Cruising The South Pacific
Real Life Story: “E” is for Experience
We often boast about having the best travel advisors in the business. It sounds cliché, but we do feel that way. And our advisors don’t just sit in the office booking travel. We encourage and support our team to take advantage of travel opportunities that often involve staying at some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world, and aboard some of the most in-demand cruising vessels. We do this so they can have first-hand experience with the destinations, Virtuoso properties, and travel experiences that our clients are most interested in. Rosemary certainly fits the bill as one of our most knowledgeable and experienced travel advisors. She is celebrating her 25th year with Avant in 2018! We hope you enjoy reading about Rosemary’s Real Life Story, Cruising the South Pacific, a wonderfully informative dream trip she took in January of this year.
Cruising the South Pacific
One of my travel dreams came true last month! Actually, two of my travel dreams were realized. I recently embarked the Paul Gauguin for an 11-night cruise of the Society and Cook Islands. My sister joined me on the adventure and that made it an extra special journey for me. We left from Tahiti and our stops included Bora Bora, Moorea, Rarotonga, and Aitutaki among others.
My first dream was to visit the South Pacific. I was expecting to see beautiful sights on both land and sea, but actually being there and seeing the real thing in person is indescribable. I took a bunch of photos, some of which you can view in the gallery above, but I’ve got to tell you: Pictures do not do justice to the sights and sensations you will experience if you go. The razor sharp peaks of Moorea and multi-hued Bora Bora lagoon will never be forgotten in my mind. The snorkeling we did during the trip was particularly good and loads of fun. We saw sting rays, sharks, giant clams, and brightly colored fish and all were easy to spot in the crystal clear water.
We also did 4×4 excursions into the interiors and saw some breath taking views from strategic vantage points. My favorite activity during the cruise was a search for wild spinner dolphins with renowned marine biologist, Dr Michael Poole. We were so excited when we found them and boy did I learn a lot about these magnificent creatures! It was a fabulous and very moving moment of our journey.
Perhaps what I did not expect to experience on this trip was the rich culture and striking beauty of the Polynesian people. Their dances all tell a story and are wonderful to watch. I also learned that Moorea is the best place for Polynesian tattoos. The symbols have much meaning and are worn with great pride. I think maybe I regret not getting one!
Okay, I did mention two travel dreams … my second dream was to see the South Pacific aboard Paul Gauguin. Big enough to have all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury-liner but not so big as to impede access to desired ports, she is the perfect way to explore the islands. She sails the region year round, so expect to be immersed in Polynesia in a very special way. With 230 crew members on board to pamper just 330 guests, service levels are exceedingly high. The three onboard restaurants were all excellent and I never had a repeat dinner menu during the entire 11-night cruise. Our stateroom was quite comfortable and spotless.
The Paul Gauguin is a very social ship and the all-inclusive aspect certainly adds to that. Interesting and well-traveled folks from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were onboard. We were entertained by some excellent local dance troupes, each with unique costumes and routines. A lovely duo from England, Marc and Abi, were a highlight. Twice during our cruise, tendering was iffy because of high sea swells. But, the crew did an outstanding job of getting everyone disembarked and then back on the ship safely. They were so patient and professional. Paul Gauguin sails 7 night Society Islands cruises regularly and sprinkles in 10-, 11- and 14-night journeys to include the Cook Islands and/or the Marquesas.
A fabulous adventure in every way, my cruise in the South Pacific aboard Paul Gauguin was an unforgettable trip. I must admit it was a journey in itself getting there and back, but it was SO worth it. If you have a couple more minutes to spare, take a look at the beautiful Paul Gauguin video below and start dreaming!! I’d love to help make your travel dreams come true. And if one of your dreams is to cruise the South Pacific or simply visit there, allow me to utilize my resources and everything I learned from my own personal experience to ensure a perfect journey for you. Keep in mind that peak season for whales in the South Pacific region is August through October, so now (or very soon) is a great time to start making plans to visit that area!