Paul Gauguin Review

Would not recommend

Review for the South Pacific Cruise on Paul Gauguin
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10+ Cruises • Age 40s

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Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

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Sail Date: Dec 2022

My spouse and I have cruised with 8 different cruise lines and we agree Paul Gauguin has been the most overrated based on critic and passenger reviews we read prior to booking and also the most overpriced. First of all, the ship itself is quite tired/dated looking both inside and out, therefore needs a complete makeover. On a positive note, it’s clearly an older ship thus the rooms and bathrooms are a comfortable size. The service is nothing outstanding, pretty much what you experience with all of the major cruise lines these days in such a competitive industry. Some staff were wonderful while others were just going through the motions and not so great. The food overall was good, although bland at times, again quite consistent with other cruise lines, but definitely no where near the best we’ve had. The dress code is not enforced at all, which diminishes the overall dining ambiance at dinner time in particular. People were wearing shorts and t-shirts at dinner even though the dress code states men must wear pants, no ripped jeans and a collared shirt. Numerous younger passengers were also wearing hoodies at dinner. The restaurant reservation experience was quite unpleasant and inconsistent. They track everything on paper and don’t have updated computer systems for reservations, therefore you rely on one head host to manually track reservations which results in a lot of errors. For example, one day we were told the restaurant was full, the next day they had numerous spots available. This happened a total of 3 times, so in order to get a reservation you had to keep on checking and be persistent, not a typical cruising experience for us. The bartenders are quite inconsistent as far as ability and knowledge go. The fitness centre is quite honestly the worst fitness facility we have ever seen anywhere. There are only 4 weight machines, 2 of them are solely for the back. All of the equipment is quite old, the universal weight machine is probably from the late 80’s or early 90’s. For the price Paul Gauguin charges, they should spend some money on upgrading the ship in every way. The decor everywhere is from the 90’s. The ship even smells stale. The salt water pool is nice, however very old and needs to be updated. The entertainment was okay, pretty much what you’d expect from a Polynesian cruise. Check-in was dreadful, there was no one from the ship there to greet us or even help us with luggage or direct us where to go. We found 1 fellow sitting on a ledge on the dock who only helped with the luggage after we asked for assistance, no welcome greeting or anything. Upon entering the ship, once again no one to welcome us or say hello, just a security person who told us to go up to the 4th level which is where guest services was. The guest services staff were all very pleasant when checking us in. The excursion booking process was a complete mess that numerous guests were unhappy with. You had to book a minimum 1 week prior to sailing date, however this wasn’t communicated clearly, therefore over 50 people were lined up, including us, the following morning trying to book excursions. Another thing we found odd was the extremely long winded captain during his daily announcements, particularly disruptive when he had to say everything in both French & English. One morning he woke those who were still asleep, including us, up at 6:48am because he spotted a dolphin, in case anyone wanted to see it, quite odd to announce that over the loud speakers that early. We realized that one of the reasons this cruise line has such great reviews overall is because so many guests are repeat clients who only sail with Paul Gauguin and come back every year or two. We met several people who were doing a Paul Gauguin cruise for the 5th and 6th time. The majority of the clients are over 60 as with most cruises, however it appears to be a case of repeat clients who haven’t tried anything else recently and therefore don’t know how much better and higher end other cruise lines have become. We loved the itinerary, however would recommend cruising the South Pacific with a different, more modern cruise line.

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