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77 Paul Gauguin Cruises Romantic Cruise Reviews

So, this cruise was highly recommended by our travel agent and so we listened and booked it. So right from the get-go after final payment we received the airline reservations for a flight out of LAX that would not arrive until 10:30PM in ... Read More
So, this cruise was highly recommended by our travel agent and so we listened and booked it. So right from the get-go after final payment we received the airline reservations for a flight out of LAX that would not arrive until 10:30PM in Papeete and then they would transfer you to the ship. I am saying why? So, we'll board at Midnight? Yes. Well there goes your boarding experience and no dinner for that evening. Meeting at the airport and transfers to the ship were great, waiting and standing in the rain to board not so much fun. Day 1 of cruise gone! Cabin was great, luggage was already there waiting. The ship is quite old, but clean. I have no real complaints about the ship. Dining experiences were awesome all credit goes to the staff. The menus at the 2 restaurants that you must make reservations for have the same menu every night (bad idea). Earliest you can eat dinner is 6:30PM Food was very good though. All entertainment starts at 9:30PM and that just does not work for us, we did manage to stay up for the Beatles from the Philippines but ended up leaving early, they tried, but sorry out of sync and out of tune. It was the only show we went to. Other activities were going on throughout the days and evenings and the ones we did go to were good. But it should be mentioned that a lot of these activities start at 6:30PM so we did not get to meet the Captain as we had dinner reservations, we did not get to make a Tahitian flower crown for the wife as we had dinner reservations. The fitness center is very small and very crowded and most time we had to wait for a machine to workout. The Public rooms, Bars we awesome and we had a good time. Service throughout the ship was excellent as well as the staff, enough cannot be said about the wonderful staff. The shore excursions we took were average and nothing to get excited about. So let's talk about the Islands...first one we go to is Huahine and I have to say why? Why the heck do they go there? Tender from the ship to the opposite side of the Island and take the shuttle to town 30 minutes away and two stores were open, gezzz what a waste of time. Second one is their private Island Taha'a and it was great and had a good time there until it rained, and everyone scrambles to get back to the ship via tender. Third stop Bora Bora for two days. Toured the Island and went shopping, second day went on the glass bottom boat, it was OK but overcrowded. Next stop Moorea for two days, day one it rained the whole time of our tour around the town and the shops we went to, OK but missed all photo opportunities due to the clouds. Second day we went shopping until it started raining again and again a battle for the tender back. I believe Moorea would have been by far the best Island, but rain prevented most of the great experiences. So finally, back to Papeete and we get there at 7:00PM and receive our Dis-Embarkation instructions, I thought embarkation was bad this was really bad. Must be out of cabin by 9:00AM and can't leave the ship until 12:30PM Breakfast does not start till 9:00AM so 3 hours of sitting or waiting, what to do? They do allow you to walk into town, which we did and went shopping and were back by 11:00AM just in time for lunch. Then we wait till 12:30PM to get off and found out the bus was going to take us on a 2.5-hour tour "to waste time" as the guide said because the Hotel they were taking us to was not ready for us. The tour was OK, and the Hotel was very nice but all you get is a room for 4 hours to kill before you have to check out and wait in the lobby for another 1.5 hours before the bus takes you to the airport for your Midnight flight back home. After loading the bus and luggage in a van we get to the airport at 9:15PM and wait another 2.5 hours before boarding. The flight back to LAX is 8 hours and I can’t sleep on a plane, never could sleep in an upright position. So, from 6:00AM in Tahiti to 1:00PM home 33 hours later is not how I would have planned it. We did get about 2-3 hours sleep in the Hotel in Tahiti and wife slept on the plane home. My advice, don’t book your travel plans through Paul Gauguin, book your own flight and get your own Hotel if you need one and get there 1 day before because the earliest flights all seem to get there after 6:30PM and boarding starts at 3:00PM. Also, the earliest flight home starts at 8:40PM so again I would get a Hotel going home (even though you may not spend the night), some place to go and relax before going to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wow, what a fantastic experience! My wife and I had been looking forward to seeing the Marquesas islands for the first time. The Gauguin only makes a few trips to these wonderful islands 3 or 4 times per year. There is simply no better ... Read More
Wow, what a fantastic experience! My wife and I had been looking forward to seeing the Marquesas islands for the first time. The Gauguin only makes a few trips to these wonderful islands 3 or 4 times per year. There is simply no better way to visit them. Over the span of a week, we were able to visit 4 unique islands and their authentic local population. Some islands have only 350-850 residents. We met locals who were so proud to show us their islands. Some of the sights were awe inspiring. It's impossible to overstate how much we appreciated the ship's crew and their friendliness. We were onboard only a few days and everyone seemed to know our names. Our cabin was nice, with a balcony. Our stewardess Sharonette kept things tidy and clean every day. The included fully stocked mini bar was always replenished. We had room service breakfast quite a few times, especially nice on the sea days so we could sleep in. The casino had tournaments for roulette and black jack and we had a great time even when I lost. Casino hosts Roderick and Mirella were outstanding. The dining is exceptional, our favorite was the lobster dinner. My wife and I liked it so much John Paul our waiter ordered us another entrée to our surprise and enjoyment. The sommelier Eduardo is top notch and we loved his choices. The trip was an experience my wife and I will always cherish. The ship, it's crew and islands are truly an incredible combination. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Was for our 10th wedding anniversary ,disappointed in the ship and how old it is inside for the 1st since we have cruised we didnt take any pictures of the interior ,the only good thing is that it's going in for major changes just ... Read More
Was for our 10th wedding anniversary ,disappointed in the ship and how old it is inside for the 1st since we have cruised we didnt take any pictures of the interior ,the only good thing is that it's going in for major changes just dont change the crew they are excellent had a great room attendant and server manny in la veranda , love the stops in Bora,Janine,tahaa,moorea fakarava was nothing special unless you dive , the average age was mayb an issue but it's the ships decor that was real bad ,room service was great food was good enough just was expecting more for the money we spent but in the end although the crew were good it didnt justify the money spent free wifi and some excursions would have made it a better deal but it just the look of the interior of the ship which will remain with us just wasnt luxury at all even at the tender arrivals old carpets and nothing luxurious about waiting area other cruise lines do a better job but I'll be honest this is our opinion because people looked happy mayb just wasn't for us . Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband & I had saved up for our 25th anniversary to go to Tahiti. It was SO worth the wait! No lines anywhere - and they treat you like royalty. The ship is the perfect size. The staterooms are so comfortable. We got a balcony ... Read More
My husband & I had saved up for our 25th anniversary to go to Tahiti. It was SO worth the wait! No lines anywhere - and they treat you like royalty. The ship is the perfect size. The staterooms are so comfortable. We got a balcony room near the front on Deck 7, and were not disappointed. I enjoyed the entertainment at night when I could stay awake that late(!). The dancers are very good. Mahana took us on a ship tour the first afternoon. She was adorable. We tried all 3 restaurants, but we found that the “Veranda” was a bit too fancy for our tastes. Actually, our favorite foods were at the private motu (Taha’a stop) and our ship excursion to a motu in Moorea. We enjoyed the continental breakfast items in the back of the ship every morning. All the croissants you could dream of! All of the ports were just amazing!! SO many shades of blue in the crystal clear water!! Abundant sea life to explore while snorkeling. We saw the huge manta rays, swam with black tip reef sharks, saw a baby whale breaching, spotted eagle rays in large groups, watched dolphins playing. I was amazed at all the different vibrant colors of the clams (oysters?!) in the water. Bright turquoise, royal blue, green, purple, tan, etc. And if you attend the talk onboard about how they cultivate the “black pearls” that Tahiti is known for, it’s very interesting. We enjoyed the pool on the ship and had it all to ourselves! It was crazy! We hardly ever saw anyone in the nice plush lounge chairs around the pool. Maybe the sun is just too intense there for most of the “older” clientele. So if you want to be pampered on your vacation and skip the crowds of the colossal cruise ships, take a Paul Gauguin Cruise. We would highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 ... Read More
We have been to Tahiti in the past, but never taken a cruise. We decided to give it a try so we could experience several islands and excursions in a short amount of time, without having to worry about accommodations or dining. There were 8 of us in our group ranging from 8 to 82 years old. Overall, the ports of call, excursions, crew service, food and cabin were superb. We loved the fact that it was a small cruise (300+ passengers) because everything was more personal. The Good - The food was top notch. Good breakfast and lunch selection and very good dinner selections. The waiters were very attentive. - The cabin was comfortable and nice, but the extras (food, cleanliness, special requests, etc) made it special. - The excursions were entertaining and varied; scuba departing from the on-ship marina was a very nice touch. Room for Improvement - It was somewhat of a hassle having to stay in a hotel a day before departure and during the day of disembarkation. In addition, it wasn't clear what kind of food was included at the hotel; the food was just OK and expensive. - The pool is definitely small and it more for show than actual usage. - The online excursion reservation system was fine, but make sure you do it before the cutoff date. - The entertainment was adequate, but having the same band for "everything" during the cruise got a little tiring. We enjoyed immensely our cruise and next time we will probably do the tuamotus... One last piece of advice, even though the gratuities are included, do leave gratuities to the 4 or 5 people that were outstanding during the cruise; they do appreciate it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise specifically due to the smaller number of passengers. We like a less crowded experience. We really loved the locals who entertained us and helped with local crafts. What a way to learn! If was fantastic. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically due to the smaller number of passengers. We like a less crowded experience. We really loved the locals who entertained us and helped with local crafts. What a way to learn! If was fantastic. We haven't cruised in a long time, but found getting aboard and finding information about the excursions we chose very easy. Of course there was no shortage of people to help you! We dined in all of the restaraunt's and they were all superb. Staff were very courteous and never seemed so overwhelmed with passengers that they couldn't provide good service. I loved the ports. I especially liked Huahine but maybe it was our tour guide. We did the 'Sacred Sites' one and our guide was very well educated and also could answer random questions about plants, shells, animals........and what a sense of humour! Of course the picnic on Motu Mahana was so incredibly relaxing.....or busy if you wanted to partake in water actvities. Did I remember to say how beautiful the Motu is!! On our last day at Mooreau we spent at the InterContinental Resort and Spa, my husband enjoyed to rest by the pools and read. A rest after nearly 5 weeks of traveling. It was our 40 wedding anniversary and we had a wonderful sunset cruise of the bay in Bora Bora and a private dinner on the ships marina! It was so romantic, the highlight for sure. The staff did such a good job of keeping this a secret from my husband and he loved the surprise. Thank you for that! Loved the entire experience and would love to do it all again........ Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti ... Read More
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti airport and taken to hotel was smooth and efficient, as was embarkation, quick ,efficient, and with in minutes we were escorted to our cabin. My only disappointment with the cabin was the dated bathroom, still a bath tub with shower attachment......needs to be updated. Everything else was great.Our room stewardess just couldnt do enough for us, and when she found out it was our 50th anniversary, decorated our cabin with balloons,banner,flowers on the bed and more.....Anna was a darling. 3 restaurants gave way to a great variety of great food , wine, spirits ,beer was free flowing throughout the dining and day, mainly French wines but you only had to ask for one of your chose. Lots of activities going on during the day , piano bar with a very talented piano player to entertain. Crew night and nightly entertainment by the Polynesian dancers, disco and an amazing band, or just sit and chill out on deck. Plenty of shore excursions to choose from, also 2 days at the Paul Gauguin private beaches. One could not fault the service all members of the crew gave. Would we go again, yes,but for longer next time,7 days just was not long enough.........not everything was perfect hence I did not rate as Excellent, but it was so close........ Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Air fare from Los Angeles is included in the price. Everything was handled to perfection. The ship and its staff was beyond our expectations and we felt like royalty. Food was incredible, and the ports visited were magical! Staff knew our ... Read More
Air fare from Los Angeles is included in the price. Everything was handled to perfection. The ship and its staff was beyond our expectations and we felt like royalty. Food was incredible, and the ports visited were magical! Staff knew our names by the next day, and our preferences. Loved the fact you could choose from 3 dining rooms for dinner each night. 2required a reservation but there was never a problem making them. We were on board for my husbands birthday and they spoiled him all day. Room was even decorated and a special cake at dinner. Also liked the relaxed attire dress code wise. Didn't have to pack my husbands tuxedo to be used only once or twice. A surprise at the end was the fact we were put up in a day room of a beautiful resort with all transfers included, as our plane left after 11:00pm the day we disembarked. That was the icing on the cake! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have never been on a cruise prior to this trip, we chose this PG because the boat was comparatively small and it was in Tahiti. Tahiti is a very expensive holiday destination and the cruise seemed fairly priced. We had a balcony cabin ... Read More
We have never been on a cruise prior to this trip, we chose this PG because the boat was comparatively small and it was in Tahiti. Tahiti is a very expensive holiday destination and the cruise seemed fairly priced. We had a balcony cabin on level 8, it was very quiet and came with a butler. Our butler was Harry and he was fantastic, nothing was a problem. Harry organised dining, drinks anything we wanted really. The ladies cleaning our room were really great also, very helpful. The ship isn't new but we thought it was a lot better than some reviews were stating it was. We had many meals at the Le Grill restaurant that was very well run by Randy with great support from Joey and Roland, all the food was great. A special mention of Jobert a wine waiter, he was an amazing young man, he found out our favourite wine and next day we notice a bottle in our room - what a great touch. He was far more than a wine waiter and in a lot of ways this is how we found most of the staff on-board, this made for a great cruise. The other 2 restaurants were not as good but still very good food and service. We loved the Gauguin performers, great fun. The PG organised shore excursions were expensive, we found it was better simply to get off the boat and organise our own excursions. The only negative was in November it is starting to rain a lot in Tahiti. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have wanted to return to Tahiti since our last cruise there in 2001. It was the perfect relaxing getaway in a most spectacular destination. French Polynesia has such dramatically beautiful islands. Perfect weather too - not too hot! The ... Read More
We have wanted to return to Tahiti since our last cruise there in 2001. It was the perfect relaxing getaway in a most spectacular destination. French Polynesia has such dramatically beautiful islands. Perfect weather too - not too hot! The staff on the Paul Gauguin were the most personable of any cruise we have taken. Just amazing. The ship is lovely, comfortable and spacious. Three places to dine — all good! Loved dinners in La Veranda but wished the menu changed throughout the week. Nevertheless the food was great, nice presentation and impeccable service. Embarkation and disembarkation was handled very well - smooth and quick. Efficient. Did only two shore excursions as we had been to Tahiti before. Enjoyed the private PG beach - all included. Used the spa for massages - very nice! For a small ship, the Paul Gauguin had a little of everything the big ships have, even a small casino. What it did NOT have was a crowded feeling! We thoroughly enjoyed our week. Will look forward to cruising again on the Paul Gauguin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I had heard it was luxurious and a once in a lifetime experience. Wrong. The ship is 20 years old and showing every day of it. For the price we paid and the fact that it was an exclusive French ship, I expected the best French food. ... Read More
I had heard it was luxurious and a once in a lifetime experience. Wrong. The ship is 20 years old and showing every day of it. For the price we paid and the fact that it was an exclusive French ship, I expected the best French food. Even perhaps a small French creperie on board. No such luck. The food was average, and not particularly French. I have been on may cruises and most ships have excellent entertainment. Not on this one. There wasn't actually any entertainment to speak of, apart from a Tahitian group who were amateurish at best. The lead singer if you could call her that was often off key. The best thing about this cruise was that the staff were amazing. Highly trained and couldn't help enough. There was also the fact that you could drink as much as you like and didn't get charged for it. There were also a large amount of free in cabin movies. Most of the shore excursions were very expensive, and a bit disappointing except for the Dolphin experience. That was amazing. Being able to get into the water with the Dolphins and get a photo kissing one was worth the trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Everything about this cruise was wonderful, including staff, food, and excursions. We were particularly impressed by the food and restaurant service, with the exception of the on deck restaurant which at night was purportedly a fine ... Read More
Everything about this cruise was wonderful, including staff, food, and excursions. We were particularly impressed by the food and restaurant service, with the exception of the on deck restaurant which at night was purportedly a fine dining restaurant which needed special booking.Unlike the other La Veranda fine dining restaurant, which had amazing food and wonderfully attentive service, Le Grille food was limited in choice and in our view mediocre, and there was little ambiance when we went on 14th September. Our six thirty booking was early, and they must have overbooked for later because our three courses were rushed to the extent that by 7.20 pm 50 minutes later we were being asked if we wanted coffee with our desert! Couple this with a waiter who firstly forget my order for Cointreau without ice with my coffee, and when reminded took another ten minutes to bring a bottle over and asked if I wanted it on the rocks. I confirmed again no, and he went off for a further ten minutes, and then came back with it on ice! When the maitre de asked how things had gone I told him, and he was almost rude in his defence of the rushed meal (we always serve the coffee with the desert) and his defense of the waiter (he's very busy and he has to go all the way to the bar for drinks) What a let down on an otherwise wonderful cruise! So, forget special bookings at Le Grille, and make extra ones at La Veranda, but the main restaurant was also superb both in food choices and great service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Before going on our cruise, I spent countless hours reading reviews - mostly from cruisecritic - and they were so incredibly helpful that I feel like I have to now return the favor as some of the advice I read was outdated and I picked up ... Read More
Before going on our cruise, I spent countless hours reading reviews - mostly from cruisecritic - and they were so incredibly helpful that I feel like I have to now return the favor as some of the advice I read was outdated and I picked up a few tips of my own. This is a long review so feel free to skip it if you don't like novels. BOARDING THE SHIP We were on the dock at 3PM and there were only about 20 people waiting with us. Onboarding was very quick and very easy. We immediately went to the travel concierge desk to pick up our tickets for the excursions each day. You can also go to the marina after the safety drill to pick up your snorkeling gear that you will use and keep throughout the cruise. We did not have to give up our passports, only showed them upon check in. DINNER RESERVATIONS Once onboard, you can immediately make reservations for any of the two reservation-only restaurants at either one. We went to Veranda for lunch when boarding at 3PM and made our reservations for dinner at Veranda and dinner at Le Grille. You will receive priority when booking each restaurant for the first time, and then reservations are subject to other cruisers who have not been to dinner. We had trouble getting another reservation but on the last night we went to the Grille for breakfast and they were able to fit us in for that night. One thing I didn't realize is the restaurant where you don't need a reservation - L'Etoile - is a sit down very nice restaurant as well. I assumed it was something lessor but we thought it was very good and the menu changes daily whereas at Le Grille and Veranda, the menu stays the same so you really only need one reservation at each to get a taste. They told us on the last day that if you really want to eat somewhere and don't have a reservation, you can head there around 7PM and see if any of the 6:30PM reservations didn't show up - it's worth a shot. IN THE ROOM In the room, you will find full size shampoo/conditioner that I felt was very adequate and you do not need to bring your own. There is a mini fridge with sodas, waters and beer. There is a hair dryer. Each day, they will set out two new yellow beach towels for your use. There are american outlets and french polynesia outlets if you don't have a converter. There is plenty of storage, as many have said. ROOM TV The in-room TV does a lot things. You can see excursions at each port and book them. You can order room service. And you can request things like more hangers. There is also a great selection of movies and we were able to watch the news. Yes, we should be out more, but we enjoyed having some downtime in the room and being able to watch a movie and hang out was a nice perk. The room service portions are small - order more rather than less. LAUNDRY SERVICE We paid for the laundry service which we enjoyed having. In the room, is your laundry bag as well as a sheet detailing which items you are having laundered. You have to fill out a new sheet, place in the laundry bag and put on your door each morning and it will be back to you by the afternoon. The middle section "Laundry & Pressing" is what you will fill out if you have a laundry package (which does not include eco friendly cleaning). EXCURSIONS We did one excursion a day. I was torn on doing morning or afternoon excursions so did a few of each, but we preferred mornings. I would sign up online for the excursions ASAP as they do fill up. Our first port was Huahine and there is not much to do on this island so I would think you would definitely want to do an excursion here unless you spend the first day hanging out on the boat. We know a few couples who did several excursions a day or only did a few total. For us, one a day was about right. The highlight tour for us was in Bora Bora - the Lagoon Excursion at Maohi Nui. Other good tours: E-Bike to Belvedere in Moorea and the Underwater Walk in Bora Bora if only for the fun photos. BALCONY We were lucky enough to get a balcony and we really enjoyed hanging out on the balcony in the mornings or when the boat was moving. I could see the argument for not needing one, but if you can afford it, I would do it again, although it doesn't make or break your experience. ENTERTAINMENT All of the shows were at 9:30PM or 10:00PM and frankly, we could not stay awake for them. We were pretty sleepy by 8 and usually in bed by 9. We did stay up for the last show on the last night back in Tahiti and it was excellent - it was a professional troupe. We also did go to the Crew Show which was adorable and well done. DEMOGRAPHICS We are 31 and were on our honeymoon. There were several other (maybe 5 or 6) younger couples around our age. The majority of cruisers were in their 40's and 50's and there were also many couples 50+. We never felt too young or weird on the ship - we met lots of great folks and enjoyed spending time with them no matter the age. The majority of cruisers were great people who were avid travelers and many of them had been on the PG before. There were a few snotty 50-something that were rude to staff and ungrateful but they were few and far between. STAFF The staff was exceptional and they were always smiling, always friendly, and always accommodating. We loved all of them and enjoyed seeing them each day. Overall, this was a great cruise and we had an amazing time and met some great people. I don't know that we would do the cruise again but only because we would love to take a different cruise as this was our first one so we'd like to check out other places - there are too many places to visit! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the Paul Gaugin as it was a smaller vessel (only 300 passengers) and everything was included - so no paying for good and drinks. Embarkation/Disembarkation Extremely efficient Service Mainly Filipino crew - extremely ... Read More
We chose the Paul Gaugin as it was a smaller vessel (only 300 passengers) and everything was included - so no paying for good and drinks. Embarkation/Disembarkation Extremely efficient Service Mainly Filipino crew - extremely hard working and very friendly. Couldn’t do enough to help you out Cabin We chose a stateroom. It was actually quite nice to have an, albeit small, verandah. Meant we could fit outside in the morning in our bathrobes - no rush to get changed and go on deck! Cabins were very spacious with a lot of storage. Food There are 3 restaurants. Two of them required a reservation by lunch time that day. These had the same menu each night for dinner. The main dining room needed no reservation and the menu changed each night.The food was very good. Tours We definitely recommend the wave runner tour at Bora Bora. The do one at Moorea,but the lagoons at Bora Bora are more impressive- you also go right round the island. In Moorea we were unable to hire a car last minute, however it worked in our favour as we found the best taxi driver in the island with a wealth of knowledge - also a genuinely nice guy. He was bought up in Hawaii but has lived in Moorea for 20 years.I would definitely recommend booking him ahead before you arrive if you can. He recommended that we get a day pass st the Sofitel in Moorea. It was really reasonable and included lunch, coffee, snorkel equipment,towels and some of the best snorkelling in the trip. PG have contracts with certain hotels only ( it’s the inter continental in Moorea) so local knowledge us key.His name isTeva Wilkes 87764564The phone number is correct but not sure if this is the correct email - but give it a go!tevawilkes@yahoo.cpm All in all, we loved the PG cruise. We are thinking of doing a 10 day cruise next time! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we were on it 2 years ago, and LOVED it! There are no words to describe the service on this ship. It is absolutely THE BEST service you will ever receive anywhere in the world! EVERYONE, and this goes ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we were on it 2 years ago, and LOVED it! There are no words to describe the service on this ship. It is absolutely THE BEST service you will ever receive anywhere in the world! EVERYONE, and this goes for every person that is on that ship, is amazing! I cannot say enough about the waiter staff, or the housekeeping staff! Kudos Paul Gauguin for hiring people that care about their jobs! The outings were good too, most of the time. The only negative I would give is that they have apparently switched their shampoos and lotions to another brand that is really terrible. Last time we were there it was so wonderful, as far as shampoos and conditioners and lotions go, that I didn’t bring any this time hoping to save some weight in my luggage. BIG mistake! So take your own, if you go! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Let's start saying that this is a very small ship. It doesn't have 10 restaurants or bars or 6,000 sq.ft. of fitness room. We are talking about luxury ship, where every passenger has the ability to know each other on board , and ... Read More
Let's start saying that this is a very small ship. It doesn't have 10 restaurants or bars or 6,000 sq.ft. of fitness room. We are talking about luxury ship, where every passenger has the ability to know each other on board , and where all crew members know you and remember your name, your favorite drink or dish. This is where you are treated like a king and every your wish becomes reality. Food is exceptional, served in three restaurants. Drinks are all included, along with crew tips. Obviously you can still extra tip for those services you think they exceeded your expectation. Room services 24/7. Cabins are very nice and elegant, and bathroom very roomy with a tub. All cabins are ocean view, from portholes to picture windows to balconies. The ship has a Marina that opens up when the ship anchors, and offers lots of water sports activities, and provides snorkel gears to passengers that want to use them on their land excursions. French Polynesia is the place to go, at least twice in a lifetime. Expensive but worth it. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Although we're avid sailors, for years we've avoided taking a cruise because of our negative impressions of large cruising ships docking in Caribbean ports and disgorging thousands of people. However... We have just returned ... Read More
Although we're avid sailors, for years we've avoided taking a cruise because of our negative impressions of large cruising ships docking in Caribbean ports and disgorging thousands of people. However... We have just returned from an 11 day cruise on MS Paul Gauguin to the Cook and Society islands of French Polynesia. We highly recommend this cruise! The ship is attractive, well- maintained, and well-managed . It holds 320 passengers and is spacious enough so that you never feel crowded. It has an incredibly well trained, cohesive staff who take pride in their service. Anything that you need is not just available- but anticipated. Our cabin was lovely and sitting on the balcony looking at the amazing blue colors of the water and the surrounding islands was wonderful. The meals in both the main restaurant, L’Etoile, and the two smaller venues (Le Grill and La Verandah) were gourmet- beautifully presented and delicious. We enjoyed all our excursions and felt very welcome on whichever island we were visiting. We extend our thanks to everyone aboard the Gauguin- and especially to Rowena, Marlon, Marvin, Rowell, Flo, and Mike . Special thanks to David Walsh of Avoya Travel who offered wonderful suggestions, selected the perfect cabin, and followed through whenever it was needed. We'll obviously be taking more small ship cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was such a luxurious ship. We wanted to see as many is as many islands as economically as we could. We have cruised only once with Royal Caribbean and found it too big and regimented. We were dubious about the all inclusive but we ... Read More
This was such a luxurious ship. We wanted to see as many is as many islands as economically as we could. We have cruised only once with Royal Caribbean and found it too big and regimented. We were dubious about the all inclusive but we loved it so much that we are looking at booking again but it would have to be Paul Gauguin. The staff, cleanliness, food was outstanding. We had a balcony and a bath. The food was excellent and there was a choice of 3 restaurants. The bars were all comfortable and there were plenty of seats wherever you went. The entertainment was 1st class and the staff were all so friendly. Every member of staff was hard working, cheerful and nothing was too much trouble. The receptionist was very knowledgeable regarding the trips and the islands. The views were stunning and the water was truly turquoise. Our lovely cabin lady Marion really worked hard, was very informative and was a pleasure to see twice a day. Truly magical scenery. Can't wait to return. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was, hands down, the best cruise we have ever done. The smaller number of passengers and the attention to customer satisfaction was simply exceptional. The wine selections with meals were outstanding, and the staff were just so ... Read More
This was, hands down, the best cruise we have ever done. The smaller number of passengers and the attention to customer satisfaction was simply exceptional. The wine selections with meals were outstanding, and the staff were just so phenomenal. We would recommend to anyone. Best value for money. Mary Grace and Harry ( our room steward and butler) were amazing! The shore excursions were easy to book on line prior to our trip, and the entertainment on board was great! The staff in the lounges and restaurants were superb. Scenery in this part of the world is unsurpassed for breathtaking beauty. The drift snorkel and swimming with rays and sharks was exciting and one-of-a-kind experiences! Ricardo and Manny in the breakfast Veranda Buffet were aways a smiling way to start each exciting day! Even had a brief visit to the on board nurse and physician and cannot find fault! It will be a pleasure to come back and repeat this week-long stay in paradise.... Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted to experience the French Polynesian and nervously chose the Paul Gaugin cruise line. Make no mistake about it, my wife and I are not cruise line people. The best way I can describe this cruise is to write and say it was the best ... Read More
We wanted to experience the French Polynesian and nervously chose the Paul Gaugin cruise line. Make no mistake about it, my wife and I are not cruise line people. The best way I can describe this cruise is to write and say it was the best experience my wife and I could have ever hoped and prayed for. Only 328 people are on-board the ship and the crew made us feel like we were the only couple on board. Most of the sailing is done in the evening and each morning we woke up in another Island Paradise. The only suggestion I can offer is to research and plan your excursions well before your cruise; don’t miss snorkeling in Bora Bora and Morea. Be prepared for a long trip from the (East) states to Tahiti. You want to seriously consider renting an over the water bungalow, or any room, the first night at the Interconntinental Resort so that you can rest after the long trip from the States to Tahiti before boarding for the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Based on comments from others who had been on PG we anticipated not having to lift a finger and all our needs would be anticipated or met. Or something like that. It started off badly when we paid significant funds for butler service. His ... Read More
Based on comments from others who had been on PG we anticipated not having to lift a finger and all our needs would be anticipated or met. Or something like that. It started off badly when we paid significant funds for butler service. His job included unpacking our luggage while we enjoyed the luxuries of the ship. We boarded at 3 PM and never met him until he showed up around 7. By then we had unpacked our bags. Our suite had a fully stocked bar, and a bowl of fruit that was restocked daily. Nice touch. We threw away the bowl of nuts that were clearly stale and they were never replenished. The bowl of pretzels was one and done, never to be seen again. We tend to go to breakfast late, or order room service late but don't make any sudden moves without first having tea and coffee delivered to the room. Our butler never caught on to this practice and so we had to order from room service every morning. In other concierge hotels we've visited the butler didn't need to be reminded. My wife had twisted her knee and was in some discomfort so we called the ship's doctor to look at her. He wasn't available and an appt. needed to be made, and there was a surcharge for his services. We toughed it out with some Advil and the situation improved. The one - and maybe only service our butler provided was to make dinner reservations. It would have been helpful if he had provided some knowledge about the restaurants and why it was better to go to one than another. We eventually stumbled our way to find out on our own. In fact, since we prefer to dine later, except for Le Grille, there were plenty of tables every night. We ate at the Rendevous two nights and was surprised to learn that menu doesn't change. At their "upscale" room that shouldn't happen. Unless you're only supposed to eat there once during the cruise. We seldom ate at L'Etoile except for the buffet lunch that changes its theme daily. Waiters and captains were quick to learn our names after the first couple days. Nice touch. Food was well done and plentiful. Servers were attentive and mostly well trained. If you couldn't decide which entree to order, take both. This is not a good diet strategy, but the servings are more "European" style in quantity, not the humongous, giant servings Americans are used to. The major disappointment is the wine service. Their house brands were some of the worst choices in recent memory. I could find better $10 bottles at Costco, and for a cruise of this caliber they were an embarrassment. Of course you could order premium brands for an additional surcharge. We were the unfortunate victims of Cyclone Gita who poured rain on us for several days. Many of our cruises and activities off the ship were cancelled due to rough seas. The two tours we did manage to take were fantastic and very educational. We learned a great deal about the culture of the South Pacific Islanders. The barbecue of the mota owned by PG had great potential, even with the soggy burgers. We realized too late that one of our underwater cameras needed a disk to record pictures. We went to the camera shop only to learn they are only open from 6 - 9 pm. Why? The photographer was busy on the mota taking pictures of the guests. Is there no one else on this ship who could open the store in her absence ? No underwater pictures that day. The happiest person on the voyage was Clara, our stewardess. Diligent, hardworking and forever with a smile on her face she never failed to greet us with pleasant words. She should be a staff training director. If we hadn't lost several days watching rain fall on our balcony we might have been in better spirits and willing to overlook some of the faux pas. Overall, it was a good - but not a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Sail Date January 2018
We chose 11 nights to really make it worthwhile (Tahiti is a long way from Canada). We were so pleased to be able to visit the Cook Islands as well as the Society Islands. The magical pristine beauty of the islands, the wonderfully ... Read More
We chose 11 nights to really make it worthwhile (Tahiti is a long way from Canada). We were so pleased to be able to visit the Cook Islands as well as the Society Islands. The magical pristine beauty of the islands, the wonderfully welcoming and interesting Polynesian people, and the joys of a small, superpbly-appointed cruise ship, all contributed to our best cruise yet. We loved that the ship went right into lovely lagoons. Access to the destination islands by tender boat was easy and convenient. Our stateroom was perfect in every way. Much more is included than on other cruises - such as tipping, all restaurants, and alcoholic beverages. The staff were so thoughtful and friendly. The cuisine was top-notch! Make sure to book "La Grill" for an outdoor dinner by the pool, for the nights you are anchored in Moorea and Bora Bora. Magical! The cruise line-owned beaches at both Taha'a and Bora Bora, are wonderful days with everything you could want. If you are a morning person, head to the stern to La Palette to watch the sunrise with a morning snack and coffee, while waiting for breakfast service to begin at The Grill or La Veranda. Please don't be one of "those" people who puts their towel on a lounge chair to reserve it for the whole day, and then only use it for one or two hours. If everyone just uses a chair when they need it, then there is no shortage of spots. We do wish that there was more shade available on the pool deck for at sea days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
On a scale of 1-10, my wife and I would rate our December 2-13 (2017) Paul Gauguin cruise to French Polynesia a 9.9. Our central goal was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in style, and we set high expectations for our trip. This ... Read More
On a scale of 1-10, my wife and I would rate our December 2-13 (2017) Paul Gauguin cruise to French Polynesia a 9.9. Our central goal was to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in style, and we set high expectations for our trip. This cruise exceeded our expectations in nearly every respect. The few issues we encountered we’re minor but we’re more than happy to share our general impressions and recommendations with you. Because we wanted this trip to be “extra special,” and as worry-free as we could make it, we chose to make all of our travel arrangements through Paul Gauguin, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles to and from Papeete, arrangements for our vow renewal ceremony, and a two-night stay in an overwater bungalow at the end of the cruise in Tahiti. Trip arrangements and transfers were flawless. We’re glad we made this decision. But this brings us to a couple of recommendations to consider. The flight on Tahiti Nui to Papeete is scheduled to get you in quite late (10:55 p.m. in our case.) Our particular flight was delayed in LA and as smooth as the transfers were, we didn’t board the ship until nearly 1:00 a.m. The ship actually began to pull out of the dock before we had our cabin keys in hand. It made for a very short first night on board the MS Paul Gauguin. We would highly recommend that you arrange to arrive one day before you embark. This will also give you the advantage of boarding early, unpacking, having a nice “first dinner” on the PG, making your dinner reservations at La Veranda and Le Grill, and getting a good first night sleep. Also, consider saving the over-the-water bungalow experience for Bora Bora or Moorea. We do recommend that you conclude your trip with an additional night or two back in Tahiti. This was our second cruise but our first “small ship” experience—and our first trip on the MS Paul Gauguin. What a difference! This is a ship that strikes a perfect balance between informal and formal. PG describes it as “country club casual.” By day, just about anything goes and you’ll see shorts and sandals. Think Tommy Bahama at night… slacks or khakis and tropical shirts for the men and sun dresses for the ladies. Don’t pack the jeans and dinner jackets for this voyage. (And probably leave the kids home for this one.) We were assigned Stateroom 615 (Category D) with a balcony that made our living space feel brighter and more spacious. The layout of our cabin was generally well thought out and there is ample storage room. We used the balcony to store our snorkel gear and reef shoes. Now for the bad news: There are two standard electrical plugs in the cabin (one by the vanity at bedside and one underneath the television). None in the bathroom. We’d suggest you pack one or two “multi-plugs” or powerstrips. And internet service is hit and miss and numbingly slow. That’s it! We would be hard pressed to identify another complaint or concern about life onboard the Paul Gauguin. It’s that good. The over-all ship layout is terrific. Everything is quickly accessible but think “downsize” in comparison to larger cruise ships. The smallish swimming pool, Le Grill, and the La Palette Lounge are on Deck 8… La Veranda, the spa, a decent sized fitness center, boutique, a small library, a jigsaw puzzle table are on Deck 6… the small casino (one blackjack table and 13 slot machines), comfortable piano bar, the internet café, photo shop, and the multi-functional Le Grand Salon where you’ll enjoy evening performances in a comfortable, casual, and close-up setting… the reception desk, dive desk, and concierge are on Deck 4… and an innovative watersports “marina” is on Deck 3. We didn’t choose to scuba dive on our trip but fellow passengers who did so, raved about it. On the downside, there’s no hot tub, sauna, or jogging course on board. Service is impeccable… really. Almost over-the-top at times. (Did I really need someone to carry my breakfast plate back to the table for me?) You’ll be on a first name basis with wait staff in a short period of time and you’ll probably have one or two favorites who seem to keep an eye out for you. My wife has wheat and dairy intolerances and we couldn’t believe how well she was taken care of during this trip. Dining options are great as well. All three restaurants offer the same fare at breakfast and lunch. I’d personally rate the breakfast and lunch buffets as very good but not great… maybe B+. If time is pressing (e.g. you have a morning excursion scheduled), the buffet is the perfect answer. If you have the time, you might have a slightly better experience ordering off of the menu. For dinner, L’Etoile on Deck 5 is the ship’s principal restaurant and reservations are not required. Reservations ARE required on the two smaller more specialized restaurants (La Veranda on Deck 6 featuring French cuisine and Le Grill on Deck 8 with more of a Polynesian flare). All were terrific. Consider making your dinner reservations on your first day for the two smaller restaurants. The rule of thumb is that you are limited to a total four reservations—two at each. Near the end of the cruise PG schedules a Polynesian Night and the menus are the same in all three restaurants. You might want to verify when this is scheduled and avoid using a reservation for this particular event. On those days when you don’t have an onboard dining reservation, consider trying one of the island restaurants. We had a great dinner with two other couples at the St. James Restaurant in Bora Bora and experienced a great dinner and the best sunset viewing of our trip. You’ll receive a daily La Orana newsletter that will detail shipboard activities. Typically there are port talks and guest lectures in the Grand Salon… a range of onboard Polynesian activities led by Les Gauguines & Gauguins… and good (but not great) evening entertainment in the Grand Salon that typically run from 9:30 to about 10:15. We would highly recommend that you book your “must do” excursions in advance of your cruise. Some fill up pretty quickly. Excursions are pretty subjective things. Our favorite experiences were the Lagoon Cruise with Beach Break on Aitutaki (our favorite stopover)… the Pa tour on Rarotonga… the Sharks and Stingrays Encounter on Bora Bora… and the Sunset Sail on Moorea. We’d also suggest that you make a point of getting down to the ship marina the first day at sea to check out your snorkeling gear. With a maximum of 332 guests, you will get to know a good many fairly quickly. There is a feeling of community that you won’t find on larger ships. On this particular sail, most of the passengers were about our age… in their 50’s and 60’s. A significant number (maybe a third) were French-speaking. Other than a fun block party on one of the first few days where the ship organizes cocktail parties in hallways for passengers to meet their “cabin neighbors,” PG doesn’t need to work at getting people together. It just happens. By the end of the cruise, you’ll be on at least a face-recognition basis with nearly everyone, and you’ll likely make some good new friends along the way. Our Paul Gauguin experience was a wonderful one. It will not be the cheapest traveling you’ll ever do but it will be among your best. And we can’t think of a better way to celebrate a special occasion… like a 50th wedding anniversary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My husband and I booked the November 11th sailing for our honeymoon. We booked in March 2016, so we definitely had a long wait. I read the cruise critic boards like an addict prior to departure, and some of what I read concerned me. I ... Read More
My husband and I booked the November 11th sailing for our honeymoon. We booked in March 2016, so we definitely had a long wait. I read the cruise critic boards like an addict prior to departure, and some of what I read concerned me. I began to question our decision. However, I am glad to report we had had a fantastic time and wouldn't hesitate to go back. My husband and I drove 4 hours to the Saskatoon airport (We live in Northern Canada). We then boarded a flight to LAX and stayed overnight. We arranged for a car service to pick us up at the airport. We used MGCLS, they were great, they texted me when I arrived and arranged pickup at a door outside the baggage pickup. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Santa Monica. It was a newer hotel, used points to get it and it was right next to the pier which was great. We also used the same car service the next day to go back to LAX. We arrived at the airport and their was a PG rep (Lois) waiting for us. What a great start! Security line was long, but that is to be expected. Boarded the flight, have to say I was pleasantly suprised with the food on Air Tahiti Nui.. the reviews were not good, but it wasn't bad at all. The complimentary wine was also good. 8 hour flight went by pretty fast, we landed in Tahiti around 10:40 PM. We did not book our Pre-Stay through the PG. I acutally booked a catarman through AIrbnb and it was fantastic. Eric, the owner picked us up at the airport and drove us to the marina. We stayed on his CAT for 3 nights, eating, sun bathing and snorkelling. (Highly recommedn, it was a fraction of the cost of the IC) Embarkation day came, we had to be out of the CAT at 11am, so Eric's wife ALic dropped us off at the PG. We couldn't board yet, so we walked across the street sat at a bar. I enjoyed some Mai Tai's while my husband enjoyed beer and soccer. At 2:40 we walked across the street, and we were on board at 3:00 sharp. Having cruised larger ships, this was by far the easiest embarkation ever. Glass of champagne, swipe you AMEX and then our cabin steward Rona escorted us to out cabin. Cabin was great, were in 606 a D class balcony. Bathroom was bigger than previous cruises which was great. Bed was comfy and mini bar was stocked well. Dinner every night was fantastic! I had fresh fish every night (Get the Wahoo & the Red Snapper) and the wine service was fantastic. we elected to sit at large tables to meet new people. We had a 7 course meal every night, I miss that already. Lunch was just as good, everyday was a themed buffet, I elected t visit Sammy the chef for the make your own pasta station. Always enjoyable. Can't really comment on breakfast, we never made it. We ordered croissants and fruit from room service every morning. It was prompt and good. Don't miss going to Tea every afternoon, it was a hidden gem. I had three massages at the spa and they were all fantastic. I also had my hair curled there and I was also satisfied. (Note: The spa is a little overpriced though) The dive team was great, very patient as I am a new diver. In Bora Bora we did an excursion through Pure Snorkeling and it was excellent. A must do. We saw a hammerhead shark from our balcony in Moorea. Highlight for us. The ship was well layed out. Easy to find everything and never a line. We would absolutely return! The guest speakers were great. I only wish there were more lectures. A dead whale washed up on the reef when we were at Motu Mahana, so they advised us to stay out of the water. I would highly recommend this cruise, the food was great, staff were great! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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