Currently sailing on the m/s Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia is Cruise Director Michael Shapiro. Michael is a favorite with guests, whether he is performing onboard, sharing his expertise about French Polynesia and the South Pacific, or simply mingling with them.
A noted singer and actor, he joined the ship in 1998 after working as a performer on Royal Cruise Line, Sitmar Cruise Line, Cunard, American Hawaii, and Radisson Seven Seas. His credits include the dramas All My Children, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live—cast as the head waiter. Michael also spent a year performing extra and under-5 work on Saturday Night Live. Musical theater credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Music Man, and most recently Bush Is Bad and Play It Cool in Los Angeles, where he was nominated for Ovation and LA Weekly Awards. When not in the Tahitian Islands, he makes his home in Los Angeles.
Cruise Director Michael Shapiro
Here is a little more about Michael and some insider tips about traveling in the islands.
Q&A With Michael Shapiro
Q: What items do you never travel without?
MS: A tropical shirt and blue jeans.
Q: What is your favorite island in French Polynesia?
MS: Bora Bora. To me it’s the most beautiful and striking island. Every time I see Otemanu, I hear in my mind the overture to South Pacific. It is what I always dreamed paradise would be.
Q: Top three favorite shore excursions?
MS: The Stingray Ballet & Snorkel Safari in Bora Bora, Aito Off-Road Safari in Moorea, and Trails of the Ancients – Trek with Mark Eddowes, also in Moorea.
Q: Insider tip for cruising on The Gauguin?
MS: I always say do one land and one sea excursion for each island to really understand and see the beauty. Get to know the local people and experience their magical charm.
Q: If you had your own travel show, what would it be called?
MS: Actually, this is a dream of mine. “Travels with a Global Citizen.”
Q: Favorite island dish (on shore or on board)?
MS: I love banana poi. Hawaiian poi has never been tasty to me, but Tahitian poi comes in several varieties: banana, squash, and vanilla.
Q: What do you like best about being a Cruise Director?
MS: The incredible people I meet and mentoring the Les Gauguines team. It’s extremely rewarding.
Q: Travel Motto
MS: The more I travel, the less I've seen. There is so much in this world to see and explore, and I never lose the travel bug. Each time I check a place off the list, there are 10 more to replace it. There are so many fabulous, wonderful places I'm still longing to see.
For a more in-depth look, behind the scenes, on traveling in the South Pacific on The Gauguin, please click here for an online presentation by Michael.