Paul Gauguin Cruise – By Nicola Kitto
I’ve just returned from a fabulous trip courtesy of, the Cruise Portfolio and and want to share my story with you. .
We were very impressed with the legroom in Economy Class Air Tahiti Nui, it’s better than average compared to other airlines, with an attentive and friendly crew, and access to the latest blockbusters to keep you entertained. You definitely get the feeling of the small airline who aim to please concentrating on getting every detail correct, a breath of fresh air compared to their larger counterparts.
We stepped into the Arrivals Hall at the small and rustic yet homely Papeete Airport to a warm welcome from the Tahitians. With smiles all round we were welcomed with traditional music and singing and were hit with the incredible fragrance of the Tiare flowers made from the Leis of which was laid around our necks as we met our Hosts from Paul Gauguin Cruises.
We were quickly transported to thevia an air-conditioned bus and checked into our rooms. This hotel is very impressive; again, of traditional Tahitian build, it is vast. Complete with two manmade yellow sand beaches and a lagoon, two large infinity swimming pools, one with a sand beach and a fantastic swim up bar.
The hotel also has two restaurants and a bar, complete with male Concierge Staff whose uniforms consist of just a Pareo, which I’ll have to admit, was very pleasing to the eye.
The next day we stepped aboard the Paul Gauguin Ship, docked in Papeete Harbour, an impressive sight of gleaming white.
We were literally overwhelmed by the genuineness of the staff and crew and were given a warm Tahitian Maeva by Les Gaugines, the Gauguin’s own troupe of Polynesian entertainers, singing & playing music. We were given a Tiare flower which we put behind our ears, smelling that now familiar scent, and a glass of champagne was placed into our hand.
Check in was swift; our luggage efficiently transported from our hotel to the ship and are ready for unpacking in our room upon arrival. I had a, which was superb, with plenty of space and storage, a Queen size bed with seating area and table, mini bar and a lovely bathroom with a full size bath with overhead shower. There’s welcome fruit on my table, complimentary bathrobe and slippers, and a card from my cabin assistant “Cynthia” wishing me a very pleasant trip.
The concept with Paul Gauguin is a Luxury Small Ship. The maximum number of passengers is 332 with a 1:1.5 crew per guest ratio, which is amongst the highest at sea. It is any wonder that they have won awards with Conde Nast amongst others several years running – most recently winning the Top 5 Small Luxury Cruise Ship? For your convenience, the fare you pay is all-inclusive which includes everything apart from shore excursions.
- All onboard gratuities included
- Complimentary beverages including select wines and spirits, soft drinks, bottled water and hot beverages served throughout the ship
- In-suite bar setup and butler service in categories B and above
- Complimentary 24-hour room service
- Refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer and bottled water
- Complimentary use of our exclusive, private white sand beach in Bora Bora with bar service, volleyball, and great snorkelling.
- Complimentary day on our private islet, Motu Mahana—off the coast of Taha’a featuring snorkelling, watersports, barbeque with full bar service, and Polynesian hospitality.
You can even order from room service to your cabin, have breakfast delivered to your room and have complimentary use of your mini bar with absolutely no supplement.
Every morning we were given a programme of the day’s events which included delights such as shuffleboard, walk a mile with a smile, a port talk on the destination of the day, shell bracelet making, bingo, and Leis making (watch the local Mamas making the traditional Tahitian headdresses and flower garlands).
Activities & entertainment took place most nights at sunset as we set sail to our next destination, an atmospheric pool party with music, singing and dancing accompanied by sundowner’s cocktails.
Every night in thethere was a themed show, and later Karaoke in the top bar followed by a disco. The ship also crams in a casino, piano bar, pool bar, a luxury spa, and a fitness centre. One evening we had a Polynesian themed night where everyone dresses up in the traditional style: the relaxed Polynesian way is contagious.
Dining aboard the Paul Gauguin can include breakfast in La Palette, Le Grill, or La Veranda. Lunch is a different themed Nationality buffet every day. At dinner, La Veranda is transformed into an elegant French Bistro offering the finest in French cuisine, wine and ambiance. The food is excellent, everything is made fresh every day, and it’s mostly French with the most mouth-watering flavours and exquisite presentation. Lots of courses (order as many as you like) all delivered with an impeccable friendly service. On top of this, you have the option of complimentary 24-hour room service to your cabin.
Watersports – The back of the Ship turns into a Marina with a floating pontoon. Weather permitting there is complimentary kayaking, windsurfing and waterskiing.
There’s a PADI dive certification programme and a number of different dive excursions to suit the novice or the expert. It’s a Dive Refresher Course for me as I haven’t dived for eight years, so I booked a dive excursion in the crystal clear warm waters of Bora Bora, where I was treated to various brightly coloured fish and coral amidst a gentle current.
On day two of our trip we were given a whole day at their private islet, Motu Mahana which is off the coast of Taha’a.
This is a superb day with complimentary bar, BBQ and buffet lunch, sun loungers, kayaks and volleyball. It’s the most beautiful island with palm trees and a pristine white sandy beach with a lagoon as far as the eye can see. The snorkelling is excellent in a sheltered bay, which is not too challenging for the novice. There are regular performances by Les Gaugines, and when you get Coconut peeling demonstrations you know you are in paradise, I really didn’t want to leave.
We also visited Raiatea, Bora Bora for 2 nights and Moorea for 2 nights before heading back to Tahiti. All the islands are stunningly beautiful with majestic mountains with a lush green covering. They are very natural; there is no evidence of commerciality here.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this cruise to anyone. There is a mixture of age groups and Nationalities onboard and several honeymooners. Its good value for money as French Polynesia is an expensive destination. Prices start from £1445 per person in a Window Stateroom for a 01872 266 899 or email me directly at , and I’ll be happy to help.with Paul Gauguin Cruises. start at £660 + £468 taxes per person flying with Virgin Atlantic and Air Tahiti Nui from Heathrow via Los Angeles. If you want to sample some of the delights I’ve been fortunate enough to experience here, give us a call on