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Pago Pago, Apia, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti?

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Way to big of a ship for some of these islands. Fact is Princess smaller R4 class ships can not enter some of the bays because they are 2 big and they are a fraction of the size of the Sapphire. Don''t be surprised if you hear the captain say ......... sorry folks, can't get into the bay so we will proceed to the next island ........

Edited by Tikiintahiti

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I have been to French Polynesia on a large Royal Caribbean ship and it was just fine - fairly easy to find some quiet while most are out on some excursion or another, also been twice on smaller Princess ships and a few times on the Paul Gauguin which I like the most. The problem with the large Princess ship will be the tendering in Moorea and Bora Bora - you could wait a long time to get off the ship! Rent a car on Moorea and enjoy the island at your own pace.

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Fletcher, you have made your point, although I don't think Princess is going to stop sailing there just because you think its ships are too big.

 

We were looking for information on what to do and see in the islands... Not asking for your opinion that the ships are too big. It well may be that they are, but this was not the point of the thread.

 

Also, I saw your post about Silversea. You must be very fortunate to be able to sail on Silversea, but most of us are not as lucky and have to look for less expensive cruises...

 

I will be sailing to the Islands on the Golden Princess in April of 2014. If you have any suggestions as to what is a must see in the islands or Papeete, I would be interested in hearing this.

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Papeete is quite run down since the French stopped their nuclear testing and are no longer funding the island. We enjoyed walking through the market, beautiful flowers which you can purchase and take on board ship with you, and ate at les Roulottes (reasonable price for the food, watch where the locals eat, as they know which ones are the best). We did a half day tour around the island which was interesting and my DH and myself noticed a lot of changes since we had last been to the island in the late 70's. There is a nice park at the waterfront which is worth walking through. I found people watching the best part of Papeete. The locals are very friendly.

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I will be sailing to the Islands on the Golden Princess in April of 2014. If you have any suggestions as to what is a must see in the islands or Papeete, I would be interested in hearing this.

 

There is a new thread on the Celebrity board that you may be interested in: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1843468

Solstice from Sydney - French Polynesia - Hawaii pictures report (Apr 8-25, 2013) We took a south pacific cruise on a Solstice from April 8-25, 2013. The itineraries were:

Sydney

Noumea, New Caledonia

Papeete, Tahiti

Moorea

Bora Bora

Maui

Honolulu

As of right now, it just has the Sydney pictures. We may get to see the FP pictures soon. The photography is especially good. This thread might also provide some insights on visiting FP on a large ship. Like many on CC, I'm not likely to visit FP on an über-luxury cruise ship. Princess and Celebrity are in my budget. Silversea is not.

 

I will be visiting Tahiti and Moorea this November on a stopover on my way to a Celebrity Solstice Cruise from Auckland to Sydney. I will be staying 5 nights at the Moorea Hilton using frequent guest points earned on business travel.

 

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Nina (and others), I do take your point about using innocent questions about ports of call and turning that into a rant against the big ships. I still think (and will always think) that big ships are ill-suited for South Pacific waters but I have never considered the cost factor. I've always gone on small expedition ships with about 100 passengers and will be doing so again in the Med (June) and then in the Solomons and PNG in January. However, even though the small ships are much more expensive bear in mind that they tend to include all excursions, all gratutites and all beverages. So your bill at the end of a month's cruise is about $150 which is really only laundry and internet charges.

 

I sometimes wonder why people come on here asking what there is to see in this place or that. I usually know exactly what there is to see because that's why I have chosen to go there. Anyway, I do understand why some people might ask on boards like this and have tried to give as much info as I can. Here is a link to a thread I started a while back -

 

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1456690

 

Because I use small ships there is no point in booking up excursions. In Bora Bora, for example, we get into our zodiacs at dawn, cruise around the lagoon, see the rays and sharks, and then I get a zodiac to take us (just me and my wife) to the Pearl Beach Resort where we have lunch, swim and admire the view. About 4pm the zodiac comes back for us and we sail on to the next island.

 

If we join a ship in Papeete we always stay there for 2 or 3 days. We like the island of Tahiti a lot. We rent a car and drive around, spend some time up near Tautira, maybe swim from Matavai Bay near Point Venus, wander around Papeete. It's true the town is a but run down but show me a place that isn't run down these days! I bet parts of LA (a city I know very well) are run down. Most of the UK is run down. I was in Lisbon recently and that was run down.

 

Anyway, Papeete is still a nice place to hang out for a day or two.

Edited by Fletcher

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First let me say I hope the best for you and that there isn't any problems getting into the bay for that big ship. But ....... the big ships do have problems sometimes because of their deep draft in combo with a bit of rough weather. In much of the South Pacific weather can change on the drop of hat and change back again just as fast. Very accurate when we tell you it can be a problem.

 

I've taken Princess to French Polynesia and I've taken PG Cruises. 18 trips to French Polynesia and I'm hardly a rich guy. I'm a avid planner and take every discount I possibly can, I am the king of cheap. If one shops well they can get the price of a PG Cruise down close to what Princess charges after all the extras are considered.

 

I must ask why anyone would buy a Yugo when you can buy a Lexus for the same price and get so much more enjoyment.

 

My point and I would guess Fletcher as well is to warn people so they go educated on what could happen or change the ship your on before you go. Furthermore it is true some of the South Pacific islands ships go to have less population than what will be coming off the ship. Even the bigger islands can be stretched when a big ship comes in.

 

I've been on the PG when the captain altered the sequence of islands soley because a big ship would be in port at the same time and he didn't want it to take away from our experience/enjoyment. What can seem to be paradise for some can be very disruptive to others. I say this because the opening question on this thread was for advise. Fletcher and I gave good advise. Considered a smaller ship, it will be good for you and for others who want to enjoy paradise without the big 'circus' in town arrives at the same time. If others take that advise maybe there will be less big ships and the islands will remain special as they should.

 

As I said, why would anyone buy a Yugo when you can buy a Lexus for the same price and get so much more enjoyment.

 

Enough said

Edited by Tikiintahiti

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La Orana,

Just returned from 30 days on HAL's Westerdam RT from San Diego. Had a great time and did the same tours as 3 years ago on the smaller Royal Princess (Tiki was with us on that one). We got into every port. Weather was beautiful. If you can afford the PG, Seaborne, etc., go for it. But I like sea days and not having the expense and hassle of flying to Tahiti, I'm sure you will enjoy one of the big ships. You can still take all the wonderful tours like Patrick and Bruno.

Obviously everyone can't do 30 days, but you won't be disappointed with the larger ships. We arranged private tours with other Cruise Critic members and someone in each group arranged for our groups to get off together on the tenders. It worked out fine.

So glad we went again. Those islands are just beautiful and the snorkeling and water activities are fantastic.

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At $600 per-day, per-person, ocean view cabin, this Silversea cruise is about 4.5 times more expensive than the 28-night Sapphire Princess cruise at $132 per-day. You can take the entire 28-night Princess cruise for about half the cost of the 12-night Silversea cruise. I would venture to say, very few CC members have finances that allow $600 per-day, per-person cruises.

 

The daily cost difference between the two ships for 2 people is about $900. I am sure that when a couple does get ashore in places like Bora Bora and Moorea with that $900 in their pocket, they can arrange to have a VERY nice day. And each day that they at sea on the cheaper of the two ships, they can also have a VERY nice day spending that $900 (French champagne anyone??)

 

Barry

Edited by bazzaw

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We went in an "in-between" size cruiseship a couple of years ago. Thinking of going again in Sea Princess from Sydney later this year - it is also not to big.

 

I did a trip report on the South Pacific Islands that we visited here

 

Barry

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Barry - Enjoyed reading your blog on Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora since we have just returned from the Pricess 28-day RT from LA to Hawaii and the South Pacific and haven't had time to go through all of our own pictures quite yet!

 

This was our 4th visit to the SP islands. The last two visits were while we were on the Star Princess - A VERY BIG SHIP! We loved those cruises and the big ship was a wonderful place to enjoy the many sea days on this itinerary. We had no problem (even with another ship also visiting Bora Bora at the same time) on any of the islands. and we hope another cruise to these beautiful places on the same or another BIG SHIP is in our future.

 

We agree that Tahiti is a beautiful place, and if you can spend at least part of your visit there away from the city atmosphere you will not be disappointed. We thought that island was much like Oahu in Hawaii - once away from the downtown Honolulu/Waikiki area.

 

We spent our day in Bora Bora with Patrick too, and it was wonderful. He went "all out" for our very large group. We all enjoyed a wonderful combination of island foods and bar-b-que on his motu. We took the ship's 4x4 excursion in Moorea and enjoyed the magnificent views from high up the mountainside. Our itinerary also included stops in Pago Pago and Apia. Can't wait to go back to all of these special places.

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I would like to add that a nice feature here on CC for those trying to find info on "What is there to do?" is the 'Search this Forum' button for 'Pacific Islands, All".

 

It is a great way to glean information from past cruisers about private/self-tour ideas for the ports of call that one is or may be planning to sail to.

 

While some of the information may be older (and even outdated).....many have posted reviews of tours, their personal experiences and even tour operator contact information for the South Pacific islands frequently visited by the cruise lines.

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Papeete is quite run down since the French stopped their nuclear testing and are no longer funding the island. We enjoyed walking through the market, beautiful flowers which you can purchase and take on board ship with you, and ate at les Roulottes (reasonable price for the food, watch where the locals eat, as they know which ones are the best). We did a half day tour around the island which was interesting and my DH and myself noticed a lot of changes since we had last been to the island in the late 70's. There is a nice park at the waterfront which is worth walking through. I found people watching the best part of Papeete. The locals are very friendly.

 

Could you tell me who you did the half day tour with? I am also interested in just walking around and doing a quick Island tour in an air-conditioned vehicle. Unlike most people who swim, I do not, and don't care for the snorkeling/swimming tours which are most popular in these parts;)

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