Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
OlsSalt

Maasdam's new EXC-InDepth cruise program - at sea

Recommended Posts

15 minutes ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Looking forward to hearing more😁

 

Struggling with this new CC format right now -- not sure when jet lag will let me function again. Never was able to link to the "Floataway Lounge" to keep the thread current while still on board. 

The most common responds to the new HAL Maasdam format was that the programming was very welcomed, but very poorly presented upfront - many did not know or understand even the most basics about the EXC-InDepth 'branding" or what EXC itself stood for in the first place.

Papeete departure was absolutely miserable - midnight flight, hours goring through long serpentine lines at check in, cramped Tahiti Nui plane with dreadful food. Weak link in this entire affair, but the only game in town.

Only too late did some passengers who used HAL to book their flights, find out they could have stayed on the ship until 7pm, before having to go to the torture called the Papeete airport. Hard benches, open air and only McDonald's open on a Sunday. We took the HAL transfer excursions which was a very good 7 hour tour around the island, but it dropped us off at the airport at 4pm - flight left at midnight - it was a long slog with nothing around the airport.

Booking a day room at a close by hotel would have been a far better alternative. But even if you made your own arrangements for that departure day, it was still a nightmare from 8pm onwards when they finally started checking people in and you moved from one long line to the next. 

An unhappy ending to a very good cruise - Papeete airport - beware.  Plan accordingly. 

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonder if an Air France flight to LAX would have made a difference? Air Tahiti Nui is like flying Hawaiian Air Lines

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

Wonder if an Air France flight to LAX would have made a difference? Air Tahiti Nui is like flying Hawaiian Air Lines

 

No AirFrance flights available that we could see - our AirTahiti Nui was going on to CDG after it left LAX so I wonder if they have picked up that route.. The biggest problem was the airport itself and the fact  they have either very early flights or very late flights s- which I suspect as more to do with their eventual arrival at destination times rather than "island time" departures.

Some opted to take Air New Zealand to NZ first and then fly to the US from NZ (with some days in NZ) - flight was cheaper and had better departure times. But with the additional costs of the NZ overnights.

The final insult for us was to learn our "Orbitz" booked ticket on Tahiti Nui did not include any baggage allowance so we got to add $300 more to that very expensive one way ticket in the first place - $1500 each. The agent informed us that is what happens when booking the "cheap air fare" tickets.  

HAL was not offering flights when we booked our cruise and we knew there would be only a limited number  of seats leaving PPE on our departure day and did not shop around much. We "saved" booking the Orbit package which included out LAX to FLL leg too - so what we "saved" got eaten up by the later baggage fees.  HAL later did offer flights but I don't know the prices or luggage allowances. Good points to check out when comparing final prices.

Being able to stay on the ship until 7pm departure day would have been worth any extra HAL flight premium when having to depart from Papeete. But one still has to endure the airport check in hours in lines - not enough staff people to handle this sort of numbers of passengers - each step took standing forever. Passport check - flight check in- -security check in - one by one by one. Sigh - it was done because there was no other option,  but it did seriously dampen the feeling of the entire crusie. 

BTW: the round island HAL airport transfer tour was really good - once you leave Papeete, one still sees small island Polynesia again. Very lovely island and we had some beautiful stops, esp for lunch at a sprawling private estate garden.  Would have been better if we left the ship later and got to the airport later.

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much the same on all of the flights leaving Papeete. Few facilities at the airport.  Little seating.  Enough staff to process the passengers, but not enough to do so quickly. Boarding process is also chaos with everyone just jumping in line.

The last time we were there we did Hawaiian Air to Honolulu.  Flight was nice.  Check in process was long and slow.  They only do the route once a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Late air departures from Buenos Aires, at least on Delta, offer similar experiences.  Little seating in the terminal after a mid- late morning arrival at the terminal with no transfer tour or an arrival at the terminal after a mid-late afternoon tour.  Check-in does not occur until 3, maybe 4 hours before flight time (that time kept changing depending upon whom one asked).  Dozens were sitting on the floor and check-in lines for Business Class and Economy Class passengers were not clearly delineated; it was a mess!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

Late air departures from Buenos Aires, at least on Delta, offer similar experiences.  Little seating in the terminal after a mid- late morning arrival at the terminal with no transfer tour or an arrival at the terminal after a mid-late afternoon tour.  Check-in does not occur until 3, maybe 4 hours before flight time (that time kept changing depending upon whom one asked).  Dozens were sitting on the floor and check-in lines for Business Class and Economy Class passengers were not clearly delineated; it was a mess!

Similar situation leaving on the other end (Santiago) via LANTAM In March, except the flight going out was at 10:00p.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Similar situation leaving on the other end (Santiago) via LANTAM In March, except the flight going out was at 10:00p.

 

My flight was at 9:30 P. M., I recall.

 

The terminal was an Aerolineas Argentina Terminal that Delta uses.  The Argentine airline is a Sky Team partner of Delta and I had planned on using their Business Class Lounge after my HAL tour/transfer arrived at the airport.  No could do because I couldn't check in.  I was able to use it after I finally was checked in and that helped to relieve my unhappiness with the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yikes old salt,  sorry to hear the unhappy ending.  I wonder if the new United flights to SFO will be any better.  I wonder how the HAL charters will fare.   It is too bad HAL  did not have flight info out when they started Advertising these cruises.   It was very difficult to get any info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you all have inspired a new thread: Notoriously Awful Ship Departure-Airport connections. 

In the running: Papeete; Santiago; Buenos Aires

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

I think you all have inspired a new thread: Notoriously Awful Ship Departure-Airport connections. 

In the running: Papeete; Santiago; Buenos Aires

 

And, I would guess that there are others as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, bennybear said:

Yikes old salt,  sorry to hear the unhappy ending.  I wonder if the new United flights to SFO will be any better.  I wonder how the HAL charters will fare.   It is too bad HAL  did not have flight info out when they started Advertising these cruises.   It was very difficult to get any info.

The problem with Papeete is the airport itself.  Too  many people on too many flights in too small of an air port, with no early check in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to hear from you again, OlsSalt.  Glad you are home safe and sound.  Try to concentrate on the good memories.  Hope to hear even more about your cruise.

Barbara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve finally been able to get on this new site (terrible design and implementation IMHO) and losing the ability to use Tapatalk or the other app is unconscionable.

I totally concur with OlsSalt’s observations about the cruise.  We’re on for 14 more days and we’ll have a real test tomorrow with our first tendering operation at Hiva Oa with over 1250 guests compared with under 1000 on the 34 day cruise.  There are also far fewer 4-5 star Mariners on this segment.  The character of the passengers dramatically changed at Papeete.  The Lido is constantly full.  16 children, a large French speaking contingent including Polynesians, a Chinese group.  

My daily blog continues to be active and can be found at http://Www.timmer2018polynesia.blogspot.com

Tim

Edited by Btimmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, bennybear said:

Yikes old salt,  sorry to hear the unhappy ending.  I wonder if the new United flights to SFO will be any better.  I wonder how the HAL charters will fare.   It is too bad HAL  did not have flight info out when they started Advertising these cruises.   It was very difficult to get any info.

I’ll give a report on the UAL operation as we are on the very first flight out on 10/30. Hopefully they will do something special.  We’re staying a few days in Papeete after the 14 day segment.

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Btimmer said:

I’ll give a report on the UAL operation as we are on the very first flight out on 10/30. Hopefully they will do something special.  We’re staying a few days in Papeete after the 14 day segment.

Tim

 

Thanks Time for the link again to your daily blog on "our ship". Interesting change in onboard demographics and wonder how this will affect the InDepth programming appeal.

I was especially impressed at the full house audiences for the Wanjang 7:15pm "small talks" on more esoteric topics related to the areas we were visiting. As well as the growing interest in the panelist's post-port experience "seminars". 

After our own horrors with the PPE departure for US bound passengers, I had not even thought about  the appeal of this next PPE-PPE cruise segment to those in the surrounding Pacific Rim where it would be more of a "local" destination than for us in North America.  I feared they might be sailing with an empty ship - sure got that wrong.

Wonder what the PPE flights times and departure times are for those going home to China or New Zealand. Certainly the domestic flights at PPE were constantly busy so other islanders would have more ready access to and from PPE since you report Polynesians themselves formed a large part of the new segement passenger demographics.

If we learned anything at all on our intensive first segement - virtually all of Polynesia is dead center in the middle of a vast ocean thousands of miles away from just about everywhere.  Experiencing this first hand underscored the prior trans-ocean Polynesian migration as one of the more stunning human activities on the planet.

The willingness to explore this unknown on out-riggers carrying their own food supplies to unknown destination for unknown durations became very real as we plied those same waters from Easter Island onwards. (Naturally with the all the moderns benefits of WiFi, shelter, A/C and hopefully no reason to keep rats onboard for food.)

Unwrapped our two moai purchased in Hanga Roa, who now spread their mana far from their original home - one exquisitely carved in mahogany front and back, and the other out of the volcanic stone with its haunting white coral eyes and red topknot intact.

Filled out the post-cruise evaluation which was not geared for the InDepth offerings, so it took a bit of tweaking to give our own feedback about this new HAL cruise experience. Sorry they are not offering a more specific way to give them feedback, and will be looking forward to seeing how this program evolves over real time experience and changing passenger demographics and expectations.

We are signed up for another Maasdam InDepth next year - SFO to Alaska to Russia and extensive Japan.

Meanwhile enjoy all that delicious warm water and more Tahitian ceviche while you can.

Edited by OlsSalt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been booked on the Sea-Sydney portion of the cruise you booked on.  I understand that the SF/Sea to Yokohama or Sydney is one of the most booked future cruises being booked on the ship.

The line at 9am for 10am tender tickets this morning stretched from the Ocean Bar past the Signature Shops!  

Here’s hoping your manna is positive!!

 

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today’s port stop at Atuona was just cancelled due to sea swell.  So we have a sea day.  Attached is a pictured tge Island 

13408F6F-6A2D-4981-A795-D20E97316D7C.jpeg

Edited by Btimmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

btimmer, Sorry you couldn’t land,  the swells can be huge.  I will look forward to your comments on UAL and blog. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your Blog

 

Good Morning Tim,

Tried to read your latest blog posting and nothing I did could make it readable.:classic_ohmy: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, JACKWC said:

Your Blog

 

Good Morning Tim,

Tried to read your latest blog posting and nothing I did could make it readable.:classic_ohmy: 

It looks like the text color is now a medium grey, so there is little contrast with the background color.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Highlight the text, copy it (CTRL-C) and paste it (CTRL-V) into a blank Word document. Change font size, style and color as desired.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you remember when HAL shore excursions became available for booking for your cruise? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dr.Dobro said:

Highlight the text, copy it (CTRL-C) and paste it (CTRL-V) into a blank Word document. Change font size, style and color as desired.

 

Actually all you have to highlight the  text and it becomes readable - thanks for the tip that I did not think about :classic_tongue:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...