Tahiti Cruise on Paul Gauguin

Posted April 23rd, 2013

All aboard the MS Paul Gauguin as Ben Wolland from Cruiseabout Auckland shares his experiences on a Tahiti cruise.

One of the distinctions with which Paul Gauguin set themselves apart is the intimacy of small ship cruising, where the ship is small enough to get into the islands but large enough to ensure families have the most enjoyable cruise holiday. On a typical cruise you can expect around 330 guests who are taken care of by the 217 international crew. Offering a 1 to 1.5 crew-per-guest ratio is among the highest at sea.

One of my first impressions of the ship was that the accommodation is spacious and recently refurbished. Many cabins have ocean views and around three-quarters have balconies. I thought the refurbishment of the ship has been done with absolute class.

There is plenty of shipboard entertainment included, so travellers can dance the night away after dinner, join in karaoke or watch a live show. Although most passengers are here to relax, there is as much or as little as you want to entertain yourself with.

The luxurious onboard spa is a nice way to unwind on your Paul Gauguin cruise. I found looking at the daily programme which is delivered to your suite the night prior always had a special for the day. In the interest of full research and immersion into the cruise vacation I treated myself and it was magic! The small details make the differences; our therapist went through a range of essential oils so the decision of what fragrance to use was mine. I virtually went into a catatonic state as treatment unwound me and pure relaxation took over. Thoroughly recommended.

The onboard water sports and marina team are on hand for complimentary kayaking and windsurfing. On day one you are fitted with snorkels, mask, fins and lifejacket if required. This equipment stays with you for the cruise as you are never far away from enjoying reefs and water activities. The marina team also have the PADI dive programme onboard where you can become a qualified diver during your cruise.

The ships photographer is always at hand at the different activities onboard to ensure memories are available for purchase. For those seeking a dash of retail therapy while on the cruise ship, the La Boutique duty-free shop offers a range of resort wear and jewellery.

Le Grand Salon is the major entertainment lounge where live entertainment from local troupes is performed and nightly shows keep you smiling for hours. I particularly enjoyed the crew show. A really heart-warming show, full of energy and an obvious passion with which the crew performed.

At La Palette you can enjoy a snack at breakfast time, but this area is a popular spot throughout the day and night as it is at the back of the ship and often has amazing views. A great place for a pre-dinner drink with h'orderves served nightly. Live music from the ship's band is played almost nightly and then continues into the evening as the DJ takes over and disco lights come out of the ceiling.

Food, glorious food... Of course being in French Polynesia the food is fresh, using mostly local ingredients and full of flavour with local and French influences. I am a big foodie and found the menus to be extensive and the portions were perfect; not too large so you can enjoy all the flavours and courses without constantly letting the belt buckle out!

The main dining room L’Etoile offers an international a la carte menu. I would recommend this especially on Polynesian night as the food is local and the menu is to die for!

The La Veranda restaurant is an indoor/outdoor dining option for breakfast and lunch. This was a favourite spot for our group to meet out on the veranda and enjoy the breakfast buffet or order from the a la carte menu. In the evening La Veranda is a reservation only French bistro for dinner featuring the Michelin-rated chef Jean-Pierre Vigato.

Le Grill is the third main dining option and is more casual al fresco pool-side dining. LeGrill is a nice option for buffet breakfast and lunch, plus daily afternoon tea. For dinner reservations are required and the area by the pool is transformed to an open-air restaurant featuring South Pacific inspired cuisine. Lanterns light the tables while the stars light the sky. I loved dining al fresco.

One of the beauties of cruising is that there is no need to sign for anything; when you have a drink by the pool, wine at dinner or after dinner digestive at the piano bar, you don’t have to keep a tab so can just sit back and relax.

Part 2 of Ben's Tahiti cruise blog is coming tomorrow.

For more information on cruise holidays aboard Paul Gauguin Cruises please contact a Cruiseabout cruise specialist or call on 0800 22 11 00.

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