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First time to Tahiti

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Thought it might be nice to fly to Tahiti and take one of the cruises. Any recommendations?

 

Or if we were to fly to 1 island to stay, which would you prefer?

 

Thanks for your input.

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We don't like flights over 5 hrs so we are cruising to the South Pacific. Last time we got there form New Zealand (5 hr flight) after having cruised to Australia and then New Zealand. We enjoyed 5 nights in Tahiti, then a cruise around the Society Islands, wonderful way to see different places.

 

You can fly into Papeete, stay there for part of your time and then take the ferry to Moorea and spend part of your time there. Ferry is about $15pp each way; fewer ferries scheduled on Sunday but otherwise they run every couple of hours, I think the crossing is about 35 minutes. Most flights leave Papeete late evening so you'd have time to ferry back and go to the airport, no need for an overnight hotel near the airport. There are flights from Papeete to Bora Bora but expensive and awkward.

 

We were able to pick up a cruise from Papeete to Honolulu (10 nights I think) and flew home from there, 5 hrs to LAX.

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Thought it might be nice to fly to Tahiti and take one of the cruises. Any recommendations?

 

Or if we were to fly to 1 island to stay, which would you prefer?

 

Thanks for your input.

 

International flights arrive on the main island of Tahiti and so into Papeete first and then there's a choice of course BUT...each of the islands offer a bit of a unique experience so a lot depends on what you're interested in. A bit more quiet, laid back Bora Bora...more happening, busier...Moorea, for visiting staying on one island experience.

 

For cruises...Tahiti only options include the MS Paul Gauguin, the Windstar Wind Spirit, as well as some other charter options and the Aranui (includes other islands and is a cargo/passenger ship) and catamarans. Again, a lot depends upon what type of experience might interest you. Other ships offering cruises around Tahiti - Archipel Croisieres, Island Escape Cruises, Dream Yacht Charter.

 

Check out this link to our South Pacific cruise forum for our member reviews on Paul Gauguin and Windstar cruises. There is a review on the Aranui on this board - it's amazing - and it's quite a unique experience but again, the ship visits islands beyond Tahiti and the sailings are on quite a different schedule from a regular cruise line.

 

http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/area.cfm?area=19

 

The search thread on this board might be helpful too if you would like to peruse threads on Moorea and Bora Bora. For hotels, once you have chosen an island, come back for hotel recommendations - unless you have decided to cruise, in which case - bon voyage! :)

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We have been fortunate to have done a cruise out of Tahiti 4 times, #5 next year. All on the Paul Gauguin which I recommend highly. They have a few different itineraries all out of Tahiti.

 

IMHO a cruise from the mainland of the US to Tahiti is really a waste of many days as you spend a considerable about of time simply at sea. The Paul Gauguin is designed for the Tahitian Islands as it can get in to the various lagoons. With only about 320 passengers the quantity of passengers does not inundate the islands.

 

If you do this I would recommend a few night on Moorea pre or post cruise (we love the Hilton). While other islands are great as well only Moorea can be reached by an easy 45 minute inexpensive ($30) ferry. All other islands require a short flight with an expensive fare ($450 RT).

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I would recommend that you fly Air France if possible. The Air Tahiti Nui flight over was grueling because it was one of their older planes and the seats are very small. I am very small person and it was very uncomfortable. A friend flew on Air France and had a pleasant experience.

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Have a look at the Paul Gauguin (pgcruises.com). We've been 6 times and are booked for a 7th. Kind of spoils you.

 

If a land trip, depending on how long you stay, and how laid-back you want it to be, you might want to do two islands. Moorea is always at the top of my list, and is very conveniently located a short ferry ride from Papeete. The islands that are farther away, like Huahine, or one of the Tuamotus like Rangiroa, are less developed so more like being on a desert island, especially the latter. But they are expensive to get to. So it's a trade-off, and for me, Moorea wins. Bora Bora is beautiful, but very expensive and a bit over-rated I think, but it does have good tourist infrastructure.

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International flights arrive on the main island of Tahiti and so into Papeete first and then there's a choice of course BUT...each of the islands offer a bit of a unique experience so a lot depends on what you're interested in. A bit more quiet, laid back Bora Bora...more happening, busier...Moorea, for visiting staying on one island experience.

 

For cruises...Tahiti only options include the MS Paul Gauguin, the Windstar Wind Spirit, as well as some other charter options and the Aranui (includes other islands and is a cargo/passenger ship) and catamarans. Again, a lot depends upon what type of experience might interest you. Other ships offering cruises around Tahiti - Archipel Croisieres, Island Escape Cruises, Dream Yacht Charter.

 

Check out this link to our South Pacific cruise forum for our member reviews on Paul Gauguin and Windstar cruises. There is a review on the Aranui on this board - it's amazing - and it's quite a unique experience but again, the ship visits islands beyond Tahiti and the sailings are on quite a different schedule from a regular cruise line.

 

http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/area.cfm?area=19

 

The search thread on this board might be helpful too if you would like to peruse threads on Moorea and Bora Bora. For hotels, once you have chosen an island, come back for hotel recommendations - unless you have decided to cruise, in which case - bon voyage! :)

 

I seem to be struggling to find prices for the Paul Gaugin cruises around the Society Islands (getting a feeling of if you have to ask the price then you can't afford it syndrome !!). Looking to do something like a 7 day cruise. Thank you.

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Check out Windstar also. We were on the Wind Spirit in May, and had a wonderful time. it is a smaller ship and very laid back. Either way, you will love your Tahitian holiday.

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A cruise to Tahiti is good way to see several islands and might be the best option for a first-time visit. Cruises are fantastically scenic. However, bear in mind that the best beaches are generally occupied by hotels and are often inaccessible - this applies particularly to Bora Bora.

 

Also, please select the SMALLEST ship you can find - the PG and Windstar are OK but big ships like the Princess or Oceania fleet are much too big for these tiny islands. If you cruise to Tahiti from, say, mainland USA or even Hawaii, then you will be on a big ship and see lots of sea.

Edited by Fletcher

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Some excellent tips on here for first time visitors to the area. I would be interested in people's comments regards Gaugin v Windstar/Windspirit. Thank you.

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Some excellent tips on here for first time visitors to the area. I would be interested in people's comments regards Gaugin v Windstar/Windspirit. Thank you.

 

Can't really answer your question, Gaugin vs Windstar, because we were in the same situation as you.

 

I put our TA to work. I wanted to see Bora Bora. However, I knew that I didn't want to start on a large ship on the west coast, then go to Hawaii first and then spend way too many sea days getting to the south pacific islands and then back to the west coast. I wanted a small ship, a nice itinerary, a package deal with airfare, and a price I could afford without robbing a bank.

 

We have settled on The Wind Spirit, "Dreams of Tahiti," in August 2017, with round trip airfare from LAX to Tahiti, a full day and night at The Meridian Hotel before boarding the ship, and a day room at the hotel upon disembarkation before a night flight back to LAX. The price is below what I was expecting even though we did not pick the last expensive cabin since we wanted a mid ship location. I think the experience of being on a sailing vessel and with a maximum number of fellow passengers at 149 should be very pleasant and the itinerary includes an overnight stay in Bora Bora.

 

I would suggest you research on your own and then use your TA, if you have one. We even picked August because even though there will be some rain, this month has the lowest rainfall -usually!! Further research and help from CC has shown me that there are few private tours available on these small islands, although there are some, so our TA has a connection with a company that can assist with tours here in the south pacific or Windstar has very nice excursions at all the ports of call too, even though the cost can add up fast.

 

Have fun researching and making decisions. :)

Edited by PROCRUISE

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FLETCHER, Oceanias small 640 passenger R ships are perfect for SouthPacific.

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Can't really answer your question, Gaugin vs Windstar, because we were in the same situation as you.

 

I put our TA to work. I wanted to see Bora Bora. However, I knew that I didn't want to start on a large ship on the west coast, then go to Hawaii first and then spend way too many sea days getting to the south pacific islands and then back to the west coast. I wanted a small ship, a nice itinerary, a package deal with airfare, and a price I could afford without robbing a bank.

 

We have settled on The Wind Spirit, "Dreams of Tahiti," in August 2017, with round trip airfare from LAX to Tahiti, a full day and night at The Meridian Hotel before boarding the ship, and a day room at the hotel upon disembarkation before a night flight back to LAX. The price is below what I was expecting even though we did not pick the last expensive cabin since we wanted a mid ship location. I think the experience of being on a sailing vessel and with a maximum number of fellow passengers at 149 should be very pleasant and the itinerary includes an overnight stay in Bora Bora.

 

I would suggest you research on your own and then use your TA, if you have one. We even picked August because even though there will be some rain, this month has the lowest rainfall -usually!! Further research and help from CC has shown me that there are few private tours available on these small islands, although there are some, so our TA has a connection with a company that can assist with tours here in the south pacific or Windstar has very nice excursions at all the ports of call too, even though the cost can add up fast.

 

Have fun researching and making decisions. :)

 

Many thanks for your reply Procruise. It looks as though we will be going for the same cruise in March (hopefully towards the end of the rainy season) as it will follow a visit to New Zealand (early Autumn). Unlike you though it looks as though I may well have to rob a bank !!

 

You seem to have done a lot of research already with regards private tours so I would like to benefit from your hard work if you are happy to part with your knowledge.

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Many thanks for your reply Procruise. It looks as though we will be going for the same cruise in March (hopefully towards the end of the rainy season) as it will follow a visit to New Zealand (early Autumn). Unlike you though it looks as though I may well have to rob a bank !!

 

You seem to have done a lot of research already with regards private tours so I would like to benefit from your hard work if you are happy to part with your knowledge.

 

Boleynkid,

 

Actually I haven't even started on this 8/2017 cruise. I just finished up planning six private tours on our NE/Canada cruise this coming September, then we're cruising on The Viking Star to the West Indies in January. Even though Viking includes tours, we may take a few private tours.

 

I will however, get in touch with our TA with regards to private tours in the Society Islands and find out who she recommends to contact. Once I hear from her, I'll let your know here and then offer my E-mail address, since I don't believe I can post that information here with company names etc.

Edited by PROCRUISE

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FLETCHER, Oceanias small 640 passenger R ships are perfect for SouthPacific.

 

I totally disagree. But then in the South Pacific I have only gone on luxury expedition ships with about 100 passengers - ships like Caledonian Sky and Silversea's Silver Discoverer.

 

A ship with 600 passengers effectively doubles Bora Bora's hotel capacity and everyone has to make for one single beach. It's not a pretty sight.

 

The advantage of a big ship like Oceania is that it's cheap and there's lots of entertainment stuff on board.

Edited by Fletcher

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I have been on a number of cruises in French Polynesia with Royal Caribbean (2000 passengers), Princess (R ship with 680) and the PG. the PG was indeed the best by far.

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Boleynkid,

 

Actually I haven't even started on this 8/2017 cruise. I just finished up planning six private tours on our NE/Canada cruise this coming September, then we're cruising on The Viking Star to the West Indies in January. Even though Viking includes tours, we may take a few private tours.

 

I will however, get in touch with our TA with regards to private tours in the Society Islands and find out who she recommends to contact. Once I hear from her, I'll let your know here and then offer my E-mail address, since I don't believe I can post that information here with company names etc.

 

You clearly love your cruises Procruise and a Rocky Mountaineer/Alaska Cruise combo is another on my wish list.

 

Thank you for your kind offer with regards private tours in the Society Islands. That would be great and much appreciated.

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We were on the Windstar in May. The weather was not perfect, but we still had a great time. Two private tours we booked prior that we really enjoyed were Albert's ATV tour on Moorea, and Patrick's motu and snorkeling tour in in Bora Bora. Patrick's is expensive, but is 3/4 of a day and was a wonderful experience.. I booked both of these on line before we left. You don't have to pay for them until you arrive.

Have a wonderful time.

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Many thanks for your reply Procruise. It looks as though we will be going for the same cruise in March (hopefully towards the end of the rainy season) as it will follow a visit to New Zealand (early Autumn). ...

 

March should have been less expensive than August, in general. March will be muggy and hot. That's a bigger deal in their "summer" than being rainy. It can do that any time. But it will still be great.

 

As for "sailing", I don't think that Windstar actually does much of that, not really.

 

FLETCHER, Oceanias small 640 passenger R ships are perfect for SouthPacific.

 

I also have to disagree. The PG, with less than 350 is much better. Windstar is much smaller than that. When we first sailed the Paul Gauguin in 2000, the R ships were still there, and the passengers pretty well overwhelmed the little dock at Bora Bora.

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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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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.

Edited by twin123185

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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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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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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.

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