As a Paul Gauguin Cruises PEARLS Accredited Partner, I recently had the incredible experience of touring through the French Polynesia on the their Tahiti & the Society Islands 7 Night Tahiti & Society Islands cruise. I will be writing separate blogs for each day and another separate entry on the restaurants/food on board the m/s Paul Gauguin. This first entry will cover some general information of the French Polynesia, the ship itself, the itinerary for the specific cruise we were on (Tahiti & the Society Islands – 7 night cruise).
First some points of information about the French Polynesia:
Where is it?
The French Polynesia is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean (actually over 100 Islands) spread out over approximately 2,000 km about. These islands are grouped together into 5 groups, one of these being the Society Islands (14 Islands in total). To give some perspective of where they are in relation to North America, New Zealand, and Japan, here is a image from Google Maps with pin marker on Papeete, Tahiti:
What is the climate like and when is the best time to go?
The annual average temperature in the French Polynesia has an approximate low of 23°C and a high of 31°C (73°F/88°F) with the temperatures varying just slightly from month to month throughout the year. The rainy season is typically from November to April, even then the precipitation is not that intense with the maximum average being approximately 235 millimeters per month during that time. There really is no shortage of sun all year long. With all of this being said, the best time to visit the French Polynesia would tend to be between May and October.
Although most places we visited do accept American dollars (USD), I would highly recommend bringing along the local currency of French Pacific Francs (CFP), as we found that everything we purchased was cheaper in paying with CFP. Most items in stores will have both currencies listed and, by doing some quick math, it was clear to see that CFP was the cheaper way to go (sometimes significantly). On board the ship, all purchase are in USD and charged directly to your cabin. However, it would be wise to bring some USD cash along for incidentals and if you are looking to play in the casino aboard the ship.
The m/s Paul Gauguin:
The m/s Paul Gauguin is a small luxury cruise ship. It is small in size only, and that is definitely a bonus for the passengers, Check out this stat from their site:
- Capacity: 332 guests
- Crew: 217/International
- Crew-to-Guest Ratio: 1:1.5, one of the highest of any luxury cruise ship
Seriously, the level of customer service on this ship was incredible. I will definitely refer to this more in future blogs, but I could not believe how great the crew were. They knew our names by heart almost immediately, and were able to anticipate our needs to a degree that was almost scary.
The ship itself is wonderful. There are are 166 staterooms and about 70% of these come with a balcony – Category D and above. For those staying in Category B, or above, there is also a Butler Service included. We stayed in Cabin 623, which was Category D and located on the starboard (right) side of the ship.
Here is our cabin:
Good amount of closet space with ample room under the bed to store our 2 full size suitcases:
The bathroom – ample space and more than large enough for us:
The ship itself has 9 decks, of which decks 3 through 9 are accessible to the passengers. Here is a brief overview of each deck starting from Deck 9 and working our way down:
Deck 9 – The sun deck and the highest deck on the ship:
Deck 8 – Here you will find the Pool, the Pool bar, Le Grill Restaurant, Lea Pallette Lounge, and the Grand Suites and Veranda Staterooms (Category B):
The Pool area:
Le Grill Restaurant a detailed blog on the restaurants is coming):
Deck 7 – Balcony Staterooms (Category C), Veranda Suites (Category A), Veranda Staterooms (Category B), and Owner’s Suite. The Captain’s Reception Lounge and Bridge are also on this deck.
Deck 6 – La Vernada Restaurant, La Boutique (store), Deep Nature Spa, Fitness Center, and Balcony Staterooms (Category D):
La Vernada Restaurant:
Deep Nature Spa:
Deck 5 – L’Etoile Restaurant, Internet Cafe, Piano Bar, Casino, Le Grand Salon:
Internet Cafe – you can also pay to have WiFi throughout the ship with pretty good speed:
Grand Salon – Excursion Information Meetings and Nightly Shows:
Deck 4 – Marina Access, Reception Desk, Concierge, and Window Staterooms (Category E)
Marina Access – Stairs leading down to the rear marina area
Deck 3 – Marina Access Door, Hospital, and Entrance to ship and Tender Boat
Entrance to ship and Tender Boat Access
I will show more of the actual ship in future blogs as I go though our personal experience day by day.
If you would like to learn more about schedules and different Paul Gauguin Cruises, please visit my Virtuoso page here.
If you would like to receive more information, or book a Paul Gauguin Cruise, you can contact me here.
As a Paul Gauguin Cruises PEARLS Accredited Partner and having experienced the cruise myself, I can provide you with the intimate knowledge to help you get the most out of your Paul Gauguin cruise.