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Pre Cruise Decisions: 1 Night in LA + 2 Nights IC Tahiti or 3 Nights Moorea


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Hello Everyone!

 

I'm thrilled to share that our first PG cruise is booked in part due to this forum and all of your helpful information. Many thanks to you all! As TBK said in my previous post, now the fun begins! :D I love putting vacation itineraries together! (Warning: I will likely post a LOT of questions in the coming weeks. Thanks in advance for bearing with me!)

 

At this point we have decided to do air on our own. We locked in the cabin as it was the last one in category E available. Our travel agent informed us that we can add on hotels and air through PG later, if we choose not to do so on our own.

 

The first piece of the puzzle is deciding how to spend 3 nights pre-cruise. We'd love to have more pre-cruise time but 3 nights is all we can squeeze in this time around. Our choices are:

 

Option 1: 1 night in LA and 2 nights at the Intercontinental Tahiti. (This would put us on the flight that lands in PPT around 11pm on the Thursday before Saturday embarkation.)

 

Option 2: 3 nights in Moorea (We would arrive on Wednesday prior to the cruise on the flight that gets in at 5am)

 

I'm leaning towards option #1 not only because it will help us with jet lag but because #2 means we will have traveled for over 30 hours straight by the time we get to Moorea. It would entail a taxi ride at the crack of dawn, a 5+ hour flight, a layover, an overnight flight, customs, a taxi, 45 minute ferry and finally another taxi!

 

Another reason why I'm leaning towards the LA and Papeete option is because we kind of like the idea of pre-cruising at the Intercontinental Tahiti and potentially meeting other cruisers before we board. I know the Moorea is known as a prettier island with better beach properties but since we've never been to French Polynesia before, I feel we'll be enamoured by all that we see. And we'll have two days in Moorea during the cruise. We would try to catch up on rest during the first morning at the IC Tahiti, enjoy the pool, then wrap up the day going for an early dinner at the Roulottes followed by the resort's Polynesian show.

 

Finally, does anyone have any insight on booking the IC Tahiti through PG vs independently? From my initial research, it looks like going through PG is the way to go... Am I correct that the following would be included by booking through the cruise line: transfers from PPT and to the ship, breakfasts and 1 lunch at the IC Tahiti on embarkation day? From my research so far, it looks like PG's pricing for two nights is better than anywhere else with more inclusions not to mention the convenience.

 

Again, everyone's feedback is appreciated! We have a great travel agent who will guide us as well, but there's nothing like hearing from the experienced experts here on Cruise Critic! I love vacation planning and the anticipation it brings *almost* as much as the journey itself. OK, that's an exaggeration, but the planning part sure is fun when one has an amazing destination to look forward to! Happy Travels! :ship:

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You know, I was going to vote for option #2 until you laid out the realities of it. Gruesome.

 

We did option #1 and thoroughly enjoyed our time at the IC. It's very relaxing and I think you'll enjoy it too. We did it as part of the PG package which included breakfast as I recall.

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We leave this coming Thursday for our 6th cruise. We are coming from NY and have a late afternoon flight out of JFK and then the connection to the overnight flight to PPT and then ferry to Moorea to the Hilton. We have done this a few times before. Although it is a long trip you would arrive early on a Wednesday and have a solid 2 full days to relax and enjoy the resort. Your other option really only gives you one full day in Tahiti.

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Number 2 is my vote. Here's my reasoning. A layover in LA will not enhance the experience. I imagine a break in the travel for some would help but to land in LA, get to hotel (unless you go some distance, say Santa Monica, really wouldn't be a nice in the immediate area... one more than a hurry up and wait scenario), eat, sleep, fight traffic back to LAX ....Kind of a stop gap in the excitement of going to FP at least it would be for us.

 

We have arrived at 5am in Papeete and taxied to the Ferry to go to Moorea and it was a breeze. Your bags are taken by porters at the ferry so you wont have to wrangle them on board. We rented a car from Avis (office right across the road from the ferry landing) but if you go the taxi route you should be at your hotel with toes in sand toute suit. We stayed at the Sofitel... LOVED it but people also love the Hilton and the IC Moorea.

 

There are many who like the IC Tahiti. We're not in that camp but we have done our share of pre cruises there as well as the Radisson (now Pearl) and Le Meridian. As FlightMedic said, you really only have a day in Tahiti with option 1. Option 2 you will have 11am ish on the first day then 2 more full days in paradise. Just my 2 cents.

 

We are in San Diego (so much closer) but still a hassle to LAX (drive 3 hours or fly... last time we had 6 hour hour layover in LAX on the way out and 5 hours and the way back.... travel is a pain no matter what; optimize your time in paradise is my advice. And any resort in Moorea is true pardise.

 

Which cruise did you decide on?

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Sita ...

 

We live 230 miles away from LAX. We always drive to Van Nuys (3.5 hours) and park at the Flyaway, then take the Flyaway bus to LAX, it's a breeze. I think there is a Flyaway towards Orange County.

 

We spend about $100 for two weeks of covered parking and our R/T Flyway bus tickets. ;)

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Hi, here's my two cents, having done both, or similar in the past, and we're from Toronto too.

 

Spending a night in L.A. helps a lot with jetlag. It's true. But remember that the jetlag is the *good* kind, i.e., you're going west, so at worst you end up waking up at 4am, which means that you'll be able to enjoy sunrise probably for the duration of the trip, but you may not be the life of the party at night. The jetlag flying home is much worse, like flying t Europe. I'm not a huge fan of the IC either, although many are--to me it's not an authentic Polynesian experience.

 

That being said, Moorea is wonderful, and easy to get to by ferry. What hotel were you thinking? We've twice rented a car from Albert's, which means being picked up at the dock (along with a small horde of others), and taken to their nearby office to do the paperwork and then drive to our hotel (we don't like the big chains, have stayed at Les Tipaniers twice.)

 

I'm guessing that you have work constraints that dictate your choices. If not, I'd do the best of both--one night in L.A. and 3 nights in Moorea. Of course, if you're flying Air France you have scheduling constraints as well.

 

Whatever you choose, it'll be great!

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Thanks so much, everyone! Decisions, decisions!

 

One of the reasons why we were thinking of doing a night in LA is that it's been over 10 years since each of us have been there we've never traveled there together. We figured it would be a fun way to break up the trek. We wouldn't stay near the airport and would likely land around noon so we'd have a good 24 hours to shop, explore and dine.

 

The general consensus is to go with Moorea and even having read everyone's advice, for some strange reason I'm still leaning towards option #1 (1 night in LA + 2 nights at the IC Tahiti). I think it's because I have this weird notion that since the ship is already going to Moorea for two days it will feel anticlimactic to fly to Tahiti, go all the way to Moorea and back to Tahiti and then back to Moorea at the end of the voyage. Am I nuts for feeling this way? Again, it's our first trip to French Polynesia so I think we'll be impressed pre-cruising anywhere!

 

On the Moorea front, we're considering either the Hilton or the Intercontinental, with the edge going to the Hilton for those entry level rooms with private pools. We also stumbled upon a quirky spot called Fenua Mata'i'oa that looks unique and intriguing. I haven't found much written about that property here though. Pricing is extremely reasonable. I'm wondering if the Fenua Mata'i'oa is too good to be true or a hidden gem!

 

Thanks again, PG experts! This is not a bad problem to have to solve at all! :cool:

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Here's my 2 cents. Stay at the IC. Take the bus downtown and visit the central area and market place. You can view what's offered as mementos and then either purchase them then or wait until the disembarkation day and run over in am (it's in easy walking distance) after seeing what's available on the other islands. Prices at market are lower than the other islands. Or take a sail boat ride or book a tour of the island from your hotel. I think with the ship staying 2 days on Moorea is enough.

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Thank you Cruisedreamer1! We will heed your advice should we go with the IC Tahiti! :)

 

I'm still on the fence! LOL! Our travel agent has suggested Moorea too so I'm still as torn as ever. We'll figure it out.

 

A Toronto flight question for Wendy: If we decide to head from YYZ to PPT via LAX without spending a night in LA, do you know if we'd have to retrieve our checked backs in LAX and recheck them with Air Tahiti Nui? We would either fly with WestJet or Air Canada to LA. I can't seem to find any codeshare info for Canadian airlines with Air Tahiti Nui. Checking our bags all the way through would make travel a little easier, at least! (I'm aware that we'd have to go through US Customs in Toronto.) Thanks for sharing your insight! It's awesome having a fellow Torontonian on this board! :cool:

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...

The general consensus is to go with Moorea and even having read everyone's advice, for some strange reason I'm still leaning towards option #1 (1 night in LA + 2 nights at the IC Tahiti). I think it's because I have this weird notion that since the ship is already going to Moorea for two days it will feel anticlimactic to fly to Tahiti, go all the way to Moorea and back to Tahiti and then back to Moorea at the end of the voyage. Am I nuts for feeling this way?...

 

On the Moorea front, we're considering either the Hilton or the Intercontinental, with the edge going to the Hilton for those entry level rooms with private pools. We also stumbled upon a quirky spot called Fenua Mata'i'oa that looks unique and intriguing. I haven't found much written about that property here though. Pricing is extremely reasonable. I'm wondering if the Fenua Mata'i'oa is too good to be true or a hidden gem!

 

No bad decisions, right. Is it nuts to go "all the way" over to Moorea and then go back? No. It's a short ferry trip and quite fun. Going to Moorea gets you into the real feel of the islands prior to the cruise, so you board feeling very self-satisfied, ha ha.

 

I had never heard of Fenua Mata'i'oa before. It's very close to the small hotel where we stayed, Les Tipaniers. I suspect I perhaps saw a sign when were there last fall. But this hotel is definitely in another league, I'm seeing around $300-400 a night to start, is that what you are seeing? We paid about $150 CAD last fall, which is not much more than $100 USD. The location is good, close to water activities. not sure what facilities they have, or what their rooms are like. I would always try to stay in a small, locally-operated place if I could, so sounds good. Looks like it might not have a pool (Les Tipes doesn't either), although that may not matter to you (the ocean is lovely and warm, and much nicer.)

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I had never heard of Fenua Mata'i'oa before. It's very close to the small hotel where we stayed, Les Tipaniers. I suspect I perhaps saw a sign when were there last fall. But this hotel is definitely in another league, I'm seeing around $300-400 a night to start, is that what you are seeing? We paid about $150 CAD last fall, which is not much more than $100 USD. The location is good, close to water activities. not sure what facilities they have, or what their rooms are like. I would always try to stay in a small, locally-operated place if I could, so sounds good. Looks like it might not have a pool (Les Tipes doesn't either), although that may not matter to you (the ocean is lovely and warm, and much nicer.)

 

Hi Wendy, I'm seeing around $300 a night for Fenua Mata'i'oa too. One of the rooms appears to be right on the water making it a bargain compared to the OWBs at the big resorts. It gets good reviews but it does seem rather "unique". I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out our pre-cruise game plan! Haha! But I'm having fun in the process. :)

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That place looks nice but is it an authentic 'Polynesian' experience.

 

Personally if your not going to stay at the bigger resorts I would stay where Wendy does ... Les Tipaniers ... a lovely place and a great location.

 

Gotta agree with you on that one, but it's definitely not a big fancy resort. The individual bungalows are a good size. Some still have the thatched roof with just a ceiling fan, I like this. Some have been renovated with metal roof and AC. Some or right on the beach. The place has a small, family feel, very informal. Food in both restaurants is very good, in fact people come to the evening dining room from other resorts, and the daytime bar/restaurant is right on the beach. No pool, just the beach, but hey, come on in, the water's good! Very close to water sports and excursion companies. Le Petit Village is nearby with a grocery store where you can buy beer, water, sandwich material, etc.

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I didn't take any pictures inside of my bungalow last fall, but here's a picture of the beach with the cafe/bar, and typical older bungalows looking back into the resort. Our beach-front bungalow was off to the left in the picture of the restaurant.

 

P1040559-L.jpg

 

P1040558-L.jpg

 

Our bungalow was one large room with a huge king-sized bed (a bit on the hard side, but fine for us), a front area with upholstered benches designed for children probably, but good for luggage. We had a fridge, but no cooking facilities. And a huge bathroom area at the back. Plus a front porch. A little spartan for luxury tastes, but everything was good. Well-cared for, clean, nice staff, good food.

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Thanks again everyone! I think we can swing 4 nights pre-cruise after all so we are going with the general consensus and will be doing 1 night in LA and then 3 in Moorea.

 

Admittedly, one of the reasons why I wanted to do a night in Los Angeles is that on our last Crystal cruise we acquired tickets to LA's Magic Castle. It's supposedly difficult to get reservations. One needs to be invited by a Magician's Academy member. Crystal features magicians from the esteemed academy on every sailing. If you attend one of their incredible, slight-of-hand shows, you get a free ticket to the Magic Castle. It looks like an interesting place - a mansion with several rooms featuring different acts, a dining room, various bars, etc. Something unique, at least, and a neat way to tie in our last cruise vacation to our next!

 

As for Moorea, I booked the Fenua Mata'i'oa last night and will be sure to share our experience here when we return. There's just something about it that intrigues me. I didn't want the room with direct lagoon access to get snapped up so I just went for it. Upon doing some research I discovered that Goldie Hawn has been there. I figure if it's good enough for Goldie Hawn, it's good enough for me! :D

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Good for you! Snack Mahana is within walking distance (well a longish walk) lunch & cash only, best poisson cru in 9 FP trips and amazing breaded mahi mahi in coconut milk... went 3 times on last trip even forgoing a lunch on the ship to walk there for one last meal.

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Hi there

We’re from New Zealand and have had the same thoughts about Tahiti or Moorea. Our travel agent recommended the Manavua Resort on Moorea. We have booked an over water bungalow and will be there on 9th August for a couple of nights prior to the Marquesas cruise. I’ll post some information when I return.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I feel like I'm late to the party, but know we're all here to help each other out :). Our cruise isn't until Sept 2019. We're near the DC area and can take advantage of the labor day holiday, so we'd actually have about 6 days before our cruise. I've been trying to figure out what we'd like to do with that time. The ferry to Moorea certainly sounds like an interesting idea. Our cruise will have just one day there. From the thread, it seems the transfer from the airport to the ferry to Moorea is easy. Is a car needed?

 

Thanks all!

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Remember when calculating your timing, that you lose a whole day travelling to Papeete from the east coast.

 

With extra time, you could think about taking that overnight night in L.A. Helps with the travel fatigue and jetlag.

 

You can just take a cab from the airport to the ferry dock--renting a car would not make sense at all. If you want to rent a car on Moorea, rent it over there.

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It is possible that your flight schedule may decide this for you... at least it did for us. We wanted an overnight flight landing early morning to not waste a day on the islands. I would argue that there is very little advantage to 3 nights if not getting there until11pm on day one. If you are still asking this after considering your flight options then simple math prevails.... three is always greater than two.

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Thanks again everyone! I think we can swing 4 nights pre-cruise after all so we are going with the general consensus and will be doing 1 night in LA and then 3 in Moorea.

 

 

 

Admittedly, one of the reasons why I wanted to do a night in Los Angeles is that on our last Crystal cruise we acquired tickets to LA's Magic Castle. It's supposedly difficult to get reservations. One needs to be invited by a Magician's Academy member. Crystal features magicians from the esteemed academy on every sailing. If you attend one of their incredible, slight-of-hand shows, you get a free ticket to the Magic Castle. It looks like an interesting place - a mansion with several rooms featuring different acts, a dining room, various bars, etc. Something unique, at least, and a neat way to tie in our last cruise vacation to our next!

 

 

 

As for Moorea, I booked the Fenua Mata'i'oa last night and will be sure to share our experience here when we return. There's just something about it that intrigues me. I didn't want the room with direct lagoon access to get snapped up so I just went for it. Upon doing some research I discovered that Goldie Hawn has been there. I figure if it's good enough for Goldie Hawn, it's good enough for me! :D

 

 

 

Not sure how old this post is. But we have booked the same accommodations at Hotel Fenua Mata”I” (Lokelani Suite I believe it’s called) for two nights pre-cruise. We will be there in 3 weeks. I will try and post a review. I felt like you did - it just seems quite unique and intriging. It wasn’t really cheap but less expensive than my first choice - the overwater bungalows - which was a little out of reach for us.

 

 

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Not sure how old this post is. But we have booked the same accommodations at Hotel Fenua Mata”I” (Lokelani Suite I believe it’s called) for two nights pre-cruise. We will be there in 3 weeks. I will try and post a review. I felt like you did - it just seems quite unique and intriging. It wasn’t really cheap but less expensive than my first choice - the overwater bungalows - which was a little out of reach for us.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

I agree the place looked interesting. I sent them an email because on oyster.com said they had cats and the owner was a smoker...I am allergic to both. Sure enough they have cats..so I took it off the list. It does look nice

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