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Paul Gauguin Cruises: Tere Moana

  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises
  • Paul Gauguin Cruises

Tere Moana Cruise Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

A very small yacht-like experience with languid sailing to very exotic and unusual destinations.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Very active luxury ships with several enrichment choices daily.

Onboard Experience

Last year, Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the Paul Gauguin, widely hailed as the most luxurious ship in French Polynesia, acquired m/v Tere Moana from French Cruise Line Compagnie du Ponant, where she had sailed as Le Levant since her 1998 debut. This small, 3,504 grt vessel is an intimate, all-inclusive cruise experience with a guest capacity of 90. She was launched by Paul Gauguin Cruises as Tere Moana in December 2012 and sails the Caribbean in Winter and Europe in the Summer.

Tere Moana got off to a rocky start (both literally and figuratively) when guests aboard early sailings complained of faulty stabilizers and inferior cuisine. has found that while Tere Moana remains (as of this May 2013 writing) a work in progress, the commitment and excellence of her on board management and crew has led to significant enhancements that, if continued, will likely position Tere Moana as a favorite among fans of small ships.

Tere Moana isn't for those seeking round-the-clock activities, lavish production shows and multiple dining venues. In fact, the ship's Salon is the social heart of this tiny vessel, its talented and versatile keyboardist/singer its only nod to traditional entertainment. Instead, this is the ship for those seeking an uncrowded cruise experience, the luxury of all-inclusive dining, beverages and gratuities and a destination-focused sailing. With a capacity of 90 guests (and significantly fewer in these early days sailing as Tere Moana), fast friendships are forged and lively conversation and laughter fill the Salon each evening as groups of new friends share their experiences ashore.


Blonde woods, ivory metallic leathers and upholstered cushions in blues, beiges, browns and white adorn Tere Moana's Salon, while blues and beiges comprise the color scheme of La Veranda as well. Curiously, Tere Moana, sailing in the Caribbean and Europe for the foreseeable future, sports a great deal of the French Polynesia theme of its bigger sister, The Paul Gauguin. From backlit Polynesian art prints in the Salon to framed posters of Marlon Brando in his Tahitian paradise, the artwork often seems out of character when one looks out at the mountains of Montenegro or the gondolas of Venice. Even the on board shop is filled with Tahitian black pearl jewelry.

Public Rooms

The Salon is the social heart of this tiny vessel, where the talented and versatile keyboardist/singer is the only entertainment.

This is the ship for those seeking an uncrowded cruise experience, the luxury of all-inclusive dining, beverages and gratuities and a destination-focused sailing. With a capacity of 90 guests (and significantly fewer in these early days sailing as Tere Moana), fast friendships are forged and lively conversation and laughter fill the Salon each evening as groups of new friends share their experiences ashore.


While breakfast remains unchanged throughout a sailing with eggs, cereals, breakfast meats and breads the main offerings, lunch often reflects an international theme, usually featuring local dishes of the day's port, i.e., Greek, Italian, Croatian, American, etc. Meal times are brief, with breakfast typically ending at 9:00 a.m. or as early as 8:30 and lunch typically served from noon until 1:30 p.m.

Children's Facilities



Acquired from French Cruise Line Compagnie du Ponant, where she had sailed as Le Levant since 1998.


The indoor/outdoor La Veranda offers a breakfast and lunch buffet each day. On most nights, dinner is served in L'etoile at a single seating. Comfortable chairs and blonde wood walls adorned with framed prints lend a homeyness to this single-level dining venue which could be improved with lower lighting. The restaurant serves a menu that includes appetizers, salads, soups, main courses, cheese and desserts, all complimented by the evening's wines.

On one evening per cruise, guests abandon the restaurant in favor of a very special evening at La Veranda. Perhaps Tere Moana's signature event, this indoor/outdoor dining experience kicks off with a selection of appetizers, plated and served to each guest rather than in the more typical family style. While guests enjoy the shrimp, bruschetta, prosciutto-wrapped cheeses and other delicacies that comprise this extravagant beginning, Tere Moana's excellent crew is igniting the grill for a decadent lobster tail and steak bake, supplemented by a pasta station that includes not just alfredo and marinara sauces, but a towering pile of the freshest clams swimming in a heady broth of white wine and garlic. And what's for dessert? Cherries Jubilee.


High levels of unobtrusive service - but expect to be pretty much left alone to read, watch the television, etc.


Included in fare.


Eight "Category A" balcony staterooms measure 298 square feet while the remaining categories - B and C - measure 194 square feet. Staterooms are beautifully designed and appointed with king size bed and luxury linens, ample closet space, iPod docking station, refrigerator stocked with beer, bottled water and soft drinks (replenished daily), complimentary in-room movie channels, and umbrella. Bathrooms include shower only and feature L'Occitane toiletries.




Smart casual 24 hours per day.

Fellow Passengers

Tere Moana attracts mostly couples, aged 45 and higher. While guests tend to be sophisticated and well travelled, the experience is not one with a strict focus on education.

Ship Overview

During the winter season, Tere Moana sails on week-long round-trip cruises from St. Martin to destinations in the British Virgin Islands, French West Indies, and French Antilles as well as longer voyages of up to 14 nights that range as far as Aruba, Curacao, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama. After crossing the Atlantic, she roams the Mediterranean in summer months, offering seven-night itineraries, either round trip or one-way from Barcelona, Lisbon, Civitavecchia (Rome), Venice, Athens, or Istanbul.

The second vessel acquired by Paul Gauguin Cruises originally entered service in 1999 for French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant Cruises as Le Levant. After an extensive multimillion-dollar, multifaceted renovation, the boutique ship debuted as Tere Moana with a luxurious new look—chic and stylish with Polynesian touches similar to her fleetmate Paul Gauguin—in late 2012. The extreme makeover of Tere Moana included new furniture, upholstery, art, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, flooring, floor coverings, and a soft color palette throughout.

More megayacht than cruise ship, Tere Moana’s public spaces are small but include a high-end spa, a small fitness center equipped with the latest cardio and weightlifting equipment, and water sports marina from where kayaking and paddle boarding are available in select ports. Although there are two restaurants, there is only one lounge for daytime lectures and nightly entertainment. You will find a generous library space on board but no casino. Deck space, with its pool, bar, chaise longues, and Balinese sun beds, is adequate for the small passenger complement.

With one ship built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific and synonymous with luxury and exotic destinations, Paul Gauguin Cruises remains a top choice for discerning travelers and honeymooners. The MS Paul Gauguin has been in service since 1998 and lays claim to being the only luxury ship in history to have offered a single-destination focus and high level of expertise on a year-round basis for such an extended period of time. The line now has a second ship that will sail in Europe and the Caribbean.

The well-loved ship sailed for over a dozen years under the flag of Radisson (later Regent) Seven Seas Cruises until the ship was sold. Paul Gauguin Cruises began in 2010 with the single ship when the Paul Gauguin was acquired by Pacific Beachcomber SC, the largest luxury hotel and cruise operator in French Polynesia. In order to offer similarly luxurious cruises in other regions—Europe in summer months and the Caribbean during the winter season—the line introduced a second vessel, MVTere Moana in 2012.

Intimate and luxurious, Paul Gauguin ships offer a cruise experience tailored to the regions in which they sail. On board you can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool or simply relax poolside in a deck chair, with a good book and a beverage from the nearby bar. You won’t want to miss the Fare Tahiti art exhibit in front of La Veranda restaurant on Paul Gauguin, although you may want to bring your own reading material as the library has only a few shelves of mostly English-language books. Passengers aboard Tere Moana fare a bit better with a larger library. A relaxed atmosphere prevails throughout both vessels, but the cruise line definitely has a split personality, with voyages on MS Paul Gauguin limited to the South Pacific and those of MV Tere Moana as varied as the Caribbean and Europe.

What You Should Know


  • Ship’s small size means you’ll get to know other passengers
  • Dining is elegant, but the ambience is casual
  • The water sports marina offers complimentary use of kayaks and paddleboards


  • With a limited number of stateroom balconies, you’ll have to plan ahead to get one
  • There are no facilities for children
  • The ship is not suitable for passengers requiring accessible accommodations
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 57
  • Entered Service 1999
  • Gross Tons 3,504
  • Length 330 feet
  • Number of Cabins 45
  • Passenger Capacity 90
  • Width 46 feet
  • New

Apr 16, 2013


Tere Moana Over Promised Under Performed As an aid to future TM travelers, I offer the below in the hopes you're expectations fall in line with Paul Gauguin's new offering of an intimate small ship experience. We were part of a family group of 14 on a proposal/wedding announcement gathering. We had a good time over the week spent on the Tere Moana and always make the best out of almost any situation thrown at us. In summary, we paid

top dollar for a five star experience and received a middle-of-the-road product. The phrase, Over promised and under performed best describes my feelings about PG. Any comparisons regarding Tere Mona's facility, services and activities to the MV Paul Gauguin are inappropriate at this time. Using the Paul Gauguin reputation to market the Tere Moana experience falls short. In the main restaurant, Lâ'Etoile, the presentation was EXCELLENT. The soups were OUTSTANDING, the lamb was EXCELLENT, and the rest of the meals(s) were VERY GOOD. However, the filet mignon was INEATIBLE, and my every nightly steak was tough and served cold. Waiter Arnold was delightful, attentive and strived to excel at dinner, breakfast and every time we came across him onboard. Not under his control, but I rate TM's overall dining service as only GOOD. I conversed with the Maitre D' and we came up with the following explanation: In our group (table for ten), the men were destined to get plates that had been cooling down while the waiters had everyone's meals readied and then politely served the women first. Compounding this were long delays between courses. Tere Moana needs more waiters for the bigger table(s) and/or you need to get seated at a smaller table. With the proviso that meal evaluations are highly subject to individual opinion, I gave Tere Moana an EXCELLENT rating in the La Veranda, no complaints here for breakfast or lunch. I actually enjoyed these hot meals more than the drawn out formal dinners. Toward the end of the week, breakfast selections did become monotonous but this was understandable for the small ship TM is. Of note to those reading the PG brochures, there may be two dining venues advertised / pictured, however, TM really operated only the La Veranda for breakfast and lunch, and only the Lâ'Etoile for dinner. We personally did not partake of room service, a result of grumblings from fellow passengers. On a positive note, the staff occasionally extended the lunch hour to accommodate late returning ShorEx participants. The Tere Moana's staterooms do get a five star rating from me; plenty of hangers, drawers and closet space. Excellent towel exchanges, very timely, in fact quick, room turn-arounds while we breakfasted. Air conditioning was a little cool, but preferable to sweating like our friends did down the hall. Here is where I have learned from past cruises to select a cabin away from the entry and foyers. A recommendation for the bathroom: The wall mounted hair dryer is very old school. It gets excessively too hot to handle well before the wife's hair was any where near drying. We envied our friend who brought her own dryer. I was delighted with the selection of travel books in and the small and cozy layout of the library/computer room. Both the guest lecturer and the steel drum duo were EXCELLENT and refreshing. A good cruise is what you make of it. Taking into account the TMs small size limitations, evening entertainment consisted of a one man piano bar singer with a naturally limited music selection. Piano player Alex, however was the glue that held us passengers together. He jumped right in to keep the lounge lively. Alex made it happen. PG's "drinks included" policy also helped a lot in this area :-) Ours was the Spring Break, sailing which had ~75 passengers (holds 90). This very small ship is NOT at all conducive to small children ... we had none which is what should be expected on a "luxury" sailing. Embarkation/Check-in at Galisbay Port was a major inconvenience due to French security's inability to handle the back-up of early arriving passengers. Over an hour of more in the blazing hot sun, so bring your own sunscreen and water. The comment from Tere Moana's hotel director was, "Not my problem, that's port security." While it may be out of her control, it was a problem! Avoid "Problems" by NOT getting to St. Martin, Marigot (Galisbay Pier) earlier than 16:00ish ! Regarding port information and ShoreEx, cruise concierge Manuel was the nicest guy with a very pleasant disposition, however his port information was woefully inadequate. We were especially disheartened regarding the advertised marina water sports. What good are kayaks if they are unavailable for our use? Sadly, we Tere Moana passengers were relegated to Big Eye Liberty only watching the Wind Surf's passengers enjoying swim call off their fantail. In my opinion, PG headquarters failed Manuel. One of the pax on our Baths tour was said to be a PG representative. When we asked her, Why didn't PG send an advance man down to reconnoiter the ports? she said PG did. Who ever this guy was, he/she missed the mark! The Tere Moana brochures promised activities, itinerary and services that were not provided. I spent many hours researching and planning only to be surprised when receiving final documents with changes. Cruise Critic forums had much better information. I was left to fend for myself as our departure date neared, eventually forcing me to make the decision not to book any activities on my own. I had to go with PG's high priced (albeit well executed) ShoreEx primarily because I had lost faith in the Tere Moana's ability to keep schedule on a planned itinerary.

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