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When, where and on what ship is your next South Pacific cruise?


Petoonya
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I know I'm going to open up a can of worms here but after 3 decades of trips to FP, mostly every year I've come to the realization that some ships are just to big to visit some of the outer islands of French Polynesia. I know the mayor of Bora Bora wants to limit ships to no more than 1,000 people on-board. A few other islands are considering the same ..

Personally I think it's overdue. Many islands have fewer inhabitants than the amount of people on some ships that visit. These type of islands don't have the infrastructure to handle big ships and frankly it isn't far to the passengers on-board as many will not be able to secure an excursion due to the lack of infrastructure..

The covid issue might delay some islands from regulating the ship size but my guess it will eventually happen  as islanders are concerned about the eco harm the large ships create. 

OK  ... bring the heat 

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We've been there and done that here together TBK. Like you I'm happy for those who get to visit Tahiti, but unhappy that these little islands and atolls get inundated with more humans in a day than is ecologically best practice. But many are loyal to their cruise lines, put off by higher prices of Windstar and PG, and would never visit FP except on their cruise line of choice. Can't blame them- I cheer them on. But like you I trust that the islands will eventually self regulate.

 

I regularly visit Tahiti on little Wind Spirit, 140 passengers, but also on Oceania Regatta, a medium size ship at 600 passengers. So I'm guilty of contributing to the masses on the islands regularly too.

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Petoonya said:

We've been there and done that here together TBK. Like you I'm happy for those who get to visit Tahiti, but unhappy that these little islands and atolls get inundated with more humans in a day than is ecologically best practice. But many are loyal to their cruise lines, put off by higher prices of Windstar and PG, and would never visit FP except on their cruise line of choice. Can't blame them- I cheer them on. But like you I trust that the islands will eventually self regulate.

 

I regularly visit Tahiti on little Wind Spirit, 140 passengers, but also on Oceania Regatta, a medium size ship at 600 passengers. So I'm guilty of contributing to the masses on the islands regularly too.

 

 

 

 

Regatta isn't a mega ship and will meet the suggested cap on size of ships ... less than 1000 passengers ūüėČ

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1 hour ago, Tahitianbigkahuna said:

Regatta isn't a mega ship and will meet the suggested cap on size of ships ... less than 1000 passengers ūüėČ

it still dumps 650 passengers on the islands and atolls,  much more than WS or PG. I've done Regatta Tahiti several times. In places like Rangiroa I've heard mixed reactions from tour providers- love it because of the business it brings them, hate it because their pristine paradise is suddenly invaded by a large group. It's a good compromise between the 1500 passengers HA brings in and the small cruise lines like WS, but it's still a goodly amount of cruisers. I'm a bit guilty too- have a Wind Spirit and Regatta planned.

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‚óĄ Jan 2023

February  2023

Mar 2023 ‚Ėļ

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and International Date Line

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Society Islands,

French Polynesia

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Tahiti,

French Polynesia

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Moorea

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French Polynesia

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11   Avatoru, Rangiroa,

French Polynesia

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French Polynesia

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Nuku Hiva,

French Polynesia

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On this itinerary we are okay for information on Hawaii and we have already booked lagoon tours for Bora Bora and Moorea with recommended vendors as I had guessed from reading that 80% of the population of FP live on Tahiti there would be a supply issue on the smaller islands

 

However can anyone provide advice on my cruise for islands other than Hawaii, Bora Bora & Moorea :-

 

Are there any islands where we can just get off the ship and wander to a nice beach without the need to pre book an excursion?

 

Are there any islands where the scenery is so spectacular that for a 1st time visitor it should take a priority over the beach option?

 

Are there any islands which have a 'must do'? 

 

Best island to see real rural island life?

 

I am reading and researching about the islands and accept that every island is someones idea of paradise but any first hand comments would be welcomed

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/4/2021 at 10:12 AM, Petoonya said:

@canadianbear

Three recommendations in FP?

Fakarava- spend the day with Ato- fabulous. Great snorkeling and delicious fish lunch. You'd need to find at least 3 more couples to confirm. fakaravaexplorer@hotmail.com

 

Raiatea-  amazing snorkeling around the sister island of Tahaa- the Coral Gardens which is a must- it's like an IMAX of fish. Bruno  and Le Excursion Bleue. https://www.tahaa.net/en/home/ Or

if you like jetskiing this is the place to do it. You'll do everything Bruno does in a day and more. Tons of dolphins.https://www.raiateajet.com/copie-de-qui-sommes-nous

 

Rangiroa- again you won't see more fish than in the Aquarium. Easy snorkeling for tons of fish. And a fun drift snorkel in the Avatoru Pass. You need to have at least some experience snorkeling though, and that part of the trip depends on the tides. https://www.the6passengers.com/en/

 

 

Can you go to the Coral Gardens Tahaa from Raiatea Cruise tender?

 

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Oh yes. Bruno of L’ Excursion Bleue will pick you up at the marina immediately adjacent to the dock in Raiatea. There is also a smaller boat with the outfit Arii Moana Tours that can meet you there too. With the smaller group it’s a little easier to request adjusting your day to meet your wishes. We really don’t like visiting the pearl and vanilla farms so much....

Happy cruising!

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we are booked on the same 2023 Hawaii, French Polynesia trip as BillericayUK.  Thank you for starting the good questions about what first timers need to know!

 

I, too, would like to know how important it is to book tours in advance.  I'm afraid, for us, even thinking of booking an outing that is almost 2 years away is hard to fathom!  What are people's experience with waiting to book closer to the trip and/or just 'winging it?'

 

Also, are there places where one can just wander ashore and, perhaps, get a cab to take one about?

 

And, anyone aware of French language tours in French Polynesia? Would give me and my husband a chance to practice our French!

 

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

 

Lea

Calgary AB Canada

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On 5/8/2021 at 5:26 AM, BillericayUK said:

‚óĄ Jan 2023

February  2023

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27   Lahaina

Maui, HI

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‚óĄ Feb 2023

March  2023

Apr 2023 ‚Ėļ

Sun

Mon

Tue

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1

SEA DAY

Cross International Date Line

2

SEA DAY

3   Kiritimati, Christmas Island, Kiribati

Arrive 0800

Depart 0700

4

SEA DAY

Cross Equator

and International Date Line

5   Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Arrive 1400

OVERNIGHT

6   Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Depart 2300

7   Raiatea,

Society Islands,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

8   Papeete,

Tahiti,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

OVERNIGHT

9   Papeete

Depart 0500

 

Moorea

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

10   Maroe Bay, Huahine Iti,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

11   Avatoru, Rangiroa,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

12

SEA DAY

13   Fakarava, Tuamotu

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

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SEA DAY

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SEA DAY

16   Taiohae,

Nuku Hiva,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

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SEA DAY

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SEA DAY

Cross Equator

 

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SEA DAY

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25   San Diego

Arrive 0700

 

DISEMBARK

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

31

 

 

 

On this itinerary we are okay for information on Hawaii and we have already booked lagoon tours for Bora Bora and Moorea with recommended vendors as I had guessed from reading that 80% of the population of FP live on Tahiti there would be a supply issue on the smaller islands

 

However can anyone provide advice on my cruise for islands other than Hawaii, Bora Bora & Moorea :-

 

Are there any islands where we can just get off the ship and wander to a nice beach without the need to pre book an excursion?

 

Are there any islands where the scenery is so spectacular that for a 1st time visitor it should take a priority over the beach option?

 

Are there any islands which have a 'must do'? 

 

Best island to see real rural island life?

 

I am reading and researching about the islands and accept that every island is someones idea of paradise but any first hand comments would be welcomed

 

We are on this cruise too. I am also interested in what we can do in the ports.  We have been to Hawaii, Mo'orea, and Tahiti a few times, so we are especially interested in ideas for the other islands.

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4 hours ago, Daniel A said:

Here's a question for the experienced South Pacific cruisers:  Do we need to pack insect repellant?  Is there a recommended repellant?

The one we use is BugX30 insect repellent towelette. It was recommended by our doctor who also travels a lot.

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6 minutes ago, Mah Jongg said:

We are on this cruise too. I am also interested in what we can do in the ports.  We have been to Hawaii, Mo'orea, and Tahiti a few times, so we are especially interested in ideas for the other islands.

PS I like to snorkel from the shore, not so much from a boat (I am not a great swimmer). Husband is great swimmer and used to dive. We aren't interested in the pearl and vanilla farms either. Maybe a beautiful beach near the port to visit for the day? 

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2 hours ago, Mah Jongg said:

PS I like to snorkel from the shore, not so much from a boat (I am not a great swimmer). Husband is great swimmer and used to dive. We aren't interested in the pearl and vanilla farms either. Maybe a beautiful beach near the port to visit for the day? 

You sound like us.  We prefer to snorkel from shore now as our energy doesn't last too long without a rest as we get older.  My husband was also a scuba diver, even under the ice, but I never wanted to try. Hopefully, we will find some nice beaches to snorkel from. Nicole

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On 5/8/2021 at 7:26 AM, BillericayUK said:

‚óĄ Jan 2023

February  2023

Mar 2023 ‚Ėļ

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

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16

 

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18   San Diego

Depart 1800

19

SEA DAY

20

SEA DAY

21

SEA DAY

22

SEA DAY

23

SEA DAY

24 Hilo, HI

Arrive 0800

Depart 1800

25 Honolulu, HI

Arrive 0700

 

OVERNIGHT

 

26 Honolulu, HI

Depart 2300

 

27   Lahaina

Maui, HI

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

28

SEA DAY

 

 

‚óĄ Feb 2023

March  2023

Apr 2023 ‚Ėļ

Sun

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

 

 

 

1

SEA DAY

Cross International Date Line

2

SEA DAY

3   Kiritimati, Christmas Island, Kiribati

Arrive 0800

Depart 0700

4

SEA DAY

Cross Equator

and International Date Line

5   Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Arrive 1400

OVERNIGHT

6   Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Depart 2300

7   Raiatea,

Society Islands,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

8   Papeete,

Tahiti,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

OVERNIGHT

9   Papeete

Depart 0500

 

Moorea

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

10   Maroe Bay, Huahine Iti,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

11   Avatoru, Rangiroa,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

12

SEA DAY

13   Fakarava, Tuamotu

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

14

SEA DAY

15

SEA DAY

16   Taiohae,

Nuku Hiva,

French Polynesia

Arrive 0800

Depart 1700

 

17

SEA DAY

18

SEA DAY

19

SEA DAY

20

SEA DAY

Cross Equator

 

21

SEA DAY

22

SEA DAY

23

SEA DAY

24

SEA DAY

25   San Diego

Arrive 0700

 

DISEMBARK

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

31

 

 

 

On this itinerary we are okay for information on Hawaii and we have already booked lagoon tours for Bora Bora and Moorea with recommended vendors as I had guessed from reading that 80% of the population of FP live on Tahiti there would be a supply issue on the smaller islands

 

However can anyone provide advice on my cruise for islands other than Hawaii, Bora Bora & Moorea :-

 

Are there any islands where we can just get off the ship and wander to a nice beach without the need to pre book an excursion?

 

Are there any islands where the scenery is so spectacular that for a 1st time visitor it should take a priority over the beach option?

 

Are there any islands which have a 'must do'? 

 

Best island to see real rural island life?

 

I am reading and researching about the islands and accept that every island is someones idea of paradise but any first hand comments would be welcomed

 

We are booked on this cruise also.  Except, I would like information on cruise tours on the Hawaiian islands.  This is our 1st cruise to any of these islands.  I can't wait.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a deposit down on this -

 

https://www.silversea.com/destinations/cruises-south-pacific-islands/papeete-tahiti-to-valparaiso-e1211007022.html

 

but I'm not confident it will sail.  Nor am I confident about getting to Tahiti or flying back from South America.  But this Silversea voyage has for me has an 'ultimate' itinerary. I've done most of these islands before on similar ships but they keep drawing me back.

Edited by Fletcher
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3 hours ago, Fletcher said:

I have a deposit down on this -

 

https://www.silversea.com/destinations/cruises-south-pacific-islands/papeete-tahiti-to-valparaiso-e1211007022.html

 

but I'm not confident it will sail.  Nor am I confident about getting to Tahiti or flying back from South America.  But this Silversea voyage has for me has an 'ultimate' itinerary. I've done most of these islands before on similar ships but they keep drawing me back.

Easter Island is a bucket list destination for me.  I’m sad Oceania isn’t doing their cruise from 

Lima that stops there. We looked at this Silversea cruise but got sticker shock at the price. It looks fabulous, but we plan on going to Antarctica at some point and that’s where we will spend the big bucks. 
 

if this cruise gets canceled, we are looking at Paul Gauguin. Have you sailed with them and do you have any thoughts and impressions to share?

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37 minutes ago, Buffyr said:

Easter Island is a bucket list destination for me.  I’m sad Oceania isn’t doing their cruise from 

Lima that stops there. We looked at this Silversea cruise but got sticker shock at the price. It looks fabulous, but we plan on going to Antarctica at some point and that’s where we will spend the big bucks. 
 

if this cruise gets canceled, we are looking at Paul Gauguin. Have you sailed with them and do you have any thoughts and impressions to share?

We sailed on Paul Gauguin 18 years ago and it was amazing.Everything was included. The food was the best we've ever had. We had a balcony and it was a must bfor the south pacific. Loved every stop. Our favorite stop was the private beach where they hosted a wonderful Barbecue There was a little raft being pulled by the Bartender with included drinks for all. This was for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. We are going back in 2023 for our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We are going with Holland America as it is 35 days and leaves from and returns to San Diego.

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1 hour ago, Buffyr said:

Easter Island is a bucket list destination for me.  I’m sad Oceania isn’t doing their cruise from 

Lima that stops there. We looked at this Silversea cruise but got sticker shock at the price. It looks fabulous, but we plan on going to Antarctica at some point and that’s where we will spend the big bucks. 
 

if this cruise gets canceled, we are looking at Paul Gauguin. Have you sailed with them and do you have any thoughts and impressions to share?

No, I've not sailed on Paul Gauguin which is now owned by Ponant.  The PG's itineraries are OK but Ponant's are much better and their ships are quite new whereas the PG is really quite old now. It has staunch fans, though, such as Tahitianbigkahuna of this parish.  Personally, I've always regarded as it a bit 'themed out.'  Don't forget the Aranui which goes to the Marquesas and also has a few trips to Pitcairn.

 

Oceania and cruise lines like that with big ships are not guaranteed to land at Easter Island.  It is notoriously tricky.  Pitcairn is even trickier.  For Easter Island I would choose an expedition ship or fly there.  You could be bitterly disappointed if you failed to make a landing.

 

The South Pacific is the equal of Antarctica as far as spending big money is concerned.   

Edited by Fletcher
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23 hours ago, Fletcher said:

No, I've not sailed on Paul Gauguin which is now owned by Ponant.  The PG's itineraries are OK but Ponant's are much better and their ships are quite new whereas the PG is really quite old now. It has staunch fans, though, such as Tahitianbigkahuna of this parish.  Personally, I've always regarded as it a bit 'themed out.'  Don't forget the Aranui which goes to the Marquesas and also has a few trips to Pitcairn.

 

Oceania and cruise lines like that with big ships are not guaranteed to land at Easter Island.  It is notoriously tricky.  Pitcairn is even trickier.  For Easter Island I would choose an expedition ship or fly there.  You could be bitterly disappointed if you failed to make a landing.

 

The South Pacific is the equal of Antarctica as far as spending big money is concerned.   

 

"PG is really quite old now"¬† ...¬† she was launched on¬†25 April 1997 and a few months ago was given a facelift. On the other hand the Silver Explorer¬†you mentioned on wanting to go on¬†was launched on 3 February 1989 ....¬†ūüėõ

 

Now Fletcher  .... other cruise lines come and go to French Polynesia but the Paul Gauguin has been an icon for over 2 decades. The reason isn't because she is flashy or the newest .... it's because of her incredible crew. The ship is in fine shape ... Remember the plan is for Ponant to deliver 2 new explorer class ships to join the Paul Gauguin and will likely cruise explorer type itineraries in French Polynesian waters and a few other places in the South Pacific. With Covid this may be delayed a bit but if it goes to the plan it will happen over the coming years. 

 

The interesting thing to watch will be Aranui's new ship that is in the plans. Cruise only, no cargo  ... 

 

Then there is the possibility of some FP islands eliminating mega size ships from visiting.

 

Will be interesting over the coming years. 

Edited by Tahitianbigkahuna
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  • 2 weeks later...

Silversea has cancelled all its Pacific sailings on the Explorer.  No big surprise and it was looking almost impossible for us, as UK residents, to join the ship in Papeete anyway and, if we did, return home from Santiago.  Part of us is disappointed, another part of us is saying, what a blessed relief.

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