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9/28 Tahitian Princess-Tips


mimix4

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We spent months reading info on this site and must give a little back. We flew from the east coast to LA and spent the night, while this helped a little with travel fatigue, we felt it was time wasted and wished we had taken the non-stop flight from NY to Tahiti. The airport in LA wasn't too bad going as we had plenty of time, but on the return it was a real zoo. Our Air Tahiti Nui flight was packed. Be aware that leg room is approx. 10 to 12" at most, and if the seat is back in front of you as ours were you're in for 8 miserable hours. The food was truly awful and we ate just out of necessity. The drinks are free and they were generous when coming by both with liquor and wine. Just try to focus on the destination as it truly is the most beautiful place on earth we have ever been.

We were booked at the Intercontinential Beachcomber for 3 nights prior to our cruise. Even though we arrived at the hotel around 2:30a.m. they gave us a wonderful greeting complete with music, juice and excellant service. Check in was a breeze and our panaromic view room was beautiful, daylight offered us the most beautiful view of the infinity pool, grounds and ocean. What we had dreamed of for months was no disappointment. When eating breakfast at the main restaurant, ordering from the menu was the way to go for us, an omelet came with everything including meat & potatoes. The toast is listed as extra on the menu, one morning we were charged, other mornings not. We ordered from the sandwich selection at night and found the same to be true, plenty of food.

We did the dinner/show on Wednesday night. While the show was good the food was truly bad. Meats were tough and bland and while the desserts looked good, didn't really taste like anything. There is a terrace off from the lobby where the show could be watched, it probably would have been the best choice.

If you stay at this hotel before the cruise, they will let you return to use their facilities and a transit room to shower before your flight home at no charge. We did this and were glad we did. While you can stay on the ship on your final day and even use the spa showers before leaving, at around 11:30 when the next cruise passengers begin boarding, it becomes quite crowded. We spent another relaxing day at the hotel, had a drink at happy hour, showered and had dinner before going to the airport. The hotel also has a room that is secure where you can leave your baggage and can have access to whatever pieces you need to use in the transit room later.

We took a taxi from the ship to the hotel ($25) and made arrangements for the same taxi to take us to the airport ($10). This could not have worked out better.

We were finally glad to sail as it seemed to be a long time in Papeete with little going on. Although we did the shopping, flower arrangment purchase, etc. thing, we would have liked to sail sooner and spend more time at one of the ports like Moorea.

Our take on the ship-beautiful, our suite-really nice, dining room food-just okay, buffet-good, pizzera-very good, speciality dining-excellant, shows-awful. The ship offers limited activities and we found not much to do at our sea days. Thankfully we had our balcony and books and were quite happy. Also, the ship gave the best exchange rate for currency.

We did Marc's picnic at Huahine. The first snorkle is nice, take along some bread from the ship. Don't really need fins, water is not deep and you can stand up whenever you like. The drift snorkle later however is quite different. You really need a vest for this as the water is approx. 9 ft. and current quite strong. They offer life jackets from the boat, but they really don't work as they push against your head and neck and make it quite uncomfortable. We didn't really see many fish here and it is hard getting in and out of the water from the boat. This was work! The picnic was good, be careful with those chairs in the water, they sink and some even found themselves tipped over in the water, funny!

We were able to get into the port of Rarotonga and boy are we glad. Really enjoyed ourselves. We found the best prices for perals here. Lots to choose from, many vendors right at the tender dock. Walked a short way into town, looked around, went to Cook's Corner Bus Stop (bus leaves & returns here-approx. 1 hr. round trip) went to beach across from Fruits of Rarotonga (public access) and snorkled. Just tell the bus driver where you want to get off and he will look out for you. $4 each as opposed to $10 each from ship. Great fish, water was cold.

Did Buno's excursion (private booked) at Raiatea. EXCELLANT! All day trip, but he is the guide and spends a lot of time with you (unlike Marc who is only at the dock to collect the money and send you off with one os his guides). Not rushed, lunch is really enjoyable. The snorkle through the coral gardens is truly amazing. You really need gloves for this one to keep yourself off of the coral. Everyone got back into the boat bleeding (nothing serious) as you have some small places to go through in the coral and gloves would have helped to guide you. Buno's assistant was very helpful during this part of the trip and it you needed help with where to go she would even take you by the hand and lead. You can also snorkle around the boat if you don't feel confident enough to go through the gardens. Some did this and had an enjoyable time. Even though we had a bad storm coming back to the ship, everyone had a great time. Probably one of the best things we did. His CD purchase is a very worthwhile investment, not only does he have pictures of you but many fish, coral, etc. pictures nicely arranged from various trips. A great survinor. He inserts your pictures, not just group pictures. Really nice.

We did the helmet dive in Bora Bora through the ship. It was fun and can be done by almost anyone. They are very good at explaining everything and give lots of assistance getting in and out of the water. But they only take down 6 at a time for approx. 20 mins. Since there are 18 on the boat, you will spend about an hour waiting while others are participating. Also, while there are a lot of fish, you can only walk about 50 ft or so with the helmet. Everyone pretty much ends up together in a group.

The next day in Bora Bora we found a guide named Christian (to the right at the tender dock next to the bulletin board) that was great. He gave an excellant island tour, stopping at numerous sites for pictures, looking around, etc. He was very friendly and interested in giving us a good time. He even dropped us off at Bloody Mary's for lunch and returned later to pick us up and finish the tour. His $25 per person price was way too little, he has an air conditioned van which he left running while we were out taking pictures, etc. Definately look for him if you want an island tour.

Moorea, we wish we had more time there. We had privately booked with Hiro both for snorkle and island tour. He cancelled the afternoon island part as we were the only ones booked. We were disappointed, he offered to try and put us with another group but it just didn't work out. We got an unexpected with this excursion. A swim with the stingrays and sharks on the way to the snorkle. Everyone was amazed with this part, even if you chose not to go into the water (only about 4 ft deep) you can watch and take pictures from the boat with truly a bird's eye view. He drops you at a motu for snorkling, while he leaves to pick up another group. The snorkle here is good and there are tables in the shade for relaxing. You need to bring along a snack as he only provides something to drink and it is about 2:30 or so before you return to the ship.

We planned so much from the info on this site and everything went so smoothly. The only thing we didn't do was have dinner at the Roulettes in Tahiti, we saw them our last night there from the ship and wished we had taken the time but the Intercontinential was too beautiful to leave. Cruise personnel and locals alike highly recommended them, when you go try to work them in, it looked quite fun and I'm sure delicious.

This was a wonderful 40th anniversary gift from our children and we definately want to return some day.

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Thanks for submitting your thoughts. :)

 

We too are looking forward to Bruno's excursion. Unfortunately we are on the Marquesas cruise and only there long enought for a 1/2 day tour.

 

We are also staying at the Intercontinental. 2 days prior in a Panoramic & 3 days post in the OWB. Your tips on this will be very helpful. :cool:

 

Thanks Again;

 

Dan

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We had privately booked with Hiro both for snorkle and island tour. He cancelled the afternoon island part as we were the only ones booked. We were disappointed, he offered to try and put us with another group but it just didn't work out. We got an unexpected with this excursion. A swim with the stingrays and sharks on the way to the snorkle.

 

This is just what I want to do when we are there. I want to swim with stingrays & sharks as well as go to Belvedere Lookout and see the sacred blue-eyed eels. Trying to make sure I book excursions that include these things. Deciding between Hiro & Alberts on Moorea, only taking the water tour with Marc and also going on Bruno's tour. I think if you go on the 4x4 with Marc he does feed the eels. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Don't want to miss a thing, may never get back:)

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The blue eyed eels are on Marc's 4x4 tour...which I did on Huahine. If you are a snorkler I'd suggest the all day water tour with Marc. I loved the part where we boarded the outrigger canoe and headed across the lagoon. It was amazing!

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Sorry to differ with the above poster but we have done both of Marc's tours; the lagoon tour in 2003 and the 4x4/lagoon tour last month and while both were great, the 4x4 was the clear winner for us.

Cheers,

Andy

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I think the sacred eels are ONLY on Huahine and it is inland, so if you want to see them, you'll have to do a land tour of some sort there. I didn't think the eels were that great really, but though I am a water lover, I was glad we took the 4x4 tour - we got to see the Marae, museum and a lot of the island and still had PLENTY of time for snorkeling and out in the sun.

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Can you tell me how long it took to deplane @ LAX, get your luggage, go through customs, and then check in for your flight home? What airline did you fly home on? Thanks fo any info/tips on this. I've heard to allow 3 hours for deplaning to replaning for the flight home.

 

Thanks for all your info and help. I'm glad you had such a great trip.

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Sorry to differ with the above poster but we have done both of Marc's tours; the lagoon tour in 2003 and the 4x4/lagoon tour last month and while both were great, the 4x4 was the clear winner for us.

Cheers,

Andy

 

My post was my opinion. You are entitled to your own. :)

 

On my Sept. 2006 excursion with Marc we were switched to a Le Truck-like vehicle with about 25 people for the 4x4 excursion as he was trying out "something new" he said. He also gave all of us on the 4x4 excursion a reduction in price because of this "something new" thing. We thoroughly enjoyed the land part, but for us the lagoons/boat part were the highlight.

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Oh dear! The plane trip sounds terrible! May I ask if you flew coach or business?? My husband is 6 feet tall...wondering just how miserable he will be if we book business?

 

This is based on MY experiences:

We upgraded to Business class at LAX check in. $700 U.S. per person for the one way upgrade. It was comfortable with more room, a separate cabin area, right behind first class cabin. The seats really recline and there was lots of legroom for us ( 5'6 & 5'8 ). Go to the ATN website and you can see photos of the seats. Even though there was lots of room for us when the person in front was fully reclined it was difficult to get up out of our seats.

I did not find the Business class service to be good at all. I asked for water 2 times (1/2 hour apart) without getting it. My husband then asked and the stewardess came back and dropped 2 bottles of water in his lap. I was not impressed with this one individual at all.

However, we had middle section seats for the return and tried to upgrade at the airport again without any luck. Which was good for us because we each had an empty seat beside us on the return trip in economy (at check in we were told it was a full flight). Otherwise, the economy in my opinion would have been quite uncomfortable for the 8 hour flight.

Another thing: there were 2 women in the seats across from me in economy who received "Above First Class" service! They must have been related to the pilot or owned the plane! I could not believe what I saw! J.

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