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Paul Gauguin Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
313 Reviews

The Experience of a Lifetime

Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by RaynJen

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2015
  • Destination: the South Pacific

The cruise was incredible. We were able to visit 6 islands plus Tahiti having the opportunity to experience much of the diversity of the Society and Tuamotus(the atolls). I was reluctant to take a cruise as my wife and I do not generally don't enjoy large tours, crowds or waiting around for food, trips etc. Once we were free of the air flight our worries were unfounded. The boat logistics were nearly flawless and exceeded our expectations. Our cabin with a balcony was nicely set up although a little tight for those accustomed to hotel suites; We were able to adapt with a little bit of organization. I found the front desk very helpful in selecting our activities and planning our days. The boat seemed able to accommodate our activity needs and those our the rest of the guests without difficulty. We were able to arrange excursions at the last minute without difficulty. I recommend visiting each of the islands with or without an excursion as they are unique and offer an chance to observe the natural beauty or the local Polynesians. French Polynesia is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The Scuba program on board is top notch. My experience in diving in Mexico and Central America had left with concerns about safety when diving outside the US. The staff on PG were very well trained and focused on safety providing top service. I took three dive trips on my cruise and all of them were very well planned and run. The dives on Rangiroa and Fakarava were the best of my life. We dove in small groups with a well trained and attentive dive master ensuring a safe and fantastic dive for everyone. On couple of dives We had a diver that had a problem that was swiftly and carefully handled so that we could all have great and complete dive. Most divers have experienced a dive that was cut short because the dive master could not handle the situation. Bon travail Thomas!

The service very good and I found all of the crew members to be helpful and friendly. The food was quite good for the venue. Breakfast was above average buffet with an option from a basic menu. Fresh fruit is the obvious highlight. Lunch was a very good buffet - similar to what you might see a Whole Foods. Each day had a unique theme and I tended to focus on salads and fish which were in all cases fresh and well prepared. Dinner in all three venues were restaurant style with limited menu that changed somewhat during the trip. All three restaurants were very good with slight variations from each other. They did seem similar in terms menu items and service. There was the distinctive french(continental) style of at least three courses that takes at least a couple of hours. While I was happy to have the fine dinning experience every night,my spouse found it a bit overwhelming every night especially on days with big activities. I recommend room service for those kind of evenings which we found to be outstanding during dinner. They essentially offer the L'Etoille menu-which is quite nice. On hind sight we would done this more often. Be sure to get to the sun deck at night to watch the stars.

Wine-most readers mIght want to skip this part. I live in northern CA and have made wine with friends for many years. I know wine and I have clear preferences. I do not like new world Chardonnay and avoid Cabernet of the same style. Outside of those exceptions I enjoy the diversity and distinctiveness of the world's wine. The ship did offer wines that were great (keeping in mind the price point) it just took some effort to get them. The two bars Pallette and the Pool bar dialed me in after the second day and they seem to be having fun springing out interesting wines on me. I wasn't asking for anything particularly expensive - just unusual. For the dinning room staff it was hit or miss. They were all quite good at basic service- their wine knowledge was inconsistent. Some waitstaff really only seem to get white or red - it was not a language issue - it was education. For me it would bring your wine program from good to great.

The entertainment was pretty good. The Gauguins and Gauguines were fantastic. Not only were they authentic performers they were a presence throughout the trip. Seeing traditional Polynesian dance and art is great but to be able talk to them about their culture brought a new level of appreciation. I was able to take away an appreciation of both place and the people.

I cannot image a better way to experience this beautiful place. I expected to have a great trip. I had the experience of a lifetime!

RaynJen's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin C 840

Great cabin.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Scuba Diving

Great dive with one on one dive master. Conditions were not great but the lagoon is quite beautiful and the reef was in very good shape. Very well run dive

View All 5 Scuba Diving Reviews
Scuba Diving

What can I say- the most fantastic two dives in my life! This is alone a reason to get a Scuba cert. you will never see anything like this in the Caribbean or off Mexico

View All 4 Scuba Diving Reviews

Off the beaten path that seems like Polynesia before much tourism. We took the bus to the other side of the island and did some snorkeling off beach. Very nice reef considering it was next to a town by a grade school. Shocking this is so pristine and beautiful. It is obvious the Polynesians care about their environment

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