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Almost live from the NCL Spirit - Hawaii and Tahiti - 19 and 31 May 2022


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Yesterday was the disembarkation/embarkation day in Papetee.

 

We had a port day there, as we're back to back on the next cruise.

 

As usual for back to backs, we had to pick up our new keycards at Guest Services early in the morning before heading out for the day.

 

When I got to guest services before 7am, the line was already stretching out of the atrium. Only two people on duty, nobody triaging the line, so the line was filled with people discussing their bills at length and other last-day whinging.  No separate line for the dozen or more of us needing new keycards before starting the day.

 

Luckily I found a senior person I know (and who knows me) and she was able to take me straight to the desk to request just the cards, but this option isn't available to most.  The lady in front of me said she had been waiting over an hour in line to get her keycard, and was likely to miss her private tour because of the delay.

 

There needs to be sufficient staffing at times of expected high demand, and somebody going up and down the line checking that people need to be there (many don't) and handling simple requests (like new keycards). This is normal on other Norwegian ships.

 

Our new room wasn't occupied on the previous cruise, but was ready, so we were able to move directly to it, and unpack, before heading out for the day.

 

In Papetee, we took a taxi tour from a guy just outside the gate, $60 per person (4 in a taxi) for a 4 hour drive right around the island.  Could be good with the right guide/driver but ours must have been having an off day, not very communicative.  Still, a good way to get an overview of the island with a few stops at natural features like waterfalls. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

When we got back (after dark) from our day in Papetee we went to the room (an inside cabin) and were surprised to see a couple of pieces of paper from room service stuffed under the door, asking us to choose our meals that would be delivered to the room.

 

Checking voicemail, there was also a message from room service, asking us to put the little table in the room outside in the corridor, for meals to be delivered to.

 

In other words, they thought we were a quarantine room!

 

Looking outside, there were many little tables outside the rooms, indicating they were occupied by people in quarantine.  So our room was now in the midst of quarantine rooms! (to be clear, we had both tested negative the day before).

 

When leaving the ship, another passenger mentioned that many passengers had tested positive for their pre-flight tests home, with the onboard rapid tests.  Looks like this was true.

 

So we called guest services. Being embarkation day, they didn't answer the phone at all, as seems to be the normal pattern.  Surely for a day like embarkation, when a higher volume of calls is to be expected, it would make sense to have somebody answering the phone?

 

We had to go and join the line in the Atrium.  Once we explained the problem (that we didn't want to be surrounded with rooms containing people who had tested positive) the response was good, first trying to move us to an oceanview (that wasn't ready) then to a balcony.  We packed (again) and moved to the new room.

 

There were other rooms in that corridor (on 5) that were clearly not quaratine rooms, the incoming guests had their luggage outside.  So the problem was solved for us, but not for the others, but suggesting that the other non-quaratine guests should be moved as well fell on deaf ears.

 

Apparently, the people who tested positive were given the option of leaving at Papetee (then waiting till negative to fly home) or stay on board, at Norwegian's expense.  I was told there are not many who took the latter option, although I counted 14 rooms with small tables outside in one small section of the corridor around our room.

 

We were shocked, and still are, that Norwegian would set up a corridor full of quarantine rooms, without first moving the existing guests in that corridor.  That is so careless.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rob_H
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17 hours ago, Rob_H said:

That is so careless.

 

Wow!!! That was so wrong, I really hope ya got that balcony upgrade for all your troubles, beware though we had 2 cabins deck 9 on the side of us that were quarentined.

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Thanks so much for all this great information!  We'll be in Hawaii over Christmas and I'm concerned about having things to do ... we're not beach people and we've been to all the islands several times, so just 'wandering around' in port like we usually do will probably not work.

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Yes - great info indeed. Question - we’re booked on a Papeete to Papeete trip on the Spirit this fall. 2nd to last day the ship leaves Moorea at 5pm; gets to Papeete at 8 pm for an overnight stay and disembarkation at 8 the next morning. Once in Papeete, can you get off the ship earlier than 8 a.m.? We’re looking at flight options and there’s an 8:20 a.m. flight out we’d like to catch.

 

Any response would be helpful.

 

 Also - how “spicey” was the spice h20 adult pool area?

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Wow I had canceled this cruise just before final payment, was hoping NCL extended final past the Jan date to see what was happening with covid.

 

My two friends went, just got off the phone and the wife is home but hubby is in quarantine on the ship and she isn't too happy with what is going on. She can't reach anyone to find out what happens. He tested positive on 29th so tomorrow is 5th day will they retest and if negative can he come out of quarantine? Where will he fly home from? Honolulu when ship reaches there? They had taken NCL air.

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6 hours ago, Mbot222000 said:

gets to Papeete at 8 pm for an overnight stay and disembarkation at 8 the next morning. Once in Papeete, can you get off the ship earlier than 8 a.m.? We’re looking at flight options and there’s an 8:20 a.m. flight out we’d like to catch

 

We didn't see/hear any option to leave the ship after arrival in Papetee, except for those with Norwegian flights that night, no mention in the Freestyle. But maybe there was something over the speakers we didn't hear.

 

Next morning the announcement that it's now possible to go ashore was about 7am if I remember right. I don't think an 8.20 am flight is realistic.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Rob_H said:

 

We didn't see/hear any option to leave the ship after arrival in Papetee, except for those with Norwegian flights that night, no mention in the Freestyle. But maybe there was something over the speakers we didn't hear.

 

Next morning the announcement that it's now possible to go ashore was about 7am if I remember right. I don't think an 8.20 am flight is realistic.

 

 

I'm not on the ship, but I'm pretty sure you can get off the ship anytime after 8pm the previous day as long as you carry of your own luggage.  This is typical procedure for cruises that end with an overnight. My flight is even earlier, 7am.  There will be somebody working security.

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2 hours ago, casofilia said:

@Rob_H

 

Have you ever tried to get your new card when on a B2B late on the evening of the penultimate day?

 

Pre-covid the new room was usually occupied on the first cruise so you couldn't get the new key until after they checked  out.

 

Recently I've asked for the key the night before,  without success. But we've been able to get the key very early (around 6am) on the changeover day several times this year because we don't have to wait for anybody to leave. 

 

That causes confusion when you go to breakfast in the MDR, the old card is already invalid. So use the new card, new room number.

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@Rob_H

 

That is very different.

 

In the past we have had our new card on the penultimate evening.   We use the old one till we either leave the ship on a tour (or in the US to get a clean ship) or, if we don't have to get off B2B day, when they start loading new passengers.

When we get back from a tour we have to use the new card to board otherwise the new card "cuts in" when new people use theirs to join the ship.

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14 hours ago, Phamer55 said:

I'm not on the ship, but I'm pretty sure you can get off the ship anytime after 8pm the previous day as long as you carry of your own luggage.  This is typical procedure for cruises that end with an overnight. My flight is even earlier, 7am.  There will be somebody working security.

Thanks - can you report back that this is the case; it will be no problem carrying our own luggage. do that all the time regardless.

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2 hours ago, Mbot222000 said:

Thanks - can you report back that this is the case; it will be no problem carrying our own luggage. do that all the time regardless.

I suspect the 'formalities' of disembarking will not allow you to leave any earlier than the ship advises.  It wouldn't hurt to ask during the cruise, but I'd not count on booking an early flight.  If you are able to get to the airport early,  you might be able to shift your tix to that earlier flight.  Many variables involved for me, but you might enjoy the challenge.

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23 hours ago, njkate said:

Wow I had canceled this cruise just before final payment, was hoping NCL extended final past the Jan date to see what was happening with covid.

 

My two friends went, just got off the phone and the wife is home but hubby is in quarantine on the ship and she isn't too happy with what is going on. She can't reach anyone to find out what happens. He tested positive on 29th so tomorrow is 5th day will they retest and if negative can he come out of quarantine? Where will he fly home from? Honolulu when ship reaches there? They had taken NCL air.

One of the Points Guy's people just posted a first-person account of being forced into quarantine from some symptoms and a positive test on the last day of the cruise.  The uncertainty of it all was nearly overwhelming, but she's a seasoned traveller and managed everything quite gracefully ... or at least she didn't tell us about any meltdowns trying and failing to get information. 

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This is our second visit to these ports. In most places we've already done the all island tour so can be more relaxed.

 

In Moorea we took a $5 shared taxi to the beach.(Hauru public beach and park). Beautiful spot. Had a local meal of raw fish in coconut milk, fried fish, shrimps across the street (Chez Tamahau).

 

 

 

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In the afternoon in Bora Bora we went to Matira Public Beach  it's a $5 per person shared taxi ride from the ship.

 

Most taxis drop off on the main road, and a fairly busy section of beach. If you walk down the side road that leads to the Intercontinental, there's access to the public beach across from the Intercontinental entrance, with a large shade structure, restrooms and change rooms. All free.

 

Shallow water, beautiful. Coral can be a bit sharp. Not many fish, although there were yellow and black striped ones.

 

Getting back there are many shared taxis loading at the same place on the main road where they drop, you don't need to set a time. $5 per person again, or 500 francs.

 

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We've left Raiatea, and French Polynesia.  Next are four relaxing sea days on the way to Hilo, Hawaii. We had seven consecutive port days in French Polynesia for the back-to-back, so time for a rest!

 

I'll try to get more details on exactly what the spa has, now we have sea days, for those who asked.

 

Any other questions about the ship's facilities, or any particular areas of the ship you'd like photos of? 

 

Today we went to Teppenyaki. It has three tables (each for ten), so small compared to other ships.  A good show and excellent food, we enjoyed it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Rob_H said:

Windows, the Main Dining Room.

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WINDOWS?  They call this dark space 'windows'??  Hilarious.  Amazing what those marketing guys get up to, isn't it?  I am LOVING your posts!!  My mind has finally convinced itself that we may indeed travel again, so enjoying your trip immensely.  Today I actually bought some shore excursions and booked a couple of specialty restaurants for our September cruise.  Twice cancelled, we hope the third time will be the charm.

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7 minutes ago, jsn55 said:

WINDOWS?  They call this dark space 'windows'??  Hilarious.  Amazing what those marketing guys get up to, isn't it?  I am LOVING your posts!!  

 

I'll do the shot in the reverse direction next time!  There are indeed beautiful windows at the back of the ship.  

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19 hours ago, Rob_H said:

Any other questions about the ship's facilities, or any particular areas of the ship you'd like photos of? 

 

How about activity rooms like gym or outdoor activity areas. I gather there is no library. Maybe whatever deck is left free for standing and sightseeing. Thanks.

 

I was going to do a b2b in reverse direction, but I don't want to risk getting stranded in Tahiti in the current regime. Also for a Hawaii resident, it seems like the Tahiti ports don't offer many activities with fresh experiences. I hope they add Marquesas back in future itineraries.

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Posted (edited)

We went to Le Bistro last night (Latitudes voucher). Third time we've been on these two cruises, excellent food and service again.

 

Photos are Duck a la Orange, and Lamb Chops and Shank.

 

(Lamb isn't really stuck to the ceiling, photo ended up wrong way up when i posted it!)

 

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Edited by Rob_H
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As i mentioned after Papetee, many people from the previous cruise tested positive for Covid on May 29 or 30, so couldn't leave the cruise and fly home.

 

A large number of rooms on decks 4 and 5 were used to quarantine them. The number of people affected hasn't been revealed by Norwegian. 

 

Those people are now recovering (if they even had any symptoms), testing negative, and being allowed out of their rooms.

 

I talked to a couple we know from the first cruise. They were given the option to leave the ship, but would then be on their own to find somewhere to stay and find a way home (they live outside the US).

 

They were very happy to accept Norwegian's generous offer to allow them to say on board, all the way back to Honolulu. Even though it means delaying their return to work.

 

It's unclear so far exactly what they'll need to pay for but it's essentially a free cruise.

 

The couple we know are very happy with the way Norwegian handled it at such short notice.

 

Even though it was a shock for us at the time to have many quarantine rooms around us, it's clear that Norwegian has gone to considerable effort and expense to help those affected. 

 

We are happy to know that we'll be looked after well if this ever happens to us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Henry's Pub. This is during the morning, it does have customers later when it opens!

 

Each evening there is a pub trivia in Henry's Pub at 7.15.

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