Hawaii has and will always be one of my favorite places on earth. I have always adored its tropical paradise with its ocean views and lush landscapes. After learning about the South Pacific and its similarities to the Hawaiian Islands, I was eager to add Tahiti to my bucket list.
French Polynesia, located in the South Pacific, is just as magical as Hawaii. It has all the beauty you can possibly imagine and so much more. With the unique landscape, relaxed lifestyle, unforgettable backdrops, different languages spoken, and foreign currency, I immediately fell in love with this part of the world.
We wanted to experience a bit of culture before embarking on our Paul Gauguin cruise. Since the cruise started and ended in Papeete, we decided to spend two nights in the city before boarding the ship. We selected a resort and spa that’s just ten minutes from the airport; it’s a gorgeous place adorned with amenities tailored for comfort and relaxation. This unique property has 109 suites and 12 standard rooms. The suites all include refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, and cooking essentials. Since there are very few restaurants in the area, having a kitchen is a convenient addition to this hotel’s unique amenities. The beautiful pool, located at the water’s edge, is the largest infinity pool in Tahiti. From the pool, visitors can see the picturesque island of Moorea, which is even more gorgeous during the sunset.
After 48 hours at this lovely resort, we were excited to board the MS Paul Gauguin. This is the smallest ship we’ve sailed on, accommodating up to 312 passengers, and the embarkation process was the easiest we’ve ever encountered. An employee put our bag tags on, checked the box next to our name, and sent us on our way. Inside the Grand Salon, or theater, on deck five, we received our room keys. The small ship check-in process is super organized, very simple, and quite impressive! Another fantastic aspect of the small ship is that everyone gets to know one another. There were couples of all ages, families with adult children, and a few solo travelers. There were some guests who had never cruised before as well as seasoned cruisers… many of whom, like us, had never cruised with Paul Gauguin!
Our itinerary included Papeete, Huahine, Taha’a, Bora Bora, Moorea, and back to Papeete. Huahine, the Garden Isle, is picture perfect with the beautiful clear blue water surrounded by a lush landscape. We opted for one of the ship excursions: the island drive and safari. The car was a safari-type vehicle, hence the name of the excursion, and we saw a cow, grazing goats, wild dogs, and blue-eyed eels. The last stop on the safari ride was up to the top of the mountain, which gave us breathtaking views of the ship below. We also went to a pearl farm and learned about the beautiful black Tahitian pearl industry, and we visited a vanilla bean farm to learn about their thriving industry.
Our second day, on the island of Taha’a, we anchored next to Paul Gauguin’s private Motu Mahana, a Polynesian reef islet, for a party. The crew set up a full day of activities including music, snorkeling in the clearest water imaginable, entertainment, floating bars, and an amazing picnic-style lunch. After socializing with our new friends and enjoying more snorkeling, we tendered back to the ship.
More happened during my trip, but you’ll have to wait a few days to see exactly what! If you’re inspired by what you’ve read so far, contact TravelStore to get your next cruise underway.
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