Hello, my name is Bridger Deschamps. I will start off by telling you a few things about myself. I am 15 years old, live in Seattle, and I recently took a 10-day cruise on the Paul Gauguin with my mom, dad, and younger sister. My sister and I participated in the Ambassadors of the Environment(AOTE) Program, which is a program for kids ages 9-17. In short, we Loved it. This program was a great way to meet the other kids onboard and to take part in fun activities and shore excursions just for us. Both of the AOTE leaders were amazing and I had a fun time hanging out with them. By the end of the cruise all the kids’ parents enjoyed meeting each other as well and were hanging out together too. Now, I will tell you about the cruise as a whole.
My family and I flew to Papeete via LAX and we were so anxious to get there. When we arrived at FAAA International Airport, we were greeted with leis, heis, and humidity. The humidity wasn’t that bad though after a few minutes of adapting. The first experience on the ship was spectacular. We checked out our rooms and we were all stunned by how nice and spacious they were. The crewmates were all really friendly. The whole ship was beautiful.
Each day on the AOTE program, there were two activities on board and one excursion off the ship. Each day brought a new adventure and a new fear to conquer. At first I had convinced myself not to go swimming with stingrays or sharks but when the time came to get in the water with them, I couldn’t hold back. All the kids were nervous at first but by the end of the swim, they couldn’t get us out of the water! I think that was probably the scariest thing but once we got in the water, all the kids realized that was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we would remember forever. My favorite AOTE shore excursion was probably on the day of Raiatea. We took a zodiac to the island of Taha’a and heard the story of a pearl farmer. Then we went on an Indiana-Jones type truck ride to the top of the mountain. Along the way, we stopped for local fruits including bananas, star fruit, bread fruit and coconuts. We learned a lot about the local culture and lifestyles as well. In a sense, it gave us a great overview of French Polynesia in a nutshell.
The food on the ship was great. There was a wide selection each night so everyone had something for their own taste. There were four different places to eat. L’etoille was the main restaurant, Le Grill was the buffet at lunch and Polynesian food for dinner, La Veranda was a great place for breakfast and lunch but a French bistro at night and La Palette also had snacks throughout the day. I ate in all of them and each one had great choices. Room service was the fifth option and was available 24 hours a day. The room service menu was perfect for any time of day and we found ourselves ordering it almost every day.
If relaxation, intimacy, and opportunity to see a whole new world is what you are looking for, then Paul Gauguin is the company to cruise with. French Polynesia and all of its islands are incredibly beautiful and unique. I felt like I was in the middle of Paradise! You will want to go back again and again with your family!