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crsnook

Just back from Tahitian Princess -- Some Tips

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We just got back from the Jan 6 cruise and offer the following:

1. Water shoes are a virtual necessity if you are doing drift snorkel or aqua safari. The TP drift snorkel also says fins. FP (French Polynesia) is generally not noted for its beaches and what there is is coral and lava, not soft sand. For the drift snorkel, you walk over sharp sand and rock on land up the inlet to where you enter the water and drift down. They take your shoes from you for the drift but you need some kind of footwear for the walk. On the aqua safari, you are walking on the ocean floor so the same comment. Flip flops and crocs won't stay on your feet.

2. If you are going during what they call rainy season, expect rain and go prepared. Our weather was generally overcast with some good bouts of rain. While it did not dampen our spirits or prevent most excursions, you are wise to bring a breathable water proof or repellent jacket. It is 85 and humid so you need breathable or you will sweat to death. We got ours at a golf shop. By the way, Princess refunded cancelled due to weather excursions, no problem. We never heard from anyone who did privately arranged tours and saw only a few private operators at the ports.

3. Make sure that you plan excursions ahead. FP is sparsely populated and other than Papeete, there are no cities or even towns. In Bora Bora, the main village has maybe 15 stores including 2 gas stations, a small grocery store, a news stand, a couple of t-shirt and black pearl shops and the usual trinkets by the dock. And everything is imported and therefore expensive. And there is nothing else to see in these towns. 20 minutes and you are done. You don't even land in a town in Moorea. So plan excursions or you could be bored silly. And Papeete is not much better. A bigger city but there is nothing to shop for and little in the way of sites to see, especially on your own--it is not the Caribbean where you can spend a day at the beach. Remember, notwithstanding the paradise image, these islands are not known for their expansive soft sand beaches.

4. The TP is a very nice ship. You are not far from anything and at worst everything is between floors 5 and 9 so stairs are easy access. Food was generally good to very good, Sabatinis is far more seafood than Italian so be forewarned, and the ship has the best cruise director we have ever encountered--funny, irreverent, friendly--not the usual plastic guys with big fake smiles you see most of the time. Also, watch the Morning Zoo on TV in the morning-highly entertaining in our collective view.

5. Be realistic about FP. It is a nice place to see but it is not paradise. As our guide in Huahine said, after what the 17th century sailors went through, to them, it was paradise. I am not trying to be a downer--we had a great time, saw interesting things, learned about a different culture and history, had good excursions and did some exciting things, the water was nice and warm, the snorkeling was pretty good. You will enjoy it. But have realistic expectations.

6. Our plane arrived from LA at 5:30 a.m. and we did not want to rush to the ship. We tried the internet for a day room and the reports said fully booked at the Inter Continental. Three days before we left, I telephoned the hotel directly and got a day room for about $300 US. We were 2 couples but they would not give it to 4 people (the rooms are for 2 people only) so just one couple took the room and we put 4 in it anyway--we needed it just to change and shower and hang out til we went to the ship. The IC has transit rooms also, which I think they let for half an hour for a shower and a change so that might also be an alternative. You would have to call the hotel for rates and availability but that would be a good alternative too.

7. For anyone thinking of gettin to the ship early, just be aware that check-in is just a counter set up on the pier under an awning, so the last thing you want to avoid is a line up, especially if it is really hot or raining. We got there about 3 pm and literally walked on.

8. All the flights home leave late at night so princess gives you the run of the ship (other than your room) including food until you leave in the evening. Two things: first, book an excursion on the last day or it will be a very long day just hanging around the ship waiting and remember, a stroll in Papeete is good for an hour at most. Let the weather be your guide as to the ability to sit around the pool all day. We did the Papenoo Valley 4WD in the afternoon which was just perfect for us. Second, you can use the spa for a shower at the end of the day to freshen up before you leave for the airport.

I hope this helps, I tried to be realistic and practical. Enjoy the trip. It is a good one.

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Just signed up for our 2nd TP trip--we went last August--WE are staying at the IC in Bora Bora pre-cruise and a couple of days in Papette post cruise--we stayed pre cruise and post cruise at the IC lst August

 

We had a Panorama Room pre-cruise--really nice--after the cruise we stayed one night OWB--and a day room the next day before leaving for the airport

 

We learned one thing--Breakfast is sooooo expensive there--they have 3 choices--cold buffet, hot and cold buffet and something else--after the first day we were told to ask for the ala carte menu--I believe it was $9 for; omelet, fruit, coffee, OJ--bacon and ham--more than you get for $30

 

Those that are going to the IC--enjoy--

 

Nancy:D

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We had a Panorama Room pre-cruise--really nice--after the cruise we stayed one night OWB--and a day room the next day before leaving for the airport

Nancy:D

May I ask what a day room cost you? Did you have to pay for a full night or did they discount it? Also, did you book the dayroom in advance? Thanks.

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Can't remember the cost--but, it wasn't for the whole day--We were originally going to use (can't remember the name of it) room-that they have available for you to shower and get ready for the airport in. I believe if you use that room--you have stored your luggage for the day and have carried around a back back or something.

 

We did not book this early--we were hoping we would be able to get a late check out--no such luck--John was ok with carrying what we needed to get ready for the airport--not me--although I would have done it--I just couldn't see carrying clothes--hair stuff, etc.

 

The day room was great

 

Nancy:D

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We're spending out last day on Moorea at Les Tipaniers and they have told us that we could store our luggage in the reception area and that they have showers available. There's going to be four of us and a "day room" sounds so much nicer. Since Le Tipaniers is next door to IC Moorea (I think) do you suppose that they might have a room that they would allow for use for the day to non-resort people?

 

Ralph

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Give IC a call and see what you can do--are you close--can you walk over in the morning???

 

Do you leave in the early or late evening--this trip we leave at 8am--so we won't have this problem

Beg for a late check out--or what do they have for you?????

 

Maybe they have a day room

 

Good luck

 

Nancy:D

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We had a Panorama Room pre-cruise--really nice--after the cruise we stayed one night OWB--and a day room the next day before leaving for the airport

 

 

Nancy:D

 

Nancy,

 

We are booked for two nights in a Panorama room pre-cruise in Oct. Also thinking about extending our stay post cruise for at least one night. It looks like you enjoyed the panorama room at the Intercontinental Papeete how was your night in the OWB ?

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We also stayed 2 nights pre-cruise in a Panorama Room. It was great!!

 

They are very large rooms, well appointed & in good codition. We were on the top floor, a few stairs, but the view was worth it! First time I've ever seen a square toilet! :)

 

Having spent the extra $ on the OWB post cruise, if we go back, we are inclined to just stay in the Panoramic. IMO it was that good. Although it was nice to experience the OWB thet are smaller & not as nice (at least the Motu, we were not in the larger Lagoon ones)

 

While we were there post cruise in the end of November 06, they had closed down one entire wing & were making repairs, updating & putting on a new roof. Whether it was a complete remodel of that wing or not I don't know.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Dan

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We will return to the IC in Papette Post-cruise for 2 days and will stay in the Panorama Rooms--We also felt that this type of room was probably the best--we stayed just 1 night post cruise in an OWB--Small room with termites??flying around--although a great coral area less than 20' from the balcony

 

I liked the OWB better than John--think this is something you should do for 1 night

 

We are staying in an OWB at IC in Bora Bora pre-cruise--GO FIGURE

This is John's idea--how things change in less than 6 months

 

If not on a "meal plan" at the IC Papette--remember to ask for ala carte menu for breakfast--less than $10 for a REAL BREAKFAST compared to the 3 Buffet Choices--Oh Well, it's only money!

 

Nancy:D

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Dan/Nancy

 

Thanks that does help. I think if we decide for sure to, we will just go for a panorama post cruise also. Thanks again.

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Thank you Dan that is the best review I have read about the TP. Very informative and honest. We are off on 6th April 07, all the way from London.

 

PS if you ever want to know about the Golden P I went on her last year to the Carribean.

 

 

We just got back from the Jan 6 cruise and offer the following:

1. Water shoes are a virtual necessity if you are doing drift snorkel or aqua safari. The TP drift snorkel also says fins. FP (French Polynesia) is generally not noted for its beaches and what there is is coral and lava, not soft sand. For the drift snorkel, you walk over sharp sand and rock on land up the inlet to where you enter the water and drift down. They take your shoes from you for the drift but you need some kind of footwear for the walk. On the aqua safari, you are walking on the ocean floor so the same comment. Flip flops and crocs won't stay on your feet.

2. If you are going during what they call rainy season, expect rain and go prepared. Our weather was generally overcast with some good bouts of rain. While it did not dampen our spirits or prevent most excursions, you are wise to bring a breathable water proof or repellent jacket. It is 85 and humid so you need breathable or you will sweat to death. We got ours at a golf shop. By the way, Princess refunded cancelled due to weather excursions, no problem. We never heard from anyone who did privately arranged tours and saw only a few private operators at the ports.

3. Make sure that you plan excursions ahead. FP is sparsely populated and other than Papeete, there are no cities or even towns. In Bora Bora, the main village has maybe 15 stores including 2 gas stations, a small grocery store, a news stand, a couple of t-shirt and black pearl shops and the usual trinkets by the dock. And everything is imported and therefore expensive. And there is nothing else to see in these towns. 20 minutes and you are done. You don't even land in a town in Moorea. So plan excursions or you could be bored silly. And Papeete is not much better. A bigger city but there is nothing to shop for and little in the way of sites to see, especially on your own--it is not the Caribbean where you can spend a day at the beach. Remember, notwithstanding the paradise image, these islands are not known for their expansive soft sand beaches.

4. The TP is a very nice ship. You are not far from anything and at worst everything is between floors 5 and 9 so stairs are easy access. Food was generally good to very good, Sabatinis is far more seafood than Italian so be forewarned, and the ship has the best cruise director we have ever encountered--funny, irreverent, friendly--not the usual plastic guys with big fake smiles you see most of the time. Also, watch the Morning Zoo on TV in the morning-highly entertaining in our collective view.

5. Be realistic about FP. It is a nice place to see but it is not paradise. As our guide in Huahine said, after what the 17th century sailors went through, to them, it was paradise. I am not trying to be a downer--we had a great time, saw interesting things, learned about a different culture and history, had good excursions and did some exciting things, the water was nice and warm, the snorkeling was pretty good. You will enjoy it. But have realistic expectations.

6. Our plane arrived from LA at 5:30 a.m. and we did not want to rush to the ship. We tried the internet for a day room and the reports said fully booked at the Inter Continental. Three days before we left, I telephoned the hotel directly and got a day room for about $300 US. We were 2 couples but they would not give it to 4 people (the rooms are for 2 people only) so just one couple took the room and we put 4 in it anyway--we needed it just to change and shower and hang out til we went to the ship. The IC has transit rooms also, which I think they let for half an hour for a shower and a change so that might also be an alternative. You would have to call the hotel for rates and availability but that would be a good alternative too.

7. For anyone thinking of gettin to the ship early, just be aware that check-in is just a counter set up on the pier under an awning, so the last thing you want to avoid is a line up, especially if it is really hot or raining. We got there about 3 pm and literally walked on.

8. All the flights home leave late at night so princess gives you the run of the ship (other than your room) including food until you leave in the evening. Two things: first, book an excursion on the last day or it will be a very long day just hanging around the ship waiting and remember, a stroll in Papeete is good for an hour at most. Let the weather be your guide as to the ability to sit around the pool all day. We did the Papenoo Valley 4WD in the afternoon which was just perfect for us. Second, you can use the spa for a shower at the end of the day to freshen up before you leave for the airport.

I hope this helps, I tried to be realistic and practical. Enjoy the trip. It is a good one.

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