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HemiD

Tahiti "Shakedown" Cruise Report!

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Hi all:

 

We just returned from the inaugural cruise of the Star Flyer in Tahiti. I've already seen one other post about this so I'll add my two cents.

 

There were around 150+ passengers on board, including Eric Krafft the owner's son and some of the family's friends.

 

For those of you who have been on a SC cruise before, you'll be happy to know some old friends are on board. Frederic is the cruise director, Roberto is the head bartender and Kat, Andreas, and Fredrik are the sports team. Many ship's officers from the Royal and SC are also attending but I'm drawing a complete blank right now.

 

You'll need a report from the people that did the crossing, but from the crew's point of view it was a comedy of errors in many ways--crew members denied visas for French Polynesia, materials for ship repairs not arriving, the ship not getting out of dry dock in Panama in a timely manner, RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.

 

There was also an emergency evac of one of the bartenders, Ramone, who had a diabetic episode--reports are is that he is recovering well.

 

State of the Flyer--It is true that the old girl was looking a little ragged, they have torn up the old decking and are installing new, it isn't complete. Not a big problem, the new stuff is installed, it just needs to be glued and caulked (sort of like doing tile!) French Polynesia has specific requirements for ships on their sewage treatment systems so they are currently overhauling that. They were also replacing carpet in several places. None of these interfered with moving around the ship overly much, in my opinion. The last day when they went for a more rigorous sail, her main sail ripped, they had that loaded on the deck to repair as we were disembarking.

 

As of right now, they are also having satellite problems so there is NO internet in the library and NO ship to shore phone capability from your room, the pursur's office has the only ship to shore phone. However, every port had an internet cafe within walking distance, you can expect to pay around 300-500 PF (5-7 USD) for 1/2 hour.

 

Overall, for the initial cruise, I thought things went fantastically well. I was actually surprised. Especially considering Frederic arrived with the ship and had no previous meetings with the shore excursions and such, a big thanks goes to the Tahiti Nui Travel, they had two representatives travelling island to island before us to make sure everything was ready to go.

 

I thought service was wonderful (as usual), we had a bit of a ragged first night at dinner, but I think that's because EVERYBODY showed up at 7:30pm and the staff wasn't expecting that.

 

As mentioned in the other post, we had a welcoming committee at every island, I think my favorite was Moorea coming into Cook Bay, outrigger canoes, traditional dress, made you think of the old explorers. The last night at Papeete they have a Folklore night, from what I understood, that will be a regular event and you should catch that in the Tropical Bar.

 

Complaints that I overheard: "We didn't sail enough" "We left Moorea too early (I agree)" "Not enough snorkelling opportunities from the ship" "Too many children (18 kids under the age of 16!)"

 

We spend a lot of time pestering the officers on the bridge and it is true that we motor-sailed probably 90% of the time, but one of the reasons is because of rainy season the seas were a bit tossed up and we had a good healthy 20-30 kt wind going at all times, basically, if they tried to put all sails up, she would have wound up on her ear and many people would have been unhappy (except for the crazy sailors!) Although they have a guest captain on board for a few weeks, I also think they are playing it safe and trying to test out the itinerary.

 

We did leave Moorea too early, because in Tahiti they start early and end early--so there is very little to do except walk around or visit a bar after 4pm on Saturday. Sunday, nothing is open, the Municipal Market only has it's food section open in the morning.

 

We did the post-cruise stay at the Radisson. I was very happy with that, splurge for the day room if you have an evening flight. It's nice to be able to take a bath/shower before your flight and have a little quiet time. They have a Star Clippers desk for incoming/outgoing guests, it went well.

 

Notes about Tahiti--Warning--you are going to have to chuck out some change, this is an expensive country, I think prices have increased about 50% from the last time we were here 8 years ago (going by the pareo conversion factor ;)) The resorts are extremely expensive and we were relieved to get on board. For example, a simple Hamburger and Fries on a resort averages around $20USD, you can get the same off property for about $12USD) The brunch at the Radisson set us back about $60/pp if I remember correctly (but is was good!). The current exchange rate is 100 XPF is about $1.40USD or 1 Euro.

 

Make sure you bring some bug spray, Dengue Fever is currently endemic on the islands, you'll see the warning signs when you arrive at the airport.

 

Budaman--SCUBA diving, they had excursions from the boat and they have all adapters you need for your equipment. Cat says NO PROBLEM when I asked her. She's a hoot, I think you'll like her.

 

There was a family of 13 on board, 3 generations, they were a lot of fun.

 

I'll check the boards if any of you have specific questions, I hope I've covered most of it.

 

I'll try to get some pics up soon.

 

Cheers!:D

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Thanks for the info Hemi!

 

Glade you enjoyed the Radisson....we're staying there a couple of days after also. One question, did you still have to pay for a day room the last day before flying out....I was under the impression that the two day post stay included late afternoon checkout.

 

Welcome back!

 

Mike

 

http://gallery.mac.com/csealove#gallery

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We are booked on the 5/4 sailing. I have a question about the day room. Do you need to book this before hand or can you do it while you're on the cruise?

Glad you had a great time. We're really looking forward to it. Thanks.

 

Ann K.

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Hi Mike:

 

We just did the day room for Sunday and we had a 4:30pm checkout. I think that's pretty standard that they let you stay until you leave for the airport since the incoming flights arrive late also.

 

They were letting the people who were preparing to board the Flyer stay until 3:00pm before checking out.

 

It will probably be something to check in to in case that changes!

 

--Kim

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Ann--

 

We pre-booked our day room with the main office. There is an opportunity to sign up for airport transfers and day rooms on the ship, but I did hear Frederic announce that there were no more day rooms available Friday evening before we arrived back in Papeete.

 

Enjoy the cruise, it was sooooo beautiful. Nice break from the snow and ice!

 

--Kim

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Hello HemiD

Thank you for the great report. I can't wait to go. You gave the best news that Frederic is the cruise director. Hopefully he will still be there in April. I remember Andreas also. It will be fun as always. Hope to sail a little more than you did, but yes they are trying a new itinerary.

Thanks again. Waiting to see your pictures.

Sophiesails starclippers.

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Thanks for the update Hemi

 

We're booked for the 11/9/2008 trip with three days at the Interncontinental Resort prior to boarding and the Radisson day room on return.

 

The itinerary posted on the website does not indicate any scuba diving excursions on the 7 day trip and an email response from the office stated that they did not have any at this time but may in the future. How was the scuba diving on your trip arranged?

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Hi Halekai:

 

The sports team was able to do dives from every location. They are not set in stone and they post the dive times each day. (Usually morning and afternoon depending on schedule) My fellow cruisers said it was terrific and they were quite please. Four people did their check out dives during the trip and got PADI certified.

 

I don't know what they were charging for tanks, etc. They use international connections on the tanks, but have adapters for US regulators.

 

Also--there are about 4 shore excursions added after we received our cruise documents from Star Clippers. I don't know when/if they will reprint the shore excursion book.

 

Hope this helps!

 

--Kim

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Thanks for the updates Kim! Any pics coming to satisfy our curiosity?

 

Halekai.....from what we've been told from our Clippers agent, the dives will be in the 40-50 Euro range, which should be about $65 per dive and the reservations are made onboard. Less than what we paid through Princess & the local shops we used last trip. We're going in August so will keep you posted on any diving info we come across. Just recieved my HD camcorder, so will be taping all our dives also:)

 

Mike

 

http://gallery.mac.com/csealove#gallery

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Hi,

I´m very glad to find your post about Star Flyer. We have to deside if we will buy cruise on this ship in Tahiti (for 1 week) or if we not. I´m curios about some things. Can you write me, how much did cost beer, wine, mineral water on the board? Because I read that beverages aren´t included. How much time did you spent on any islands? Something like 2 hours or half day? Do you have any information materials about this trip, because on web pages there is nothing special. What were the optional programs on any island and how much did it cost? And what about tips? How much did you give?

 

Thank you very much.

Martina from Czech republic

korina@email.cz

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