Cruise on the Paul Gauguin

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 provided by:
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.

South Pacific