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PG Excursions - When does registration open?

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We are embarking on Paul Gauguin on October 2nd so we assume we can register for excursions as early as this Friday, August 2nd.  I have heard they can sell out quickly.  Is there a specific time that they load the excursions on to their site?  We are on East Coast time.

 

And I'm also happy to hear your opinions on any specific excursions....we are planning to do a combination of PG and private excursions.

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Very few if any will be full the first day.  Not sure which itinerary you are on but I would look at booking privately on Bora Bora with Pure Snorkeling (or their sister company Lagoon Services) for snorkeling.

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Thanks for the quick response FlightMedic!  We plan to book privately with Pure Snorkeling and to spend time on PG's private motu on Bora Bora.  Trying to figure out what to do our second day as most of the snorkeling trips look the same (so would be a repeat of Pure Snorkeling).  Any suggestions?  I looked into a day pass at the Thalasso but they do not let you use their pool so I  don't think that's worth $100 per person.

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My husband and I are booked on the Sept 21 Fiji, Cook Islands cruise - our 3rd cruise with PG.  Excursion bookings opened on Jul 23.  My husband and I went on the site to book at 4:00 am west coast time and there were several sold out already - mostly the Bora Bora ones.  We got the last ticket for the ATV.  I would get on the site as soon as possible the day the excursion bookings become available.

 

We like to snorkel, so I always book a handful of snorkeling excursions.  This area is so breath-taking that even repeat snorkel excursions are fantastic!  We can't get enough of this place.

 

We've done the ATV tour on Moorea and I highly recommend it.  The dolphin excursion on that island was also enjoyable as well.  

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Lovestx we will be disembarking the day you embark, as we are on the Oct 26 cruise! When we booked our last cruise excursions with PG (Our 1st PG Cruise) we were surprised at how many excursions had sold out or were very limited by the time we got online, we're Pacific time. Most of the sold out excursions were SCUBA, although there were others. 

 

For our upcoming cruise, I actually emailed PGCruises, and their response was the excursions go up on the site between 55-60 days before your cruise, and there is no specific day or time they could tell me when they would be posted. 

 

I'm not even certain exactly how they count back to get to 60 days. Is embarkation day, Oct 26, Day 1, or is it day 0 and the day before Oct 25 Day 1?

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And I highly recommend Pure Snorkel in Bora Bora, we went last year and they were amazing. We have booked them for this year as well as Marc's tour through Huahine Nautique in Huahine. 

 

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We are on taha’a now and board the ship on Saturday.  On Bora Bora there is really not enough time to do the Pure Snorkeling trip in the morning and get to the motu in the afternoon if you want to spend a lot of time there. You will be at the dock at about 12:30 and back on the ship by 1.  If you want to eat lunch you can head to the motu but you will have about 2 hours, at most.  IMHO.

 

in all our trips on the PG we never went to Matira Beach and we plan on that for this upcoming trip.  Supposedly a gorgeous public beach. 

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Pure Snorkel is an amazing excursion, in my opinion, well worth the time and money. As far as the PG private Motu in Bora Bora, 2 hours was plenty for us. It's not Motu Mahana.

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Thanks for all of the incredibly helpful replies!  So it sounds like we should try to book as soon as we get up this Saturday and know that it may not work.  We aren't going to go Scuba diving and don't plan to do a PG excursion on Bora Bora so maybe we will be fine.

 

I am planning on booking with Pure Snorkeling and, from what I've heard from many previous cruisers, we won't want to spend more than a couple of hours on the BB Motu given there are no chairs.  At my age (just hit 60), I'm not that comfortable lying on a beach towel for very long!

 

vjr, which ATV tour did you book that was popular?  On Moorea?  Looks like we will be embarking the day you disembark!

 

And Mr. Randal, I think you have it confused....We disembark on October 12th....and close friends are embarking that day for the 7 day cruise.  Have a great trip!

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Posted (edited)

Here is the scoop  on Bora Bora  ..... 

 

If you want the dreamy Polynesian experience you take the ship's tour with Patrick. Tradition outrigger, ukulele playing by the skipper,  a few snorkeling stops, maybe a little time watching the dolphins and finally a Polynesian feast to enjoy while to dangle your feet in the water.

 

If you simply want the very best snorkeling stops with a good guide in a fast covered boat but no lunch go with Pure Snorkeling.

 

Want a bit more hand holding and different snorkeling stops than most of the others, in a covered boat, lunch on a motu and with a local Polynesian family who really makes sure everyone has a good time go with Ranuui.

 

I've done all of them, you can't go wrong with any of them but each has it's own nitch ....

 

On Rangiroa do the ship's 'Aquarium' excursion

 

On Fakarava go with Ato and if he isn't going out take the ship's excursion to the same location, 'The Blue Lagoon area.

 

To me the best snorkeling experience is on Tahaa from the ship's 'drift snorkel'. You will be picked up straight from the ship and returned directly to Motu Mahana around BBQ lunch time. 

 

On Huahine go with Marc's

 

On Moorea it's a roll of the dice. I would tell you to take a land based tour such as an ATV or 4X4, just make sure it goes to Magic Mountain. It can be either from the ships excursions or private. 

 

Next PG cruise: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2664897-march-7-2020-society-cook-islands-11-night/

 

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna

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As TBK said:

"Here is the scoop  on Bora Bora  ..... 

 

If you want the dreamy Polynesian experience you take the ship's tour with Patrick. Tradition outrigger, ukulele playing by the skipper,  a few snorkeling stops, maybe a little time watching the dolphins and finally a Polynesian feast to enjoy while to dangle your feet in the water."

TBK is exactly correct.

 

On our first trip to French Polynesia, we stayed on Bora Bora for a week at the Sofitel, and a week at the Beachcomber Moorea (which is now the IC Moorea). Both at overwater bungalows. It was our once in a lifetime trip in March 1995.

 

But in 2017, we were retired, and had just sold our liveaboard boat, so we decided to go back to French Polynesia. After seeing the price of a 2 week cruise compared to the cost of hotels, we decided to take a cruise to French Polynesia. It was our first cruise ever. The PG 2 week cruise to the Marquesas was actually cheaper than what we had paid for 2 weeks i overwater bungalows back in 1995.

 

Our first cruise was very enjoyable, but we on Bora Bora, the only thing we did was go the private island. We went to Motu Mahana and loved it, so we had high hopes for BB. We thought it might be on the  lagoon, in shallow beautiful water, with great snorkeling. As it turns out, it's not. We spent an hour there, and the tender there and back were the highlight of the trip. It's on the deep ship channel where the PG is anchored.

 

On our second PG cruise, which we booked while on our first, and was in December of 2017, we decided to splurge on excursions on Bora Bora, since we did not have the BB experience of beautiful water and snorkeling that we did in 1995.

We did a day at the beach at the IC Thalasso. It was really nice. We had access to everything,  and had a 2 course lunch that was very good despite the slow service. The view was spectacular.

 

But, by far, the best thing we've ever done in Bora Bora was with Patrick. A great experience, with snorkeling, sight seeing,  and the best meal I've ever had in French Polynesia. We loved it.

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21 hours ago, lovestx said:

Thanks for all of the incredibly helpful replies!  So it sounds like we should try to book as soon as we get up this Saturday and know that it may not work.  We aren't going to go Scuba diving and don't plan to do a PG excursion on Bora Bora so maybe we will be fine.

 

I am planning on booking with Pure Snorkeling and, from what I've heard from many previous cruisers, we won't want to spend more than a couple of hours on the BB Motu given there are no chairs.  At my age (just hit 60), I'm not that comfortable lying on a beach towel for very long!

 

vjr, which ATV tour did you book that was popular?  On Moorea?  Looks like we will be embarking the day you disembark!

 

And Mr. Randal, I think you have it confused....We disembark on October 12th....and close friends are embarking that day for the 7 day cruise.  Have a great trip!

This is the ATV tour on Moorea (see below) - take the morning one if 2 are offered - cooler weather.  We've done it twice.  They take you through pineapple fields, a jam/jelly facility and up to Belvedere Point.  It's a beautiful tour, and the guides are great!

 

I also agree with all on here that Pure Snorkeling is the best snorkeling excursion on Bora Bora.

 

ATV Guided Tour
DURATION:
3 HOURS - $249

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Just an update as you have all been so helpful....

 

Our excursions loaded sometime overnight on the 60th day out (today).  I went online at 5:50 a.m. EDT and was able to book all of the tours I wanted.  Some SCUBA in Moorea was already sold out and one or two other tours on Moorea had only 1 or 4 remaining tickets.  I ended up booking some extra excursions as I had planned in case I can't get the private tours that we are hoping to do.  Figure I can cancel them 7 days before the tours.

 

Here's our current plan thanks, in large part, to many of you and to some others on CC who have offered trip reports:

 

Huahine:  Booked Huahine Nui Safari with PG but may cancel and go with Huahine Nautique instead

Bora Bora: Booked Shared Circle Lagoon Tour with Pure Snorkeling and plan to go to the Motu.  Still need to find something to do on Day 2 so I booked Maohi Nui 1/2 day tour with PG but not convinced we want to do that yet.  Would rather be on the water in Bora Bora.

Rangiroa:  We don't like the options with PG.  Would like to do a drift snorkel with Plongee Diving center but they aren't responding to my email.

Fakarava:  Have been in touch with Ato.  There are 4 of us now on his waiting list but he needs 8.  Unfortunately, there is no one but me on our Roll Call.  But I'm hoping that others will add to it or that we'll find people onboard who will book.

TaHa'a:  Motu Mohana

Moorea:  Wanted to do both the Dolphin excursion with Dr. Poole and the Trails of the Ancients Trek with Mark Eddowes but they only offered them on Day 2 and both at the same time.  Hoping they may add one of these on Day 1.  Anyone know if they will?  Also booked the Three Coconuts Trails Hiking trip in case we need something else here.  Planned on hiking during our post-cruise tour but could do it off the boat.  We plan to do the Lagoonarium post-cruise thinking it will be less crowded than when we are on the ship.

 

Feel free to give me feedback!

 

And please tell me if I'm crazy to book the laundry package.  It seems ridiculously expensive but I'm not sure I want to spend time washing clothes while in my cabin and it seems there isn't a wash and fold kind of place on Bora Bora or Moorea that I could use.

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We board in 12 hours and always take the laundry package. Pricey but really easy. The lagoonarium should not be busy as it is not an excursion offered by the PG and you need a rental car to get there. Very limited options on Rangiroa. I would definitely do the PG aquarium snorkel. 

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Consider the PG Drift Snorkel on Taha'a, it was one of the highlights of our cruise. Exhilarating, beautiful experience. Starts early, 8-8:30, the vendor then drops you back at Motu Mahana in time for lunch, with plenty of time afterwards to enjoy the Motu.

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On 8/4/2019 at 11:30 PM, MrRandal said:

Consider the PG Drift Snorkel on Taha'a, it was one of the highlights of our cruise. Exhilarating, beautiful experience. Starts early, 8-8:30, the vendor then drops you back at Motu Mahana in time for lunch, with plenty of time afterwards to enjoy the Motu.

MrRandal - 

 

My husband and I have looked at the drift snorkel excursion a few times, on our past cruises, but have heard it is physically strenuous than other snorkel trips.  My husband had a stroke two years ago, which has affected his strength somewhat although he can swim without issues and is able to snorkel in calm waters.  How strong is the current on this tour?  Do you think that someone with moderate strength would be able to handle it?

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By PG's description of the excursion it is for "experienced snorkelers who are extremely comfortable in the water". My wife and I, who are in our mid 60's, fit into that category. While you are drifting with the current, there are areas where the coral is very close to the surface, and you must swim around it or be pushed into it. On occasion, it takes some pretty strong kicking, for a short period, to stay on the "trail" that the guide is following. I've described it as exhilarating, because of the sheer beauty of what you are seeing, combined with the fact that there is a small  element of "danger". It's not death defying, but coral cuts can be nasty. There are plenty of other coral gardens in FP that you can see that don't include the drift factor.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, vjr said:

MrRandal - 

 

My husband and I have looked at the drift snorkel excursion a few times, on our past cruises, but have heard it is physically strenuous than other snorkel trips.  My husband had a stroke two years ago, which has affected his strength somewhat although he can swim without issues and is able to snorkel in calm waters.  How strong is the current on this tour?  Do you think that someone with moderate strength would be able to handle it?

 

This will answer your questions  ..... My Better Half and I took this video  ...

 

https://vimeo.com/311007932

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna

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26 minutes ago, MrRandal said:

By PG's description of the excursion it is for "experienced snorkelers who are extremely comfortable in the water". My wife and I, who are in our mid 60's, fit into that category. While you are drifting with the current, there are areas where the coral is very close to the surface, and you must swim around it or be pushed into it. On occasion, it takes some pretty strong kicking, for a short period, to stay on the "trail" that the guide is following. I've described it as exhilarating, because of the sheer beauty of what you are seeing, combined with the fact that there is a small  element of "danger". It's not death defying, but coral cuts can be nasty. There are plenty of other coral gardens in FP that you can see that don't include the drift factor.

We've been on 2 PG cruises so far and several snorkeling tours both on the boat and through pre and post cruise stays, so I would consider us experienced snorkelers.  I'm just concerned because my husband tires more easily now than before his stroke.  Thanks for the comments - I will discuss again with my husband tonight.

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27 minutes ago, Tahitianbigkahuna said:

 

This will answer your questions  ..... My Better Half and I took this video  ...

 

https://vimeo.com/311007932

Beautiful video!  Thanks for this.  There looks to be some very shallow areas that it would be easy to bump into coral, which I've done in the past - ouch!  I will share the video with my husband and let him decide on the excursion.  We've booked other snorkeling tours on this cruise, so it's not a deal breaker.  This is our first time on the Fiji, Tonga itinerary so I'm sure there will be some beautiful snorkeling there - 41 days and counting!

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The drift snorkel, I'm going to guess, is a little over 100 yards long, you walk up to the start, change from water shoes to fins get in the water and drift. They bring your shoes down to the finish. They make 3 trips, walk up, drift back. Some in our group were done after one trip, some after 2 trips and about half of us made all 3. My wife and I walk 3 miles every day, and swim for an hour 2-3 times a week, so we stay in relatively good condition. If you have never done an excursion with Pure Snorkel in Bora Bora, one of their stops is an absolutely amazing coral garden with no current. Very easy snorkeling, and breathtaking beauty.

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Around 300 yards from where you jump in to where to get back out ..... (Google Maps)

 

Done this excursion every year for 14 years and I would concur with Google Maps

_DJS2230.jpg

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19 hours ago, Tahitianbigkahuna said:

 

This will answer your questions  ..... My Better Half and I took this video  ...

 

https://vimeo.com/311007932

After looking at our itinerary, I realized that I only had 2 actual snorkeling trips booked.  

After showing my husband your video, and with the knowledge that we had only 2 snorkeling excursions planned, we decided to book the drift snorkel.  Thanks for your input as well as Mr Randal’s!

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