First time to Tahiti

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#21
Midwest
5,432 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
From what I've learned, Paul Gaughuin is tops for Tahiti and is pretty all inclusive, even including airfare from the west coast, but you certainly pay a premium for the experience. It may be on our list someday, but not currently willing to pay @ $12,000 for two people for 7 days.

We have just booked a unique cruise with Norwegian, part of their repositioning of the Jewel from Vancouver down to Sydney in October of 2017. We had no interest in the first leg to Honolulu and will just fly in to HNL a day or two early. Then it's 12 days down to Papeete from HNL including the ports of Kauai, Hilo, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Moorea and then Papeete where you overnight on the ship.

The second leg for us is 17 days from Papeete to Sydney including the ports of Raitea, Bora Bora a second time, Pago Pago, Apia, Suva, Lautoka, Port Villa, Noumea, Isle of Pines, Sydney. A total of 29 days, 18 ports. Of course the option is open to add on one or more Australia and New Zealand cruises on the same ship, but we will probably just land tour from Sydney a few days and then fly home.

29 days with NCL vs 7 days with PG for a savings of @$4,000 over the PG price for 7 days. I think it's a excellent value.
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Brenda
#22
Atlantic City, New Jersey
4,022 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
5 cruises on the PG and I never paid close to $12000 even for a 14 night cruise. Don't look at a balcony cabin or suite! I do hear you though regarding the 29 days on NCL. However - your 29 days will cost you a lot in booze charges if you drink and gratuities. Also water - something you will need. A 20 ounce bottle is $4. Even if you buy a water package it's a lot of money. The nickel and diming will drive you crazy. Take your NCL cruise and get a taste of FP, you will be back and take the PG. That's what happened to me long ago after a RCCL repo cruise from Auckland to Honolulu. Even my Princess cruises were cheaper but after all the extras it wasn't that much cheaper. It's not all about the money sometimes. Service, ambience, fellow cruisers, etc. Regarding these things, no one beats the PG. The big ships are also too big for a true FP experience.
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#23
Midwest
5,432 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by twin123185
5 cruises on the PG and I never paid close to $12000 even for a 14 night cruise. Don't look at a balcony cabin or suite! I do hear you though regarding the 29 days on NCL. However - your 29 days will cost you a lot in booze charges if you drink and gratuities. Also water - something you will need. A 20 ounce bottle is $4. Even if you buy a water package it's a lot of money. The nickel and diming will drive you crazy. Take your NCL cruise and get a taste of FP, you will be back and take the PG. That's what happened to me long ago after a RCCL repo cruise from Auckland to Honolulu. Even my Princess cruises were cheaper but after all the extras it wasn't that much cheaper. It's not all about the money sometimes. Service, ambience, fellow cruisers, etc. Regarding these things, no one beats the PG. The big ships are also too big for a true FP experience.

I hear you about the PG. A few previous PG cruisers have already been giving me the hard sell. Someone recently confirmed with me that his fare was @ $6,000 pp for an 11 day, and this is what I saw on the website recently. By contrast, I can do a base fare of $1,400 on an 11 day and a $2,000 base fare on the 17 day leg. Not to mention that other than Tahiti, I get to revisit a couple of the Hawaiian islands and see the other islands in Figi, Vanuatu, Samoa, New Caledonia as well as Australia at the end.

We have sailed NCL many times and enjoy the experience. We actually prefer them over Royal, Hal, Celebrity and Princess. We will have the free drinks package for the entire 29 days. We are happy with the tap water, but may bring along a brita cup. Because of the big difference in cost and longer itinerary, I just don't see going with PG this time. NCL may never offer this cruise for this price again, so I feel like I need to take advantage of the opportunity. But PG has been on our bucket list for some time, so hopefully someday.
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Brenda
#24
Atlantic City, New Jersey
4,022 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Cool. Holland America in March is doing a 33 day San Diego to San Diego going to 4 stops in Hawail, Fanning Island, Rarotonga then a week in French Polynesia. No international air which is very cool. Yes price pretty much the same as a PG 11 day. So I really do understand.
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#25
UK
732 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
The Paul Gauguin and Windstar cruises are good value. If you take an expedition cruise ship, which will give you an even better experience than the PG, that will cost a lot more. I think the best itinerary is Tahiti-Marquesas-Tuamotus-Mangareva-Pitcairn-Easter Island and that will cost at least $12000 per person, all inclusive.

The NCL ships, with their water packages etc, are completely alien to me and sound like hell afloat.
#26
127 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
We are looking at PG for Tahiti in October 2017. Am interested in your comment about not booking balcony or suite...how are the port hole and/or picture window rooms?

We also lived in Key West, Pensacola Beach, and Hawaii (husband) with several vacations in Caribbean and Hawaii. What makes Tahiti special or so different to spend $10-12K on a 7 day trip?

Wondering if Australia/NZ or Panama Canal would be better option - history, sightseeing, things to do. Besides FP culture, would like something more than just beaches and snorkeling.

Thanks for your thoughts!
#27
Arizona
1,190 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by 80/80 Girl
We are looking at PG for Tahiti in October 2017. Am interested in your comment about not booking balcony or suite...how are the port hole and/or picture window rooms?

Porthole or window cabins are fine and offer a much better value IMHO. The ship is small enough that you're never far from a weather deck and don't ever fell like you're in a huge hotel. The PG does have a very different feel to it and while we love it there are posters on CC who do not care for the PG at all.

We also lived in Key West, Pensacola Beach, and Hawaii (husband) with several vacations in Caribbean and Hawaii. What makes Tahiti special or so different to spend $10-12K on a 7 day trip?

We've lived in similar places as yo and IMHO the best beaches in the world are in the FL panhandle. IMHO, Fiji has the best snorkeling I've ever seen (but I'm a soft coral fan). FP on any ship is a great combination of stunning scenery, fantastic water activities, and exposure to a wonderful culture. Add in the PG and you add one of the most unique shipboard experiences we've ever had. We also had an aversion to the cost (and travel time) for a 7 day cruise so our first PG cruise was a B2B. Turned out to be less expensive to do 7 more days on PG than a 4 day pre or post cruise land stay. Another time we took the 14 day Papeete to Fiji trip on PG. this also breaks the per diem down some and makes the long flights a bit more tolerable. If you can book a cruise where Dr. Mark Eddowes (cultural anthropologist) is a guest lecturer, you're in for a real treat.

Wondering if Australia/NZ or Panama Canal would be better option - history, sightseeing, things to do. Besides FP culture, would like something more than just beaches and snorkeling.

We've also done the Canal and NZ and they were fantastic trips. Actually, I'd recommend the South Island by car rather than cruising NZ. If you want more than different culture, killer views, great snorkeling/diving, and a one of a kind shipboard experience, you may be disappointed. FP has some shopping, but not much. I think only vanilla and black pearls offer possibilities for good value. There are a couple of WWII gun positions on Bora Bora, several archeological sites, and working pineapple and vanilla farms to visit. Bora Bora also has the original Bloody Mary's. I do believe the emphasis is on scenery and water activities, though.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Hope these help.

Greg
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#28
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
I've made 35 trips around the world and have seen many incredible destinations, I may add about 4 trips to the Caribbean, once on a small ship with only 62 passengers.

I'm heading to FP for trip number 19 this summer. In all my travels around the world the most stunning is FP. Why did many write about Bora Bora being the most beautiful of any place on earth.

On can go to Hawaii or the Caribbean but once you take in FP nothing compares. Pictures are nice but until you see it in person you have not experienced it.

BTW, there are often specials and I've seen inclusive from LAX for under $3500 per person. Remember that the expense of getting to FP from the east coast is half the cost, the cruise line has no say over that. Air has always been expensive to FP compared to places equally as far. Hawaii receives more visitors in a week than FP does in a year, that is what makes it special, it isn't overrun by a ton of people. You go on a cruise in the Caribbean and the ship you're on with 4000 other people ties off next to several other ships of similar size. No compare that to a maximum of 320. The special thing about the PG beyond it's incredible crew is that captain has the discretion of moving the itinerary around to make sure the PG is the only one on the island whenever possible.

The port hole and window rooms are just like the balcony room minus the balcony. Many repeaters on the PG only book the window rooms, they are the 'deal'.
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Past Trips to the French Polynesia/South Pacific:
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 (2), 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017

Upcoming Trips to the South Pacific:
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#30
127 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Thanks Greg! Very helpful, thank you.
I might ask you and TahitianBigKahuna a few more questions.
I have asked for a quote for 11 day cruise but now will ask about B2B too.
Sidenote- I see you also live in AZ and are a naval academy grad. Husband is retired E8
(26 yrs). He prefers this type of cruise over his rack and boat food! LOL
#31
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by 80/80 Girl
Thanks Greg! Very helpful, thank you.
I might ask you and TahitianBigKahuna a few more questions.
I have asked for a quote for 11 day cruise but now will ask about B2B too.
Sidenote- I see you also live in AZ and are a naval academy grad. Husband is retired E8
(26 yrs). He prefers this type of cruise over his rack and boat food! LOL
Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish, be more than happy to answer any and all.
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#32
Kansas City, MO
985 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
I am going on a 10 day FP cruise in May staying in Papette for two days before and 1 day after. Can you tell me what currency is needed? I am seeing some tours quoted in USD, others in Euros, others in Pacific Francs. Do I need all three to pay for taxis, meals, tours, etc.--I am hoping not! I have never been to FP either.

Thank you,
Connie
#33
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by Edgewater601
I am going on a 10 day FP cruise in May staying in Papette for two days before and 1 day after. Can you tell me what currency is needed? I am seeing some tours quoted in USD, others in Euros, others in Pacific Francs. Do I need all three to pay for taxis, meals, tours, etc.--I am hoping not! I have never been to FP either.

Thank you,
Connie
Your best deals will be made with local currency as typically when you pay with Euros or USD the exchange rate they give is not good. So you really want to use CFP, some refer to it as XPF.

When you arrive in PPT go to a local bank and exchange. So not exchange at an international airport on your way as this is typically the worst exchange rate.

We typically exchange enough to pay for the local vendors and local excursions who wish to be paid the day of the excursion. Most larger purchases/stores accept CC and we use a Capital One Venture card as they do not charge a fee for foreign purchases, I assume there are other CC who do not as well but many do. Typically the exchange rate when paying by CC is what you would get from a local bank.

Vendors, cabs and eateries will accept Euros and USD but as I said usually not the best exchange rate.

An Example: Today the international exchange rate for CFP to the USD is 111.51. That is a great rate and one you need to take advantage of. Typically the local banks will be slightly under that rate. Most local vendors and excursions will give an exchange of 100 to 1. Doesn't matter if the bank rate was 90 to 1 the locals for some reason stay at the 100 to 1 rate no matter what. So ............ you exchange when you get there at the higher rate and then pay in local currency ......... saves you about 5% - 10%
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Likes: Traveling to the South Pacific on the Paul Gauguin and taking beautiful pictures.
#34
127 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Originally posted by Tahitianbigkahuna
Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish, be more than happy to answer any and all.
Okay now we are getting excited about Tahiti...now looking at the 10 and 11 day cruises. Would you choose one over the other for your first time? And why?

10 day including Tuamotus so Rangiroa and Fakarava islands or the 11 day which includes the Cook Islands of Aitutaki and Rarotonga

As you know PG offers the extended stays but would you really choose an over water bungalow in Tahiti compared to Bora Bora? Probably not going to extend our stay if we do the 10 or 11 day but want to ask just in case.

Do many passengers use the gym? I am pretty active and accustomed to running around the deck on the bigger ships. I am assuming with the smaller ship I wouldn't be able to do so and have to utilize the gym.

Have you cruised in the month of October before? Since it is on the fringe of rainy season was wondering if I need to re-think my months (previously it was November for my birthday/our anniversary until I saw it was rainy season).

Are there certain tours/excursions you think are must-dos? If so which ones.

Thanks again for your help!
#35
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Okay now we are getting excited about Tahiti...now looking at the 10 and 11 day cruises. Would you choose one over the other for your first time? And why?

10 day including Tuamotus so Rangiroa and Fakarava islands or the 11 day which includes the Cook Islands of Aitutaki and Rarotonga

Depends on the time of year. The Cooks are further south so during the months of December - February the Cooks will have less humidity and rain than the Atolls of French Polynesia. If the weather is rough the ship can not use tenders on Rarotonga or Aitutaki but Rangiroa and Fakarava the ship enters the lagoon where the waves are less.

As you know PG offers the extended stays but would you really choose an over water bungalow in Tahiti compared to Bora Bora? Probably not going to extend our stay if we do the 10 or 11 day but want to ask just in case.

If you're thinking a day or 2 forget Bora Bora, to expensive to fly out there and back to take in an OWB. Stay at the IC Tahiti which is the best resort on the island, has a great dinner floor show, close to a shopping cnter for snaks and close to the bus to go into PPT. If it's 3 or more days I would tell you to get off Tahiti and enjoy either Bora Bora or Moorea. Moorea is beautiful and has nice OWB rooms plus you can take the ferry, much less money.

Do many passengers use the gym? I am pretty active and accustomed to running around the deck on the bigger ships. I am assuming with the smaller ship I wouldn't be able to do so and have to utilize the gym.

The gym gets reasonable use, not a big gym but everything you need is there.

Have you cruised in the month of October before? Since it is on the fringe of rainy season was wondering if I need to re-think my months (previously it was November for my birthday/our anniversary until I saw it was rainy season).

Best fringe time is September to early October.

Are there certain tours/excursions you think are must-dos? If so which ones.

Many fine excursions on all islands both private and ship. On Rangiroa thin water. Fakarava think water, Moorea think land, Huahine is a toss up, Tahaa is Motu Mahana whis is like a free excursion, just enjoy the day. Bora Bora think water/lagoon cruise. Aitutaki think water, Rarotonga think land.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Things to see and do on Huahine.pdf (245.3 KB, 31 views)
File Type: pdf Moorea must do.pdf (576.4 KB, 49 views)
File Type: pdf Best tours & things to do on Bora Bora.pdf (169.1 KB, 54 views)
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1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 (2), 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017

Upcoming Trips to the South Pacific:
2018/2019 ?

Likes: Traveling to the South Pacific on the Paul Gauguin and taking beautiful pictures.
#36
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
BTW, you can see some of my pictures of French Polynesia on my instagram account.

https://www.instagram.com/tahitianbigkahuna/

I put up some new pictures every day. The latest one I put up this morning is my beautiful better half snorkeling on Mout Mahana.

Feel free to follow me
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Past Trips to the French Polynesia/South Pacific:
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 (2), 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017

Upcoming Trips to the South Pacific:
2018/2019 ?

Likes: Traveling to the South Pacific on the Paul Gauguin and taking beautiful pictures.
#37
127 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Thank you so much TahitianBigKahuna for all of this information and attachments. VERY helpful. I have printed out the responses AND the attachments.

Your photos are beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing the link. I will have to start an Instagram account just to follow you.

Another question for a first timer. I am not sure our budget can allow an over water bungalow stay if we do a 10-11 day cruise. Would it be better to do a 7 day with a 2 night bungalow stay or do a 10-11 day cruise and see more islands? I am thinking the latter but wanted your opinion. Thanks!
#38
1,196 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Originally posted by 80/80 Girl
Thank you so much TahitianBigKahuna for all of this information and attachments. VERY helpful. I have printed out the responses AND the attachments.

Your photos are beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing the link. I will have to start an Instagram account just to follow you.

Another question for a first timer. I am not sure our budget can allow an over water bungalow stay if we do a 10-11 day cruise. Would it be better to do a 7 day with a 2 night bungalow stay or do a 10-11 day cruise and see more islands? I am thinking the latter but wanted your opinion. Thanks!
Personally I would do the 10 day and maybe a day room at the IC including the transfers. This is true if you take the red eye ....

10 day cruise is better than 2 nights OWB and a 7 night cruise, IMO

Thanks for the kudos on the pictures
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Past Trips to the French Polynesia/South Pacific:
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 (2), 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2017

Upcoming Trips to the South Pacific:
2018/2019 ?

Likes: Traveling to the South Pacific on the Paul Gauguin and taking beautiful pictures.
#39
127 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Originally posted by Tahitianbigkahuna
Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish, be more than happy to answer any and all.
What is considered premium liquor by PG standards?

For laundry services, PG says to request prior to cruise but do they offer specials when onboard?

Regarding dining, my husband is a Hawaiian shirt/shorts/flip flops kinda guy. Not excited when I told him he has to wear dockers for dinner in a tropical climate. Can we order room service if we don't want to dress up?

Haven't started to look but since you are into photography any suggestions for point and shoot underwater cameras?

By the way, called today for pricing on the other October cruises for Cat F. All sold out until December sailings. I started to panic BUT we have a hold on 10day sailing Cat E which included 2 night IC hotel stay pre-cruise (incl a few meals) plus post cruise day room and shipboard credit. Getting excited and trying to get my parents to join us!

Thanks for all your help!
Lynn
#40
Arizona
1,190 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by 80/80 Girl
What is considered premium liquor by PG standards?We had Macallen's 10 single malt, Maker's Mark bourbon, Jack Daniels and Tanquerey Gin while we were on board. But that was some years ago.

For laundry services, PG says to request prior to cruise but do they offer specials when onboard?

Regarding dining, my husband is a Hawaiian shirt/shorts/flip flops kinda guy. Not excited when I told him he has to wear dockers for dinner in a tropical climate. Can we order room service if we don't want to dress up?The dining room is air conditioned so the "climate" shouldn't be an issue there. There was an outside dining venue (reservations required) but I don't know if that still exists.

Haven't started to look but since you are into photography any suggestions for point and shoot underwater cameras?I bought a Panasonic XP for about $120 at Costco a year ago and it takes great photos. It's only good to 10 M though. It's point and shoot (and that took me a while to get the hang of aiming) but it's settings include an underwater setting that puts a bit of the red back in.

By the way, called today for pricing on the other October cruises for Cat F. All sold out until December sailings. I started to panic BUT we have a hold on 10day sailing Cat E which included 2 night IC hotel stay pre-cruise (incl a few meals) plus post cruise day room and shipboard credit. Getting excited and trying to get my parents to join us!

Thanks for all your help!
Lynn
Hope the above helps.
Greg

PS we leave for FP on Saturday; we'll be on Sirena...10 of us in the family going.
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