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Johnny B

John and Diane's Amazing Adventure - Part III

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You really are having a bumpy ride and hope you will hit calmer seas very soon. I do enjoy reading your daily posts. It sounds like the Super bowl party onboard was fun even for 49r fans.

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February 7 – Day 33

At Sea

 

We have our new “marching orders,” and a letter from the captain has provided the updated information on dates, ports, and times. His missive made mention of the storm at sea which “necessitated a 24-hour day for prudent seamanship” and caused an itinerary change.

 

The new schedule calls for us to arrive at Easter Island on February 11, one day later than scheduled, and be there from 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM. There seems to be general good feeling about the continued inclusion of this much-anticipated port, and I’m sure we’ll be up well before 7:00, and John will no doubt be out on one of the decks with camera in hand. We have a tour scheduled with our “specialists” from Seattle, and I can’t tell you how much we are looking forward to it. I think John is anticipating it as much as he was our overland tour in Egypt in 2008.

 

After leaving Easter Island, we will not be having our offshore call at Pitcairn Island. The practice there was to anchor and have the residents come aboard to talk to passengers and sell merchandise, but I guess that’s not going to happen. The people who have Pitcairn tee-shirts from previous cruises are looking pretty darned smug. The captain did announce that he’s going to try to at least cruise in sight of the island, but even that’s in doubt. I was told by a more experienced passenger that we can buy those tee-shirts at the Night Market in Hong Kong, so it may all work out in the end.

 

We’ll arrive in Papeete one day late, on February 16, but because we’ll need to take on food and fuel, our call will last until 10:00 PM instead of the earlier departure that had been planned. We haven’t decided what to do when we’re there, but we do like the market in the center of town. One of the possibilities is to take the 45-minute ferry across to Moorea for the day, but no decisions have been made yet. Another thing that a lot of our friends like to do is to go to a luxury hotel, have lunch and then spend the afternoon on their beach. It’s usually OK with the hotel, and it’s certainly OK with us.

 

We’ll call at Pago Pago on February 19 instead of the 18th, but only from 8:00 AM until 1:00 PM. I believe that’s where Stein Kruse, the CEO of HAL (great name, doncha think?), will join and will stay aboard until Sydney. The “word on the street” is that Pago Pago had to be included because Mrs. Kruse had never been there and was anxious to visit. Who knows?

 

We’ll then arrive in Sydney right on time, February 25 at 8:30 AM, but instead of docking in Circular Quay, between the Sydney Bridge and the Opera House, we’ll be in Darling Harbor, about a 15-minute walk away.

 

In order to apologize for the storm and subsequent changes, which certainly weren’t under the control of the cruise line, the captain has said that “on Wednesday, February 15, for your enjoyment and as a gesture of goodwill, please enjoy complimentary wine or soft drinks with your dinner that evening.” I guess the idea is that if anyone is unhappy, there’s nothing like free liquor to make them happier.

 

Tonight we’re looking forward to a pre-dinner party given by our friends Martha and Bob to celebrate Bob’s time on board. Martha generally is on the WC every year, but because of Bob’s work, he can only come on for a short time. This year, he boarded in Buenos Aires and will disembark in Tahiti. Based on the ship’s philosophy of how to make dissatisfied passengers happier, the party should make all of us very jolly.

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"Martha generally is on the WC every year"

 

We know that WC must mean World Cruise, but it also has a very different meaning, particularly in Europe :p

 

If the captain feels he must atone for an unavoidable delay and rescheduling, then 'open bar' at the Explorations Cafe would be nice, too!

 

Best wishes for a successful landing on Easter Island.

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Diane and John,

 

You have a bonus in docking at Darling Harbour as you have been to Sydney before and so you will see a different area altogether to the normal berth at Circular Quay. There is a lot to see and do around Darling Harbour and it is an easy walk into the main shopping area of Sydney.

 

I hope you get to Easter Island, my fingers are crossed but who knows what Mother Nature will serve up.

 

Jennie

Edited by Aussie Gal

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Hello John and Diane, I very much enjoy your reports,especially the Super Bowl party ! I am also quite envious of your ability to remain "well" with 40 ft seas. Enjoy the warmer weather coming up. Terry

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I too love reading your posts. I would also like one of those Pitcaren T Shirts. There are several familys on the island that run a mail order business and it takes 6 months to get it.

Darling Harbour is more then 15 minutes walk from the Quay but you get to go under the bridge. We sailed out of Sydney last Sept and the pier was just passed the bridge, between the Quay and darling Harbour.

If the pres. of HAL wanted to see a place it should have been Apia not Pago Pago. Lots of smells of Tuna caning plants. i rented a car and drove around the Island. Get out of the city. There is also a Nat Park on the island. The Visitors Center is a short walk from the Pier.

Keep writing. Will keep reading.

 

Jeffrey

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February 8 – Day 34

At Sea

 

We continue to have quiet days at sea, with people finding indoor activities which suit them. The library is usually full, either with people reading, working on computers, putting together puzzles, or just sitting and talking (some of them far too loudly for a library).

The sea has settled down, and more people seem to be up and about. We still see lots of little round patches behind people’s ears, but at least now those folks are able to be out and about.

 

The larger problem onboard now is the norovirus, which continues to raise its ugly head. We will go a couple of days in code yellow, meaning that everyone is free to help themselves to food in the Lido and to pass the bread and butter around at dinner. However, then we’ll have another breakout of the virus and we have to have the waiters offer us bread (which we must not touch until it’s on our bread plate) and we have to have the servers in the Lido hand us everything. It’s very frustrating, makes for a lot more work for the servers, and slows down service markedly.

 

Hopefully we won’t get to the problem that a Princess ship had recently, when they had over 400 of their passengers with the virus. These closed conditions do make the spread of disease easier, but we’ve heard and heard and heard about washing hands and using Purell to disinfect our hands. Our waiters also told us that they had to spend a great deal of time after dinner night before last disinfecting everything in the dining room, from chairs to tables to silverware, to bread baskets. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to normal soon.

 

Tonight is a formal night, postponed from last night. It’s called “Captain Bligh’s Dinner,” and while last cruise people dressed up in (limited) pirate attire like pirate hats and eye patches, I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. However, that’s not going to stop us. I think everyone at our table has something to wear, whether it’s just an eye patch or something a little more colorful. I don’t know how well my pirate hat is going to go with my black evening gown, but we’ll see. We’re hoping it will be fun and that we won’t look too strange.

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February 9 – Day 35

At Sea

 

Last night was “Captain Bligh” formal night, which means that larger tables are hosted by an officer. We had already invited a lovely young lady named Robina to be our guest at dinner, and since she is a cadet on board, she was able to be our “officer.” That mostly means that she buys the wine. In fact, some of our other friends had an apology a couple of weeks ago that their officer was unable to dine with them, and their response was to say that that was fine as long as the wine was provided – which it was.

 

Robina is 21 years old and is a student at a mariner school in Holland. Her specialties are engines and navigation, and toward the end of her studies, she is required to spend two six-month stints on board HAL ships doing “hands on” learning. This is her first internship, which began on the Asia-Pacific cruise and will finish in Sydney in a couple of weeks. She spends six weeks in the engine room with Joost, the First Engineer, and then six weeks on the bridge working with the navigator. She loves what she’s doing and can’t wait to finish her studies and actually get hired on as an officer.

 

We assured her, since this was the first table she’d hosted, that she was doing a fine job, being both sociable and pleasant. She really enjoyed talking about her job, and she let us know that she was quite happy to be there.

 

Now it’s time to toddle off to Trivia where yesterday, for the first time, we won all by ourselves. Prior to yesterday, all our wins were ties with other teams. We were, as you can imagine, very pleased. We’ll see how today goes. (Later note: we tied for 2nd)

 

The weather is getting much better and is up into the low 70’s. The wind continues to be a factor, but people are loving the sunshine and higher temperatures. I think that after Easter Island we’ll have 80 degrees and the back deck will be crowded again. There’s really nothing like the South Pacific.

 

P. S. Yes, we know WC and it will cause a giggle next time I use that term.

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Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us. I've been enjoying them very much!

You have mentioned different formal night with various themes. I was curious to know if passengers are told ahead of time what these themes will be so you are able to pack accordingly. Is this information provided with your travel documents?

Smooth sailing to you!

Carol

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February 10 – Day 35

At Sea – Only one day away from Easter Island

 

We’re finally into what I consider South Pacific weather – sunny, warm, in the high 70’s, and not too windy. It’s beautiful outside, and as I write in the library, John is on the back deck in a swimsuit soaking up the sun.

 

I don’t usually write about food, but last night was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. It was a “Le Cirque” dinner, held four times during the cruise. The menu, the tableware, and even the room’s drapes and decorations are from Le Cirque restaurant in New York. Our entire table went as a group, and everyone agreed that it would be difficult to go back to regular dining room cuisine (as good as it is) after this experience.

 

The meal included four courses, and each one was wonderful. Each diner had a choice within courses. I began with the lobster salad, which had one lettuce leaf, some garnishes, and an entire small lobster tail. I’m not a huge lobster fan, but this was really quite wonderful. Instead of melted butter, there was a citrus cocktail sauce to use on the ingredients. Heo chose “Le Trio,” a plate with caviar, smoked salmon, and pate de foie gras. He loved it.

 

Next was the soup course, and although it may sound horrible, it was, far and away, the best soup I’ve ever eaten. I ordered it on the recommendation of friends who had been to the first Le Cirque dinner. It was called Butternut Squash with Huckleberries soup, with sage chantilly. Each of us was handed a soup bowl with a berry compote in the middle topped with a spray of cream. As we were puzzling out how this could be soup, the servers came around with Japanese teapots and poured hot butternut soup around what was already in the bowl. It was suggested that we eat each bite from the inside out, so that each would have all three flavors. The huckleberries, which I’ve never eaten, tasted a lot like cranberries, and the combination of the berries, cream, and butternut squash soup was incredibly delicious. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like it, but trust me, it was wonderful. Everyone at our table agreed that it was their favorite course.

 

For a main course, we had five choices: black cod, rack of lamb, chateaubriand, cheese ravioli, and chicken under a brick. I tried to order the ravioli, but Tina, our server, said that she didn’t recommend it, so I opted for the seared Alaskan black cod. It was served on a bed of sautéed leeks and flavored with a red wine beurre rouge. It was wonderful too, but I was getting to the far edge of my ability to consume food and still have room for dessert, and I had to remember my priorities. John and almost everyone else had the rack of lamb and a few were seen almost salivating over it. It smelled wonderful, but I was too full to even have a bite.

 

Dessert could be Le Cirque’s special crème brulee, a chocolate soufflé, a napoleon with fresh berries, or an assortment of sorbets.

John and I decided to share, so he ordered the crème brulee and I had the chocolate soufflé. The soufflé was served with vanilla gelato, and it made a wonderful “pour over” for the soufflé. It wasn’t long before John wanted to trade, so I had one bite of his brulee and then gave up on food for the night.

 

The meal was just spectacular, and if we go again, I’d order exactly the same things I did last night. I’m sure you’re wondering what all this deliciousness costs, so here’s the info on that. The dinner itself was $39.00 each, but because everyone at the table is a 4-star Mariner, we get a 50% discount on that. If you wanted paired wines, that was an additional $20, but all of us have wine packages already, so everyone but John took a pass on that. His wines included a glass of Champagne, a white to go with the starter and soup, and a lovely Italian red for the main course. I had two of the three glasses of wine we have every night at dinner (one for me, two for John), and I let John have the third.

It’s incredible to me that a meal that would cost the two of us about $200 in New York cost only $40.00 (plus wine) on board. Such a deal!

 

Anyway, tomorrow is Easter Island, and if for any reason we can’t tender in, John will be only one of many passengers throwing themselves overboard. Let’s hope for their sake that we make it.

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February 11 – Day 38

EASTER ISLAND!

John’s Entry

 

We made it!!! Easter Island ( or Rapa Nui) is a tender port , and, if the seas cooperate, the ship anchors off the main port, Hanga Roa, and tenders the passengers to shore. However, the seas were much too rough this morning, so the ship went to the other side of the island, Anakena, which has the added attraction of having a stand of moai directly above the beach. A makeshift dock was built and with much difficulty and delay, we were eventually allowed to go ashore. During the day, tender operations had to be stopped and many people could not get off the ship, and the wait to return by tender was temporarily suspended so many had to wait for two hours in the sun. Thank you, Captain Mercer and all the staff and crew which made this stop possible: you all worked so hard today under adverse conditions to get all of us ashore and then back to the ship safely, and we all truly appreciate it!

 

When I was about 12 or 13, I happened to pick up a copy of Thor Heyerdahl’s KON TIKI and was hooked on Easter Island and knew I had to go there some day. Well, many, many years later the day has arrived, and I was not at all disappointed in the marvels of this mysterious island. There are so many theories as to why the Moai were first built and then destroyed, and, according to our lovely guide, Tuhi, archeologists are still studying the island’s past and debating its history. Among the many interesting (and tragic) facts related was that at one time the island’s population was estimated to be around 16,000 but was reduced to 111 in the mid 19th century. Today this Chilean island has around 3,000 inhabitants, many working in the tourist trade or in military or government service.

 

To discuss the island’s history, its civil wars, its “discovery” by the Europeans, and annexation by Chile would take pages, so I’ll just mention a few highlights from today’s fabulous adventures. Our tour with the “Specialists” began with a stop at the moai above Anakena beach. A brief history was given by the guide, and then we all scattered around taking as many photos as possible. What a fantastic site: ancient ruins with white sand, palm trees, and a deep blue sea in the background! Then back to the mini-van and off the other side of the island to see the moai and other ruins in Tahai. The most fascinating aspect of this site was the moai whose eyes have been replaced with white coral and another dark stone. None of the other moai have eyes now, as they were destroyed during the civil wars that wracked the island 300 to 400 years ago.

 

We next stopped at arguably the most interesting site on the island, the ancient quarry at Rano Raraku where almost all of the moai were carved from soft volcanic rock and then somehow transported throughout the island. According to our guide, over 300 moai are scattered throughout the quarry, some as tall as 18 feet and weighing tons! One was only partially carved out of the stone of the mountain. Climbing to the top of the quarry took care of our gym time today! A final stop on the way back to the ship was at Tonga Riki where 15 moai stand with their backs to the incredibly beautiful coast line. Destroyed first by the civil wars, they were resurrected in the ‘50’s. They were then knocked over by a tsunami in 1960, but were again rebuilt in the 80’s with funding from Japan.

 

Traveling back to the tender port, we saw many of the horses that run wild. Horseback is a major form of transportation on the island, and we saw many people of all ages riding horses! When we saw the hundreds of people in line for the tender, we decided, as we had a few hours to kill, to walk over to the beautiful beach which was full of both passengers and locals. Above the beach were a few places to grab something to eat, so we shared a few kebobs of chicken, pork, and chorizo, along with a beer for me and a Diet Coke for Diane, all for about $18.00 We finally returned to the ship after a very rough ride on the tender, exhausted but thrilled to have been able to experience this wonderful place, especially on a blue, sunny day in the 80’s. Again, thanks to the captain and crew for all the hard work!

 

After hosting Jeff Nease, the (very funny) comedian, our day concluded by attending the Filipino crew show in the Queen’s Lounge, A packed audience witnessed a terrific show of song and dance performed by very talented (and loved) Filipino staff. The show, which began with the national anthem of the Philippines, demonstrated the pride the performers had in their country. A standing ovation and many tears of joy concluded a fantastic program.

 

This has been the best day of the cruise by far!!!!!!!

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Diane and John,

 

What a thrill to be able to get to Easter Island. You are lucky to have such a great Captain who does go out of his way to make your cruise so enjoyable.

 

We unfortunately missed out on Easter Island last year when the seas were deemed to be too rough for landing our tenders. Our Captain would only go around the island slowly but wouldn't consider landing somewhere else. The 600 odd passengers on board were all very disappointed and there could have been a mutiny if it had been back in the 19th Century!

 

Jennie

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So happy for you that you finally got to see Easter Island - thanks for sharing your very interesting day.

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February 13 - Day 38

At Sea en route to Tahiti

 

After the excitement of Easter Island, we now have four quiet, peaceful sea days before we arrive in Tahiti for a long day’s visit. There are so many good things about a cruise, but the one big drawback is the brevity of the stops. It’s a big deal when we have an overnight in a port, as we did in Rio, in Buenos Aires, and next in Sydney and then Hong Kong. One day is the norm, however, and it’s really not enough. John and I are trying to find a happy medium on this trip by doing a few overlands of our own, the last one the overnight in Colonia from Buenos Aires and then rejoining in Montevideo, and next an overland from Sydney to Cairns so we’ll have enough time (three days) to see more than we could in the one-day planned ship’s call. Our 10-day overland in Thailand will be the longest we’ve ever taken from a cruise.

 

Another drawback to a cruise has been the internet access. It isn’t the high cost that’s our greatest frustration; it’s the occasional inaccessibility of internet access. We usually try to check email twice a day, first and last thing each day. Last night we couldn’t get internet at 11:00 after the show, and then this morning all our efforts were in vain. About an hour ago, we were able to connect long enough to check email, but just now I tried again and was told that there were “too many subscribers online” and to try again later. The last time this happened, a friend checked with the internet guru and asked how many people were online. The answer was “18.” I don’t get it. There are at least 400 people signed up for internet service, so why would 18 people online jam it up? Oh well.

 

OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on to some better things. We are now properly in the South Pacific, with temperatures in the low 80’s and enough breeze to cool off the sunbathers on the aft Lido deck. The sky is blue, the sea is blue, and at 12:45 this afternoon (the daily Captain’s report), both sea and sky were 81 degrees F. We did love Antarctica, but we had plenty of cold weather, and this is just heaven. People seem to be more relaxed, especially after our extra enforced day in Punta Arenas and several days of really rough, rotten weather. It’s just great to be outside and loving it.

 

Last night’s show was of the variety sort, beginning with the flautist, proceeding to Jeff, the comedian, and concluding with the Australian operatic tenor. Because Jeff had been to our table for dinner and asked us nicely, we all sat in the first and second rows to cheer him on.

 

Tonight’s show is a three-woman group called “Grace,” who sing in wonderful harmonies. They’ve already performed once, and we’re really looking forward to hearing them again. Two of the singers are sisters, both tall, but one blonde and one brunette. The leader of the group, Stella, is not quite as tall, but has a lovely voice and is the one who put the group together about four years ago.

 

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and everything, from the beautiful flower arrangements to the activities planned, are reminding us of that fact. I’d better get the red gown out of the closet (it’s a formal night) and talk to our friend Susie about putting my hair up. We’ve also received a box of See’s truffles from our “Specialist” cruise agents, and we can’t decide whether to eat them or save them to pretend we’re being virtuous. Only time will tell.

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Your posts are a real treat.

 

Your comments about internet service on Amsterdam are not the first I have read about the problem. Perhaps you will get the right person's attention and things will improve. I hope so and I think you were right to mention it here.

 

Thanks again for sharing your cruise with us. Great fun to read about it!

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I'm thrilled for you that you made it to Easter Island. John's excitement really came through in his post. Wishing you fair weather, plenty of rest and great adventures on the balance of your cruise :)

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Really enjoying your posts:) Thanks so much for taking the time:)

 

What a thrill to get to Easter Island. I am sure those are memories you will treasure forever:D

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Easter Island is on my bucket list. Hope I am as lucky to see it myself one day, but your description was the "next best thing".

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February 15 – Day 41

 

Time is an elusive quantity. There is a lot of it on a world cruise, and people use it in varying ways. Our friend Sky, for example, isn’t happy unless he’s busy all the time, preferably with sports-related activities, whether inside or out. No matter what people do with their time, lately there has been a great deal of it. Between Easter Island and Tahiti, there are five hours of time difference, so we’ve been adding an extra hour every night, setting our clocks back every night since Easter Island.

 

It’s funny how that works. We all know that the world is divided into 24 time zones, and anyone who has flown a long distance knows about jet lag, but it’s strange how giving us an hour every single night can be a problem. Usually, we love westbound cruises because we get an extra night about every four nights. However, with an extra hour five nights in a row, our bodies are beginning to rebel. We’ve been waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 and then trying to go back to sleep, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Early this morning it was 3:30, then 4:15, then 5:30, then 6:00 and that was it – no more sleep. I know, I know, it sounds like whining again, and I have absolutely no right to do so in this situation, but it is an interesting situation. I guess it’s one of those things where a little bit (an hour every 4 days) is good, but too much (every night for five nights) is just too much. Just like eating too much raw chocolate chip cookie dough, I guess.

 

Last night was our formal Valentine’s Day celebration, and the cruise staff pulled out all the stops. The dining room was full of red and pink balloons, shiny red tinsel-like hangings around every post, and dim lights in the shape of flowers on every table. I wish I had a hundred dollars for every red bow tie and every red dress on the ship – it was really lovely to look at. Of course, today every chair on board is covered with sparkles.

 

After dinner, at 10:00, the Valentine’s Ball was held in the Queen’s Lounge. We danced once, bemoaned the music played, and headed up to the Crow’s Nest. We decided to look in on the Queen’s Lounge on our way to bed and were pleased to hear that the music had moved up into the second half of the 20th Century, so we stayed and danced awhile.

 

Since it was a formal night, we had an officer, and it was our favorite, Henk, the Hotel Manger. He’s Dutch, very, very funny, and he loves to cork-fork. As the person in charge of everything passenger-related on the ship, from restaurants to housekeeping, you’d think he’d show the stress that his job creates, but he always seems happy and always has time to talk. His wife Crystal is the Customer Relations Manager, in charge of the front office, and has a job I wouldn’t do for a million dollars. She and her extremely patient front office crew have to put up with every problem, complaint, and crank on the ship.

 

At dinner, we spoke a great deal about the upcoming visit of Stein Kruse, who’s boarding in Pago Pago, American Samoa and staying on until Sydney. We know that the ship will be sparkling for his visit, and even noticed that the wood floors on the outdoor aft pool deck had been waxed sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning.

 

Apparently the three top questions for Mr. Kruse will be about smoking on board, the Mariner Society perks, and the internet. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say. Right now, smoking is allowed in cabins (but not on verandas), on part of the aft pool deck, in the casino and at the Sports Bar. Of course the smoke is never just there, and therein lies the problem. I’m very curious about what the future plans are in this regard.

 

The Mariner Society questions center around those people who have a LOT more days than “Four-Star Mariner” at 200 days, but aren’t quite to President’s Club, which is 1400 days (almost 4 years at sea!) People who have seven or eight hundred or a thousand days believe that there should be something else in the middle, and their favorite requested perk is internet time, something that Princess provides. At the end of this cruise, we’ll have just short of 400 days, so we’re not even in the conversation. I’m just thrilled to get free laundry, priority tender boarding, and half-price cappuccinos at the coffee bar in the Exploration Lounge.

 

Tomorrow is Papeete, and I’m really looking forward to the wonderful Marche (Market), to getting a pedicure on shore, and finding a beautiful, peaceful beach on which to spend the day.

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I have really enjoyed all of your posts but can't wait to read about your day in Papeete. I don't even have to get my pictures out to visualize the colors in the Marche. Looking forward to hearing if you buy any flowers or vanilla beans, and how unbelievably beautiful the water is. Thank you for taking us along on your cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cherie

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February 16 – Day 42

Papeete, Tahiti

 

It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, it was raining cows and horses. About 3:00 this afternoon, after a blue and sunny day, the skies opened up over Papeete and inches and inches of rain fell – and kept falling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such heavy rainfall for such a long period of time. We tried to stay under building overhangs, but crossing the street caused me to look like I had just come out of the shower fully dressed and soaked to the skin.

 

Overall, we had a wonderful day in Tahiti. If you’ve been here, you know that Tahiti is the name of this particular island, and that Papeete is its capital. It’s a very big French Polynesian city with lots of traffic problems, but it is still a lovely tropical place with flowering trees everywhere and an average daily temperature in the high 70’s. One of the things we like the best in Polynesia is that no one hassles you to buy things, to take a taxi, or anything else.

 

Since we’ve been here twice before, we decided that we should take the ferry to Moorea, sometimes known as James Michener’s Bali Hai. While we’ve been there before, we haven’t gone by ferry, so it was something new. It takes about 45 minutes across the absolutely beautiful channel between the two islands. The top of the ferry where we sat had about 30 eighth or ninth graders going on a school trip. They were absolutely adorable, and when they took photos of each other, they’d say, “Un, deux, trois – CHEESE.”

 

When we arrived at the ferry terminal in Moorea, we decided to hop on a local bus and rode it for 45 minutes to the Intercontinental Hotel, where we’ve gone in the past to use the beach and facilities. No one seems to care, and we usually make sure that we have at least a drink or lunch while we’re there. The water is some of the most beautiful in the world, with several shades of blue and turquoise, and the white sand of the beach just completes the natural setting. In addition, there are two infinity pools, one of which had a swim-up bar.

 

After about two hours in the sun we decided our dermatologist would be mad enough at us, so we sat in the shade with a beer and a Coke just long enough to dry off. Then we headed out to the main road to await the bus, making a detour into the market to pick up a baguette sandwich to share (love French territories), along with some chips and a cold drink.

 

The 1:00 bus came promptly at 1:45, and we headed back along the beautiful shore to the ferry. As we approached Papeete by sea, huge drops of rain began hitting the front windows, and soon there was so much rain that it was impossible to see where we were going. When we arrived in port and disembarked, it took no time at all to be wearing soaked clothes and hair that looked like it just came out of the shower. For old times’ sake, we stopped at the Trois Brasseurs, a micro-brewery right across from the water, where we enjoyed some of the local beverages. We tried to wander a bit, but the deluge kept us under cover until we finally decided it would be best just to return to the ship.

 

Last night was a Polynesian barbecue on the Lido Deck. Usually it would have been the occasion to open the roof and dine under the stars, but with the rain, that wasn’t going to work. We had pork ribs, two kinds of fish, steaks, and pork that was carved off roasted pigs – and I have the photo to prove it! There was Tahitian music, provided by a group that performed in the gazebo, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

 

When we were almost done eating, the roof was opened to maximum width, so we decided to take a short walk off the ship to have dessert at one of the roulades, or rolling wagons, that assemble on the open area near the ship each night. As soon as we got there, the skies opened up yet again, so we had our crepes under the wagon’s overhang. The weather finally improved, so after a short walk we headed back to the Lido to find a group of about 10 fully costumed Tahitian dancers – male and female. They had an enormous amount of energy and it was great fun watching them. When they finished dancing, they grabbed people from the audience – me among them – for photos with the dancers. Can’t wait to see THAT photo on the Christmas card!

 

It had been a long day, so we set our clocks back yet again and got to bed earlier than any evening since we’ve been on board. It was a great day in Tahiti and Moorea.

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I love Tahiti and the islands. We were there last April for our third time and your post has brought all those memories back of that delightful part of the world. I am sorry about the rain but of course this time of year is the rainy season. At least it was warm and your day wasn't spoilt on Moorea. We too had as swim in the lovely water at the Intercontinental Hotel on Moorea.

 

Jennie

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February 16 – Day 42

Papeete, Tahiti

 

The top of the ferry where we sat had about 30 eighth or ninth graders going on a school trip. They were absolutely adorable, and when they took photos of each other, they’d say, “Un, deux, trois – CHEESE.”

 

 

The 1:00 bus came promptly at 1:45, and we headed back along the beautiful shore to the ferry. As we approached Papeete by sea, huge drops of rain began hitting the front windows, and soon there was so much rain that it was impossible to see where we were going.

 

 

I am so enjoying your thread.

 

Thanks for the mental pictures - adorable children, buses on island time and torrential rain.

 

As Jennie says, these all bring back fond memories of visits to Tahiti and Moorea.

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I just checked in again after a while and I am so glad to see that you made it to Easter Island.

Wow! what an adventure, all these places and still so much more to see and do. You are so lucky to do such a long cruise and then some land tours as well. Again Wow:)

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