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pacheco18

Bruno's L'excursion bleu

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This outing looks fabulous. We are, however, novice snorkelers. How much of the day involves snorkeling and how difficult is it? Shallow or deep water?

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If you are not good swimmers and good snorkelers, I would advise against going on the snorkeling. We went this past Jan., and the water is somewhat shallow, and it is a drift snorkel. The water current will take you through the coral area. BUT, with the water being shallow, you will run into alot of the coral. I got banged up on my knees and arms, since I am not a good swimmer/snorkeler. Alot of the other members in our party did too. If you decide to go, you can just skip the snorkeling part, and wait for them to return by the beachy area. The boat will stop in the water, and you get out and walk about 50-100 ft. to shore. Water is very shallow, under knee deep. Here is a picture of the shoreline.

 

The rest of his day was great. We did the vanilla farm, pearl factory, and luncheon on the motu. However, just recently some cruisers went on this excursion, and were not happy with it. They are experienced travelers, read through her live post here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1069434

 

Hope this helps you out some.

995931259_hawaii.tahiti.parttwo.raiatea039.jpg.bee9ee6b0bee3148131a0bfec2c335da.jpg

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Debbie - thanks so much for the heads up

I read through that thread and I am DEFINITELY looking for an alternative - never mind the snorkeling part - the whole thing sounded awful. The whole point of a private tour is to stay away from the mobs. I wonder if he just got too complacent!

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Good Morning!

We are the ones that just returned from Tahiti/Bruno's Tour and since we have been on this excursion in the past, it was easier to compare the last experience (about 5 years ago) with this one.

 

The tour has really changed and we found it nothing like it was in the past. Bruno has changed the vanilla farm visit to one now used by the ship that is more commercialized then before. You have to wait as tours go through a very small (tiny) area, and they have a commercial hut set up for purchases. Unlike the farm he took us to in the past that was a real look into a working vanilla farm and a private experience.

 

The visit to the pearl farm was the same, and very interesting for those that have never seen one before. But again, tour after tour was waiting to enter.

 

The lunch was very disappointing as it is now at the Lagoonarium instead of a private lunch on a small Motu as before. It is more of a buffet type lunch with lots of others around, and even another small group. The Lagoonarium is sure showing it's age and not all that interesting. More like a small water zoo with animals in small water cages.

If you are an experienced snorkeler (strong currents) then you can snorkel off the side there, but most did not as it was quite rough.

 

Bruno seemed almost disinterested in his tour group and seemed even moreso that he was just going through the motions to get through the day and collect his money.

 

We had another couple join us at the last minumt that were very excited on what I had reported on the tour previously, but even they seemed quite disappointed in what they received for the price (and so were we).

 

The coral garden is a tough snorkel unless you are experienced. One of them even bailed out about half way through as they could not keep up with the group through the passage or understand Bruno's instruction (and they are scuba divers) which means they are quite strong swimmers.

 

I personally will not recommend Bruno to those visiting anymore. There are other tours that can be booked right close to the pier for 1/3 less money and much better. IMHO!

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Toto2Kansas,

What kind of currency do they accept?We are thinking of waiting until we get there to book our excursions. Is it a good idea?

Thanks

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I'm planning to book something at the pier too. Did you happen to see if anyone was offering a tour that included both snorkeling and a trip up the river?

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I'm going to give Bruno another chance--had a great trip March of '08 and again once before--I might be sorry and I promise I'll telll you what it's like--I also must say that there have not been other tours where we were in both the previous trips--and it's been 1-1/2 years since the last trip with Bruno--I think that the lunch on the Motu may be where we were the last time--Bruno got into some pens with some strange water creatures--there were others at the Lunch not from our boat. I'll keep in touch on this issue--who knows we may jump ship but I doubt it. I'll let you know in a couple of weeks from now how it goes.

 

 

Nancy:D

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Toto2Kansas,

What kind of currency do they accept?We are thinking of waiting until we get there to book our excursions. Is it a good idea?

Thanks

 

We didn't run into anywhere on our cruise that didn't take USD this time. Not sure about the Taxis as we didn't use their services. But we used USD everywhere we went without any problems at all. In fact, we came home with some of the money we exchanged (always a good sign when we do that as it normally means we will return someday soon ;)).

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I'm planning to book something at the pier too. Did you happen to see if anyone was offering a tour that included both snorkeling and a trip up the river?

Sorry, I didn't pay that close of attention, I just know that many we spoke with booked snorkeling and other tours right on the dock.

 

I was actually surpised this trip at how many tours were offered on every island right on the dock. It used to be that Bora Bora was one of the few places you could pick up whatever you were looking for right on the pier at about half the cost. But now, the tour operators seemed to be everywhere on each island.

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Seal, you will have to let me know what you think after you take Bruno's tour. For us it could be because we so enjoyed the privacy the last time with no other tours in site, that we just weren't expecting to see so many other people at each stop, and Bruno delaying our arrivals to wait for other tours to leave.

I can tell you one thing, you won't even recognize Bruno now, he has a very short haircut, and I had to look twice to make sure it was him. ;)

Will look forward to your impressions upon your return.

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...sent me the following email in response to recent posts:

 

"Hello,

 

I greet you all and thank you for allowing me to know better the American people that before 2002 I could only see in movies.

In Polynesia, the islands of Raiatea and Taha'a are not much visited by American travelers and your ships are the best ambassadors.

They forced me to rise my English language level .. average :-) is the reproach that this charming person forgot to mention, at least this is one I feel the most guilty.

 

My tour is evolving like everything else because we are led to see that humans are also evolving. I remember having visited 4 pearl farms, whenever I left the farm when they stopped working to make only the sale.

The pearl is in crisis, there are currently 15 farms Taha'a Pearl most of which were closed during the past 5 years, and only 2 "real" pearl farms open to visitors. The pearl farm Champon and another situated West Coast.

 

Regarding the vanilla is not better, I left the farm "Lo Sam keou" because they were only drying and had stopped growing.

The last one was good about plantation visit, but less well for drying because they were not dryers professionals and were drying only their own vanilla that was insufficient, which led them to buy vanilla dried by others and to practice high prices. I forgive them too because this visit was good, but they have asked a payment / visitor, more for me because i take 12 persons maximum, and less for others brinding 30 or 60 persons. I have been the last to leave this one.

That's when Brayan Moeata and launched their case vanilla, I waited several months before joining. Real plantation to visit, drying professional (5 tons this year), hospitality and products labeled for the first time.

It remains this year 3 buyers dryers Taha'a vanilla, one can be visited : Bryan & Moeata.

I leave to your logic the task of understanding why some visits are busy days when 500 people arrive, my work is intended to minimize potential inconveniences related to the crowd. Imagine that some tours of 30 people land everywhere without warning on the hour, that leave my intuition to hasard.

I invite " Toto2Kansas " to come alone in French Polynesia, she will meet less people :-).

 

The meal on the motu is more complete and varied than before and offers a much better comfort, many people know it, it is one of the highlights of the tour.

The meal motu used before was more root, provided good food freshly fished but less varied and with less comfort . In addition, guests ( protestant deacon ) had the good idea to steal $ 5,000 by stealing checks in my checkbook. The case is still in court.

 

The coral garden is a wonderful place, the only visit I will keep if I had to reduce the program. Anyone can visit it at its own level, people coming with me must snorkel normally, which is not always the case. I profitte opportunity to tell you that I am often frustrated that people do not follow me into the water when I stop they continue straight ahead and forget that I have the pleasure to show them the best i know in this garden.

The others have the choice to visit the garden directly from the boat to the reef, thereby avoiding the sensation of being swept away by the current and allows them to progress at their convenience. I am the only excursion offering a batiscope to see under water by walking without diving your head in water. When I try to explain it on the boat, I am not sure to be well understood.

Everyone has the opportunity to discover the garden according to his ability, even without swimming because the landscape is paradisiac.

 

My program is copied by several trips but no one offers to cruise passengers because it is more profitable to take 60 people at $ 40 with many short tours than 12 people $ 140 full day with more important costs including meals.

 

I do not pretend to be able to provide an equal quality to all my tours, i experience external constraints that i try to minimize, I can say I always do the most to provide satisfaction.

Other thing, I keep the photos of all my tours, i can generally email them for free to persons emailing me with the date of their excursions. I work often after 10pm to store them after excursion.

 

These criticisms relate an excursion where people thanked me warmly and gave me a tip, it is surprising that the same day another person has so many words to hurt, i don't have only friends but I am convinced that the nuance exist also in your beautiful country.

 

 

Thank to all ! "

 

Bon Voyage & Good Health!

Bob:)

__________________

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Thanks for passing along the message from Bruno--it reads like other messages we have received from him in the past--we'll be on the cruise of the 29th and meet with Bruno at that time--as I remember it used to be the Shell Station !!--We went with him the last time about 1-1/2 years ago and the only crowds were at the Motu for lunch--just us at the Pearl farm and the vanilla farm and the Coral Gardens.

 

Nancy:D

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I am not suprised at Bruno's response.

 

I am comparing the tour just taken to one we accompanied him on our last visit to Tahiti. If you have never taken this tour before, you may enjoy it, but we did not as we had the previous excursion to compare it to.

 

The one reason we repeated Bruno's tour is because we enjoyed being away from the crowds and the private experience of these places visited. It just was not so this time.

 

Our tour did have a very small group onboard on their first visit to Tahiti, and of coarse they were amazed with everything they saw. They had never snorkeled in Coral Gardens in the past, so were impressed with every site.

 

I am not meaning to be hurtful to anyone, just reporting on the difference we found in the tour between the last visit and this one.

 

I will again say, of all the tours we took in Tahiti, this tour ranked at the bottom of the list in comparison to the others.

Sorry if that is not what some (including bruno) wanted to hear, it is just our fellings and observations (four in our group, two repeat customers, two new customers). I honestly felt so bad for the two new comers that I suggested this tour to, that I offered to refund what they paid, yes, I felt that guilty as they just did not enjoy themselves and I felt I had described it to them incorrectly as it is offered now as I was not aware that the tour had been changed.

Since we arrived back so much later than we were supposed to at the pier (not until after 6:00 PM), we also missed the children's show onboard, which was very disappointing to everyone.

 

I will be anxious to see what others have to say after returning from their cruise that booked with Bruno. ;)

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I'll definitely post on this thread after our day with Bruno--I've already given my memories of the last time with him about a year and a half ago--Well--just now too a shower--where I do my best thinking--anyway--I have no great desire to go to Bloody Mary's---but I ALWAYS do--ir holds very fond memories for me since I was there in the beginning with the inside of the bar area held 5 or 6 tables--you were waited on and shown some boards with fish that were just caught--I don't care for the lining up in front of a buffet and being told what you see and how much--had I not been there before I'm sure that it would not bother me--I also preferred their bar which probably held 6 people at any one time--a few years ago we went to Bloody Mary's for dinner and it was really busy but a place down the strret called Keana Hut was recommended--some owners and employees thought it was the greatest and it was !!--then on the trip 1-1/2 years ago we were going to take friends there for dinner while staying on Bora Bora--what a shock--HORRIBLE--found out later that the chef had moved on--I'll try to find that chef on this trip--anyway--I'm glad we went to try it again before we took them--and then we took them to Bloody Mary's again.

 

 

 

I guess what I'm really saying is that unfortunately things that you like change when you don't want them to and the reason you liked them so much has gone--I miss Keana Hut the way it was--I HOPE not to miss Bruno the way he was. Hope I make sense--I'm not going to read this because if I do--I'll probably not send it

 

Nancy:D

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Seal, maybe I need to explain a bit why we book private tours in especially Tahiti.

 

It isn't about saving a few dollars over going with the ships tours, that has nothing at all to do with it. We book private tours for the quality, and the small intimate groups and the extras that are provided without the hassle of facing other tours, waiting for groups to leave, or sharing a noisey lunch with a group of others. We look forward to meals that are more traditional in preparation for each place we visit also. We enjoy the smaller quiet atmosphere of private tours, and like with Marc's excursion, we received exactly that. Our group was the only one to visit all of the places on the excursion with Marc (as it used to be with Bruno), which was perfect for us, and the group thrived. After being onboard ships, with lines, crowds and waiting, we much prefer the relaxed feeling on private tours. We enjoy the fact that food is prepared in front of us, and we are shown how some of it is made, we enjoy the personal touches of the tour operators sense of humor, and the descriptions of what we are seeing along the way.

 

Since you are also a repeater for Bruno's excursion (although you seemed to have taken the newer one in the past and not the one we received on our last visit), I will be anxious to read your honest feelings on this.

 

Again, my apology to anyone that my mini review of Bruno's tour offended. I have always given my honest feelings and thoughts on things like this and have no reason to exaggerate or give false information. Honesty is what I have been known for on CC for many years, and I will not give a tour or cruise a good rating when I don't feel as if they deserved it. Since no two passengers will give the same report on anything onboard or on shore, reports like mine you can take or leave at your leisure.

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We take both private and shorex depending what and where--I'm not one for getting on a bus for an extended time--we also prefer small groups--I have to admit that we do not choose our activities by price--I told John about your Video Poker wins--I had the first Royal that either of us had--it was a big one if you can believe $6400--Progressive Dollar machine--that was my first and last--John gets them all the time--we used to spend Christmas in Lake tahoe--our first hotel to hit after unloading our goodies in the condo--the past 2 years he's won a Royal on the fullly loaded dollar machine within less than an hour of our arrival--

 

Anyway--I never thought that you took private excursions because they were cheaper--the only one I'm kind of concerned about now is Marc--we've been with him before just one time--I think that I like the shorex with the lady better--waist deep in the water for lunch and dancing--we've done that one twice--so it's time for Marc--I doubt that we'll be making a return visit--at least not for awhile--it was needing to use up Air France and we didn't want to fly to Europe--so away we go tonight--if I ever finish packing--you know--one bag for Bora Bora and the other for the cruise--to be left across the street from FAAA at the flower shop.

 

Nancy:D

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Nancy, Have a great trip. Make sure if you see Roni, Marco, Daniel, Johnny or Joel' at Sabatinis for breakfast or at the buffet, you give them a big smile and a hello from Mr. & Mrs. Adam. Since we just left, they will probably remember us still. (otherwise, I am sure they would have forgotten ;)) Roni and Marco both became very dear to us throughout this cruise, and we will miss them. That doesn't usually happen to us with the staff, but it did this time, as they were all such a joy to be around.

 

Tell John that the largest win I saw, or heard of, in the casino on our cruise was just under $3000 on a pull slot. ;)

 

I hope you have great weather, as we did, and a fantastic time! Safe travels to both you and your hubby. :)

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but Bruno was one of our all-time Best excursions!!! Only been with him once and it was excellent.

 

That may be the problem .. only 1 trip ... nothing to compair it to. How ever the 1 we were on was still fantastic.

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but Bruno was one of our all-time Best excursions!!! Only been with him once and it was excellent.

 

That may be the problem .. only 1 trip ... nothing to compair it to. How ever the 1 we were on was still fantastic.

 

We also had a lovely excursion with Bruno a few years ago. Great tour and I recommended it highly to others when we returned. We found it just not the same now as it was back then, IMHO! It may not even been totally Bruno's fault, the masses of other tours at the same places at the same time make it totally different now, we felt. Maybe between the other tours visiting at the same time, and possibly Bruno had an 'off' day that day, we may never know. ;)

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Seal,

When are going back, if you don't mind saying? We were there two years ago and did Bruno's tour. We thought it was excellent. I'm anxious to see what your opinion is of it this time, so please do post when you get back. We are headed that way again next year and are taking two people with us who have never been. We have raved about Bruno's tour so before booking would like to know how it's changed. Look forward to hearing your comments. When we went we were the only ones at the vanilla plantation, pearl farm, lunch and coral gardens. He made a point to do the tour so we wouldn't run into everyone else at the same time. Sure hope that hasn't changed.

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Seal' date='[/font']

 

When are going back, if you don't mind saying? We were there two years ago and did Bruno's tour. We thought it was excellent. I'm anxious to see what your opinion is of it this time, so please do post when you get back. We are headed that way again next year and are taking two people with us who have never been. We have raved about Bruno's tour so before booking would like to know how it's changed. Look forward to hearing your comments. When we went we were the only ones at the vanilla plantation, pearl farm, lunch and coral gardens. He made a point to do the tour so we wouldn't run into everyone else at the same time. Sure hope that hasn't changed.

 

Just boarded the Pacific Princess a few hours ago----we'll be on the tour with Bruno whenever that is--obviously sometime whitin the next few days--we sail at 5 pm tomorrow--I'll definitely report on the excursion after we have the experience--I do hope that it isn't as crowded as was mentioned--maybe that was just a bad day--let's hope so-- the past 2 excursions with Bruno have been great---we have had other people at lunch but not at the pearl places nor the Vanilla Plantation or the Coral Gardens--I'll be sure to get back to you and any others who are concerned about this excursion with Bruno.

 

Nancy:D:D

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Seal,

 

Thanks so much and have a wonderful time....who couldn't have a great time in Paradise. I envy you.

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Just boarded the Pacific Princess a few hours ago----we'll be on the tour with Bruno whenever that is--obviously sometime whitin the next few days--we sail at 5 pm tomorrow--I'll definitely report on the excursion after we have the experience--I do hope that it isn't as crowded as was mentioned--maybe that was just a bad day--let's hope so-- the past 2 excursions with Bruno have been great---we have had other people at lunch but not at the pearl places nor the Vanilla Plantation or the Coral Gardens--I'll be sure to get back to you and any others who are concerned about this excursion with Bruno.

 

Nancy:D:D

 

Hey Nancy, glad to hear you are now onboard. How is 'OUR' suite? No rain on the balcony I hope. Are you enjoying the new frig we had installed for you? :) Not sure if you read my post, but after looking back at pictures, I think the balcony is the exact same size as the Tahitian Princess was. It may have been our limited access to it (raining on our parade) for that first 11 days that just made it seem smaller. ;)

 

I am waiting also for your report, and hope we hit Bruno on a 'bad day'. It will be several days before you get there, so will check back in afterwards to read your report after the excursion.

 

I hope the weather cleared, I have been watching the web came to see how it looks. Waiting now for sunrise which will give me a much better look. Keeping my fingers crossed for you for beautiful weather for your next 10 days. Enjoy!

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