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HAL vs Paul Gauguin for Tahiti


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As you can see by my signature we've only sailed HAL ---- we're considering a PG cruise & would like some input from any of you who have sailed both lines ---- pros/cons of both ---- & any info you can share, please.   TIA

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I am very happy I went with PG to Tahiti, even though I really love HAL.  THe PG only holds about 300 passengers and for me, doing the islands in what amounts to a nice sized yacht, was just wonderful.   The PG just slipped into small bays ... it really is a great experience IMO.  I can't think of a single "con", actually...except perhaps the price, but keep in mind they sell you a package that includes airfare from the States.

Edited by Moriah
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We did the Paul Gaugin back in 2003 when it was a Regent ship and loved it. Like Moriah said it is like being on a nice sized yacht. The crew was great. Three hundred passengers is a perfect size for doing the islands. You are disembarked early and we then had all day in a hotel enjoying those facilities as the airplanes leave at night. I would do the Paul Gaugin again if I ever return to Tahiti.

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Paul Gauguin is to French Polynesia what HAL is to Alaska. They've both been around the block a couple of times in their areas of expertise and thus know their stuff. I would go with the Frenchies even though HAL does a nice job there also. Be advised; French ship and mostly French officers and crew with the first language being Japanese, no French :classic_wink:

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3 hours ago, 57redbird said:

As you can see by my signature we've only sailed HAL ---- we're considering a PG cruise & would like some input from any of you who have sailed both lines ---- pros/cons of both ---- & any info you can share, please.   TIA

Isn't there a major price difference?

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We are also primarily HAL cruisers, but would say that Paul Gauguin is the way to go for French Polynesia. You get to all the major islands during one week, including their private beach stop where you walk off the amphibious vehicle into the water and spend a great day using all the facilities and equipment at your disposal. The service on board was fantastic and the small size of the ship made things easy. If you go, book Patrick's outrigger tour in Bora Bora, a day you will never forget. Where else would be eating your lunch at a picnic table located in the water of the Bora Bora lagoon! (after swimming with sharks, petting stingrays, and snorkeling the coral reef). Worth every penny. I learned about that excursion from at many time HAL world cruiser who had said it was one of the best days in her life.

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15 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

Be advised; French ship and mostly French officers and crew with the first language being Japanese, no French :classic_wink:

There was a time when there were a fair number of French passengers on the PG, but those days are long gone.  Similarly, the ship's crew tended to be French, although the hotel staff (the servers, bartenders, stewards, etc.) have always had lots of Philippine folks with a smattering of people from other parts of the world. Even then, English was the first language on the ship with French the second language.

In my experience, now there is little French being spoken on board and I don't recall any significant Japanese either. 

The Polynesians themselves know Polynesian, are educated in French, and are almost universally fluent in English. Some have also picked up some Japanese.

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3 hours ago, DavidTheWonderer said:

There was a time when there were a fair number of French passengers on the PG, but those days are long gone.  Similarly, the ship's crew tended to be French, although the hotel staff (the servers, bartenders, stewards, etc.) have always had lots of Philippine folks with a smattering of people from other parts of the world. Even then, English was the first language on the ship with French the second language.

In my experience, now there is little French being spoken on board and I don't recall any significant Japanese either. 

The Polynesians themselves know Polynesian, are educated in French, and are almost universally fluent in English. Some have also picked up some Japanese.

 

Thank you for your info, David, re: the on board language being spoken on the Paul G! I have never sailed her (have sailed with a current PG crew member on HAL on more than one contract) but have heard real good things about her. FYI; the "speaking Japanese" on board was an obvious failed attempt on my part to add some "humor" to the conversation

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3 hours ago, esther e said:

Sailed on Regent (when it was Radaison) ...

I too go back the the Radisson days. Immediately after they dropped the PG, quality had some issues, but now they are better than ever I think. The CEO lives in Tahiti, has a Tahitian wife, and is very committed to efforts to revive the Polynesian culture, which the missionaries tried very hard to obliterate.

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I would definitely go with Paul Gauguin.  We did and thoroughly enjoyed the ship and crew.  Food was excellent - most of it shipped in from LA with the fresh fruit and veggies not available in FP flown in from LA.  If available, local fruits and some products (delicious jams and jellies) are used.  With the exception of Tahiti all ports are tender ports and the crew has this down pat.  We had bad weather predicated for Moorea, so they shifted the schedule a bit so we still got to see it.  Since the local guides are familiar with PG, they adapt their schedules accordingly.  They cater to the PG since it is there every week along with the local Windstar boat.  Concur with Copper, PG is the local expert.  

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On 7/30/2019 at 2:57 PM, Moriah said:

I am very happy I went with PG to Tahiti, even though I really love HAL.  THe PG only holds about 300 passengers and for me, doing the islands in what amounts to a nice sized yacht, was just wonderful.   The PG just slipped into small bays ... it really is a great experience IMO.  I can't think of a single "con", actually...except perhaps the price, but keep in mind they sell you a package that includes airfare from the States.

Agree with the above comments.  We cruised the PG back in 2011 and really enjoyed the smaller ship experience.  I'm normally hesitant with ships that small due to motion sickness issues but had no issues onboard the PG since it cruises in more sheltered waters.

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On 7/31/2019 at 8:18 AM, surfcitygirl said:

.......If you go, book Patrick's outrigger tour in Bora Bora, a day you will never forget. Where else would be eating your lunch at a picnic table located in the water of the Bora Bora lagoon! (after swimming with sharks, petting stingrays, and snorkeling the coral reef). Worth every penny. 

We also did Patrick's tour in 2017. It was set up as a private excursion with just over 100 people. I thought it was going to be a disaster because it originally started out for a tour of around 24 people. The tour went so great you couldn't even tell there were that many people. imageproxy.php?img=&key=6ee4bfcebcfde1cb

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20170429_121805.jpg

 

20170502_134636.jpg

Edited by ReneeFLL
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Agree with the majority here - we are HAL regulars but our very first cruise was on the PG, and I think you would be very happy if you choose the PG for Tahiti.  We extended our vacation by adding a second week on one island after the cruise.

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9 hours ago, madera1 said:

 I am hoping we haven't made an error in sailing on the Maasdam from Papeete to San Diego. I am going three nights early and spending one night in Papeete and 2 nights in Moorea. 

You will have a great cruise on the Maasdam.  It will be different from the one on the PG, but it will be fine in its own right.

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On 7/30/2019 at 3:32 PM, 57redbird said:

Yes, sir!  for a shorter cruise but more up close & personal experiences ---- that's why we want input.

Price is just $   Value for that price what you get in experience.     

   Tahiti is a small place, almost all tender ports and HAL ships simply overwhelm the islands and diminish the overall experience...HAL with 2000   Vs  300 Paul Gaugin...  your  experience will be vastly..vastly different.

      So, the cheapest HAL  will be  way less quality.    The Paul Gauguin  is the best value/experience for your money.    They even have a marina on the stern that they lower and offer boating and Kayaks/ Diving.  It also will offer a much higher level of cuisine and  ambiance of Tahiti....

Less is more  .... you only go to Tahiti for the first time once !!!   Make it special.

DSC_0101 (2).JPG

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