August 2016 - Paul Gauguin to U.S. - Pacific, Northwest
I would like to share a very negative experience I had with Paul Gauguin a few months ago in the hopes that if you are considering vacationing with them you are well informed about their booking tricks. Paul Gauguin marketed the cruise my wife and I spent our 25th anniversary on as a 7 day - 7 night cruise to the Society Islands. We purchased their Air and Cruise package. This was our first mistake. If you purchase their Air with the Cruise they will make every effort to fly you in on the last available flight and you will not get on the ship until midnight or later. They mislead you into believing you will arrive by 10pm but Customs and Baggage claim at the Papeete airport are long and crowded with all the late flights arriving at the same time. You have no choice when you use their air package. Even if things go smoothly you will not arrive on the ship until after midnight so the cruise is really a 6 day – 6 night cruise. They purposely do this to minimize their cost because passengers who embark at 3pm (which is when they claim you can board but make it impossible to do so) start drinking and eating and using their services. They tactically avoid this if you buy their air package with the cruise. The only ones on the ship at 3pm are those that book their own airfare and arrive the day before. Additionally, services on Day 1 (or really Day 2) are awful. They are so busy pulling up lines and heading out to sea that you will not be able to find someone to get a beverage or snack. Also, the pool is drained. My room service phone didn’t even work so we went straight to bed very frustrated. My wife and I saved for this very expensive 25th anniversary trip and it was a huge disappointment. The service throughout the week was good at times but also lacking in customer service. Not sure how they got the Travel Awards but clearly they have a long way to go in customer service.
I did reach out to Sandy Stevens, VP Sales and Guest Relations but this was after the trip and she already had our money so she was not interested in a resolution. Again, when you are paying the extremely high prices they demand and they say it is a 7 day – 7 night cruise you expect them to honor that which they don’t if you use their airfare. Sandy argued that it’s similar to a hotel if you arrive after midnight and you still count the day before. Clearly she missed the point because with a hotel you choose to arrive when you do so if you choose to arrive after midnight you pay for the room. What Sandy doesn’t understand and missed is Paul Gauguin does not let you choose when to arrive. They choose for you and their choice is to force you to stay off the ship as long as possible. If you decide to cruise with Paul Gauguin then prepare yourself for a big let-down which is how you will feel after spending a life savings to be treated poorly.