Posted October 28th, 2013, 03:42 AM
Hi Jacs - it was a great cruise, wasn't it? I had hoped to meet up with you at one of the parties.....but we just never crossed paths.
TravelBugs77 here's what we did in the ports:
Papeete/Tahiti: I had organised 2 small buses to accommodate 8 people each to do a Circle Island Tour. Company was Adventure Eagle Tours. I wish I could recommend them, but not so. Following is a copy of my letter to the owner with whom I negotiated our tour.
Our group of 16 did your Circle Island Tour with Adventure Eagles Tours on 11 October as planned. However, we were all very disappointed that instead of the two buses for eight passengers each we were loaded into a large school bus. This is not what had been negotiated - see emails below.
What we expected:
2 small air-conditioned buses for our group waiting for us on the dock
Tour to begin at 1.30pm (4 hour tour)
To be able to easily hear tour guide/driver
To see the Venus Point lighthouse during the tour
What we got:
One large school bus with other passengers included.
Tour began at 2pm and concluded at 6.30pm (5 and 1/2 hour tour)(some of our group had made plans on board the ship for 6pm and not only were they late, they had no time to change and shower etc).
There was no microphone for the guide to use on the large bus - this made it very difficult for both passengers and the tour guide.
We did not have time to visit the Venus Point lighthouse.
I chose your company over Maramar Tours as I had read on Trip Advisor that this exact same thing had happened to people booking Maramar tours and when I contacted that company they could not promise me that it would not happen to us. You were happy to promise the 2 small buses so I gladly went with you. There had never been a mention that your company included small pre-booked groups on the larger tourist bus - you had great reviews on Trip Advisor. Sadly for you I will be posting on both Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic what happened to us - I wish others to be prepared for what could happen.
Our driver was fantastic - good, safe driver and very helpful. Our guide was good I'm sure - just too difficult to hear what she had to share - and too difficult for her to keep shouting all day.
Many of the cruise people simply teamed up and got taxis on the dock. This worked for some and not for others. The happy ones either got a driver who could speak English or luckily they had someone in their cab who could speak French and translate. The unhappy ones got to see the island - but complained they had no idea what they were viewing.
One very happy couple who had someone who could speak French in their cab were delighted with their tour. Said their 85 year old female driver took them everywhere and gave them an excellent tour, took them to places where they could sample the local food and presented them all with small gifts.
Bora Bora: We did Patricks Tour http://www.maohinui.net/en/
and it was excellent. $200US/p and definitely worth it. We did the combo tour so in the morning we were in 4-wheel drive vehicles exploring the interior of the island and all the great viewing points. Fabulous.
We were then taken out to the Motu where we had lunch. BBQ and lovu. Lobster, mahi mahi, pork, chicken with spinach in coconut milk (yum!), cervice, breadfruit, taro, tapioca, pink plantain bananas and poi. Yum. Plus fruits.
Then it was our turn to go snorkelling - beautiful fish galore, swimming with the manta rays (which sucked on our legs and we could pat - very velvety). Next was swimming with the lemon sharks. Fabulous day and awesome experience.
Moorea: We chose to book another island tour - didn't want to spend two days in a row in the sun all day. This time bus was good, as was our driver/guide. Company was Alberts Tours. $40US/p from 9.30-12.30.
On completion of the bus tour we went to Le Tipaniers hotel by cab - $5/p where we spent the afternoon on their beautiful beach. Cruise pax were welcome as long as they left deck chairs free for hotel guests. We could use all other facilities. It was lovely and relaxing and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
The Intercontinental Hotel does not welcome cruise pax.
Auckland: No tour booked here for us. We caught ferry across to Devonport and wandered around this beautiful historic village. Caught bus up to Takapuna and back. Then back into city to Sky Tower. Lots of jumpers off the tower when we were there and a group doing the sky walk. Great views.
We had intended to check out the Maritime Museum as well, but we ran out of time.
Bay of Islands: Loved this place!! We were in a group that had pre-arranged a sailing day. Website www.yachtphantom.com/
- can definitely recommend this if you like to sail. $110NZ 10am - 3pm including a home baked lunch which was very delicious.
We tendered from cruise ship to Paihia, then boarded the complimentary shuttle to Waitangi and from there got the ferry to Russell where the Phantom was waiting for us. We had time to explore the historic village of Russell before we jumped on the yacht. Sailing in the Bay of Islands was simply perfect. Great day, great people, great sailing and great lunch.
Sorry this is such a long post but hope it is helpful.
Enjoy your cruise
Gemini 2/1998 Singapore to Phuket
Rhapsody of the Seas 2/2008 Sydney to Perth
Vision of the Seas 9/2009 Istanbul to Athens
NCL Jade 10/2009 Athens to Istanbul
River Countess 10/2010 Black Sea to Basel, Switzerland
P&O Pacific Jewel 8/2011 Sydney to Fiji
NCL Pride of America 11/2011 Hawaiian Islands
P&O Pacific Pearl 3/2012 NZ
Rhapsody of the Seas 12/2012 Sydney to Cairns
Rhapsody of the Seas 3/2013 South Pacific
P&O Pacific Jewel 6/2013 Sydney to Melanesia
Celebrity Solstice 10/2013 Honolulu to Sydney via Tahiti
Voyager of the Seas 2/2014 Sydney to Tasmania
NCL Sun 05/2014 LA to Vancouver
Celebrity Millennium 05/2014 B2B Vancouver to Anchorage
Celebrity Century 09/2014 San Francisco to Sydney
Celebrity Century 02/2015 Asia Interlude (from Singapore)
CMV Marco Polo 07/2015 Baltic Cruise
CMV Marco Polo 07/2015 Commemorative Cruise London to Montreal
P&O Pacific Pearl 10/2015 Mutiny on the Bounty, South Pacific
P&O Pacific Jewel 11/2015 Five Ship Spectacular, Sydney Harbour
Ovation of the Seas 06/2016 Singapore to Beijing
P&O Eden 08/16 Singapore to Cairns via Indonesia
Vision of the Seas 11/2016 Mediterranean
Vision of the Seas 11/2016 Greek Isles
Vision of the Seas 12/2016 Middle East
Azamara Quest 02/2017 Panama Canal