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skatchi

Cruise to Tahiti / Bora Bora in December

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Hello.

 

I'm new to cruising and looking to book a vacation this December in Tahiti and Bora Bora.  Heard cruises are a good bet since you can see many islands in one go.  I have a few questions.

1. Is December a good time to visit?  Heard it can be quite rainy and cloudy.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to return so want to ensure we get good weather and sunshine.  Should I try to book in a different season?

2. What cruises are recommended?  I have been researching and seeing PG and Windstar, but both are quite expensive.  ~$3K/per person without airfare.  Is that normal?  Are there alternatives?

 

Thanks in advance!

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1 hour ago, skatchi said:

Hello.

 

I'm new to cruising and looking to book a vacation this December in Tahiti and Bora Bora.  Heard cruises are a good bet since you can see many islands in one go.  I have a few questions.

1. Is December a good time to visit?  Heard it can be quite rainy and cloudy.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to return so want to ensure we get good weather and sunshine.  Should I try to book in a different season?

2. What cruises are recommended?  I have been researching and seeing PG and Windstar, but both are quite expensive.  ~$3K/per person without airfare.  Is that normal?  Are there alternatives?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Best weather (but highest price) will June - September.  Paul Gauguin and Windstar both offer intimate cruises in FP. Yes there are less expensive alternatives but no others offer the same experience. Smalls Islands are best seen on small ships IMO. I've done larger ships in FP long ago and then had the opportunity to try PG and it was apples to oranges, you can not compare. If you really want to experience FP the way it is meant to be seen do it on a small ship 😉

 

FYI, I've done FP November - March numerous (at least a dozen) times and only once did we have prolong rough weather. November - March is cheaper but yes it's a bit more humid and more clouds but the price is great.

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna

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I get blasted every time I offer this information.

 

Oceania does several Tahiti to Tahiti trips each winter.  We did it last year on the Marina (1200 passengers, although our sailing only had about 800.)  The next two years they are doing the itinerary with one of their 675 passenger ships.

 

We loved our cruise so much in February 2019 that we are booked on the Pacific Princess (675 passengers) for October 2020.  The prices for the Princess cruise was just too good to pass up.

 

We took snorkel excursions in almost every port and walked around the towns.  We were pretty tired and usually were in bed shortly after dinner.  (The sun rises and sun sets are spectacular in French Polynesia.)

 

Ultimately it is personal preference.  I would rather get a great deal on the cruise and spend some time pre and/or post cruise on one of the islands.

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11 hours ago, Heartfelttraveler said:

I get blasted every time I offer this information.

 

Oceania does several Tahiti to Tahiti trips each winter.  We did it last year on the Marina (1200 passengers, although our sailing only had about 800.)  The next two years they are doing the itinerary with one of their 675 passenger ships.

 

We loved our cruise so much in February 2019 that we are booked on the Pacific Princess (675 passengers) for October 2020.  The prices for the Princess cruise was just too good to pass up.

 

We took snorkel excursions in almost every port and walked around the towns.  We were pretty tired and usually were in bed shortly after dinner.  (The sun rises and sun sets are spectacular in French Polynesia.)

 

Ultimately it is personal preference.  I would rather get a great deal on the cruise and spend some time pre and/or post cruise on one of the islands.

 

I've cruised on The Pacific Princess in FP.  "I've done larger ships in FP long ago and then had the opportunity to try PG and it was apples to oranges, you can not compare. If you really want to experience FP the way it is meant to be seen do it on a small ship 😉"

 

Yes it was the Pacific Princess and the Tahitian Princess we took first in FP.  A better fit than larger vessels for sure but still lack the intimacy of the smaller ships. I've always stated the the largest ships I recommend for FP are the R4 class ships as the Pacific Princess is part of. So it's a good compromise IMO  .... 

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That's great feedback.  How about traveling in December?  Should I wait until the winter season in FP?

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If you want the very best weather yes  ....

 

Remember there are only a few cruise ships year round in FP so on the larger vessels there may be some limitations on when you can go.

 

Feel free to contact me and I can give greater details plus a few ways to save some money: tahitianbigkahuna@gmail.com

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna

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6 hours ago, skatchi said:

That's great feedback.  How about traveling in December?  Should I wait until the winter season in FP?

 

If it helps at all, I did 17 days Windstar last December and it was beautiful everyday. Nov-Mar is the height of the rainy season and we had only one day of rain the whole 17 days. It's expensive but oh what a way to experience Tahiti on a sailing ship with only 148 fellow passengers. I've cruised Tahiti at all times of the year and always seem to get lucky with weather. I know someone last year who went Windstar at an ideal time, late August-September, and it rained everyday. So it's just like the proverbial "box of chocolates".

 

Have also done Tahiti on the Oceania ships and loved it- a little more reasonable, 650 passengers but still small enough for Tahiti. I'd never consider going on anything larger than that. Going back on Oceania Regatta next April, again have always had great weather in April. If you want to get the best odds you can go in the summer but don't count on it not raining. Besides climate change has reversed patterns everywhere as you already know.

Enjoy your cruise!

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9 hours ago, skatchi said:

That's great feedback.  How about traveling in December?  Should I wait until the winter season in FP?

 

One more thing Skatchi....just as an example. On Oceania you can do a 10 day Tahiti on Regatta March 25, 2021 (a better chance of good weather than Dec) for, least expensive inside, $2799pp. Least expensive balcony $4599. It's a wonderful itinerary, roundtrip Papeete and visits Moorea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Raiatea, Fakarava and Nuku Hiva. They have air inclusive prices too, but I always pass on all of that as I can do better myself. Oceania is known for outstanding dining and service, beautiful ships, and wonderful ambience. That doesn't include the extras you get from your TA, and at a minimum I get gratuities and some shipboard credit. Internet is free with O.

Have done PG, Windstar and Oceania Tahiti and O and WS are  tied for first place with me. Well maybe WS gets the top spot because the sailing experience is so ideal for Tahiti.

 

I agree with Heartfeltraveler, the Pacific Princess cruise in October 2020 is a fantastic deal and if you are watching your vacation budget it's a great alternative to PG, WS and O. The Pacific Princess and Regatta are sister ships, different cruise lines. Hope you decide to take the plunge!

 

 

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I am glad to see two different perspectives here:

1} PG the the best way to go

2) Other Cruise lines (Oceania, Windstar,  Princess) offer better value for money

 

I just booked Pacific Princess for Nov 2020. So I guess I'm in the value for money group. I've seen many reviews from Pacific Princess cruisers in Tahiti, such as the Yellow Fish Cruises blog by PescadoAmarillo. I have little doubt we will have a great time on Pacific Princess. I would love to try PG, but it would require on heck of a sale for that to happen.

 

BTW, I got a lot of great advice back in 2014-2015 from a former CC member Tikintahiti. I wonder whatever happened to him. 😁

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Each cruise line offers something different and some will be drawn towards it for probably their strong point.

 

Oceania - known for their dining experience

Windstar - The romance of a sailing vessel

Paul Gauguin - It's crew/personal service

Princess - best price

Aranui 5 - immersion in the local culture

 

No other cruise line spend enough time in French Polynesia to have their 'nitch' defined. 

 

Mercruiser - I talk to Tikiintahiti from time to time, he is doing fine 😎

 

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59 minutes ago, Tahitianbigkahuna said:

 

Mercruiser - I talk to Tikiintahiti from time to time, he is doing fine 😎

 

I am glad to hear it.

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There are other options in this region.  For instance, Ponant (which has recently bought Paul Gauguin) has expedition ships which visit French Polynesia.  One of their ships, Le Soleal with about 200 passengers, is doing a thorough voyage to the Marquesas and another to the remote Austral Islands.  You could back-to-back these in April-May 2021.  Both voyages will give a far better, more immersive experience than any of the cruises previously mentioned on this thread.  Also, National Geographic Orion - a fabulous ship which I sailed on through Melanesia - also does stunning  itineraries in French Polynesia and beyond.  

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Just want to say thanks to everyone who responded to this thread.  It's been extremely helpful to plan my trip.

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