Raitea/Tahaa: Arrived and met Bruno for his tour with a lot of the CC friends by the Shell gas station. Overall the tour is fun, but thought there was a bit too much time at the pearl farm, especially as most of the men were bored while the women bought pearls. That being said, did find a nice pearl here. Vanilla farm, lunch and lagoonarium were all OK. Then the drift snorkel.
Agree completely with other people here who have written to say Bruno doesn't explain things very well prior to the drift. Some tips he gave the people in front but not the rest of us who were lagging a bit behind: DRIFT and FLOAT, try not to fight the current. It is VERY shallow in places and you are drifting right over coral and sea urchins. I got a fairly good coral cut on the arm right when we got in as the current starting taking me in a wrong direction. Try to keep your eye on Bruno and go where he goes; the only instruction we got was "in 100 meters turn left" but there was much more zigging and zagging he did. Wear booties and gloves here. We were also glad we had the rash guards here too. The snorkeling was very good, lots of good fish and fairly good coral. FP does not have really good coral in the shallow areas due to the El Nino that hit 5 years ago and killed much of the coral. But the fish are spectacular and water is very clear in most locations.
After heading back to the ship, stopped by the doctor's office to check on treatment for the coral cut. She said basically wash with soap and water every day and keep it dry. After it started healing I put neosporin on it and that helped.
Overall impression was OK for the Bruno excursion, but I think next time would like to see more of Raitea itself; it's a big island. Probably would do a 4X4 here or a combo 4X4/snorkel.
Bora Bora: As a surprise for my husband, I had booked a 17 foot Boston Whaler with guide to take us snorkeling and around the entire lagoon for 3-4 hours. This was with Moana Tours which has a link from the Tahiti Tourisme or Tahiti Travel sites. They were FANTASTIC. They picked us up right there at the dock right at the time and location they said they'd be. When we first headed out a rain squall came through and it was too rough in the first part for me to snorkel so I visited with the guide while my hubby was in the water. Then the squall passed and we headed to another snorkel spot which was FANTASTIC. The fish were used to being fed here as they came right up to us, the water was crystal clear and it was just spectacular. Note: we took only 2 underwater cameras, and the ship sold out of its underwater cameras quickly--take more. You'll want them! Then we went to one of the motus and just swam, then all the way around the lagoon stopping at spots here and there. We had scheduled the ray snorkel trip through Princess the next day and had told Moana I didn't want to go anywhere that the Princess tour was going and we didn't. It was fantastic and I can't recommend it highly enough; definitely one of the best things we did on the trip. Guy that owns it is Frank and they respond to email quickly. They have a website and coupons for discounts. They were great. The 17 foot takes 4 people, and the 21 foot 6 people so you could do this with others too.
We had scheduled the Taravana sunset with our CC friends and finished this Moana tour at 4, so rushed back to the ship, rinsed off and tossed on some other clothes and then raced off to catch the tender back over. Made it about 5:15 and then we did the sunset cruise for 2 hours. Was nice and peaceful.
Next day did the Princess tour Ray ballet and snorkel, both of which were fine.
Moorea/TP day: We ended up renting a car here and driving around the island since we were going to be here for 4 days after the cruise. The island is beautiful. We have decided we liked Huahine the best for overall South Pacific ambience, Bora Bora for the lagoon and being in the water, and Moorea for its geography. It's really breathtaking. Couldn't do the normal 15 minute hike to the waterfall because the rains had washed out a good portion of the road and it now takes 1.5 hours to make it to the waterfall.
Found a nice place to eat during our drive which was the Sunset restaurant at the Hibiscus Hotel near the Petite Village. You need to walk through the fares at the hotel to get to it, but it's right on the beach and relatively cheap. We also bought baguettes here at the grocery store, wine, cheese, and bottled water. Bread is price fixed at 43 cents; one of the only true bargains in all of FP.
Part 3 will come with disembarking, ferry to Moorea, a big favor done for us by Albert Transport, Moorea Beachcomber, etc.
Any questions, let us know.