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

Absolutely Stunning!

Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by katleona

31 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2017
  • Destination: the South Pacific

We chose this cruise line because we wanted to see as many of the islands as possible in the short amount of time we were able to leave home. We planned to choose our favorites and return another time when we can really go more into depth. This cruise was perfect.

We used their services for all our travel arrangements and were glad we did. The flight from LAX to Papeete was delayed over an hour, and we only had a two hour window from plane to ship anyway. We would have been really worried about making it had we made our own arrangements. Turned out a good 50 cruisers were on that plane!

Embarkation was seamless. Clear signage and lei welcome at the airport, a comfortable bus to the ship (maybe 10-15 min ride), easy passport/docs review and right away our butler appeared to escort us to our suite (816). Shernan was incredible, start to finish, and we are so glad to have had his help. He asked us how much of his involvement we would like and gently recommended we allow him to handle things for us. He asked us a few questions about our dining habits, meal preferences, times, activity level, previous Polynesian visits, etc and we told him to take over! He handled our excursion selections, made dinner reservations, delivered our coffee every morning, hors d'oeuvres in the evening and everything in between. He really knew his business.

Loved the fitness room and the spa. All the equipment was very new and thoughtfully organized. Yoga mats, yoga ball, foam rollers there too, and the space was kept spotlessly clean. The spa was great! Knowledgeable staff and be sure to check out the free hammam. You don't need to purchase a treatment to use the hammam and it's open same hours as the spa. A hidden gem! I used it several times and never once saw another person. It's huge and could easily seat 15+.

Dining was impeccable. I have no idea what these folks with the negative reviews are talking about! The food was always hot, always delicious, the displays were beautifully arranged and without fail, the best staff we've encountered. They were always smiling and genuinely seemed happy to be there, any time of day or evening. Same with all the staff throughout the ship. Every staff interaction resulted in a positive experience, and most often they exceeded our expectations! Walk to the bar for a drink expecting to wait, but no, they'll happily bring it over! Missed lunch? They'll recreate your request and deliver it to you poolside, or to your suite.. the list goes on and on.

While we missed much of the evening entertainment offerings, we did make it to the final one where they had a local Polynesian dance troupe aboard and the show was thrilling. Interactive, with various guests being asked to the stage, etc., and honestly, just hilarious. We were SO glad we made it. Apparently the staff talent show is something to see as well.. many guests were talking about it the next day.

We had lots of questions for the excursions staff and all were met with smiles and thorough explanations. We booked one at nearly every port and were quite surprised to find their prices were very close to what we could find on shore ourselves! Normally we get off the ship and do our own thing, but after the first couple days we got on the excursion train and didn't regret it. Some of our ports of call were very small, and the provider was booked by the ship anyway! All of our excursions were handled professionally and we had a fantastic time. Do not miss the marina! It was so easy to walk down and spend an hour or two kayaking in the beautiful bays before or after an excursion. No, you can't swim there because it's unsafe. Makes perfect sense.

The ship itself is understated, beautiful and maintained to the highest standard. Yes, it is 20+ years old, but so what? The ship was very clean and I never once smelled anything like mildew described by others, and I'm quite sensitive. Most everything was new and clean, like the comfy cushions on deck and the couch / pillows etc in our suite. The wood was lacquered and shone brilliantly, everything worked perfectly including the AC. Zero maintenance issues. Easy on / off the ship. Careful tender staff.

We looked at other cruises like Regent Seven Seas and others and this price was several thousand dollars lower than their comparable offerings. If you cruise simply to see a ship, and want to be on something brand new, then maybe the sight of the old standard men's shaver connection in the bathroom isn't for you and you belong on a different line. If you want to sail on a gorgeous ship with thoughtful, caring staff to all the little islands you won't see on the other ships, then this is the place for you.

katleona's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin Veranda Suite Cat B 816

Absolutely beautiful. Lovely vanity area, dual closets with many hangars of various types. Far more drawers and closet space than we could use. Comfortable king size bed and they even cleaned our glass doors after each salty sail so we had a clear view at all times. AC worked great no matter time of day. Soft, comfy microfiber couch and chair. We miss it!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Island Tour

Amusing guide kept the bus tour lively. Three stops - was free on debarkation day. Glad we went!

View All 49 Island Tour Reviews

What a beautiful little island! We ate lunch at the yacht club in town and explored a supermarket that looked small, but was actually enormous! We took a private taxi to see the sacred eels.. wow! They're huge and something to see. Crashed on a local beach for a couple hours after lunch. Felt welcome by the groups of locals partying on a Sunday and had a great time.


Went on the hike with Pa, a local medicine man. He was quite a character! 82 years old and no one could keep up with him. He was funny and sharp as a tack. Loved this.

View All 1 Hiking Reviews
Shark & Stingray Encounter

WOW - don;t miss this! We swam with black tip sharks and several 10-12 ft Lemon sharks. What an experience! Loved the rays, and the Polynesian tradition lunch was superb.

View All 47 Shark & Stingray Encounter Reviews
Lagoon Excursion

The lagoons are incredible and photos simply do not do them justice. We snorkeled, sunbathed and enjoyed the guide's ukulele very much!

View All 8 Lagoon Excursion Reviews

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