Michael Osborne finds a Tropical Paradise with Paul Gauguin Cruises
‘la ora na e mamava. Welcome!
What do the ‘Islands of Tahiti’ inspire in you?
Remember a personal soap TV commercial where a woman suggests to her husband whilst flying along in their private jet, that “Tahiti sounds nice’’! He replies to the pilot, ‘Simon, Tahiti! And we dreamt of one day of even going there.
Well, our dream came true! Following an invitation from Paul Gauguin Cruises to select from one of their multi-award winning cruises, we selected the 14-day cruise from Papeete to the Marquesas’ visiting Fakarava – Fatu Hiva – Hiva OA – Tahiti and Nuku Hiva. Then the Society Islands of Huahine – Bora Bora – Tahaá – Moorea and returning to Papeete
This was all arranged through the Sydney based travel agency, Wiltrans who are the Paul Gauguin Cruises experts in Australia. To set us in the Polynesian Paradise mood as soon as possible, we utilised the cooperation and support of the national airline, Air Tahiti Nui, who fly regular flights from Auckland New Zealand direct to Papeete using their ‘state of the art’ brand new Boeing Dreamliners.
To ensure we didn’t get caught with flight delays, we chose to fly to Auckland a day early and took advantage of the airport hotels run by one of our favourite hotel groups, Accor, who have the Novotel and the Ibis right next to the airport.
The Paul Gauguin cruise ship.
Tuhiva Nuku Hiva
Big enough to be very comfortable, yet small enough to gain close access to the islands we are exploring, being 153 metres long and a draft of 5.2 metres.
The boarding process is quick and efficient and we are being escorted to our new home for the next 14-days. It is always exciting when you see your stateroom for the first time and we were not disappointed!
La Palette Arts and local crafts.
As our luggage was delivered, our cabin attendant introduced herself and explained how all the things worked. This included a new state-of-the-art TV system where we could order electronically anything from a coffee to a main meal to be delivered. It also offered almost everything you could imagine as far as restaurants, bars entertainment and excursions.
Now to explore the ship.
The passageways are a-buzz with excitement, as guests settle in, unpack and get ready for our first sail-away party.
Owing to the fact that the ship is going to Singapore in April for an US$80 million make-over. I won’t say too much about the staterooms, restaurants, bars, lounges and public areas.
The smallest problem was which one first
La Veranda which is open seating for breakfast and lunch, with free bookings for dinner. Casual during the day and more sports formal of an evening.
Le Grill located behind the pool for open breakfast and lunch and free bookings for the evening. Great for the fragrant tropical air.
Calvary Cemetery Hiva OA
L’Etoile The more formal of the restaurants, which translated means The Star. Perfect for joining new friends in a more subdued atmosphere and to try and select from the ever-changing specials on the menus.
As the menus are ever-changing, the best way to comment is to call it a culinary adventure. The meals are designed by award-winning chefs; the staff are highly trained and knowledgeable in suggesting a wine to compliment your choice.
Notre Dame Nuku Hiva
Water sports marina
At the stern they have a fold-out marina where the fit and adventurous can access various toys to enjoy the calm waters of the lagoons and safe bays when moored.
Le Grand Salon
Every evening a live show is presented with international artists and special shows from the Polynesian crew, in this theatre style lounge.
Their fitness and natural rhythm is a delight as is the sometimes alluring island music.
Bars and Lounges
A small casino is next to the Piano Bar, a great spot for pre diner refreshments.
Our favourite was La Palette, where you can have a continental breakfast, or afternoon drinks and as it is on the top deck at the stern, a simple few steps to enjoy the air and the scenery and picture taking.
Very popular before dinner to capture the vivid sunsets
And even better after dinner, for a relaxing beverage and to walk out on deck to enjoy the millions of stars and the fresh air. Also, to enjoy the music and to dance to the band.
The Pool Bar
Loved by the sun worshipers and the main venue for the sail-away events, with the band playing lively music.
Guest lecturers and Experts
Like to learn of the history, flora and fauna and sea-life – well each cruise has a selection of experts in their field, who present daily sessions.
The Shore Excursion Desk has them all ready. From relaxing on a private island, to water sports, scuba, lagoon boat trips and helicopter flights, even a chance to fly a plane. Maybe an escorted hike or sightseeing in buses and 4WD’s!
Having had the privilege to enjoy many cruises, I would have to say that this crew are amongst the friendliest and efficient I have come across. The quickly remembered your name, your seating, food and drinks preferences.
Find out for yourself why they won The World’s Best Mid-Size Ship Cruise Line Award for 2018 (Travel + Leisure) and many other international awards.
For the best information and to answer any enquiry about Paul Gauguin Cruises, please contact the Australian experts:
Toll Free: Aust. 1800251174. NZ: 0800446376
Mature Traveller sailed as a guest of Paul Gauguin Cruises and the support of Air Tahiti Nui *** Accor Hotels and Canon Cameras.
Words and images; Michael Osborne
Images: Canon 200D
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