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melissa@cruisecritic

Off to French Polynesia: Got Questions?

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Celeste,

OK here's the scoop: Tahitian Princess does not have a dedicated kids' facility. However, if there are 20 or more children on any given sailing, they will assign a counselor to run programs throughout the week. On this particular sailing, the kid count definitely does not reach 20 so there are no organized activities. Like I posted earlier, the case might be different in December around holiday time -- but if you and your children are used to the comprehensive programs on Disney, this will be quite a change. Maybe someone who has done this itinerary with kids can offer more insight; I'd post a thread here or on the Princess forum!

Hope this helps -- I'll let you know if I hear anything else,

Melissa

 

Hi Melissa,

My family, friends, and I actually looked at the same trip you are doing for December of this year. Part of the reason I decided not to do it, was because it was an older ship and I was concerned that they didn't have a dedicated kids program in place. My husband and I are avid divers and we like the security of leaving our 8 year old son on the ship, while we explore the bottom side of many countries. He has sailed with us many times with Disney cruise line- and they have a wonderful kids program.

 

What type of ammenities are they currently offering for families with children on your trip and would you recommend this as a cruise for an active family?

 

What type of excursions are they offering that are dive related?

 

I would love to see some photos of the area, ship, and the ports you are in- as we still might change our mind and do this trip either late December or early January.

 

 

 

My last question would be- is how is the food and dining on a smaller ship?

 

 

My only cruising experiences has been with DCL, so I am used to rotating restaurants with my servers and the food quality is usually high.

 

Thanks and have a great trip!

 

Celeste

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So far I haven't had to change any money over; I've been using my credit card wherever possible for the best exchange rate and many places also accept U.S. dollars. However, if you want to shop in some of the smaller boutiques, particularly on Huahine, you'll want to have some francs.

 

are you using french polynesian francs, euros, or dollars? sounds like a great trip!

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If I haven't gotten to your question yet (tattoos, big ship-small ship, beaches, etc.), don't worry -- I will! I want to go to a few more ports and spend a few more days onboard so I can offer the best info. :)

 

P.S. Laura, ha ha about the pearls ;) I would love some but I don't think that's in the budget. Maybe vanilla ....

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Melissa, wish we were there! This itinerary is on our list to do in the future. Understanding that weather can be unpredictable, are there any times during the year that would be preferable over others for this itinerary? Any to definitely avoid?

 

Thanks-Steve

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Today in Rarotonga the temperature is expected to be about 86, which is not too bad. We just dropped anchor and tendering will start shortly -- stay tuned for a full report!

 

Hi Melissa we are on the TP cruise on March 7th. Did u do circle island tour in Rarotonga? How was it? What do u recommend for sight seeing here? Thanks

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Hi, I'll jump in here too -- have cruised on both Tahitian Princess and Paul Gauguin though it's been awhile :) .

Let me just say that it's hot. It's so hot that I remember burning my feet on the pool deck on Tahitian Princess (it was covered in that awful Renaissance-era flooring that just radiated heat; may be changed by now). Melissa, will you let us know? If it's beige and crackly to walk on...it's the old stuff.

It's also the most humid region I've ever visited. The women who live there (actually the men as well) have the most beautiful skin -- naturally moisterized, I might add (you can just leave that at home, LOL).

Paul Gauguin, got to say, is one of the fondest memories of my cruising career and we've got the ship on the schedule to review again...think maybe...I'll get the assignment! Anyway, look forward to hearing about your impressions. And pack lots of light cottons.

And another piece of advice I passed on to Melissa: unless you want to wear pareos all the time (and heck, some do), pack a lot. Cause there's not much to buy when you get there.

Carolyn

Carolyn

I could definitely sacrifice myself to review the Paul Gaugin with you or anyone else, for that matter. That cruise,and my Windstar cruise are tied for my all time favorite cruises.

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Hi everyone,

 

This Sunday, I'm off to French Polynesia onboard Tahitian Princess -- and if there's anything I've learned during the last few weeks, it's that planning a cruise on the other side of world is challenging!

 

I use the boards often for help and I'd like to pay it forward. If you have questions about what to do ashore, what it's like onboard, etc., post them here through March 2. I'll be sailing from Papeete, Tahiti, calling at Huahine, Rarotonga, Raiatea, Bora Bora and Moorea.

 

I'll try to post answers here throughout my journey, but if there are technical difficulties while I'm onboard (through March 7), check back the following week.

 

I can't wait to get back and tell you all about the ports and the ship!

Melissa

 

Melissa, we will be taking the same cruise later in the year, I would like to know how we go about visiting some of the pearl farms especially in Raiatea. Any information would be welcome. Thank you.

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One question - does the decor reflect the itinerary yet? From pics I have seen of her interiors, she still looks like a Renaissance ship.

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Thanks Melissa for the updates!!! I am going on March 27th for my Honeymoon (can NOT wait!!!). Can you find out 1) how much time a roundtrip tender in Bora Bora is (I have the aqua safari that ends at like 245pm and then the sunsent cruise at 415pm and ideally would like to go back to the ship for a FAST change) and 2) how to make reservations for bloody marys.

 

Have a great rest of the trip and thanks again for doing this!!!

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leave the bras home, them bare breasted tahinis. don't wear none.!!!

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Melissa, It's true, we are having a big snow storm brewing here in Minnesota! I have been looking at warm weather pictures to make me smile! My husband I are going to be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary on board the Tahitian on June 17 Hawaii to Tahiti sailing- can't wait. Looking forward to hearing about the food, what tours are a must do? I snorkel, my hubby doesn't, any good beach and snorkel tours out there that you have been on, or heard people liked?

Suppose you wouldn't know what the weather is like in June would you? Also am very interested in hearing how getting back to the airport goes when you get back to Tahiti. We have a 10 PM departure- I am curious about how that goes- what can/can't we do on our last day on board ship?

Have a great trip, I have shoveling to do in the AM- we are to get 8-12 inches over night- we already got 12 inches today and last week 15 inches!:eek: Gads, I want to be in Tahiti!:rolleyes: Gabrielle

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Well, right now these islands are experiencing summer -- but also the rainy/cyclone season. However, temperatures remain warm pretty much throughout the year and we've had plenty of sunshine and only one short rain sprinkle. I don't think there's a bad time to come here!

 

Melissa, wish we were there! This itinerary is on our list to do in the future. Understanding that weather can be unpredictable, are there any times during the year that would be preferable over others for this itinerary? Any to definitely avoid?

 

Thanks-Steve

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The decor hasn't been changed at all and while it is elegant, it defintely doesn't feel Polynesian. There are some tropical-looking plants throughout, but that's about it! I agree that it would be nice to see more of the region incorporated into the onboard experience.

 

I'll be posting some pictures once I return home.

 

One question - does the decor reflect the itinerary yet? From pics I have seen of her interiors, she still looks like a Renaissance ship.

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You're welcome! I'll post some info for you after our call at Bora Bora in a few days,

Melissa

 

 

Thanks Melissa for the updates!!! I am going on March 27th for my Honeymoon (can NOT wait!!!). Can you find out 1) how much time a roundtrip tender in Bora Bora is (I have the aqua safari that ends at like 245pm and then the sunsent cruise at 415pm and ideally would like to go back to the ship for a FAST change) and 2) how to make reservations for bloody marys.

 

Have a great rest of the trip and thanks again for doing this!!!

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Hi there,

I did do the circle island tour today, and enjoyed it -- we had a very lively guide and the scenery is truly amazing. However, from talking to other passengers I've learned that some other tours, including the nature walk, also include a drive around the island so you can kill two birds with one stone! Diving and eco-tours are the top attractions here. There's also a long stretch of beach (there are shuttles and buses that are easy to take) for sunning and snorkeling.

 

After our tour, we walked into town and did some window shopping and had a great lunch on the water at Trader Jack's, which is a casual seafood joint with nautical decor.

 

Today in Rarotonga the temperature is expected to be about 86, which is not too bad. We just dropped anchor and tendering will start shortly -- stay tuned for a full report!

 

Hi Melissa we are on the TP cruise on March 7th. Did u do circle island tour in Rarotonga? How was it? What do u recommend for sight seeing here? Thanks

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We are looking at a cruise on the Tahitian Princess. December 15th, 27 days. From Tahiti to Fort Lauderdale. Tahitian Princess is a small ship, how will it stand up in the Pacific ocean for the many days at sea? Will it be stormy at that time? What will the weather be like at that time?

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If you find out any first hand information about Bora Bora Cruises, like, how good is the service, how luxurious the yachts really are, how is the food served, I would really appreciate any knowledge you accumulate. Thanks.

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Is the coffee card you can buy available on the Tahitian, as in, does it even have a specialty coffee shop? Also is the specialty coffee available things such as Milky Ways, and Caramel and stuff like that? (Milky way equals chocolate and caramel in the coffee...) Is it nonfat or whole or...

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Pharmaguy...In response to your query about Bora Bora Cruises, I have been on them for their one week cruise. For comparison sake, I have also been fortunate enough to have sailed on the Paul Gauguin through Tahiti. While the PG is not the Tahitian Princess, it provides for a comparison between Yacht cruising and a larger ship.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Bora Bora Cruise and have to say it was the best vacation of my life. Every aspect of the ship is emaculate and the service is wonderful. Anything you want you can practically have. The cruise really felt like I was on my own yacht, and since their max capacity is not high, and I do not think their loads are that great, there will only be a few other couples/families. By the end of the cruise, you know all the staff and passengers. I thought that the primary difference between BBC and the large boat experience was that you get to see French Polynesia in a more hands on approach. For example - our stop in Raiatea...if I remember correctly. During our stay here, one of our complimentary excursions was a kayak trip right from the back of the yacht into and up a local river where we tied the kayaks down at a dock. We then hiked through the jungle to visit a local nursery. It was a great mini adventure. We later saw Tahitian Princess passengers being bussed in and walking around in groups of a few dozen.

 

You asked about food...it was great. The head chef of the yacht we were on was the sous chef onboard the Paul Gauguin. Breakfast was buffet style with fresh fruits, juices, and hot food available. Lunch and Dinner were formally presented multi course meals either available to be taken inside our outside. There was one water breakfast in Huahine in which they set up tables and chairs in about 2 feet of water off the beach and presented outside. There was also one BBQ on a private motu where we watched an old black and white movie under the stars.

 

If you truly want a unique vacation and don't mind the intimacy of a yacht, I recommend BBC to see French Polynesia over a larger ship. Hope this helps.

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Could you find out how we make reservations for Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora?

 

Vette

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Thanks for being so patient in awaiting more info from me. The Internet has been working … but slowly, which makes posting a little bit more challenging!

 

We had a fabulous day in Rarotonga on Wednesday. This island, the capital of the Cook Islands, which are part of New Zealand, is nearly perfectly round. If you haven't rented a car or scooter (driving is on the left, but this seemed a popular option with fellow passengers) or booked an excursion, it is easy to navigate on the island's bus system because it only goes in two directions, clockwise and counterclockwise!

 

The top attractions here are diving and hiking. Because the island is so green and lush (the mountains are reminiscent of "Lord of the Rings," which was actually filmed at least in part in New Zealand); there are nature and hiking walks, and a bird sanctuary that can be explored.

 

In town, which is only a 15-minute walk or so from the tender dock, there's great shopping -- lots of pearl, craft and souvenir shops -- and dining. Restaurants vary from sidewalk cafes to seaside seafood shacks and even Indian cuisine. We had lunch at Trader Jack's, a kitschy place overlooking the water that serves fish platters and sandwiches at lunchtime as well as creative pizza concoctions. Have a Steinlager, New Zealand's beer.

 

The New Zealand dollar is the currency, but again, most places accept U.S. currency and/or credit cards. There is an outdoor market but it is only open on Saturdays, according to our Circle Island Tour guide.

 

We'll have a full port profile on Rarotonga on Cruise Critic soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

 

We've just docked alongside Raiatea; from my balcony this morning (WiFi only works in lobby area) I can see a town just waking up, palm trees swaying in the breeze, looming tree-wrapped mountainside and welcoming sunshine! We are taking a boat over to the neighboring (small) island of Tahaa to a pearl farm and vanilla planation…

 

P.S. For those of you who've asked questions about Bora Bora, we'll be arriving there tomorrow!

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I have read a very bad review of the Tahitian regarding the food on board. I am sailing on her in 4 weeks approx. Please give me your trusted lowdown on the quality.

 

Thanks for being so patient in awaiting more info from me. The Internet has been working … but slowly, which makes posting a little bit more challenging!

 

We had a fabulous day in Rarotonga on Wednesday. This island, the capital of the Cook Islands, which are part of New Zealand, is nearly perfectly round. If you haven't rented a car or scooter (driving is on the left, but this seemed a popular option with fellow passengers) or booked an excursion, it is easy to navigate on the island's bus system because it only goes in two directions, clockwise and counterclockwise!

 

The top attractions here are diving and hiking. Because the island is so green and lush (the mountains are reminiscent of "Lord of the Rings," which was actually filmed at least in part in New Zealand); there are nature and hiking walks, and a bird sanctuary that can be explored.

 

In town, which is only a 15-minute walk or so from the tender dock, there's great shopping -- lots of pearl, craft and souvenir shops -- and dining. Restaurants vary from sidewalk cafes to seaside seafood shacks and even Indian cuisine. We had lunch at Trader Jack's, a kitschy place overlooking the water that serves fish platters and sandwiches at lunchtime as well as creative pizza concoctions. Have a Steinlager, New Zealand's beer.

 

The New Zealand dollar is the currency, but again, most places accept U.S. currency and/or credit cards. There is an outdoor market but it is only open on Saturdays, according to our Circle Island Tour guide.

 

We'll have a full port profile on Rarotonga on Cruise Critic soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

 

We've just docked alongside Raiatea; from my balcony this morning (WiFi only works in lobby area) I can see a town just waking up, palm trees swaying in the breeze, looming tree-wrapped mountainside and welcoming sunshine! We are taking a boat over to the neighboring (small) island of Tahaa to a pearl farm and vanilla planation…

 

P.S. For those of you who've asked questions about Bora Bora, we'll be arriving there tomorrow!

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Wow, that was a terrible review. They really slammed the food and other things. I hope they were just difficult to please. Anxious to hear what Melissa has to say.

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If you truly want a unique vacation and don't mind the intimacy of a yacht, I recommend BBC to see French Polynesia over a larger ship. Hope this helps.

 

Don't wish to take more time on this board for the BBC questions. I'll post something over on the "other cruise lines" and hope you join. Thanks for the help.

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Hi Bella,

In most ports so far there's been some way to get to a beach on your own. In Huahine, take the shuttle into Fare and walk five minutes to the beach; in Rarotonga, there are private tours or taxis, and even a local bus system that can drop you off. Know that Raiatea has no beaches; if you want to lounge there, book an excursion or private tour to a motu, or islet. On Bora Bora, it is very easy to book your own taxi or excursion once ashore.

Melissa

 

Hi,

I'm seaweed green with envy, You are on my dream cruise. I am very interested to know what ports you can get to a beach on your own, or if it would be better for a planned excursion. I can't wait to read more. Thanks for taking the time.

Bella

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