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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
So far we only took 5 cruises with Crystal, one Silversea , one Seabourn and two Hollend America. Not a frequent cruisers, but very selective. Paul Gauguin was the recent one we came back from. Overall, disappointed. 1. Lack of ... Read More
So far we only took 5 cruises with Crystal, one Silversea , one Seabourn and two Hollend America. Not a frequent cruisers, but very selective. Paul Gauguin was the recent one we came back from. Overall, disappointed. 1. Lack of amenities: in general, you go to hotel, you will expect pen and papers in the room, at least small tubes of lotion, shampoo and conditioner. None of above exists in the cabin. Especially pen and papers, everyday, I was looking for pen and papers to write on. Unbelievable. 2. The food service was so sub-par. Everyday, every venue served same menu for breakfast and lunch for the day. After 3:45, only snack you can get either from the afternoon tea or room service. We really missed the nice snack buffet all day long in Crystal Cove in Crystal, especially coming back from excursions. The Menu of La Veranda and Le grill both met the luxury lines dining. The food quality of L'Etoile was average. Some night, the food was cold,and the general menu was uninspired and boring. 3. Indifference attitude from the crews. The French lady at reception desk in bad attitude all the time. She was not eagerly trying to help and even gave wrong information either she was ignorant or lazy. Without luckily having technician at the reception desk in one occasion, the problem would not be fixed. The service crews in restaurants, only a few of them smiles and pleasant, most of them with long faces. Also it looked like the ship was under staff. Especially in main dining room L'Etoile, the service people rushed the service and lack of detail of fine dining. For example, sometimes the waiters took food order or served dishes against the correct protocol, ladies first. The hosts at the front, many times, did not listen to the request carefully and took us to the wrong tables. For 11 days, only one newly promoted waiter we encountered eagerly asked our names and tried to remembered them, so that he could addressed us when he served or saw us again. From these details, we could see the service was not really going through straight professional training as other luxury lines. 4. Appearance of the ship is getting old. All other cruise ships we sampled, except one Holland America old ship, there were no stain in the sofa, no peeling varnish. However, in Paul Gauguin, there was stain in the sofa, peeling varnish on the railing and peeling gout line in the bathroom etc. Might be it is time for Paul Gauguin to be refurbished. In conclusion, the price we paid was for premium itinerary. We really hope other luxury lines will offer the itineraries as Paul Gauguin when we plan to use cruises for French Polynesia in the future. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
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. ... Read More
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. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This is the third time we cruise with Paul Gauguin and we were so glad that we picked the right cruise to the S. Pacific islands. We cruised from Fiji to Tahiti and each island was so lush vegetation and beautiful The food was good and we ... Read More
This is the third time we cruise with Paul Gauguin and we were so glad that we picked the right cruise to the S. Pacific islands. We cruised from Fiji to Tahiti and each island was so lush vegetation and beautiful The food was good and we were so impressed by the restaurant staffs with majority of them were Filipinos from the Maîtres' D to the busboys and all of them gave us excellent service. We've been cruising a lot and we have to say that this is the best restaurant staffs we ever experienced in the past 25 yrs. of our cruises. Our cabin maid was also a Filipino and she was courteous and v. responsible too. The Excursion head was also excellent, he was from a European country which we forgot where was the place and he has a lot of patience to answer many of our questions regarding booking of the excursions. We took a v. special excursion in Bora Bora, the Aquatic Walk under 12 feet in the water to see the tropical fish, corals and sting ray. My wife and I are non-swimmers and yet we had a ball going down in the ocean to see so many terrific fish. One draw back of this cruise was they have the show kind of late at night, it starts at 9:30 p.m., with a full day visiting the islands and by the time we finished dinner was already time to go to bed. We only saw two show, the first one was performed by the Tahitian dancers on ship and they were very good..........then the second time was the last night when we arrived in Papeete, Tahiti and they invited a top professional Tahitian Dance Group to perform and they were really great. We really enjoyed visiting Aitutaki, Cook Islands, this is a small island but all the houses have a nice mowed lawn, the guide told us that it is mandatory by the gov. that each house must mow their lawn or else they will have to pay a fine. The island itself has beautiful Blue Lagoons and tons of coconut trees, mango, banana, noni fruit trees in the whole island. During the cruise they have 2 great speakers who conducted a few lecturers, first one was Jean Michel Cousteau who is a v. famous lecturer, environmentalist, educator marine & flim producer. The second lecturer was Steven Hooper, a specialist in the arts of the Pacific region and North America. He gave great lectures of the culture, history and the customs of the Polynesians. On the whole we would highly recommended this cruise to everyone who are nuts about the S. Pacific islands. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Paul Gauguin for their longstanding presence in French Polynesia and we were not disappointed. While not a true luxury cruise experience, Paul Gauguin's warm ambiance and friendly crew were wonderufl for this itinerary. ... Read More
We chose Paul Gauguin for their longstanding presence in French Polynesia and we were not disappointed. While not a true luxury cruise experience, Paul Gauguin's warm ambiance and friendly crew were wonderufl for this itinerary. Embarkation was the fastest and most efficient of any cruise line we've been on. We had a butler verandah cabin on Deck 8, a very convenient location to the (albeit tiny) pool, grill restaurant and 2 bars. Tub/shower was old and narrow, and verandah was tiny but serviceable. Our cabin was kept very clean, and our butler was OK but we mostly didn't use his services. Food at the main restaurant L'Etoile was mostly superb, and we asked to be seated at a group table several nights to met other cruisers. Specialty restaurant Verandah (reservations needed) was superb, especially their sashimi and foie gras appetizer and rack of lamb. Entertainment was a bit amateur, but we especially loved the Tahitian dancers and crew night because they were spirited and fun. Excursions were expensive and limited, so that was somewhat of a downside. Recommend pre-booking excursions because some sold out early. Fellow cruisers ranged from honeymooners to baby boomer couples and large multi generational families, but the "obnoxious kid factor" was never an issue at all. In fact we found our fellow cruisers to be a fun loving and diverse group. We booked directly through Paul Gauguin (don't use travel agents) and found their staff to be a bit rude and distracted when it came to booking air and pre stay arrangements, but it was all OK in the end. Expect warm temperatures in the public rooms; we wore short sleeves every night for that reason. We had a great MIT oceanographer on board for enrichment lectures. All in all we loved PG and plan to go back for another itinerary over the next few years. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
After a LONG flight to Fiji (over 24 hours total), and losing a full day, we made it to Lautoka and our hotel room for the day prior to boarding. Fiji Airlines was super comfortable in economy, there was plenty of free entertainment, and ... Read More
After a LONG flight to Fiji (over 24 hours total), and losing a full day, we made it to Lautoka and our hotel room for the day prior to boarding. Fiji Airlines was super comfortable in economy, there was plenty of free entertainment, and the food was decent. The Sofitel was beautiful and relaxing after our long flight. The pool was very welcome! Since we had booked our included air through PGC, all our transfers were included. One headache we didn't have to deal with! Boarding the ship was easy as pie. With only 325 guests, there's NEVER a line. We were shown to our cabin, 432, and proceeded to settle in. Our bags made it BEFORE we did!!! Time to unpack and prepare for Muster. The Gauguin had just come out of dry dock and she looked spic and span! New flooring/deck around pool on 8, new furniture and lounge chairs too! Gorgeous! La Palette had new barrel chairs, but the head of Hotels mentioned they are too large and will be replaced. I found them to be super comfortable, but YES, they are LARGE! We were on a "once every 2 years" itinerary...Fiji to Tahiti, with crossing the international date line! I ticked that off my list! The ports were great. Only complaint? Fiji and Tahiti are very Christian and there is little to do on a Sunday. We booked a tour, so it wasn't a problem though. The weather tried to cooperate, but we had some sea days with rain and some light rain in ports. We started in Lautoka, Fiji; then Suva, Fiji; and Savusavu, Fiji. Then a sea day on our way to Vava'u, Tonga. I absolutely LOVED Tonga! The Ene'io Tongan Feast was delicious and the entertainment was beautiful. After Tonga we had 2 days at sea while we crossed the Int'l Dateline. The weather got rainy by the second day at sea and worse by the time we reached Aitutaki, Cook Islands. It was so bad, the Captain decided to cut our stay short and just head to Bora Bora so we could catch some of the Heiva Festival. We kept busy during the raining sea days building boats for a pool boat race, eating, drinking, hearing a guest pianist, watching the Gaugins/Gauguines perform, Que Bola magic shows, and hearing great talks from Mr. Cousteau and motivational speaker, Tom O'Neil. What fun! I took 3rd place in the race. There were about 20 boats :) We arrived in Bora Bora around 10 pm and were able to tender in to see the Heiva dancers and check out the festival. We would overnight here. Our shore excursion for Bora Bora was the Underwater Walk. I had done this 2 years ago and it didn't disappoint!!! After the Underwater Walk, we headed back to the ship and got our things so we could go to Gauguin's private, secluded beach in Bora Bora. We took the tender to the motu/beach and had our first wet landing. What fun!!! No chairs, no bathrooms; just beautiful stretches of white sand, sun, and snorkeling! They provided soft drinks, water, chips, peanuts, and beer. After a couple hours it was time to head back to the ship for lunch, followed by another tender into town for some shopping. The next day we were at PG's private motu; Motu Mohana. Another wet landing, but with far more amenities! Lounge chairs, bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, full bar, swim up bar, snorkeling, kayaks, great swimming, and the best bbq EVER! It was a full day of sun and fun! I found the snorkeling to be better than the tours we had paid for! I saw an eel, an octopus, sea cucumbers galore, sea urchins, tons of fish, beautiful coral, and clams. Do not miss this Motu. It's included in EVERY cruise they do. Our next stop was to Moorea. There is so much to see and do on this island. We took a catamaran tour of the bay, followed by snorkeling. It was a great time! On to Papeete for our last night. Time to pack our bags and have our last big dinner. :( Since our flight out was so late, we took the free Papeete tour before arriving at our hotel with included day room at the Tahiti Pearl. We didn't have to be out of our cabin until 9:30, which was nice. Our disembarkation was set for 12:20. Plenty to do, as all the bars, restaurants were open for us. Since all meals, drinks, etc. are included in the cruise fare, the ship still serves you until you actually leave. Not like other lines where you have to beg for a bottle of water or food. After disembarking and taking our tour, we were delivered to the Tahiti Pearl until 7pm. Our room was delightful and had a HUGE lanai with a fabulous view of the bay. It was nice to be able to swim, eat a little something, and have a shower, etc. before our LONG flight home. The bus took us to the airport around 9pm for our midnight flight on Air Tahiti Nui. About Air Tahiti Nui: I think we got the OLDEST PLANE IN THEIR FLEET! Ugh! The seats were about 16 inches wide at the MOST. The entertainment was sub par, to say the least. Movies just played...the magazine was inaccurate, so I had no idea what was playing on each channel, and if you had to get up to let someone out of the row, you couldn't pause your show. No USB for charging phones, etc. Really bare bones. The service was fine, and the food was great, but it didn't matter when we were all uncomfortable! I feel it's a disservice to this Luxury Cruise Line to put their passengers on these planes. It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth after two weeks of pampering and top notch service. Air Tahiti Nui probably has better equipment, but I wasn't on that plane. Paul Gauguin needs to reassess their airline choice if they want high marks. That being said, I would sail with them again. In fact, I sailed with them in 2015 and will sail in 2018 and 2019 with my husband. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Picked the ship up at Papapette ,which is a bit of a dump. However stayed in a really nice resort, ships recommendation, hung around there for three days which was nice and boarded the ship. Found the ship a bit old and dated and in ... Read More
Picked the ship up at Papapette ,which is a bit of a dump. However stayed in a really nice resort, ships recommendation, hung around there for three days which was nice and boarded the ship. Found the ship a bit old and dated and in need of a full revamp. But no kids which is great. We picked this ship for the supposedly magnificent french cooking. The food was good but not brilliant. Had about three really good meals the rest was fine but not brilliant, only in the "have to book" restaurant the other restaurant was OK but not brilliant French food. Entertainment was limited to a piano player and a group of local Tahitians dancers. not much happening on sea days a couple of good shows on the show room with the guest singer and the magician . The service was fantastic they really went out of there way for you and service was 5 star. A couple of the ports like Bora Bora were good for snorkeling ,but the other island in Tonga and Fiji were not that good and should have stayed on the ship. We would not do the Paul Guigan again Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The Ship: I give a 10/10 to the ship. I have realized that small-ship cruising is the ultimate. You get know most of your travel companions in a few days and then you are just one big happy family partying 24/7. I would recommend the ... Read More
The Ship: I give a 10/10 to the ship. I have realized that small-ship cruising is the ultimate. You get know most of your travel companions in a few days and then you are just one big happy family partying 24/7. I would recommend the owners to provide some shade on one side of the pool and outside La Palette. Dining: I give a 10/10. All three restaurants served up delightful meals. Hats-off to you Executive Chef Stephane Palluaud. Each and every meal was spectacular. Chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, your recipes were reproduced flawlessly. I will definitely visit Apicius on my next visit to Paris. Imagine having a 2-star Michelin meal on board a cruise ship!!! Luis Alvarez, thank you for giving us a chance to taste the various menus. Entertainment: I give a 6/10. The four acts: Steve Wood, Angie Lang, Gustavo Vierini and the Polynesian song and dance troupe were wonderful. However, I feel that there should be at least 2 more acts for a 13/14 day cruise. Service: I give a 10/10. The crew were all-smiles all the time. They all seemed to be very happy. I would like to thank Glen at Le Grill for always remembering my daily morning ice-cap!!! Ports: I give a 10/10. The itinerary was well designed and the ship docked at exotic locations. I am just a bit confused why the ship docked at Suva. It did not match the rest of the ports. Was it a technical halt? Excursions: I give a 10/10. We were very well looked after on every excursion. Most of the excursions were water-based activities like snorkelling, jet skiing etc. The waters are so clear and aquamarine. It was amazing. I advise people not to opt for the Firewalking Show at Beqa. It is a bit of a sham. There is no fire and there is no walking. Instead there is a bit of a tippy-toe over some hot stones. Believe me, I have seen the real thing. Instead, just go to the beach. There is a beautiful resort out there with a fresh spring water pool which they let you use free of charge. Another note: please be aware that safety standards are not so high in that region. Before you go on a water-based excursion, make sure that the boat's ladder is down so that you can re-enter the boat quickly, if required. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this ... Read More
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this room again. Just be ready in the morning for the joggers to start stomping like elephants at 8:30 am above your room. After all, you do have to get up for breakfast. The shore excursions were the absolute best we have gone on. People that go on the the cruise and expect a giant mall in each port should not go. This is for adventure and seeing something new that you can check off your bucket list. We hiked to a waterfall after a rugged 4-wheel drive ride. Not for the feint of heart or handicapped. I made it with the help of our guide. We swam with lemon sharks, reef sharks and rays. We say the ship's namesake's grave and learned during lectures about his life. The on board archeologist who accompanied us on excursions gave us lectures and information we would have never known about. I would suggest doing only one excursion picnic on the beach and it would be the one in Bora Bora. Authentically cooked in the ground instead of brought in from a kitchen. That's just me. I found the on board activities fun and hard to choose from because they scheduled multiple events at the same time. I am not much of a meat eater, so I can't say much about the food. The people I ate with seemed puzzled at the weird combinations in the special restaurants. Pate on a slab of tuna tartar? Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
From the moment we checked in for the cruise, on floor 5, I was terribly disappointed. The entire ship smelled musty and moldy. The bathroom not he 5th floor, right were everyone must congregate for room assignments, was the smelliest on ... Read More
From the moment we checked in for the cruise, on floor 5, I was terribly disappointed. The entire ship smelled musty and moldy. The bathroom not he 5th floor, right were everyone must congregate for room assignments, was the smelliest on board. Wouldn't you think the cruise line would keep that spotless? It only got worse from there. The ship was certainly nothing special and not new. I was bored after only a cople of days. We have been on numerous high end cruises. On the Seabourne an Tauck cruises, never did we have rude staff. It appeared that staff were much nicer/friendlier/more animated with their own language-speaking travelers than Americans. The first two stops were disgusting in terms of food. We did not even eat because there were flies all over every piece of food at both buffets. i complained and a staff member said "so that's Tahiti"'. They need training. The food in all restaurants was not what we expected. The cruise line touts their "fabulous French food". it was more like diner food. I had pumpkin soup with so much gelatin that u could scoop it off the top. There's a restaurant for which you need reservations called "Le Griille". We were seated by a disinterested waiter and handed a dinner menu without even asking if we wanted drinks..and the waiter disappeared. Regarding the day trips. the only excursion i would recommend is the wave runners. That was so fun and outside contractor ran it, not the ship. There were 5 of us going around the island (think it was Bora Bora), . loads of zig zags and beautiful screnery. The lead guy stopped at one point and in shallow water made coconut slices and fresh pineapple. Another excursion we paid for was the bbq on the beach. It was awful. They took us by boat to what i would describe as a picnic grove in central NJ. i intended to snorkel but the guide warned us to be very careful of the strong currents, which ruined it for me. Out of 15 people i saw 2 in the water and they were not snorkeling. So once we got to this picnic table grove at 11 am, the bar didn't open for 1 1/2 hours (people were ticked off) while the locals prepared an awful lunch. lettuce, a few tomatos sliced, cervice, rice and indistuingidhable meat. . could not wait to leave. We also did the glass bottom boat tour which i thought would b corny but turned out to be interesting. The driver (also not associated with the Gauguin line) went under the boat and fed the fish so we could see them. beautiful colors. There was some cheesy entertainment, except for the last night when they had a group called "O Tahiti". They were very good. And our Gauguin "girl" Hei Hei (real name Urahei), couldnt have been nicer. A very sweet,smart young lady. I know the "girls" are assigned to guests and must sit and talk with them, but she was really fun and we enjoyed our conversations with her. urahei. hei hei As you see, I was disappointed. Expected better for the price and description. Wish we had returned to Seabourne Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise because of the amazing comments and the itinerary. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. We were greeted by an extraordinary team who immediately made us feel so welcome. Check in was very quick and our luggage ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the amazing comments and the itinerary. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. We were greeted by an extraordinary team who immediately made us feel so welcome. Check in was very quick and our luggage was immediately delivered to our cabin. We were on deck 6 which was the perfect location. The food and service were amazing. The crew knew our name and what we like to eat and drink the second day we were on board. Everybody was so nice, from the Gauguins and Gauguines to the waiters and concierge. We never had to wait in any restaurants. Shows were beautiful and so entertaining. Shore excursions were well organized and a lot of fun. Cabins are very clean and spacious. Our concierge April Jane always made sure we had everything we needed. The ship is a perfect size for people like us who like personalized service and a quiet place to rest, have great drinks and enjoy the scenery. Ports of calls were excellent choices with different things to do on each island (we really enjoyed the barbecue on the private motu on Tahaa, and the wonderful swim on the amazing beach on the motu in Bora Bora). We really enjoyed the music and songs by the Gauguins and Gauguines, as well as the visit on board by Polynesian women who taught us how to make the flower necklaces and heis and leis. This was for us the vacation of a lifetime. We will definitely go back. Read Less
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