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12 Paul Gauguin Cruises First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Tahiti and the PG have been a bucket list trip since we got married 18 years ago. Finally decided to go and brought the kids (15 and 13 yo) as the Ambassador of the Environment program was being offered and Jean Michel Cousteau was ... Read More
Tahiti and the PG have been a bucket list trip since we got married 18 years ago. Finally decided to go and brought the kids (15 and 13 yo) as the Ambassador of the Environment program was being offered and Jean Michel Cousteau was onboard. PG and Air Tahiti Nui went above and beyond to get our delayed luggage from...wait for it...shocker, American Airlines. Had they not gone out of their way it would have been a sad cruise for the family! Check in was non eventful and fast! Have read several reviews that said embarkation and disembarkation was a nightmare. Absolutely incorrect! Speedy, organized, and very helpful staff. Cabins were terrific. Stayed on deck 7 with a balcony and a cabin on deck 4 with a large window. If u can splurge for the balcony...do it! So wonderful to wake up and look out as you arrive at a new island everyday whilst having room service breakfast! Beds were very comfortable, American and European plugs available. We brought a small, compact power strip and didn't even use it. Amenities in the bathrooms were great (L'Occitane products) and were replaced as needed. Hair dryers available too. Food was amazing! Le Grill for lunch had a different buffet theme everyday or you could order from their menu. We only did L'Etoile for dinner as no reservations were required and we enjoyed the fact that their menu changed daily. Never a problem to get a table for four...or you could dine with other travelers if u wished. Drinks, wine, sodas galore! Pool bar offered a daily drink that was lovely. Service was extremely attentive and personalized. The staff knew your name by day 2. For example, Anthony at La Palette (bar on deck 8) would great me everyday with my Pinot Grigio as my husband and I sat to watch us sail away to our next island. Excursions were amazing. Don't miss out and book through the ship. Tender service from the ship to shore was organized and prompt. Jet ski around Bora Bora...incredible. On Fakarava, rent bikes and go for a ride to a secluded beach. On Rangiroa go visit the pearl farm. And don't miss the day on Tahaa'a! If you have kids please sign them up for the ambassador program! They learned so much from the 2 naturalists on board and went on many excursions with them. Parents were allowed to go with so we took advantage of this and met lovely families. Kids have other activities planned for them on the ship but are not obligated to go. Well worth the $ we spent to sign them up! Evening entertainment was terrific. Magician, singer, Polynesian dancers, show put on by some of the crew...hilarious! We only skipped one night as we were too exhausted to stay awake! We cannot say enough good things about the PG. A once in a lifetime trip! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Had to to stay at the Intercontinental Resort Tahiti for two nights which sadly did not live up to the image and 5 star status. Word of advice - if you drink tea and coffee take your own and the alcohol prices are ludicrous. Embarking on ... Read More
Had to to stay at the Intercontinental Resort Tahiti for two nights which sadly did not live up to the image and 5 star status. Word of advice - if you drink tea and coffee take your own and the alcohol prices are ludicrous. Embarking on the Ship Ms Paul Gaugin was so easy and we were escorted to our cabin, luggage following. The Cruise Director Michael Shapiro has already introduced himself and led us through the initial check-in and he was a delight through out the cruise; especially enjoyed his show - I am muscial theatre lover and he is incredibly talented. He took the time to talk to us throughout the cruise. The staff on board were amazing as was the service and the food; we were surprised that there was three restaurants as the ship only holds 320 passengers and they were all different. For a first cruise we would recommend it highly - their only desire appeared to be to give you an enjoyable trip - there were shows on in the Grand Salon as well as a the Santa Rosa Band and Marius on the Piano and Violin in the Piano Bar . We were honestly surprised by the very high standard of entertainment on board what is a small vessel; looking forward to our next trip. The only drawback is that the Paul Gaugin is not a family cruise ship but then they are honest about that at the start. It is a cruise for adults. ON board our trip was Tahiti Family reunion group and they also added to the ambience by playing and singing for us. SO we had a fantastic time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We had cabin 813 on the top deck. It came with a butler. The cabin was great,,a king size bed and all the closet space we needed. The veranda was large with sufficient room to have butler delivered breakfast served on it. The ship was ... Read More
We had cabin 813 on the top deck. It came with a butler. The cabin was great,,a king size bed and all the closet space we needed. The veranda was large with sufficient room to have butler delivered breakfast served on it. The ship was immaculate, the employees very pleasant and helpful. Food was superb, as good as any I have had (and I have dined in many Michelin rated restaurants) so I rate the ship as six stars. We took tours at each island and we were not disappointed with any. We had only 240 passengers on a ship that holds 350 so we never had any crowds during the ship. June is the start of the dry season so we never had rain on any of the days. There was entertainment on every night, as well as special shows on some afternoons (native dancers form a island, etc). We were met at the airport by a Paul Gauguin representative and from then on everything was taken care of. On boarding the ship we were met by our butler and escorted to our room. In short order, our luggage arrived and the butler gave us advice on unpacking which we wanted to do ourselfs. There was fresh fruit on the table in the cabin and also small finger sandwiches. We had fresh fruit every day, renewed as necessary. At 4PM small treats were delivered by the butler. The bars served a special cocktail every day as well as anything you could want. The wines available were excellent with a wide selection available. A after dinner drink of fine cognac or port was great. All were included in the cost and we never paid for anything extra except the tours. A cautionary note, the store on the ship has a great selection of gifts. If you purchase anything over $500 you have to get a tax stamp at the airport. The line at the airport to get this stamp was long and only one employee working at one window. It took over 45 minutes standing in line with only fans blowing to get the paperwork stamped. It was terrible. The airport itself was a nightmare, crowded, hot and you have to walk out to the plane and climb up the portable stairs to the claim. Disabled beware. Again, the Paul Gauguin is a fantastic experience, The 11 day cruise to the Cook islands and the Society Islands was six stars. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise ever and we initially wanted our destination to be Hawaii. We asked a friend of ours who works as a travel agent if he could suggest a good cruise line. He had heard of Paul Gauguin cruises but he wasn't sure ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and we initially wanted our destination to be Hawaii. We asked a friend of ours who works as a travel agent if he could suggest a good cruise line. He had heard of Paul Gauguin cruises but he wasn't sure if they offered Hawaii as a destination and he said he would get back to us. That night at home we started looking at information on French Polynesia and it was love at first sight. So we booked our 7 night cruise of the Society Islands almost a year in advance. What a year it was building our expectations a bit more every day to the point where I started to think that we'd probably be disappointed. Well it was exactly the opposite as our expectations were met and exceeded. The whole experience can be summed up with WOW. The service, the personnel, the food, the surroundings, the islands; everything was above and beyond. Waking up early in the morning and seeing a new island come into view or on deck as the sun goes down looking at the horizon with the next islands and a beautiful sunset as a backdrop; a real taste of paradise. The entertainment was first rate with a very good live band (Santa Rosa) and the Gauguines. We planned this trip thinking this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience as it did cost us a pretty penny but as soon as we came back home we vowed we would repeat the experience. After all, the MS Paul Gauguin does have other destinations in the South Pacific. This was a trip for our twentieth anniversary; we'll surely go back for our twenty fifth, if not before. Thank you Paul Gauguin. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I have never cruised before as my husband is a kite-boarder and didn't like the idea of being at sea with nothing to do. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had cruised on the Paul Gauguin two years ago at Thanksgiving ... Read More
My husband and I have never cruised before as my husband is a kite-boarder and didn't like the idea of being at sea with nothing to do. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had cruised on the Paul Gauguin two years ago at Thanksgiving and just raved about it. They said it was the best vacation they'd ever had. That being said, when they decided to gather a group of friends together for another cruise vacation, my SIL and BIL convinced us to join them. After reading up about the various ports we would visit and the ship itself, we became more and more excited. My in-laws told us how good the food was and how exceptional the service was. We weren't disappointed. Boy, do they have everything down to a science. Embarking and disembarking were well organized with very little waiting around. Although two of the three restaurants onboard required reservations, we were able to get reservations to accommodate our large party of 20 pretty easily. We split the group and some got seated at 7:00 pm and some got seated at 7:30 but we always sat near each other. L'Etoile restaurant did not require reservations and that was my favorite. The menu changed everyday and was always delicious. The waiters there were amazing, especially Alex, who we had throughout the whole cruise and Flo, who was our private waiter for our Marina dinner in Moorea. They came by to put the napkin in your lap and if you even took one sip of wine they came by to refill your glass. You can have room service delivered 24 hours a day and my husband and I chose to have breakfast delivered most mornings so we could sit on our deck and watch as we sailed into port. The weather was very hot and quite humid but most of our days were sunny. Unfortunately, we did run into a storm as we were headed for Bora Bora which is unfortunate for us as we honeymooned in Bora Bora 16 years ago and a cyclone came through during the week we were there in February. The seas were a little rough and many of the ladies in our group felt a little seasick but the weather turned better on day two. We had a wave runner island tour on Bora Bora scheduled for 1:30 pm on day one (of our two days on Bora Bora) and that ended up getting cancelled but the crew was very helpful and got the group rescheduled for the next day at 10:30 am. Except for a little bit of choppy seas, the tour was really fun and the weather was much better. All the excursions were well executed and the tender that took us back and forth between the ship and the islands was always on time and they really stick to the schedule. We had a cabin on deck 7 with a balcony and although the room wasn't huge it was very well appointed with a lot of storage space both in the sleeping quarters and the bathroom. The room didn't feel cramped at all. Although all the rooms have an ocean view we were really happy to have a balcony as we spent a lot of time there. We were going to just get a room with a window but decided to go ahead and do it right so we opted to go for the balcony room. Definitely worth the splurge. Many of our photos were captured from the comfort of our balcony :-) Even though our room didn't come with butler service we found that we didn't need it. We had a lovely stewardess named Marinette who was super helpful, always smiling, and seemed to always show up as we were ready to go into our cabin so she would unlock the door for us. By day two she already knew our names. Every night a stewardess would bring canapés to our room before dinner. As this was a 10-day cruise, we opted for the laundry package. We paid $174 for the entire trip (or $17.40 approximately) for all the laundry we needed cleaned. This was a total bargain because to have one dress cleaned it would have cost $9.75 and one button-down shirt was $5.50. We sent laundry out to be cleaned just about every day and on the last day we sent just about everything to the laundry so that when we got home we could just put our clothes away and not worry about washing clothes. The only caveat is that you need to sign up for the laundry service in advance, but so worth it. All of the staff were friendly, helpful, and service oriented right down to the Tahitian men and women, called Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines, who are there to provide Tahitian culture, singing, and dancing to the guests. They were beautiful, handsome, graceful, and all around awesome. They really educated the guests on the beauty, history, language and culture of Tahiti and it's people. Everything they did genuinely came from the heart. Every day there was either a craft, a dance class (they called it Tahitian Zumba), pareo tying, singing or a show to participate in or watch. I found these activities really enhanced our enjoyment of the trip to French Polynesia. We didn't just see it but we could feel it and the love these people have for their culture. Every port also had the locals selling their wares. It was a great place to pick up some souvenirs, especially pareos and jewelry. Our cruise was booked on pgcruises.com and so everything we needed was provided, from pre-cruise hotel reservations, to airline reservations, to transfers so it was pretty seamless from the moment we stepped off the plane. Even though we brought money so we could exchange for French Francs, we really didn't need much because everything was provided, including tips. We did use the money for some souvenirs but found that many of the local vendors at the various ports accepted American dollars. We ended up coming home with much of the money we brought. Although we said this was a once in a lifetime trip it was so amazing and we made such good friends that we know that we'll be back again. It was just to great to just do once. We have been to French Polynesia twice before and we just adore Moorea but a cruise is a great way to get to see more of the islands but just unpack once. Highly, highly recommend the Paul Gauguin!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The cruise was incredible. We were able to visit 6 islands plus Tahiti having the opportunity to experience much of the diversity of the Society and Tuamotus(the atolls). I was reluctant to take a cruise as my wife and I do not generally ... Read More
The cruise was incredible. We were able to visit 6 islands plus Tahiti having the opportunity to experience much of the diversity of the Society and Tuamotus(the atolls). I was reluctant to take a cruise as my wife and I do not generally don't enjoy large tours, crowds or waiting around for food, trips etc. Once we were free of the air flight our worries were unfounded. The boat logistics were nearly flawless and exceeded our expectations. Our cabin with a balcony was nicely set up although a little tight for those accustomed to hotel suites; We were able to adapt with a little bit of organization. I found the front desk very helpful in selecting our activities and planning our days. The boat seemed able to accommodate our activity needs and those our the rest of the guests without difficulty. We were able to arrange excursions at the last minute without difficulty. I recommend visiting each of the islands with or without an excursion as they are unique and offer an chance to observe the natural beauty or the local Polynesians. French Polynesia is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Scuba program on board is top notch. My experience in diving in Mexico and Central America had left with concerns about safety when diving outside the US. The staff on PG were very well trained and focused on safety providing top service. I took three dive trips on my cruise and all of them were very well planned and run. The dives on Rangiroa and Fakarava were the best of my life. We dove in small groups with a well trained and attentive dive master ensuring a safe and fantastic dive for everyone. On couple of dives We had a diver that had a problem that was swiftly and carefully handled so that we could all have great and complete dive. Most divers have experienced a dive that was cut short because the dive master could not handle the situation. Bon travail Thomas! The service very good and I found all of the crew members to be helpful and friendly. The food was quite good for the venue. Breakfast was above average buffet with an option from a basic menu. Fresh fruit is the obvious highlight. Lunch was a very good buffet - similar to what you might see a Whole Foods. Each day had a unique theme and I tended to focus on salads and fish which were in all cases fresh and well prepared. Dinner in all three venues were restaurant style with limited menu that changed somewhat during the trip. All three restaurants were very good with slight variations from each other. They did seem similar in terms menu items and service. There was the distinctive french(continental) style of at least three courses that takes at least a couple of hours. While I was happy to have the fine dinning experience every night,my spouse found it a bit overwhelming every night especially on days with big activities. I recommend room service for those kind of evenings which we found to be outstanding during dinner. They essentially offer the L'Etoille menu-which is quite nice. On hind sight we would done this more often. Be sure to get to the sun deck at night to watch the stars. Wine-most readers mIght want to skip this part. I live in northern CA and have made wine with friends for many years. I know wine and I have clear preferences. I do not like new world Chardonnay and avoid Cabernet of the same style. Outside of those exceptions I enjoy the diversity and distinctiveness of the world's wine. The ship did offer wines that were great (keeping in mind the price point) it just took some effort to get them. The two bars Pallette and the Pool bar dialed me in after the second day and they seem to be having fun springing out interesting wines on me. I wasn't asking for anything particularly expensive - just unusual. For the dinning room staff it was hit or miss. They were all quite good at basic service- their wine knowledge was inconsistent. Some waitstaff really only seem to get white or red - it was not a language issue - it was education. For me it would bring your wine program from good to great. The entertainment was pretty good. The Gauguins and Gauguines were fantastic. Not only were they authentic performers they were a presence throughout the trip. Seeing traditional Polynesian dance and art is great but to be able talk to them about their culture brought a new level of appreciation. I was able to take away an appreciation of both place and the people. I cannot image a better way to experience this beautiful place. I expected to have a great trip. I had the experience of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We did the 7 night Society Islands cruise for our honeymoon in December and it was perfect! We booked a pre-cruise hotel package through Paul Gauguin at the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora (we actually got married here as well) and ... Read More
We did the 7 night Society Islands cruise for our honeymoon in December and it was perfect! We booked a pre-cruise hotel package through Paul Gauguin at the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora (we actually got married here as well) and it was beautiful! All of our travel arrangements and transfers were taken care of so we didn't have to worry about a thing. Embarkation went smoothly - we were warmly welcomed upon arrival and after checking in at reception, we were given a tour of the ship and then shown to our cabin #814. The cabin was very nice with a living room, comfy bed and a nice balcony. The location was perfect - close to Le Grill, the pool deck, and La Palette. We ate at at all three restaurants - Le Veranda was our favorite for lunch and for the views. Le Etoile was our favorite for the cuisine. We also ordered room service for a few meals as well. The room service was exceptional. I ordered a pot of coffee every morning at 4:00 (I had to spend some time studying for a final exam during our cruise), and it arrived hot and fresh within 5 minutes of ordering each time. This was our first cruise, so we have nothing to compare it with, however several of our fellow passengers told us that we have set the bar high with Paul Gauguin. I can believe it! The staff was fantastic! Our butler, Jonathan, was very friendly as were all of the wait staff, bartenders, and everyone else. We were greeted by name wherever we went, and we never wanted for a thing. We also met some of the nicest people on this cruise. We would see familiar faces each day on the tenders, at the restaurants, and the excursions. We seemed to know everyone by the second day! We chose to do one excursion each day - mornings, so that we would have the rest of the day free to explore the ship and attend some of the activities available at La Palette. We did Marc's tour on Huahine: this was probably our least favorite and also the only one we booked outside of Paul Gauguin. I know others have written on Cruise Critic about how great this was, but we found it to be really lacking in terms of the sites visited , the picnic itself, and the snorkeling. Maybe it was just an off day. We attended the BBQ on Tahaa: this was a nice relaxing day (not too much rain) and the food was really good. On Bora Bora, we did the wave runner one day (my husband had a blast - I just prayed that I would be able to hold on) and the Stingray Ballet the second day. The Stingray Ballet was our favorite - standing in beautiful turquoise water with stingrays and fish surrounding you. We even saw a few sharks swimming around us. The snorkeling sites our guide took us to were the best we'd ever experienced. On Moorea, we did the ATV tour: this was a lot of fun. Our guide was great and he took us to some beautiful spots. We did Dr Poole's dolphin expedition on the second day and it was as fantastic as I've heard. We saw lots of dolphins and Dr. Poole was very entertaining. I can't say enough about the Paul Gauguin or the Intercontinental Thalasso! They both provide an incredible experience. We are already planning our next trip - except the next time we are going to add a post-cruise trip in addition to the pre-cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband treated me to this cruise for our 20th anniversary. We travel to Europe and the Caribbean every year. We are not cruise people. This was our first cruise. We chose to take this cruise because it was a small boat and we could see ... Read More
My husband treated me to this cruise for our 20th anniversary. We travel to Europe and the Caribbean every year. We are not cruise people. This was our first cruise. We chose to take this cruise because it was a small boat and we could see many of the islands without having to take small planes from one island to another. Also we had no idea what to see or do in Tahiti. we read the reviews and decided to give it a try. Hard to not sound over the top but it was magnificent from the moment we stepped onto the ship. Even though we travel a lot we were anxious as we do not ever cruise and had some negative feelings about cruises. We were on the 8th floor in a large room with a lovely balcony which was so worth the money. Sitting on your own private balcony and watching the beautiful ocean and scenery while enjoying a cocktail and snack just cant be beat! Our room was lovely.....very well appointed. Big bed,bath and plenty of storage space. We brought so much stuff but there was no problem storing any of it. We had 6 suitcases...all fit under the bed. There were so many cubbies and places to put things. We own a boat and were amazed at the storage. We had a butler! And what a wonderful human being he was. When we talk about the cruise (which we do daily) we always say what we miss most is Abner!!! He made the cruise for us. He was so informative, cheerful and kind. He really deserves some sort of award for his treatment of guests. if you think having a butler is a wasteful indulgence, you just have never had one. He had our clothes pressed and back in our closet before dinner on the very first night. Abner advised us on everything including what excursions he thought we might enjoy. Having him appear every morning with our breakfast and saying "good morning!"...how are you today? What will you be doing today? was the perfect beginning to everyday. The excursions were wonderful and we did a lot of them. My husband scuba dived three times and we took many snorkeling trips and a whale watch tour. We rented a car in Moorea. Thank you Abner! We went to Bloody Marys in Bora Bora. We did a lot but it was all so effortless. The Gauguin makes these excursions so very easy and stress free. You get a schedule the day before of all the wonderful things you can do the next day and you just pick what you want. What could be easier? The food was so very good. We eat in NYC a lot and we know good food! Excellent selections and preparations. The Grill was our least favorite but perhaps we caught them on a bad night. All the waiters and restaurant managers were outstanding. We ate every breakfast in our room on our balcony. Ok....one more time.....Thank You Abner! Great selections and presentations. We often were not on the boat for lunch......no problem. Room service whenever....what ever you want. The entertainment was just right. A lot of the local culture was provided with beautiful costumes and wonderful music. We didn't go on a cruise to Tahiti to see plays we see on Broadway! Lets face it, after dinner we were pretty wiped out. An hour show was just right. A nightcap and off to bed. A big Broadway production would have been too much. Almost everyone we met was very active during the day. A special thanks to Steve the cruise director. We had the pleasure of dining with him one night and it was a great evening. He also was responsible for the shows every night. The ship is immaculate. Housekeeping the best we ever had. Our room was constantly being picked up as soon as we left it. Really unbelievable service. When we booked our trip our consultant wisely suggested we a night or two on and stay at one of the bungalows at the Hotel Intercontinental. We stayed two nights in a bungalow out in the ocean. Best suggestion ever. We were actually pretty tired after all of our wonderful adventures. It was so wonderful to just relax in our own little bungalow and go swimming right off our deck. Again, everything first class and wonderful. . We would highly suggest doing this. We were really totally rested when we began our journey home. Everyone complains about the flight from LAX to Tahiti. Not us! We each took an Ambien and slept on both legs of the journey. No big deal. And yes Tahiti Airlines was very nice. All in all.............the trip of a lifetime. Although we are already saving up to do it again! This will spoil you for all other vacations ever..........promise!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My husband and I took a 7 day cruise on the m/s Paul Gauguin. We truly had an amazing time. This was our first time on a cruise! We took a direct afternoon flight from LAX to Papeete. The flight was fine going to Tahiti, but coming ... Read More
My husband and I took a 7 day cruise on the m/s Paul Gauguin. We truly had an amazing time. This was our first time on a cruise! We took a direct afternoon flight from LAX to Papeete. The flight was fine going to Tahiti, but coming back on the redeye............. I think we may have to plan things differently next time. I will not bore you with all the details but our stateroom, the food, certain shore excursions, service, was above expectation! The first time in our stateroom, I noticed the bathroom was not too clean but after I brought this up to the reception desk, our room was cleaned and perfect after that. No complaints for the remainder of the trip. There is one thing I must warn you: If you have a post room at the Radisson and transfer to the airport, please CONFIRM with the reception desk if you want to go directly to the hotel and opt out the 2 1/2 hour tour before they drop you off. (if you want to do the tour, then this warning does not apply to you). My husband and I were expected to go directly to the Radisson on our last day of the cruise. Later when we were already on the bus, the guide of Tahiti Trans mentions you will be on this bus for 2 1/2 hours before we drive you directly to the hotel. I looked at my husband as we never signed up for this and I was not feeling too well that day. When we reached the first stop, I kindly asked the guide if she can take my husband and I straight to the Radisson as they have to pass by it on their next our stop. Myvia (was her name) said she cannot do this and she had to follow the schedule. Your kidding me? So if someone is sick.......you will not do anything about this? She said we could walk to the hotel and carry our own carry on luggage. So, that is what we did. I was surprised that PG would use this transit service if this is the way they treat their customers. So, I just wanted to share this experience with you so you do not have to go through what we went through. I was told that PG gives you the option to opt out of the tour if you are transferred to the Radisson, the sad thing about this, is that we never receive the form that was suppose to be delivered to our stateroom to opt out. Therefore they just stick you on the tour without asking you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
My mother and I departed from Los Angeles on Air Tahiti Nui(ATN) on an over night flight. We exchanged about $150 USD for XPF at the LA airport for a $6 charge. We wanted to pay cabs and food upon arrival in XPF. You can exchange money on ... Read More
My mother and I departed from Los Angeles on Air Tahiti Nui(ATN) on an over night flight. We exchanged about $150 USD for XPF at the LA airport for a $6 charge. We wanted to pay cabs and food upon arrival in XPF. You can exchange money on the ship for a great rate! ATN Flight-The seats were comfortable a dinner was served around 1am and breakfast around 3:30-4am. Both were good. The flight was a little bumpy. ATN gave out blankets, pillows, head phones, night mask, socks and ear plugs to each passenger. There were 8 different movies to watch. We arrived in Tahiti at 5:30am. We booked a day room at the Sofitel for $120 USD. It had 2 single beds a free bottle of water and some instant coffee/tea. Bring an adapter for your plugs as most if not all of the hotels have European outlets. The cab to get to the Sofitel was 1700xpf. June, July, August are the South Pacific's winter months so bring a light jacket and one pair of comfy pants/sweat pants for the cold days on deck. We arrived to board the ship at 3pm and were ushered right on. They took our bags up. It took about 15 min. altogether. We had a balcony stateroom with 2 single beds. The room was a good size with PLENTY of storage. The bathroom had a tub and more storage. There is NO outlet in the bathroom. The room had 1 US outlet near the room vanity and one near the TV. There are also European outlets in the same spots. There is not good lighting near the vanity. Room service was quick and good. Our chamber maid Erlinda was AMAZING. The balconies have ample space. There was always fresh fruit and soda/water/beer/ice in the fridge. The reception desk has free motion sickness pills. The boat does rock while cruising. We had one rough night that many passengers were sick. I brought ginger and non drowsy pills but the ships pills worked best. They will give you whatever you need. Food was fabulous, drinks were filled constantly and the atmosphere is wonderful. The ship gives you a schedule the night before. Some ports have free shuttles and some ports you need to pay for shuttles and taxis when you get off. We never had a problem getting a cab. You can rent cars/scooters but get there early as they run out. We did 3 excursions separate from the boat. The best was on Aitutaki island. We did TeKings' 5 island snorkel. It was amazing. TeKing is a riot and the snorkeling/islands were top notch. We met so many great people on this excursion. Each island takes different currency. It is best to have USD and XPF. I can't say enough about what a great experience this was. I met so many wonderful people. I am hoping to go back again some day. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
After a very comfortable flight at the pointy end of the plane from Los Angeles to Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui, we spent 3 nights in the Intercontinental Papeete in a Panorama room overlooking the sand bottomed swimming pool - We just could ... Read More
After a very comfortable flight at the pointy end of the plane from Los Angeles to Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui, we spent 3 nights in the Intercontinental Papeete in a Panorama room overlooking the sand bottomed swimming pool - We just could not justify the over $600 for an over-water bungalow as we were going on a cruise. This hotel was rated 4.5 - 5 stars. I would suggest after experiencing the hotel that some major work needs to be done on the resort, as it is very "tired" in appearance. Our room was in need of renovation and a few other people that we spoke to around the pool commented similarly. We ate breakfast in the hotel one day which was awful and extremely expensive at $50 a head! Our rating for this hotel = 3.5. Oh by the way, my wife was unhappy at having to pay over $50 in the spa for a nail varnish colour change, something that costs her at most $15 at home. We ate dinner in the "gourmet" Le Lotus restaurant, we are foodies and were looking forward to this - This meal was a joke! Startlingly expensive for overly fussy, pretentious, reasonably presented but failed miserably to deliver in almost every aspect except the setting. My wife's meal was truly dreadful, mine slightly less dreadful - We didn't ask for dessert! You can dress up a dog to look good but in the end it is still a dog! The best food we had in Tahiti was in the Roulottes, downtown with a truly memorable introduction to Poisson Cru sampled at a simple food van followed by well prepared and very tasty Steak Frites! Other samplings were done during the trip but none came close to that one. The food at the Roulottes venue, whilst not cheap was certainly very affordable and enjoyable. On to the main event - The MS Paul Gauguin - Our butler veranda stateroom was very nice indeed with a super comfortable bed. The cabin was meticulously maintained/serviced at least twice a day by Herlin (what an angel) every day. As far as the much vaunted butler service was concerned - I was disappointed with it, I have to say and suggest that it is not worth the extra expense. Room service would have been just as quick without the butler. The ship as a whole had some minor internal cosmetic issues - watermarked carpets (first thing that you see when you board the ship), cabin fixtures were dinged and scraped, bathroom fixtures such as the sink, toilet, tiles were cracked and scraped. Overall though these deficiencies did not detract from our experience. The service in the restaurants, bars and poolside was truly excellent with waiting staff remembering your names and drink preferences. The Maitre' d's in the restaurants, especially Ivan in the Veranda were truly excellent. Oscar on the pool deck was also excellent and attentive. Thomas, one of the sommeliers was so attentive that he was responsible for me breaking out into the premium wine list! Overall the food was very good, although a little repetitive with menu items switching between restaurants as well as the whole menu changing halfway through the cruise. Shellfish menu items were very seldom seen. For dinner, the best food we found to be in Etoile with the Veranda providing nicely presented fare which didn't deliver on flavour (a bit pretentious). The Grill on the top deck we only visited once and were slightly disappointed. Room service was also excellent. The wine selection available throughout the cruise was very good. Maybe it was just me, but the staff manning the reception and excursion/tour desk were very snooty, replete with an attitude that really aggravated me, giving me incorrect information on more than one occasion. They usually seemed to be "bothered" when fielding our questions! The ships officers were very friendly and accommodating. One major point as far as I was concerned - I had completed the Paul Gauguin website form asking for what we wanted stocked in our stateroom bar, what pillows we wanted and if we were celebrating an event, such as anniversary, honeymoon etc (it was our 25th wedding anniversary) - Unfortunately, none of this information made its way to the ship. When commented on this to the Hotel Manager whose name escapes me (I am sorry whoever you are), he made up for it by placing a nice chilled bottle of champagne in our suite - thank you. The Gauguine's were good to look at but their singing and entertainment became very repetitive with every song sounding pretty much the same. My wife felt that a few male, scantily dressed, Gauguine's would have been much better! :-) I would suggest that if you are not into SCUBA that the Tuomotus should be left off your cruise itinerary as there is absolutely nothing to do on Rangiroa or Fakarava otherwise and we felt that these islands did not enrich our experience or warrant getting on or off the tender to shore. There is also the stability issue of a shallow draft ship in open ocean - my wife was seasick on the two open ocean (as opposed to what I call inter island or just within the Society group of islands) nights. She could not eat for two nights because of this unfortunately - no ones fault! The rest of the time she was fine. In short, if you are prone to seasickness then suffice it to say that you will probably be seasick on this ship if it is on one of those long distance legs, eg., Tuamotus, Marquesas or Cook Islands. She was not the only one, by the way, as some 20 stateroom occupants were similarly afflicted as well as a significant number of the staff. I was told this on a couple of occasions by one or two of the staff in casual conversation. We had opted for the Paul Gauguin organised transfer to a day room in the Radisson for 4 hours or so along with the final transfer to the airport. I was glad that I didn't have to spend any longer in this dingy hotel than that ($9 for a regular bottle of Tahitian water, come on...) - enough said! To wrap up, we really enjoyed our time in French Polynesia and would visit again with a different itinerary - Moorea was our favourite island by a long way, we would stay in a resort there for four or so days. We would do the Paul Gauguin again but only on a 7 day cruise and only within one set of islands (because of the reason mentioned above), i.e., The Society islands. Our brief visit to Huahine was probably enough but enjoyable nonetheless. Bora Bora, whilst amazing to view from the ocean was disappointing in itself - The lagoon is impossibly beautiful with the ring of motus surrounding. I realise now why all the high end resorts are on these motus..... so that the lucky guests can view Bora Bora at its finest, from a distance! I have covered Rangiroa and Fakarava above (how its possible for people to live their lives on these tiny ribbons of land miles from anywhere is beyond me). Taha'a would have been nice to see, but we spent all our time at Paul Gauguin's private motu during a great day. Oh, and make sure that you have lots of room on your credit card for your trip to French Polynesia! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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