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FP Opens to International Tourists - How is it going?


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2 hours ago, Petoonya said:

@#%!!!

 

I do know the PG has quarantine requirements for their crew. The Aranui 5 sits over in the freight area of the harbor with crew on-board before going over to the cruise dock area. Not saying it is the reason but that seems to be one of the differences between the two ships. PG seems to have hit it's stride on dealing with covid  ... knock on wood 😉

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On 9/24/2020 at 10:53 AM, Petoonya said:

They'd have to get the rapid test approved by FP in order for it to help us. Which will be a dicey thing, seeing as how the rapid test is not as accurate as the PCR required now. I agree though- wouldn't it be wonderful for us all! You can even get one close to the airport at places like Stanford where they bill insurance or give it free.

 

Maybe some hope on the horizon, Petoonya. From a laboratory blog I subscribe to:

 

Researchers Say New Rapid Coronavirus Test Has More Than 99% Diagnostic Sensitivity

Reuters (9/25, James, Smout) reported scientists at the University of Oxford found that the new rapid coronavirus test called LamPORE had more than “99% diagnostic sensitivity in early studies.” As a result, “Public Health England official Steve Pullan said that early data indicated the LamPORE test was a credible alternative to conventional PCR-based diagnostics.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been too busy with work and other issues to spend any time on CC in the last several weeks. I'm catching up on cruise news now. Some interesting news items from Tahiti (translated from French):

 

"Rapid Tests to reinforce travelers to Tahiti"

https://www.tahiti-infos.com/Des-tests-rapides-en-renfort-pour-les-voyageurs-vers-Tahiti_a194978.html

FP is considering allowing Paris to PPT passengers to take a rapid Covid test at the airport if their PCR test results are not available. Passengers would be required to prove they took the PCR test. The reason for this possible change is that PCR tests in France are taking 6-7 days for results, making it impossible to have test results within the required 3 days before boarding.  There is no mention of applying this policy to passengers boarding at LAX or SFO.

 

FP tourism collapses 82%

https://www.tahiti-infos.com/La-frequentation-touristique-s-ecroule-de-82_a195013.html

4605 tourists disembarked in Tahiti this year, compared to 25000 last year.

3800 of these passengers are from France ("metropolitan" in the article), 750 from America, and 270 Europeans (other than France).  (Note: It is not clear if these statistics are for the whole year or since flights resumed in July)

 

 

Edited by Mercruiser
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Back in June, I booked the Windstar Feb 11, 11-night cruise at an excellent price. We are approaching the 120 day cancellation penalty date, so I need to make a decision on whether to go ahead with this booking.

https://www.windstarcruises.com/voyage-plan/faqs/#CancellationPolicy

 

After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to cancel this booking. The cons are:

1) I don't want to put out any non-refundable money on a cruise right now. You are basically making an unsecured loan to the cruise line. You might get your money back, you might not. (Paul Gauguin clients are experiencing this, per the PG forum.) The promise of a FCC is of no interest to me.

 

2) The is a lot of uncertainty about the cruise experience itself. I had mentally adjusted to the idea of wearing a mask on the cruise. But the tipping point for me was the prospect of having to go only on ship-sponsored excursions. I don't know if Windstar will do this. But anything is a possibility right now. I will not cruise if I cannot explore ports on my own. 

 

My "Plan B" is to go to Bora Bora and Moorea and stay at a resort, for free, using hotel frequent guest points. I already have this booked. The advantage of this over a cruise is no money down and I can cancel a week ahead and still get my points back.

 

My "Plan C" is the Pacific Princess Feb 8, 2022 FP cruise. I am booked on that. That might be far enough out for Covid to be under control. But even if it is, will Princess still operate this itinerary? The cruise lines are bleeding cash and the Pacific Princess is probably not very profitable to them compared the the mega ships.

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4 hours ago, Mercruiser said:

My "Plan B" is to go to Bora Bora and Moorea and stay at a resort, for free, using hotel frequent guest points. I already have this booked. The advantage of this over a cruise is no money down and I can cancel a week ahead and still get my points back.

I'm kind of in same situation, except we are on the very first Jan 7th, 2021 cruise.  Got a great price on the cruise, still only have the deposit paid.  With a tip from someone on the boards, I contacted Windstar and they extended my final payment date until 30 days before sailing.  That was suppose to give late Oct and Nov to see how things were going on the first few cruises and make sure they weren't going to stop them or FP shut down again.  

 

I'm still on the fence.  Looking at backup Plan B similar to yours.  I've been watching some of the other travel boards and the land base vacations are starting to be hit or miss.  People are reporting that even if you can get all the testing done to meet the time and government standards, get to Tahiti, that Air Tahiti has been canceling a good amount of inter island flights and some people have been stranded.  

 

I basically have to Dec 1st to decide........

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@Mercruiser

I'm so sad that you decided against the cruise! Besides being sad that you won't get to enjoy the experience, you have been such a treasure of information with all the research you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You've been amazing sharing info and providing updates. Really appreciate. I like both your plan B and C, and will also look into Pacific Princess for 2/8/22- sounds good.

 

This is for @Dd3thomas too. I wish like heck you didn't cancel and maybe you haven't as yet? There's a poster on the WS board who sails in January and spoke to a WS rep who gave her a great offer. She can switch to any other 2021 cruise for same price and any extra amenities WS had given her. If that interests you please check out the WS board....the poster lists her email. My sailing is 4/29 and that's the date I'd like but could change to whatever....

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On 10/10/2020 at 7:05 PM, Petoonya said:

This is for @Dd3thomas too. I wish like heck you didn't cancel and maybe you haven't as yet? There's a poster on the WS board who sails in January and spoke to a WS rep who gave her a great offer. She can switch to any other 2021 cruise for same price and any extra amenities WS had given her. If that interests you please check out the WS board....the poster lists her email. My sailing is 4/29 and that's the date I'd like but could change to whatever....

Thanks Petoonya!  I have not canceled my reservation yet.  We really, really want to go and have the cruise, even being the first ones and the safety protocol being high with masks, distancing, etc.  It's really Windstar and if they will cancel.  If they do I just don't want it to be at the last minute after I have it non-refundable or cancelation penalties period for some things like pre/post hotels.

I found the post you mentioned about them honoring your price for future bookings.  The same poster was the one that helped me get my final payment date extended until 30 days out.  It's good information to know and I already have the WS contact that helped me last time.  That could be a good option because I was worried I would not be able to find anything close to the same deal I have now without a big increase in cost.

My drop dead decision point is basically Dec 1st.  1. We move forward, pay in full and cross our fingers. 2. Pull the plug on cruise and do a land based vacation during the same time. But now we may have an option 3 - to PIF and reschedule later in the year with them honoring our initial price IF it is canceled by WS.

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On 10/10/2020 at 7:05 PM, Petoonya said:

@Mercruiser

I'm so sad that you decided against the cruise! Besides being sad that you won't get to enjoy the experience, you have been such a treasure of information with all the research you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You've been amazing sharing info and providing updates. Really appreciate. I like both your plan B and C, and will also look into Pacific Princess for 2/8/22- sounds good.

 

Petoonya, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, I would like to go on a FP cruise. But I've been to several of the FP resorts before and I loved them. For 2021, I've got rooms booked at the Moorea Hilton, IC Thalasso Bora Bora, and Conrad Bora Bora - all on frequent guest points. It's way easier to book on points right now than ever before. So even though I am doing something different than a cruise, it should be wonderful.

 

Edited by Mercruiser
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There were 497 cases in FP in the past 72 hours.   This is the biggest increase since the begging of the pandemic.  The president of FP has also tested positive.  

 

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/french-polynesia/

https://www.rnz.co.nz/tags/French Polynesia

 

Getting more worried about our cruise on Regent in February...

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Tahiti and Moorea are implementing a 9pm to 6am curfew. This is intended to reduce the transmission of Covid. 

https://www.tahiti-infos.com/Couvre-feu-Telechargez-les-attestations-de-deplacement_a195421.html

The outbreak has become pretty severe recently.

Edited by Mercruiser
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Here is a very detailed article (in French) about the procedures for social distancing and hygiene on the Aranui and Ponant (formerly Paul Gauguin) ships. There is a lot of information here. You should read this if planning a FP cruise:

 

https://www.tahiti-infos.com/La-croisiere-lutte-pour-survivre-a-grand-renfort-de-mesures-sanitaires_a195495.html

"The cruise struggles to survive, with a lot of sanitary measures"

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I'm looking at my thread title, "FP Opens to International Tourists - How is it going?" Unfortunately, the answer to that question has become pretty obvious, and not in a good way. When I created this thread, I was anticipating that FP would find a way to keep the Covid infection rate under control, and be open to tourism, with a vigorous program of testing and contact tracing. Unfortunately, FP has a daily confirmed case rate that is now amongst the highest in the world. To add to the problem, FP is part of France, which is now under total lockdown, depriving FP of the tourists that it depends on in normal times. The FP tourism industry will not be sustainable without French tourists. 

 

image.png.43847cf785c755d2fe8041599a3acfd6.png

 

The FP covid situation is now creating the worry that the hospital will be overrun with patients. I get the impression from these articles that FP only has one major hospital with an ICU. When you are a remote island, you cannot simply send excess patients to neighboring hospitals. There aren't any neighbors. This is not good.
https://www.tahiti-infos.com/Nous-sommes-tous-sur-le-pont_a195615.html

 

I wish the news was better. Tourism aside, this is not a good situation for FP or the rest of France.

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On 10/10/2020 at 7:05 PM, Petoonya said:

This is for @Dd3thomas too. I wish like heck you didn't cancel and maybe you haven't as yet? There's a poster on the WS board who sails in January and spoke to a WS rep who gave her a great offer. She can switch to any other 2021 cruise for same price and any extra amenities WS had given her. If that interests you please check out the WS board....the poster lists her email. My sailing is 4/29 and that's the date I'd like but could change to whatever....

Thanks again Petoonya for this info. Got everything rescheduled today. WS did great by us and honored our original price, added some great perks and moved us to June 10th sailing. This date allowed us to switch our AA air to PPT and United back and only cost us $54 total in fair difference. 

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2 hours ago, Dd3thomas said:

Thanks again Petoonya for this info. Got everything rescheduled today. WS did great by us and honored our original price, added some great perks and moved us to June 10th sailing. This date allowed us to switch our AA air to PPT and United back and only cost us $54 total in fair difference. 

That's wonderful news! We'll keep the ship spotless for you 😉

 

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On 10/30/2020 at 10:41 AM, Mercruiser said:

I'm looking at my thread title, "FP Opens to International Tourists - How is it going?" Unfortunately, the answer to that question has become pretty obvious, and not in a good way. When I created this thread, I was anticipating that FP would find a way to keep the Covid infection rate under control, and be open to tourism, with a vigorous program of testing and contact tracing. Unfortunately, FP has a daily confirmed case rate that is now amongst the highest in the world. To add to the problem, FP is part of France, which is now under total lockdown, depriving FP of the tourists that it depends on in normal times. The FP tourism industry will not be sustainable without French tourists. 

 

image.png.43847cf785c755d2fe8041599a3acfd6.png

 

The FP covid situation is now creating the worry that the hospital will be overrun with patients. I get the impression from these articles that FP only has one major hospital with an ICU. When you are a remote island, you cannot simply send excess patients to neighboring hospitals. There aren't any neighbors. This is not good.
https://www.tahiti-infos.com/Nous-sommes-tous-sur-le-pont_a195615.html

 

I wish the news was better. Tourism aside, this is not a good situation for FP or the rest of France.

This news is so sad but it shows that it can only be contained by the strictest of lockdowns, but then that devastates a nation in so many other ways. It also shows that around the world, the virus is out of control as soon as the restrictions were eased. This phenomenon seems inevitable. 

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Windstar has cancelled all sailings worldwide, through at least March 24, 2021, including the Wind Spirit Tahiti season.

https://www.windstarcruises.com/travel-health-advisory/

 

This is not surprising given the record Covid infection rates in FP, France, Europe in general, and the USA.

 

Will this be the last " temporary pause in operations"?

Edited by Mercruiser
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On 11/8/2020 at 8:39 AM, Markanddonna said:

This news is so sad but it shows that it can only be contained by the strictest of lockdowns, but then that devastates a nation in so many other ways. It also shows that around the world, the virus is out of control as soon as the restrictions were eased. This phenomenon seems inevitable. 

Speaking of lockdowns, see my new post on France's lockdown and travel ban. It looks like the world is going back into a lockdown mode in many, many places.

 

Given the Covid projections for this winter, I am skeptical that there will be a FP cruise season until late 2021 or early 2022. I have a Pacific Princess Tahiti cruise booked Jan 2022. We'll see.

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