By: Jennifer Rhoad, Marketing Communications Specialist
My husband and I just returned from our Tahiti, Bora Bora and French Polynesia cruise with Paul Gauguin. We spent 10 days island hopping the Society Islands and Tuamotus with 260 other guests onboard. From lush islands that look like they are straight out of a Jurassic Park movie and the clearest blue waters I’ve ever witnessed, to the friendly service and delicious food and cocktails onboard the Paul Gauguin, this was the best vacation!
We were welcomed onboard with a glass of champagne and had our bags delivered to our room for us, which was great since I packed nearly 50 pounds of necessities! Our stateroom had a huge bed, sizable bathroom with a tub, a sitting area with a couch and table, a vanity and a big balcony. There was also 2 closets and plenty of storage in drawers and shelves in the room and bathroom. While Paul Gauguin does have some rooms that only have a big window, I highly recommend booking a balcony room. Not only is it a beautiful and private place to relax, but there is also 24-hour included room service so it makes the perfect place to enjoy a private breakfast (or any meal) with a view.
After our muster drill, we picked up our free snorkel equipment for us to borrow during the duration of our trip and made some excursion plans and dinner reservations for our trip. With only 260 guests on board, we were able to get all of our first choice reservation locations and times! All meals (at every dining venue!), snacks, room service, alcoholic drinks and regular drinks are included, so no need to bring your wallet with you while on board! All breakfasts and lunches were buffet, with the option to order off of an ‘always available’ menu. The buffet food was always so good, we never ordered off the breakfast/lunch menus! All dinner venues were seated and plated with a menu for you to order off of, even the dining venue that doesn’t require reservations!
My favorite meal was the scallops and lobster entrée while dining on the deck under the stars. Beautiful!
There were plenty of locations to enjoy a cocktail and the sunset before dinner. We enjoyed the back top deck, La Pallete, because it had the best views and indoor and outdoor seating.
We also loved the pool deck (all outdoor) and the Piano Bar (all indoor, with big windows). Every day, they brought us a different plate of hors d’oeuvres with our cocktail. Yum!
All of the bar tenders were very friendly, always remembered our names and our favorite drink! When we wanted to try something new, they have a huge list of cocktails, wine and beer for you to choose from. Everyone loved the ‘Cocktail of The Day’ on the pool deck! Did I mention all drinks were included?
Every day, we received a list of activities that the cruise would be hosting. They had tons of lectures, performances, arts and crafts, history lessons and boat tours. I especially loved the cooking demonstration from the Executive Chef onboard (that included samples!) and all of the arts and crafts like make your own shell necklace, dried leaf bracelet, artificial flower hair clip and many more!
Since there was only one Sea Day on this itinerary, we cruised mostly at night and had a full day or two to enjoy each destination. At our first stop in Huahine, we were shuttled to a secluded beach where we snorkeled, napped and relaxed. That night, we cruised to Bora Bora, where we stayed for a two days. Paul Gauguin has a private beach with water toys and beach chairs. Views were amazing and we loved how secluded we were.
In Bora Bora, we loved our Jet Ski around the island excursion. During our break, our guide went ashore, picked mangoes, coconuts and bananas and made a snack for everyone. It was refreshing and memorable.
We also went on an ATV tour to different lookout points around the island and through the jungle forest. We got to see a World War 2 canon that the US left behind. We learned that Bora Bora served as a military supply base for the US (that saw no combat) and was home of the first airport in French Polynesia.
We continued on to the islands of Rangiroa and Fakarava, the Tuamotus islands that are very, very remote. We did some snorkeling where we saw tons of fish, eels, stingrays and plenty of sharks! Our guide said they were more curious than hungry, but I couldn’t tell the difference! We also rented bikes and cruised around and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
The next day was spent in Taha’a, on Paul Gauguin’s private island, Motu Mahana- which translates to Island of the Sun in Tahitian. This island exceeded my expectations. They had live music, water toys, restroom facilities, a permanent fully staffed bar, and a whole kitchen where they prepared a cookout lunch for us. While we were relaxing in the shade on the beach chairs, the staff would come around and serve us drinks out of fresh coconuts. Paradise!
After they had to drag us off that island (almost literally… we were some of the last people to board the last tender!) we headed to the popular island of Moorea! The first day we went on an ‘underwater walk’ which was explained to us as ‘perfect for people who aren’t SCUBA certified, but wanted to views and exposure to the underwater life’. The guides put a big, weighted, astronaut looking helmet on you that is connected to an oxygen tank onboard the little boat with a long hose. As you walk/bounce around the bottom of the ocean (15-20 feet under) you breathe normally! With 0 learning curve, we were off exploring life under water. We got to touch a crazy amount of sting rays, including a pregnant mama, saw lots of fish and eels. Cool experience!
The next day we went on a tour of the island in the back of a pickup truck, where we went to 3 photo opportune lookout points, a pineapple farm and to a local orchard and sampled alcoholic fruit liqueurs. We also got the opportunity to see about 20 fresh water eels all in one place, while our fearless guide manhandled one of them!
On our last day, we went to the James Normal Hall museum in Tahiti, which is a replica of his house only 6 feet from his original house. He co-authored the famous book Mutiny On The Bounty which tells the true story of the famous conflict that occurred in Tahiti in the 1700s.
We spent our last few hours in the French Polynesia sipping cocktails and watching the sunset before our included transfers to the airport.
If I had to sum up our Paul Gauguin cruise in one word, it would be ‘seamless’. We never had to wait around on shore for the excursions or on the boat. All the activities, meals, tenders where timely; You can definitely tell that Paul Gauguin is an expert in the industry. If Tahiti or Bora Bora is on your bucket list, don’t wait long to explore this beautiful slice of the world! Paul Gauguin will give you the best, all-inclusive experience that the French Polynesia has to offer!
Marketing Communications Specialist
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