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La Orana, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ― Gustave Flaubert I was just sharing photos with loved ones and thought that many on this forum might appreciate our reflections from our recent trip to French Polynesia last month (July 2018). I want to thank everyone who had posted trip reports and tips (especially Dana’s -aka Deladane’s fabulously detailed trip report, TBK’s inspiring photos and helpful tips, and Laura’s - aka “yourSLCwoman” recent trip report as well) on the cruise critic forum and all who answered my questions this past year as we planned for this incredible adventure. My husband and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary and a special birthday at one of our “Bucket trip” destinations…French Polynesia. We spent just over two weeks in July visiting beautiful islands, gorgeous motus, and breathtaking atolls including: Fakarava, Huahine, Rangiroa, Taha’a, Moorea and Bora Bora aboard the Paul Gauguin. In short, this experience was incredible! We arrived and stayed in Tahiti a few days before boarding the cruise. We enjoyed 10 nights aboard the amazing Paul Gauguin which was awesome and afforded us the opportunity to see so much! There were only 320 guests on board, and the staff, food, and of course, the destinations were second to none. The ship and staff really live up to their stellar reputation…it was undoubtedly the best cruise we have ever been on! We then flew to Bora Bora, and extended our stay for a few days after the cruise to experience an overwater bungalow at the St. Regis…absolutely beautiful! We so loved meeting many wonderful people on board (some from this cruise critic forum), especially FlightMedic and his lovely wife, KMorg123 and her wonderful family, and Tina with her kind husband! SNORKELLING: “The best way to observe a fish, is to become a fish” - Jacques Cousteau……and we did become fish! For my fellow snorkelling friends…..life underwater in French Polynesia was magical! I had purchased the recommended Olympus TG5 camera just before our trip (thanks for the inspiration Deladane!) , and it did not disappoint! The plethora of fish, the pristine coral, and clarity of the water were mesmerizing….We snorkelled every chance we got! For the first time ever, we swam with black tip sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, spotted rays and even saw an octopus up close! It was undoubtedly some of the best snorkelling that we have ever experienced! DH and I also changed our snorkel gear from the one piece to a proper snorkel and mask after the concerns that arose with the full face masks…and we quickly adjusted and loved our new equipment! “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher” French Polynesia is indeed, also a place of which dreams are made…It is absolutely beautiful, inspirational, a feast for the senses, and life affirming. My husband and I feel so blessed to have been able to complete this journey. We hope to one day return to this spectacular part of the world! SOME TIPS THAT WERE VERY HELPFUL TO ME IN MY PLANNING AND A FEW I HAVE ADDED FROM OUR OWN EXPERIENCE: - get your snorkel equipment in the ship’s marina right after the 5 pm drill; a long line up forms very quickly - book your dinners at La Veranda and Le Grill at tea time (4 pm) the first day you board -The Olympus TG5 underwater camera is incredible! I had read reviews, several trip reports both on this forum and on Trip Advisor and of course seen the potential photos it takes….best purchase ever! Very easy to use as well. -Watch for the PG’s Valentine’s Day special, even after you have booked. Thanks to this tip from Dana, I called PG and added the complimentary promotion of $200 OBC, a box of Godiva chocolates and a bottle of bubbly to our account. -We enjoyed so many of our meals…loved the first menu at La Veranda. Also loved having our breakfast and lunches there as well…such a great view both inside and outside during the day. Also really liked the “themed lunches”…the Greek lunch was amazing (this coming from someone of Greek descent ) - Best excursions: Marc’s Lagoon Tour (good introduction to Huahine and tried delicious Poisson Cru for the first time), Ato Lissant’s tour in Fakarava (incredible time spent snorkelling and at the Blue Lagoon), Pure Snorkelling in Bora Bora (great snorkelling), and Raanui Tours in Bora Bora (amazing up close encounters with sharks, rays and wonderful snorkel stops)…loved the smaller group sizes...booked many privately. - Enjoyed seeing the pearl farm in Huahine on Marc’s Lagoon tour…bring $$, some great pearls to buy…I ended up buying pearls on Motu Mahana, the dock at Moorea, and at Robert Wan in Bora Bora. - Loved Motu Mahana....what a blissful and idyllic experience…and there are good merchants there to buy vanilla (bean/paste/extract) and pearls...and bring your snorkelling gear. - Try to get to the market in Papeete before/after the cruise…best pricing on souvenirs/gifts. I ended up buying a few pareos, Manoi oil, and some Tiare French milled soap. There are also of course pearls for sale, but did not initially find anything that spoke to me there. I hope that my reflections help. For those who are planning a trip on the Paul Gauguin…..enjoy, it is an incredible experience! For others (like us) who have just come back: “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” ―Pat Conroy ….we are definitely playing this incredible voyage in “the quietest chambers…of our minds” and loving reliving the memories! Enjoy!

Amazing First Time Experience aboard the Paul Gauguin!

Paul Gauguin Cruise Review by Lrorogers

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Trip Details
La Orana,

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

― Gustave Flaubert

I was just sharing photos with loved ones and thought that many on this forum might appreciate our reflections from our recent trip to French Polynesia last month (July 2018).

I want to thank everyone who had posted trip reports and tips (especially Dana’s -aka Deladane’s fabulously detailed trip report, TBK’s inspiring photos and helpful tips, and Laura’s - aka “yourSLCwoman” recent trip report as well) on the cruise critic forum and all who answered my questions this past year as we planned for this incredible adventure.

My husband and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary and a special birthday at one of our “Bucket trip” destinations…French Polynesia. We spent just over two weeks in July visiting beautiful islands, gorgeous motus, and breathtaking atolls including: Fakarava, Huahine, Rangiroa, Taha’a, Moorea and Bora Bora aboard the Paul Gauguin.

In short, this experience was incredible!

We arrived and stayed in Tahiti a few days before boarding the cruise. We enjoyed 10 nights aboard the amazing Paul Gauguin which was awesome and afforded us the opportunity to see so much! There were only 320 guests on board, and the staff, food, and of course, the destinations were second to none. The ship and staff really live up to their stellar reputation…it was undoubtedly the best cruise we have ever been on! We then flew to Bora Bora, and extended our stay for a few days after the cruise to experience an overwater bungalow at the St. Regis…absolutely beautiful!

We so loved meeting many wonderful people on board (some from this cruise critic forum), especially FlightMedic and his lovely wife, KMorg123 and her wonderful family, and Tina with her kind husband!

SNORKELLING:

“The best way to observe a fish, is to become a fish” - Jacques Cousteau……and we did become fish!

For my fellow snorkelling friends…..life underwater in French Polynesia was magical! I had purchased the recommended Olympus TG5 camera just before our trip (thanks for the inspiration Deladane!) , and it did not disappoint! The plethora of fish, the pristine coral, and clarity of the water were mesmerizing….We snorkelled every chance we got! For the first time ever, we swam with black tip sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, spotted rays and even saw an octopus up close! It was undoubtedly some of the best snorkelling that we have ever experienced!

DH and I also changed our snorkel gear from the one piece to a proper snorkel and mask after the concerns that arose with the full face masks…and we quickly adjusted and loved our new equipment!

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher”

French Polynesia is indeed, also a place of which dreams are made…It is absolutely beautiful, inspirational, a feast for the senses, and life affirming. My husband and I feel so blessed to have been able to complete this journey. We hope to one day return to this spectacular part of the world!

SOME TIPS THAT WERE VERY HELPFUL TO ME IN MY PLANNING AND A FEW I HAVE ADDED FROM OUR OWN EXPERIENCE:

- get your snorkel equipment in the ship’s marina right after the 5 pm drill; a long line up forms very quickly

- book your dinners at La Veranda and Le Grill at tea time (4 pm) the first day you board

-The Olympus TG5 underwater camera is incredible! I had read reviews, several trip reports both on this forum and on Trip Advisor and of course seen the potential photos it takes….best purchase ever! Very easy to use as well.

-Watch for the PG’s Valentine’s Day special, even after you have booked. Thanks to this tip from Dana, I called PG and added the complimentary promotion of $200 OBC, a box of Godiva chocolates and a bottle of bubbly to our account.

-We enjoyed so many of our meals…loved the first menu at La Veranda. Also loved having our breakfast and lunches there as well…such a great view both inside and outside during the day. Also really liked the “themed lunches”…the Greek lunch was amazing (this coming from someone of Greek descent )

- Best excursions: Marc’s Lagoon Tour (good introduction to Huahine and tried delicious Poisson Cru for the first time), Ato Lissant’s tour in Fakarava (incredible time spent snorkelling and at the Blue Lagoon), Pure Snorkelling in Bora Bora (great snorkelling), and Raanui Tours in Bora Bora (amazing up close encounters with sharks, rays and wonderful snorkel stops)…loved the smaller group sizes...booked many privately.

- Enjoyed seeing the pearl farm in Huahine on Marc’s Lagoon tour…bring $$, some great pearls to buy…I ended up buying pearls on Motu Mahana, the dock at Moorea, and at Robert Wan in Bora Bora.

- Loved Motu Mahana....what a blissful and idyllic experience…and there are good merchants there to buy vanilla (bean/paste/extract) and pearls...and bring your snorkelling gear.

- Try to get to the market in Papeete before/after the cruise…best pricing on souvenirs/gifts. I ended up buying a few pareos, Manoi oil, and some Tiare French milled soap. There are also of course pearls for sale, but did not initially find anything that spoke to me there.

I hope that my reflections help. For those who are planning a trip on the Paul Gauguin…..enjoy, it is an incredible experience!

For others (like us) who have just come back:

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” ―Pat Conroy

….we are definitely playing this incredible voyage in “the quietest chambers…of our minds” and loving reliving the memories!

Enjoy!
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Cabin Review

Cabin 610
Cabin was very well appointed and had a great deal of storage space. Our room attendant (Geselle) was amazing. There was turn down service in the evening. We were on the 6th floor with a balcony.

There are three electrical outlets that we found (aside from in the bathroom)....2 at the little desk near the closets (one of them was for North American 110 voltage) and a third outlet on the side of the bar area (near the fridge).
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