Happy Birthday to Susan and I.. we made it! We flew from Hawaii to Los Angeles to catch the Air Tahiti Nui flight to meet our Paul Gauguin Cruise. We stayed one night at the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey and would highly recommend it as a 1 or 2 night pre/post hotel stay on your way to Tahiti, Fiji or beyond. We stayed on the Concierge floor (incredible food and service) and sampled the restaurant and lounge/music. You can ride a bike all the way down to Santa Monica, work out in the gym or soak in the jacuzzi. The beds are dreamy. Today, Sept 20, is Susan's Birthday. We must have received 4 boxes of chocolates in a 24 hour period from the hotel. I like this hotel! I think I will have to stay here more often!!!
Air Tahiti Nui was a very pleasant suprise. Although the seats were quite close together, they were comfortable. Delicious coach meals (2 of them) and good french wine.... made the almost 8 hour flight go by quickly.
On 21 Sept we were met at the airport for a private transport to the ship. I arranged this to avoid the crowds associated with the bus arrivals. It went smoothly and we were onboard in no time. Customs in Tahiti is a piece of cake. They process you very efficiently and courteously.
Our Balcony room is what I dreamed it would be. Lots of storage and... a bathtub! I have never been on a cruise ship that has a bathtub in my room. After dinner (the food is outstanding) we enjoyed the band on deck as we set sail under a full moon. The mini bar in our room is stocked with softdrinks and beer. We are allowed to order 2 bottles of wine or liquor as part of our cruise passage. Wine is served, complimentary, with lunch and dinner. All tips are included (except dining on shore and tour/excursion guides). No nickel and diming here!