223 Tahiti (Papeete) Luxury Cruise Reviews

Over the top service always with a smile! Wonderful, relaxed small ship atmosphere where you get to know the other 330 passengers onboard. We loved requesting a "table to share" in the evening to meet other folks. Fun ... Read More
Over the top service always with a smile! Wonderful, relaxed small ship atmosphere where you get to know the other 330 passengers onboard. We loved requesting a "table to share" in the evening to meet other folks. Fun nightly entertainment. The local Polynesians onboard with us the entire cruise to entertain and share with us about the culture were outstanding. Never a problem getting a good seat in the evening for the shows. So nice to feel pampered and not like you're being herded around in large groups like on the large ships. Definitely could have used better information about the shore excursions as what we were told was sometimes incorrect or lacking information that was important. Having the shore excursion talks available in the cabin television would be helpful. Snorkeling excursions were fabulous. Rangiroa at the local aquarium and Fakarava at the South Pass were highlights. The Aqua Walk was a bit disappointing compared to other options. Wish they had someone who did underwater videos of our snorkeling. Good food. Liked having the tips all included but still tipped extra for our cabin housekeeping and an extraordinary waiter we had everyday. Such a totally different experience than when we've sailed on large ships. Arriving several days early to get acclimated was fantastic. A superior horizon overwater bungalow at the Sofitel Hotel in Moorea was a fantastic option for us. Arrived late night via Air Tahiti Nui. Had a room at the Intercontinental Tahiti with extensive breakfast buffet. The next morning we took the ferry over to Moorea for two nights. We loved it so much that we went back for two more nights after our cruise. The ferry departs near where the Paul Gauguin arrives so it is very convenient. Take the Aremiti 6 rather than the Terevau. Much better experience. They mention that boarding begins at 3 p.m. but I would emphasize that it is best to be there as shortly after as possible that so that you can get settled in your cabin before the life boat drill and dinner. We would highly recommend Paul Gauguin for a relaxed cruise with gorgeous destinations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing the South Pacific and New Zealand and the package deal we got included airfare, unlimited internet and trip insurance (important, as my husband and I are in our mid-60s). We missed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing the South Pacific and New Zealand and the package deal we got included airfare, unlimited internet and trip insurance (important, as my husband and I are in our mid-60s). We missed our flight and the ship's sailing from Tahiti, so had to board in Bora Bora, the second port on the itinerary. Checking in was fast and efficient - everything was ready and waiting for us, which we really appreciated. We asked to move from our first cabin on deck 6 because of noise from the band practice in the Cabaret, directly below us. The young lady at the customer service desk, Adina, was so helpful with our request and our second cabin was perfect - no noise at all. The deck 7 balcony cabin was comfortable, had plenty of storage, a small but well designed bathroom (with a shower curtain that was heavy enough it was never clingy) and enough room on the balcony for a table and two chairs. As for dining, we ate at the extra fee Prime C restaurant once, and very much enjoyed the Chateaubriand for two and attentive service; however, we found the service and most of the food equally good to excellent in every dining area. Personally, I found the dining at the Patio outdoor restaurant by the pool, where we had lunch nearly every day, to be really outstanding - their seared tuna wrap and grilled meats, especially the lamb brochettes, were some of the best I've ever tasted. We also very much enjoyed visiting The Living Room on Deck 10 for a glass of wine and selections from their delicious tapas, which were available starting at 5pm every day, and were impressed by the wonderfully authentic German Buffet Lunch, complete with a polka band (I hope this gives you a good idea of how delicious and varied the ship's food offerings were - everyone we talked to enjoyed the food as much as we did.) For such a small ship, The Journey has amazingly spacious public areas including an extensive Library, the previously mentioned Living Room, and the Mosaic Cafe, where you could sit at a small table and enjoy excellent specialty coffees and pastries. As well, a big plus to this cruise were the many people we had great conversations with - the 600 passengers included Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and a few Germans and Danes. Most passengers were very friendly and outgoing - even when we thought we would just sit at a table for two and enjoy a quiet meal, we would get to talking to the people at the table next to ours and have a wonderful time. The pool area was very nice and offered plenty of seating, although typically you had to scramble a bit to find shaded seating (there were lovely double wicker seats where we spent lots of time during our 6 sea days). We attended most of the Cabaret shows, which ranged from really entertaining to same-same. The two entertainers brought on board from Rarotonga were both outstanding - a stand up comic, Steven Scott, who was very funny, and a young man who did song and dance routines, Paul Hazel, who was very talented. Highlights of the cruise were the always interesting guest lecturers, talking on subjects ranging from volcanic activity to colonialism in the South Pacific, the White Night event (which was really fun and had some great Maori folk entertainment), and the Azamazing Evening (where we went to the Wellington Opera House to hear the Signature Choir sing selections accompanied by the Wellington Symphony Orchestra - it was just marvelous). We have cruised with similarly upscale Oceania Cruises in the past, but considering how much we enjoyed this cruise, we definitely will be sailing with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Choose this cruise because it is Regent. Also the itinerary matched what we were looking for and the timing was great. Great itinerary. The service on the ship was great. The food was great. The people were great. We will probably not ... Read More
Choose this cruise because it is Regent. Also the itinerary matched what we were looking for and the timing was great. Great itinerary. The service on the ship was great. The food was great. The people were great. We will probably not cruise on the Navigator again unless the itinerary overcomes the lack of a forward observation lounge and the vibration and engine noise. I should mention that in our cabin there was no noticeable noise or vibration worth mentioning. The ship was clean and the cabin every bit as nice as those on the Mariner and Sojourn. The biggest criticisms that we have is that there is no forward observation lounge, the ships engines created a lot of vibration (and some noise) in the stern of the ship and the ship rocked and rolled more that the other ships we were on. The lack of the forward observation lounge is probably the biggest issue. On our other 2 cruises we were in the lounge to see sail-away and arrivals everyday. This was the go to location for us to have an evening cocktail. We really did not visit the bars on the Navigator. The pool was adequate. Never had problems finding a chaise lounge. Plenty of service from the bar. We both participated in needlepoint during tea on the sea days. Almost finished a project. Mallory, the support/costume lady for the entertainment troupe led the activity and was a great host and fun to talk with. The stage shows were good solid performances. We went to several. One of the dancers, Kevin, in particular was a standout. Incredibly athletic and danced beautifully. The staff and crew are all very service oriented. Would have been 5 stars except that on our last Regent and Seabourn an incredible portion of the personnel knew us by name and knew our preferences. Only a small handful did on this cruise. The food in the Compass Rose was all well prepared and served attractively. The menu was varied with a combination of choices available every night and a great a selection of daily "specials." There was only one day when we had a hard time finding something we wanted to order. Most days it was hard to select from among several selections all of which we wanted to try. The experience in Prime 7 was also great. We ate in Prime 7 twice. We both had Alaskan King Crab Legs (2 pounds!) on the first night and I had them again while my wife had the Maine Lobster. For both you had the choice of in shell or out. Where's the fun if you do not have to disassemble them your self. If all you are looking for is steak those who had it said that it was equally good in both Compass Rose and Prime 7. The breakfast buffet in La Veranda was good. There were adequate choices on the buffet plus cooked to order eggs and a daily special. We ate lunch at the pool grill several times. The burgers and sandwiches were good. There were 2 theme lunches Greek and Satay. The Greek food was tasty but not authentic. The Greek Captain should have helped them deliver an authentic experience. The Satay was great with meat and fish choices and all the correct sauces. The deserts in all the venues were great. Embarkation 5 out of 5 Embarkation was simple and fast. The only delay was that there was only a single security station to check ID to board. The check in was on the ship and was simple and rapid. The cabins were available early and our luggage was waiting Moorea, French Polynesia 4 out of 5 Had a great excursion for dolphin watching with a PhD who worked at UC Berkley labs on the island. Fakarava, Tuamotu Archipelago 2 out of 5 We arrived at Fakarava and anchored. The Captain waited about and hour and decided conditions were too bad to allow tender operations so this stop turned into a sea day. The Cruise Director and his team worked hard to get a new schedule of activities prepared and had it ready shortly after we departed the lagoon. Nuku Hiva, Marquesas 4 out of 5 Had a great tour with locals round the island. The tour was in 4WD pickups. The information shared was interesting. Only real complaint is that the leader do not speak English too well. It did make fun for the those of us who know a bit of French to get the ideas across to all the group. Rangiroa, French Polynesia 4 out of 5 Great snorkel tour Bora Bora, French Polynesia 5 out of 5 Fantastic "all" day tour. Polynesian day and Motu lunch. We circumnavigated the island in a outrigger motor boat. Stopped at 2 places to snorkel. We say lots of colorful corals, a large moray eel and at the second stop snorkeled with black tips sharks and sting rays. The day ended with a Polynesia feast on a small private motu (island.) Food was great and it was fun sitting at picnic tables in the shallow water. Based on recommendations we will likely return here and stay for a few days at the Le Meridien or St. Regis. Raiatea, French Polynesia 3 out of 5 Raiatea was beautiful. We would like to go back for a couple of days. We did a snorkel tour to Taha'a Coral Gardens. It was a drift snorkel. Having to go in a line with inexperienced snorkelers was a disaster. Many people ended up being forced into the coral and were scrapped up. Huahine, French Polynesia 5 out of 5 Fantastic island tour in a pickup with room for 8 on benches in the truck bed. Ride was comfortable. The driver/tour guide was knowledgeable, interesting and engaging. This is another island that we would like to visit again. Disembarkation 5 out of 5 Extremely easy. We were traveling independently after the cruise and taking the ferry to Moorea. We were invited to debark anytime after 8 but before 9. Luggage was waiting with helpful guys to dig it out for you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I wanted to experience Regent and I love the tropical waters. This was a first class experience. The Dining is First Class - anything you can possibly imagine. The cocktails were only restricted by my waistline. Service is amazing. ... Read More
I wanted to experience Regent and I love the tropical waters. This was a first class experience. The Dining is First Class - anything you can possibly imagine. The cocktails were only restricted by my waistline. Service is amazing. Our suite 1002 was lovely and spacious. The shows were again first class. Great amazing dancers. Just wish it started at 9pm instead of 9.30. I cant believe some people complain about any of this it was all first class and wonderful. I have two issues that could have been better. The first would be the tendering using the life boats. It was slow and laborious and hot and stuffy in the enclosed boats. Every single time we had to listen to the monotonous recorded message about being careful and staying seated. Point two was that if you book three or four months out you will certainly not get on the excursions you want. All I really wanted to do was snorkel the coral and I could not get on them before hand and despite my checking with tour staff everyday I still did not get to do this. So when regent say unlimited excursions it really should say very limited excursions and then only if you book 9 months out. I did manage to get on a snorkel with the Sharks and stingrays and that was an experience that I will never forget. Fabulous. Overall the cruise was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The stern vibration is still an issue, especially coming into port early morning, good wake up call is how we managed it. The cabins are basically the same, very comfortable and was kept very clean. The wait staff, food and wine ... Read More
The stern vibration is still an issue, especially coming into port early morning, good wake up call is how we managed it. The cabins are basically the same, very comfortable and was kept very clean. The wait staff, food and wine was excellent. There was not a meal we didn't enjoy, and we did the back to back, so even after a month of menus, Chief kept serving up a variety of choices. Guest speakers were great, the production team gave 110%, the polynesian dancers was a nice welcome and history of the islands. The rest were basic lounge shows. Shore excursions highlighted the look and feel of polynesian life and was well organized. Service was exceptional and very personalized. There were children on the cruise because it was over the holidays, I believe most of them enjoyed family time together. If you want to really get a feel for the polynesian culture, history and way of life, this was a true immersion and overall wonderful experience for our 112 th cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
So, this cruise was highly recommended by our travel agent and so we listened and booked it. So right from the get-go after final payment we received the airline reservations for a flight out of LAX that would not arrive until 10:30PM in ... Read More
So, this cruise was highly recommended by our travel agent and so we listened and booked it. So right from the get-go after final payment we received the airline reservations for a flight out of LAX that would not arrive until 10:30PM in Papeete and then they would transfer you to the ship. I am saying why? So, we'll board at Midnight? Yes. Well there goes your boarding experience and no dinner for that evening. Meeting at the airport and transfers to the ship were great, waiting and standing in the rain to board not so much fun. Day 1 of cruise gone! Cabin was great, luggage was already there waiting. The ship is quite old, but clean. I have no real complaints about the ship. Dining experiences were awesome all credit goes to the staff. The menus at the 2 restaurants that you must make reservations for have the same menu every night (bad idea). Earliest you can eat dinner is 6:30PM Food was very good though. All entertainment starts at 9:30PM and that just does not work for us, we did manage to stay up for the Beatles from the Philippines but ended up leaving early, they tried, but sorry out of sync and out of tune. It was the only show we went to. Other activities were going on throughout the days and evenings and the ones we did go to were good. But it should be mentioned that a lot of these activities start at 6:30PM so we did not get to meet the Captain as we had dinner reservations, we did not get to make a Tahitian flower crown for the wife as we had dinner reservations. The fitness center is very small and very crowded and most time we had to wait for a machine to workout. The Public rooms, Bars we awesome and we had a good time. Service throughout the ship was excellent as well as the staff, enough cannot be said about the wonderful staff. The shore excursions we took were average and nothing to get excited about. So let's talk about the Islands...first one we go to is Huahine and I have to say why? Why the heck do they go there? Tender from the ship to the opposite side of the Island and take the shuttle to town 30 minutes away and two stores were open, gezzz what a waste of time. Second one is their private Island Taha'a and it was great and had a good time there until it rained, and everyone scrambles to get back to the ship via tender. Third stop Bora Bora for two days. Toured the Island and went shopping, second day went on the glass bottom boat, it was OK but overcrowded. Next stop Moorea for two days, day one it rained the whole time of our tour around the town and the shops we went to, OK but missed all photo opportunities due to the clouds. Second day we went shopping until it started raining again and again a battle for the tender back. I believe Moorea would have been by far the best Island, but rain prevented most of the great experiences. So finally, back to Papeete and we get there at 7:00PM and receive our Dis-Embarkation instructions, I thought embarkation was bad this was really bad. Must be out of cabin by 9:00AM and can't leave the ship until 12:30PM Breakfast does not start till 9:00AM so 3 hours of sitting or waiting, what to do? They do allow you to walk into town, which we did and went shopping and were back by 11:00AM just in time for lunch. Then we wait till 12:30PM to get off and found out the bus was going to take us on a 2.5-hour tour "to waste time" as the guide said because the Hotel they were taking us to was not ready for us. The tour was OK, and the Hotel was very nice but all you get is a room for 4 hours to kill before you have to check out and wait in the lobby for another 1.5 hours before the bus takes you to the airport for your Midnight flight back home. After loading the bus and luggage in a van we get to the airport at 9:15PM and wait another 2.5 hours before boarding. The flight back to LAX is 8 hours and I can’t sleep on a plane, never could sleep in an upright position. So, from 6:00AM in Tahiti to 1:00PM home 33 hours later is not how I would have planned it. We did get about 2-3 hours sleep in the Hotel in Tahiti and wife slept on the plane home. My advice, don’t book your travel plans through Paul Gauguin, book your own flight and get your own Hotel if you need one and get there 1 day before because the earliest flights all seem to get there after 6:30PM and boarding starts at 3:00PM. Also, the earliest flight home starts at 8:40PM so again I would get a Hotel going home (even though you may not spend the night), some place to go and relax before going to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Quick back round. This was our 37 cruise, the 6th to Tahiti, once on Princess, 2 on Oceania, 1 on Wind Star and 1 on Holland America. This 17 days on Wind Spirit were far and away the best for the following reasons. Wind Spirit at ... Read More
Quick back round. This was our 37 cruise, the 6th to Tahiti, once on Princess, 2 on Oceania, 1 on Wind Star and 1 on Holland America. This 17 days on Wind Spirit were far and away the best for the following reasons. Wind Spirit at most has only has 140 passengers. This cruise was really a 10 day followed by a 7 day cruise. Neither cruise was sold out and only 25 of us opted for the 17 day trip. --Overview of the Wind Spirit-- The ship is small which makes it easy explore and the passengers range in age from mid 30's to around 70. No children, no scooters, no O2 tanks and no elevators, just lots of stairs to climb getting around the ship. All the cabins but the owners suite are exactly the same with two large port holes, no balconies or inside cabins. Lots of storage, nice sized bathroom. The only minor complaint is that the bed takes up most of the room on the port hole side, making getting into bed on that side a little tricky while at sea. Speaking of the port holes you get quite a show if you're on deck 1 when the seas are a little rough. Looking out as the waves crash against the glass port holes is something we have never experienced before!! --Wind Spirit Staff and Crew-- Ok, every member from your cabin steward to the Captain are friendly, outgoing and somehow are able to remember your name after just one day onboard. Our waiter of choice was Achmed. The dinners are open seating and you can sit with other passengers or just as a couple. We always sat requesting Achmed's station. As for bar tenders John and Gerber were top notched. You only had to make eye contact with either of them and your favorite adult beverage soon appeared. We had 2 Matre'd, Rafi who left after the 10 days segment and Prasi who replaced him 7 days. Both gentlemen could not do enough and every request was met with a smile and a "No problem." Cabin stewart was great,reception desk with Nicola and Jenn were great at fixing the few minor problems we had. Reyni in the shop was very helpful and pleasant every time we stop in. Exploring the open bridge was fun, questioning the Chief Officer Paul about how the ship navigated and other workings that you don't normally have access to was interesting. --Dining-- Didn't use room service, didn't need too as breakfast, lunch and dinner were fabulous. Breakfast and lunch were in the Veranda. It's a hike from deck 1, up four flights of stairs. Dinner in the Amphora restaurant. Breakfast and lunch had a hot and cold buffet and every day there was a hot dish made fresh for you. Limited menu at both breakfast and lunch. Now dinner was wonderful. With the casual dress code there was no need to have fancy clothes, just a collared shirt and long pants for men and women to dress smartly. The food was excellent from start to finish. The dining room is a little loud but never crowded. Never had to wait more than a minute or two to get a table. On two nights, one for each cruise, they have a full scale buffet dinner outside on the top deck. Food there was great too. --Entertainment-- This is easy, they only have a duo in the lounge for a few hours every night. No Broadway production, comedian, magician or animal tricks. Really didn't miss it. The one thing that was not mentioned about this cruise was that the casino had been removed and replaced with a coffee shop. Didn't bother me but my honey always likes to play the slots while cruising. That being said, I had lots and lots of extra cash on hand, a big chuck of it spent on black pearls!! --Shore Excursions-- Didn't take many from the ship as we had seen just about every thing on our prior 5 cruises around Tahiti. Did do the stingray and shark snorkeling on Bora-Bora which was fun and do not miss the Faaroa River and Motu beach break if the guide is Tihoti. Tihoti is pure Tahitian, covered with tattoos and a wonderful story teller. His insight in the Tahitian life style that is now changing due to the internet and outside influence is both enlightening and sad. He is not to be missed!! --Odds and Ends-- Didn't use the fitness center, it's very small. Used the swim platform at the rear of the ship several times and it's a great way to take a dip, go waterskiing, use the kayaks or the small sail boat. --Beverage Package-- Did not originally want it but since the casino wasn't there I took it for myself. It included all the top shelf hard liquor, Grey Goose, Chivas, Makers Make, all beers both imported and domestic, wine and also the mini-bar in the room!! They also discounted whole bottles of wine by 30% which you could share with the wife in the dining room. Pricing on the bottles of wine was crazy cheap considering it was on a cruise ship, a nice bottle of Napa Valley merlot was $26.00!! I know, if you buy the package you are going to drink a lot more than if you are paying for each drink but remember, you're on vacation, don't have to drive the boat and your cabin is just minutes away. --Summary-- Getting to Tahiti from the east coast is a bear. We flew out two days before from NC, stayed overnight in LA. Flew Air Tahiti leaving at 4:15 pm and arrived in Tahiti at 10:00 pm. Stayed there in a BnB and met the ship the following afternoon. This isn't an inexpensive vacation. The air fare is steep, around $4800 for r/t from NC. When you visit Tahiti and see just how beautiful it is, now friendly and honest the Tahitians I think you'll believe it was money all spent. So, suck it up and make plans to go to Tahiti. You will not regret it. We did shed a tear or two while leaving the ship as mostly likely this will be our last trip to the wonderful place. You should really make a point to get out and mingle with the Tahitians away from the crowds. They are honest, friendly and even thru we don't speak French or Tahitian they do like to spend time with you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Let me start with the most positive and that is the staff especially waiting, bar and housekeeping. They are truly amazing and the best I have found on a cruise ship. I'm not gonna bother going into detail about every nook and ... Read More
Let me start with the most positive and that is the staff especially waiting, bar and housekeeping. They are truly amazing and the best I have found on a cruise ship. I'm not gonna bother going into detail about every nook and cranny on the ship, many other people have written reviews about the number of coat hooks on the back of the door et cetera. Let's start with the ship! It's old and dated and poorly maintained. Even whilst waiting to board I was surprised at the amount of rust which has been painted over, on embarkation walking up the first flight of stairs there are dents in the wall, I was hoping that this would not be a sign of things to come as it is a lower deck but unfortunately the whole ship is showing far too many signs of wear and tear for cruise line who have such a glowing reputation. The swimming pool on deck eight is reminiscent of one found on old liners such as the Titanic! Huge great big varnished wooden sides protruding above the deck, the varnish is blistered and pealing, and you have to be careful not to snag your swimming costume or indeed get a splinter from the varnish. In general the furniture in communal areas are well past their use by dates, especially in the La Palette where the seating is stained and ripped. On the outside areas if you like rust and dripping paint you will love this ship! The cabins are a great size and in good condition but hideously dated, all brown gloss varnished wood, the wall units were obviously built for old-fashioned tube style TVs with a great big plinth protruding, obviously this is not needed anymore for the small flat screen mounted at the back, it just gives some sort of indication as to the date! If you're expecting a modern glitzy state-of-the-art cruise ship you will be sorely disappointed. The overall cruise experience unfortunately did not live up to the billing! I think the itinerary is poor, granted I could and should have done far more research on the itinerary but I assumed it would be paradise. In fact cruising at sea for two days to arrive at the Marquesas Islands which pretty much all look the same, with very little to do which is not helped by the fact that there are no beaches and no access to the water; once you have done one island you have done them all. Other than the embarkation port of Tahiti every other destination you have to be tendered to the pier on the island, I imagine I have spent probably 12 hours over the two weeks waiting in line for a tender which is as the cruise ship old and antiquated, you get covered in exhaust fumes and we seem to wait an inordinate amount of time on the tender before it departs. If you wish to get an early tender, be warned that unless you have booked a cruise ship excursion through Paul Gagarin you will not be allowed on the tender as they get first priority. Information given by the travel concierge on the ship I found to be poor, badly informed and contradictory. The talks provided by the travel concierge about the upcoming islands are repetitive and very sales based. I personally find one of the travel concierge to be consistently rude. I was under the impression you are able to do what sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding off the back of the ship, this is true however on our 14 day cruise there were only two days when they offered this! The entertainment on the ship was atrocious, laughably bad but as there is nothing else to do (other than drink the lovely all-inclusive drinks) you find yourself being lulled into it only to ask yourself "what the hell am I doing here". I'm not going to name any specifics as you get to know all the entertainers as it is such a small ship they obviously spend time with you on the ship or on excursions. If you like "it ain't half hot Mum" (an old English sitcom) you might enjoy it! The food on the ship was fine, good at times but nothing to write home about, in fact the best meals we had during the three weeks we were away was in restaurants in Tahiti (definitely worth trying Le soufflé in Papeete) and Bora Bora. Still, we didn't go there for the food! Probably the best day we had was on their own private island of Motu Mahana. We did meet some really nice people and we had some good experiences, it was my girlfriends first experience of a cruise as she has never been keen on the idea, suffices to say she has no intention of ever cruising again! I understand the ship is having some sort of refit in April 2020 in Singapore, apparently it is only for two weeks so how much they will be able to modernise and renew such a small window I do not know! Personally I think they should scrap it! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Wow, what a fantastic experience! My wife and I had been looking forward to seeing the Marquesas islands for the first time. The Gauguin only makes a few trips to these wonderful islands 3 or 4 times per year. There is simply no better ... Read More
Wow, what a fantastic experience! My wife and I had been looking forward to seeing the Marquesas islands for the first time. The Gauguin only makes a few trips to these wonderful islands 3 or 4 times per year. There is simply no better way to visit them. Over the span of a week, we were able to visit 4 unique islands and their authentic local population. Some islands have only 350-850 residents. We met locals who were so proud to show us their islands. Some of the sights were awe inspiring. It's impossible to overstate how much we appreciated the ship's crew and their friendliness. We were onboard only a few days and everyone seemed to know our names. Our cabin was nice, with a balcony. Our stewardess Sharonette kept things tidy and clean every day. The included fully stocked mini bar was always replenished. We had room service breakfast quite a few times, especially nice on the sea days so we could sleep in. The casino had tournaments for roulette and black jack and we had a great time even when I lost. Casino hosts Roderick and Mirella were outstanding. The dining is exceptional, our favorite was the lobster dinner. My wife and I liked it so much John Paul our waiter ordered us another entrée to our surprise and enjoyment. The sommelier Eduardo is top notch and we loved his choices. The trip was an experience my wife and I will always cherish. The ship, it's crew and islands are truly an incredible combination. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I know the Regatta well so it was a pleasure to travel on the newly refurbished ship. Cabin 4056 in category C1 Deluxe outside seemed like it was in a good position so that was my choice for this cruise out of Papeete, Tahiti to Sydney, ... Read More
I know the Regatta well so it was a pleasure to travel on the newly refurbished ship. Cabin 4056 in category C1 Deluxe outside seemed like it was in a good position so that was my choice for this cruise out of Papeete, Tahiti to Sydney, Australia. I have travelled in an assortment of different cabins and categories on Regatta in Alaska and the Mediterranean and it has been fine every time. Embarkation at Papeete was smooth and easy which I knew it would be as I've boarded Oceania Insignia there before so I was familiar with the port. The cabin was convenient and comfortable. The position of the cabin was ideal as it is the first cabin in the corridor next to reception. Be aware that there is activity outside this cabin on port days as the gangway is often placed in the lounge at reception. I quite enjoyed that it was an area of high activity and of course getting off the ship to go ashore was so easy as it was right outside my door! Staff on the ship were lovely and we met some old friends who are still on staff on Regatta. Itinerary was wonderful. Sadly the stop at Apia in Western Samoa was missed due to the emergency situation with the Measles epidemic there and this was completely understandable - I have spent time there previously and stayed on both main islands so I was not as disappointed as some guests and understood the situation. Staff on board were tor the most part all lovely people, friendly and helpful. I will definitely travel again with Oceania which is my favourite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Was for our 10th wedding anniversary ,disappointed in the ship and how old it is inside for the 1st since we have cruised we didnt take any pictures of the interior ,the only good thing is that it's going in for major changes just ... Read More
Was for our 10th wedding anniversary ,disappointed in the ship and how old it is inside for the 1st since we have cruised we didnt take any pictures of the interior ,the only good thing is that it's going in for major changes just dont change the crew they are excellent had a great room attendant and server manny in la veranda , love the stops in Bora,Janine,tahaa,moorea fakarava was nothing special unless you dive , the average age was mayb an issue but it's the ships decor that was real bad ,room service was great food was good enough just was expecting more for the money we spent but in the end although the crew were good it didnt justify the money spent free wifi and some excursions would have made it a better deal but it just the look of the interior of the ship which will remain with us just wasnt luxury at all even at the tender arrivals old carpets and nothing luxurious about waiting area other cruise lines do a better job but I'll be honest this is our opinion because people looked happy mayb just wasn't for us . Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I were looking forward to this luxury cruise on Paul Gauguin. We have cruised many times in our 36 years of marriage and do not have an alliance with any cruise line. We are most interested in the itinerary. Embarkation ... Read More
My husband and I were looking forward to this luxury cruise on Paul Gauguin. We have cruised many times in our 36 years of marriage and do not have an alliance with any cruise line. We are most interested in the itinerary. Embarkation was poorly done. We were advised to arrive at or after 3PM. We arrived at 2:45pm to a line completely in the sun. Buses were backing up running their exhaust into the guest awaiting to board. No where to sit, no shade. At 3pm we were allowed to entire and check in was quickly done in the grand salon. The ship itself is very plain, nothing pretty and in much need of an update. Although everything was very clean. The pool area is very small and there are no hot tubs. The service was nothing special, the same as I've had on other ships and poor in some areas. At breakfast and lunch especially you are encouraged to go to the buffet. You were discouraged from ordering off the fixed menu. Even felt uncomfortable to ask for a soda with lunch and never asked for a refill. The food was excellent at dinner. Most breakfasts and lunch for average. Meal times were breakfast 7am to 10 am, lunch 12 pm to 2pm, tea 4 to 5pm and dinner 6:30pm to 9pm. If you were on an excursion or wanting to eat at a different time room service was available. Entertainment was weak with a few exceptions. The Guaguines a group of Tahitian young people were very entertaining. Though not professional they did their best to entertain us. Polynesian night a local group was brought on and they were great as well. Sitting at the pool there was no band or music during the day. The ports of call were all wonderful and the reason most must come on this cruise. Although when getting off the ship there isn't anyone handing out maps or answering questions. Would be nice if they handed out water bottles as well. The cruise director and assistant were not around much. Actually didn't even know there was an assistant until she was introduced and sang one night. Only 1 trivia over the 7 nights. The lectures were very good and informative. To sum it up. I was disappointed in the ship itself but loved the ports of call. I would return to this area of the world but on another ship. I have been on true luxury cruises and unfortunately this fell short in many areas. Embarkation time of 3pm when needed to checkout of the hotel at 11am is a real problem. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We planned this trip a year in advance to celebrate anniversary and birthday and were not disappointed. We travelled with our favorite traveling companions but also met many wonderful and interesting people from around the world. The ... Read More
We planned this trip a year in advance to celebrate anniversary and birthday and were not disappointed. We travelled with our favorite traveling companions but also met many wonderful and interesting people from around the world. The service was outstanding in our opinion, especially our favorite waiter Philip and especially in the Veranda restaurant. Those people who rated the service as less probably had a bad waiter. We enjoyed all the meals especially the themed lunch buffets and special gourmet dinners each night. Seafood was offered every dinner and most lunches. Breakfast buffets were the same menu each morning but were still great and you could order any special you wanted e.g. custom omelettes. Staff throughout the ship was attentive and friendly And free liquor of all types with meals, poolside, piano bar. etc. Snorkeling trips were the highlight of our excursions. The only negative was that even though we had signed up way in advance for many trips, some were cancelled because they were not full or because of equipment problems. So maybe a better way to insure trips went without a full load or screening of outside vendors would be in order. The biggest negative had nothing to do with the ship but the airline which was chosen for the package. Air Tahiti Nui has bragged about brand new 787 planes but they are configured for maximum number of seats and the 8 hour flight was extremely uncomfortable. Could hardly fit in the seats and forget about trying to eat on the trays in your lap. Worst International flight I have ever been on compared to Air France, Lufthansa, United etc Also we requested a deviation on our return flight to spend more time in Tahiti. In doing so we lost our ability to enjoy an afternoon in a day room with a meal and shower. Paul Gaugin should have included this since we paid the same price was those flying back home directly It was a long idle time wait with baggage between 10 AM ship debarkation and 11:50 PM return flight. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just returned from our cruise. Fantastic in all ways. Our airplane was cancelled 2 days in a row by Air Tahiti Nui (a whole other matter) and we would not be arriving to Tahiti until 1 hour after the sailing time. We called Windstar ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise. Fantastic in all ways. Our airplane was cancelled 2 days in a row by Air Tahiti Nui (a whole other matter) and we would not be arriving to Tahiti until 1 hour after the sailing time. We called Windstar to see how to meet the ship in Moorea. They got involved with the air company even though we did not book our air through them. Customer service was amazing and they held the ship in port until we arrived. I would not hesitate to book them again. The whole cruise experience, Room, Food, Service is top notch. I even lost my souveniors while tendering and did not realize until I returned I did not have them. They had it in lost and found and are sending them back to me at home. AMAZING! The ship itself is a little worn but very well kept. If you are a snorkeler, the water is so clear and beautiful anywhere we went. The private islands were just what you would think paradise should be. Nothing was too much to ask of anyone. I can't imagine visiting all the places we did with room and food for less money that we paid for the cruise- as long as you can pay a discounted rate. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Summary: the islands and waters of French Polynesia are beautiful, exotic, and clean. The towns and roads are populated by people who are friendly, charming, inviting, and helpful. And I highly recommend you visit them on a cruise ship ... Read More
Summary: the islands and waters of French Polynesia are beautiful, exotic, and clean. The towns and roads are populated by people who are friendly, charming, inviting, and helpful. And I highly recommend you visit them on a cruise ship (especially if you are a scuba diver)…once alternatives to Paul Gauguin become available. The M/S Paul Gauguin is a tired, clunky ship staffed by crew ranging from competent through lazy to actively obstructionist. I have been on many cruise lines, ranging from economy Norwegian to top-end ultraluxury Sea Dream (more expensive than Paul Gauguin…but just barely), and I can honestly say that I have never been on a cruise where so many times I have been told “no.” For example, when we discovered that the chef aboard the Sea Dream II was Polish, we asked half-jokingly if he would be making pierogies…and that night, freshly made pierogies were waiting for us. That’s service. On the much less expensive (but still luxurious in its own right) Regent Seven Seas Navigator when we asked for a glass of white port only to be told they had none, they had the requested wine FLOWN IN the next day. That's service. I appreciate that Tahiti is much further from other population centers than the Caribbean (Sea Dream, Silverseas), Bermuda (Norwegian), or Alaska (Regent) and this makes certain requests for things they do not have on-hand impractical. But I was never told “no” to any reasonable request and the more upscale lines, and even Norwegian in most cases, bent over backwards to meet every guest request. Not so with Paul Gauguin, whose onboard philosophy is less customer-centric than a cheap airport motel. Every day our experience was sullied by a refusal to do some minor thing that was easily within the staff’s ability. For example: I requested a particular drink at the pool bar that required ice cream. “We don’t have any ice cream,” says the barkeep. “But…” I stammer, confused that a passenger should have to explain basic customer service to a cruise employee, “there’s ice cream at the Le Grille.” I should explain that Le Grille is the group of tables constituting one of the three onboard restaurants when they close the doors at night, during the day it is the more-or-less open eating station for breakfast, and it is (surprise!) on the other side of the pool. And we’re not talking one of those Olympic pools aboard an 8,000 passenger superliner, but a walk of (I counted them) 42 steps. So, I walked those 42 steps, got some ice cream, walked the other 42 steps back, and told the bartender to make my drink. Which he did with an extra dollop of sullenness, although he had no other customers occupying his time. Speaking of ice cream, I became rather fond while aboard the Norwegian Dawn of their strawberry ice cream made on-board and which you could get at the pool any time of day; if they didn’t have any, they’d send for it. (On a similar note, once at the bar on the Silversea they didn't stock the particular alcohol at that one bar, but within minutes they had it sent over.) What was the answer when I asked for some on the Paul Gauguin at the evidently outrageous hour of 2 o’clock in the afternoon? No. Oh and the next day, I tried an experiment and asked for a toasted almond (which requires just milk, no ice cream) at the bar. “No, we don’t have any milk.” What!? I realize that this sounds nitpicky. And perhaps it is. But I cannot stress just how expensive Paul Gauguin is…this is one of the most expensive luxury cruise lines IN THE WORLD. And this attitude of the guests being a burden and an inconvenience extends far beyond just the on-board experience and permeates every aspect of their business. Their vendors, for example, are simply unacceptable and company staff could not care less when informed that their vendors have made the most outrageous mistakes. When we arrived at LAX, a Paul Gauguin staffer met us and briefed us on what to expect upon arrival at Tahiti, and confirmed that our printed boarding paperwork included a hotel (a different hotel than what most guests stay at, but we didn’t know that at the time) and transfer information. Well, when we arrived at Tahiti, we quickly found the transfer vendor but she refused to allow us on the van because we weren’t on her list. We showed her our paperwork: her company, her van, and its destination. No. Can you please call Paul Gauguin, here’s the phone number? No. Can you at least CALL YOUR OWN OFFICE? No. And off the van drove, leaving us in a foreign country and no idea how to proceed. We eventually found a taxi that would provide a receipt, but the hotel turned out to be different than the usual one used by Paul Gauguin: much less nice and, important to us at that moment, not the one with a Paul Gauguin representative. I won’t tell you our woe of contracting food poisoning at that hotel, as I can’t in good faith blame that on Paul Gauguin, but it definitely didn’t add to the quality of the start of the voyage. The next day when we contacted Paul Gauguin at the correct hotel (the infinitely more delightful Intercontinental, which I may write a standalone review of) we were told that once onboard that Concierge would take care of everything. Except that took two hours of waiting and re-explaining to each new person we were passed off to (we never did see the person who Paul Gauguin customer service told us to specifically ask for), with each one humming and hawing about how this isn’t standard practice and they could give us credit for a future cruise and me having to show our receipt and the email from customer service yet again, just to get our $50 back. My goodness, Silversea or Regent would probably have fired their vendor and upgraded us to a suite right then and there. Not quite a “no” but in the same spirit of not caring about passengers: don’t believe the final return time posted for the shore tenders. If it’s within a half hour of the posted time and the crew don’t see passengers walking towards them, they pack up and head back to the ship. Now you might think that’s impossible because they know if all the passengers are back, and on most cruises you’d be right. But Paul Gauguin only has the passenger ID card reader back on the ship, not at the tender tie-up, so they would not have a clue if somebody was missing when they start the engine and abandon the remaining passengers. On a side note, whilst on the Sea Dream II (again, only very slightly more expensive than Paul Gauguin), a couple missed the sailing due to a delayed flight and the captain HELD THE SHIP UP AT THE PORT so the inter-island puddle hopper could get them to the ship. That’s service; but being told that I could not make my own choice from the “complementary” wines is not. Once again, no. Oh but when I asked about this on the Regent, they actually manually typed up a list of all the complementary wines just for me so I could, if I wanted to, decide which wine I wanted for which meal. Again, service. Our amidship cabin was satisfactory; it did have the usual minor creaks in the middle of the night common to older boats (the Regent Navigator, a converted Soviet research vessel, is notorious for this). In moderate seas the ship pitches quite a bit, so bring those seasickness patches* (then again, we were recovering from food poisoning). Curiously the ship doesn’t really roll, it only pitches; so there are certain areas like the Spa near the center of the ship where the movement of the boat isn’t noticeable. At either end of the ship, it becomes very evident: I took a video of the small pool sloshing back and forth like a tub of water being carried down a flight of steps. This becomes a real problem when it comes to the two restaurants located in the stern, and especially L’Etoile, which is not only at the end of the ship and therefore most subject to seesawing in the waves, but is directly over the engine room—and the engine struggles mightily with the waves. *You can get seasickness medicine at the concierge. However, unlike other very small ships that are susceptible to waves even under moderate conditions, all they provide is over-the-counter Dramamine (which makes you drowsy); Sea Dream offers newer drugs that are much more effective assuming you take them in advance. The Seven Seas never left the protected waters of the Alaskan inside passage, Norwegian ships are too big to be affected by moderate seas, and I already had a patch on for the Silverseas; so I don’t know how those cruise lines deal with this. Here’s a hint: if while at sea you sit in La Veranda or especially, no exceptions, L’Etoile, insist on a table along the perimeter of the dining room. They’ll all pitch up and down as the ship passes over the waves, but the tables in the middle of the area shake so badly that you can not only feel it in your bones, but silverware loudly clatters and glasses slowly vibrate their way across the tablecloth. By the way, two comments on the food and beverages: 1. There is only one upscale restaurant, that being L’Etoile, and the food is equivalent to one of the pay-per-person venues on a Norwegian or Princess. Very good, but not extraordinary (hint: adding foamed milk to everything on the menu does not automatically make it le repas extraordinaire). Le Veranda is good; think all-inclusive Caribbean resort. Le Grille, being only a part-time restaurant, breakfast nook, and eclectic and therefore confusing lunchtime “tea” corner, was very hit-and-miss. Nothing aboard compares to the very best (or for Seven Seas, ordinary) food of their competitors. Oh, and Le Veranda and Le Grille share menus to a large extent. I do appreciate that this ship is based literally thousands of miles from any major landmass and it must be a logistical juggling act to obtain provisions to provide several hundred good-to-excellent meals each day. But do not let that fool you into thinking you will dine on par with Maxine’s—or a Windstar clipper, for that matter. 2. Wine is TERRIBLE. I did not see a single bottle of complementary wine that I could not buy at home for under ten dollars, and in many cases it was a no-name that a quick Internet check showed retail prices of less then six dollars. This is part of a non-stop campaign to get you to upgrade to “premium” (meaning, drinkable) wines. This is a scheme that might belong on a bargain resort in the Dominican Republic (and I’d resent it there, too) but not aboard a luxury cruise ship. This simply inexcusable; on all of my cruises there have always been premium wines available at additional cost (Regent and Sea Dream included all but the very most expensive of spirits, so paying for an “upgrade” would mean a $300 twenty-year old single malt), but never before has a cruise deliberately given passengers wines that they know are simply awful to blatantly force them to pony up. Even on Norwegian, having gotten an upgrade that included the beverage package, had decent wines in the $12 to $25 category. During a voyage that cost A TENTH of the price. My advice: stick with the rosé, it’s hard to screw that up too badly. Or just sail with somebody else—more on that in a moment. Speaking of upgrades: if you possibly can (i.e. you have enough shipboard credits to cover it), get the unlimited Internet plan. Not that it will go any faster—it won’t—but they use a system in which you must actively log out when finished (it’s actually called “logout.com”; Silversea uses this same dysfunctional system). Now, that already means that whoever is using whichever device must actively remember to log out. But there’s a much darker side to this: wireless on board the Paul Gauguin is both spotty and sporadic, and if your signal vanishes—and it does, regularly—you CANNOT LOG OFF. So your minutes keep ticking by, possibly without you even knowing (we used up our entire allotment overnight, when I logged out but did not wait for the confirmatory message “You are logged out”). Also, if you have two browser windows open and you log out of one, the other might still be clocking usage even if you do get the confirmation. If you can, just get the unlimited plan so you don’t have to worry about it. Or, just sail with somebody else—more on that, as I said, in a moment. The Paul Gauguin has a decent little gym but lacks a jogging track or, to put it more generally, any sort of promenade deck (i.e. a deck that goes all the way around the ship). I have never been on any ship where it is impossible to go around the vessel, although on one I did have to climb up and down ladders (stairs). This confused me at first because there is certainly nothing to prevent it in the ship’s design, and then I realized that it is because there WAS a promenade deck, and then they installed rather clumsy-looking partitions to keep people from reaching the stern on that deck, which now constitutes the “balcony” of the suites. Instead, you could walk around the “solar” (sun) deck, which goes around the top-most bar just above the pool (it’s on top of the bar that refused to serve ice cream). Except, it’s exactly 1/20th of a mile around** (so you have to make a 90 degree turn every 20 yards) and more to the point, you can’t anyway, because that bar is ALWAYS closed; and since it’s closed, hey there’s no reason for passengers to go up there (i.e. the only place on the ship where you can actually WALK AROUND) so they keep the stairs roped off constantly. Just to stick the knife in a little deeper, they’ll post a sign on the rope announcing the hours that the deck will be open…but the rope stays there all day and night, day after day. I asked a crewmember if we could go up, since it was the time the sign said the rope would be removed. No. I asked, why? The crewmember shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Oh, and the one time we did get to go up, during the night, all the light are turned on, so there is not one place to view the night sky aboard. That was the single biggest disappointment of all, we were so looking forward to the prospect of seeing unfamiliar southern hemisphere constellations under the famous South Pacific crystal clear skies, and all we had were electric lights blazing. We couldn’t even skyview from shore, as the tenders always return before night (the was one exception, in Bora Bora, but we only had a small area of sky to view, alongside one of the busier streets in French Polynesia…and again, you do NOT want to wait until the posted final tender departure time). **By way of comparison: the Norwegian Dawn (considered a small ship by modern standards) has a promenade deck that is a quarter of a mile around, and on the Harmony of the Sea (pretty much the opposite of the Paul Gauguin or any of its brethren!) it only takes 2.7 laps to burn up a mile. Yes, the Paul Gauguin is a small ship…but TWENTY YARDS? Not that it matters, since they won’t let you up there anyway. Very nice little spa connected to the gym. The stern recreation launch is, for most people, more of a gimmick than useful, as there are no motorized sports (Sea Dream has waverunners) and although in theory they stock sailboards, paddle boards, etc., as a practical matter they never allot time—and certainly never advertise time—to use them, because that time is devoted to pay-per-use SCUBA training. If you are certifying in SCUBA at additional cost, then it may be genuinely useful…if, of course, you can live with the guilt that the additional costs you are paying is resulting in the other passengers not being able to utilize the supposedly free swimming equipment they were promised. (“No swimming from the stern platform!” says the sign. Again, another NO! I asked why and was told it was for my safety. “But if I pay for SCUBA, I can swim. Why is it dangerous for a snorkeler but not for a scuba diver?” Again, a shrug.) I would be remiss if I did not mention the islands. Tahiti itself is very similar to Hawaii; think Kauai not Oahu. Also, the water is really shallow, so you will see only miniature ships everywhere (I’ll talk about this in my summation)—container ships loaded with fifty containers instead of five hundred and oil tankers the size of ferry boats. This of course is a major reason why everything is so expensive; not only does everything have to be brought in from literally thousands of miles away (um, including the beef we got food poisoning from), but they can’t even be brought in aboard large, economically efficient vessels. Bora Bora is just too big to even begin to see much of anything, which is a shame; it’s the place with the most things to see and do. Moorea, practically within kayaking distance of Tahiti, is likely where the Paul Gauguin will dock overnight just before your return, and there are two beautiful inlets with mountain routes leading into the hills. The ship posted a schedule saying we would move overnight from one inlet to the other, and we had done a lot of planning about where we would explore the next day; but when we woke up we were still anchored in the same spot. The other islands were mostly forgettable. Not because they are not beautiful—they are!—but because the ship remains there for so little time you can’t really see anything. Do not pay extra to take the extended voyage to the big atolls (when I say big, I mean BIG—you cannot see to the other side of the lagoon) like Rangiroa unless you are specifically going on a paid SCUBA or, possibly, drift snorkel excursion***. The atolls are breathtakingly beautiful but they are so big and you have so little time that you will at best see a tiny percentage of them. Be aware that if you snorkel or scuba at the famous passes you will, by all accounts (my wife was too anxious and refused to go, but then she won’t go on rollercoasters, either), come across sharks. Big ones. Lots of them. I would have been worried but then I also know that statistics say that the commercial excursions are incredibly safe even if you are being circled by a dozen hammerheads. But if all you are going to do is swim or snorkel from the shore, stick with the shorter cruises around the Tahitian island chain proper. The lagoon beaches are definitely beautiful, but not exceeding Tahitian beaches. ***Warning! While I suppose there is no law against it (then again, there might be), you cannot drift snorkel (or scuba, probably) the atolls on your own. The way these atolls work is they are bathtubs the size of Connecticut with only a few ways for the water to get in and out. So every time the tide changes, so does the irresistible currents flowing first one way, then the other way. I saw a zodiac in a pass loaded with tourists watching dolphins jumping out of the water and each time he pulled up his anchor, he had to gun his 150 horsepower engine to make any headway. A swimmer wouldn’t have a chance, so you NEED A TOUR OPERATOR who will drop you off and pick you up at predetermined spots on either side of the passes. There are two “private” beaches used by Paul Gauguin. The first one is just that, a tiny strip of a beach on somebody else’s land. Almost not worth taking the tender. The other is an entire island—actually a “motu” (a piece of the surrounding atoll separated by a channel of sea from its neighbor)—and that was a lot of fun, although you can walk around the entire “island” in five minutes. Ironically, I would have to say that the highlight of our cruise was the hotel we finished up at (and which most Paul Gauguin guests stay at both before and after the cruise), the Intercontinental. This is close by both the ship pier and the airport (the other hotel we were put at our first night, whose name I will not disclose, is on the other side of the island). Great place, excellent rooms, great (but REALLY pricey) food, and an absolutely brilliant split pool with conventional filtered water on one side, and the ocean spilling through underwater fences on the other side so sealife can and does swim right in; they even have some coral reefs growing in the pool, separated from guests by more screens. The fish—some pretty big ones, too, ranging from four feet long down to tiny colorful aquarium pets—swim freely to and from the ocean, and to and from the artificial reef and the swim area. The irony of this is that the best snorkeling I had, in fact perhaps the most enjoyment I had, during the entire Paul Gauguin cruise…was at the hotel. Final thoughts: for years, Paul Gauguin has had a monopoly on French Polynesia. I read these gushing five-star reviews, including right here on Cruise Critic, and ask “have these people—including some who claim to be professional cruise critics—ever been on an actual luxury cruise ship in a location where it has competition and has to remain on the top of its game in every way to justify charging these huge ticket prices?” Well, the good news is that as of late 2019, competition is indeed on its way; Regent and Windstar have announced they will be bringing their brand of best-in-class service on their own ships, and Sea Dream is launching a new vessel that may eventually rotate there. On the economy end, the tired old Norwegian Pride of America—hopefully with some much-needed upgrades—will start including Tahiti and some surrounding islands as part of its time-honored circumnavigation of the Hawaiian chain, and it will be joined by the Pacific Princess, similar in size to Regent vessels. Due to the shallow seabed you won’t be seeing any mega-ships arriving (and that's definitely a good thing, as unleashing 6,000 passengers on the islands would ruin them), but you will be seeing competition at long last. Which is great news, because the islands and reefs are gorgeous, the people are friendly (even if you don’t speak French!), and the beaches are clean not because some resort is combing them twice a day but because they actually are clean. French Polynesia deserves better representatives of their tourism industry than the lazy and indifferent monopoly held by Paul Gauguin…and so do you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband has always wanted to go to Bora Bora and our travel agent told us of this spectacular way to see Bora Bora and French Polynesia. We weren’t disappointed. The Wind Spirit ship and crew are equally as amazing. We enjoyed all ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to go to Bora Bora and our travel agent told us of this spectacular way to see Bora Bora and French Polynesia. We weren’t disappointed. The Wind Spirit ship and crew are equally as amazing. We enjoyed all aspects of this cruise and bar none it was the best of the four cruises (Disney, Royal Carribean, Celebrity) we done so far. Everything from the crew, the ship, the food and the accommodations were five star all the way. You will not be disappointed. They have everything very well organized and nothing is too much trouble for them to do for the guests. We even got Canadian news delivered to our stateroom everyday. That was a nice touch. I liked that the dinner dress code was ‘dress casual’ in the dining room. One night they do a bbq on the deck and shorts are acceptable. Also, they take you to a private motu in Bora Bora for a buffet dinner and show and you can also wear shorts that night. Can’t think of anything that could be improved. We were very satisfied. Enjoy! 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 ship can hold a maximum of 326 or so passengers; there were 260 passengers, 226 crew on our trip. Pretty good crew-to-passenger ratio. Passengers: Mostly English speaking couples, some French, a few Japanese and Spanish (south ... Read More
The ship can hold a maximum of 326 or so passengers; there were 260 passengers, 226 crew on our trip. Pretty good crew-to-passenger ratio. Passengers: Mostly English speaking couples, some French, a few Japanese and Spanish (south American.) There were three young (5-ish) children, from three different families that did not previously know each other. They were well-behaved. Once in a while a bit energetic and rowdy, but in places where this wasn't inappropriate. We only briefly glimpsed one of the families; of the other two, I don't think the children spoke English, but that also wasn't a factor. Most were m/f couples around 45-70, but there was a smattering of everything, including grown kids helping their parents, all types of couples and everything from extreme goths to men who wore dinner jackets with shorts. Cellular Service The ship does have cell service through Maritime. Which is not covered by AT&T Passport. Unlike some other lines, no package available. I didn't use the Maritime coverage. Throughout French Polynesia, Vini is the local cell service. AT&T was definitely confused on the concept of Tahiti vs French Polynesia - I called and they thought they only supported Tahiti, not Bora Bora or Moorea. Post-cruise, I can confirm that AT&T Passport over Vini was covered in all three islands. Vini coverage was fine. The Pool There is a mandatory pool atop the ship. It's pretty small; you wouldn't do laps in it. They drain it for cruising, refilling it (with salt water from the ocean) every morning. Food: The food was mostly very good. Dinners were 50% amazing, but 50% mediocre for a good restaurant. Seafood was reliably fantastic, vegetarian dishes were consistently poor. Drinks were good and as strong as you wish. We didn't have any whisky, but the vodkas and rums were quality, including Grey Goose, Titos and Sky. (Didn't check on others.) Weirdest Shipboard Experience: The hours-long rooster-apacalypse early in Moorea, tons of crowing in the distance for at least an hour. Sounds like a bit of a sports event. Not too loud, but funny. Excursion and Docking information Just in case you weren't aware... excursions are cheapest from the provider. The hotels (e.g. the Intercontinental) mark them up 37%. (Yes, that's the number. Not sure why, but I did verify it.) The Paul Gauguin seems to have an even higher mark-up. e.g. €70 (US$78) for the Blue Lagoon Day vs $109 from the hotel and $139 from the ship. That's nearly double for doing it from the ship (in this case; the ship markup seems to vary.) But it is far more convenient, especially considering... Two of our excursions were cancelled, one due to port change, the other due to weather. We rolled with it. In one case, the "travel concierge" on deck four was able to get us onto a replacement that showed fully booked, when I requested it. (She picked up a phone and spoke in exceedingly fast French for several minutes, hung up and said something like, "It is done." Straight out of a movie.) Snorking quality varies immensely. If you regularly dive or snorkle, you already know this. But if not, just realize that just because snorkling is offered, doesn't mean there's anything interesting to see there. If you're used to using the PGCruises.com "Manage My Trip"... well, they don't keep it up-to-date. (As a rule, the Gauguin technology seems at least a decade behind.) We had two excursions cancelled... change of docking location for one, weather for the other. These aren't removed from the web page. In theory, according to the Travel/Concierge on Deck 4, the T.V. (ironically, their brand-new "ITV System") is kept up-to-date, but it really isn't... our Moorea docking was moved from Oahapanu Bay to Cook's Bay (because a Princess Cruise will be coming on Friday) but the T.V. information wasn't updated. There are detailed schedule sheets. They're pretty useful. But most useful was simply going to the Concierge, who knows what's going on and can sometimes squeeze you in anyhow. Scuba French Polynesia is fantastic for scuba diving. We did several dives. Another passenger referred to this as "Princess Diving", because the equipment (BCD, regulator, tank, weights) are provided and checked for you, they help you strap them on if desired, you flop over the side and then at the end, hand them up and climb aboard unencumbered. It's much easier than the beach drysuit diving we'd mostly done before. You do have to check in with the dive master to schedule dives; he checks your logbooks and medical certificate. You don't have to use the PGCruises medical cert; I brought a copy of my last doctor sign-off, and I believe they can check you there anyhow. But this gave my nervous SO a chance to talk about the dives before deciding. The Zodiac (they have several) leaves from the 3rd-floor boat marina. We brought our own masks, snorkles, fins and computers, but some people used boat-issued ones. Dives were in groups of four, each with a guide. It was a really great time. You don't need to scuba to swim with the sharks and rays; Shark City is a shallow (perhaps a meter) deep area better for snorkling. But we saw much larger sharks, and a lot of other great life, diving. ATV Tour of Huahine Nui We took the Hauhii ATV tour around the island. The highlight was, sadly, the driver in front of me crashing into the driver in front of him. No injuries, but it was exciting. We also did some shore riding, which allowed us to get a better view of the tidal life than we could on foot, because the rocks are simultaneously super-sharp and super-slippery, not a problem for a 4WD ATV but dangerous on foot. We also saw several of the stone marae (temples, basically), the river-eels, a lot of backyards and residents. This gave us a deeper and closer look at the real island than any of the other tours, but that may not be what you really want... because the island's economy really isn't all that great. (My trip notes stated "Third world back alleys.") BBQ on the Motu: This is the excursion, not the "private island" day on Motu Mahana in Bora Bora... covered below. TL;DR: Skip this one. This wasn't all that close to where the Gauguin was docked, so the ride out was long. That may be unusual; our dock was changed because a Princess Cruise was going to need Oahapanu Bay, the larger bay, so the Gauguin docked at Cook Bay instead. On the way, we stopped at Shark/Stingray City, an area out several hundred meters in meter-deep water where the rays and sharks have been fed for decades. This was fantastic and fun. All these large carnivorous fish swimming around you and expecting contact. Definitely do this, but there are other ways to do it than the BBQ excursion. Then we got to the Motu. This one had a lot less going on than Motu Mahana. You're there for hours, but no food or drink for the first several. It's heavily wooded, limited sun. The food is grilled right there, still limited drinks - just beer and water. And not really that great for snorkling either. Eventually, you're glad to leave. Waverunner & Snorkeling Adventure This was a longish ATV ride in very choppy water. Apparently, we were right on the cusp of where they would cancel the excursion, except that two days had already had cancellations due to changed docks. So the ride was a bit brutal. But the scenery was amazing. Snorkling was pretty good, but keep in mind that it may have been more impressive to people who weren't doing scuba dives. The view of the overwater bungalows (and how many resorts have them) was really neat. The guide also prepped some bananas, coconut and grapefruit for us. The bananas and coconut were amazing. We weren't fans of the grapefruit, but it was neat to experience. Motu Mahana This is included with the cruise. It's the "Gauguin Private Island" day. And it's a blast. Imagine it's just past the halfway mark of the cruise. You now have a bunch of friends (it's a small ship, remember? And a self-selecting set of passengers.) The island has wonderful white sand, perfect trees, a huge BBQ buffet, unlimited good drinks, some served in coconut shells (which are greener than you expect from watching Gilligan's Island, apparently not the most accurate documentary.) The water is warm, and even the rain doesn't dampen things. Plenty of chaises, the water is wading-deep for quite some distance, full-plumbing facilities. Really, no downside. Well, one downside. There's an encampment on the other side of the Motu that resembles a homeless camp. I asked about it; apparently one of the local families has "an arrangement." You'll see it if you walk around the Motu (and if they're still there), but if you just stay in the resort-area, you won't. Tip: Don't bother bringing your snorkle gear to the Motu. Despite the description, there's not much to see, especially compared to some other stops. Excursions we heard about: The "Le Truck" excursion disappointed the passengers we chatted with. They didn't see much, were stuck on the road, it seemed aimed at getting them to spend money at local businesses and they just didn't enjoy it. The "personal submarine"/Aquabike's had passengers raving. NOT scuba passengers, but scuba takes prep, training and equipment. It seemed everyone who did the Aquabike loved it. Extras: Get the laundry Service. We booked this electronically well before the trip. It's completely worth it. Just make sure you accurately count your items going out; my SO got it wrong (twice!), with them rejecting the order as a result. Perfectly reasonable, not a big deal. You can't order the internet package in advance; it must be done from on-ship. And it was spotty. The ship's equipment is not a match for today's expectations. This isn't a French Polynesia issue; my cellfone had better coverage and speed than the best of the boat, and large portions of the boat and even some of the cabin had dead zones. But still, it's not expensive and is very convenient. Just realize you won't be doing any streaming or VOIP calls. This had no impact on me other than surprising me. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The South Pacific is a bucket-list destination and the back-to-back cruises on Le Soleal hit all the high spots. I generally like expedition-style cruises, but the itinerary captivated me: Cruise #1: Easter Island, Pitcairn, Gambier ... Read More
The South Pacific is a bucket-list destination and the back-to-back cruises on Le Soleal hit all the high spots. I generally like expedition-style cruises, but the itinerary captivated me: Cruise #1: Easter Island, Pitcairn, Gambier Islands, Moorea, Bora Bora and Papeete; Cruise#2: Papeete, Moorea, Tuamotu islands, Marquesa Islands, Hilo, Honolulu This review will cover both cruises. As it turned out, the itienrary had a lot of expedition-style elements: transportation by zodiac, snorkel eqipt. issued, visiting out of the way places (not even listed in Lonely Planet or much on the web about them), an excellent speaker introducing us to the various Polynesian cultures, film programs, some hiking, and excellent local guides. The mix on the ship was about 50% French-speaking and the rest English speaking (consisting of US, Australian/New Zelanders, Europeans) and most programs were offered twice, once for the French speaking, and again for the English speaking audience. Ship announcements were bi-lingual. Food is both restaurants is excellent and I enjoyed the buffet on on the 6th level for most meals as I could "eat and run". Spa services are excellent I liked that the ship had a afternoon reception for those of us traveling on our own so we could meet each other. This is a 5-star ship, with 5-star dining, 5-star services and 5-star amenities (for example, bathroom amenities are from Hermes). Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose the cruise for its itinerary. We wanted to got to French Polynesia and had never cruised across the South Pacific with such exotic locations as the Pitcarin Islands and Easter Island. The flight over allowed us to visit one ... Read More
We chose the cruise for its itinerary. We wanted to got to French Polynesia and had never cruised across the South Pacific with such exotic locations as the Pitcarin Islands and Easter Island. The flight over allowed us to visit one daughter & family in California out the way over and ended in New York where a second daughter lives. A bonus was a scheduled stop in Norfolk with even more family. Past cruises have shown us that Oceania really takes great care of its guests in the top suites. We were booked in a penthouse but wanted an Oceania Suite. About 3 months prior to sailing, an Owners Suite came available for leg one and in January the same cabin came available for leg 2. We call that cruise karma. From the moment we stepped on the ship we were treated with the best service available. We had the head butler at our disposal (he has only 3 cabins and supervises the other butlers). This gentleman made the cruise for us. He got us into the restaurants we wanted when we wanted and was always available for anything else. At 2000 square feet, the suite was larger than my wife's first house. We had a bedroom with a separate bath and his and her closets. The foyer was our favorite as it had a fully stocked bar, sofa and grand piano that was a modern day player piano. The living room had a desk, table for 6 and full sofa. Everything was Ralph Loren, right down to the drink coasters and candy trays. With the number of sea days and with poor weather in the first week after leaving French Polynesia, we found our suite even more enjoyable. Unfortunately everything did not stay perfect. First, we missed the port call at Easter Island. The weather was great but there were ocean swells entering the tender harbor. Many were mad but we understand that this was just bad luck and, having done our homework, we realized that this was a real possibility. We booked an independent shore excursion there and as a result lost half of our prepaid excursion cost. Lima was mid cruise change out day. All was well but unbeknownst to us, someone brought aboard the dreaded GI disease. This was not our first experience with GI and Oceania. It is not a pretty site. Within 2 days of leaving Lima we started to see items disappear like the sugar bowls in the coffee bar. Next comes the announcement that if you feel sick, see the doctor for a free consultation (buyer beware - they do not say free treatment - see one of my previous Oceania reviews to learn about how Oceania will completely empty your pockets if you visit the medical center. When they hit the high level - 20 -30 people sick, service stinks. When entering a restaurant, there is nothing but a bare table cloth. Anything you can touch that can be removed is. The putting green is closed, but interestingly, live goes on as normal in the casino and ad in any other retail or money activities. We retreated to our room and used room service a bit more than we had been. The really bad part of this is that they keep the ship at this "protocol" until the GI is eradicated. It was almost over in central america (after a week) but 2 more came down with the GI. The end result was that the ship went back to normal only 3 days prior to the end of the cruise, so the total time under the sad conditions was 12 days in total. I suspect that other reviews will point this out. On departure from Miami we were informed that we would skip Norfolk and put into Port Canaveral. Good call. A check of the internet indicated 26 foot seas around Cape Hatteras and we would not have enjoyed it. I missed seeing my sister in Norfolk, but such is life. Sail into New York was mid-day and was an event everyone should get to experience. We sat on our expansive back deck and enjoyed the arrival with a room service lunch. Our travel agent has always warned us that Oceania lacks in entertainment. It did. Lectures weren't great, save for the Easter Island resident historian who prepped us for the visit that did not occur. The on board cast and guest entertainers were mediocre at best with the exception of a Vegas entertainer aboard the last week who was heads and shoulders above anything we had seen the entire 34 days aboard. This is not a high priority for us as the show mainly keeps us from going to bed too early. Overall, I would rate the cruise at a 4.5 if I could. I have been very critical of Oceania in the past, we are not likely to go again on the older smaller ships, but this one was great save for the unavoidable missed ports and GI experience. We are likely to book the larger Oceania Ship again, but only if we can get one of the top suites. We normally travel with Regent, Crystal or Seabourn but this experience was equal to or better than those lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We wanted to try a new line (we've cruised more than 20 times on Celebrity/Azamara) and Oceania had a cruise from French Polynesia to Peru. The selling point was a stop at Easter Island and then a post-tour of Machu Picchu. The ... Read More
We wanted to try a new line (we've cruised more than 20 times on Celebrity/Azamara) and Oceania had a cruise from French Polynesia to Peru. The selling point was a stop at Easter Island and then a post-tour of Machu Picchu. The ship itself was good. Our suite was spacious. The food was excellent in the specialty restaurants, average in the main dining area. Entertainment was hit and miss. There was a good comedian, a great pianist, a great magician and a terrible female singer. The on ship song and dance group was okay. We had two shows from each performer. Service was wonderful. The butler and room stewards were top notch and very attentive. Our butler knew I wanted Sprite Zero and when it was no longer available on the ship found some at one of our stops. That's over and above! We began on a bad note. The ship was scheduled to leave Tahiti at 9 p.m. Our Delta flight didn't arrive until 10 (they said not to worry, the bulk of the flight was passengers). That in itself says they expected us to arrive late. They took off immediately after and we didn't get our luggage until 3 a.m. To say that the first day was Tahiti and to spend one hour there in the dark isn't a great way to start. The stops in Raitea and Bora Bora were great, but I question 2 days in Bora Bora. There really wasn't much you could do at night in Bora Bora, so I question the overnight there. The stop in Fakarava was a joke. When there are no tours available at all--you got off to get a bit of exercise but that was it. The biggest disappointment, and the reason I gave this a bad rating was that we never got to Easter Island. It was called Pearls and Moai, indicating Polynesia and Easter Island, right? Wrong. We got to Easter Island and it was 'too rough' to send in the tenders (but we saw some boats circle our ship and part of others' groups. We circled the island, the pointed out some Moai from a distance and that was that. It was the reason we took the entire trip! I don't understand why we didn't know there was even a possibility of not getting to shore. I didn't think of checking the reliability of getting to shore. Why would you if that was one of the purposes of the cruise? It would have made more sense to spend one day on Bora Bora, and have two days at Easter Island. That way if you didn't make it to land on one day, you'd be able to the next. Sooooo disappointing. The closest we got to an apology was the captain announcing that he knew many of us were disappointed. Duh. Nothing added (like a free drink, or a discount on another cruise...) which leads me to believe that this is a common occurrence. When we left comments at the end of the cruise, there was no follow up, nothing in communication with us. Because we didn't stop at Easter Island we spent 11 days in a row at sea. Not acceptable. We took advantage of signing up for six of the cooking classes in their Culinary Center. That was worth the money! Stations for 24 people (2 per station) allowed us to learn about a specific type of food then prepare three dishes and eat them. We took advantage of the Roman, Sicilian, Greek, Spanish, pasta and Asian classes. It was our first time making fettucini! We are heading back to Celebrity. We would NEVER recommend Oceania to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have never been on Oceania before (only Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Regent) and after the experience I had, I am going to try and limit my cruise experiences to Oceania, if at all possible. The way I was ... Read More
I have never been on Oceania before (only Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America and Regent) and after the experience I had, I am going to try and limit my cruise experiences to Oceania, if at all possible. The way I was treated, the quality of the ship desgin and materials, the quality of the staff, the itinerary, and most importantly, the dining experience just set this cruise line above all others that I have experienced - and by a wide margin. The cabin (9110) had a large veranda and felt spacious. The bathroom was impressive with a full tub and a rainshower head in the shower. The water was perfect temperature throughout the cruise. Of course, the most important person we met was Lilya, our cabin stewardess and she was nothing short of magnificent - keeping everything so neat and tidy and it always felt the room was in perfect condition. Her warm demeanor meant everything to us and we will always love Ukraine after having her cheerful, professional and detailed assistance every day. We also loved Chrismerelda on our Concierge floor - such a lovely person and so responsive and helpful with our specific needs. In fact, we loved the entire Concierge floor experience - and the espresso machine was worth its weight in gold. We loved the speciality coffee bar on Deck 14 overlooking the pool. We loved the Waves sandwiches, the afternoon tea in horizons, the terrace cafe for breakfast and the Grand Dining Room for nightly dinners (though it was our least favorite experience). And that's because the specialty dining on this ship simply cannot be beat. Toscana was authentic and welcoming. Jaques was a delightful visit to France. Polo Club prepared perfect steaks (and a very inattentive woman as sommalier), and Red Ginger was our favorite of all - with special thanks to the Maitre D' who was nothing short of a true 'boss' - we are indebted to her for our service and experience there. The spa was much better than on other ships and we loved the Canyon Ranch products (especially the post-sun cooling product). Nice gym and very relaxing private spa deck. The theatre space was intimate, as was the lovely piano bar and we enjoyed that. In fact, the ship NEVER felt full (though it was 100% occupied). The artwork throughout the ship made a particular impression on me - from sculpture to paintings and of course the lalique everywhere. It felt more like a luxurious art gallery than a state-of-the-art disco and I appreciated the more sophisticated approach. Besides the speciality dining, I have to say that the approach of charging up front for coffees and sodas and not making me use a card every five minutes felt like a great indulgence and I much prefer that approach. And the specialty dining not having additional charge also made me more relaxed. We didn't purchase any shore excursions because the ports were all accessible and easy for us to navigate to blue waters and private beaches. I loved that the ship was the smallest of all my previous experiences and it felt size-appropriate for Tahitian islands. Embarkation was fast and professional - a tremendous team boarding and leaving. I would dearly love to sail on the Marina again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This cruise went from Papeete, Tahiti, to Lima, Peru, with stops at Bora Bora, Fakarava, Pitcairn Island and Easter Island. At Pitcairn the local inhabitants (descendants of the Bounty mutineers) come on board to sell crafts and eat ice ... Read More
This cruise went from Papeete, Tahiti, to Lima, Peru, with stops at Bora Bora, Fakarava, Pitcairn Island and Easter Island. At Pitcairn the local inhabitants (descendants of the Bounty mutineers) come on board to sell crafts and eat ice cream; one of them gave an interesting talk about life on the island. At Easter Island we were unable to land because of rough seas (apparently a fairly common occurrence). There were a lot of days at sea; two between Fakarava and Pitcairn, and four between Easter Island and Lima. There was a wonderful naturalist, Gloeta Massie, who gave brilliant and funny talks a few times, and a lecturer who talked a few times about Easter Island and Pitcairn. There were a lot of fun programs organized by the staff and the cruise director, Peter Roberts. Excellent bridge lessons and duplicate bridge, putting contests on a mini-golf course, shuffleboard, trivia quizzes and Mensa challenges, some movies. There were shows, music and karaoke that we did not attend because they were late at night. The food was excellent, with four specialty restaurants - Italian, steakhouse, French and Chinese/Asian fusion, with no extra charge. Dining was also excellent in the main dining room and the buffet restaurant. But: The prices for the excursions were exorbitant - about 4 times what is cost for locally arranged excursions - and the transfers were wildly overpriced. Oceania offered airport transfers for $359 US and a hotel transfer for $119 per person. We went online and booked a private car for two of us for $35 with Lima Limo www.limalimo.pe . The driver, Geraldo, was so good that we hired him to take us around Lima that afternoon to see the Larco museum (fantastic!) and the gold museum; he charged us $90 US for 5 + hours; then he took us to the airport the next day from our hotel for $35. One trick: taxis and limos for the most part cannot come to the location of the ship at the cruise pier; you need to take the bus to the pier gate. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti ... Read More
We chose this cruise over others , first ,balconies, a must while cruising the South Pacific. Second ,reputation. We were not disappointed, from start to finish, the crew of the Paul Gauguin take care of your every need. Pick up at Tahiti airport and taken to hotel was smooth and efficient, as was embarkation, quick ,efficient, and with in minutes we were escorted to our cabin. My only disappointment with the cabin was the dated bathroom, still a bath tub with shower attachment......needs to be updated. Everything else was great.Our room stewardess just couldnt do enough for us, and when she found out it was our 50th anniversary, decorated our cabin with balloons,banner,flowers on the bed and more.....Anna was a darling. 3 restaurants gave way to a great variety of great food , wine, spirits ,beer was free flowing throughout the dining and day, mainly French wines but you only had to ask for one of your chose. Lots of activities going on during the day , piano bar with a very talented piano player to entertain. Crew night and nightly entertainment by the Polynesian dancers, disco and an amazing band, or just sit and chill out on deck. Plenty of shore excursions to choose from, also 2 days at the Paul Gauguin private beaches. One could not fault the service all members of the crew gave. Would we go again, yes,but for longer next time,7 days just was not long enough.........not everything was perfect hence I did not rate as Excellent, but it was so close........ Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the ... Read More
We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the itinerary as well as the very good service by our cabin staff and butler as well as the food in the specialty restaurants. However, we found that the added costs were not compensated by our expectations for value. To begin, we were very disappointed by how we were received upon boarding as well as departing. Our experience with other cruise lines has been that we were greeted with a welcoming drink as well as food available. Likewise, upon departure, we have been provided with coffee and muffins/danish etc. None of this was available on the Marina. We arrived with 200+ people on our 8 hour overseas flight. There was no welcoming drink and by the time we checked in, all food services were shut down. One would think that a table of refreshments would have been provided by the ship. Similarly, upon departing at an early hour (5:40 am), that coffee and a muffin could also have been provided. This was neither a good first or last impression of the cruise. As part of our booking, we were provided with free unlimited internet access. This was a total joke since access was not available in most parts of the ship. Moreover, it was impossible to upload or download photos or documents. Finally, it was impossible to contact others via FaceTime or Skype. On all of our other cruises, this was never a problem, I then learned that for an added $15/day, I could upgrade to unlimited streaming. I did so. However, although I could sometimes (but not always) access FaceTime, I still could not upload photos or download documents. This was particularly concerning since I needed to be reached due to an ill family member. Needless to say, this caused considerable stress. I enjoy working out. The fitness center was tiny and the room for classes was even tinier. On a positive note, the fitness instructor, Diana was superb. She knew her stuff, was inspirational and very nice. There was a sign up sheet for classes which was done to limit the number of passengers attending. However, the fitness staff let in whoever showed up. As a result, there was often 20 passengers in a class that was listed for 12. This made the experience challenging and at times, unsafe. The Terrace Cafe had a limited variety of food. At times, I would have loved to have a scoop of tuna or egg salad. This was never available. Although a crew member was immediately available to serve us water, coffee or juice, anything else was simply unavailable. On three occasions I asked for sparkling water and never received it. The dining room was very pleasing. The staff was great. But the food was hit or miss. Some was excellent while others, just awful. The speciality restaurants were excellent. We especially enjoyed the Red Ginger. We found the cruise offered excursions outrageously priced. We only took one excursion from the ship - a one hour glass bottom boat right for $129/person. We enjoyed it but it was very overpriced. Alcohol prices were similarly overpriced. I didn't order one drink the entire time I was onboard - simply out of principle. The most outrageous cost was the airport to port & return transfer. Since we our flight arrived at 9:40 pm and left at 8:40 am and because we were unfamiliar with the services in Papaeete, we decided to take the transfers. Each one way transfer was $129/person. The ride was under 10 minutes. Worth of all, there were delays at each end. This was utterly ridiculous. From now, we'll stay with Celebrity our preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019

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