 4 or5 or 6 pm. ,dinner never started before 7 or 7 30pm,I guess we could have ordered room service...... entertainment was ok, good thing Johny Ross the rocker was on board, this entertainer from England was fantastic .....to much hula dancing...... Over all it was a good trip but at a cost. ....We had a balcony near the front 605 and every night you could hear the base sound so you might as well go to the show because it was noisy............... Now back to some more Pro's = the shore excursions were awesome ,the best being the underwater walks, we did 2 of them.....beautiful clear water ,turquoise in colour, and great friendly shore excursion people .......our room was a typical size with a bath and shower. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Based on comments from others who had been on PG we anticipated not having to lift a finger and all our needs would be anticipated or met. Or something like that. It started off badly when we paid significant funds for butler service. His ... Read More
Based on comments from others who had been on PG we anticipated not having to lift a finger and all our needs would be anticipated or met. Or something like that. It started off badly when we paid significant funds for butler service. His job included unpacking our luggage while we enjoyed the luxuries of the ship. We boarded at 3 PM and never met him until he showed up around 7. By then we had unpacked our bags. Our suite had a fully stocked bar, and a bowl of fruit that was restocked daily. Nice touch. We threw away the bowl of nuts that were clearly stale and they were never replenished. The bowl of pretzels was one and done, never to be seen again. We tend to go to breakfast late, or order room service late but don't make any sudden moves without first having tea and coffee delivered to the room. Our butler never caught on to this practice and so we had to order from room service every morning. In other concierge hotels we've visited the butler didn't need to be reminded. My wife had twisted her knee and was in some discomfort so we called the ship's doctor to look at her. He wasn't available and an appt. needed to be made, and there was a surcharge for his services. We toughed it out with some Advil and the situation improved. The one - and maybe only service our butler provided was to make dinner reservations. It would have been helpful if he had provided some knowledge about the restaurants and why it was better to go to one than another. We eventually stumbled our way to find out on our own. In fact, since we prefer to dine later, except for Le Grille, there were plenty of tables every night. We ate at the Rendevous two nights and was surprised to learn that menu doesn't change. At their "upscale" room that shouldn't happen. Unless you're only supposed to eat there once during the cruise. We seldom ate at L'Etoile except for the buffet lunch that changes its theme daily. Waiters and captains were quick to learn our names after the first couple days. Nice touch. Food was well done and plentiful. Servers were attentive and mostly well trained. If you couldn't decide which entree to order, take both. This is not a good diet strategy, but the servings are more "European" style in quantity, not the humongous, giant servings Americans are used to. The major disappointment is the wine service. Their house brands were some of the worst choices in recent memory. I could find better $10 bottles at Costco, and for a cruise of this caliber they were an embarrassment. Of course you could order premium brands for an additional surcharge. We were the unfortunate victims of Cyclone Gita who poured rain on us for several days. Many of our cruises and activities off the ship were cancelled due to rough seas. The two tours we did manage to take were fantastic and very educational. We learned a great deal about the culture of the South Pacific Islanders. The barbecue of the mota owned by PG had great potential, even with the soggy burgers. We realized too late that one of our underwater cameras needed a disk to record pictures. We went to the camera shop only to learn they are only open from 6 - 9 pm. Why? The photographer was busy on the mota taking pictures of the guests. Is there no one else on this ship who could open the store in her absence ? No underwater pictures that day. The happiest person on the voyage was Clara, our stewardess. Diligent, hardworking and forever with a smile on her face she never failed to greet us with pleasant words. She should be a staff training director. If we hadn't lost several days watching rain fall on our balcony we might have been in better spirits and willing to overlook some of the faux pas. Overall, it was a good - but not a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
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
Sail Date January 2018
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
Sail Date November 2017
Even though I lived in Hawaii, the French Polynesian islands offer a different experience in understanding what Hawaii was like before tourism took over. PG ship was much smaller than other cruise ships we have enjoyed but easy to ... Read More
Even though I lived in Hawaii, the French Polynesian islands offer a different experience in understanding what Hawaii was like before tourism took over. PG ship was much smaller than other cruise ships we have enjoyed but easy to navigate around the ship and more opportunity to get to know fellow passengers. Ship is not as luxurious as Regent or Crystal and rooms are a bit smaller and dated, but comfortable and clean. We had a veranda room at end of ship. While the ship was limited with dining options..in the day its either the Grill which is outdoor/indoor and had fly problems, or La Veranda, an indoor casual dining room. Both venues served the same menu during the day so we always at at the La Veranda room L'Etoile their main dining room only opens for dinner and the dinner, menu selection and service was so superb that we did not even opt to try La Veranda or the Grill for special dining. We were impressed with the luncheon buffet selection and dinner selections...excellent choices for all tastes including those with dietary specialties. Some entree portions were light but, there were enough choices in the menu to never leave the table hungry. And the desserts to die for...Entertainment with the Gauguines added much festivity to the ship atmosphere and the troop of dancers and singers work hard. Pianist Alex could use more personality which would attract more people to the piano bar. Santa Rosa band was on par with other cruise ship bands. Service is superb everywhere on the ship and the shore excursions are well organized. Best ports were Moorea and Bora Bora. Only con: is that I wish there were more interesting daily activities on the ship for those who don't participate in the water sports. A morning zumba or exercise class would be a great addition and more interesting group activities other than the Polynesian craft sessions they featured. The scenic view of these islands is a treasure and PG does its best to make the cruise memorable. One drawback to visiting this area is the limited number of airlines with limited schedules that fly into Papeete, the embarkation point for this cruise. And some of the airlines that fly to Papeete do not enjoy the best of reputation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Picked the ship up at Papapette ,which is a bit of a dump. However stayed in a really nice resort, ships recommendation, hung around there for three days which was nice and boarded the ship. Found the ship a bit old and dated and in ... Read More
Picked the ship up at Papapette ,which is a bit of a dump. However stayed in a really nice resort, ships recommendation, hung around there for three days which was nice and boarded the ship. Found the ship a bit old and dated and in need of a full revamp. But no kids which is great. We picked this ship for the supposedly magnificent french cooking. The food was good but not brilliant. Had about three really good meals the rest was fine but not brilliant, only in the "have to book" restaurant the other restaurant was OK but not brilliant French food. Entertainment was limited to a piano player and a group of local Tahitians dancers. not much happening on sea days a couple of good shows on the show room with the guest singer and the magician . The service was fantastic they really went out of there way for you and service was 5 star. A couple of the ports like Bora Bora were good for snorkeling ,but the other island in Tonga and Fiji were not that good and should have stayed on the ship. We would not do the Paul Guigan again Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this ... Read More
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this room again. Just be ready in the morning for the joggers to start stomping like elephants at 8:30 am above your room. After all, you do have to get up for breakfast. The shore excursions were the absolute best we have gone on. People that go on the the cruise and expect a giant mall in each port should not go. This is for adventure and seeing something new that you can check off your bucket list. We hiked to a waterfall after a rugged 4-wheel drive ride. Not for the feint of heart or handicapped. I made it with the help of our guide. We swam with lemon sharks, reef sharks and rays. We say the ship's namesake's grave and learned during lectures about his life. The on board archeologist who accompanied us on excursions gave us lectures and information we would have never known about. I would suggest doing only one excursion picnic on the beach and it would be the one in Bora Bora. Authentically cooked in the ground instead of brought in from a kitchen. That's just me. I found the on board activities fun and hard to choose from because they scheduled multiple events at the same time. I am not much of a meat eater, so I can't say much about the food. The people I ate with seemed puzzled at the weird combinations in the special restaurants. Pate on a slab of tuna tartar? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our second trip on the Paul Gauguin. We did the 10-day cruise last August specifically to snorkel at the two atolls, Fakarava and Rangiroa, in the Tuomotus. We never got there because an engine problem kept us five days in Bora ... Read More
This was our second trip on the Paul Gauguin. We did the 10-day cruise last August specifically to snorkel at the two atolls, Fakarava and Rangiroa, in the Tuomotus. We never got there because an engine problem kept us five days in Bora Bora (they had to fly in an engineer with a part from France!). They provided us with some compensation, so we decided to book the seven day version of the same cruise (only one day in both Bora Bora and Moorea instead of the 10-day trip that schedules two days at these two islands). We knew we were taking a chance going in the rainy season and we sure did run into a lot of rain. Two of the days, because of bad weather and rough seas our excursions were cancelled, including Moorea and once again Rangiroa! We did the pinnacle snorkel in Fakarava, but only got to snorkel near the beautiful coral and schools of fish about 20 minutes. We enjoyed our excursions on Bora Bora, Huahine, and Tahaa'a. The trip was still very good, and the staff were excellent as was the food. Now for a few minor criticisms. They had us fly on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles on the late afternoon flight. Flying into Papeete and getting to the ship after midnight had some negatives: we missed the first days activities and dinner, and also the first port talk on the first three ports we were visiting. They should be able to just videotape this kind of presentation as other cruise ships do and repeat it on the cabin television. I thought they could have done something classy on Valentine's Day, like give the women flowers when they came for breakfast. The majority of people going into the dining rooms never use the hand sanitizer that were placed there to prevent illness. On the big cruise ship a staff person is positioned there to make sure people do clean their hands. We still had a good time and recommend this cruise to all. As my boss said, better being in the rain in Bora Bora than being in the snow in Minnesota Minnesota! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Enjoyed bora bora in an overwater bungalow before embarking on the October 8th sailing of the Paul Gauguin In general, beautiful islands with wonderful people! However weather was hotter than we expected. Hotter than Hawaii and any ... Read More
Enjoyed bora bora in an overwater bungalow before embarking on the October 8th sailing of the Paul Gauguin In general, beautiful islands with wonderful people! However weather was hotter than we expected. Hotter than Hawaii and any Caribbean island we have visited. Phone app reported 85f temps, feeling like 95f. Believe it! Embarkation started at 3pm promptly. No evidence of anything earlier. Very smooth and quick process. There are pearl stores and shopping close to the port IF you have someone to watch your luggage. We arrived at 2:45 and crew took our luggage promptly but not sure how early this starts. Aft cabin 767 was very nice and I would recommend it. At the beginning, it was too hot to use balcony but as cruise progressed, we got to use it in evenings and morning. Too hot during afternoon. This cabin has no bathtub but nice shower, perhaps 2.5 feet by 5 ft. Ship itself was in good shape, no issues. Dining- dinner was wonderful! Dinner food was excellent as was service. Speciality dining in la verandah was great but the speciality dinner in the grill was disappointing. Main dining room dinner was great. We had breakfast delivered to room and it was always on time, hot, and good. For lunch, order off the menu! Buffet food was disappointing. Afternoon teas were very nice. Service-excellent! Staff is great. Wine steward Eduardo is the best! Drinks are refilled promptly. All aspects of service were excellent. Entertainment- well this is the weak point. There are some daytime activities which are fine for those staying on ship. However, evening show in main theatre is weak. Best and really the only good show is the last nite when a professional group from Tahiti comes on board for a Polynesian review. Don't miss this one! The ship band however is very good - the celebration band. You can listen to them in several venues daily. There is also a piano musician in the piano lounge in the evening. Ports-enjoyed them all! With the exception of papette, not very commercial. Recommend you book an excursion on huhaine as its pretty rural. Private Gauguin tahaa motu picnic is wonderful. Skip other tahaa excursions and go to picnic. Did independent jet skis on bora bora and sail/snorkel in Moorea. Disembarkation-very quick and smooth! Walked off ship at 8:20 and ready for our private driver at 8:25. Those on independent air could stay on ship till 10am. Others using Paul Gauguin air could stay on till noon so pretty late compared to other ships. We did private circle island tour before going to our Tahiti hotel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife and I were looking for a different itinerary and Paul Gauguin offered that with a 7 night cruise around the Society Islands out of Tahiti. Highlights are two days in Bora Bora and Moorea. The Paul Gauguin is a small ship holding ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a different itinerary and Paul Gauguin offered that with a 7 night cruise around the Society Islands out of Tahiti. Highlights are two days in Bora Bora and Moorea. The Paul Gauguin is a small ship holding only 340 passengers we sailed with about 250. This gave us an almost one for one staff/passenger ratio. Service was OUTSTANDING, the Crew asked your name and then did a great job remembering it, nice touch. Food was excellent, no problems there unless you want a midnight buffet, not on the Gauguin. Ship had a decent sized show room and nice piano bar. We spent most of our post dinner time in the piano bar mingling with people we met. Bar on the top deck aft was also a nice spot. If you are looking for great entertainment and you like the ship to be your destination then I would recommend you look for a bigger ship with more to do. We went on this cruise for the itinerary, not to hang out on the ship so it was not an issue for us. Rooms are standard, balcony was small. Ship is getting a bit dated, but is scheduled for dry dock spring of 2017, I might wait until that happens, but not a deal breaker if looking to go. All in all, top notch service and food make up for any short comings and the Society Islands are wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We had a fabulous time on our cruise to the Society and Cook Islands in the South Pacific! We plan to book another trip in the future. The following comments are categorized by positive comments and suggestions and/or disappointments: ... Read More
We had a fabulous time on our cruise to the Society and Cook Islands in the South Pacific! We plan to book another trip in the future. The following comments are categorized by positive comments and suggestions and/or disappointments: Positive: The ship is beautiful, spotless and the decor/events align well with the region and culture.The size of the ship is perfect for intimacy (holds 332 guests). The food is fabulous, 4 course meals with large portions: lots of fish and nicely presented plates. I ended up asking for smaller portions as it was too much food. There are three dining venues: L Etoile where they typically seat you at large tables with others however you can ask to be seated at a smaller table for two or four if you want; La Veranda was our favorite because it was more intimate with mostly smaller tables; and Le Grille which was on Deck 8 by the pool. Le Grille was closed a few times when there was rain or wind. Definitely book Le Grille for night in Tahiti when you can sit outside! We loved the events scheduled by the Le Gauguines hosts and hostesses. These young Polynesian people were charming, friendly and shared stories and information that was based on their personal experiences and knowledge. They held dance demonstrations, played music, shared local legends and they taught classes. During the day, they often taught arts and craft classes, from making woven or tied bracelets and fans to making post cards and collages. They always came through the restaurants at night to sing, play music and dance. They also greeted us at events, and at the ports when we went on and off the ship. The cruise sponsored tours we took (snorkeling and beach days) were all great. We loved swimming with the sharks and sting rays, going to one foot island and visiting the motus off several islands. We also spent a day at the Lapita Resort in Huahine which was enjoyable. Taha’a is home to Paul Gauguin's Motu Mahana, which proved to be a great venue for the barbecue and beach party. We enjoyed the free tour in Papeete and the day room at the Intercontinental resort hotel prior to our flight home. Disappointments: We arrived late at night (11pm) and were greeted by PG staff. They ushered us onto a bus, but then we were asked to sit there for 45 minutes while we waited for several couples whose luggage did not arrive with the plane. Then, they were taken back to the ship by Taxi and actually arrived before us! This seemed unreasonable considering the time of night and the fact that they did not even come with us in the bus. On the PG ship, there typically is only one bar open at a time and the 5th deck bar open before dinner is fairly small and was often full, so that there was no where to sit except in the hallway. Each bar, 5th deck, lounge bar(only open during shows), the 8th deck pool bar and 8th deck Palette bar were open at specific times but usually only one at a time. We only had about 250 people on our cruise, so perhaps this is different when the ship is full at 332 guests, but I don't understand why there is not more access to the bars. It is not that we are big drinkers but the bar piano player was excellent and we always enjoy sitting in the bar before our dinners. The ship lounge, where shows are held, is not as nice as similar venues we have seen on other cruise ships and we did not care for the entertainment much (Frank Sinatra type singer and a magician), except the Polynesian shows were fabulous including talent from a couple of ports in addition to our hostess and host Polynesian dancers, who were fabulous. Two evenings the air conditioning did not work and the lounge was very hot and uncomfortable. The cruise director was not very visible during the cruise compared to what we typically have had on other ships. He seemed to only show up to introduce a show. We did see him briefly on a couple of excursions. We heard he did a show on other cruises, but not ours. Every announcement was done in English and then in French by a 2nd director (not sure this is needed, but we understand it the ship is French). It rained during our cruise for two days when we visited Bora Bora so we were disappointed, but weather cannot be controlled. Morea seemed very similar and was enjoyable. One of the ship's motors was not working correctly and could only be used at 25% power, so our itinerary was changed due to slower speed traveling between the Society and Cook Islands. This did not seem to make that much difference and the captain kept us informed. All arrangements for excursions were adjusted and the people who booked private excursions were assisted with making adjustments. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The itinerary-Lautoka and Suva Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu-all away from the usual haunts and ports-of-call for the Paul Gauguin. None disappointed. The highlight- backcountry excursion in Vanuatu from which we returned covered in ash ... Read More
The itinerary-Lautoka and Suva Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu-all away from the usual haunts and ports-of-call for the Paul Gauguin. None disappointed. The highlight- backcountry excursion in Vanuatu from which we returned covered in ash and dirt. sore from the impromptu ride in the back of a pick-up truck but exhiliarated from the sights and sounds of and energy of an actively erupting volcano and tribal village stop en route. The voyage was first-rate overall as always with PG- clean, comfortable ship with all the amenities including casino and marina, excellent food and no dinner-time buffets, and incredible staff and crew. Interesting expert commentators lecturing on coral and the reefs as well as Polynesian history and cultures. The downsides: as this was not a usual itinerary for PG, some of the excursions were less than advertised. Some lectures and entertainment were more appropriate to Tahiti than the South Pacific Islands visited. This was a trip attractive to scuba divers but the quota of spots available on most dive excursions was quite limited and a number of interested divers were disappointed by being SRO. Overall, an interesting cruise in luxury to sites less-often visited and an opportunity to snorkel and dive on some of the world's best preserved reefs. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are not huge cruise people but have done Celebraty X to Galapagos, Silver Seas to Antartica and this one. Food in large restaurant was a solid B, tho they rushed you through to get you out. Two other restaurants, don't bother, ... Read More
We are not huge cruise people but have done Celebraty X to Galapagos, Silver Seas to Antartica and this one. Food in large restaurant was a solid B, tho they rushed you through to get you out. Two other restaurants, don't bother, over promise under deliver Cabins an A- because our sofa was worn out and collapsed Service in cabin was good but lacked detail with our butler. Deck 8 Service in bars excellent Service in restaurants, efficient but too fast sometimes, relax guys! We ate slowly and would let them take our plates that slowed them down! Excursions rubbish, over priced and lacking substance-rent a moped or taxi, $20 US. Others were upset at prices verses quality of trips. Had a fantastic trip, islands amazing but here's what bugged us; very limited lectures on the places we were going unlike other cruises such as our previous ones. Space, Hubble Telescope and landing a 747, what does that have to do with where we were. Even the lecture on stars wasn't outside under the stars! This really frustrated us as this was pleasure and would have liked to learn more. Mark, a Polynesian, gave three good ones but that was it! That's my beef! My final beef was that I left my mask on a boat and they charged $70 for a $15 mask which was frustrating. Overall, would I do it again, yes, with the knowledge I am now equipped with. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first time on the Paul Gauguin, although we have sailed on over 30 other ships. We chose this itinerary specifically because it added Tonga and Fiji on to the typical French Polynesia route. Overall, we enjoyed our trip very ... Read More
This was our first time on the Paul Gauguin, although we have sailed on over 30 other ships. We chose this itinerary specifically because it added Tonga and Fiji on to the typical French Polynesia route. Overall, we enjoyed our trip very much. There is a lot to like about the Paul Gauguin: intimate size, very good food, nice cabins, friendly staff,etc. There are three dinner restaurants, all were good to very good.The soups, sauces and bread were outstanding. The meats were mostly very good and the fish was also very good. The ports were interesting and we enjoyed them very much. We visited Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Taha'a (Motu Mahana), Aitutaki (Cook Islands), Tonga and Fiji. The best features were the good food, and interesting ports, and comfortable, relaxed life aboard ship. It's pretty relaxed and stress free. The shore excursions were pretty good, if a little pricey. Not all was perfect, but in life, little is perfect. The air was arranged by PG, and it was fine. Not spectacular, but adequate, uneventful flights to Papeete and home from Nadi.(we went on Air Tahiti Nui and returned on Fiji Air) Embarkation and disembarkation is fairly simple with only a few hundred passengers. Tendering was also easy, no need to wait a long time nor ticketing for tenders like on big cruise ships. There was onboard entertainment, it was okay. Not great, but not terrible, it was okay. There were three guest lecturers on our sailing, we found one to be OUTSTANDING, one to be interesting, and one was an academic (college professor) who literally put us to sleep. The major "complaints" would be: poor execution of pre and post hotel stays by Paul Gauguin (they give you NO information, and you have to ask around to find anything out), overpriced laundry service (they lead you to believe you must prepay for a laundry package--astronomically expensive), and if you are allergic to down/feather pillows like I am, you will suffer with hard bricks which they call foam pillows. But again, overall we had a great time and I would definitely recommend this cruise line. If you want to see the South Pacific, sail with Paul Gauguin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We've travelled on other cruise lines and ships so this review is relative to those cruises. The price we paid was more than twice as much as we have paid on other lines for similar accommodation. The cabins and balconies are no ... Read More
We've travelled on other cruise lines and ships so this review is relative to those cruises. The price we paid was more than twice as much as we have paid on other lines for similar accommodation. The cabins and balconies are no bigger but the food however was better and the service impeccable. There are lots of staff and they go out of their way to help you, for example, taking buffet plates out of your hand as you walk back to your table. Wine is included and I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the wine provided. Negative points are down to the way the ship is run. We were told that embarkation was 15:00. With other cruise lines if you turn up a bit early, they look after you but not Paul Gauguin. They make you wait on the quayside in the sun with only enough chairs and cover for a few people. Some cruise lines allow you on-board ship even in the morning, though not to your cabin. The security on the gate was unhelpful and so we just waited. 6 star all inclusive cruise lines usually include shore trips in the price but not Paul Gauguin, though cruise prices are similar. Shore excursions are extra and expensive. We wondered if they were trying to push them when we anchored for two days off Moorea. There are two main bays, Cook's Bay near the main town and the other, Opunohu bay, not. We were in Opunohu bay and if you went ashore you soon came back as there was nothing to see. There was room in Cook's Bay and no other ship there when we were, so I just wonder why we were isolated. The ship is great and it's a great way to see the islands but for the cost it should be better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My two daughters and I took a cruise on the Paul Gaugin for 7 days. Before the cruise we stayed at the Intercontinental in Papeete for 2 days. Upon arrival in Papeete we were greeted by the company who arranged the vacation. They took ... Read More
My two daughters and I took a cruise on the Paul Gaugin for 7 days. Before the cruise we stayed at the Intercontinental in Papeete for 2 days. Upon arrival in Papeete we were greeted by the company who arranged the vacation. They took good care of us and we were transferred to the hotel, where we quickly taken to our room. All of this happened with great warmth and professionalism. We were transferred to the ship quickly and efficiently, and embarked without delay. We arrived at our cabin - our bags were there. We were greeted by our butler who was to take care of any request that would be made. Our cabin was well appointed and amazingly enough there was sufficient room for the three of us to hang up our clothes and plenty of space for all the incidentals that three women deem essential to their comfort! We had made arrangements for excursions before travelling so did not need to waste time deciding which ones to take. We swam with sharks and stingrays, had barbeques on the beach, went to several different islands and enjoyed every day. All the excursions were well organized and were lots of fun. The food on the ship was good but not extraordinary. However, the service was outstanding. The entire staff and crew knew our names from the outset and were very helpful, warm and accommodating. As far as the entertainment was concerned - it was extremely hokey and was totally lacking, except for the last night on the ship when a very professional team of Polynesian dancers came on the ship and gave a wonderful performance. There was no night life at all and most of the time we were back in our cabin very early - that was very disappointing. The big downfall of this trip was that there were about 190 doctors from Canada who were there for a conference. They were rude, nasty, unfriendly and took ethnocentriciy to a new level!! I would advise anyone taking this trip to try and ascertain whether or not there were large groups such as this, because it really detracted from life on board. Disembarkation was very easy. The ship itself was pleasant enough, but the carpets looked tired and needed to be replaced. All in all this was a very enjoyable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
From the moment we landed in Papeete we were greeted by representatives. They were very well organized and our transfer and check in to the Intercontinental Hotel was very smooth. We enjoyed the facilities there for 2 days before ... Read More
From the moment we landed in Papeete we were greeted by representatives. They were very well organized and our transfer and check in to the Intercontinental Hotel was very smooth. We enjoyed the facilities there for 2 days before boarding the Paul Gaugin. The boarding process was seamless and we were in our cabins with our luggage in no time at all. From the moment we were on the ship the crew members were friendly and extremely accommodating. There were three of us and the cabin was large enough to store all our clothes without a problem. Our butler was easily accessible and always willing to get anything we needed. At our first dining experience we were acknowledged by our names even though they had never met us before. The food was very good and there always enough choices and variety. The evening entertainment was for most part hokey and uninspired. However, on Polynesian night an outside group came on and performed and they were very enjoyable. We did find that we were in our cabin rather early on most nights because there was not much to do after dinner and drinks. We loved the ports that we visited and each day did have an excursion planned. Swimming with the stingrays and sharks was loads of fun and excitement. The day at beach excursions were also very worthwhile. The was major downfall to the trip. This cruise had about 200 guests who were part of a medical conference. Unfortunately, the majority of this group was rude, unfriendly and downright dismissive of the other passengers. This was a great pity because the remaining passengers were very friendly and loads of fun. I would recommend that anyone booking a trip ask in advance if there will be any large groups traveling for a conference. Disembarkation was very smooth. Overall we had an wonderful time and would return for another trip. Again I would like to add that the service was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Paul Gauguin Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.4
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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