The Gauguin is a more spacious ship, more space per passenger, more staff per passenger, gratuities included, watersports included, beer/wine with lunch and dinner, free private island stop (daily free cocktail parties). Gauguin is a more highly rated ship with great food and service. I am sure Ren also provides a wonderful cruise experience, but not of the caliber you will get on Gauguin.
I have to agree with Roberto about the comparison of Radisson and Ren. One drawback for me is that the Ren. Lines do not allow smoking any where on board. That includes the upper decks, your cabin and your own private balcony should you have one. Of course, that may be a plus for you. Ren. is very strict about this policy. I read somewhere on a Ren. website that they impose a $250.00 fine if your are caught smoking and then you are put off the ship at the next port, get home the best way you can.
Yes, Radisson does cost just a little bit more, but you are treated royally. I do not think you will be disappointed. We were lucky concerning the cost of the cruise. Since we traveled in the first week of December, the beginning of the rainy season for that part of the world, our travel agent was able to get us a very good price. it was almost a two-for-one. Actually it was about 40% off for each of us. You might want to consider that and check into it more. And, one note about the rain-we experienced only two brief showers and they did not interfere with any of our activities.
Renaissance has relaxed their smoking policy to include children above a certain age and smoking in designated areas. Having said that, Radisson still is a cut above Ren. I just wish that Radisson could do Ren's African safari, seychelles cruise and egypt land tour package at Ren's prices
10 months til my Mariner cruise
I ran into a passenger from one of the Rens at Bloody Mary's on Bora BoraMay 29, 2001, and he seemed happy except the business about the two days required in Papeete to load/unload. I can say with confidence that the Paul Gaugin was an excellent experience and it is hard for me to believe it can be improved upon. Excellent food and service on board. If I was going back again on a cruise I would not think twice, I would do the Paul Gaugin. It would not be worth the risk at any price to miss the warm fuzzies I got on that ship. I am not a "cruiser", I would also consider just staying on the islands in a bungalow the whole time.