We've been wanting to go on this cruise since our friends went for their honeymoon about five years ago. We finally went this year to celebrate our 8th year anniversary and also as a checkmark on our bucket list. Halfway through the cruise, we decided we already want to come back for our 10th anniversary.
After passing through customs, it took about an hour to get everyone onto the tour bus, fill out medical forms, and get room keys. Then we got a glass of champagne and a personal guide to our room. Where there was a Happy Anniversary cake, a bowl of fruit, and h'orderves waiting on the table.
We ate dinner at L'Etoile the first and last night. All the entrees were delicious. But on both nights we noticed the waiters were slow in service. One time they never brought our butter, and another time forgot our drinks. Once we asked for a photo, but the waiter walked away instead. We didn't let these experiences ruin our trip. We realize these are very hard working people yet we did expect a bit more on a luxury ship.
We had dinner at La Veranda on three nights. Once with our own reservation, another time we joined another couple at the last minute, and one was during Polynesian night. The lobster was cut in halves but was delicious. Another night the ship was sailing really fast from Bora Bora to Moorea, and I couldn't get past the appetizer with my motion sickness. I went straight back to the cabin and went to bed!
The dinner menu at Le Grill was by far our favorite featuring authentic Polynesian dishes. We tried to get another reservation on our last night but they couldn't accommodate us.
We woke up really early every morning because of our jet lag but it wasn't so bad. La Palette and Le Grill open early and we sometimes had breakfast ...at both! However, we did not find out about the made to order Belgium waffles and eggs benedict at La Vernada until later since they don't open til 730a.
We ordered room service a couple times and had a yummy buffet at Le Grill. We had two excursions planned on day one of Bora Bora and only had one hour to spare, so we ordered room service that morning to be delivered at noon. When we got back to our cabin, lunch was waiting for us and we made it in time for our next excursion! On our last day, they had bread and butter pudding made with croissants at La Veranda and it was heavenly!
Raiatea: Faaroa River and Island Exploration. We decided to do something easy thinking we might be tired from traveling. But it was a little too easy for us!
Taha'a - Motu Mohana: BBQ and endless coconut drinks! It was a great day with fabulous weather. We got to kayak, snorkel, and my husband even tried to water ski! Bring a floatie to hang out at the beach.
Bora Bora day 1 - Tapuna 4x4 morning island tour. A very nice excursion around the island. Their last stop was a pearl farm, and they were really nice to bring us back to the pier early instead because we had another excursion planned (hence, the room service!)
In the afternoon, we checked into IC Thalasso for our one night in a OWB through PG. With the exception of a slow check in and confusion at dinner (we were not informed of a set menu), overall the view and the place was fabulous. We were able to do some snorkeling near the chapel area, and watched sunset and sunrise with gorgeous view of Mt. Otemanu on our deck. Breakfast was delicious and delivered via canoe... Words cannot describe this gorgeous place.
Bora Bora day 2 - Late afternoon at PG's private beach
Moorea day 1 - Albert's ATV morning tour. This was a little muddy but so much fun!
Moorea day 2 - Albert's motu pinic tour. We got to swim with stingrays and sharks. However the actual beach's snorkeling area had a very strong current.
Papeete: We walked around the market between breakfast and lunch. We were on the island tour before checking into the day room at Radission. The tour was pretty much just to kill time before our room was ready. The waterfall they took us was beautiful, but be sure to bring bug spray!
There were a few crew members on our flight also flying home. We found out they work 8 months out of the year and get 3 months to go home to visit family. This tells you how dedicated the crew members are. Our cabin stewardess Ester always had a big smile and greeted us by our names. She had no problems with our daily request for more bottles of water. Paulina at the excursion desk was very helpful when we had complaints about the service at IC Thalasso. One day my husband thought he lost his room key, and the next day all the crew members he talked to actually remembered and asked if we found it.
We met many new friends on this cruise and everyone was so happy and friendly. The only complaint I would have on this trip is the red eye flight back to LAX. I wish ATN would have a better flight time home.