This fall, I had the incredible opportunity to set sail through the enchanting French Polynesian Islands – a dream come true! Tahiti and Bora Bora had been on my bucket list for ages, so when the chance came, I jumped on it without hesitation. Let me tell you, it was beyond anything I could have imagined.
Embarking on the Paul Gauguin cruise line was like stepping into a world of pure luxury and indulgence. From the moment I stepped aboard their award-winning ship, I knew I was in for an extraordinary voyage. The ultimate luxury, exquisite dining, and captivating cultural experiences offered by the Paul Gauguin set it apart from any ordinary ocean cruise.
But let’s address the most burning question first – how long does it take to get there? Well, it’s about an 8-hour flight from San Francisco. I flew from Chicago, so it was around 13 hours in the air for me. But let me assure you, every minute spent in the air was worth it!
To make the most of our journey, we decided to arrive in Papeete, Tahiti, a couple of days prior to the cruise. Exploring the vibrant city and adjusting to the time change was the perfect start to our adventure. As we arrived in the evening, the wonderful smell of leis greeted us, and we were whisked away to our beautiful resort. The next morning was full of discoveries – a turtle sanctuary on the resort grounds next to the main pool and a visit to the local market. And of course, being in Tahiti, we couldn’t resist a dip in one of the pools to bask in the island paradise. That evening, we were treated to a breathtaking sunset from our balcony – a moment that will forever be etched in my memory.
The following day marked the beginning of our cruise, and oh boy, was I in for a treat! Before diving into the highlights of my cruise experience, let me share what makes the Paul Gauguin so special. With a guest capacity of only 330, it offers an intimate and exclusive atmosphere compared to the megaships in the industry. Not only that, but it boasts one of the highest Crew-to-Guest Ratios at sea, with 217 dedicated crew members onboard. The personalized service and attention to detail were simply outstanding. In no time, the crew knew my name and even my drink preference – talk about feeling like a VIP!
First – here is a sneak peak of what you can expect on your cruise.
Now, let’s talk about those highlights:
Unspoiled Paradise: The islands of French Polynesia are like stepping into a postcard-perfect dream. Pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush tropical landscapes surround you at every turn. Waking up to the sight of a beautiful island every morning was a true feast for the eyes. And let me tell you, the shades of blue in those waters were simply mesmerizing. It was a visual treat beyond compare.
Cultural Immersion: What set this cruise apart was the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich Polynesian culture. Onboard, we had the chance to experience traditional dance performances, take part in classes, and engage in local arts and crafts workshops. There were language classes, pareo tying sessions (a Tahitian wrap around skirt), and vibrant Tahitian music to enjoy. It was a beautiful way to learn and appreciate the local way of life.
Shore Excursions: The Paul Gauguin provided a plethora of unforgettable shore excursions. Whether it was snorkeling, SCUBA diving, island tours, or adrenaline-pumping activities like ATV, jet-ski, and e-bike tours – there was something for everyone. My personal highlight was snorkeling with stingrays and black-tipped sharks. It was a thrilling and awe-inspiring experience that I’ll cherish forever.
Gastronomic Delights: The culinary offerings onboard the Paul Gauguin were nothing short of spectacular. Talented chefs curated mouthwatering cuisine that blended local flavors with international delicacies. From the freshest seafood to tropical fruits bursting with flavor, every meal was a true gastronomic delight. And the dining options didn’t end there – two specialty restaurants and 24-hour room service were all included in the experience.
Private Island Paradise: I have to say, one of my favorite days was spent on the Paul Gauguin’s exclusive private island, Motu Mahana. Stepping onto that slice of paradise was like entering a world of pure bliss. Surrounded by crystal-clear blue waters, we had the freedom to snorkel, kayak, or simply relax at the floating bar with a refreshing beverage in hand. The onboard Gauguins & Gauguines entertained us with music and engaging activities. And oh, let’s not forget the lavish barbeque lunch fit for royalty – a true feast for both the eyes and taste buds.
Friendships Made: Thanks to the intimate nature of the Paul Gauguin, I had the wonderful opportunity to make connections and forge friendships with fellow travelers from around the world. With a smaller ship, we could share memorable experiences together, learn about each other’s cultures, and, most importantly, share countless laughs and create lasting bonds.
The French Polynesian Islands and the Paul Gauguin cruise line exceeded every expectation I had. It was a journey filled with adventures, relaxation, cultural immersion, and unforgettable moments. If you ever get the chance to experience this slice of paradise for yourself, I highly recommend taking that leap. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to ruin all the surprises for you, but trust me, it’s an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Wishing you happy travels and a world filled with extraordinary adventures!
Sara is the owner of Platinum Travel and specializes in creating luxury, customized, stress free vacations for people who want to see the world and all things Disney.
She also owns Autism Friendly Vacations where she helps families who have a member on the Autism spectrum get the vacation they deserve. Visit AutismVacation.com for more information.
You can reach her at 414-377-8611 or Sara@PlatinumTravelWI.com to start planning your vacation today.