Amid a global pandemic, it sure gives you time to reflect on past travels and all the great things in life we can’t do quite as easily or at all right now. As a passionate traveller, I have to admit, I feel so incredibly lucky that I spent most of the month of November in Moorea and Bora Bora and realize I am one of the few fortunate ones to have done so. Sadly, I could not experience the Paul Gauguin this time around, but on the beaches and overwater bungalows I had a lot of time to reflect on past trips to my favourite place in the world.
I have been to the Islands of Tahiti 14 times now and the more I go, the more it compels me to go back again. Like most people, I got lured there the first time due to the sheer beauty of the islands and lagoons. However, it is the combination of that natural beauty along with warmth of the culture and local Polynesians that really gets into your blood and drives you to return again and again.
For me, Tahiti is my career choice – to specialize in sharing these incredible islands with my clients and Paul Gauguin is by far my favourite cruise to offer. This award-winning luxury cruise line highlights the culture better than any other cruise option – but if you are reading this blog post, there is a good chance you know that already. However, what I did learn on my last Paul Gauguin cruise was how special an experience it is to share with family and friends in a group setting.
When I travel to Tahiti it is largely for work with other agents or a work/vacation combo with my partner, and once I did an incredibly special trip with my parents. A few years back I got to thinking about sharing this special place with others and blocked group space on the Paul Gauguin. When I put out the idea to clients and online what happened next shocked me. It was all family and friends who decided to join my group. I knew them, but they mostly did not know each other. There were 14 of us – many who I never imagined would go to Tahiti. And it was magical. My favourite trip to Tahiti ever!
When we started out, not everyone knew each other, and we had a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and interests. Everyone was different but all had one common element and that was to see the beauty of the islands and the culture.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would have as much fun and such a terrific trip together. This small group of strangers brought together in these remote islands spent days exploring on private tours together. Time apart on Paul Gauguin’s private beaches. Relaxing on the ship. And taking thousands of photos and sharing what seemed like endless laughs and smiles – often over the all-inclusive cocktails served up by the friendly bar tenders.
But in this time of reflecting, it brings me thinking about why this group worked so well? Why was it such a memorable time for everyone?
There is of course the obvious – we were in paradise together! But from a cruise perspective, I have a short list here of why I think Paul Gauguin is a perfect option for exploring Tahiti with a small group.
- All Inclusive Nature – People on different budgets or stages in life are all equal once you are onboard – it is all included and prepaid – even gratuities. There is no worry about offering to buy drinks for each other and who’s round it is.
- Small Ship – Now more than ever small ships are coming into a higher demand. But they have always worked so well with groups – you leave your cabin to head up on deck and easily bump into someone you know. With only 332 guests onboard you quickly got to know not only our group, but staff and other guests.
- Social Element – While there were 14 of us onboard in our little group, everyone tended to meet different passengers and the social network grew – as did the fun and laughs.
- Dining – Onboard dining is easy to arrange and once again, all included so there are no worries about different budgets from different people – you just picked your restaurant, who was dining together and enjoy – no surcharges, no hassles.
- Night Life – French Polynesia is a destination that is quiet in the evenings. Resort typically don’t tend to have much night life and entertainment. But the Paul Gauguin is different – so when you are in a group like this the options for a bit of evening entertainment were welcomed and enjoyed.
Of course when you combine the above elements with all the other great features of Paul Gauguin, a fun group of travellers, the warm friendly service of the onboard staff, gourmet dining and the best setting in the world – how can you not have the perfect recipe a small group trip?
As we move into 2021 with light starting to shine at the end of the tunnel and slowly come out of this pandemic – think about who is special in your life and how your memories together can mean more than anything else in this world. Perhaps it is time to take a plunge in organizing a group onboard the Paul Gauguin in paradise. I can assure you for our group of 14 it is something we will all never forget.