The Paul Gaugin is not what you think of as a traditional cruise ship. It’s much larger than a large sailboat and much smaller than what you usually see in Princess, Disney or other very large cruise ships. The word intimate comes to mind but it’s better than that. The first thing you are impressed with is that people know your name on the first day. I don’t know how they do this.
On our floor, we had a reasonably sized room with a small deck and butler service. Every cruise is likely different but ours took us to multiple islands in French Polynesia and a couple in the Cook Islands. Your days at sea are efficient and you are generally able to wake up in the morning and go on an excursion of the local island. The food on the ship is excellent. If you don’t see what you want – the chef would likely figure out a way to have it prepared for you.
The Paul Gauguin on our trip had a well-known archaeologist on our trip, Mark Eddowes, who gave several lectures and also led several tours on the islands. He speaks French, Tahitian, English and likely many other languages. We also had a magician, several musical groups and other entertainers. The pool on board is quite small but the ship only has about 300 guests at maximum so there is always room somewhere on the ship to hang out.
We chose many of the local excursions to local islands to learn more about local culture. Dinner is not exactly major dress up but gentlemen wear dress slacks with shoes and many ladies wore pants or dresses. The idea for dinner is no swimwear, shorts, t-shirts, etc. It’s a grown-up dinner opportunity. The nightlife could regularly go until 2AM but we were regularly in bed at 10PM or so.
There is something for everyone on this ship but it’s not for youngsters and attracts a customer who is likely 35+ in age. Everyone was friendly and the staff was largely from the Philippines and was extremely eager to please. For a first time cruise person, I am now spoiled because I would like this type of experience to be the “normal” experience so I will look for similar cruise lines but I will definitely want to come back to the M/S Paul Gauguin.