Each month we are featuring a team member of Paul Gauguin Cruises in our ongoing “Experts of Tahiti” series. John Chin is an accountant with Paul Gauguin Cruises and also a talented photographer. Last year, he traveled with his wife and parents on the m/s Paul Gauguin on a 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage. He shares his favorite experiences, tips, activities, and memorable moments from the trip.
What is the best part about your job as an accountant for Paul Gauguin Cruises?
As an accountant at Paul Gauguin Cruises, I get to see some of the backend work that goes into making this a 5-star cruise line. I admire and respect the staff and everyone at our company for doing what they do best—day in and day out. I also get to see and interact with vendors to ensure things are on track. I love working with this group of dedicated true professionals.
Have you traveled very often with your parents?
Tahiti was the first time since childhood I have traveled with my parents. It has always been a dream of mine growing up, to take my parents on a trip with me. We are thankful for this memorable experience with Paul Gauguin Cruises. After cruising together, we have continued to travel together as a family on a few occasions.
The islands in French Polynesia are considered some of the most romantic in the world. Did you still find that to be true traveling with your parents?
It was very romantic to sail these islands with my wife. One of the things my wife and I, along with my parents, loved about this trip was how spacious and quiet the islands were. They were so well-preserved, and we felt like we were on set of the reality show “Survivor” surrounded by beautiful water, sky, and sand. It seemed like we were the only ones on the island at times because people were either on excursions or out exploring by themselves. The only time we saw others was pretty much when we embarked/disembarked the ship.
Did the cruise offer something for everyone?
Definitely! Everyone, regardless of age, enjoyed all the ship’s entertainment programs and amenities. The ship even offered workshops on making local handicrafts and tying a Tahitian pareo.
What was a highlight of the voyage?
As most guests were on excursions in Huahine, we went back to the ship to enjoy lunch after an amazing time spent on of the island’s beaches, swimming in super clear water, and walking in the soft sand under the blue sky. We decided to eat at La Veranda and dined on some of the most delicious food in the world while enjoying panoramic views from the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The ship was the only one in the bay and was surrounded by beautiful mountains and water. The experience was unforgettable.
Which island and/or shore excursion was your favorite?
The day spent at Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha’a, was my favorite. We enjoyed a lunch barbecue prepared by our exceptional staff from the ship. Guests enjoyed the water activities at the beach with its magnificent views. Entertainment was also included—beautiful songs performed by Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins. Everyone enjoyed each other's company and made new friends.
Do you have any advice for guests that thinking about traveling with their families?
Do it! It is such a memorable experience. One of the best decisions my wife and I made was bringing my parents and sharing the Paul Gauguin Cruises experience with them. If you have thoughts of taking your family, do it! Many times people regret not doing things they could've done. This is especially important while parents are still healthy and mobile so they can enjoy every minute to the fullest!
Did you stay at any of the InterContinental resorts while in French Polynesia?
We enjoyed a day room at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa pre-cruise and booked the Romantic Escape at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, which can be reserved on itineraries that overnight in Bora Bora.
The InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa has beautifully manicured grounds with stylish rooms. After arriving at the airport, it is wonderful to be whisked to this resort and refresh yourself before boarding The Gauguin. We were able to have lunch there and enjoy the resort, which is surrounded by gorgeous palm trees and flowers. We also were able to see the resort’s new overwater bungalows, which made us even more excited for our upcoming overnight stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is something special—words cannot describe how breathtaking this hotel is. The overwater bungalows are so stunning and spacious with views of the lagoon and Mt. Otemanu. Each bungalow has a living room with a glass table that you can peer through and see colorful, tropical fish in the lagoon. After we arrived, my parents, my wife, and I were able to swim in the lagoon right underneath the overwater bungalows. It was one of the most unbelievable and relaxing times one could ever have. This is again what a trip with family is all about—to spend time together doing something so simple, yet so memorable.
The resort is truly a romantic getaway! You barely see other guests besides yourself there during the stay (except at the pool, restaurants, and bars). Under the stars, we took a romantic stroll around the hotel property, and it was quiet and totally private.
What three words describe the Paul Gauguin Cruise experience?
Dreams Come True
Name a “must-do” activity/shore excursion?
Don’t miss the day at Motu Mahana and the sumptuous barbecue served there.
Since you are also a photographer, do you have any suggestions on photography equipment to bring on a voyage?
Less is more. Point & shoot cameras work well.
What are some photography tips you can share?
Bring loads of memory cards and take lots of pictures...anywhere you look is beautiful! Be sure to capture videos as well, so you get the sound!
Any tips or packing suggestions for the cruise?
Don’t pack more than what you think you will need. And bring reef shoes.
Any recommendations for guests who will be cruising with Paul Gauguin Cruises?
As you sail, have your glass of wine in hand and enjoy the sunset before going to dinner.
Do you have a family motto or travel quote?
Create unforgettable memories together while traveling around the world.
For more information on the 7-night, Tahiti & the Society Islands itinerary, click here. To learn about our pre- and post-cruise resort stays in French Polynesia, click here. The Romantic Escape at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is an excursion booked through Paul Gauguin Cruises and available on itineraries that overnight in Bora Bora. To learn more, click here.