Blogger Sofía Keck recently sailed aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. Born and raised in Guatemala, Sofía is a mother, wife, writer, cook, and business owner. In her blog www.AmericanVida.com she shares some of her travels, delicious food, amateur photography, some of the latest technology and essays on family and culture. Sofia documents her experience aboard The Gauguin in the following post.
As I boarded the airplane from Los Angeles to Tahiti I quickly noticed that it was the beginning of an incredible journey. Once on my seat, I was welcomed with a small white flower with an incredible smell: Tiare, which immediately and completely transported me to a different world.
The flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is about 7-8 hours, so after 2 movies, 2 meals and some reading, we were there. When we got to Papeete we headed to the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa, just a couple of minutes away from the airport to rest for the day and prepared for the grand voyage that was ahead of us the next day.
Built in 1997 (refurbished in 2009 and 2012), the 513 feet-long, five star m/s Paul Gauguin is a beautiful vessel that holds around 332 passengers plus a crew of 220. The cabins are spacious and 70% of the suites offer ocean views from your own deck. Suites have air conditioning and they usually keep the rooms at 22 degrees Celsius. They also feature satellite television, and direct dial telephone. The suites come with one queen bed or two twin beds, a sitting area, an in-suite beverage fridge replenished daily, and unlimited all-inclusive 24-hour room service. Gratuities are included for room stewards and dining and bar staff on board but not for the guides who lead the optional excursions. However, tipping well will always make your trip more enjoyable.
Onboard the m/s Paul Gauguin you can find a reception desk and guest services (to plan your activities and tours), a casino/piano bar, a spa (the best massages I have gotten in my life), a hair salon, a gift shop (La Boutique), a small library and DVD library, sun deck, elevator (7 passenger decks), laundry service, fitness center, small swimming pool, a business center with internet access (you can also purchase wifi minutes to use on your personal device around the ship), medical services, a Grand Salon where shows take place, a photo shop and gallery, plus 3 restaurants: L’Etoile, Le Grill and La Veranda.
La Veranda was my favorite as it is transformed into a reservation-only French Bistro at night, and was offering the signature menu of Chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, owner of the two start Michelin-rated restaurant Apicius in Paris. The appetizer foie gras over sashimi with a fruit compote was one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted. La Veranda’s host, named Apollo, the server Cesar and sommelier Eduardo, provided excellent service and made our dining experience magnificent.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency on board of the ship. The m/s Paul Gauguin is all-inclusive; any extra onboard expenses like souvenirs or spa services are added to your suite # and settled at the end of your trip. During my stay on the m/s Paul Gauguin the Captain was Toni Mirkovic, Hotel Director Jaques Le Tallec and Cruise Director/Diva Claudine Carle.
My favorite people on board were the Gauguines, Talitha, Hereiti, Rava and Urahei; and the Gauguins, Mana and Guapo, who made everyday life on the ship beautiful, fun and entertaining.
To read more about Sofia's travels, visit: http://americanvida.com/cruising-paul-gauguin/. You can also follow her on Instagram at @sofiakeck.