Dream vacation to the South Pacific: Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by roundtheworld04

Paul Gauguin 4
Member Since 2012
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Dream vacation to the South Pacific

Sail Date: June 2012
Destination: South Pacific
Embarkation: Other
We are from central Indiana and have traveled quite a bit over 30 years. This was our first trip to the South Pacific. We traveled to LAX from ORD and then onto Papeete, staying in a day room at the Intercontinental. On the ship we had cabin 408. It was in a great location, even during the rocking and rolling sailing days. Our journey to the South Pacific on the Paul Gauguin was a wonderful value despite the costs. I felt a little misled by the all inclusive that included a small frig in your state room "stocked". Beer and water and soft drinks are all that were in the frig. When I asked for a small bottle of rum/vodka for the room I was told no, that we could order room service. No cocktails were served up on the top/sun deck while we were sailing. There were very few lounge chairs up top as well. I asked if some could be brought up for us and was told YES, but they were never delivered. Clearly there are not enough lounge chairs on this ship.
We might possibly be in the More minority when it comes to dining on a cruise ship. Food means very little to us, except for nourishment. Everything we ordered/ate was good except for the steaks. But it could be they were non grain fed beef, and that would be the difference right there. The Creme Brulee was the exception, just wonderful. We did enjoy the delicious dessert every time it was offered. It would have been so much better not to insist on reservations on such a small ship in the restaurants. One is so busy with excursions/day trips etc., that making a dining reservation is not of importance. We used the room service for breakfast often, but the stateroom is clearly not a good place for two to dine, the table is very tiny. Food was delivered promptly as ordered.
The Le Gauguin ladies were always cordial, welcoming and willing to help and steer you in the right direction. I especially enjoyed the Pareo tying class at La Palette. Coming back to the dock on Rarotonga and finding one of them playing the ukulele and singing while you waited for the tender was delightful.
Our room stewardess was wonderful, we never wanted for anything. When she discovered it was my birthday she jumped for joy and gave me the biggest hug and good wishes. She was the best.
We were a bit disappointed that our passports were taken away when we checked onto the ship(I understand why) and were not aware that we could have had it back to have it stamped at One Foot Island.
The Polynesian night in Bora Bora aboard ship was intoxicating. You really felt like you belonged to the island wearing the crown of flowers and leis and tropical clothing. Although when I took my crown off and laid it onto my bed, little ants came crawling out of the flowers...
Beware that you really need to research your excursions and be knowledgeable of exactly what is on the islands for you to do/see. I feel that we missed several opportunities, but maybe that is because we are meant to go back again to the South Pacific?? Moorea offered the least of things to do, and believe me there is not much but sightseeing. We did do the Helmet Dive on our second day, and I can highly recommend it. Take a credit card with you because you will want to purchase their video of your dive.
We rented a scooter on Autaucki and visited a nice beach. Rode around to see the island which was beautiful! Take a lightweight back pack with you to put your things in as these scooters have no racks or places to hold your snorkel gear or your camera etc. My husband lost our camera as it slipped out of his pocket on the bike :-( Be warned that you are suppose to get the New Zealand drivers license to drive here.
The ship's day on the Motu was such a wonderful experience. Everything was top notch and you needed nothing but your desire to enjoy it and take photos and your snorkel gear. I can honestly say I never sat down on the motu except to eat and listen to the gentleman speaking on Tahitian vanilla. I wandered and took photos and snorkeled and shopped with the vendors. Such fun!
Loved the disco in La Palette.
I loved that we were able to do the Cruise Critic Roll Call and be able to meet a lot of people on board ship that we were in contact with before we sailed. New friends is always a plus!
It would have been nice for this ship to have even a small/tiny chapel. Sometimes one needs to be quiet and be alone for just a bit.
One last thing. The Internet service is really BAD. Don't' spend your money trying to stay in contact with home. Relax, and enjoy the trip! Less

Published 08/04/12
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: E408

Perfect location to everything! Lots of closet space and under bed storage. NO US plug in the bathroom itself. Only one US plug at the vanity. Bathroom lighting was excellent as well as having a bathtub on a ship!! The table in the room is way too small for two to use for eating.

Port and Shore Excursions

Be sure to be on deck as the ship comes to the island, great photo opportunities here! We were on a day trip that took us snorkeling, feeding the sting rays (be sure to bring reef shoes) , and a Motu champagne buffett/lunch. It was an amazing island and an amazing day. We ate dinner at Bloody Marys which was very delicious. The ship arranges for them to pick you up on the dock and bring you back. The second day we rented bikes and rode the entire 20 miles around the island. Rented the bikes at the Avis booth. The bikes were good and sturdy with great big seats (we reserved them a day ahead) Great photos to be taken along the way. We rode the opposite way from Bloody Marys so we got to stop there for a cocktail on the way back to port. Bora Bora is the best place to look to purchase your Tahitian Pearl!! Above all this was our favorite island and had the best time. Our only regret is that this was the only island with a straw market of crafts and it was closed by 4 when we returned with our bikes, so we missed it both days.

Booked a safari type trip; we rode in the back of a pick up style truck with 6 others. Joe was our guide and was very informative. We stopped at a vanilla farm, pearl farm (we got on a small boat) which was really great to see exactly HOW the pearl is started and how it grows (take your credit card) went to many sights to view parts of the island and to see the blue eyed eels.
Read 36 Huahine Reviews

This is a beautiful island with the Mountain Bali Hai (of the famous movie) Go up to Belevdere to the look out point to see both ports for sure. We negotiated with a van driver to take us for the day up there and to the Hilton for cocktails. Not much shopping on this island except pearls. We looked to rent a Dune Buggy, but they were closed. On our second day we did the Helmet Dive, which is at the Intercontinental Hotel, which is great if you have never been down and walked on the ocean floor. Very fun! Take your credit card to be able to purchase the video of the dive!
Read 110 Moorea Reviews

We reserved ahead by internet a car with Avis. Drove the entire island and had lunch at a little cafe. Shopping is pretty abundant here, so take your credit card. A few of the shops have exquisite hats, but be prepared to carry or wear it home as it won't pack in your bag. The dock is a good walk from the town, wear walking shoes. You MUST get a New Zealand drivers license here, so take your home drivers license/ID with you. It was $20 US dollars and is good for Atutacki as well.

We stayed on the first part of the trip at the Intercontinental Hotel. The views here will take your breath away. The breakfast buffett was pretty much the usual fare for a buffett. Our room was adequate for the day but would rent the bungalow if we stayed more than one day. On the end of the trip we were taken to the Raddisson. Pretty old and worn with a black sand beach. Their pool area was pretty nice. Our electric converter would not work in the room, so using a US electric hair dryer and curling iron was a no go. We had a 2 story room and the upstairs A/C did not work. It was adequate for a day stay, but I would not want to go back there.

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