Cruise Director

Hometown: Los Angeles
Joined: 08/02/2011
Helpful Votes

About stufalk

Strategic Marketing Consultant focusing on digital media, travel & international commerce currently living in Los Angeles (Hollywood), I have lived in worked in (my hometown) New York City (New York Times), Paris (International Chamber of Commerce, the Principality of Monaco (V. Ships / Vlasov Group) and San Francisco ( Graduated from the Fieldston School, Tufts University (B.A.) and the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D.). Enjoy traveling (have been on over 55 cruises), meeting interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds, reading, and theater.



Ship: Tere Moana

stufalk's Upcoming Cruises

stufalk's Past Cruises

Celebrity Millennium

September 2016 - Bering Sea & Japan Cruise Cruise on Celebrity Millennium

Good Service But Less Quality & More Nickel and Diming

First let me say that the ship is in excellent condition: my stateroom (a Concierge Balcony) was impeccably clean and more than adequate and the public areas look great. I initially chose this cruise because of its highly rated, gourmet specialty restaurant, the Olympic, where in the past I enjoyed the best means of any cruise line, better than the Queen's Grill on Cunard or Deluxe Category ships. While disappointed that this venue was changed to Tuscan Grill before I sailed,  I decided not to cancel my booking: in terms of restaurant quality, that was a mistake. Tuscan Grill is far from gourmet, and lacked professional service; After experiencing 3 dinners there, I cancelled my future reservations and dined at the main restaurant, which was adequate, but due to size alone, not my preferred atmosphere. I lunched at their new Sushi on 5 venue, which was quite good but terribly overpriced (a la carte with no set menu option) as well as located off a busy corridor. Qsine is more for show than for food and I found my server and the maitre d'hotel to overplay their roles, bordering on rudeness (I went once & never again). My favorite daytime venue was Cafe al Bacio, for excellent specialty coffees and friendly service. 


In booking Celebrity one needs to keep in mind that they do not claim to be more than a Premium Cruise Line, but clearly they are paying more attention to RCCL accountants than the marketing department or their guests. My advice would be to compare their pricing with that for Azamara and if at all possible book the latter as Celebrity has become little more than Royal Caribbean with a better veneer. 

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Tere Moana

April 2015 - 14 Night Transatlantic (St Maarten To Portugal) Cruise on Moana

Exceptionally Fine & Caring Service on Ideal Small Luxury Ship

Let me start with what I think distinguishes the M/S Tere Moana of Paul Gauguin Cruises from other small, deluxe category cruise ships: An outstanding on board staff, professional and truly dedicated to guest satisfaction, who enjoy working together as a well coordinated team. This is reflected in an exceptionally fine passenger experience.

The food is outstanding, both in regard to the quality of the ingredients and preparation. The included alcoholic beverages are top shelf and the complimentary wine of high quality.

While I had a stateroom with a nice balcony, holding both a lounge chair and small table with 2 chairs for drinks or dining (there is a large and varied free room service menu) on deck 5, I have seen the other stateroom configurations on decks 3 & 4, all of which are of generous size (there are no inside staterooms). The bathrooms are fine & functional, with showers that have curved sliding doors, rather than the clingy shower curtains found on other ships, and the toiletries are L'Occitane.

The bed (king size or twin configurations) is extremely comfortable with bed linens of the highest quality.

The officers, including the Captain, enjoy mingling & sharing meals with the guests (on this voyage both the Captain & Staff Captain were from Sweden).

The shore excursion options were well planned.

to summarize, on the Tere Moana, Paul Gauguin cruises provides an outstanding cruise experience, which can be recommended with enthusiasm.

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stufalk's Tips

Celebrity Millennium Celebrity Millennium - Don't waste your money by dining at Tuscan Grill: the main dining room is better.
Madeira, Portugal - Madeira is a scenic island with some great views. (If possible take High Tea at Reeds Hotel).
Lisbon, Portugal - Fascinating city, nice people: reminds me of a combination of Barcelona & San Francisco
Tere Moana Tere Moana - After a few days on board the Tere Moana you will feel like family, with all the staff members remembering your name as well as your preferences.
Azamara Journey Azamara Journey - Dine under the stars for dinner, at the rear of the ship, behind the buffet restaurant.

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was the FIRST member to check in for the roll call for Apr 22, 2019 cruise on Le Boreal!

added Apr 22, 2019 cruise on Le Boreal to their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Tere Moana cruise review - Exceptionally Fine & Caring Service on Ideal Small Luxury Ship

was the FIRST member to check in for the roll call for Sep 30, 2018 cruise on Westerdam!

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Millennium cruise review - Good Service But Less Quality & More Nickel and Diming

received a helpful vote on their Azamara Journey cruise review - Exceptionally Warm Hospitality and Great Itinerary

received a helpful vote on their Tere Moana cruise review - Exceptionally Fine & Caring Service on Ideal Small Luxury Ship

received a helpful vote on their Tere Moana cruise review - Exceptionally Fine & Caring Service on Ideal Small Luxury Ship

liked an answer to the discussion, Male Dress Code Question, on the cruiseline forum.

started a discussion, Male Dress Code Question on the cruiseline forum.