The Paul Gauguin has a magical feel about
it from the moment your jet-lagged body reaches
the gangplank. Heralded as a ‘six star
ship’ it lived up to its reputation
being ‘all inclusive’ with sheer
luxury, quality and exemplary service. With only 160 cabins, the atmosphere on board is friendly
and intimate. Life onboard is casual and passenger-pampering
with a passenger to crew ratio of 1 crew
member to 1.5 passengers.
All cabins are outside suites with levels
6, 7 and 8 having balconies. Our balcony cabin had a queen bed, small
settee, chair and table, desk with stool,
an entertainment unit with a TV, VCR, fridge
(stocked daily), plenty of storage space,
a safe, and a small alcove with our own Tiki
god. The cabin décor is in dark wood,
light fabrics and mirrors (which make the
cabin look larger). Our cleaner, Rosemary, was a gem and nothing
was too much trouble – we wished
that we could bring her home with us!
We met up with several friends who had been
with us on the previous year’s eclipse
cruise to the North Pole. We also made many
new friends. Being on a chartered cruise
of ‘eclipse chasers’ we were
with like-minded people and the many activities
and lectures made it feel like one big happy
gang of friends.
A very interesting schedule of lectures was
Ethan Daniels - Marine Biology
Mark Eddowes - Cultural Anthropology
Rick Fiendberg, Alex Filippenko & Owen
Gingerich - Astronomy
John Hay - Climate change
The Helen family - Cook Islands
Activities were wide ranging. There were
craft demonstrations, dancing and language
classes from the resident Tahitian hostesses,
cooking and cocktail demonstrations, lectures,
cabarets, music, comedy and magic, social
bridge, chess and other games, ice carving,
a Tahitian country fayre, cocktails and,
of course, all the watersports from the marina
at the rear of the ship. The ‘puzzlers’
managed to do 4 very difficult puzzles, whilst
some even found the time to read a book!
There are three restaurants. L’Etoile,
the main restaurant with open seating and
no reservations needed, is only open at dinner.
La Veranda is for breakfast and buffet lunch
(and an a la carte menu) with reservations
in the evening. Le Grill is for a buffet
meal at breakfast and lunch and reservations
needed for dinner. We mainly ate at La Veranda.
The food was of a very high quality in taste
and presentation and the service exceptional.