If you need to relax and want complete rest, this is the trip for you.
We left Orlando on a Friday afternoon and spent the night in Los Angeles. The next day we flew to Tahiti, where the air is fresh and the people are as accommodating as anyone could be.
We boarded Radisson's M/V Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship and were put into another world. We were waited on as if we were the only two people on board. All cabins have their own tiki statue to watch over you. Ours did its job well.
Radisson Seven Seas Cruise Lines doesn't want you to feel pressured, therefore, there's no tipping, and most of your drinks are included in the fare. We found that there were so many parties that we never had to buy a drink.
The food was great and the service was like nothing we have had before. The waiters and bar staff knew your name after the first time they met you and they made you feel completely at home.
Even the dress code in Tahiti is relaxed. A pair of slacks and nice shirt was the norm for men and a summer dress or slacks outfit for women. A tie and jacket was very seldom seen on board the Gauguin. During the day, all wore bathing suits and shorts.
On Deck 4 of the ship is the marina. This is an area at the back of the ship that opens into the sea for water skiing and kayaking (which is included in the price). This is also where you get your snorkel gear to use for the week's journey.
On Sunday, the children of Raiatea came aboard and sang and danced for us.
This island is very beautiful and lush. The tours give you an idea of the history of the Polynesians and the differences in their lives today. They still make plates from large leaves and many do not have enclosed homes with air conditioning.
On Tahaa you have the opportunity to see wonderful views from the high mountains and again the tropical parts of the island. There is a motu (islet) on this island that is private for Paul Gauguin passengers. It is a great place to enjoy the wonderful, calm waters and a great lunch prepared by the ship's staff. Once again, free drinks are provided in sand-friendly glasses.
Bora Bora is the place for shopping. The people on this island are not as friendly as on the other islands, but that is to be expected, since it is more of a tourist spot. On Bora Bora, you can get some fantastic pictures from the mountain ranges and overlooks that are provided for you. Bloody Mary's is a must stop for a cold drink. Ladies, check out the women's restroom. I doubt you will see another like it.
On Thursday, we sailed around Marlon Brando's island and found the stories very exciting. After this, we sailed into Cook's Bay. This is where we anchored for our view and tours of Moorea. This is where you will probably get your Tahitian black pearls. I thought I would not buy one, but to my great pleasure my husband did get me one. And, a grateful customer bought me a black pearl bracelet. So I have many special memories to hold in my heart of this wonderful paradise.
Before flying you home, Radisson puts you up in a hotel in Papeete for the afternoon. Your flight is around 10 p.m. When you leave the ship, a complimentary tour and lunch are available for those who wish to take it and then some rest by the pool or in your room is in order.
When you are looking for a special trip that will stay with you forever, try traveling to paradise.
Rose Mascarenhas is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel in Sebastian. Call (772) 589-0633.
Gadabout Travel also has an office in Melbourne. Call (321) 253-3674.