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DavidTheWonderer

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About DavidTheWonderer

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Toronto/Dunedin Fl/Ottawa
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    French Polynesia

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  1. Dr. Michael Poole is a practicing marine biologist working in Moorea. When his schedule permits, he runs tours and his boat is docked at the Opunohu Bay dock. If there are whales, he will know and take you to see them. Otherwise there are dolphins. And your tour fee supports his great work. I've taken his tour many times. Even if there are no whales or dolphins, which occasionally happens, you will get a great view of Moorea from the water and Michael is a great source of information on not only the marine life but also the culture and history of Moorea. Here's his web site: http://www.drmichaelpoole.com/tours.htm
  2. That does not match my experience, which was on Mariner. i wandered in and out of the observation lounge a few times during the transit, and there was always seating. I'm not saying you're wrong, but it didn't match my one experience. And the ship was full. Although the observation lounge is a nice place for the transit, lounges in the stern such as the Horizon let you see where you've been; this is a nice alternative after the first couple of locks. And looking over the side from either a deck or a balcony gives yet another great perspective on the operation, so you can watch the "mules" pulling the ship along. When you're close to the Pacific side of the canal, the South side of the ship will let you see Panama City. The transit takes a few hours, so you can wander around and watch the process from a number of different viewpoints.
  3. Certainly Avis is convenient. I haven't used them, but have been happy with Albert's, who pick you up from the ferry dock.
  4. For once, I completely agree with Travelcat2. The Paul Gauguin is a better choice than either Regent or Oceania to experience French Polynesia. And if you calculate the "all in" cost comparing Oceania and Regent, depending on the particular cruise you can end up surprised at how little difference in cost there is.
  5. I certainly do. Dark days indeed. But Ponant is a very different operation than the circle jerks, so there is reason to be optimistic.
  6. When we first sailed on the PG in 2000 there were a fair number of French passengers on board, in sufficient numbers that French was the second language of the ship. Now the French are not present in greater numbers than other European countries. Perhaps with Ponant that will change. Here is a cringe-worthy story about this. In 2003 you will recall that there was a large anti-French sentiment in the US, largely because France refused to get involved in the Iraq war adventure. So, "French fries" became "freedom fries", etc. At that time the PG was French flagged, the ship's crew including the Captain were French (not the hotel staff), and course French Polynesia is a French protectorate. And we had a fair number of French passengers. So at the sailaway party the Captain welcomed the passengers in English, and then in French. When he started the French welcome a small but loud handful of Americans started to boo.
  7. If you really can predict 2 years out. I'll fire my financial advisor and hire you.
  8. Uh ... that would be 2014 and the PG was just there for the day. An hour to get across the lagoon sounds about right, but for us the water was smooth. Perhaps emdee got the PG to stay there long enough for this excursion: she and PG corporate work together in planning these reunion cruises. I'm just a passive consumer so don't know these details.
  9. In Rangiroa we did a tour called "Reef Island" or something similar that involved a boat across the lagoon, a spectacular picnic lunch on a beach combined with snorkeling and playing with a horde of reef sharks. We visited the "aquarium" and the breakwater as part of the tour when we got back. Can't find the name of the tour organiser, but Miriam ("emdee" on this board) organised it as part of a reunion cruise. Perhaps she will see this post and remember the name. In any case, it was a lovely day.
  10. Sometimes it is called "open dining" where one just shows up at, say, the main dining room whenever you want. Wendy and I often have a brief conversation as we approach the maitre d' about whether we wish to join and meet some new people or wish to dine alone. This flexibility requires that the cruise line allocate sufficient space and staff in their dining rooms, which costs money: that's why it is almost unheard of on mass-market lines.
  11. This is a consequence of the fact that more of the space on Mariner is devoted to the public areas, which is why their cabins are smaller than Voyager. There is so little to choose between them that I would ignore which ship and instead concentrate on itineraries and dates.
  12. The staff have clearly been told that guests of passengers are an opportunity to show how wonderful Regent is. So, the always great staff are even more great with guests. Last time we had guests aboard, Regent never did charge us; of course we never asked why.
  13. Funny, but I've never experienced left-overs from an open bottle of champagne. 😋
  14. I too go back the the Radisson days. Immediately after they dropped the PG, quality had some issues, but now they are better than ever I think. The CEO lives in Tahiti, has a Tahitian wife, and is very committed to efforts to revive the Polynesian culture, which the missionaries tried very hard to obliterate.
  15. There was a time when there were a fair number of French passengers on the PG, but those days are long gone. Similarly, the ship's crew tended to be French, although the hotel staff (the servers, bartenders, stewards, etc.) have always had lots of Philippine folks with a smattering of people from other parts of the world. Even then, English was the first language on the ship with French the second language. In my experience, now there is little French being spoken on board and I don't recall any significant Japanese either. The Polynesians themselves know Polynesian, are educated in French, and are almost universally fluent in English. Some have also picked up some Japanese.
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