32 Tahiti (Papeete) Family Cruise Reviews

The purpose of my review is to give you some insight on cruising with Paul Gauguin cruises and to offer some tips to make your vacation more enjoyable. I talk about the good and the bad, so that you can be a better-informed consumer. ... Read More
The purpose of my review is to give you some insight on cruising with Paul Gauguin cruises and to offer some tips to make your vacation more enjoyable. I talk about the good and the bad, so that you can be a better-informed consumer. This is my second cruise with PG cruises. My wife and I like that the m/s Paul Gauguin (PG) ship visits exotic locations, the crew and staff provide great service, and the ship is a smaller ship, with only 332 passengers. Our previous one was 7 years ago and the itinerary was Society Islands & Tuamotus. This time, my wife and I wanted to revisit French Polynesia and see Fiji, and hopefully find vibrant corals that have not been bleached out (we found some!). We also had family members who wanted to experience the allure of the South Pacific. So, seven of us and a family friend went to the cruise from Tahiti to Fiji, which occurs every two years. Six of us did a pre-trip stay on our own at the Hilton in Moorea. Five of us did a post-trip stay at the Intercontinental Fiji, through PG. Overall, our cruise portion of the trip was very good to excellent. People in our group were impressed with all the beauty of the area and the turquoise blue water at the islands. The staff were friendly and helpful. We were routinely greeted in the hallways with “Ia Orana” (Hello). Our room was kept spotless (thanks to excellent room steward Rosenita). The food was very good, especially in the main dining room (L’Etoile). There was Afternoon Tea (with yummy pastries and snacks) in Le Grill. Bar staffer William took very good care of us for our drink orders. When we previously cruised with PG, all the shows were on the pool deck. Now there is a showroom called the Grand Salon on Deck 5. The PG “ambassadors”, Les Gauguines & Les Gauguins, performed Polynesian dance routines twice in the Grand Salon during the 13-night cruise. We had the musical talents of the Duo Marc & Abi and the Rhodes Brothers. We had the amazing magical shows by Gustavo Vierini. Gustavo also demonstrated his remarkable mentalist abilities in the Piano Bar several evenings. The Sound Wave Band provided live music and featured some excellent voices. Alex provided beautiful piano music before and after dinner in the Piano Bar. My wife and I had a Category C, balcony room, cabin #741. It was cozy without being claustrophobic. There was a sitting area with sofa and stool by the balcony door. There was also a round glass top table by the sofa. Our room attendant kept a basket of fruit for us on the table. In that area was a large cabinet with multiple shelves, a small TV, and a refrigerator. The shelves were not very deep, so storage of clothes was limited. Behind one of the cabinet doors was the room safe. It was very temperamental. Most of the time, even if I had the safe open only a short period of time, it would not lock when I closed it; I had to keep reprogramming it with the original code I used. The balcony had a small table and 2 high-back chairs. The refrigerator was stocked with waters, soft drinks, and some beers (as I recall). It would be restocked for free the next day. There were wine and other drinking glasses above the refrigerator area. There is a small desk towards the front of the room, by the bed, with a stool for sitting on. It is flanked by 2 closets. The leftmost closet has side-wall-to-side-wall hanging space and 3 large area shelves for clothes or other items. The rightmost closet has about half the hanging space of the other closet, 3 small shelves, and 1 large shelf. There is a small hanging bar attached to the back side of both closets. The desk contains the only practical outlets for plugging in your devices, and there are only 2 outlets: one the US style and the other the European style. The bed was comfortable with 2 pillows for each side. Controls for lights by the room were at each bedside. There was room underneath the bed to store several large suitcases. A key card needed to be kept in the slot by the door, to provide power in the room. Our room attendant provided one for us. The room attendant also provided 2 fresh towels for pool use every day. In the hallway were 2 hooks, and a small dresser with 4 drawers for storing clothes. [Tip to passengers: bring magnetic hooks to attach to the walls of the cabin for hanging hats, clothes, etc. on.] The bathroom has 1 sink, a central area to put toiletries on, and two medicine cabinets with shelves for more toiletries. One problem in the bathroom is the placement of the toilet paper; it is hard to reach, because it’s on your extreme left side, and mostly behind you. If you’re right-handed, you have to reach across and behind you. My wife found a workaround, especially at night. Take out one of the loose rolls of toilet paper from underneath the sink and place it on top of the counter—easy access then. The bathroom has a combination shower and tub, with a handheld shower head. There are pump bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. Bar soap is provided by the room attendant. I think there was more shopping than on my previous cruise. There were high end pearls that could be purchased in La Boutique (the gift shop). I don’t think the t-shirt selection was as good as it used to be. Apparently PG stopped selling several years ago the PG Cruise t-shirts with a map of the islands being visited. There was a table set up for working on a puzzle on Deck 6. Three to four puzzles were completed during the cruise. There was a library area with lots of books. There was a compact Fitness Center with work-out machines, mats, free weights, 3 treadmills, and 2 elliptical machines. You could watch TV from some of the treadmills and ellipticals. My wife and I both had massages at the Spa. I had the Polynesian massage which seemed to involve using thumbs to get at some of my tight muscles. Even without a spa appointment, you could reserve the excellent Hammam (steam area) for a 30-minute period at the Spa desk. The Hammam had a steam room, and a hot and cold shower room with towels and bathrobes. There were enrichment lectures presented during the cruise—on Captain Cook and his voyages, and on Polynesian culture. I found the one on Polynesian tattoos fascinating. I was surprised that one of these lectures was scheduled by PG on an At Sea day during the time of a crew safety drill; the lecture was repeatedly interrupted by Public Address (PA) announcements and the ship alarm alert system. There are many other activities going on during the day and evening, as shown in the daily program: shuffleboard, morning stretch, Polynesian dance class, social bridge, trivia, karaoke, disco, and many others. There was a salt-water pool on Deck 9, with lots of lounge chairs around the pool. My wife and I did water aerobics in the pool to work off some of the delicious food we were eating. There was no hot tub. Something unique about the ship is that there is a Marina on Deck 4 (aft), and the back of the boat can swing down to water level. This allows boats to pick up scuba divers for some trips. You can also kayak and paddle board from that area—when it is allowed. On my cruise, you could only do it at the stops in French Polynesia at Moorea and Taha’a (but not Bora Bora for some reason). You could also kayak—which we did—at PG’s private island, Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha’a. My wife and I didn’t do any shore excursions at Taha’a, so that we could spend more time on the Motu. We enjoyed the floating bar at the Motu. There were plenty of lounge chairs and shade on the Motu. One highlight was the Barbeque Lunch. Another was being served drinks in your personal coconut. There was an area for snorkeling. We liked feeding the fish near the shore. [Tip to passengers: don’t feed bread to fish; it’s not good for them; instead bring some fish food from home.] You could buy souvenirs from local vendors who came to the Motu. In general, the food was very good on the cruise. And you could get free wine, beer, and alcoholic drinks with lunch, Afternoon Tea, and dinner—and from any bar at other times. There were premium wines and top-shelf alcohol that you could purchase. For example, you could get a Margarita with Don Julio tequila, but you would have to pay $5 US to get Patron tequila. At the dinners, there would be 2 featured wines, one red, one white, that would be served. You could ask for something different (e.g., a Chardonnay instead of a Sauvignon Blanc). The wine steward/bar staffer would take care of drink orders during meals. Initially we planned to eat multiple meals at the specialty restaurants, Le Grill and La Veranda. Instead, we ate at each of the Specialty Restaurants twice and changed back to the default restaurant, L’Etoile, because the food was just as good, we liked the atmosphere there, and the servers Angelo, Dave, and wine steward Glenn knew us by name and learned what we liked. PG was willing to sit our group at the same table of eight each night we dined there. (We did give the Dining Room manager a heads-up when we planned to eat there.) Be aware that the menus for the specialty restaurants change about halfway through the cruise. It’s the same menu for the first half of the cruise, and the same menu for the second half of the cruise. We selected our dining days so we could have the different menus at the specialty restaurants. We decided that we liked breakfast and lunch at La Veranda better than at Le Grill. You had a view out the back of the ship, you could eat outside, and the buffet had lots of tempting choices. My only complaint with L’Etoile was that most of the time when I ordered meat cooked “medium”, it came out undercooked (not even medium rare); I would have to send it back to be cooked some more. I was disappointed one night when we ate at the French specialty restaurant, La Veranda, and saw that a regional Bordeaux wine was served rather than an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) quality wine. One of my group noticed one time at lunch that expired (for 6 months) olive oil was being served at Le Grill; that was brought to the attention of management, and the problem was fixed. We generally liked the PG shore excursions that we did. We tried to do as much snorkeling as we could. I learned from the Shore Excursions Director (formally the Travel Concierge Manager) Sorin that PG vets the excursion operators. For example, PG interviews companies for suitability for whale watching. Sorin and sometimes the Ship Safety Officer check boats for safety (e.g., enough life jackets), attitude towards sea animals and the environment, and willingness to work with a cruise ship. Sometimes there are lapses. I heard from a family member that the boat for the snorkeling trip at Beqa Lagoon almost left 2 passengers in the water. There were large swells, and the 2 other passengers were not easily seen. The missing passengers was brought to the attention of the boat captain before he was about to leave, who then located them. On the other hand, on one of my snorkel trips, the boat captain called out passenger names after each snorkel stop, before leaving, to make sure all passengers were present and accounted for; that was an excellent practice by that boat captain. If you like diving with sharks, there were several such dives during the cruise. At the dive at Beqa Lagoon, there were lots of sharks, including bull sharks. Dive staff from the ship accompanied the divers and watched out for sharks from the front and back; they had long metal poles with hooks to deter sharks that got too close to the divers. Because PG only travels to Fiji every 2 years, some information was outdated. For example, there were no changing rooms at Beqa beach for those who wanted to attend the Fire Walking show and go swimming later. The Port Talk indicated that there would be such facilities. Maps for each of the ports were available at the Shore Excursions Desk (formally the Travel Concierge Desk). The quality of the maps varied. There was more information on the maps for French Polynesia ports. Shore Excursions arranged for currency exchange when we visited Tonga and Suva, Fiji. Passengers were told at the Port Talk that the exchange for Tonga would be on the ship starting at 8 am and would last until 2 pm. That would allow those going ashore on the first shore excursion, with the tender leaving the ship at 8:30 am, to exchange some money before leaving on their excursion. At the last minute, the currency exchange was moved to the pier at Vava’u, Tonga. That practically prevented those on the first shore excursion from getting Tongan money, because tours generally left as soon as all the passengers got off the first tender. And then, the bank representative left in the morning, and did not stay around until 2 pm to buy unused currency back. Passengers had to walk to the Bank of South Pacific to re-convert money. Fortunately, the currency exchange worked better at Suva, Fiji, when the ship was able to actually dock (so, no tenders needed), and the exchange was at the dock as you exited the ship. I generally do not purchase Internet usage on a ship. I find the prices expensive and not cost-effective. Service can also be slow. I try to find free or cheap Wi-Fi at the ports. At Bora Bora, I found free, adequately fast, Wi-Fi at the Bora Bora Visitors Center by the pier; the network name and password are posted. At Aitutaki, Cook Islands, I found Wi-Fi I could purchase at the Bluesky Post (BlueZone), a short walk from the pier; for $5 US, I could download 200 MB worth of data. In Vava’u, Tonga, I purchased Wi-Fi at the Tropicana Café (3 Tongan dollars, about $1.30 US). At Suva, Fiji, I did the Uprising Beach Resort shore excursion; I got free Wi-Fi at the resort. We used PG Cruises for some parts of our vacation and not others. We did not use the PG hotels for our pre-stay. We did an air deviation, because we did not like the itinerary that PG offered—arriving late at night to board the ship: we like to arrive a day in advance in case there are flight delays and to start adjusting to the time change. (And then we decided to do a pre-stay on our own, which also would have required paying for the air deviation.) We did use a PG hotel for our post-trip stay. The only PG transfers we had were in Fiji—from the ship to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport for our flight back home. Be aware that the flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is about 8 hours long, and the flight from Fiji back to Los Angeles is about 10 hours long. We did our own pre-stay, because we did not like what PG was offering. We wanted to stay close to Tahiti, and not take any inter-island flights which would reduce how much luggage we could carry for our 3-week vacation. The Intercontinental (IC) Moorea was being renovated, and we wanted to avoid the noise and construction. It was a good decision. Employees at the hotel ended up going on strike, and PG had to move guests booked at the IC Moorea to the IC on Tahiti, which was OK but not as exotic. My wife’s brother has also stayed multiple times at the Hilton Moorea, and highly recommended it. It was easy to get to (take taxi to ferry terminal, take Terevau ferry to Moorea, take taxi to Hilton). It was a wonderful pre-stay. Our pre-cruise (while-at-home) experience with PG was not good. Shore excursions were not available to book until 60 days before departure. For my previous cruise, I think that shore excursions could be booked sooner. There should be some advantages to booking a cruise early, like being able to sign up for some—the more popular—shore excursions 6 months or so before the cruise. Anyway, the more popular shore excursions were booked within hours of becoming available in July: whale watching/dolphin expeditions in Moorea, snorkeling in Savusavu, and snorkeling at Beqa Lagoon. When my wife and I tried to sign up online, we discovered we were locked out of signing up for any shore excursions. We contacted our travel agent to get the problem fixed. By the time that happened, we missed out on signing up for those popular tours. We tried to get on waitlists. Our travel agent said we were. But when we called PG, we were told we were not signed up for wait lists—which we then requested. That was the first of several situations where PG told our travel agent one thing, and PG told us something different when we called up. That is a surprising situation for a company with PG’s reputation. [Hint to passengers: sign up for shore excursions as soon as possible; if you have any problems, call PG directly and have them sign you up while you’re on the telephone with them.] None of the waitlists ever cleared. I did check on availability, almost daily, in the three weeks before leaving to go on the trip. On two occasions, I found a single slot open for one of the previously-fully-booked snorkel trips. I signed up immediately, and got a morning slot for my wife, and a few days later, an afternoon snorkeling slot for me. Once I got on the ship, the Shore Excursions Desk opened up another snorkel time, and I was able to get my wife and I signed up for the same time. (But then the Shore Excursions Desk did not notify each passenger who had signed up previously that the times had changed. One family member showed up at the time printed on his original shore excursion ticket, and missed the snorkel tour. There were good intentions, but flawed follow-up.) For the whale watching trip, I was able to book an alternative private tour based upon a suggestion made by one of the passengers on Cruise Critic’s roll call for the cruise. I signed up for a tour by the Moorea Activities Center (MAC). What I learned on the ship was disappointing. I talked to Sorin about all the problems I had signing up for shore excursions. He told me that he was never informed by the PG Main Office about any of the wait lists. He only learned about the booked sign-ups a few days before the cruise. He did get complaints from passengers about the full snorkel tours for Savusavu, and his team was able to arrange for a third snorkel tour to accommodate the requests. [Hint to PG: notify the team on the ship in advance about the demand for wait lists for shore excursions.] PG did not provide sufficient information to do planning for your own tours. When I scheduled my private whale watching tour, I relied on the information PG provided about the itinerary, namely an 8:00 am arrival in Moorea. I selected a morning tour, meeting a representative from MAC on the pier about 8:20 am. Unfortunately, PG did not publish more useful information: that there would be tenders from the ship to the pier, and the first tender would not leave the ship until about 8:30 pm. [Hint to PG: let passengers know at the time of booking when they will first arrive physically at a port to do something, not when the ship arrives.] Then, another situation came up. PG prioritizes who can get on the first tender leaving the ship: namely, those who have booked a PG shore excursion, not passengers like me who have booked a private excursion. Fortunately, my party was able to get on the first tender, and the MAC representative did wait for us, because we were in the first tender to arrive at the pier from the ship (two other guests did not show up, and missed their tour). Remark: PG personnel are only checking that you have a PG shore excursion ticket to board the first tender; they are not reading it to check that it is for that day and time. Tickets are collected on the pier for each PG shore excursion. Sorin later told me that passengers should come tell the Shore Excursion Desk that they have booked private tours and need to get to the dock by such and such a time. That way, the Shore Excursion Desk can decide if more than one tender is needed at a certain time. Communication between passengers and the Shore Excursion Desk is important. [Tip to passengers: if you’re on a private tour, let the Shore Excursions Desk (Travel Concierge Desk) know.] There was an issue with my PG transfer in Fiji, and I don’t know where the fault lies. We were transferred via PG to our hotel; we actually did a very enjoyable shore excursion on the disembarkation day and ended up at our post-stay hotel. When we checked in to the IC Fiji, there was absolutely no information about when we would leave the hotel to catch our ride to the airport several days later—this should have been an included PG transfer. One of us recalled that the excursion we took before we arrived at the IC Fiji was through Rosie’s Tours. There was a Rosie’s Tour desk by the main restaurant at the IC Fiji. Someone checked with them, and they had the transfer information. Nothing was ever delivered to our rooms. Originally they told us that we would leave the IC Fiji at 6:30 pm to go to the airport. The Nadi airport was a minimum of a 1-hour drive away. And Fiji Airways asked for a 3-hour check-in for international flights (ours was scheduled to depart at 9:40 pm). There was no way to arrive on time with the scheduled departure time from the hotel. I had to go to the tour desk and complain to get an earlier departure time of 5:30 pm. (There was a Captain Cook tour group staying at the hotel with some guests who had the same flight as us; Rosie’s refused to move their departure time up from 6:30 pm.) Be aware that Ponant recently purchased the m/s Paul Gauguin ship, and perhaps even the PG cruise line. The purchase supposedly happened at the beginning of the cruise; two of the owners came onboard the ship at Bora Bora, and stayed on for the rest of the cruise. There could be some future changes. Hopefully management will not mess with the successful elements of a PG cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My spouse, and my brother and sister with their spouses decided to try to get a vacation together and visit the South Pacific. it was easy to pick the islands around and including Tahiti. Should we cruise to do land tour. After only a ... Read More
My spouse, and my brother and sister with their spouses decided to try to get a vacation together and visit the South Pacific. it was easy to pick the islands around and including Tahiti. Should we cruise to do land tour. After only a brief discussion, we chose Windstar Cruises, Wind Spirit and, boy are we glad! The ship is small, only 148 passengers tops. The staterooms are on two decks, every one of them nearly identical. Practical room with room to hide suitcases. Bathroom only accommodates one at a time, but it works fine. Food, what can we say but, great! Great variety at all meals starting with breakfast. The one "specialty" restaurant is Candles, overseen by Assistant Maitre'd Prast. He and crew of wizards lay out great dinners under the stars on the rear deck. The Wind Spirit's entire crew are always welcoming guest when they see them, a very nice touch. The have a open Bridge Policy. You can tour the bridge at almost anytime. We met several very friendly officers while on the bridge. The Captain, Lyubo Garcityanov is available at all times. We had several very nice and long conversations with the Captain, who told us he evens call his mother regularly. A really nice man. Between ship arranged BBQ's on Motus and crew talent shows, it hard to thinks of a funnier cruise ship on the seven seas! The Wind Spirit is just the ideal ship for those who don't like crowds, who want good food, and the most beautiful islands anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The price was considerable compared to the value. The food was always cold with only one choice smothered in French creamy Sauces. Plaster was the only offering six days in a row. Eggs were not available every second day. The Scranbled ... Read More
The price was considerable compared to the value. The food was always cold with only one choice smothered in French creamy Sauces. Plaster was the only offering six days in a row. Eggs were not available every second day. The Scranbled eggs was like sloppy porridge.. The Marquaseas offered no Swimming or Snorkeling opportunities. The Islands were dry and Barron and uninteresting. The staff were very patronising to the point of rudeness when asked for something different. Asked for Playing Cards and received a pack with multiple of one cards and deficient others. We sat in an open area on the Veranda for dinner one night and were asked to move because the French wanted our spot out of the wind. We refused to move and the next night the staff refused to serve us at dinner. When we complained the Supervisor sided with the stars. Surprise surprise. Avoid at all cost. Take Windstar Wind Spirit instead. We have done it twice and it’s amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every ... Read More
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every single day! The bar and restaurant crew were outstanding and taking care of our every request To our pleasant surprise the crew gave us an entertainment nite to be part of and have real fun! Every whim was taken care of!! I only wish that there had been a larger pool though the ocean was there too! Every island we docked on had such unique offerings that we wished we had more time to explore all Lastly the beach barbecue on the private island topped it all with the activities one could do all day long We will definitely set the sails with this cruiser in the future! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
It was an excellent service aboard the PG. No matter if maid or waiter, all super nice and very friendly. The cabin had a normal size, fine wood furniture. We had a porthole cabin and it was adequate, since you are not very much in the ... Read More
It was an excellent service aboard the PG. No matter if maid or waiter, all super nice and very friendly. The cabin had a normal size, fine wood furniture. We had a porthole cabin and it was adequate, since you are not very much in the cabin anyway. The food was very good. If you wanted, you could eat all day! There was always a restaurant open somewhere! In the evening we ate at the main restaurant. The food was very good and the service there was excellent. The show program was not so good. Since we are used to much better from our previous trips on other ships. The offered excursions were well organized and you had the choice. But you could also do something on your own. The ship itself is getting old, which one unfortunately sees at one point or another. That would not have to be. You can work on it! Otherwise it was by and large a very nice trip, but we would not book it again! Sorry! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the ... Read More
This was the second part to our cruise. Only about 800 to 900 on this section. We kept the same cabin 574 Main Deck and the same great crew looking after cabin. The ship as usual was kept clean and tidy. Unfortunately the menu in the dining room and up in Lido did not change except for thanks giving evening. One evening in the dining the Lamb shank was very good. We found the Library a very good place to past the time of day. The shops were nothing to write home about, there was one big jewellery shop with some expensive items. Easy enough to get around the ship, lifts were never overcrowded except after a show when everyone was trying to either other places on the ship or to their cabins. The Hamburger/hot Dog place on deck 11 was great for lunch thou personally I did not like all the stuff that was put on the Hot Dog, Hamburgers were great. while having your lunch on deck it was quite often hard to hear the captain talking over the speaker. This was the part of cruise were looking forward to as my wife had lived on Niue and I was to get the conducted tour, it was not to be as the captain advised it was to rough at the wharf to land. We also did not land at Rarotonga as it was to rough to get into the tenders. Vava U Tonga was great as we were able to meet up with the wife's son and delivery a case of items that they wanted. Arranging to get off the ship with the case was a hassle from the front desk staff but in the end we saw customs when they came aboard and got cleared by them. Savusavu was ok, but Suva has not changed since we were last there apart from more high rise building. Dravuni Island was the best place for snorkelling and swimming. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. ... Read More
We thought that we would get away to some sunshine and this was the first part of our 28 day cruising the Pacific visiting islands that one would not normally visit. We enjoyed the smaller ship which only had about 1200 people on board. Visiting islands via the ships tenders was an interesting experience. While the ship was of a mature age the crew and hotel staff kept in clean Our stateroom was 574 on the main deck slightly forward. We received an upgrade from the deck below. Our two cabin stewards kept the cabin clean and tidy. We asked for anytime dining in the dining room in the evening and was always able to be seated. Always asked if wanted to join others or be seated by ourselves. Personal option of the Dining room menu was sometimes good. Thanksgiving dinner good. Had Breakfast and lunch in the Lido and also dinner three or four times. Unfortunately food choices for dinner did not change except for the sweets. No dancing and the entertainment I would only give six out of ten. We did one shore excursion at Raiatea, Society Islands to visit a plantation and swim at a very nice island. We found that you had to use 8 US quarters in the washing machine and 4 quarters in the dryer. Shops on the Maasdam were nothing to write home about, big jewellery shop, If you where looking for pearls. Though you could find cheaper pearls in the island markets. Back at Papeete we received a in transit pass to get off the ship as we were on the second part of the cruise. Would I cruise with Holland America again, would depend on the itinerary but I did like the smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our 2nd cruise on the Paul Gauguin but this time we travelled with three generations- us, the grandparents, our daughter and her spouse, and our grandchildren, ages 10 and 11! It was so much fun with every day bringing new ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on the Paul Gauguin but this time we travelled with three generations- us, the grandparents, our daughter and her spouse, and our grandchildren, ages 10 and 11! It was so much fun with every day bringing new discoveries under the water and in the dining rooms! As always on this cruise line, the customer service was fantastic and all the ship's amenities were outstanding - the food, the spa, the excursions, the entertainment, the cabins, and especially the children's program that was offered on this particular cruise. The two leaders of the group were extremely knowledgeable, approachable, enthusiastic, and fun- our kids had experiences that could have only happened on this boat and with these two young women - swimming with sharks and rays, being in a small boat with a college professor surrounded by 50+ dolphins, going on drift snorkels twice, getting off a boat into a real-life aquarium with beautiful coral, amazing fish and other sea animals, and having study lessons and sessions that were informative and interesting- they did not want to miss a minute! Really an extraordinary experience for all of us! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we were on it 2 years ago, and LOVED it! There are no words to describe the service on this ship. It is absolutely THE BEST service you will ever receive anywhere in the world! EVERYONE, and this goes ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we were on it 2 years ago, and LOVED it! There are no words to describe the service on this ship. It is absolutely THE BEST service you will ever receive anywhere in the world! EVERYONE, and this goes for every person that is on that ship, is amazing! I cannot say enough about the waiter staff, or the housekeeping staff! Kudos Paul Gauguin for hiring people that care about their jobs! The outings were good too, most of the time. The only negative I would give is that they have apparently switched their shampoos and lotions to another brand that is really terrible. Last time we were there it was so wonderful, as far as shampoos and conditioners and lotions go, that I didn’t bring any this time hoping to save some weight in my luggage. BIG mistake! So take your own, if you go! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Incredible 5* service, lovely people, beautiful destination, ship perfect in every way... this cruise will ruin you for all other cruises!! We will return!! It was the best week ever. Everything from Check in to check out was seamless, ... Read More
Incredible 5* service, lovely people, beautiful destination, ship perfect in every way... this cruise will ruin you for all other cruises!! We will return!! It was the best week ever. Everything from Check in to check out was seamless, very well organised and with such a small ship, no waiting for anything!! We made some great friends onboard, especially the attentive staff, Flo, Hermie, Darwin, Anthony, Allan and the divine Jobert who we wanted to take home with us! The food was delicious, nothing was too much trouble, we just had to ask! L’Etoile was our favourite restaurant, La Palette our favourite bar. Book your degustation at La Verandah as soon as you can - maybe for the 2nd and last night as it fills up and book an outsider table in Bora Bora at La Grille. Otherwise, we loved L’Etoile, so much variety. We were up late and stayed up late due to time zone change from Australia, so we often had the “Santa Rosa Band” to ourselves in La Palette bar as most people were from the US. The musicians were top class, get a daily schedule from reception each day so you can follow them around :) The shows were amazing, especially the Magician, Nicolas and the crew show is not to be missed - hilarious!! The included day trips to the PG private island in Taha’a and the private beach in Bora Bora are all you need to do, we did a couple of extra day trips but I was happy to be onboard with the friendly staff by the pool (who automatically brought our favourite drinks/snacks after the first day) We got involved in most of the activities onboard but it is so relaxing to do nothing at all! Travelled with 2 young boys 6&9, they had a ball, were very comfortable and well catered for, but they are well travelled and like talking to adults, they didn’t have any other kids to play with, but they were happy to read by the pool or swim/kayak/play jenga. The built in Marina is amazing, we kayaked every day, get your snorkels as soon as the emergency muster is done on the first day! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise because I wanted to spend my birthday with family in the South Pacific. This cruise line met the timeline and they had a triple available for these dates. Upgraded at the last minute to a Balcony stateroom, very glad ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to spend my birthday with family in the South Pacific. This cruise line met the timeline and they had a triple available for these dates. Upgraded at the last minute to a Balcony stateroom, very glad we did that. Water beautiful and the sun rose very early. Had coffee on our Balcony before breakfast up in the Terrace Cafe. The Terrace Cafe was the buffet restaurant, on most cruise ships it is to be avoided, but not here. Food outstanding, Suishi available most nights. Ate in all the specialty Restaurants, reservations needed but no upcharge. Food for the most part very good. Wine and beer prices were pretty steep...unless you took advantage of the Happy Hour in a few bars. Oceania is known for its culinary success, but their entertainment is sorely lacking. Very old and stale music and shows likewise. If you come to Tahiti, you come for the islands Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed ... Read More
Embarked at Papeete ran very smoothly . Especially loved our cabin and its position on the ship. It was a disabled cabin so had heaps of room to accommodate a wheelchair (which we did not have). The only downside to this cruise as opposed to the others we have traveled on is the staff were not as friendly and some were quite rude. We traveled with another couple who had room 9098 which was the mirror image of our cabin. Food was OK but would not rave about it. We chose this cruise especially for the Itinerary which had a few sea days in between islands as we think it gets a bit tiring having a stop everyday and then you get bored having a few sea days . We got to stay in Bora Bora for an extra day as one of the other Islands were cancelled. We thought this was was great as other cruise ships we have been on would just give you an extra sea day. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Wanted to give a heads up warning to anyone considering cruising on the Paul Gauguin that you will be paying Regent prices without receiving the quality experience you may expect. There are many friendly individuals aboard who work hard ... Read More
Wanted to give a heads up warning to anyone considering cruising on the Paul Gauguin that you will be paying Regent prices without receiving the quality experience you may expect. There are many friendly individuals aboard who work hard to give passengers great service, but there are too many negatives to overcome. It's a long way to travel and a lot of money to spend to sail on a Paul Gauguin cruise. French Polynesia is a wonderful location for a vacation. I would suggest researching alternatives if you decide to visit. We didn't let our disappointment ruin our trip. When it became apparent that drink service on deck 8 aft was terrible, we moved to the piano bar and met Nelson, who was an outstanding crew member. He memorized every traveler's name on the ship. Don't like flies on your lunch buffet food in La Grill? La Veranda had the same food daily served inside. Drinks watered down? Order doubles. Dining for our party of four was very hit or miss. Some items were nice while others were poorly prepared. Our best meal by far was the "specialty" restaurant's evening meal in La Veranda. All lunches were buffets. A phone call to reception complaining about the air conditioning and lack of hot water in our cabin resulted in both repairmen showing up in 5 minutes. Impressive indeed. The plumber replaced the shower temperature unit and all was right. The AC fellow's probe measured the room at 21.8C (71.24F). Tolerance was 21 to 23 (69.8-74.3 fahrenheit). Tough luck for us getting our room any cooler. Fortunately our travel agent had put together a pre/post cruise hotel package that included less expensive and better Air France flights than the cruise line's included arrangements with Air Tahiti Nui. Moorea's Sofitel had world class snorkeling which was the highlight of our entire trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming ... Read More
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming Winter in February! Most of our cruising has been on Regent or Silversea so I'm sure that has biased my observations some. Other family members have mostly done Celebrity. Consider that as you read this review. Ship: Overall ship was very nice. Only surprise was several of the common area restrooms are configured for only one person at a time (for privacy you had to lock the door on the way in). While the public restrooms outside the MDR and Terrace Café could service multiple users, I still found this a bit odd. Cabin: We were in 4044, a Deluxe Oceanview. The location is really excellent! Close to Reception and MDR, amidships and low (DH gets seasick sometimes), and nothing that makes late night or early morning noise above or below. Cabin was viewed by everyone as small (even though I tried to manage everyone's expectations). That said, everything fit nicely and bathroom, while small was fine for two. We have tripled up on Regent and Silversea in the past, but this would not be possible here. Everything in the cabin worked and our room steward was excellent. Dining: Everyone's favorite was Red Ginger. Second favorite was Terrace Café. Overall everyone thought food was excellent. Only issue with MDR was that it took about 2 1/2 hours to have dinner. Several in our group are big lobster fans, so being able to have "All You Can Eat" lobster was a big hit for the Terrace Café. I liked the "All You Can Eat" sushi; so Terrace was a Group hit. The surf and turf sandwich at Waves was also a big hit. Brother even took to ordering Surf and Turf, hold the turf and hold the bread! In my opinion the best steak I had on the trip was the turf part of the Surf and Turf sandwich. Only "real" negative comment regarded the Ice Cream/Milkshake bar next to Waves. While it opened at 0630 (who eats Ice Cream or a milkshake at 0630?), it closed at 1600. So, if you came back from an excursion after 4PM and wanted a milkshake you couldn't get it. Wasn't available from room service either. Even though "creamed spinach" (my personal favorite) was not on the MDR menu, I was able to get it every nite we ate in the MDR. A special shout out to Gluten Free folks. My DH is GF so we let O know before hand. This worked out really nicely. Most dishes in the MDR and Red Ginger could be prepared GF with the one day notice using the menu provided in our cabin.. DH was even able to have a "standing order" for GF Escargot for lunch in Jacques. DH could always get GF bread in the MDR, and at the Terrace Cafe (though it took a few minutes longer there) and thought was good! DH even insists on making GF bread at home as we don't care for most "store bought." So I considered this a significant endorsement of O's GF products. Though Home Office couldn't tell me before hand, they do have GF soy sauce available at Red Ginger, but only in the Red Ginger. Brought our own for use in Terrace Café. Not sure why if GF Soy Sauce was available in Red Ginger why it wasn't available at MDR. Entertainment: The production show staff were solid, maybe voices weren't as strong as I would have liked, but generally solid. The guest entertainers: comic, magician/comic, and singer were OUTSTANDING! All three were great in their craft and talented showmen. Activities. The "usual" putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, bean bag toss and trivia games were all well executed and fun. One of the Guest Lecturers was mediocre at best. O would have done better to find someone local (like Polynesian Anthropologist Mark Eddowes) than lawyer/professor from DC. That said, the ship's Navigator gave a lecture on navigation that was just OUTSTANDING. Could have used one or two more from him. Service in all venues was generally outstanding. There were occasional lapses but they were generally rare. All pre-arranged requests were honored (GF, Diet Mt. Dew or Coke Zero). Special requests in Dining Venues (see above) were met (except my brother's request for beef Wellington every night.). Ports and Excursions: I agree O's excursions are overpriced; but, we did opt for the 4 included excursions per person and enjoyed them. That said, I'm sure glad I didn't pay list price for them! As expected, the ports made this trip. We had "private" tours in Fakarava, Bora Bora and Raiatea. The Bora Bora and Fakarava snorkel trips were the highlights of the cruise. Truth Teller: We booked another O cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Windstar cruise line offered an interesting opportunity to see more than Tahiti and Moorea by taking a week long cruise on the Wind Spirit. The itinerary included the additional Society Islands of Bora Bora, Taha'a, Raiatea, and ... Read More
Windstar cruise line offered an interesting opportunity to see more than Tahiti and Moorea by taking a week long cruise on the Wind Spirit. The itinerary included the additional Society Islands of Bora Bora, Taha'a, Raiatea, and Huahine. Each stop afforded us the opportunity to learn more about the Polynesian culture, the local history, and the current economy. The two tours we arranged before the cruise with Francyfranc Tours in Moorea and L'Excursion Bleue in Raiatea, were offered at half the price of similar ship-sponsored tours and were excellent - better than the two ship tours we booked for other ports, which were also good. We were invited to visit the ship's bridge when at sea, although most inter-island travel was at night. It was a rare opportunity to chat with the captain and each of the officers on duty throughout the cruise and we very much enjoyed our brief conversations and the explanation of the instruments used to control the ship. The food was delicious and the table service was generally very friendly and efficient. We enjoyed the two events ashore: the evening luau on Motu Tabu off Bora Bora, which included very entertaining Polynesian dancers, and the picnic lunch on a motu off Taha'a. However, the evening buffet on the open pool deck with a rain storm was not as successful. Of particular note was the Captain of the Hotel Staff and one of his Lieutenants assisting on the serving line during the picnic. This leadership approach results in the friendly, cheerful and efficient service provided by the entire crew directly serving the passengers. Do not miss the crew's talent show which is presented at the end of the voyage. The other onboard entertainment is limited to a husband and wife team singing popular songs. Be cognizant that the weather in the southern hemisphere summer (our winter) is sunny, hot and humid with frequent showers. Being from Houston, we know hot and humid, but we found this weather to be well beyond our summer experiences. If you like water sports (snorkeling, kayaking, etc.) you will love this cruise. Snorkel gear and other water sport equipment is provided without charge. Just a heads up: when snorkeling, be careful of currents carrying you into coral, which can cause significant injuries. You will probably not find any cheap cruises or airfare to Tahiti due to lack of competition. Be sure to allow plenty of time (3 hours minimum) if you're making connections in L.A. and be clear on whether your bags will be checked through. We almost missed our flight to Tahiti due to a misunderstanding in this regard. Also recognize that you must produce a return or continuing airline reservation or you will not be issued a boarding pass to fly to Tahiti. In summary, we very much enjoyed this unique cruise on Windstar and would definitely recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Price point for service/experience provided does not match. Destination (Polynesia) outstanding. Ship experience did not measure up, not a luxury experience. PG had better hope it does not get much competition in this location. ... Read More
Price point for service/experience provided does not match. Destination (Polynesia) outstanding. Ship experience did not measure up, not a luxury experience. PG had better hope it does not get much competition in this location. Itinerary included a trip to the Marquesas - the entire trip was focused on filming an advertising promotion. No excursions one day for the passengers, due to 'rough seas' - however excursion filming proceeded for the advertising crew and 'models.' Talk about a disconnect. No real suggestions for excursions outside the ship's arranged excursions - not a way to promote customer goodwill. Especially at a so-called luxury cruise line. We found - on our own - much better priced local excursions although would have been better for the cruise line to make simple suggestions. This means having to research locations / excursions on your own in advance of the cruise. Again, outside of destination I would not recommend PG. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We picked this cruise line and itinerary because we needed to go during the summer, and wanted to go to the south pacific (only 2 cruise lines do this in the summer). Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Also, we brought along our ... Read More
We picked this cruise line and itinerary because we needed to go during the summer, and wanted to go to the south pacific (only 2 cruise lines do this in the summer). Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Also, we brought along our 13-yr old daughter for an adventure of a lifetime. Flight Is included from Los Angeles to Tahiti in cruise fare. Air Tahiti Nui, 2x5x2 configuration. Comfortable, with modern in-seat entertainment system, better than major domestic carriers (UA, AA). Food was excellent or terrible… hit and miss. Free drinks including mini-champagne bottles. Tahiti airport is tiny! One baggage claim, etc. Hotel We elected to spend a couple nights before cruise in Tahiti at the Intercontinental, did the package deal. Transfer from airport to hotel was uneventful, agent waiting for us to take us to the bus (air conditioned). Check in uneventful, but recommendation: ask about your view! It was 10pm local time when we checked in for a lagoon-view room, so we could not see our view. We were disappointed in the morning to see that our primary view was of the buildings and parking, not really the lagoon. I felt like we got a “left over” room... :( (I attached photo). I could have complained then, but we only had that day to spend at the hotel, so it was not worth my time to go complain. Any of the pool/lagoon view rooms would be fine. Nice pool, makes you feel like you are really on vacation. Lagoonarium wowed us until we went snorkeling around the islands. Sat am we had to check out at 11am, but couldn’t go to ship until 3pm…so dead time, I guess we could have swam, or taken a taxi to the market and back in time for lunch (which is included)… but would have been nice if they coordinated timing and offered “market with lunch” shuttles, etc that we figured out AFTER 1pm. Hotel staff did not volunteer this info to us, we learned from other guests. Overall, nice, but expensive way to adjust to the local time zone. Cruise Embarkation - Bus picked us up from hotel just in time to check in at ship. They have this coordinated very well! Waited in AC bus til the tent line diminished, and then breezed through to ship, to elevator, to theater lounge, where we were checked in, photographed, and given id cards in less than 10 minutes. Total time from hotel to our ship room, about 45 minutes! We were escorted to our room immediately, shown around. Our luggage was waiting in our room. Nice so that we can unpack immediately. Then went to make dinner reservations, and were checking out the ship by 4pm. Disembarkation – we have to put our luggage out the night before (like most cruises), and leave our carryons with us. We did have time after we got off the ship to id our luggage, and put some toiletries into our bags before they were taken to the airport for us. Very smooth process. Bus was waiting for us for the airport. We realized that the majority of people on the flight from LA to Papeete were doing the same exact itinerary as us, so you will get to know those folks! And we were able to say our good byes on the 8 hour flight returning from Tahiti to LAX. Meals/drinks Drinks are included in the cruise price. Drinks of the day, daily, yum! The staff started remembering our favorites by day 2 – wow! I couldn’t even remember their names! Breakfast – room service (early to ontime every time), restaurants – mixed buffet/service. Nice variety. Eggs benedict to toast and jam. Lunch (after our morning snorkel excursions) – we ate in the French (but not French food at lunch) and Tahitian restaurants (but not Tahitian food at lunch). Buffet/service combo. Salads, to fresh pasta, to burgers/pizza, to local specialties like tuna cru. Dinner – 3 dining choices, 2 of which need reservations. Main dining room was just as good as the others. Food was presented very attractively, very French style. Very attentive service from staff. I mentioned casually of my lactose intolerance the first night at dinner. Next thing I know, specially assigned staff provided me the next night’s menu (regardless of where I planned to dine, they KNEW somehow!), and I would select menu items that the chef would ensure were prepared without dairy for me. That’s service! Without reservations, we never had to wait for a table, we typically went between 6:30-7:30pm to dinner. Summer dresses, nice slacks/tops, would be fine for all 3 venues. Bring a pareo/scarf/etc for multitasking in chilly rooms/lounges. Men – my hubby wore “Hawaiian” shirts (any buttoned shirt) and slacks (dockers) every day, and was fine. Entertainment We attended the evening show after dinner most evenings. Note they start late: 9:30pm, and we were up and out of our room most mornings by 7:30am to do snorkeling, so long days! Some activities throughout the day, most without huge turnouts, sometimes just a couple of people. Minimal activities, if any between 4:30 and 6pm. Happy hour? Again, drinks free, and freeflowing. Kids/Cousteau program – no activities geared just for kids outside of the Cousteau program. We originally were thinking of having our 13-yr-old daughter do this, but when we went to register on day2, we saw that the average age/gender of kids was 10 and boys, even though target was 9-17. Most of the activities overlapped with excursions, so we skipped the program. Excursions We did not reserve any before the start of the cruise. Most times we were fine signing up 2 days in advance. Day before had limited choices as excursions for the next day were filling up. We did get lucky and reserve (in the am) a same-day (afternoon) excursion once. Most days we went snorkeling. Tahaa, private motu had plenty of self-guided snorkeling, so just did that. Stingray/shark encounter was fabulous and even doable for non-swimmers in 3-4 feet of water. Dolphin/whale watching was amazing, even saw tiger sharks, sea turtles, and advanced surfers. Service Excellent – friendly, willing to help. Wow! I could get used to this lifestyle! By the way, we did the laundry package for $60 pp. Package said that it would be next day service, but if we submitted by 9am, we always got back same day by about 4pm. If I had known this, I would have brought only 3 dresses, and 2 swimsuits (I brought 5 dresses and 3 swimsuits for 12 days). Ship I had read some reviews that claimed the ship was in poor shape, I did not experience this. I have been on Princess and Celebrity ships that were just 2 years old, and in the same shape as this ship. This ship looked like it was well maintained. Our room was very well maintained. My understanding is that the ship is scheduled for dry dock remodel next year – please check. Cabin We had room 738, middle of the ship, category C. Not more than 1 min walk to either elevator. And just below “deck chairs?” – 6am most mornings…but next door neighbor did not hear them. Room itself was very nice, rich wood interior, LOTS of storage space. Our suitcases fit under the bed. We each had a small closet, plenty of drawers, shelving to put everything in its place for 3 of us. Bathroom also had plenty of storage, I was pleasantly surprised. Only one outlet in the bathroom though, for shavers only. We had queen bed set up, with the armchair converted into a pullout single bed. Cozy, but doable for 3 of us. Overall Was it worth the PG price? Yyyyeeeessss, for a once in a lifetime adventure to be treated luxuriously, spoiled, and snorkel daily. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I will start with this was the worst vacation i ever went on.From the time we got onto boat.First we went up to lunch,what a joke,my buffet in florida blew away 95% food served on this boat.very sad with the money we spent.Lets start with ... Read More
I will start with this was the worst vacation i ever went on.From the time we got onto boat.First we went up to lunch,what a joke,my buffet in florida blew away 95% food served on this boat.very sad with the money we spent.Lets start with a outdated ship,the food rating from 1-10 was 3.For the money we spent,the most ever spent and was to be a trip of a live time.Not even close.upper deck chairs were the worst.Entertainment was a joke.They dont tell you about the Marquesas that their are NO swimmable beaches in the Marquesas islands.Front desk said we should of known that when booking trip.That is total BS.Over 14,000.00 spent and you charge for wifi.How can you have 4-8 drinks and not even get a buzz,we drank so called kettle one.10 days on boat before we got back to Bora Bora to go swimming.on 13 day of cruise we went to a hotel in Moorea and had best lunch/food in 13 days.We should have that on ship breakfest/lunch/dinner.I spoke with VP Sandy Stevens she did not care about our complaints and said that she will do nothing for us and social media does not matter do what you have to.So i will.She needs to go onto the viking star and see how a ship needs to be run,and what real food looks like.We will never cruise Paul Gauguin.I hope this save some people from making the same 14,000.00 mistake we did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Fabulous experience. Took a one week cruise from Tahiti to Tahiti through the Society Islands and loved every minute of it. Love that the cost is all inclusive so drinks, either alcoholic or soft drinks are included. Great crew. Wait staff ... Read More
Fabulous experience. Took a one week cruise from Tahiti to Tahiti through the Society Islands and loved every minute of it. Love that the cost is all inclusive so drinks, either alcoholic or soft drinks are included. Great crew. Wait staff is primarily from the Philippines and the captain, first mate, etc from Croatia. Could not have better service. Excellent cuisine. We particularly enjoyed the main dining room but also enjoyed the restaurant on the lido deck. My daughter fell ill one day and the medical staff were equally terrific. The cabins are about what you expect. Nicely appointed, small, nice amenities. The lectures were excellent. We didn't partake of the evening entertainment which is typical "cruise ship" fare. Instead, after dinner we headed to the back deck for cocktails, conversation and dancing. This is a perfect cruise for honeymooners or babymooners btw. As to our stops, we loved them all but Bora Bora and Moorea were over the top wonderful. Don't miss the mutu on Bora Bora. We ventured out there the first morning of our 2 day stay and, hardly any other passengers were there. We felt as if we were on our own private island. I don't know if it is because we spend the day on the motu at Tahaha the day before or the fact that there were no facilities on Bora Bora but, we considered ourselves blessed. Also included in your fare is unlimited use of the water toys - kayaks, paddle boards and snorkel gear. We're not much for taking organized excursions so we rented our own car on Bora Bora and explored the island. They have an electric car that's quite cool. It's one seat wide with the other seat behind it and half the price of a regular vehicle. Friends of ours rented that which we didn't discover until we returned our "regular" car. If I had known, I would have gone for the electric. Do take time to spend pre or post cruise in Tahiti. We spent our last night in an over the water bungaloo at Le Meridian and it was just fantastic. Overall: I have always wanted to go to French Polynesia/Tahiti and all I can say is that it is even better than you think it might be. It's only 3 hours further than Hawaii and is way less crowded, the people are wonderful and the French influence is everywhere but primarily in great cuisine. Next time you're thinking of headed to Hawaii, think about Tahiti. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Worst trip ever.Let me start with the staff was 100%.We saved for two years14,0000.00 plus travel, and expected the best food and beaches every day.They dont tell you that their are no swimable beaches in Marquesas islands.We left with ... Read More
Worst trip ever.Let me start with the staff was 100%.We saved for two years14,0000.00 plus travel, and expected the best food and beaches every day.They dont tell you that their are no swimable beaches in Marquesas islands.We left with 40-50 mph winds.People were sick for days,they should have stayed in Bora Bora area,we got to Marquesas and canceled all trips.We did not go swimming on beach until the 10 day of trip.The back of ship opened 2 times.The ship is out dated,food was disgusting,fly all over food on upper deck,drinks are watered down,tenders were very unsafe getting on and off.We went on the 13 day to intercontental hotel in Moorea and had the best food of the whole trip,very disapointing .We will never cruise Paul Gauguin again.Spoke with VP Sandy Stevens and she offered nothing to us and told us social media does not matter.I will posting pictures of our trip on youtube and outher pictures.GOOD VP Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Tahiti and the PG have been a bucket list trip since we got married 18 years ago. Finally decided to go and brought the kids (15 and 13 yo) as the Ambassador of the Environment program was being offered and Jean Michel Cousteau was ... Read More
Tahiti and the PG have been a bucket list trip since we got married 18 years ago. Finally decided to go and brought the kids (15 and 13 yo) as the Ambassador of the Environment program was being offered and Jean Michel Cousteau was onboard. PG and Air Tahiti Nui went above and beyond to get our delayed luggage from...wait for it...shocker, American Airlines. Had they not gone out of their way it would have been a sad cruise for the family! Check in was non eventful and fast! Have read several reviews that said embarkation and disembarkation was a nightmare. Absolutely incorrect! Speedy, organized, and very helpful staff. Cabins were terrific. Stayed on deck 7 with a balcony and a cabin on deck 4 with a large window. If u can splurge for the balcony...do it! So wonderful to wake up and look out as you arrive at a new island everyday whilst having room service breakfast! Beds were very comfortable, American and European plugs available. We brought a small, compact power strip and didn't even use it. Amenities in the bathrooms were great (L'Occitane products) and were replaced as needed. Hair dryers available too. Food was amazing! Le Grill for lunch had a different buffet theme everyday or you could order from their menu. We only did L'Etoile for dinner as no reservations were required and we enjoyed the fact that their menu changed daily. Never a problem to get a table for four...or you could dine with other travelers if u wished. Drinks, wine, sodas galore! Pool bar offered a daily drink that was lovely. Service was extremely attentive and personalized. The staff knew your name by day 2. For example, Anthony at La Palette (bar on deck 8) would great me everyday with my Pinot Grigio as my husband and I sat to watch us sail away to our next island. Excursions were amazing. Don't miss out and book through the ship. Tender service from the ship to shore was organized and prompt. Jet ski around Bora Bora...incredible. On Fakarava, rent bikes and go for a ride to a secluded beach. On Rangiroa go visit the pearl farm. And don't miss the day on Tahaa'a! If you have kids please sign them up for the ambassador program! They learned so much from the 2 naturalists on board and went on many excursions with them. Parents were allowed to go with so we took advantage of this and met lovely families. Kids have other activities planned for them on the ship but are not obligated to go. Well worth the $ we spent to sign them up! Evening entertainment was terrific. Magician, singer, Polynesian dancers, show put on by some of the crew...hilarious! We only skipped one night as we were too exhausted to stay awake! We cannot say enough good things about the PG. A once in a lifetime trip! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We spent three nights prior to the cruise in Moorea and took the 3 PM Arameti ferry to Papeete along with several other cruisers. It was a short walk (800 feet maybe) from where we reclaimed our baggage to the end of the PG dock. Two ... Read More
We spent three nights prior to the cruise in Moorea and took the 3 PM Arameti ferry to Papeete along with several other cruisers. It was a short walk (800 feet maybe) from where we reclaimed our baggage to the end of the PG dock. Two porters quickly joined us to take our luggage. We had changed cabins (upsell) after our luggage tags were mailed, but updated tags were quickly provided. We walked to the ship and were welcomed and guided to checkin in the lounge on deck 5. Quick and easy - passport, credit card swipe, and photo - no lines. We were then escorted to our cabin on deck 7 and arrived just after our luggage. The cruise itself was exceptional. Although we are experienced cruisers having taken 14, mostly with Celebrity, this was our first (very) small ship cruise. The staff was exceptional with many remembering your name after the first meeting. Our cabin on deck seven was delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed having a balcony. The cabin attendant kept the room sparkling and our refrigerator stocked with our favorites. Dining staff was quite attentive and quickly learned our preferences. We had no trouble obtaining a table for two (or more if wanted) and although not assigned a table were generally seated in the same area. The waiters quickly learned our preferences and had it at the table as we arrived. As others have reported the Gauguines, although small in number, are everywhere serving as hosts, at the tender landing to assist in boarding, etc. The assistant cruise director was an upbeat fun person from France who mingled with all the passengers. The CD generally introduced the shows and little else. Age range was all over (10-80) with several newlyweds and many older couples doing vow renewals. Since this was a cruise with Jean-Michel Cousteau onboard there were extensive activities and two "guides" for the kids who really seemed to enjoy the interaction often preferring to go with "their" group instead of mom and dad. Costeau's presentations along with one from Mark Eddowes were excellent. There are, however, several differences from a larger ship. The biggest being it moves a lot more. Thus the port order may change if there is bad weather forecast. On our cruise a low developed over Moorea and we spent an extra day in Bora Bora after Taha'a since that harbor was more protected. Please note that you tender to every island except Tahiti and the landing on the private motu may be a very "wet" one - above the knees high and unexpected by some vertically challenged guests. On board entertainment venues are very limited and there is one show at 9:30 or 10:00. You get to know your fellow passengers quite well. Not sure that I would want to spend several sea days onboard, although the library looked interesting. There are three choices for dining - main dining room in Etoile (no reservations), French dining in La Veranda (reservation required) and a grill, Le Grille (reservations required). There was never a wait for dining in the main dining room at 6:30 - 7:00. Reservations were generally available with a day or two advanced notice. The food was very good. I personally preferred the main dining room as the menu changed nightly and had a great variety. Breakfast and lunch were available in La Veranda and Le Grille. Buffet style and order off the menu in both locations. Lamb chops were available for breakfast. We were particularly impressed by the staff and their attention to detail. Our prebooked tour tickets were in our room on arrival with two exceptions. We had a note from the travel desk to check with them. Fearing they had been cancelled, we were pleasantly surprised when they asked us to review them as they had very similar stops. Can't say enough about the dining room staff especially maitre d's Raffy and Christian and their team. We did a combination of ship and private tours: Moorea - Moorea Miti Tours - a great small group snorkeling excursion with no more than 12 people. Tour departs early so you beat the crowds and wave runners to the stingray site. The boat was so easy to reenter after snorkeling or lunch, which by the way was quite tasty eaten while sitting at a table with our feet in the water. Olivia and Romain are great hosts and operators who obviously enjoy their venture. Although we were at the Hilton before the cruise, we stopped at the tender pier for two guests from the Paul Gauguin. Huahine - Huahine Nautiqe - A land tour to see multiple sites followed by an outrigger canoe ride, drift snorkel, lunch on a motu and return to the dock. Absolutely outstanding land tour, snorkeling and lunch with lots of fun times. Bora Bora - Day 1 - Pure snorkeling. Outstanding small boat - 6 people - tour with four snorkeling stops with Fabien. Absolutely gorgeous sites. Day 2 - Maohi Nui ship tour. Good snorkeling with three stops and 10 people. Since our departure was changed from 1700 to 1200 it was nice to be on a ship sponsored excursion as we caught the last tender to the ship. Rangiroa - Gauguin Pearl Farm ship's tour. Nice tour of a pearl farm on a Sunday when most other businesses were closed. Excellent explanation of pearl farming with nice selection to buy afterwards. No pressure to purchase. Fakarava - Walked around town parallel to the coast originally planning to snorkel off the local beach, but there were numerous sharks and we weren't sure they were the friendly types used to tourists that we swam with before. We also learned of a large tidal pool with lots of interesting critters that was accessible if you walked perpendicular to the coast for about two blocks from the tender landing (the island isn't very wide). Friends raved about Ato's tour - next time. Bora Bora - Day 3 (returned due to weather). Island tour with Le Truck ship's tour. Since both earlier days in BB had been devoted to snorkeling (and it being out of the question due to weather), this was an excellent three hour tour with multiple stops including Mama Edna's and Bloody Mary's. Moorea - Since we had spent three days before the cruise on Moorea, we were not disappointed in spending the scheduled first day in Bora Bora. On the second day we visited the shops on the pier, packed and relaxed before the trip home. Tahiti – Had a great tour with Tracey (Unique Tahiti Tours) exploring the west coast of the island and part of Tahiti Iti in her spacious Mercedes van. Not only did we tour, but her commentary provided a lot of info about the island and FP in general. Overnight at the Intercontinental. Not to the same standard as the Moorea Hilton, but nice for a night. We were glad we had pre-booked with the concierge a taxi for our early morning (Air France) departure as there we none in the taxi queue. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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
We embarked at Papeete. Cruised for 7 days Moorea,Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora two days, and Huahine. This is a magnificant Sailing Yacht. It is by far the best cruise we have done in 22 cruises. We have been on 6 star cruise lines that ... Read More
We embarked at Papeete. Cruised for 7 days Moorea,Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora two days, and Huahine. This is a magnificant Sailing Yacht. It is by far the best cruise we have done in 22 cruises. We have been on 6 star cruise lines that don't come close to Windstar. With only 115 Passengers and 93 crew it was comfort at its peak. The food was the best we have ever had on a Cruise ship. The entertainment was great and the attractions visited were stunning. When you don't have an excursion you can jump off the back of the ship and go Sailing, Canoeing or just laze on a floating matress in the beautiful blue warm waters of Tahiti. Wind Spirit looks just stunning in full sail and gives me goose bumps just looking at it. We have booked again on a longer trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My husband and I recently returned from our first Windstar cruise celebrating our 45th Anniversary. From start to finish, we can not say enough good about our experience. The staff and crew on the Wind Spirit were top notch and waited on ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from our first Windstar cruise celebrating our 45th Anniversary. From start to finish, we can not say enough good about our experience. The staff and crew on the Wind Spirit were top notch and waited on us continually with cheerful attitudes. This was in spite of unusually cloudy/rainy weather for Tahiti this time of the year. Almost all of their planned activities had to be moved, rearranged and brought on board - no easy task, but they made the most of it. We would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about. The one inconvenience on this ship over a larger cruise ship is the gangway - a steep stairway rather than the ramp we are used to. It is a lot harder on older knees, but someone was usually there to carry our gear and towels etc to allow us two hands to grasp the rail. There is no elevator on this ship - it would have been nice at times, but they often carried our snorkel gear etc to our room for us. And the only other item of complaint we had was at our Candles outdoor dinner (also moved under cover because of rain), our table was right next to the serving/cooking area. As we were finishing our dessert, the wait staff was disassembling the serving area, removing table cloths etc which dampened the ambiance. We felt they could have waited a few minutes on that. So that being the only items we could criticize, we loved our entire week. Everyone was friendly, learned our names and used them, offered help, just all around great service in every area. Our weather was the only downer and that couldn't be helped. We met many new friends on board, and could not have had a better week. We now love Windstar. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014

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