Paul Gauguin Cruises and the beautiful French Polynesian Islands!


Hello Everyone,

I mentioned at the end of last month’s blog that I was lucky enough to be cruising with Paul Gauguin Cruises around the French Polynesian Islands and yes, I am still coming back down to earth after that amazing experience…!!!!

Firstly, allow me to state for the record that Tahiti and the surrounding islands and atolls is in my opinion the nearest thing to paradise on this planet and I’ve seen most parts of the world in my 40 years at sea, including 29 years on cruise ships…!!

If you can possibly manage it, you should go there at least once in your life (or preferably several times!!) and the best way to do it is to travel with the experts in that area – Paul Gauguin Cruises…! That way you not only experience the beauty of the islands and their peoples, but you also travel around there in total relaxation, whilst being wined and dined in unbeatable style!

Your Paul Gauguin cruise will probably start with the included air travel from Los Angeles or San Francisco. A real pleasure is to take advantage of the hotel day room on offer at The Intercontinental Hotel and Resort when you arrive into Papeete, Tahiti in the early morning. This way you can refresh and have lunch before your mid-afternoon bus transfer to the ship.

One of the many attractions of the ms Paul Gauguin is her intimate size and low 330 passenger capacity, but she still looks beautiful alongside her berth in Papeete harbour as you stroll up the gangway and are met by the first of the ultra friendly and helpful crew members on board the ship.

Check-in is simple in the main show lounge, named Le Grand Salon in true French style and then it’s off to your stateroom or suite before taking time to time to explore the ship.

There are three dining venues on board Paul Gauguin and each of them provides a great dining experience – Le Grill out on the open deck for a sunset dinner, La Verandah for exquisite French style food or L’Etoile which is the main inside dining room and which we found to have a great buzzing atmosphere each time we dined there.

Executive Chef Paul Ellis from New York and his Galley Team produced a fine dining experience in all venues throughout the cruise and it is quite apparent that the food is cooked in smaller quantities and much more is cooked to order than on the larger capacity cruise vessels.

Paul Gauguin cruises are all inclusive, which makes it so easy to order a pre-dinner cocktail or a glass of wine with dinner. The bar staff were eager to please and soon learnt your name and your favourite drink, which is always a lovely little extra. Bartender Ernesto in The Piano Bar made great pre-dinner cocktails for us, whilst waiter Ian in L’Etoile soon became familiar with what we enjoyed at lunch and dinner.

Another very nice feature on board ship is the presence of a troupe of local Tahitian entertainers employed by Paul Gauguin to enhance the on board entertainment – known as Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines, they sing, dance and during the days give local handicraft lessons and teach local dance steps. Such a lovely addition to the crew of the ship!

After dinner entertainment was just as enjoyable, ranging from an excellent French Illusionist, exciting Tahitian music and dance from Les Gauguins and Les Gauguines, a music night from the excellent resident band the Santa Rosa Band from the Philippines (whose Beatles night was a show to remember!!) and two great shows from a troupe of local island entertainers featuring the songs, music and dance of French Polynesia! To cap it all, one night is given over to the various talents of the regular crew members in The International Crew Show – it was great fun to support our favourite crew members as they appeared on stage rather than behind the bar or serving dinner..!! The opening number by the Hotel Director himself was a most unexpected delight…!!

Much much more to come in my next blogs, in which I hope to tell you more of the story of this memorable cruise in an unforgettable part of the world. If you are wondering whether to pull the trigger on a future Paul Gauguin cruise, well debate no longer as I urge you to try it – you will not be disappointed…!!

Safe travels and au revoir!

Peter Philpott
Captain (recently retired)
Queen Mary 2.