If you have not sailed on Radisson's 'Paul Gauguin' you have missed a truly grand adventure. We were on the cruise to Tahiti-Bora Bora-etc. in December and it was magnificent.
The cabins were spacious with more than adequate storage space (some people might carry more luggage than we do, after 9 cruises I have learned how to cut back). With all the fine wood trim and mirrors it was better than any other ship we have sailed on. Some little perks in the cabin were the complimentary bar set up (refills do cost some, but I never got to that point), robes, your own Tiki god, fresh flowers and fruit, an umbrella in case the need arose (which it didn't) and a wonderful cabin stewardess who was efficient and rather comical.
Each day there was a free happy hour at some time. Free flowing wine at lunch and dinner to the point where you had to say 'please no more'. And the meals were superb. No complaints about the quality of food or the service. It was the first time that we had been on a ship with an open seating policy and it turned out to be great. We were able to meet more people and enjoy their conversation. On such a small ship you are able to get to know these people much better than on a large ship.
The complimentary snorkle gear and marina were features that we used and enjoyed. If you like to snorkle, this is the place to do it. We took advantage of every opportunity and were never disappointed. The clear waters (and I do mean clear-it seems like you can see forever) were far better than any we have experienced in the Caribbean. The abundance of marine life was astounding. Corals of every color, more colorful fish and sea creatures than you can imagine. And another highlight of the snorkling here was to swim with the sharks in the open sea. Scary at first, but exhilirating non-the-less.
The presence of several native Polynesians on board for the duration of the cruise was something you need to experience. These young ladies, like all the Polynesian people we met on shore, are genuinely friendly, always smiling with a warm greeting. Just about the nicest people we have ever met.
Afternoon tea was another special treat. Unlike some of the larger ships where tea time is just another food fest with passengers grabbing and stuffing themselves (like they needed MORE food), this was more in the line of high-tea. Tea was served in individual silver teapots, tasty and attractive tidbits to nibble on and all served by a proper white-gloved steward. You really felt special at this occasion.
Another great plus (especially for men) was the fact that no coats and ties were required. No formal nights choking along in your tux. My kind of dress code.
Due to the fact that most passengers had to travel a great distance by plane just to get there, arrangements for before and after cruise periods were preplanned. The accomodations were exceptional, especially the after cruise hotel. The one downer of the trip was here though. We had a drink (just a plain ordinary well drink) at one of the bars of the hotel and were surprised when the tab came to $28.00. And dinner at the hotel was at your own expense. We passed on this because of the $68.00 per person price, and it was just a sandwich-salad affair. These prices are not the fault of Radisson though. Everything in French Polynesia is terribly expensive. We checked on prices of accomodations, meals, excursions and other activities for someone staying on the islands and found that the price we paid for the cruise was a great bargain. Cruising is the only way to travel when visiting this area.
Never in my life have I ever had such a lovely trip. I would go back in a minute. I hope many of you can have this experience. And, as always, HAPPY CRUISING.