Bringing the spirit of Polynesia to life, Paul Gauguin Cruises is a small, luxurious ship designed to be sleek and nimble, and provide unmatched, up-close views of Tahiti, French Polynesia, Fiji, the South Pacific and more.
Despite seeing rain on 11 of 13 days during her island-hopping Polynesian vacation, Julie Farrell made the most of her seven-day Paul Gauguin Cruise to Tahiti and the Society Islands.
“On this sailing, the ship was the destination,” she said. Each morning, Paul Gauguin’s own Tahitian hosts and entertainers, the Gauguins and Gauguines, would organize activities for the guests such as arts and crafts, shell classes and how to tie the colorful dresses the women wear called a pareo. One could even learn Tahitian dance or how to play the ukulele. Despite the rain, many guests took advantage of using watersports equipment off the platform at the back of the ship.
In Bora Bora, a troupe came on board to dance to their native music.
“They were really good,” she said.
One day, the ship was treated to an excursion to Paul Gaugin Cruises’ private island of Motu Mahana, where a barbecue lunch, live music and cooking demonstrations were planned.
“It’s a beautiful sandy island,” she said. “It was fine for about two hours before the rain came, but the food was great.”
Despite the less than ideal weather, the staff remained upbeat. Julie is amazed how they remember all the guests’ names, especially without the aid of name tags.
“The cabins are lovely and well appointed with lots of storage,” she said. “Very well thought out use of space.”
One highlight for the guests is swimming with the rays and the dolphin encounter. Luckily, being wet was already factored into the equation.
A few tips Julie had to make the most out of a Polynesian cruise like this include:
- “Everyone should take an over-island tour if they have not been to the area before,” she said. “It gives you an excellent visual about what each area is famous for.”
- Go over a day or two early or stay afterwards, and reserve a room in a hotel with an overwater bungalow. She recommends staying at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa in Papeete. “It’s a real treat,” she said. She especially loved the hundreds of fish swimming around right outside their bungalow door.
- Unfortunately, the cruise is not too wheelchair accessible and the cruise itinerary itself is too active for someone with mobility issues.
- It’s nice to know that the package includes gratuities, beverages, including select wine and spirits and economy airfare from Los Angeles on Air Tahiti Nui.