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About delee78

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  1. Going to offer a slightly different experience... I loved the aft OC suites on 11. When both aft OC's were booked solid on a cruise to FP, I booked a VS instead. I had heard most of the same feedback that that is mentioned above. I was expecting the balcony to be pretty much useless, which was a complete bummer for a cruise to a place like FP. The balcony on the aft OC suites was the reason it was my favorite accommodation on Marina or Riviera. Well, the VS (12001) was nothing like what I had anticipated. It is true that you can't use the balcony at night when the ship is moving. But you can use it during the day while underway. We only had a single 4-hour window during the entire 12 day itinerary when we could not use the balcony during the day. This was due to high winds. We spent more time outside than inside the suite. It is a much deeper balcony as well in comparison to the OC. I found it much more functional in general - especially when we hosted friends! Additionally, the TV is in a separate room in the OC suite - in comparison to having the TV in the living area of the VS. I am not a huge TV person while on vacation, but the two people that I most often travel with definitely appreciate having the TV in the convenient location. Last advantage to a VS - the absolutely, stunning, amazing views coming into port. Just one example from Bora Bora. I had booked an aft OC suite for a subsequent cruise. I still love it. However, I booked a VS for my next voyage in February. I think that based on my experience, I now have a new favorite location on the O class ships!
  2. I booked my Highclere tickets in January for our August 2019 cruise. It was the first ticket that I purchased - even before airfare. Another recommendation if you book the morning session. The grounds open at 9:30 but the castle doesn't open until 10:30. Get in the queue for the castle by 10am! We walked the grounds for an hour and then decided to get in line. Oh boy - big mistake!
  3. Another vote for the Marriott Circular Quay in Sydney. Amazing location!!! Some of the views from the high floors can take your breath away. You can use Marriott Bonvoy points if you are a member of the program. There are other options in the area that might be a bit cheaper but still offer the location with easy access to the city centre, harbour bridge, and opera house. As others said above, Darling Harbour is also a fun place to stay and sometimes can offer competitive rates in comparison to hotels near the Quay. I stayed at the Hilton on Moorea. It is a beautiful place but, in addition to most of the big resorts on Moorea, is rather pricey - Hilton, Intercontinental, Sofitel. I believe that an OTW bungalow is going to cost over $600USD per night for a cheapest option. Hotel points are a great option if they have any available.
  4. I avoided booking the Vista suites for so many years because of the wind issue. I always booked the aft Oceania suites. When I finally ran into a cruise where the aft OC's did not become available, I decided to try the VS. We lived on that balcony - I think we spent more time outside than we did inside the suite. There was only one afternoon at sea where we could not use it because of high winds. I am kind of mad at myself for not trying it out earlier as the suite itself is a bit more to my liking in comparison to the OC. The TV is in the living room. There is no noise from above (in comparison to the aft OC with the Terrace above). Also, the balcony is huge with room for multiple chaise loungers, chairs, and a full table. The OC aft wrap-around balcony does not have a full table and there is only one lounger and two chairs. (I can speak from personal experience for 12001 and 9001 on O class ships) Just wanted to provide another perspective. All super high-class "issues" to ponder!!! There is a chance that I just got lucky with the weather.
  5. Oh, I forgot to mention our flight experience for the return trip. We took the 8am Air France flight from PPT-LAX. Hate to say it again, but Hoopster details that flight in his review (we just happened to be on the same return flight). He also provides a lot of background on each flight option that was available in 2018. At that time it was only AF or ATN. I believe that you can now fly UA to SFO and there is another low cast carrier option (is it something like French Bee?). I remember that there were really only two timing options for returning to the US. You left at around 8am or you left at night on a red eye. We were already staying an additionally two days on Moorea and Tahiti post cruise, so the 8am flight was a no-brainer for us. However, our cruise did return to Papeete at 11pm the night before disembarkation. We could have easily made a 8am flight that morning (Oceania Air actually provided a charter at 8am). Just providing some background if you want to return immediately following the cruise and don't want to wait around for the night flight options.
  6. Hi Terry! Sorry - I am late to the party, but wanted to make sure you saw Hoopster's review of an Oceania FP-only itinerary. I included a link below. He did an amazing job providing advice and tons of details on each island. I also love that the link photo that appears below is a photo that I took of a dessert pizza on Moorea. Oh my goodness - so yummy. If you go to Moorea, make sure you get to Allo Pizza. In the photo you shared a few posts above on this page for Moorea - I can provide my personal experience! I stayed at this resort. Actually, so did Hoopster. He details the resort in the first page of the review. If you look at the right side of the photo, third outward facing bungalow from the end was where we stayed post cruise. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Really, every place that I went in FP seemed to take over the 'most beautiful place I have ever seen' title. For me personally, Bora and Fakarava were my favorites. We did Patrick's full day combo tour in Bora. The details are in the link below. The second day in Bora, however, my husband and I did our own thing and decided to explore the local environment. We went for a run to Matira beach, which is a public beach near the tender port. It was an amazing day. In Fakarava, we took Ato's tour that Hoopster details in the review. Hands down the most amazing tour I have ever taken on any cruise or land vacation. When I close my eyes and picture a beautiful, calming location - it will now and always be Fakarava or Bora Bora. I used to live in Sydney and traveled to NZ on a regular basis. You are in for such a treat. Enjoy every moment and let me know if you have any questions!
  7. Hi there! Here you go! I also did Bruno's tour. We had a blast. You can see our photos in Hoopster's review, but very similar! Can't WAIT to hear about Bora Bora. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
  8. Oh my goodness!!!! So excited to follow along!!! I haven't been on Oceania forum for a bit, but something told me to check it out this morning. What a great surprise! I get to relive some great memories. Enjoy every moment. Especially that Oceania Suite! My favorite location on the entire ship. I agree with your comments on the IC Tahiti. I loved the bungalow and the service, but the overall tropical, water experience could not compare. But, it looks like you have Bora Bora coming up, so everything is about to change in that area . I can't wait to hear your experience - are you diving?
  9. I am currently planning tours for our BI cruise in August. I have cruised for a number of years and seen quite a few different tour standards based on region. Typically, tour companies want payment onsite at the start of the tour or a deposit. I completely understand how this could be risky for the tour providers, but wow - the tour companies that I have contacted in Scotland, Ireland, and England all require full payment up front. And cancellation policy is in their favor. They would not adjust the cancellation policy if the ship was unable to dock or drop anchor. I almost gave up and took the ship's tour options but then was given another option - add all of the tours to your travel insurance policy. I just did this and feel a bit better about the risk. And, I get to take the tours that I wanted to the places that we wanted to see. This won't help with the risk involved with booking the tour and then sharing the cost with fellow cruisers. I just came to peace with the idea that worst case, I would pay for the entire tour and we would get a more personalized day. If others join, then better yet. For two ports, I did book the non-private option of being on a big bus with many other people. Downside is obviously the crowd and the transportation coordination needed to get to the tour pick-up. Upside is definitely the cost - 25% of the cost of the private tour.
  10. Oh my goodness, you are going to have a blast!!!! You are going to paradise! As soon as you arrive in Papeete, you will feel the stress totally melt away! I wasn't aware of a Holiday Inn in Papeete. If you booked through IHG, then you probably are at the Intercontinental. It is 10 minutes tops from the airport. I stayed at an overwater bungalow at that property in March. It is AMAZING. you will love it. Just send them an email and they will help confirm the ceremony details. I also took the ferry to Moorea after our cruise. There are two ferries that go from Papeete to Moorea. They are located right next to each other. Super easy. Just take a taxi from the IC to the ferry pier. Pay for your tickets, drop off any bags with the porter and then just relax for the 30-40 min ride. The Avis is right across the street from the ferry in Moorea. Just reserve ahead of time and the car will be ready for you. The link above to Hoopster's review of the March cruise will be really helpful. It includes two stops in Moorea and a TON of detail. It will also include the IC in Papeete. As for tours, I can help you there as well, but it might just be easiest to read Hoopster's review and either one of us can help you get contact info for the tours that interest you. Definitely second Patrick's tour in Bora Bora. One of kind, highlight of the trip. Just email them and see if they have availability. Their company name is Maohi Nui. What suite are you in? We were in 12001. I did a review of that suite on Hoopster's review if you want to get an idea of the features/style. Please let me know if you need any information!
  11. You have to love it when a company gives two people two completely different options! I was told that there were two options - a day pass which gave you access to the grounds (and they wouldn't take your bags as you weren't a guest) or a room at the full rate (which at the time was over $400USD for the cheapest option).
  12. I have seen so many Papeete posts today that I felt bringing this thread to the top of the list might help out some folks about to embark on a FP cruise! My friend Claudio did such an amazing, comprehensive review on the March 2018 PPT-PPT 12 day itinerary. It is a long read, but so worth it if you would like a sneak peak into what you have waiting for you... PS - To help answer that question in advance - pure heaven.
  13. Isn't that the truth??? My TA told me about the 11pm arrival in Papeete before we left for the cruise and I didn't believe her. Turns out she was absolutely correct! You might be able to ask the same question to at least provide a bit more comfort going into the vacation.
  14. Intercontinental was the first hotel that I contacted in February 2018. They did not offer a day room at that time. I had to purchase a room at full rate and pay an extra fee to hold the room until the morning arrival. From what I have gathered, they used to offer day rooms but have changed the policy. I have heard that some folks have had luck with calling within a week of arrival and they might offer you an option if the hotel is at low capacity. There were two options that I found - the airport hotel and the Fare Suisse. The airport hotel will not let you book in advance - you just have to show up upon arrival in Papeete and they will give you a day room if available. The Fare Suisse was booked.
  15. Very, very true! I will find out in August and report back !
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