Sailing the South Seas on a Paul Gauguin Cruise
Visiting the South Seas of French Polynesia was not at the top of my bucket list, but since I’m always looking for a good deal we planned this trip kind of last-minute. As a fan of the TV show Survivor, I couldn’t imagine swimming in water so blue and clear.
In my research for flights I found that non-stop Air Tahiti out of Los Angeles was reasonably priced, and so were non-stops from San Francisco. From San Francisco I found an airline called French Bee and the air was $650 pp round-trip. Since we live in Arizona it was a short flight to SFO to catch the French Bee flight. Plus, when I found out these nonstop flights to Tahiti were 7-8 hours long, I was sold! This is less flying time than going to the Caribbean for us.
French Bee is a low-cost carrier originating in France. For the price I was happy with what we got. There was headrest entertainment with movies and music. You pay extra for meals and drinks. Soda was not complimentary, only water. It was very no-frills.
We arrived in Papeete, Tahiti, around 5:30 am, not great when you can’t board the ship until after 3 pm and you are dead-tired from the overnight flight. We discovered that a small hotel across from the airport would rent a day room for about $80. We were allowed to have the room from 8 am to 2 pm.
The Paul Gaugin cruise started and ended in Papeete, Tahiti; the islands we visited were Huahine, Taha’a, Bora Bora, and Moorea.
I have to say Taha’a (or also know as Motu Mahana) was my favorite day. This is Paul Gaugin’s private island. A whole island of beach chairs, snorkeling, BBQ lunch, and open bar. It was pure heaven.
This type of trip is all about the water. This is a divers, snorkelers, swimmers, and wave runners paradise. There wasn’t much to do on the islands themselves. One day we tried the Aqua Safari Helmet excursion. You put on an 80 lb. helmet, sink to the bottom of the ocean and walk around with the fish and stingrays. It was scary, pretty cool, and we were proud of ourselves for trying something new.
I feel like this was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever had. It seems that all I can remember is reading, snorkeling, floating in the warm water, taking lots of naps, and eating the best food.
We went in Feb and this is considered low season/ rainy season. There would be some afternoon showers on several days but they didn’t last long. And the warm rain storms just added to the tropical habitat.