the diamond ring
It was well worth the very long flight from
London to Papeete in Tahiti to experience
the paradise of the South Pacific.
We set off to view the Total Eclipse of the
Sun from a beautiful part of the world. The
Cook Islands, the French Polynesian Islands,
the Paul Gauguin cruise ship couldn't
have been more romantic, relaxing and spectacular
– quite perfect!
We spent four days days in Bora Bora, a
quintessential tropical paradise, surrounded
by a necklace of coral islets, world-famous
for its beauty. We marvelled at the beauty
of the sparkling aquamarine lagoon (which
we were soon to see on every island during
our visit). Our home was in a wonderful
water bungalow at the Hotel Maitai on the
main island, with uninterrupted views across
to the motus and a glass window on the floor
to see the underwater world too!
We then spent 14 days of luxury on board
the six star Paul Gauguin cruise ship, which
really lived up to its high quality reputation.
It excelled on service, fine dining, range
of activities, entertainment and lectures,
and it was fully-inclusive of all drinks,
including champagne and cocktails, and tips.
The emphasis is on casual elegance rather
than glitz which truly depicts the ambiance
of the region. With only 160 cabins and a
crew ratio of 1 to 1.5, the atmosphere
on board is very friendly and intimate. Of
all the cruises we have been on including
the QE2 this was by far the best ship and
staff, but maybe that reflects our preference
for first class service and a small intimate
lifestyle on a luxury ship.
Our excursions off the ship were interesting
and well managed, but you need to book them
before you go because the best ones sell
out quickly. Our ports of call were Bora
Bora, Huahine, Raitea, Taha’a, Moorea
and Tahiti in French Polynesia and Aitutaki,
Suwarrow and PukaPuka in the Cook Islands.
As a chartered cruise to see the Eclipse
the ports of call varied from the normal
The lectures were extremely interesting and
varied with speakers on Astronomy, marine
biology and anthropology as well as the First
Governor of the Cook Island’s wife,
Helen and her son who told us about life
in the Cook Islands.
Truly a most memorable, enjoyable trip to