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New Year on Paul Gaugin

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A little bit of background.


This is was our second cruise on PG. The first was two years ago, 10 days and included the Cook Islands.  It was so memorable that we have told all our friends that this is a “must” cruise for the the bucket list.  We have said many times that if we were to ever repeat a cruise, this would be the one. The chance came up this year when we looked for somewhere warm for Christmas and New Year.  


We spent Christmas at the Intercontinental in Tahiti together with our son.  The weather was HOT but bearable if you enjoyed the pool.  The hotel was VERY expensive but overall we had a great family Christmas.  This is not a posting about the InterContinentalTahiti, Just background. We were so ready for the  two of us to join PG for New Year.


The cabin was as we remembered and the attendant first class. Absolutely no complaints.  The staff in the dining areas we delightful, as before.  Some of them remembered us from the previous voyage. (Hopefully in a good way 😉). The food and wine were good, though we seemed to miss fresh fish. The problem was with the organization at the higher level, particularly the cruise director and the excursion manager.


At the first port talk the excursion manager told us that she was from Finland and not Polynesia so if we wanted to know anything about the islands we should ask her staff.  That turned out to be very true and begs the question as to why PG has a Finnish manager in the first place?  While in Tahiti a look at the University courses showed an emphasis on tourism. Why not a Polynesian?  Next question: why were only few guests taking excursions? Well, only 8-10 people were turning up for port talks because they were timed, by the cruise director, at the same time as the sail away parties.  Same conflict for the speakers on board.  One of the absolute musts on PG is to hear Mark Eddows speak and to take an excursion with him as he explains the local history.  So his talks clash with other party events and there is NO announcement about those or any of the other onboard speakers. No surprise when nobody turns up and then the excursions get cancelled because of lack of interest. The cruise director relied on guests checking daily activities on the TV.  Not a good move. Maybe why she had changed ships regularly over the last years. (Why not a Polynesian Cruise Director?). No announcements or updates in general. I don’t like too many interruptions during the day but the update from the bridge at noon is good and some reminders that something is happening other than the distasterous guest musicians are about to torture you poolside would have been welcome.  That reminds me about the musicians. The band coming from the crew were great!


There were about 55 repeat cruisers on board as well as about the same number of Polynesian locals celebrating New Year.  That might have accounted for some of the lack of excursion bookings but not all.  What it did do was to enable one to get local opinions on the entertainment brought on board.  The verdict was “embarrassing “.  The resident Guagins and Gaugines were excellent and made a welcome contrast.


Was the trip a disaster?  Answer “No”.  If this had been our first PG cruise would we have recommended it to our friends or repeated. Answer: “No”.  Did we complete the survey at the end of the cruise? Yes.  On that survey we asked someone from PG to contact us but nothing to date so decided to go public.  Hopefully this trip was an aberration.  There are a lot of hard working staff on PG who try to make your vacation perfect.

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