Paul Gauguin Cruises is known for our expertise in luxury, small-ship cruising in Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Seas. Each month, we are profiling one of our team members and showcasing his/her experiences, tips, favorite things, and memories in this beautiful area of the world.
Dorina Shea is member of our reservations department and is a cruise specialist. In 2013, she traveled on the m/s Paul Gauguin on the Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage with her husband and kids—Ariana, age 16; Alissa, age 14; and Nicolas, age 9. Previously, in 2010, she and her husband cruised as a couple on the same itinerary aboard The Gauguin.
What was your kids’ favorite memory of the trip?
The highlight of the trip for all three kids was the Sting Ray Ballet and Snorkel Safari shore excursion in Bora Bora. Ariana also enjoyed Motu Mahana, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ private island. Another favorite was the island of Moorea where Alissa snorkeled and Nicholas had fun hiking.
Did the kids participate in Ambassadors of the Environment Family Program?
All three kids had a wonderful time in the Ambassadors Program—loved the naturalists and making new friends that they still keep in touch with.
What was their favorite part of being onboard The Gauguin?
Ariana loved Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins—The Gauguin’s own troupe of Polynesian entertainers. Alissa enjoyed the Polynesian shows at night in Le Grand Salon, and Nicholas savored all the delicious food!
As a parent, was it important to introduce your children to the local culture and people of French Polynesia? What impact did this have on them?
From the moment I started at Paul Gauguin Cruises, I wanted so badly for my children to experience this trip and the Ambassadors Program. It was the trip of a lifetime, and my children fell in love with the Tahitians! So much so that my son was not happy until we bought him a pareo—and then he proceeded to wear it every night to dinner over his shorts!
Do you have any advice for parents thinking about taking their children to Tahiti?
Tahiti is not just a romantic destination for lovers. It also offers so much to families. The culture, the cuisine, water activities, and land activities are limitless. The beauty of the destination and views are amazing.
What is the best part about your job?
I get to speak with people every day who are planning a cruise on The Gauguin. For some, it is a bucket-list experience, and they are excited and so happy.
What three words describe the Paul Gauguin Cruises experience?
Phenomenal. Priceless. Magical.
How do you compare traveling to Tahiti with only your husband vs. the whole family?
It was two different trips. The first time with my husband, it was everything you can imagine with your spouse—very romantic, and we chose to relax more often than not since we were away from young kids for the first time. With the kids, we were very busy and participated in more watersports and physical activities.
Name a “must-do” family activity or shore excursion?
Paul Gauguin Cruises has a private, white-sand beach in Bora Bora that is complimentary to guests, and it is simply magical.
Any packing suggestions?
Bring lots of bathing suits.
Recommendations from a parent’s view?
Give your kids cultural experiences. Let them see that the world is an enchanting place!
What was your favorite moment on the cruise?
Each voyage, a local Polynesian dance group comes aboard and performs in Le Grand Salon. My husband and my son were pulled up on stage to dance, and they were celebrities after that for the rest of the cruise.
What was your favorite island?
My favorite island was Moorea. We took the Trails of the Ancients Trek shore excursion there. The hike was informative, and the scenery was breathtaking.
What was your favorite excursion?
My favorite excursion was the Sting Ray Ballet and Snorkel Safari in Bora Bora.
What was your favorite meal aboard The Gauguin?
It is not possible to pick just one. We do have special memories of our favorite waiter, Jupin. We made sure we sat in his section in L’Etoile five of the seven nights. He would automatically bring a plate of French fries to our table each night for the kids. My favorite person was our amazing bartender, Elmo, who only asked me once what drink I would like on the first night of the cruise. I said a martini, and each night he would surprise me with a new flavor.
To view the Tahiti & the Society Islands itinerary, please click here.
For more information on the Ambassadors of the Environment Family Program, please click here.