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73 Paul Gauguin Cruises Romantic Cruise Reviews

Just returned from what should of been a fantastic holiday celebrating our 30th anniversary. Arrived on ship, all seemed good, quick & organised embarkation, went to our suite, 711, very impressed with amount of space, flower ... Read More
Just returned from what should of been a fantastic holiday celebrating our 30th anniversary. Arrived on ship, all seemed good, quick & organised embarkation, went to our suite, 711, very impressed with amount of space, flower arrangement & bubbly on ice in room. Jonathan our butler introduced himself & was very helpful, answered all our questions & made notes of reservations we wanted in restaurants. The service on the ship was outstanding, all staff always greeted you with a smile, mealtimes waiters are always walking around topping up your wine but never intrusive. This is sadly where the positive feedback ends. The week we cruised, the ship had over 200 doctors with partners on board from Quebec on a conference / seminar based holiday. We have never met such rude people who did not want to mix with anyone on board who was not a french speaking doctor. We should of been told this when we booked & i feel that Paul Gauguin let other people on board to make the numbers up. The food could of been better too. Only 3 restaurants on board, we had breakfast in our suite every morning which was nice, Jonathan brought canapés every evening to our room before going for dinner. The entertainment was poor, The Gauguins on board were same old, same old by the end of the cruise.I thought the cruise director wasn't that good, he put on a show one night, which was like an evening with a Barry Manilow wannabe !!. The excursions were ok, nothing exciting. The best one we did was a day at The Intercontinental Hotel in Bora Bora, it really was paradise. Disembarkation was low key, we got our own luggage & waited for a taxi. My summary: For the money this cruise cost i did not get the wow factor at all. The ship lacked atmosphere, the food was not the best, entertainment was poor & i will not be going on a Paul Gauguin cruise ever again. Very very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was a wonderful cruise. My husband, self and three children 17,19, 21 loved every minute of this cruise. We have cruise the Meditteran and Asia and this was the best. The ship was top notch with superb service and anything you ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. My husband, self and three children 17,19, 21 loved every minute of this cruise. We have cruise the Meditteran and Asia and this was the best. The ship was top notch with superb service and anything you could want. This cruise is an active cruise which we loved. Everyday you were snorkeling, scuba diving with sharks, stingrays, and millions of fish. We had been in Australia before and scuba dived and snorkeled from Cairns and this was just as good and even better because here we swam with the sharks and stingrays. There was 4 x 4 tours of the islands we stopped at, or jet skiing, ATVing, shopping etc. We did it all. The private Island was wonderful and even though we only had really two sunny days the rainy mist didn't dampen anything. We still had a wonderful time. The meals and food was excellent. You never wanted for anything. The staff were all so helpful and knowledgeable. The cleaning staff superior. This is definitely a trip every should do from young to old. We had 80's year olds on our 4 x 4 trip and they loved it. Only negative I would have to say is that the nightly entertainment was at 9:30 pm and we were always to tied to make it down for it. Would have love it around 8:30 would have been perfect. We ended up watching an in room movie most nights and sleeping early for the exciting next day. Read Less
Sail Date August 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 May 2015
Before my trip on the Paul Gauguin I read a review that said it was not a luxury cruise. That gave me pause and made me a little worried that it may not live up to my expectations. But I definitely found the cruise to be a luxury ... Read More
Before my trip on the Paul Gauguin I read a review that said it was not a luxury cruise. That gave me pause and made me a little worried that it may not live up to my expectations. But I definitely found the cruise to be a luxury experience. I'm not writing this to say that anyone is wrong or to debate whether it is or isn't a luxury cruise; I'm no expert on the matter of luxury--but I just wanted to share my thoughts with others. Here's what felt like luxury to me: Professional, courteous staff that greeted us by name and cheerfully assisted us with every little thing we needed. > Beautifully prepared meals that were as beautiful to look at as they were delicious. Maid service and turndown service that kept our stateroom beautiful and comfortable. > Crisp white sheets and fluffy pillows on the beds. > Polynesian musicians to welcome us each time we arrived on shore from the tender boat. > Being handed a cool towel with the beautiful scent of plumeria each time we returned to the tender boat from an excursion. > Beautifully maintained facilities everywhere on the ship. > Never having to wait to order a drink or for a dinner table. > Fresh fruit in our stateroom at all times. This cruise was absolutely everything I dreamed it would be, and I highly recommend it. 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
Friends had said how great the Paul Gauguin and French Polynesia is and I can say it did not disappoint. It was an amazing experience!!! We took the 10 night cruise in late April. The staff was so friendly and the service was fantastic. ... Read More
Friends had said how great the Paul Gauguin and French Polynesia is and I can say it did not disappoint. It was an amazing experience!!! We took the 10 night cruise in late April. The staff was so friendly and the service was fantastic. The food was all amazing. This is far from a mass market cruise. The service and all inclusive atmosphere makes a huge difference. the staff knew us by name from the start and if you are friendly I think you will enjoy the people. They were there to serve even when you did not know you needed something.......No announcement constantly like on big ships and no one trying to sell you the drink of the day....It is very intimate and peaceful. Have previously sailed Celebrity (which I loved), many Princess ships, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival and nothing the same. French Polynesia is like no other place i have traveled. I have been to many islands in the Caribbean, Hawaii and all over Thailand and Greece and nothing looks like this. Very remote and beautiful and Paul Gauguin makes it possible to see some very small motus and islands. The water is so different than other islands and the reefs provide unique scenery. We took three excursions and two of the three were beyond our expectations and pretty reasonable. We love the water and did a lot of snorkeling. The third was just ok. This was a special trip for us that we tied into a 5 night stay in an OWB at Moorea Hilton prior. We saved a long time to be able to go on PG instead of other large ships and it was well worth it. We stayed on deck 3 and bought the least expensive cabin and it was still super nice. We were very happy with it and were mainly out on the common areas anyway. The ship had about 240 on our sailing so not the full 330 people. We loved all restaurants but Le Veranda was our favorite. They keep the ship squeaky clean and I saw this as I get up to see the sunrise. EVERY day they wash down the whole deck and empty and put clean water in the pool. The weather was great and out of the 18 days in French Polynesia only the last 2 were gray and rainy. The rest were fantastic When I read reviews I see people nit-pick about many small things. I believe if you come on with a have fun and friendly attitude you too will have the trip of a lifetime!! We made some new friends we will have for life and we enjoyed most the passengers. I hope to be able to go on the PG again someday as I thought it had great value and we toughly enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
What an awesome ship! The rooms are spacious and have lots of drawers and nooks to store your belongings. Your suitcases can fit under the bed. The beds are very comfortable and I loved having a bathtub. The girl that took care of our ... Read More
What an awesome ship! The rooms are spacious and have lots of drawers and nooks to store your belongings. Your suitcases can fit under the bed. The beds are very comfortable and I loved having a bathtub. The girl that took care of our room and us went above and beyond to take care of our every need. The turn down service with chocolates on our pillows every night was a nice touch. The food was exceptional. We had lots of choices at every meal and could order room service 24 hours a day. At breakfast and lunch there was a buffet but you could also order off the menu if you wanted to. The service was excellent at all times. There were three different restaurants you could go to and they all had great food. Two of the restaurants need reservations so make your reservations the first morning. Having the alcohol included was perfect. It took the worry out of what the bill was going to be at the end of the cruise. We could order anything we wanted at any time of day. It was fun seeing what the "drink of the day" was going to be. There were a ton of excursions and I wish I had done a few more. I highly recommend the wave runners. Thank you Paul Gauguin cruises for the wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Bora Bora and Taha'a and vowed to return for our 10th anniversary. We decide on the Paul Gauguin so we would get to see some other islands without having to spend a day changing hotels. What a ... Read More
My husband and I spent our honeymoon on Bora Bora and Taha'a and vowed to return for our 10th anniversary. We decide on the Paul Gauguin so we would get to see some other islands without having to spend a day changing hotels. What a great decision! We stayed on deck 8 and had a veranda room. We didn't think the added butler service would be something we would use but we were wrong. Shernan was fantastic! He brought us fresh limes every afternoon for our gin and tonics and always seemed to anticipate our needs. The phones on our deck were our for the entire cruise but just pop your head out of the cabin and Shernan was there. He even tracked us down one afternoon because he heard we were wanting to eat in La Veranda that evening and he got us a reservation. The service from everyone was wonderful. We were always greeted by name and with a smile. No request was too big or too small. We were really made to feel special. The entertainment was good for a ship it's size. We really enjoyed the group Santa Rosa that played in La Pallet. We would go every night for a cocktail before dinner and were always entertained. We also liked the local performers. They were talented and nice on the eyes. The food was good and we had some exceptional meals. They did tend to overcook the fish every time we had it. Our favorite restaurant was Le Grill. We never felt crowded or rushed even at the breakfast or lunch buffets. Definitely a step above larger cruise ships and nobody showed up for breakfast in their pjs. I have actually seen this on other cruises! The ship was kept spotless and was well maintained. My only complaint is the lack of covered areas on the pool deck. This was not a big issue for us though because we had our veranda which was well shaded. I would recommend this cruise. 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
I have cruised before with PG and had a wonderful experience! Therefore on my Honeymoon I decided to take my family and wife's family on a "Familymoon". We wanted to share this wonderful experience with our "new ... Read More
I have cruised before with PG and had a wonderful experience! Therefore on my Honeymoon I decided to take my family and wife's family on a "Familymoon". We wanted to share this wonderful experience with our "new family". Booked this cruise months in advance. Checked weather and got nothing that indicated it was the "rainy season". PG Cruises mentioned anything about it being the "rainy season". Our flight was delayed out of LAX because of a late arrival from France. Paid $3000 extra for First Class to be informed the entree we wanted was not available. Upon arriving in Papeete, to our surprise, one of the flight attendants made us aware it was the "rainy season" in French Polynesia. This was the first time we were informed of that. We were funneled into a "All Other Passport" line which was very long. There was a European Passport line which was significantly shorter than our line. French Polynesia had two agents working the European line and only one the "All Other Passport" line. It was raining, very hot and humid. My wife and I waited for 1hr 15 min to get through customs. The rest of our family 2 hr 30 min. It was around 1AM in the morning. Finally arrived to The Paul Gauguin and left port around 2AM. Raining! Instead of going to Huaianine, which was the first island on our itinerary, we went to Moorea. Moorea is less than an hour away from Papeete! We sailed for 6 hours in very rough seas to an island less than 1 hour away! Many of the passengers got very seasick as did my family and myself. Miserable! This was the pattern for the remainder of the cruise. Captain trying to avoid the rain by changing the itinerary, cruising at night in very rough seas. Spending 3 of the 7 days in Moorea. Not going to some of the islands on itinerary at all. To our great disappointment, not going to the PG private island, which is the highlight of the entire cruise. We could not wait to get off this boat! Many of the shore excursions cancelled, which led to those that were available getting filled up fast. One excursion we were looking forward to was horseback riding to be told PG no longer does business with these people and had not for 4 months. It was published as a shore excursion on website. Many of the crew members we talked with told us it was the "rainy season". All the islanders we talked with told us it was the "rainy season". Paul Gauguin Cruises ever mentioned the possibility of it being the "rainy season"! Had they informed me of this I would of scheduled this "Familymoon" at another time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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
On our 10 year anniversary we took a cruise to the Caribbean via Royal Caribbean . We enjoyed it so much we decided that for our 25th we would go to Tahiti. After some research we decided on Paul Gauguin Cruise lines. One of the best ... Read More
On our 10 year anniversary we took a cruise to the Caribbean via Royal Caribbean . We enjoyed it so much we decided that for our 25th we would go to Tahiti. After some research we decided on Paul Gauguin Cruise lines. One of the best decisions we have made. There are only 320 Cabins and they are excellent. With a smaller cruise ship, it is much more intimate as you are not overcome by large crowds. We were taken directly to our cabin upon boarding the ship. The rooms were outstanding. There are 3 primary restaurants with 2 requiring reservations. The food was excellent with a nice presentation. Nice selection of wines too. If you are looking for Vegas style shows and large pools, look elsewhere. This is a ship of class for smaller numbers. The shows are presented by crew members. Lots of fun. Water sports (kayaks, snorkeling) are available. Plenty of great excursions available at the various ports. We can not say enough about the Society Islands. Loved all of them but Bora Bora was like a dream. The all inclusive is definitely appealing as bar tabs can be excessive on most of the cruises we have taken. Wish we could give 6 stars as the cruise exceeded expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
There is something special about a ship when almost half of the 280 passengers are repeaters on a cruise line that sails very limited itineraries. This was our second time sailing on the Paul Gauguin in four years. First we did a two week ... Read More
There is something special about a ship when almost half of the 280 passengers are repeaters on a cruise line that sails very limited itineraries. This was our second time sailing on the Paul Gauguin in four years. First we did a two week Tahiti, Society Islands/Marquesas itinerary. This May 2014 we wanted to see new ports. We booked a one way from Papeete to Fiji- 13 night itinerary, cut short a night by crossing the International Date Line. We have been frequent Celebrity cruisers but as we get more seasoned traveling the world, we are scaling down to smaller ships like the Paul Gauguin, Seabourn. There is nothing better than visiting a small village or port on a small ship. The alternative is disembarking with hoards of thousands of people from multiple goliath ships. Paul Gauguin does it right. The service is TOP NOTCH. It’s on par with the attention to detail we saw on Seabourn. In the dining venues, waiters made a point to get to know our name, our preferences and they made us feel special. We especially like the country club casual dress code. As crazy as it may sound, we wouldn’t be opposed to shorts or jeans. We are simply not formal night folks and not having to dress up on our vacation is very appealing. Food choices were wide and the quality was outstanding. If improvement could be made, we recommend more variety at their lunchtime menu, as the same menu and warmed over buffet offerings became tiresome. But for sure, Paul Gauguin is on target at breakfast and dinner. The food is fresh, well presented, portioned just right and delicious. The service gets high marks. We upgraded to a larger verandah cabin (807- forward) and were very happy with the comfortable bed and ample storage and balcony area. If you are susceptible to sea sickness, pick a cabin mid-ship and an itinerary with fewer sea days. The Paul Gauguin rides well in gentle lagoons. She was built to sail the shallow blue waters of French Polynesia. She is prone to motion in open waters. I highly recommend the latest versions of the Transdermal sea-sick patches which are very effective these days compared to the earlier versions years ago. We read reviews that some cabins were noisy and hot. We did NOT find that to be the case. Noise levels in the aft will likely diminish after the ship’s scheduled dry dock early this summer. Reportedly engine repairs are planned to alleviate a strong vibration which plagues the aft dining venues and cabins. The ship underwent a $7 million refurbishment in 2012, and we found her to be in great condition and well maintained. While the television programming was limited and repetitive, including too much FOX News, the Guest Relations desk provided FREE DVDs of movies, which was a welcome addition to the onboard entertainment. Overall, entertainment was not memorable. Les Gauguines, local heritage singers and dancers, were as always, a wonderful addition to the cruise. The cruise director, Steve Wood, was seldom seen and his stage show was dated and “lounge-lizard like. A guest singer from France did not measure up to professional status and some walked out early in each of his shows. He just wasn’t a good singer. Surprisingly, the Pilipino band and singer also fell flat. Their playlist of was dated and repetitive and their musical skills need some work. This was the first band from the Philippines I’ve heard that wasn’t very good. The lectures were interesting and enjoyable. We knew the evening shows would be lackluster on a small ship so we opted to watch movies in our cabin. HELPFUL HINT: We always download movies on my laptop before we cruise and bring our own HDMI cable from home. Many ships at sea today have a port in the back of the TV to plug in a HDMI cable, which plugs into your laptop or video player. Bringing your own movies guarantees you’ll have handpicked video entertainment if you are not big party person late nights. If you aren’t familiar with an HDMI cable, ask your kids or seek the advice of a salesman at a big box electronics store. A cheap cable should cost you less than $30 or you can bring one from your TV at home. We especially like the “all inclusive” atmosphere on this ship. Fares include all gratuities, most alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and all of the fine dining venues. It’s anytime dining on this ship with complimentary 24-hour room service and water sports. After sailing two different itineraries, we much preferred the beautiful and unforgettable islands of Tahiti, The Society Islands and Marquesas. Fiji, The Cook Islands and Tonga were interesting and pretty, but just don’t match the “life changing” beauty of French Polynesia. Make sure you add a day or two pre or post cruise and stay at one of the over-water resorts in Tahiti. We booked two nights at the Hilton on Moorea. I highly recommend their lagoon rooms which are built over the water and offer incredible views. Food is pricey but not unexpected when booking a remote property. This is bucket list stuff for sure. The average age on our cruise was probably 65, but we were delighted to see some younger couples and professional people that made for a fun cruise. Personally, I think kids would be restless on this ship, without the usual kid’s club type of facilities. The tender system was efficient and timely. We booked our own activities so I can’t comment on the ship’s tours. We prefer to “do our own thing” which grants us the freedom to tour on our on schedule. We usually find it’s less expensive to make our own arrangements. When we are tired and ready to call it a day, we simply ask the driver to take us back to the ship rather than being part of a captive audience on a motor coach. Paul Gauguin is not a cheap cruise, but it is worth every dollar spent. If you have the financial means, book a Business Class seat on Air Tahiti Nui or Fiji Air. They have nice service and it’s much more comfortable up front. This cruise line frequently offers discounts off of their brochure rates. It’s worth the investment for a voyage you will never forget. Like I said in the beginning- many on our cruise were sailing Paul Gauguin for the second or third time. They obviously have enjoyed the experience too. Next stop-Azamara Cruise line from Dubai to Turkey in March, 2015. Can’t wait for our next experience at sea!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
All I can say is we just got back and we are ready to go again! The service on the ship, food and drinks, the beautiful people and culture of the Tahitian people. Awesome to open up your balcony curtains and see nothing but lush green ... Read More
All I can say is we just got back and we are ready to go again! The service on the ship, food and drinks, the beautiful people and culture of the Tahitian people. Awesome to open up your balcony curtains and see nothing but lush green jagged mountains and then have room service bring you breakfast. Want a cheese burger at 2 am after dancing all night, just ask. The beach party on Taha'a private Motu Mahana was over the top fun, this place looks like 'Gilligan's Island'. While the stop a Huahine was extremely relaxing. You can jump on a free bus that takes you around most of the island from the tender dock. There were a few things on the negative side though. The beer on the ship was never really cold. Also we did the ride the wave runner around Bora Bora excursion, the brochure says it's a 2.5 hour excursion but they don't tell you it's from the time you get off the ship. So you basically rent a wave runner for an hour, and it wasn't cheap. Also kinda sucked that we had to wake up at 4am after a night of partying to catch our 7am flight. Honestly though I didn't want to leave this place! I can see why the mutineers from the Bounty didn't want to return to England. p.s. good idea to bring a water proof camera. you'll need it for the 100's of pix you'll take above and under the water of this paradice Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This is by far the more economical way to see French Polynesia as food is very expensive throughout FP. Additionally, I was able to see more FP islands as well as the Cook Islands which would have never been able to see. We considered ... Read More
This is by far the more economical way to see French Polynesia as food is very expensive throughout FP. Additionally, I was able to see more FP islands as well as the Cook Islands which would have never been able to see. We considered Oceania but my husband wanted to begin and end our cruise in Papeete. We reserved a balcony room with a Butler so we could have a bar set up in the room. The staff were super attentive and treated us by name from day one. They also learned the cocktails we liked for dinner and would offer those each night. In fact, one server ordered one drink for me our first night and didn't see him for a day or two. When I went back for dinner and he saw me, he asked if I wanted a Cosmo. Wow, I couldn't believe he remembered not only the drink name but how I wanted it made with Cointreau. We loved the face alcohol was included as well as gratuities. My only suggestion to the cruise line would be to eliminate the overnight stay in Bora Bora and Moorea so that we could visit another island. There wasn't enough to do in either for two days, and while beautiful, it was a little slow on those days for us. We hardly left the ship as there wasn't anything else to do in either locale. We were in room 806 and the rooms are super quiet. They have a block party early in the cruise to help passengers get to know others on their floor. This is one of the only cruises I Have ever been on where passengers got to know one another on a deeper level than just casual greetings in passing. Take the splurge and see this gorgeous local with a staff that will enrich your experience. Also, the cruise does a good job of providing Polynesian education of their culture so you have a opportunity to learn how or tie pareos, learn how they dance and see them perform numerous times, and make bracelets, placemats, etc. we truly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the culture while there. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have taken over 35 cruises, different sizes, destinations, etc. This was my second time on the Paul Gauguin and after having such a wonderful cruise the 1st time I was afraid that the second time wouldn't live up the what I ... Read More
I have taken over 35 cruises, different sizes, destinations, etc. This was my second time on the Paul Gauguin and after having such a wonderful cruise the 1st time I was afraid that the second time wouldn't live up the what I expected. It was actually better. The service was beyond belief. I had a bout of sciatica and had trouble walking. They actually loaned me a wheel chair for the whole cruise and treated me like royalty. When we were in Moorea it was raining very hard. The restaurant by the pool is covered but you have to go outside to get there. A lady was getting up from her table and a bus boy ran over to her with an umbrella and walked her to the stairs. That is what I call service. The food was exceptionally good both in the selection and quality.It does sound a bit pricey but for what you get it is an excellent value Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked a cruise on the Paul Gauguin which included a three night stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti prior to the cruise and a day room there the day of disembarkation. At the last minute, we were joined by another couple on ... Read More
We booked a cruise on the Paul Gauguin which included a three night stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti prior to the cruise and a day room there the day of disembarkation. At the last minute, we were joined by another couple on the cruise portion of the package. First, let me say that the Intercontinental Hotel in Tahiti is a beautiful facility, with plenty of lounge chairs and towels, several pools, and a closed lagoon area for snorkeling. The rooms were clean and comfortable. We had some issues with service, but management went the extra mile to correct and make right any issues we experienced, so kudos to them. We would stay there again. On to the cruise. Our wait to board was non existent, with embarkation a simple walk on, get your ID, and then we were led to our room by one of the stewardesses. Our bags were already there. This was only a portent of the wonderful treatment to come. This cruise was absolutely, without a doubt, the A # 1, first class cruise we expected. In fact, it exceeded our expectations. The meals were exceptional dining experiences, and, we ate in the " no reservations" restaurant most nights. We made reservations in the La Veranda French restaurant one night, and the food there was also perfectly done. This restaurant was patterned after the Michelin Two Star restaurant of the same name, and it lived up to the same rating. The wine selections at dinner were very nice, and the wait staff was very accommodating to special requests. Even the breakfast and lunch dining options were special. In addition to the buffets offered, there were also menu items for those who weren't buffet fans. If you decided on the buffet, they wouldn't even let you carry your plate to the table. Once you selected your food and filled your plate, a waiter magically appeared at your elbow, asking to take your plate to the table for you. A little disconcerting at first, but a nice touch. And, if you ordered an omelet or custom pasta at lunch, they took your order, then had it delivered when it was done. There was no charge for any of the drinks that anyone in our party ordered, and we were drinking top shelf liquors, including Gran Marnier, and Dewars. Although the brochures for the cruise stated that there might be an up charge for some drinks, I can't imagine what those would be. I noticed that they freely poured other top shelf liquors such as Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. The fruity drinks that most cruises and resorts charge $15 for we're plentiful and tasty. The service throughout the ship was OUTSTANDING! From the wait staff in the dining room, to the drink service by the pool, to the bartenders or drink service at the numerous events and parties, the waiters alway had cold drinks and warm smiles. The room stewardesses, or as my wife refers to them, housekeeping fairies, did an excellent job while remaining seemingly invisible. I don't know how many times each day our young lady, Teresa, came through, but the room was always immaculate. The evenings included a turndown service and a quality chocolate on each pillow. Ahhhh! The entertainment on board was also top notch. Dan the Piano man kept us entertained, whether it was during an after dinner drink, or hosting a Name That Tune quiz / contest, his kind demeanor and light hearted banter made everyone feel at home. There was also a house band, Santa Rosa, that did a great job of providing dance music for parties and events. The nightly shows in the main theater were entertaining, informative, and amusing, sometimes all at once. The Gauguin brought in local dance troupes and cultural groups from the different islands, and they were very entertaining. In addition, and separate from the entertainment groups, they brought in expert speakers who were very engaging in their fields. The two that we attended were "Spinner Dolphins and the Whales of Tahiti" and the "True Story of the HMS Bounty" were both fascinating. Also on board, there were games and activities hosted by their hospitality team, the Les Gauguines, which included several lovely young Polynesian ladies, and one young Polynesian man. There was something for everyone. We participated, collectively, in several activities, including trivia contests, jewelry making classes, a Polynesian language class, ukelele lessons, and others I'm sure I've forgotten. The Gauguines were multi talented, intelligent, graceful and engaging. Included at no extra charge are trips to the Gauguins Private Motu off Bora Bora, where you can sun, snorkel, swim, and eat a BBQ lunch and drink your fill; and to a less appointed motu just off Moorea (only drinks available), but with great snorkeling. There was also kayaking off the Marina deck pretty much any time we were at anchor. We stopped at several islands, snorkeled, swam and shopped. We also did some excursions (extra charge) including tours, a helmet dive, and dinner at Bloody Mary's on Bora Bora. This cruise was stellar right to the end. We had to be out of our stateroom by 9:30am, but the pool bar was open early and a full lunch was served, starting at 11:00am. Our disembark time was 12:20pm, and there was a free three hour tour of Tahiti, if you wanted to go, rather than go directly to the hotel, where our day rooms wouldn't be ready until 3 pm. We thought it would be a sales type trip, but were we wrong. It was an excellent tour! Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, and told us much of the history of Tahiti. We went to a spectacular waterfall; to the house which belonged to the author of Mutiny on the Bounty; toured the coastline; and stopped at a historic lighthouse constructed in the 1867. And thanks to our longtime travel agent, Linda Herron, from Cruises Etc, out of the Cleveland area, for putting together another stellar vacation experience for us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
For those contemplating a trip to exotic French Polynesia and taking a cruise on the m/s Paul Gauguin, I hope to provide you with some useful information in my review. Be sure to check out other reviews to get a more complete picture of ... Read More
For those contemplating a trip to exotic French Polynesia and taking a cruise on the m/s Paul Gauguin, I hope to provide you with some useful information in my review. Be sure to check out other reviews to get a more complete picture of the cruise. My wife and I wanted to stay in a romantic Over the Water Bungalow (OWB) for a week in French Polynesia. However, after we started pricing the cost of such a trip, we changed our approach. We decided it would be more cost-effective to go on a cruise with Paul Gauguin Cruises (PGC) and stay in an OWB as part of a pre-trip package. PGC would handle all the inter-island flights and transfers for the OWB part of the trip, at what appears to be a good price. And we would get to travel to several islands, including Bora Bora and Moorea. Highlights of our trip: the friendly people we met, the scenic views in French Polynesia, a small ship (doesn't take long to get from one place to the next), drift snorkeling in Rangiroa, snorkeling near sharks and not panicking, and seeing dolphins and whales near the ship, Siglo (quartet) music group on the ship. Low-lights: having any low-lights, dive boat trip back from a snorkel excursion, diving restrictions, safety issue with tender boat, security screening at Tahiti Papeete airport. We decided on the 10-day Tuamotus & Society Islands cruise in mid-September. We would visit Tahiti (arrival, departure), Huahine, Bora Bora (2 days), Rangiroa (atoll in Tuamotus), Fakarava (atoll in Tuamotus), Taha'a, and Moorea (2 days). We decided to do a pre-trip stay. We had hoped at stay at Le Taha'a Resort, based upon a recommendation from our travel agent, but PGC stopped offering that place in 2012. Instead, it offers Vahine Island Private Island Resort, which we selected over places like Moorea and Bora Bora. Airfare, between Los Angeles and Papeete, Tahiti, on Air Tahiti Nui, is included in the price of the cruise package with PGC. We upgraded to business class, because my wife does not tolerate long flights (8.5 hours to Tahiti from LAX). Although the business class seats do not recline a lot, they are more comfortable and spacious than coach class seats. Service was very good. Figure $2800 per person for the business class upgrade through PGC. We purchased our own tickets from our local airport to Los Angeles; PGC was charging a lot more. We left Los Angeles at 4:30 pm and arrived in Tahiti about 10 pm. We were met at the airport by representatives of Tahiti Nui Travel. We boarded a bus and were taken to overnight lodging at the Intercontinental Resort Tahiti. I was very impressed with the hotel. The resort has a lot to offer, has scenic views, and very good food. We had an unlocked international cell phone, but it did not offer coverage in French Polynesia. We walked 15 minutes from the Intercontinental to a local supermarket and went to the Vini retail store. There, I purchased a sim card for the cell phone that worked throughout our trip. I could recharge it at post offices on several of the islands. The next morning we were picked up by Tahiti Nui Travel and taken back to the airport to begin our trip to Vahine Island. We stored two bags for 4 days at a locker storage facility at the Papeete airport (5600 CFP = $62). For our international flight between the USA and Tahiti, we were allowed 32 kg (70 lbs) of checked luggage (times two, since we flew business class), 10 kg (22 lbs) for a carry-on, and a personal item. Because we had to fly between islands to get to our OWB resort, we had to cut down on our luggage. The weight restrictions for the inter-island flight on Air Tahiti were 20 kg (44 lbs) of checked luggage, and 3 kg (6.6 lbs) for a carry-on. Because I had my dive certification card with me, I was allowed an additional 5 kg (11 lbs) in my checked bag. The airline representatives seemed more concerned about the size of the carry-on bag (is it "small"?) than how much it weighed. We left Papeete at 1:05 pm and arrived at 1:50 pm at the Raiatea airport. We were met by someone (arranged by PGC) who loaded our luggage onto a boat for a 35-minute boat trip to the Vahine Island Private Island Resort. We did have problems on the small boat; the gas fumes were a little too much for the first part of the boat trip. Vahine Island is within the lagoon surrounding Taha'a and Raiatea. We were greeted by one of the co-managers as our boat arrived at the island. I can't say enough good things about our pre-cruise stay at the Vahine Island Private Island Resort. It was like a touch of paradise. There are only 9 bungalows on the island. My wife and I stayed in one of the 3 OWBs. Everything we had hoped for in an OWB was realized in a tranquil, picturesque setting. (Ask for the Fare Iva hut.) The managers and staff were wonderful. The other co-manager is an accomplished French chef! We felt spoiled. My wife and I quickly got into "vacation mode" by relaxing at this resort which lives up to its reputation as a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. For the return trip to Tahiti on a Wednesday, the only direct flight back was late in the afternoon at 6:15 pm. We were picked up by boat and taken back to the Raiatea airport. Be aware that there are no shoes to remove, and no liquids to worry about prior to boarding the flight, because there was no security screening at the airport. You just check in and wait for your flight. We arrived back at Papeete airport at 7 pm, picked up our luggage at the storage facility, and transferred by bus to the m/s Paul Gauguin. We showed our passport at the dock and boarded the ship. We went to the Reception Office on deck 4 to get our shipboard ID cards. By the time we got to our room, our luggage had arrived. We went to eat before the restaurant stopped serving dinner. There are three restaurants on the ship: L'Etoile (back of ship, Deck 5), La Veranda (back of ship, Deck 6), and Le Grill (mid-ship, by the pool, Deck 8). Reservations are needed to eat at La Veranda and Le Grill. You can make reservations for 3 nights in advance. We found it most enjoyable to eat at Le Grill when the ship was docked in port for the night (Bora Bora, Moorea, or Tahiti [last night] for our cruise); you could enjoy the outside view without worrying about waves and lots of wind. You could eat at L'Etoile restaurant for any dinner meal. We liked open dining on the ship. We met quite a few couples on the cruise. We would have drinks at La Palette Lounge around sunset with one or more of the couples, and then go together for dinner, usually at L'Etoile Restaurant. Dining was casual. You never had to wear a jacket or sports coat. For Polynesian night, you were encouraged to wear something tropical or even a pareo. PGC did offer free wine and drinks at meals and at the bars. You could pay to get premium wine. My wife and I thought the free wine was good. Many nights, different free wines were available at the restaurants. One reason I selected this cruise was the opportunity to go diving in Rangiroa and Fakarava. That was before I ran into the "process" onboard the ship. You could not sign up for these dive trips in advance, unlike other shore excursions. You had to talk to a member of the dive team in the lobby of deck 4. You were given a questionnaire to fill in. If you answered "yes" to any of the medical questions (e.g., do you now have, or have you ever had, allergies or an operation), you had to go see the ship's doctor to get cleared to go diving--at a cost of $75. It doesn't matter if you had no recent symptoms or had been previously cleared for diving by a competent physician; you had to pay for the privilege of getting cleared again. You were also told that you couldn't dive in Rangiroa unless you had had 40 previous dives, and you couldn't dive in Fakarava unless you had had 20 previous dives. Some divers likely did not conscientiously answer the questions. I ended up having sinus congestion on the trip and couldn't go diving in any case. I talked to some who did the diving, and they said they had fewer than 20 dives, and had no problems in either Rangiroa or Fakarava. Our cabin was 733. The room was adequate in size (but smaller than the room on other ships we have been on). The suitcases did easily fit under the bed. There were plenty of drawers for storing clothes and odds and ends. The bathroom contained a combination bathtub and shower. There was a line that you could extend above the bathtub for drying out wet clothes. The outdoor deck only had two chairs and a table; there was not enough room for lounge chairs to lie down on. There were privacy panels between the adjacent outdoor decks. The crew and staff on the ship were very friendly. Make the effort to learn the name of your cabin attendant, dining room stewards, and pool bar servers. They appreciate it, will greet you before you can say hello, and give you a little extra, attentive service. We saw the Captain more often than we did on other cruise ships we have been on. At Huahine, we took the tender to the island and then "Le Truck", a local bus, to the town of Fare and walked around the small downtown area. We didn't want to do a shore excursion. We spent two days at Bora Bora. We entered the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora and docked near the town of Vaitape. The fancy resorts (e.g., Intercontinental, Le Meridien, St Regis) were on the other side of the island, along the edge of the lagoon. We learned in the Port Talk that Avis rents bikes. So my wife and I rented 2 bikes and circumnavigated the island in about 4 hours. There were only 2 hills. We stopped at a local supermarket and bought some food and drinks. We made several stops around the island. When we took the tender from shore back to the ship, we noticed that several locals in outrigger canoes were following the tender and riding in its wake. Some of the cruisers did their homework in advance. By doing research on CruiseCritic.com, they found the name of a local operator (Kristof??) who offers a private snorkeling tour in Bora Bora. The group diverted to see some whales in the area, something that would not have been possible with a PGC-arranged snorkel excursion. PGC did offer a tender to a private motu in Bora Bora. Beer, rum punch, and soft drinks were available, but there were no bathroom facilities. Kayaks were available. One of the highlights of the trip was the entrance to Rangiroa. Ships enter the atoll through one of two passes. The currents are quite strong in these areas. We entered at the Tiputa Pass and were amazed to see all the dolphins, and one shark, in the water swimming alongside the ship. We took a PGC snorkel excursion called "drift snorkeling". A boat took us outside the Lagoon of Rangiroa. We got out and drifted with the current into the lagoon while looking for fish. We repeated this three times at different positions in the pass. The next day we visited the atoll at Fakarava. We went through a pass and anchored just inside the lagoon. We watched the dolphins swimming around the ship. Our snorkel trip was changed, possibly because of the choppy waves in the lagoon. We instead took one of the ship's dive boats in the afternoon to a coral garden near the center of the lagoon. We saw a few yellow-tipped and black-tipped sharks swimming around the area, and did not panic. You see them for a few moments, and then they're gone. You wonder where they went (cue the music for the movie "Jaws"). You quickly realize you're a visitor in their world, and they're not interested in getting close to you (whew!). I would recommend a full wetsuit for snorkelers who easily get cold in the water, especially if you're tall and skinny. It would have helped on the trip back to the ship from the coral area. My wife and I were asked to move to the very back of the dive boat. That made us more exposed to the wind and waves. I got soaked on the trip back, and the water was cold. It was not a pleasant experience. The snorkel guide and boat captain did not appear to care. Again some of the cruisers did their homework in advance. By doing research on CruiseCritic.com, they found the name of a local operator (Atoo??) who offers a private snorkeling tour in Fakarava. They reported having a great time. One of the passengers told me that you could do a Cruise Critic Roll Call of people signed up for a cruise to find others who are interested in doing a private tour at one of the destinations. In this way, you can locate enough people to meet the minimum tour requirement. The next day we traveled towards Taha'a and spent the day at sea. Many passengers booked spa appointments. My wife and I did 90-minute massages on the second day at Bora Bora. She did an Oriental massage. I did the volcanic hot stone massage. The massages were above average, not superb. You can pre-book shorter duration massages before you cruise. We booked ours on the morning after we left Tahiti. We did the Exploration of Taha'a shore excursion on the morning of our arrival at Taha'a. Others went to PGC's private beach off the island of Taha'a (and a few miles from Vahine Island). We took an off-road vehicle (8 passengers each) and drove up one of the mountains on a muddy, pitted dirt road (it had just rained). We stopped at the top for a scenic view, enjoyed some local fruit and musical entertainment. Then we visited a small black pearl farm and a vanilla farm. We arrived back on the ship, changed clothes, and caught a tender to the private Motu Mahana. We arrived at the end of the BBQ lunch (sorry, no hamburgers left). There were bathroom facilities. Although the last tender from the Motu to the ship was at 5 pm, kayaks were removed starting at 3 pm. The bar started shutting down about 4 pm. The availability of drinks became limited. It was hard to chill out and enjoy the last hour at the Motu. Tip: some of the ship dining staff arrived early on the island and cut up coconut shells to serve drinks in; be sure to ask for one when you arrive (early) on the Motu. Be very careful getting on and off the tender to the private Motu. The tender has a ramp that lowers to let you off the boat in the shallow water off the beach at the Motu. There is a hand crank that lowers the ramp. As my wife passed by the crank, it apparently released and smacked the top of her arm and gave her a hematoma. Fortunately there was no bruising or contact with bone. I reported the incident later to the ship's Safety Officer. Be aware that you have to take one of the three shore excursions if you want to go the island of Taha'a. The ship did not offer any tenders to Taha'a, only to the Motu. The next stop was 2 days in Moorea. I found it one of the prettier islands on the trip, not so commercialized as Bora Bora. My wife and I booked our cruise through a Virtuoso travel agent. During the cruise, the Virtuoso travelers got to attend a special cocktail reception. And on the first day in Moorea, we got a half-day bus tour of the island. We visited Opunohu Valley, stopped for a scenic view on Mount Belvedere, visited an ancient archaeological dig, heard about community projects at the UC Berkeley Gump Research Station, had lunch at the Intercontinental Resort Moorea, and then visited the Kellum House and Gardens. At this last place, we got to meet and chat with Kellum's daughter and famous archeologist, Marimari. I learned that the m/s Paul Gauguin is the only cruise ship to visit Moorea and several of the other islands in French Polynesia on a regular basis. Cruise lines such as Princess and Celebrity have stopped coming, according to one local. My wife and I didn't know it, but we were in French Polynesia during whale season. One of the shore excursions offered by PGC in Moorea was a Dolphin Watching Expedition. We learned at a Port Talk that it was being expanded to include whale watching. We tried to sign up, but the excursion was already fully booked for the day we wanted. We got on the wait list, but to no avail. PGC brought onboard a local expert, Dr. Michael Poole, to lead the tour. At the time we were in Moorea, a momma whale and her baby had taken up temporary residence in the area, swimming back and forth between two bays. Several small boats would get up close to the whales. One of boats, probably the PGC tour, got snorkelers in the water to swim near the whales. Not getting on that tour was one of the regrets of our wonderful vacation. However my wife and I spent several hours in the morning watching the whales (we brought binoculars which were very useful). We also went kayaking off the marina platform (back of the ship, Deck 4). This is a benefit offered by Paul Gauguin Cruises. You can't swim or snorkel in this area, but you can take the kayaks out for an hour at a time. On the last night, as we sailed back to Tahiti, PGC brought a local folkloric dance troupe on board to provide the evening entertainment ("Showtime") in the Grand Salon theater. Before dinner that night on the ship, guests could make leis and other flower arrangements. Lesson learned: get one early, because they will run out before you are ready for dinner. You do have a chance to get a lei at Showtime. We docked at Tahiti by 7 pm. You were asked to put your luggage (for checking at the airport) outside your cabin by 11 pm. The next morning, breakfast was served in L'Etoile from 7-9 am. You were asked to vacate your cabin by 9:30 am. The pool bar opened at 10 am for guests who were still on board. Depending on your post-cruise arrangements, you were assigned a time to depart the ship. My wife and I had an 11:15 pm flight from Papeete to Los Angeles. We disembarked the ship around 12:30 pm. PGC graciously arranged a several-hour bus tour of the eastern part of Tahiti for us, before we could check in to our dayroom prior to our evening flight. Our luggage was loaded on buses for us. We visited a lighthouse and famous park, waterfalls, and the James Norman Hall Museum. James Hall was a co-author of the Bounty trilogy--"Mutiny on the Bounty," "Man Against the Sea" and "Pitcairn's Island" and helped make Tahiti famous. At the museum, we got to meet Hall's daughter Nancy. Then we were dropped off at our dayroom at the Sofitel Tahiti Maeva. We were originally supposed to stay at the Intercontinental, but they ran out of rooms and PGC moved us to the Sofitel. I would never recommend staying at the Sofitel. The bed was uncomfortable. My wife found a bloodstain on her pillow. The beach area, in a cove near a marina, was not very big or inviting. The tour guide on our bus tour of Tahiti mentioned that the hotel might close down within the next few months. At the airport we talked to passengers from the cruise who stayed at two other hotels for their dayroom (Intercontinental, Radisson). They spoke highly of their hotels. The same cannot be said for the Sofitel. Although we had all of our luggage at the Sofitel, we had to take our luggage (to be checked at the airport) to the lobby a couple of hours before our pick-up time. Tahiti Nui Travel picked up the luggage and took it on to the airport. We were picked up in the evening at 7:30 pm for our 11:15 pm flight back to the USA. The hotel is only about 10 minutes from the airport. We were dropped off at one end and located our luggage. Then we went to check in. If you are flying in coach class, expect to wait in a long line to check in. Then expect some overly conservative security screeners. My wife had a pair of tweezers and manicure scissors confiscated by a screener. She protested, to no avail, that even the security screeners in the USA allow these items. Another passenger had a small craft tool confiscated; she was very unhappy about that. Your travel agent should warn you about this behavior. We had purchased some pearls on one of the islands. The shop did not charge us the VAT tax, but, in return, we had to get some paperwork stamped at the duty free office at the airport and have it mailed to the store (can mail at the airport, stamp was provided by the store). There are several flights departing Papeete in the evening. The duty free office did not open until about 9 pm, because the person working in that office was also helping with the departure of one of the flights. Expect to wait in line to get your duty free stamp. It doesn't take long--show the paperwork and the item you purchased (do not put it in your checked luggage!) and then get two pieces of paper stamped--but there are lots of people in line. The Paul Gauguin Cruise allowed my wife and I to visit picturesque and exotic islands in French Polynesia. Our OWB bungalow pre-trip stay was memorable and very romantic. Overall, this was a wonderful vacation. We recommend the trip to other adventurous travelers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This is our 5th trip to French Polynesia, 4th on the Paul Gauguin. We continue to be drawn back every other year because of the natural beauty and the colors of the waters throughout. The snorkeling opportunities and relaxing on the beach ... Read More
This is our 5th trip to French Polynesia, 4th on the Paul Gauguin. We continue to be drawn back every other year because of the natural beauty and the colors of the waters throughout. The snorkeling opportunities and relaxing on the beach continues to be the biggest draw for us. That said, the latest trip we took on the Paul Gauguin continues the tradition of enhancing the relaxation part of the trip to the islands to the next level. The review that follows is intended to not be all inclusive, as many others have written about many of the details on this board and we continue to thank them for their hints and tricks and tips, but rather to add yet another perspective on areas not typically addressed as much, often most useful to those about to go and to increase the excitement about their upcoming trips. Flights In that we were celebrating our 30th anniversary, we decided to go all out and upgrade to business class on Air Tahiti Nui. The worst part of the trip in the past were the flights over and back as they are long (8.5 hours from LAX) and really hard on the body especially as we age. The upgrade allowed us to check in at the business class line which was no benefit as there were few in line for economy. But it did result in priority tags for our luggage and when we landed, our bags were the first out. While that was an advantage, we still waited on the transfer bus in Papeete for ½ hour for others to load up the bus to our pre-cruise room. Note: if you do upgrade, bite the bullet and take a taxi to the Intercontinental; it is right next to the airport and you will be there ½ hour before everyone else. We chose to fly out at 4:30p arriving at 10pm so that we could go right to the hotel and then sleep vs those that left on the red-eye, arriving at 5am. While they got to sleep also in the day room at the Intercontinental, this gave us extra time to relax at the pool in the morning, easily make the breakfast buffet (which closes at 10:30) and all for only $10. Why wouldn't you do this? The plane that we were on was older and the business class cabin was not near as nice as the one coming home. The foot rest was very narrow and was hard to keep your legs on it when elevated. The seat controls were nearly impossible to use (again on the way home, they were much better designed) and the remote control would not come out of the socket. I was surprised that no sooner dinner ended, that everyone wanted to go to sleep! It was like 7pm! Maybe they were east coast travelers or beyond... We enjoyed a few movies and were good and tired to sleep at the bed in the hotel afterwards. Food on the plane was decent as airline food goes. I fly business/first all the time for my job, but Air Tahiti Nui, however, ranks at the low end of business class cabins. The flight attendants are nice and friendly and helpful, but the 150 degree reclining seat (180 degrees in first class) and inadequate controls, small footrest and the degree the seats recline in front of you onto your lap made it much less favorable than any other business class we have been on. And for a $1400 increase per person each way over the included coach airfare by PG, this was a disappointment. The cabin was full so I think some others may have upgraded at the gate. We just didn't want to risk it so we booked in advance. Note that our flight home was better, but if you are on a window seat, it is nearly impossible to get out of the seat to walk around or use the restroom when the person in front of you reclined! Note to self: if you are flying business class, book the center seats so you both have an aisle and it is much easier to get out. Pre-cruise day room We like the Intercontinental Tahiti much more than the nearby Sofitel Tahiti or the previously used Le Meridian. The grounds are nice, we had no problems with bugs and the pool is relaxing and beautiful. Drinks by the pool were reasonable cost wise and the buffet adequate. We had a chance to sleep for 8 hours doing the 10pm arrival the night before and had a leisurely breakfast and sat and read by the pool until we lined up to be transferred about 2:30p (and for only $10 more? Come on!). Expect a bit of chaos getting on the bus as everyone crowds their way to the front, many avoiding all form of manners. Further, they checked us off to get on the bus using our IC room number, not our last name nor our ship cabin number. A last name sort would have sped up the process greatly (PG, take note). Paul Gauguin Arrival was painless and enjoyable with a huge smile from our cruise director (Michael Shapiro; PG do NOT let him go; he is the BEST) and check in was efficient. It is nice to have your room ready when you arrive. And our bags arrived no more than an hour later. This gave us time to book spa reservations, add reservations for alternative dining, and sign up for excursions. We then had a leisurely "snack" at Le Grill. We lucked out the entire week with probably the best weather ever for our past 4 trips to Tahiti. While we had some clouds, we had very little rain and the heat/humidity was never to unbearable as it has happened in past trips. We quickly discovered that many of the staff have been on the ship, in some cases, for over 10 years. So for us, it was like "old times"! Further, MANY of them recognized us and made our trip extra special the entire week. This is something we have always noticed about the PG experience: the people are amazing. I have rarely had so many of the staff ever remember your name and greet you personally. They are warm, friendly, extremely helpful, and make the entire experience a big "ahhhhh...." Special call outs to Elmo, Glenn, Jon-Michael in the bar/wine service and Hernie and Shane in the dining room. Remy, the Matre'd was exceptional and helpful and our head waiter, remembered from past cruises, was Caesar who also did everything you wanted and much more. The staff truly made this a magical and relaxing week. It is really hard to "quantify" this part of the experience on the PG or any cruise ship, but it sure is easy to spot when you are treated exceptionally well. And the staff on the PG does it right. The ship looks great. The recent dry dock in January really freshened the ship and the colors are lively and yet peaceful. We didn't find any area that needed attention, with one exception: the air conditioning in our room. We could never get the room cool enough despite numerous requests to our cabin steward/ess and then ultimately to guest relations. The latter did offer to move us half way through the cruise but we declined due to the hassle factor. Note to self: if you have problems with your room, it is better to notify guest relations immediately vs bringing this up to the cabin steward/ess. Then a record is made of the issue and follow up is more complete. Food Always a personal matter, but we continue to be amazed at how wonderful the food is on the PG. And I'm a self-proclaimed foodie having written one cookbook and nearly complete on my second. Exec Chef Paul, who must be all of 31 years old, is incredible. The dishes are imaginative, beautifully presented and delicious. Sure, as others have said, the lunch time buffet leaves a little to be desired, but dinner in the dining rooms, all three of them, were always excellent. Don't miss out on Le Grill just because it is outside. The setting was wonderful and the light breeze while we were moving made it very nice. And the food was some of the best on the ship! The tuna tartare on won tons was sublime. And the New York pepper steak scrumptious. Very pleased for our one outing here. We had an enjoyable meal at La Veranda, which is much more "upscale" but we don't think it beat the day-after-day excellence of the main dining room, L'Etoile. Part of this "experience" may have had to do with our excellent waiter and the great "1A" table in the corner for two, but the food really shined. One night, every course we had just kept getting better! A gnocchi with pesto and soft goat cheese is not to be missed. And the moonfish, that the chef carved at Le Grill in an exhibition earlier that day, was incredible with the rocket salad, sauteed onions and parsley sauce. Yum. I really noticed a general upgrade in the amount of money devoted to food vs when this ship was under Regent rule (and staff onboard confirmed this). So thank you new ownership! We always had our wine glasses full thanks to Elmo and Jon-Michael. They always made sure we had a wine we enjoyed. And while we greatly appreciate everything they did, we did find that the quality of the wines, in general, have gone downhill a bit since Regent ownership days. We saw a lot of people keep trying alternate wines and often seemed to be less than thoroughly pleased with the offerings. I would love to see a little more attention paid to this area if I had a say (and doesn't have to mean more $'s). The optional wine list was very extensive and would please most discerning palates. Excursions/Ports Raiatea is a bit of a bust on a Sunday. The town is closed. This has been the way it has been in all four previous trips on the PG. You would think they would go to Taha'a, the beach day first and then go to Raiatea on Monday since they are so close to one another. We did a drift snorkel that we were pleased still ran with only 6 of us! It was exceptional as to the fish and coral seen. You must bring an underwater camera for this! We had done this several years ago through a private excursion (Bruno, often mentioned on these boards) but alas, we couldn't get enough people together on the cruise in advance to book a Bruno excursion, which is much more inclusive (great lunch) as to food and stops and only $20 more. Oh well, the six of us still had a great time. Taha'a: what can I say, this continues to be the reason we sail the PG. It is the most amazing, relaxing, beautiful spot on earth. I really mean that. Sure the drinks in the coconut, the floating bar and the good food are great, but just relaxing in the water, snorkeling (and running into Tara and Jeff, cruise critic contributors) completely at random while swimming makes for an amazing day. We ended up being one of the first on the island (be sure to line up 20 minutes in advance of when the first tender leaves) and one of the last to leave. It really is hard to go back to the ship, and reality, after such a perfect day. Bora Bora -- we did a half day snorkeling excursion with Reef Discovery and were met on pier by a nice new speed boat and the skipper was extremely accommodating. Also an exceptional day as we snorkeled in 4 different spots (including being able to see clown fish which are all but extinct at the Great Barrier Reef due to overfishing for people's aquariums due to "that movie!") A great day and we planned it just right as soon as we returned to ship, it started raining. 2nd day we went to the "private beach" of the PG. This always is a bit of a letdown after Taha'a as there are no bathrooms, no chairs and limited drinks. But you still get to go in the water and take in all that the island's beauty has to offer. I found it interesting that they no longer move the ship on the overnight in Bora Bora, putting the ship much closer to the private beach on the 2nd day. Not sure why. But the tender trip is much longer as a result to the private beach. Moorea -- the first day we decided to do what we like to do best, absolutely nothing! We hung out by the pool, read, drank, ate, and repeated same. The weather was nice and who could beat the beautiful views. The 2nd day we caught a taxi to the Hilton Moorea for a day pass. As others have said, this is extremely reasonable: a 2000 xpf taxi ride ($21 -- note that the exchange rate was very favorable while we were there; definitely hit the ATM in Papeete when you land so you can pay in local currency and take advantage of this big difference in exchange rates as there is an ATM right there) and then 6000xpf ($61) per person for access to the beach, towel, pool, kayak, etc. AND lunch at the beach restaurant. This was the big surprise. The food there was excellent. We had the traditional poisson cru (local raw tuna marinated in coconut milk, celery, onions, yum) and tuna sashimi as appetizers. Either/both could have served as an entire meal they were so large and again, the quality was excellent. We had a burger and a pizza for the two of us as entrees, both excellent. If you were to add these up, you would be at close to 4000 xpf so you essentially get the rest of the facility for $20. It was a nice day of relaxing. When the taxi drops you off, be sure to get a phone number and the concierge at the hotel will call a pickup which took about 10 minutes. And we ended up sharing a ride with someone else to the PG so the trip was only 1000 xpf ($10)! Entertainment Our favorite show has always been the cabaret when Michael Shapiro performs and this time it did not disappoint. I don't understand why he hasn't been picked up on Broadway or other as he is an excellent singer/performer. I really enjoyed this show and if you like music, it is not to be missed. He invited us to his dinner table one night and is such a great host / cruise director / person; really a joy to be around. We also saw the Krew Kapers where the local staff put on a show. We have seen these before on other cruise lines and did not enjoy them. This was not the case on the PG. The staff did an amazing job with some very imaginative work: the best being the Matrix Ping Pong! Finally, we were so pleased to have a new pianist on board, Rueben. He was awesome. Every night before dinner and/or after we would listen to him tinkle the piano keys. Incredible! His range of songs was great and when we requested a song, he went off and did the research and returned the next day playing it when we arrived. Wow. His passion when he plays really comes out in his own show on board one night where he played a couple of Argentinean Tangos -- AND -- Bohemian Rhapsody alongside the ever talented Siglo. I can't tell you how much we are pleased of the emphasis by PG on piano music (and playing the piano vs the often poor "singing" that the pianist tries and never succeeds at like the former pianist Hal did on board). This has gotten lost or relegated to a lounge act and only once before dinner on other cruise lines. My only comment on Rueben is he plays less than the 45 minute sets he is scheduled for. Not sure why but each set seems to last 35-40 minutes. Hey when someone is that good, you want him to play the full time! What about all the other local shows offered? We have seen them all several times before so we decided to do something else during these times. They have always have been good, colorful and energetic along with adding to the local ambiance of the islands. We participated in the anniversary ceremony given this was our 30th and I always find this very well done by cruise director and others. Very touching, a nice song and a few choice words and then a lovely picture of the two of us wrapped in a traditional Tahitian blanket that would have been typically provided by your family and friends on your wedding day, all to the beautiful backdrop of Bora Bora. Not to be missed. They introduced us to a new song we hadn't heard that sums it all up: "The Road that Never Ends" by Keali'I Reichel that can be found on iTunes. Listen to the words.... Departure Always tough to leave the ship but again, PG does it well; you have breakfast, vacate your room by 9:30 latest, walk around the town including Le Marche for knick knacks and souvenirs, return to ship for lunch 11:00-12:30 and then disembark depending on where you are going. We got off at 12:20 as we went straight to the day room at the Radisson. I would have much rather stayed at the Intercontinental but we missed the window when this was only $40 per person (60 days or more prior to cruising) as it went to $135 or so per person, prohibitive for the 6-7 hours you spend there. What I was pleased to see was that it was much better organized when we arrived, including having our room ready (normally, if you skip the included island tour, your room isn't ready until approximately when the tour returns, or 2:30pm vs 1:00pm. The pool water is still cold as ever but we read with the included free internet (didn't have an iPad last time I was there and that was a relief to have free wifi) and had a light snack. The hotel is a bit of a letdown; again, after the experience on the PG and that it is farther from the airport. But alas, when we did get to the airport, the business class line greatly cut down our wait (from one person in front of us vs the already 100+ in trying to check in the economy line). The departure area has been upgraded since we were last there but we quickly went upstairs to the air conditioned, free wifi, snacks, drinks -- business class lounge. The sofas and chairs made the two hour wait extremely comfortable. So it is a bit more than just the seat on the airplane you upgrade for, this was a nice treat at the end of a long day and in advance of the long flight home. Summary Our trip was a huge success but on so many fronts: the staff and the ship along with the food and entertainment make this really hard to beat vs, say an overwater bungalow which we considered and have done in the past. The quality of the overall product that the PG delivers is exceptional. We are excited about their new 90 person ship coming online this winter and anxious to try it given the attention to detail in every area that the PG ship provides. This area of the world continues to be one of the most beautiful and relaxing places on the planet -- as evidenced by it being our fifth trip here! We will return again in two years to the PG! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We just returned home from the 14-day Society Islands, Tuamotu Islands, and Marquesas trip. This was our first time on the PG and we are already talking about going back and perhaps doing the Cook Islands. Everything was just wonderful. ... Read More
We just returned home from the 14-day Society Islands, Tuamotu Islands, and Marquesas trip. This was our first time on the PG and we are already talking about going back and perhaps doing the Cook Islands. Everything was just wonderful. In January the ship returned to French Polynesia after refurbishment and everything is bright and new. We loved our cabin in the stern on deck 7 and our hardworking housekeeper Annie Rose. She knew us by name from the first day and kept us supplied with our preferred drinks throughout the trip. The Gauguines were beautiful and talented and did everything possible to make us happy. At dinner time in L'Etoile they sang and danced throughout the room. We attended several lectures and, by far the most entertaining and knowledgeable was Mark Eddowes. Mark told us that he only goes on the trips to the Marquesas although he was aboard for the full trip. His talk about the Bounty, Fletcher Christian, Captain Bligh, and breadfruit was a highlight of the trip. He also lead tours to archaeological sites and other places throughout the islands. All three restaurants were great and the food exceeded our expectations. The soups especially were quite good and unusual. Of the three restaurants, we preferred Le Grill. It was romantic and, weather permitting, we had tables outside under the stars. If you decide to go on the PG and Huahine is on the itinerary, the ship tour led by Paul Atallah is also a must do. The best island, in my opinion, is Fakarava where we snorkeled with Ato Lissant and he prepared the most wonderful lunch of fish he caught while we waited as well as poisson cru (a traditional Tahitian dish of fish and other stuff "cooked" in lime juice). In conclusion, I highly recommend the Paul Gauguin. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We had been looking forward to our cruise very much, especially after reading all the positive reviews. I was even a little concerned that we may have been expecting too much.In fact, we enjoyed ourselves even more than we could have ... Read More
We had been looking forward to our cruise very much, especially after reading all the positive reviews. I was even a little concerned that we may have been expecting too much.In fact, we enjoyed ourselves even more than we could have imagined.The Paul Gauguin was really an outstanding experience. We thought the ship itself was immaculately maintained, the cabin was very comfortable, the crew did their utmost to ensure everyone enjoyed themselves and the food was delicious.Michael Shapiro seemed to be everywhere and made sure everyone had a fabulous trip.We usually travel first or business class internationally and have stayed in wonderful hotels. I say this not to big note ourselves but to put the Paul Gauguin experience in to perspective.We both suffer from the same food allergy. The restaurant staff went out of their way to assist us and make sure we didn't miss out in any way.As others have gone into detail about the three dining areas, I won't repeat that. We liked dining at L'Etoile and although we enjoyed one dinner at Le Grill, we cancelled our reservation at Le Veranda and just ate at L'Etoile.We enjoyed the excursions we did very much. We booked one through the ship and did the other 2 ourselves on the net though I'm not sure we saved much.Our only other cruise was on a river boat so I was a bit nervous about sea sickness. I took tablets at the beginning of the cruise but felt fine and so stopped taking them. BIG mistake. Enroute from Bora Bora to Moorea we had a really bad storm. I was ok during dinner but things changed when we got back to our cabin. My partner was laughing hard whilst I was extremely ill. He said he had seen people being ill in films and on cartoons but didn't really believe that someone could actually be that ill. Well, I proved you can be that ill and he got it in technicolour and surround sound. I ended up falling asleep and actually slept very well. My partner, on the other hand was awake all night and said it was so rough it felt like someone was kicking the bed all night. I saw many people were wearing the behind the ear patches but they are no longer available in Australia.This would not stop me from doing another cruise but I will make sure I take the tablets non-stop and will avoid the Atlantic and Bass Strait!Once the storm was over I was fine.Snorkelling gear was provided on the PG and you kept it for the duration of the cruise. It was comforting to see the dive guys thoroughly washing the gear at the end of the cruise.You could get espresso coffee any time. It was not the best coffee I have ever had but it certainly was way above the standard of the commercial outlets in the U.S.. You know which the ones I mean.The gym on the PG was better than I had expected, small but reasonably well equipped.We were not interested in the entertainment. We have seen enough island dancers over the years. In any case, by the evening we were knackered!After only a couple of days we forgot what day it was and had to check the daily guide. I think that in itself is a pretty good indication of how relaxing our holiday was.We cannot recommend the Paul Gauguin highly enough. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My husband and I cruised with Paul Gauguin on our "pre" wedding honeymoon and we loved every minute of it! We are not experience cruisers - this was our first. We stayed for 7 days at the Intercontinental Thalasso Spa in Bora ... Read More
My husband and I cruised with Paul Gauguin on our "pre" wedding honeymoon and we loved every minute of it! We are not experience cruisers - this was our first. We stayed for 7 days at the Intercontinental Thalasso Spa in Bora Bora (highly recommended) before boarding the ship. Our transfers all went with out an issue - flights, buses, water taxis all went with out a hitch - this was one of my biggest fears. It was almost like being catered to in a dream. Everyone we encountered in Tahiti was friendly and helpful! We boarded the ship and were awed from the very beginning! Greated very graciously, every detail seemed to be already taken care of! Our room was a stateroom at the back of the ship with a large deck, the room was very spacious and well appointed. We were welcomed with a bottle of champagne. The fridge was stocked with cold drinks and beer and the staff kept it stocked at all times! The staff was absolutely wonderful - they did every thing they could to make our time with them enjoyable and relaxing! We really enjoyed them all from the Capitain, the Cruise Director, the Bartender (our personal favorite), right down to the room staff and the entertainment! Wonderful people! We loved the food - there was a great variety and it was well prepared. There was a guest chef on our cruise and one night he prepared food out on the deck around the pool - very fresh and yummy! The restaurants were very nice, great food and great staff. I enjoyed that you could chose to sit alone or join a larger table and get to know fellow passengers. The nights we sat at large tables were with out a doubt the best! The bars on the ship were top notch too - great drinks - all included! We did order room service one night - very late - after celebrating at the bar with fellow passengers after we exchanged vows in a ceremony on the ship - and there was no issue calling and ordering, the food arrived quickly and was very, very good. There is a ceremony onboard for honeymooners or couples renewing their vows. We were actually not officially married yet in the states our ceremony was scheduled back home after our trip. But, we were treated to the ceremony with cake and champagne, we had honeymoon gifts left in our cabin and were honestly treated like royalty! How many can say there were married in the middle of the beautiful South Pacific during sunset?? Can not think of one negative thing to state about this experience! It was above and beyond anything we expected. We were looking for something different to celebrate our marriage and when the travel agent suggested a cruise my husband cringed (not his idea of a relaxing vacation) but we were assured that being a smaller ship and a luxury cruise we would not run into the crowds of people and unruly kids running around. There were indeed children on the ship ( just a few) and they were very well behaved - hardly even knew they were there. After our journey my husband would do another Gauguin cruise with out question. In fact we have looked at the new cruise ship Tere Mona for a possible future trip. Not sure they can come close to the experience we had in Tahiti. We enjoyed the day at the private island with the drinks and the BBQ we spent the day snorkling and swimming in the lagoon. While in Bora Bora we shopped for black pearls and I came home with a gorgeous necklace. We visited Bloody Mary's and left our signed $$ on the wall with the thousands of others! Note: if you are not of the male gender you still must pay a visit to the men's restroom at Bloody Mary's - very unique! All in all there is not one negative that we could write about! We thoroughly enjoyed our South Seas vacation and would go back in an instant! It was not inexpensive by any means but it was worth every penny and then some. A comfortable, luxury ship, warm, accomodating, friendly people, fresh, beautiful food, all in the most beautiful place on earth - how can you put a price on that? Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
If you are ever thinking of seeing the South Pacific, this is the only way to do it...... I repeat the only way to do it.... This ship is the expert. They have only sailed here since the ship was built in 1997 and redone in 2009 ..... and ... Read More
If you are ever thinking of seeing the South Pacific, this is the only way to do it...... I repeat the only way to do it.... This ship is the expert. They have only sailed here since the ship was built in 1997 and redone in 2009 ..... and when the weather kicks up down here, (we had to dodge two major cyclones) they do it with style ...... We were to go to the Cook islands on part of this 11-day cruise, but because of Cyclone PAT, (which eventually hit the Cooks hard), we headed to great Nameless Islands (my mind is so totally relaxed from the cruise that I just can't recall their names now), but I can tell you that the ship has such a great reputation in the South Pacific that when the Island of less than 1000 people heard we were coming they threw us an authentic Native feast on the beach .... a lot of the island came to this once in a lifetime event. When I say this is the only way to see the South Pacific, here is what I mean. My Wife and I spent 3 nights on Tahiti on our own before the cruise and 1 night after. We have traveled to over 65 countries.. and I can't recall a more expensive place than Tahiti.... a Lunch snack for 4 at what amounted to a Taco Stand was $50 and a 10-minute cab ride after negotiations was $30.. So the ship is a bargain..... All drinks are included as are all tips.... and I had to remind our waiters to make mine weak..... We had a little contest going of who could order a drink that the bartenders could not make... Once we thought they were stumped but only because they knew it by another name...... My wife just informed me that the Feast took place on Fakarava the ancient capital of the Tuamotu Archipelago. Even though it was never on our bucket list we are proud to put that one on our "been there done that" list. The cabins were great and what you would expect on a 5-star ship. We heard no complaints and there was none of the running around trying to get your cabin changed you usually hear about the first day on a cruise.... Food was great. You could stay on a diet if you are crazy! We chose to indulge.. Plenty of great music and entertainment, everywhere every night... I think the crew was having as much fun as we were and they have a great sense of humor. Good Shore Excursions. The divers and snorkelers were very happy...If you don't snorkel yet... learn here, it will never be better.. and a lot of it is free off any beach. A lot of people were worried about how this ship would be after the change of ownership.... no worries there. I expect it to get even better... Suggestion to management: If you ever do move the boat to another destination for a short time (hint hint: Fiji) We will be on it! Jeff & Pat Shanahan Feb 9-20, 2010 Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
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