Ocean Princess Cruise Review by JenAMR: Tahitian Princess - South Pacific
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Tahitian Princess - South Pacific
This cruise was for our honeymoon, thus we tried to book everything in advance as we were also planning our wedding and just didn't want to deal with any planning once we got to Tahiti. It worked out pretty nicely for us. I am 30 and my husband is 28 and we are both attorneys from New York.
Due to our wedding we could not leave NY until tuesday 3/27 the first day of the cruise so we did not do a precruise stay anywhere. Also, because we had already taken time off of work for our wedding we did not do a post-cruise stay anywhere. We left JFK on a United flight around 11am. We got to LAX and easily got to Air Tahiti. Our bags were checked all the way through. Our Air Tahiti flight was delayed a bit. On both flights we were pretty tired and were able to sleep a bit. Air Tahiti was definitely not spacious but we managed. We arrived in Tahiti around 11pm I think. It was dark and humid! We got our bags no problem and were on a Princess bus to the ship in no time. It was really the More easiest embarkation I have ever had. maybe because we got in so late? We got to the ship and checked in - in like 5 minutes! We even were able to grab a snack at the buffet which they kept open for late arrivals. Afterwards we headed back to our cabin - 7099 - which is just a regular balcony stateroom and was fine for us. On cruises we definitely like to have a balcony but anything more is just not necessary for us - we hardly spend any time in the room except to sleep and shower and we are used to living in cramped conditions (we live in NY) so a balcony suits us just fine. Shortly after arriving back at our room our bags were placed outside. I unpacked everything and went to bed shortly before 3am tahiti time (remember I started the day in NY)
We had Patricks 4x4 booked for the 2nd day in Tahiti 3/28 at 9am and I was worried I would be too tired to go. I must have been on an excitement high because I was up by 730am. Unfortunately, it was raining - hard. Still, we got ready, ate breakfast and headed outside. It was pouring. We waited....and waited. Finally, someone told us Patrick had canceled because of the rain. Bummer. They said to come back in the afternoon and if it wasn't raining maybe Patrick would be there. We didn't want to risk that so we asked around to see if any other tours were going. Well the cruise line 4x4 was canceled as well but one of the tour guides agreed to take my husband and I out for just almost the same price as Patrick's tour ($55 a person instead of $50) and it would be for just the two of us. This was a great tour. I know we couldn't get as close to the waterfalls as they usually do because of the rain but no matter it was still amazing. Halfway through it stopped raining. def try to do this tour if you have time in Tahiti. After picking up some flowers at the market (for $15) we headed back to the ship to get ready for our little cruise critic gathering at the pool bar during the sailaway. It was great to meet everyone, especially since we saw almost everyone several times over the course of the trip.
I think there was a show this night. Let me begin by saying the entertainment on this ship isn't great. However, you aren't on the ship for the entertainment. There were some good points but it was mostly lacking - in particular the evening entertainment. Luckily for us, we were usually exhausted after dinner and either played a bit at the casino or went right to bed.
In Huahine we did Marc's Tour. AMAZING!!!! It was great. Well worth the money. It was our first real taste of paradise. The snorkeling was great (at the time possibly the best we'd ever had, however we would soon learn that each port had better and better snorkeling!) A bunch of the cruise critic gang went on this tour so that was a lot of fun!!! The motu picnic was great and there was plenty to eat (even for a vegetarian!!!)
We didn't make it to Rarotonga and instead had three sea days. We used these days to rejuvenate ourselves. I got a massage at the lotus spa - it was a milk body wrap with massage type of thing and it was heavenly. One of these days was the first formal night which was a drag because we are so tired from the sun and now I have tan lines - who wants to wear something formal??? Anyways...it was definitely a bummer that we didn't make it to Rarotonga but what can you do?
Raiatea - we did a drift snorkel in the am through princess and a sailing cruise in the pm through princess. Drift snorkel was great! They take you out to Tahaa (and the trip out is beautiful) and you get to do the drift snorkel twice. We went back to the ship for lunch and then came out to do our sailing cruise. This was one excursion we definitely could have missed. It wasn't horrible, however it was a little pricey and because there was no wind we couldn't sail. We just went slowly towards Tahaa - a route we had already did!!! We did get to take turns at the wheel and we stopped at a beautiful area to go swimming. It was pretty nice but being that it was over $100 each, I imagine we could have found something better to do in the afternoon. Oh well, you win some - you lose some. That evening was the Children of Raiatea show. It is not to be missed. So amazing!!! The kids are so cute. Both my husband and I were chosen to go up and dance with them. Tonight was also Polynesian night so everyone was wearing fresh leis and tropical shirts. We had dinner and then.....I went back to the room and passed out! I missed the second show and the polynesian party and the champagne waterfall!!!! My husband hit the casino for a couple of hours.
Bora bora day 1 - I must say that I tried to get up early every morning we were heading to a new port to catch all the scenery. We tended to order in breakfast a lot and eat on our balcony (or half in half out if it was too hot outside). Today was a great day to just watch the water changing colors as we neared Bora Bora. We had a leisurely lunch and then we headed to the Aqua Safari. This was a great excursion also booked through the ship. I have done this before but not where the fish are so exotic and plentiful and also without bread. Bread is key. The fish just flocked to you - they actually were bumping into you. It was very cool. In the evening we had the Champagne Sunset cruise booked through the ship. As we were leaving our room we caught a rainbow over bora bora. Ahhhhhhh!!!! When we got to the pier they told us the catamaran they usually use was not working so they had this other type of boat and that they were still offering us the excursion but at a discounted rate - did we still want to go? I was there to experience a bora bora sunset with my new husband. Yes I still wanted to go. We are so glad we did. It was absolutely stunning. I look at the pictures and can't believe I was really there. I was actually glad we weren't on a catamaran as I liked having an actual seat and this boat had a cover whereas a catamaran wouldn't have had one and it was HOT when we left. The guides played their music, continuously passed our rum punch, passed out some snacks and then as the sun set, champagne. It was the best night. Afterwards we went back to the ship so I could change and then we headed to Bloody Marys. It was fun to check it out and eat off the ship at a real restaurant. One of our fellow cruise critic pals was going to eat there with his table mates and happened to call bloody marys for transportation so we were able to get the free shuttle there and then we got the free shuttle back to the ship as well (caught the last tender!).
Bora Bora Day 2. We did a private tour - Keishi Tour for two. This was a splurge as we wanted to do at least one really nice thing since it was our honeymoon. We had looked into getting an OWB for the night in between the two days but the one we wanted was really expensive ($1200) and then it would have been even more $$ to get a alate check out to spend the day and use their facilities so we decided to look for an all day excursion for just the two of us. After reading some reviews we decided on Keishi Tours. This was a wonderful day. We were told to meet at 10am at the pier. When our tender arrived at 950 we already saw a sign with our name on it. We were picked up and brought over to our tour guide - Pierrot who is the owner - and taken out. Pierrot doesn't speak much English but we were fine with little communication. We stopped to feed the stingrays and sharks and we went to the coral gardens. The snorkeling was really great and we were excited to see our first shark (more to come in moorea!) We continued to sail around the island and then we got to a deserted beach area where the water was crystal crystal clear and Pierrot dropped us off to go swimming while he went ashore to begin our BBQ lunch. We enjoyed just chilling in the water (my husband with his second hinano) swimming around for a bit. When Pierrot called us over we were just so amazed. OUr table for two was so nicely set, you wouldn't even know that it was in the water if we didn't shoot the bottom. There was a really nice white umbrella, white table cloth, real china, champagne glasses, flowers, he gave my husband a lei and me a floral headpiece. Pierrot popped the champagne, served us salad and went back to grilling. The lunch usually includes lobster, fish, shrimp, steak, chicken, potatoes, salads, bread, fruits. However, neither of us eat any type of Fish (including lobster and shrimp) and I don't eat meat. Pierrot made my husband a ton of bbq meats and i had plenty of salad stuff, potatoes,bread and fruit....and bubbly!!! (Note you don't get a price adjustment which we weren't expecting anyways but some people have asked us) Lunch was delicious and afterwards we walked around the beach area and played in the water. When Pierrot finished up we headed back to finish our circle tour of the island and then back to the pier. It was a WONDERFUL day! When we got back to the ship we decided to order more champagne and chocolate covered strawberries that we had pre-paid for....they had run out of strawberries so they sent chocolates instead - but didn't tell us. We had to go those aren't strawberries and then were told to call room service back. Then they said oh yeah we ran out sorry. Weird. You would think they would notify us, especially since we had already paid for them....eventually we would get reimbursed for them (not a big deal) but the fact that they thought they could "fool us" gave us an uneasy feeling. Anyways, we drank our champagne, ate some chocolates, saw another bora bora sunset from our balcony and....did NOT make it to 2nd formal night. I had taken a shower and even went to catch part of the pre dinner show, but came back to the room to find my husband asleep and joined him in bed. Around 930pm we decided to go upstairs to try the pizza place (since we ate the pizza almost everyday during lunch and thought it was good). The pizza place is NOT just pizza. You get a menu an you can order one of several personal pizzas. You can also get the salad bar, the soup of the day and also an appetizer (they only have one a night). After they offer you dessert but we were too full. We had been told that all they give you up there is just pizza but this is not the case. It was a full meal and we left stuffed!
Moorea - we did a snorkeling tour in the am through the ship and a 4x4 tour in the pm through the ship. the snorkeling tour was more than we expected as the first stop was sting rays and sharks - like 10 of them. We had only seen 3 the day before and they hadn't gotten close to us so this was exciting. My husband loved this. The second part of the tour was pretty good as well. We had originally been told we would have time to go back to the ship in between the two excursions but our am excursion came back too late. So at the pier we asked princess reps where we could eat and they said there was no where around there to eat. We didn't want to starve so I set off to see what I could find. There was a le truck just a few feet away so we ate there. However, had I walked more I would have found a restaurant. Now these aren't the fanciest of places but we needed to eat and hey we are still standing. The 4x4 tour was great. It was nice to go up into the crater. we saw some great views. it was very bumpy and def not for people with back problems.
Final day in tahiti we wanted to do our shopping but the stores were all closed for good friday. we had a few drinks by the pool, swam a bit, hit the gym, showered in the spa (they offer this to anyone) and then ate dinner at the buffet before heading to the airport for our 10pm flight.
All in all - BEST VACATION EVER. Again, when you go on the Tahitian Princess (in my opinion) you are going for the ports and not the ship. If you need to be entertained every night and don't like to always get off the ship then this is not the ship for you! I was so active that I headed to bed pretty early every night (which worked out so I could get up early in the am). Less
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