Tahiti - Marina vs Paul Gaugain

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#1
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
The Marina has an 11 day cruise around Tahiti, as does the Paul Gaugain (PG) A 1200 passenger experience vs the 300 or so passengers on the PG. Any advice about which ship to choose? The itineraries are similar. PG is a little pricier, but both are in our budget. Thanks.
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Benita
#2
USA
2,943 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
After sailing with many cruise lines and ships, we would never sail PG again. The promenade deck (not sure if this is what it was called, but the deck under the life boats) was unusable. There were no loungers there and I think we discovered why... there was horrible exhaust from the engine on this deck (vents everywhere). Unfortunately this was the only place to play shuffleboard, but it was unbearable with the fumes. I think the only thing good about this deck was you could step out while sailing and visibly see the stabilizers extended in the water if you knew where to look.

The staterooms are really small, but they are functional. We had the aft center cabin.

And sure, there is the water platform on PG, but it is not always open in all ports, and when it is open it can be difficult to book a slot for something.

This ship also does not have any Jacuzzi's and very little outdoor shade (we burn easily). Personally we will sail Oceania or Regent the next time we go to Tahiti.
#3
Calabasas, California
208 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by Benita
The Marina has an 11 day cruise around Tahiti, as does the Paul Gaugain (PG) A 1200 passenger experience vs the 300 or so passengers on the PG. Any advice about which ship to choose? The itineraries are similar. PG is a little pricier, but both are in our budget. Thanks.
My choice would be the Paul Gauguin for French Polynesia. The ship was just redone. The cabins are on the small size but are appointed very nicely. We had cabin 722 and were very pleased with the decor and location. There are larger cabins on deck 8.
Service was excellent. Loved the small luxury experience where everything is included. Motu Mahana (Taha'a) is a Paul Gauguin exclusive private retreat where you spend the day. Something not to be missed. You won't get this experience on the Marina (Oceania).
No lines, no crowds and the staff seems to know your name on the first day.
My husband loved the scuba program offered on the Paul Gauguin.
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#5
1,233 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We were on the first sailing of the PG two months ago after the update and this was our second PG cruise. We will be on the Regatta out of Miani in January. I can't compare one to the other as I have only been on the PG.

The PG cabin is 200 square feet in the lowest level cabin. I am chosing a cabin on the Regatta and I need to go up to a PH in order to get the same size. The others are about 10% smaller. Not sure where the previous poster indicated that the PG cabins are all small. I was amazed at how much they fit into the small space but that is the specialty of all cruise lines.

We love the small size of the PG. It is great not to pay for anything once on board. All drinks are included 24/7. Room service is 24/7. In reading about the Regatta it is hard for me to change to a ship with multiple classes of citizens. On the Regatta, from what I have read, depending upon which cabin level you book you can order different items from room service (cold breakfast in some cabins, hot in others).

All I can tell you is the PG is spectacular. The staff are great, the ship is small, the pool deck is great, and we found that we could get lounge chairs whenever we wanted. They have changed one area on the pool deck that has had shade but was a smoking area into a non smoking area. This is good for us as we also want shade but don't want the smoke.
#6
Washington, DC
599 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Another vote for the PG. We sailed on it twice when it was under Regent. My understanding is that it is still terrific as an independent cruise line. The PG was built for sailing in French Polynesia (FP). I'd much rather be on a 320-person ship than even a 1,200 person ship in FP. Yes, the cabins are smaller than what we usually have on Regent and certainly smaller than a PH on the Marina and I guess even concierge cabins on it, but you really don't need large cabins. They are still quite nice and roomy, and you do not need a large cabin there. We think that a balcony is a must, though. a lot of clothing storage is not needed as attire is country-club casual or swimsuits with cover-ups. You won't be spending a lot of time in your cabin--at least I hope you won't, because FP is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

P.S. We never experienced excessive exhaust problems, but I would stay away from the aft cabins that were added. I think they are more prone to fumes and exhaust, and I did not like the privacy afforded them, compared with regular balcony cabins on the side.
#7
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
PG wants $4800 more for a balcony cabin vs a porthole cabin- $2400 more per person- the only difference between the cabins is two decks and a 39 square foot balcony- the cabins themselves are the same. Trying to decide if the balcony is worth almost $350 a day extra. Oceania's upgrade cost from an outside to a balcony is much more reasonable.
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Benita
#8
Washington, DC
599 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Interesting because I didn't see that big of difference when I checked a couple of cruises. It was more like $1200 per person difference from F category to D category, but I have no idea what cruise you are looking at.
#9
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Dreps
Interesting because I didn't see that big of difference when I checked a couple of cruises. It was more like $1200 per person difference from F category to D category, but I have no idea what cruise you are looking at.
I am looking at a 14 day cruise in May, 2013. The $1200 difference is on the 7 day cruise - they double it for the 14 day cruise. We can spend an extra week in Moorea in an overwater bungalow for the difference in price.
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Benita
#10
San Diego
1,058 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Hi Benita (famously named for Ronald Coleman's wife).

Penny and I are going on the 7 day PG cruise at the end of the month. I'll get back to you later about that experience, but most of the critiques I've heard mirror the several good ones above. (And of course, I'll have a thousand photos and a video later.)

But here's how I would look at making that choice. If I had Tahititis, rather than go to a general practitioner, I would choose a specialist.

And, for the record, here's how I've come to look at some of the other cruise physicians: Regent for cabins, Oceania for itineraries and specialty restaurants, and Crystal for at sea days and entertainment. (Never again Royal Caribbean - you know what you did!)

Note that although genetically there is still a lot of Regent/Raddisson in PG, I think PG was always like the middle child trying to be different (but in a good way).

Hello to Michael too.
#11
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Hi David and Penny, I would love to hear about your trip when you return, and of course, see the photos. Are you extending the trip in Moorea or Bora Bora? A company called Vantage Travel does offer the cruise with three days in Moorea added for only a little more than just booking the cruise through PG. However, PG is offering a 5% discount to people who have cruised with Oceania, Regent, etc. so it is probably a wash. We are looking into spending 5 nights in Moorea precruise. The flights are not too much fun- arrive in Tahiti either late at night or in the really early am, but I see that PG arranges day rooms and takes care of you before embarkation.
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Benita
#12
San Diego
1,058 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Benita
Are you extending the trip in Moorea or Bora Bora?
No, our vacation this year is still tied to the school system, which is why 7 days starting on Saturday are perfect for us during Spring break. (But Penny is retiring next year so we finally get to travel off-season!)

The flight for us from the west coast is a breeze for us - just a few hours more than Hawaii.

Be really careful about your flights into Papeete because there are few of them and not always the same time everyday. We were supposed to take this same cruise in 2008, got bumped off an Air France flight (long story), and had to cancel the cruise. This time, we are letting PG be responsible for all the details, including pre-cruise hotel. So far, so good.
#13
1,197 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We've spent way too much time on the PG to confess here......we love the ship and the staff and their itineraries are top notch. They are the island experts in our opinion. The day at Mahana is almost worth the cruise in itself and the motu on Bora is great too. Shooting the pass at Rangiroa with the dolphins accompanying the ship is awesome but if you'd need a longer itinerary than the 7 day cruise for that so the 11 day might include Rangi, haven't checked it out.

Because the ship is small, you arrive on an island with only 330 (max pax) rather than 1200. The islands are small and you really SEE the difference in the number of people when the smaller ship arrives vs the larger ship. Whatever the cost difference is, we'd choose the PG over ANY ship (except a private yacht of course haha!).

We've enjoyed a discount for returning pax plus an additional 5% for b2b when booking the PG so be sure to check with them or your travel agent.

Our first visit to FP was way back in 1980 on our honeymoon and we've been back almost every year over the last 15 years. Any questions, feel free to ask.

Word of caution: allow yourself a day or 2 pre-cruise especially if you're doing your own air....it's one thing to get "stuck" in FP if there are plane problems, quite another if you're stuck stateside due to weather, etc.
#14
1,138 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Hi Benita! We are booked on the Marina's Grand Voyage Feb. 7, 1012. It starts in Papeete.

Our friends went on PG two years ago and still rave about it. The Mrs. says that it was the best trip they have ever taken. They had a cabin in the very back of the ship and she said the middle-of-the-night view, with the full moon shimmering on the water, was incredible.

We used Hilton points to book an AMEX award (120,000 pts.) for 4 nights precruise in a garden bungalow with a possibility of a comped upgrade to over the water! If you want to do this, you have to contact Hilton at least one year in advance. Email me and I'll tell you how to do it a week or so earlier to insure you get one.

We just booked our flights last night on Air Tahiti Nui out of LAX. It leaves at 1 pm and gets into Papeete at 7:35 pm on a Sunday. This schedule is not available every day of the week. A lot of the time, you get in very late so you really do have to check the daily flight schedules.

Good luck on your decision. I'm sure Michael will have magnificent pictures to bring back no matter which ship you decide to cruise. BTW, I just saw that some Michelin chef is going to be onboard a PG cruise this June. We were on an O cruise when a Paul Bocuse chef was onboard. We had some wonderful meals!
#15
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
There are usually only one or two flights a day into Tahiti and even those do not operate every day. I wonder how Oceania is going to get everybody there, as the ship holds 1200 people. The PG only has 322 and we are planning about a week in Moorea prior to the sailing. If PG does the arrangements, they put you on the overnight flight from LA and you get in really early the next day. They pick you up and either take you directly to Moorea by boat to the Intercontinental Hotel or they include a day room in Tahiti and bring you over later in the day. We are thinking about using points to get business class tickets to Tahiti, but there are only a few seats on the plane to begin with, so I don't know how easy they are to obtain, but it is only an 8 hour flight from LA (we are used to flying to places like the far East and Australia, so this is a short flight for us. It takes almost as long to get to LA from Miami, so we will probably stay overnight in LA before flying on. PG has been doing this for so long, I think they have it down to a science, even including day rooms in Tahiti after debarkation, as the flights back to LA are late at night.
I wanted to book the Marina, initially, but only PH remained and they are really expensive. They, as David wrote above, I figured we should go with the ship that has been doing this for so long.
Frances, I would love to hear your thoughts about the area when you get back. Sure we can't entice you into joining us on the Barcelon-Lisbon cruise on the Riviera on September 2?
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Benita
#16
Pacific Northwest
3,597 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Benita
The Marina has an 11 day cruise around Tahiti, as does the Paul Gaugain (PG) A 1200 passenger experience vs the 300 or so passengers on the PG. Any advice about which ship to choose? The itineraries are similar. PG is a little pricier, but both are in our budget.
We were also conflicted on the choice of Oceania or Paul Gauguin when we went to French Polynesia last year. We knew what to expect with Oceania and certainly liked the product. But after lurking the PG forum and catching the PG flu without even setting foot on the ship, we decided on Paul Gauguin. We did b2b cruises around Tahiti, Society Islands, Tuamotus and Marquesas for a total of 21 nites aboard. It was spectacular in every way!

As you'd expect on a luxury ship, accommodation, food and service were all top notch. But what really sets Paul Gauguin apart is their intense focus on all things Polynesian. Ship decor is understated with Polynesian touches and artwork throughout. Menus are crafted to showcase local ingredients on a regular basis. Multi-talented Tahitian hostesses, called Les Gauguines, serve as ambassadors and cruise staff. They are the living soul of Paul Gauguin. Resident lecturers and naturalists are experts on the archaeology, culture and geology of the Islands. An on-board marina is staffed by dive masters who are intimately familiar with the local waters.

Paul Gauguin is not just another cruise ship plying the waters of French Polynesia. It is the only choice for an immersive, yet luxurious, experience.
#17
Boca Raton, Florida, USA
3,379 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Thanks,everybody for your replies. I went ahead and booked the 14 day PG cruise to Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Society Islands and will spend several days in Moorea precruise. Anybody else want to join us on the May 18, 2013 departure? I will post it in the PG roll call.
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Benita
#19
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,204 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Thank you all for this thread and your contributions to it. I've never been particularly interested in cruising this part of the world, but hubby IS. And you have convinced me that PG is the way to go.

Without this thread, I'd never have known that! I'm sure I'd be happy on an O cruise here (on an "R" ship, not an "O" ship) but it does sound like PG is the way to go.

Mura
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#20
South West MO
6,722 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Originally posted by Mura
Thank you all for this thread and your contributions to it. I've never been particularly interested in cruising this part of the world, but hubby IS. And you have convinced me that PG is the way to go.

Without this thread, I'd never have known that! I'm sure I'd be happy on an O cruise here (on an "R" ship, not an "O" ship) but it does sound like PG is the way to go.

Mura
It's probably not too late to get on one of the Regatta cruises finishing up there. I will be on the final one May 3rd.
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