Get Away With Fran

May 3, 2010

Snorkeling in paradise on Paul Gauguin cruise

Filed under: Cruise — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:37 pm


Views today were even prettier than the day before, though yesterday I would not have thought that possible. Cruising in Tahiti is truly amazing.

The Paul Gauguin cruise ship actually didn’t move very far. We overnighted in Raiatea, the second largest of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, and then within the same barrier reef, cruised this morning to Taha’a, a tranquil, mostly undeveloped place where people fish, raise livestock, grow vanilla and, occasionally cater to tourists (long ago the thing here was firewalking but that’s rare today).


Two Polynesian fellows took about a dozen of us passengers from the ship out in a small, open boat for about 15 minutes to an uninhabited islet so we could explore an underwater coral “garden.” The excursion ($129) was billed as being for experienced snorkelers and was challenging only in that you needed to avoid the coral in very shallow water, maneuvering in a mild current. Minimal effort and well worth it. And I say this even though I did manage to get my knee slightly rubbed on coral early in the trek, and have a few itchy dots to prove it (I fought the coral and the coral won).

The multi-colored corals themselves were spectacular – purple, blue, orange. And I saw yellow fish and tiny blue ones, black fish and some with multiple colors (sorry fish folks, I am not a pro). None were bigger than you’d find in a fancy (more…)

Spectacular Paul Gauguin cruise in Tahiti

Filed under: Cruise,International — Tags: , , , — admin @ 1:24 am


I knew I would use the word “spectacular” a lot on this trip because I was coming to Tahiti, South Pacific paradise found.

I didn’t know I’d start thinking it from the plane. But flying eight hours from LA, over Pacific Ocean, ocean and more ocean and suddenly a view of islands shaped like crescents and clouds that mirrored the shape of the volcanic peaks on land – spectacular.

I’m in Tahiti to review the Paul Gauguin, a luxurious, 332-passenger cruise ship named for the French impressionist artist who helped put French Polynesia on the map. I actually cruised on the ship about 11 years ago, but it’s now under new ownership by the folks who also operate Pacific Beachcomber luxury resorts here. So time, I figured, for a revisit.

And yes, the ship is rather spectacular. It’s the little things that count of course, and nice first impressions on a hot tropical evening were made by the cold towel and glass of champagne offered as we arrived at the ship, docked in Papeete, capital city of this island nation.

On the ship, my verandah cabin is done up in classy, mellow style and has a flat screen TV, an IPod docking station, fresh flowers, and L’Occitane bath products. There’s a nice big and rather plush bed, and plenty of room to stretch out.


After a decent night’s sleep, breakfast on my verandah this morning – gotta love room service – was an ahhh experience as I watched the ship approach the island of Raiatea, views including the bluest of blue seas and greenest of green landscape.

It’s the colors, man, seems an appropriate phrase. The name Raiatea actually means bright sky. And the sun was sure shining. (more…)

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