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Ocean Princess French Polynesia Review Jan. 24-Feb. 6, 2015

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It took over a week for things to slow down a bit, but here I am ready to share some of our amazing experiences in French Polynesia.


Just a little background, my husband and I are both 54 and have a few Princess cruises under our belt. This was our first time to French Polynesia and our first time on one of Princess's little ladies.


We began our journey by flying from Spokane, Washington to Los Angeles for an overnight stay before we flew to Papeete, Tahiti the next day. Neither one of us have flown on this long a flight, so we cut it up going to Tahiti, coming home was another story. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport, and it was clean and comfortable. I would not hesitate to stay here again.


Our Air Tahiti Nui flight was at 3:30 p.m. to land in Tahiti at 10:00 p.m. We sweated the check in process hoping our luggage had not gained weight from Spokane from LAX. We were pretty sure we had, but hoped our luggage had behaved itself. Phew, we made it, but not a lot of squeak room.

Everything went perfectly. The seats were a little tight; but in the cheap seats, as if they could be called that to Tahiti, that is to be expected.



IMG_1170.jpg Having the capability to watch some movies while we flew was very much appreciated. We also chose to have vegetarian meals, and each time, they were brought out to us before any other passengers. Nice touch Air Tahiti Nui!


The odd experience was in boarding the plane. We were at the Tom Bradly International, in somewhat of an older seating area, and they brought in buses to take us about a mile and a half out to the airplane. We were sandwiched in on the bus like sardines. My thought is that it was preparing us for the seating arrangements and making us feel like the airplane seats were indeed roomy compared to the standing room only on the bus.


They made us feel all welcome with a little pillow, blanket, and packet of earplugs, earphones for the video screen, little socks to keep the feet cozy, and a soft eye cover for sleeping. In eight and a half hours we would have our first experience of being in the middle of paradise.

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I am really interested in your ezperience. We took that trip in 2007,m but continued to hawaii. We flew from Phoenix to Honolulu not stop on Hawaiian Airlines and then to Papeete which was another 6.6 hours, but we had a break in Honolulu. Are seats were confomfortable.


Looking forward to the rest of your review.

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We arrived right on time and there was a lovely little musical group to sing to us as we passed through customs. We had been handed forms to fill out on the airplane to take with us through customs. It went very quickly and then we were thrilled to see that our luggage did arrive also! That is always a plus!


We exited the airport and it was rather a challenge to get to the taxi stand as there were signs outside for various groups to meet. It was not a small feat with all our luggage, but we made it. The taxis were in a line and we were directed to the first one. I am not sure that there would be any way to get a better price to the hotel one from the other as it looked like you took the first one. We were going to Hotel Tiare Tahiti in downtown Papeete. Our price was 2900 francs or about $29 US. I had purchased francs at our local bank before our trip, but there are many ATM's in town. I was very glad in the end not to have to deal with those, though. The taxi ride was quick and easy. Probably about 10 minutes.


Hotel Tiare Tahiti is by no means a luxury hotel, but it was clean and safe and affordable for our three night stay prior to cruising. That is always my main concern, so it met our needs perfectly.

We were assigned a harbor view balcony (Room 305), and we loved it. Our view the next morning when we awoke was this:IMG_0181.JPGIMG_0182.JPGIMG_0183.JPG


The noise level is high from the street and construction outside, but with the airplane ear plugs, and my app on my ipad for white noise, it was just fine. It was always hoping outside, and we so enjoyed watching all the goings on.

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The excitement of a new place and time change, left me very little sleep, but I was up and ready to roll early for our first full day in French Polynesia.


Here is a couple inside pictures of our room:







We wanted to catch the Terevau ferry at 7:20 a.m. over to Moorea. There was a downpour outside this morning, so with out trusty umbrella, which I cannot recommend strongly enough, we headed out to find the ferry. We took rather the long way around, but finally found the ferry terminal. We were able to use our credit card here. It was about $22 per person round trip.


It was an amazing roller coaster ride over because of the stormy weather, and we were a little disheartened hoping a tour that I booked would still be there to meet us regardless of the weather.


Not to worry, Albert’s Lagoon Tour transport was ready and waiting. They were to pick up three couples from the ferry, but it looked like only my husband and myself braved the weather. 
We thought, heck, our time here is limited, we would not let rain slow us down. We were going snorkeling during this tour anyway.


Inside of the ferry deluxe!


View out the window of our pick up van in Moorea:DSCF2713.JPG

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We were taken over to Club Bali Hai Moorea on Cook’s Bay to wait while

they picked up some other guests. This was a lovely place even in the down pouring rain.




Eventually we all headed out on the Pontoon!




Our tour guide, Seeki (SP) did a little “Stop the rain” prayer or chant or whatever you would call it, but amazingly it worked. We had very little rain the rest of the day and only off an on.




Our day consisted of snorkeling with the sharks, and having an amazing motu luncheon. The sharks were beautiful black tip reef sharks and this was our first experience of swimming with sharks of any kind. I was not afraid in the least. Sharks can smell fear right? LOLDSCF2748.JPG

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Just loved those sharks....




Later we anchored off a beautiful Motu for lunch.



We enjoyed a presentation on how to make Ceviche, and wow was that eye opening and delicious to boot.


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No place would be complete, at least in my husbands opinion, without tasting the local beer. Here it is the Hinano Tahiti. My husband says to say it is like Budweiser, whatever that means.




After a last look at the beautiful lagoon, we were taken back to a hotel to get our transport back to the ferry to Tahiti.




Waiting for the ferry we purchased a little snack from the vendors set up in the outside area. Cutest little bananas ever and had a little tang to them!



To end our day one, here is a picture of one of the beautiful flowers we saw.



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Thanks for the report you've started and the great pics! Keep 'em coming!


We're going to FP this fall for our 40th anniversary - a day pre-cruise in Papeete, the 10-day cruise, and then a few days post-cruise in an OWB on Moorea.


All pricey, of course, but after all one only has a 40th once...! :- )


We know your report amd photos will be very helpful as we plan our trip - they already have!

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What hotel did you stay at. We were at the Sheraton, which became the Hilton, which is no longer in business. I wish we would have stayed at a more moderate motel/hotel. But not knowing anthing about Tahiti we wanted to stay at something we knew, so paid too much money. You had a great location. We walked that street a couple of times.

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What hotel did you stay at.


From post #2



We were going to Hotel Tiare Tahiti in downtown Papeete.

Edited by caribill

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Thanks I missed that. edited. I see why I missed it. my screen is only showing half the post. But this seems to be the only thread it is doing it on.

Edited by AZbeachboy

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After a great night sleep, we were delighted to see beautiful weather outside. By beautiful in Tahiti, that means mainly sunshine with a little sprinkle here or there. That is what the day held every other day on our adventure from this day on.


We had booked a 4 X 4 with Tahiti Discovery. This was an 8 hour adventure with Teiva Tiaipoi and did not include lunch. It was 6500 French Polynesian Francs. We ended up being the only two on the tour, and he was an amazing guide. Perfect English! Here is Teiva:DSCF2819.JPG


Before we hit the inner island we did a little coastal to see where the locals like to surf. Besides taking tourists on these adventures Teiva likes to surf.

The cove behind us is one of his favorite spots to do so.




The opposite direction:




After a brief stop to use a rest room, we were off into the interior crater. The mountains all around were the rim of a collapsed volcanic crater as far as I understood it. Our eyes went in to scenic overload at all the beauty around us.



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There were waterfalls at every turn. Here are a few...








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This was a picture of our transport for the day. We loved that he rolled the top back and let us ride standing up hanging on to the frame, riding the wind like two teenagers.




Teiva was wonderful about taking our photos!




The road was bumpy as expected and we crossed the river a few times.




This is where we crossed...



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We were able to have lunch way deep inside the crater at a place called Le Relais Dela Maroto. It was a little spendy, but look at our view...DSCF2865.JPG


Here was a picture of our meals, both of us having a fish dish.





After a delicious meal, we had a little floor show.




Then it was time to head back out. This is a picture of one of the dams they have on this river.




Can you see the lions head in this picture?



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After the inner tour we headed back out to the coastal area to the Arahoho Blowhole. I was not able to get a picture of the blowhole spouting, but this is the crash of the waves coming in nearby.




Then it was off to Venus Point. This is the lighthouse and the beautiful black sand beach.




Our last stop for the day was an overlook looking back at downtown Papeete.




We count this as one of our most amazing excursions to date. What a truly gifted tour guide we had in Teiva!

Something about the heat, but we were exhausted early and just enjoyed our balcony for the rest of the night. I watched the Ocean Princess pull in to the harbor and what a rush to know we would soon be onboard!

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Here is a picture of our view in the morning from the Hotel Tiare Tahiti, and the ride we will be taking for the next 10 days. The beautiful Ocean Princess!




This is a view from our balcony of Moorea.




For some reason a breakfast came with our room for the last night and it was a very enjoyable meal in their darling little breakfast nook area. The long three foot baguettes are a government subsidized food in French Polynesia, so it appears in many meals. I think it is like $.53 US at the markets. If not to your liking, the fish seem to enjoy them if you go snorkeling.





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After our lovely meal, we had time to kill before boarding the Ocean Princess. I had saved the self guided walking tour of downtown Papeete for this day. We needed to check out at 11 so we headed out fairly early. Any kind of activity on these islands, other than being in the water, is best to do early or late afternoon as the heat is so intense. We love heat and sunshine, but this was unbelievable to us. Every pour in your body sweats and you feel rather like you have been in the water, your clothes become soaked. Also remember to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated!


Armed with the trusty map that the hotel had in our room upon check in, we were off.


First stop, the beautiful Catholic church, The Notre Dame Cathedral Papeete.

It was beautiful inside and though we are not Catholic, it gave us a chance to be still and give thanks for this wonderful life we have been given.



Another stop was Territorial Assembly. There was an amazing park attached to this. We wandered back here several times it is so beautiful.




This is the presidential palace. I was able to walk in a few steps from the gate to take a picture but the guard using hand signals told me that was as far as I could go. He spoke no English. We really don't speak French, only a couple common words, but we managed to get by with that.


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There are many interesting things the map guides you to all along the way. Another beautiful park is the harbor park area called Paofai Gardens. It runs for several acres along the waterfront.



We happened by a tree trimming operation going on by the local government. They were taking down branches and many many coconut. One of the workers, again using hand signals, asked if we would like to have one cut open.


OF COURSE!!! This was just the thing to hit the spot and give us a little more energy. Coconut water is the best!!!




Here is a picture of the dear man that treated us.




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We wanted to hit one more thing before we called it good for the walking tour. The Le Marche craft and farmer's market. Two stories high.


This was a huge deal, and a wonderful place to come back to on your last day to spend those francs you may have left.



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