This past June, I had the opportunity to sail roundtrip Papeete on a 7-day voyage around the Tahitian Islands, aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin.
Embarkation went very smoothly, the staff escorted everyone into the Grand Lounge and check-in went very quickly. Before we knew it we were being whisked away to our Balcony Stateroom (# 755). Our stateroom had all the amenities: Flat screen TV, DVD, room safe, luxurious linens, feather down duvets, robes and slippers. The spacious bathtub and shower included the wonderful L’Occitane bath products, which were replenished daily. Our minibar was restocked daily with bottle waters, sodas and beers. We had plenty of closet and drawer space in our room and bathroom.
La Veranda – This main dining room venue offered open seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Various dining hours are available. Complimentary beverages are served throughout dinner and each night a specialty wine of the evening – white or red in all dining rooms.
L’Etoile – This French dining venue offers a more intimate dining experience. The full nine course meal was incredible, as was the service and the presentation. Reservations are required.
La Palette – The grill, located on deck eight, offered a daily full buffet breakfast and lunch of various dishes including a wide selection of: pizzas, pastas, salad bar, fruits, fresh seafood and desserts. Also a grill menu was provided that featured hamburgers, hot dogs and other grill favorites. In the evenings dinner was served here with a full grill menu. The cuisine was wonderful and service was great. It was a really nice treat to dine under the start in the tropical evening. Reservations are required for dinner.
Taha’a, Motu Mahana – This is Paul Gauguin Cruises private island retreat. You will spend a full day basking in the sunshine on a white sand beach. The cruise line puts together a beach barbeque luncheon including complimentary cocktails. From this beautiful beach you could swim, snorkel, kayak or just relax in the aquamarine lagoon.
Bora Bora and Moorea – We had travel advisor site inspections at Intercontinental properties on both islands. Both the Bora Bora and Moorea properties were absolutely gorgeous – the photos don’t do it justice. The perfect scenery from the crystal clear waters is something to see!
We decided to stay two additional nights after our cruise at the Intercontinental property on Moorea. We choose to stay in an overwater bungalow to treat ourselves. It was an amazing experience to swim and snorkel right off our deck. Truly a unique experience, as this property actually has the overwater bungalows in a lagoon with coral and tons of fish! Everywhere you look you will find picturesque views of mountains and the turquoise waters. This property also has a sea turtle rehabilitation center and dolphins onsite. You may set up a swim encounter with the dolphins, for an extra fee. We also kayaked around the Intercontinental Moorea property – which was included and a lot of fun.
Entertainment mainly consisted of local Tahitians of all ages coming onboard to provide authentic performances during various dance and Polynesian shows. A few of the evenings the crew of the Paul Gauguin showed off their various talents as well. With only 332 guests on board there was always plenty of seating in the Le Grand Salon, where the shows are held. In fact, we never felt crowded while onboard in any venue.
I highly recommend this cruise for seeing the beautiful Islands of the South Pacific. The crew onboard is amazing as well as the accommodations. I have had the opportunity to stay in a few of the hotel properties in Tahiti, and as most people are aware Tahiti is very expensive. The value of a Paul Gauguin cruise is the best value around and gives you a real taste for all the islands you visit. Plus, you only need to pack once! It is truly an incredible experience and a perfect, relaxing vacation!!