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Mercruiser

Royal Princess to Tahiti and Hawaii 2010-2011

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Mercrusier I am from Spokane too !!! Really Cheney but I work at Deaconess Hospital and am on a break now. Looking to book Princess Royal on March 3, 2011 for Tahiti. If you know of air cheaper will you keep me informed !! Will get it from Princess but will check to see if I can get it myself cheaper. Sweet Sally

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Mercrusier I am from Spokane too !!! Really Cheney but I work at Deaconess Hospital and am on a break now. Looking to book Princess Royal on March 3, 2011 for Tahiti. If you know of air cheaper will you keep me informed !! Will get it from Princess but will check to see if I can get it myself cheaper. Sweet Sally

 

You will have better options than I for finding a good airfare. Your March 3, 2001 cruise is RT from Papeete. I'm going on the Royal Princess Papeete to Honolulu cruise. That means I cannot get a round-trip airfare.

 

The other good thing you have going for you is that March is off-season for Tahiti. North American summer is high season. This might make it easier to find a deal.

 

About the lowest I've seen for LAX-PPT RT is about $850 or so on the Air Tahiti Nui web site. There's not much competition on that route, so I would not expect so see any fare wars. You might want to get on Air Tahiti Nui's email list for special offers.

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For those who might be interested, there are round trip SanDiego cruises on holland america that go from California, to hawaii, then to tahitii and back to California. 2 sailings jan and march 2010. No long airfare needed.

 

debkjw

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For those who might be interested, there are round trip SanDiego cruises on holland america that go from California, to hawaii, then to tahitii and back to California. 2 sailings jan and march 2010. No long airfare needed.

 

debkjw

 

I've looked at that, but it's 30 days. I think 14 days on a ship is my limit, but maybe someday, you never know.

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Thanks Tibtee and Mercruiser for your info.

I just got a Princess Air quote of $1163 from LAX p/p including taxes and airport transfers. Yes we would fly from Europe and we can get to anywhere in the US using 50 or 60,000 miles p/p, I was just looking for the cheapest gateway to continue the journey to Papeete as our FF alliances don't include Aur France and Air Nui Tahiti (except a codeshare with Air NZ which doesn't qualify for ff bookings:().

An alternative from Europe would be via Chile and Easter Island to get to Papeete with LAN Chile - but that would wipe out our FF mileage at 100'000 p/p and with just three scheduled flights a week I'm sure availability would be difficult to get - but a really fantastic journey though:)

 

I am also looking at Princess for a Hawaii/Tahiti cruise but for November 2011 (if they have such. It will be for our 10th year wedding anniversary!) Just like you I want to use miles for the airfare portion, trying to think of the best way to do it.... Maybe get a roundtrip ticket to/from Hawaii and then pay for the airfare from Papeete to Hawaii.

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I am also looking at Princess for a Hawaii/Tahiti cruise but for November 2011 (if they have such. It will be for our 10th year wedding anniversary!) Just like you I want to use miles for the airfare portion, trying to think of the best way to do it.... Maybe get a roundtrip ticket to/from Hawaii and then pay for the airfare from Papeete to Hawaii.

 

I looked at that option. And it's still a possibility for me. The "gotcha" is the HNL to PPT flight. The only option is a once-a-week Hawaiian air flight that will set you back about $772. It flies to PPT on Friday and returns to HNL as a red-eye arriving at 5:20 a.m. on Saturdays. (That's the schedule for this coming winter. It may be different in 2011). My cruise is the Jan 28, 2011 Papeete to Honolulu. The HNL to PPT flight would arrive on January 28. I would normally never fly on the cruise departure day. But the Princess ship doesn't actually leave Papeete until the next day. For now, I have Princess air booked. I look at other options about 11 months before the trip.

 

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I'll be booking the Tahiti/Hawaii cruise, but I'm still in the planning stage and haven't decided on a date. When is the very best time to do this cruise -- winter or spring? One poster said March is Tahiti's low time. How do you find out the high season/low season? Also, I'll be doing a 2-day precruise in Tahiti. Has anybody ever stayed in the overwater bungalows?

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Just glancing through this thread I noticed that no one was thrilled with leaving late night for LAX-leaves a day with not muchh to do--I'm assuming you're speaking of ATN flights--we usually fly home Air France --leaving about 8:30 am---this is the return of the flight that arrives about 5 am in Papeete--which works well for catching the flight to Bora Bora--gives you time enough to store extra luggage at the flower shop and make your flight--(luggage is limited on Bora Bora flight--allowed more kilos if you have dive equipment).

 

Nancy:D

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We just booked the Tahiti to Honolulu for Jan 28th 2011. We were back and forth, but finally decided to do it as another the year in the Caribbean didn't seem too exciting! I have looked at airfare and it is a killer, I signed for any specials on ATN and am going to start checking on rates as soon as they come out. All the aft balconies were gone so we got one of the forward facing balconies on deck 6. I have asked, but I haven't gotten a response to anyone who has actually stayed in one of these cabins.

 

 

I am going to start a roll call and see if anyone else is on the same sailing.

 

Helen

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Helen,

 

Yes, I'm on the Jan 28, 2011 sailing. I reserved one of the aft balconies about the first day they were available for booking (May 21). There was still one available on September 17. You might want to inquire about a wait-list on the aft balconies.

 

You can read my earlier posts in this thread about airfare. Nothing new on that front - I'll probably stick with Princess Air (at $1259 RT Spokane). Around the first part of 2010, I'll start looking at a "Custom Air" (or whatever it's called) to arrive a few days early and depart HNL a couple of days after the cruise. I got about $1200 off the Princess.com fare ($600 pp) by using an on-line TA.

 

If you want to "preview" the trip, the Pacific Princess is on her Hawaii to Tahiti cruise right now. She was in Kauai today. I've been having a look at the Bridge CAM, thinking about our cruise. I hope one of the PAX files a trip report when they get back!

 

Mercruiser

 

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. . . All the aft balconies were gone so we got one of the forward facing balconies on deck 6. I have asked, but I haven't gotten a response to anyone who has actually stayed in one of these cabins.

 

Helen

 

The forward balconies are the same on any of the three "R-class" ships: Royal, Pacific, and Tahitian (Ocean). So, if you cannot get a response specific to the Royal Princess, you might want to broaden you search/question to include these other ships.

 

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The forward balconies are the same on any of the three "R-class" ships: Royal, Pacific, and Tahitian (Ocean). So, if you cannot get a response specific to the Royal Princess, you might want to broaden you search/question to include these other ships.

 

 

Thanks for your quick response. I did a search of the forward and got a few hits. Would I need to do a waitlist of a specific cabin or just an aft balcony in general?

 

I need to check into air-fare. I asked about it on an earlier sailing rt BWI - PPT and it was about $2000.00 I wonder if it is more expensive since I am now going BWI - PPT, HHl (I think that is the abrivation) BWI? I have looked at airfare for 2010 at this time frame and the best I see is around $1600.00.

 

I started a roll call and hope to get some responses. Does Princess have a get-together for cc members? I have not cruised with princess since about 1995. a long time.

 

How do you see the Pacific Princess's bridge cam? Can you put up the link or tell me where to go to see it?

 

Got to go. I know we will be "talking" over the next year and a half.

 

Helen

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Helen,

 

For the waitlist, I'd suggest asking on the Princess board. I've never done it, so I'm not familiar with the process. But, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.

 

I don't think Princess has a formalized "Connections Party" like Celebrity. What I've seen on other Princess Roll-Calls is that the passengers organize their own, usually by meeting in one of the lounges for sail-away or right after muster.

 

Here is a link to the Pacific Princess Bridge Cam. She is in Lahaina today, Hilo tomorrow, and then onto Christmas Island and Bora Bora. You can download a spreadsheet with all Princess ship itineraries here.

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Helen,

 

For the waitlist, I'd suggest asking on the Princess board. I've never done it, so I'm not familiar with the process. But, I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.

 

I don't think Princess has a formalized "Connections Party" like Celebrity. What I've seen on other Princess Roll-Calls is that the passengers organize their own, usually by meeting in one of the lounges for sail-away or right after muster.

 

Here is a link to the Pacific Princess Bridge Cam. She is in Lahaina today, Hilo tomorrow, and then onto Christmas Island and Bora Bora. You can download a spreadsheet with all Princess ship itineraries here.

 

Thanks for the link to the bridge cam. It took my breath away when it opened.

 

Helen

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It looks like Princess is offering some hefty discounts on last-minute FP cruises. The 10-day South Pacific French Polynesia cruises on the Pacific Princess are being offered by the discount agencies for $599 inside, $1299 balcony $1499 mini-suite (Nov 28, 2009). By way of comparison, the 10-day FP on Royal Pacific, in 2011, are going for $1945 inside, and $2645 balcony. (RP does not have mini-suites).

 

These last-minute cruises are a great deal if you can take advantage of them. I wish I could!

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Princess has announced the cancellation of three French Polynesia cruises in April of 2011 so that they can transfer the Royal Princess to P & O. Here is the official press release from the Princess web site.

 

Source: http://www.princess.com/news/article.jsp?newsArticleId=na1057

Royal Princess to Leave Princess Cruises Fleet and Join British Sister Line P&O Cruises

Small Ship Will Transfer in May 2011; Spring Deployment Changed

 

Santa Clarita, CA (December 9, 2009) -- One of the small ships of Princess Cruises, the 710-passenger Royal Princess, will depart the line's fleet in spring 2011, transferring to sister company P&O Cruises in the U.K. The ship will be renamed Adonia.

As a result, five sailings in April and May will be cancelled, and in place of these a 26-day South Pacific and Andes Explorer cruise will be offered prior to the transfer.

The ship's 2010 cruise program includes sailings to the Amazon, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska, Hawaii and French Polynesia.

With the transfer of Royal Princess there will be one less Princess ship in Alaska for the 2011 season, though full details are not yet available. During summer 2010, the ship will sail on a 14-day roundtrip "Connoisseur" cruises from Seattle to Alaska.

The following 2011 sailings are being cancelled:

• April 6, 2011 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia

• April 16, 2011 10-day Tahiti & Polynesia

• April 26, 2011 12-day Hawaii & Tahiti

• May 8, 2011 10-day Hawaiian Islands

• May 18, 2011 1-day coastal

 

The new 26-day cruise that replaces these sailings will depart April 6, 2011 and travel between Papeete, Tahiti and Fort Lauderdale. Ports of call will include Bora Bora, Moorea, Pitcairn Island (for scenic cruising), Easter Island, Pisco (San Martin), Lima (Callao for Machu Picchu overland excursion), Quito (Manta), Panama Canal Transit, San Blas, and Limón. Fares begin at $4,145 per person, double occupancy.

The ship will then go into a drydock in the Bahamas to change its livery prior to joining the P&O Cruises fleet in May 2011.

Royal Princess joined the Princess fleet in 2007, having originally been built in 2001.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at www.princess.com.

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It looks like Princess has lowered some prices on the Tahiti-Hawaii cruises. (I have not checked the RT Tahiti.) The biggest price drops are on balconies.

If you have not checked for price drops recently, now might be a good time.

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Anyone going on the "Hawaii & Tahiti - Papeete to Honolulu 12 Days" cruises (or reverse itinerary) are probably considering using Princess for the air arrangements. Princess' air add on is about $1100 RT LAX or $1300 RT GEG (Spokane - my home airport). Because of the open-jaw itinerary, this is way cheaper than anything that you can book independently.

 

There are two well-known disadvantages of booking your air through the cruise line:

  1. The flights typically arrive on the cruise departure day and return on the last day of the cruise. This does not allow you to spend an extra day or more in Moorea or Oahu.

  2. The cruise line picks the flights. The routing can have multiple stops instead of taking non-stop flights. The connections can be ridiculously long or unreasonable short. There are plenty of CC threads describing these problems.

One solution to this problem is to arrange a cruise air deviation or FlightChoice Plus in Princess marketing-speak. With an air deviation, you work with the TA or cruise line to pick the dates and flights, almost as if you were booking independent flights through a TA. Princess charges a fee of $75.00 per person for an air deviation. Some cruise lines provide this for free to frequent passengers.

 

Another option for problem 2, is described by Toto2Kansas in this post.

Toto2Kansas is a wealth of information on Princess's Tahiti cruises. I have learned a lot reading her posts.

 

When working with a TA for flights, as I do frequently for business travel, I have found it works best if I pick my flights ahead of time and suggest them to the TA. As I learned from Toto2Kansas, Princess air uses Air Tahiti Nui (ATN) for the LAX - PPT flights. So I got on the ATN web site and looked up the itineraries for LAX to PPT on my day of travel. I then got on Alaska Air (my favorite airline) to figure out the best flights to connect with my 11:00 p.m. ATN red-eye to PPT. Instead of picking the last possible flights to get me to LAX, I chose to leave GEG much earlier so that there are still two more flights that day from GEG to SEA and SEA to LAX. I did that so that if any of my flights are cancelled, we still have two more flights to make the connection. As planned, we leave GEG at 12:30 p.m. and arrive at LAX at 5:35 p.m.

 

For the return, I wanted an afternoon flight. I requested the 2:00 p.m. Alaska Air HNL to SEA flight.

 

After putting together my "wish list" for the flights, I emailed it to the TA and then called them on the phone. That way, I didn't have to describe all these flight numbers over the phone. The TA then called Princess with my requested itinerary.

 

About an hour later, the TA called back. Princess could not provide the Alaska Air HNL to SEA flight. But the good news is that they could offer a United airlines HNL to SFO connection at no extra cost over the original price. The UA flight leaves HNL at 1:35 p.m. and connects to a GEG flight arriving after midnight. The departure and arrival times are not much different than the requested Alaska flights. So I am happy with the flights and the price.

 

Later in the afternoon, I called Princess and confirmed that they had made the flight arrangements. I got the three different airline confirmation numbers (Alaska, Air Tahiti Nui, United) from the Princess agent. After I got off the phone, I put the confirmation numbers into the three airlines' "Check your itinerary" web pages. The Alaska and ATN web sites both showed the reservation and the seat assignments. I was able to add my Alaska FF number to the reservation. For UAL, I had to call on the phone. Their web page would not show a reservation made this way. The agent did have the reservation, confirmed the seat assignment, and added my FF number to the reservation.

 

You might be wondering why I went to the trouble of confirming the reservation with the airlines. Many years ago, I made a hotel reservation via one of the big web travel sites (uses a gnome in their ads.) When I got to the hotel, they did not have my reservation. I decided then to always confirm the reservation with the actual service provider.

 

The other advantage of confirming with the airlines is to get my frequent flyer numbers and seat assignments arranged. This early, the seat map is wide open. ATN uses the Airbus A340 with a 2-4-2 seat arrangement in coach. I really like the window-aisle pair on a long flight.

 

Now I'm all set with the cruise reservation, hotels in Moorea and Honolulu, and the flight reservations. It feels good to have this all settled. It makes the whole trip seem more "real". Only 299 days to go!

 

 

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Anyone going on the "Hawaii & Tahiti - Papeete to Honolulu 12 Days" cruises (or reverse itinerary) are probably considering using Princess for the air arrangements. Princess' air add on is about $1100 RT LAX or $1300 RT GEG (Spokane - my home airport). Because of the open-jaw itinerary, this is way cheaper than anything that you can book independently.

 

There are two well-known disadvantages of booking your air through the cruise line:

  1. The flights typically arrive on the cruise departure day and return on the last day of the cruise. This does not allow you to spend an extra day or more in Moorea or Oahu.

  2. The cruise line picks the flights. The routing can have multiple stops instead of taking non-stop flights. The connections can be ridiculously long or unreasonable short. There are plenty of CC threads describing these problems.

One solution to this problem is to arrange a cruise air deviation or FlightChoice Plus in Princess marketing-speak. With an air deviation, you work with the TA or cruise line to pick the dates and flights, almost as if you were booking independent flights through a TA. Princess charges a fee of $75.00 per person for an air deviation. Some cruise lines provide this for free to frequent passengers.

 

Another option for problem 2, is described by Toto2Kansas in this post.

Toto2Kansas is a wealth of information on Princess's Tahiti cruises. I have learned a lot reading her posts.

 

When working with a TA for flights, as I do frequently for business travel, I have found it works best if I pick my flights ahead of time and suggest them to the TA. As I learned from Toto2Kansas, Princess air uses Air Tahiti Nui (ATN) for the LAX - PPT flights. So I got on the ATN web site and looked up the itineraries for LAX to PPT on my day of travel. I then got on Alaska Air (my favorite airline) to figure out the best flights to connect with my 11:00 p.m. ATN red-eye to PPT. Instead of picking the last possible flights to get me to LAX, I chose to leave GEG much earlier so that there are still two more flights that day from GEG to SEA and SEA to LAX. I did that so that if any of my flights are cancelled, we still have two more flights to make the connection. As planned, we leave GEG at 12:30 p.m. and arrive at LAX at 5:35 p.m.

 

For the return, I wanted an afternoon flight. I requested the 2:00 p.m. Alaska Air HNL to SEA flight.

 

After putting together my "wish list" for the flights, I emailed it to the TA and then called them on the phone. That way, I didn't have to describe all these flight numbers over the phone. The TA then called Princess with my requested itinerary.

 

About an hour later, the TA called back. Princess could not provide the Alaska Air HNL to SEA flight. But the good news is that they could offer a United airlines HNL to SFO connection at no extra cost over the original price. The UA flight leaves HNL at 1:35 p.m. and connects to a GEG flight arriving after midnight. The departure and arrival times are not much different than the requested Alaska flights. So I am happy with the flights and the price.

 

Later in the afternoon, I called Princess and confirmed that they had made the flight arrangements. I got the three different airline confirmation numbers (Alaska, Air Tahiti Nui, United) from the Princess agent. After I got off the phone, I put the confirmation numbers into the three airlines' "Check your itinerary" web pages. The Alaska and ATN web sites both showed the reservation and the seat assignments. I was able to add my Alaska FF number to the reservation. For UAL, I had to call on the phone. Their web page would not show a reservation made this way. The agent did have the reservation, confirmed the seat assignment, and added my FF number to the reservation.

 

You might be wondering why I went to the trouble of confirming the reservation with the airlines. Many years ago, I made a hotel reservation via one of the big web travel sites (uses a gnome in their ads.) When I got to the hotel, they did not have my reservation. I decided then to always confirm the reservation with the actual service provider.

 

The other advantage of confirming with the airlines is to get my frequent flyer numbers and seat assignments arranged. This early, the seat map is wide open. ATN uses the Airbus A340 with a 2-4-2 seat arrangement in coach. I really like the window-aisle pair on a long flight.

 

Now I'm all set with the cruise reservation, hotels in Moorea and Honolulu, and the flight reservations. It feels good to have this all settled. It makes the whole trip seem more "real". Only 299 days to go!

 

 

 

Thanks for that post - I found it very useful as we are in the process of booking flights out of PPT to Sydney after our Royal Princess cruise in March 2011.

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The press release is out, "Princess Cruises Announces 2011-12 Worldwide Sailing Schedules." It's almost a month late compared to last year. They are replacing the Royal Princess with the Ocean Princess in Tahiti. Last year, they were very specific about the duration of the Tahiti season. Based on the vague wording, I also suspect there will be fewer cruises for the 2011-12 season.

 

See http://www.princess.com/news/article.jsp?newsArticleId=na1105

 

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IMO the most limiting factor for cruising in the FP is the flights. When the R3/R4 cruised the previous cruise line offered a very nice charter flight (I think it was operated by Hawaiian Airlines) as part of the package with a reasonably priced Business Class upgrade. Of course they went bankrupt, so they could not make it work either. But I think that their problem was rapid expansion right before 9/11. I wonder if Princess is having trouble keeping the ship fully booked?

 

This time I am doing the Hawaii to Tahiti cruise eliminating one of the flights. I understand that it may have improved since 2005, but the airport in Papeete is one of my less favorite as well. ATN seems like a nice airline, but they do not have enough competition in the area. I often wonder if the French are protecting their air line companies.

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