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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Visiting the South Pacific has always been a dream of mine. As my wife was approaching her 60th birthday we decided to make this dream a reality and chose Paul Gauguin cruises. First, we are ardent cruisers having done more than 30 to ... Read More
Visiting the South Pacific has always been a dream of mine. As my wife was approaching her 60th birthday we decided to make this dream a reality and chose Paul Gauguin cruises. First, we are ardent cruisers having done more than 30 to date. We are not brand loyal and choose our cruises based upon their itineraries. Prior to Paul Gauguin, our smallest ship had been the Oceania Nautica at 682 passengers. There was quite a bit to like about this cruise: staterooms were much larger than expected given the size of the ship and number of passengers. There was a lot of shelving space available, more than enough for all of our clothing and other assorted goods. Embarkation was a breeeze. We were told in advance that boarding would begin at 3:00 pm. At 2:55 we were given the OK and were in our stateroom within minutes. Our bags were promptly delivered within a half hour. The food and service were the best we've experienced on any of our cruises. Whether in the main dining room or either specialty restaurant, service quality was high and the food was excellent, though I would give La Verandah a slight edge in ambience and menu. I would really like to highlight amazing service offered by Raffy, one of the head waiters. My wife has a gluten allergy which we reported prior to sailing. Raffy was in charge of 36 people with dietary issues. Each night, he would find us and present us with the menu for the next day, whether it be in the main dining room or one of the specialty restaurant. One night, we went to the wrong restaurant and he still tracked us down. Unlike other ships, my wife could order anything on the menu and it would be prepared gluten free. Incredible service!!! On another occasion, I had slipped on an excursion and skinned my knee quite badly. William, one of the deck stewards, we had gotten to know quite well, noticed my injured knee and promptly brought a first aid kit and attended my injury. He cleansed the would with alcohol, sterilized it with iodine and then gave me some bandages to help protect it. Once again, great service above the call of duty. Our cruise director, Artur, was a quirky fellow... in a good way. He had a very impish personality and always seemed to have a glint in his eye. He was also a very good magician and hosted a few sessions with interesting sleight of hand. I also have to give kudos to the crew who supported the tender transfers. At Rarotonga, sea swells had to be at least 8 feet, yet they still managed to get people ashore and back. Four able bodied seamen had the routine down pat to time the swell and help passengers move to/from the ship and tender. I've been on other cruises with much calmer seas where tenders had been cancelled. On the other hand, there were a couple of concerns about this cruise that I would like to express. This ship was designed with a shallow hull to facilitate transit in lagoons. This design element was also a deficiency in the deep seas. This was without question, the rockiest ship I have ever been on. Even in relatively mild seas, this ship yawed and rolled quite a bit. The ship is also showing its age. It could use a refurb to bring it up to current cruise standards. There is some wear and tear and it lacks what is now basic technology on other cruise ships. For example, they are going paperless with their itineraries posting them electronically on the TV set in your stateroom and in the elevators. This proved to be quite a nuisance. If they want to save paper I would recommend sharing this information electronically on free WIFI as many other cruise lines now do. Finally, and I profess that I like to be entertained, I found entertainment on this ship lacking in both variety and quality. As a luxury cruiseline, I expected a higher standard. Although "Les Gaugines" were excellent hostesses, their routines became repetitive by the end of an 1 day cruise. During the day, activities were limited as well. I am used to having options on larger cruise ships and would have appreciated a bit more variety on this one. Evening shows were adequate, with British singing duo of Mark and Abby being a standout, as was the Polynesian dance troupe from Tahiti. All in all though, this was a great cruise and is one that I would recommend. Happy to answer any questions you may have. Read Less
31 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Heard about how good this line was and tried it. It was better than expected. 5 Star/Excellent rating in my book. Check in was speedy and EXCELLENT Cabin was clean and perfect EXCELLENT Ship ... Read More
Heard about how good this line was and tried it. It was better than expected. 5 Star/Excellent rating in my book. Check in was speedy and EXCELLENT Cabin was clean and perfect EXCELLENT Ship was EXCELLENT Staff was EXCELLENT Excursions were EXCELLENT Food was EXCELLENT Dinning was the highlight every day. 15 staff in dining room each meal including trained sommelier with excellent wine suggestions. Cruise is all inclusive with no tipping of staff, wine and drinks included (some special liquors have a charge), mini-bar in cabin included. Absolutely the best trip we have ever done. If I had to find something less than perfect it would be that two singers sang off key :-) Tours of the bridge, galley and engine room are not advertised but ask at reception desk on first day.. Small ship, 330 pax and 550 feet long. If you want a great cruise this is the one! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My partner and I just completed an 11 night cruise through Society and Cook Islands. The experience was phenomenal. This was not our first time in these islands but it was our first time cruising. The Paul Gauguin is a lovely luxury ship. ... Read More
My partner and I just completed an 11 night cruise through Society and Cook Islands. The experience was phenomenal. This was not our first time in these islands but it was our first time cruising. The Paul Gauguin is a lovely luxury ship. Great food, clean and pleasant decor, extremely friendly and efficient staff - especially the dive operation, room service and wait staff. Of course, the ports are amazing and the excursions diverse - the travel desk is very accommodating and search for other options at your request. The staff as well as the passengers were totally accepting of us as a same sex couple and made every effort to make us feel included, welcomed and part of the scene. That has not always been my experience and it has made me leery of "straight" cruises in the past. This was a very pleasant surprise. The primary disappointment we had on the cruise was the diversity of entertainment and onboard activiites. The entertainment needs to be reviewed and upgraded. While the performers were pleasant enough, they aren't "star" quality. Also, there needs to be more diverse entertainment in other areas of the ship (restaurants, bars, etc.). There's not a lot to do onboard ship during the day and that should be addressed. One bright spot is the Enrichment Series of lectures - very informative and passionate speakers on polynesian culture and history. Another major source of dissatisfaction is the expensive and dicey internet service. I spent almost $500 on internet service. I am still employed and had to check in often, download some documents, etc. I think the cruise ship needs to upgrade their service and their pricing model. If planes can have internet at 40,000 ft, I'm not sure why a cruise ship can't. I also overhead people complain about wanting to send pictures home to family, facetime, etc., and it is not practical to do so. The cruise line needs to "get with it" if they want to attract a younger professional passenger. All in all, it was a great cruise, a wonderful ship, amazing ports of call and very pleasant staff. We can highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
There is absolutely no comparable experience to being on the m/s Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific. This was our third time back onboard...and certainly not our last. Thanks to our wonderful travel agent, we were upgraded to the Paul ... Read More
There is absolutely no comparable experience to being on the m/s Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific. This was our third time back onboard...and certainly not our last. Thanks to our wonderful travel agent, we were upgraded to the Paul Gauguin Grand Suite (801) at the front of the ship above the bridge. This itinerary was 14 days to the Marquesas, Tuamotu, and Society Islands. First time to Huahine...an absolutely spectacular island. The beauty Marquesas Islands were as beautiful as they are remote. Due to a critical accident which required that a passenger be airlifted back to Papeete, we had an additional day at sea (a total of five). Many passengers do not like sea days, but we think that it provides extra relaxation since you are not rushing to an excursion and they are also great days to take advantage of the spa services! We bought bicycles in Papeete at Pacific Cycles for about $250 each and brought them on board. We were able to ride on many of the islands and it was a great way to sight see and get some exercise. At the end of the cruise, we donated the bikes to the crew so that they have them to use when they are allowed to have some time off the ship. There is much conversation about whether a balcony and/or butler is worth the expense. We have had both on all three trips and to us there are well worth it. Our stateroom had two balconies including a huge one on the front of the ship. We spent a lot of time on the balconies as were arrived/departed ports, watching sunsets and star gazing. Our butlers, Shernan and Abner, absolutely made the trip special. Each afternoon one would show up with cocktails and appetizers just in time for sunset. They also made reservations in the various restaurants and handled a variety of special requests with a smile. There has also been a lot of discussion about PG during the Regent days vs. post Regent. Having been on both sides of that fence, let me assure any doubters that the experience has actually improved under the new leadership. They have implemented ways to enhance the experience including a Block Party where everyone brings a wine glass into the hall and socializes with other passengers while the crew serves wine (sounded cheesy, but it was a lot of fun!) and a sail away gathering in the bridge for repeat passengers. The entertainment on board is always fun. Michael Shapiro is the hardest working Cruise Director in the industry. While the ship does not have big productions and high priced talent, the shows are always fun. The band (Santa Rosa) and pianist (Rueben) are very talented. The food is outstanding. Chef Grant and the entire restaurant/bar staff do an outstanding job of keeping it interesting over the length of the cruise. Lots of fresh fish and produce purchased at ports along the way. The wine selections each day were great...and included! All said, the best part of the cruise continues to be the service. Each and every staff member went out of their way to make everything perfect...without exception. Everyone was smiling and cheerful...and called guests by their names after day one. We were able to view the new decor plans that will take place during the January dry dock and 2012 passengers are in for a treat. The colors/fabrics are more tropical and lush. Every part of the ship will get a new look and should be spectacular. If you are planning your first trip on Paul Gauguin...be aware! This is a "trip of a lifetime" that you will want to take over and over! Read Less
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