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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
After a LONG flight to Fiji (over 24 hours total), and losing a full day, we made it to Lautoka and our hotel room for the day prior to boarding. Fiji Airlines was super comfortable in economy, there was plenty of free entertainment, and ... Read More
After a LONG flight to Fiji (over 24 hours total), and losing a full day, we made it to Lautoka and our hotel room for the day prior to boarding. Fiji Airlines was super comfortable in economy, there was plenty of free entertainment, and the food was decent. The Sofitel was beautiful and relaxing after our long flight. The pool was very welcome! Since we had booked our included air through PGC, all our transfers were included. One headache we didn't have to deal with! Boarding the ship was easy as pie. With only 325 guests, there's NEVER a line. We were shown to our cabin, 432, and proceeded to settle in. Our bags made it BEFORE we did!!! Time to unpack and prepare for Muster. The Gauguin had just come out of dry dock and she looked spic and span! New flooring/deck around pool on 8, new furniture and lounge chairs too! Gorgeous! La Palette had new barrel chairs, but the head of Hotels mentioned they are too large and will be replaced. I found them to be super comfortable, but YES, they are LARGE! We were on a "once every 2 years" itinerary...Fiji to Tahiti, with crossing the international date line! I ticked that off my list! The ports were great. Only complaint? Fiji and Tahiti are very Christian and there is little to do on a Sunday. We booked a tour, so it wasn't a problem though. The weather tried to cooperate, but we had some sea days with rain and some light rain in ports. We started in Lautoka, Fiji; then Suva, Fiji; and Savusavu, Fiji. Then a sea day on our way to Vava'u, Tonga. I absolutely LOVED Tonga! The Ene'io Tongan Feast was delicious and the entertainment was beautiful. After Tonga we had 2 days at sea while we crossed the Int'l Dateline. The weather got rainy by the second day at sea and worse by the time we reached Aitutaki, Cook Islands. It was so bad, the Captain decided to cut our stay short and just head to Bora Bora so we could catch some of the Heiva Festival. We kept busy during the raining sea days building boats for a pool boat race, eating, drinking, hearing a guest pianist, watching the Gaugins/Gauguines perform, Que Bola magic shows, and hearing great talks from Mr. Cousteau and motivational speaker, Tom O'Neil. What fun! I took 3rd place in the race. There were about 20 boats :) We arrived in Bora Bora around 10 pm and were able to tender in to see the Heiva dancers and check out the festival. We would overnight here. Our shore excursion for Bora Bora was the Underwater Walk. I had done this 2 years ago and it didn't disappoint!!! After the Underwater Walk, we headed back to the ship and got our things so we could go to Gauguin's private, secluded beach in Bora Bora. We took the tender to the motu/beach and had our first wet landing. What fun!!! No chairs, no bathrooms; just beautiful stretches of white sand, sun, and snorkeling! They provided soft drinks, water, chips, peanuts, and beer. After a couple hours it was time to head back to the ship for lunch, followed by another tender into town for some shopping. The next day we were at PG's private motu; Motu Mohana. Another wet landing, but with far more amenities! Lounge chairs, bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, full bar, swim up bar, snorkeling, kayaks, great swimming, and the best bbq EVER! It was a full day of sun and fun! I found the snorkeling to be better than the tours we had paid for! I saw an eel, an octopus, sea cucumbers galore, sea urchins, tons of fish, beautiful coral, and clams. Do not miss this Motu. It's included in EVERY cruise they do. Our next stop was to Moorea. There is so much to see and do on this island. We took a catamaran tour of the bay, followed by snorkeling. It was a great time! On to Papeete for our last night. Time to pack our bags and have our last big dinner. :( Since our flight out was so late, we took the free Papeete tour before arriving at our hotel with included day room at the Tahiti Pearl. We didn't have to be out of our cabin until 9:30, which was nice. Our disembarkation was set for 12:20. Plenty to do, as all the bars, restaurants were open for us. Since all meals, drinks, etc. are included in the cruise fare, the ship still serves you until you actually leave. Not like other lines where you have to beg for a bottle of water or food. After disembarking and taking our tour, we were delivered to the Tahiti Pearl until 7pm. Our room was delightful and had a HUGE lanai with a fabulous view of the bay. It was nice to be able to swim, eat a little something, and have a shower, etc. before our LONG flight home. The bus took us to the airport around 9pm for our midnight flight on Air Tahiti Nui. About Air Tahiti Nui: I think we got the OLDEST PLANE IN THEIR FLEET! Ugh! The seats were about 16 inches wide at the MOST. The entertainment was sub par, to say the least. Movies just played...the magazine was inaccurate, so I had no idea what was playing on each channel, and if you had to get up to let someone out of the row, you couldn't pause your show. No USB for charging phones, etc. Really bare bones. The service was fine, and the food was great, but it didn't matter when we were all uncomfortable! I feel it's a disservice to this Luxury Cruise Line to put their passengers on these planes. It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth after two weeks of pampering and top notch service. Air Tahiti Nui probably has better equipment, but I wasn't on that plane. Paul Gauguin needs to reassess their airline choice if they want high marks. That being said, I would sail with them again. In fact, I sailed with them in 2015 and will sail in 2018 and 2019 with my husband. Read Less
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