Bora Bora--Day 1: This island and its lagoon is even more beautiful than the photos you have seen. The coral reef surrounding the island is huge and there are many motus of various sizes along the outer reef. Based on other reviews we booked a 3/4 day lagoon tour on our own through Patrick T. (company called Maohinui)--we had good snorkeling and a lovely lunch but have several complaints. The price is supposed to be based on number of passengers and he told us he wanted payment in local currency (available on ship)--the tour ended up more expensive than advertised because he uses a set exchange rate regardless of the actual exchange rate, which was more favorable to us. We also did not get a discount when another couple joined our boat (so we had 6 instead of 4). Our tour guide was Mareto and he gave us little to no narration. We first snorkeled out near the reef where we were in the water with sting rays and black-tipped reef sharks and then another location in deeper water where we saw more sharks. Our third snorkeling stop was in a coral garden area with quite a few fish.
Patrick and his passengers joined us on his family's private motu for our Polynesian feast buffet lunch. The island was lovely with a great view of Bora Bora across the lagoon. Although the food was good we did not receive the advertised bottle of wine or champagne per couple. When I asked, Patrick opened one bottle of champagne and poured several persons small servings--and that was it. Apparently no one else asked for any though that was advertised as part of lunch. After lunch we stopped to snorkel one more time before returning to the dock.
Later that afternoon we returned to shore in Vaitape and visited the Tahia Pearl shop where I bought a piece of black pearl jewelry. When I hesitated to buy because I had heard they had a larger shop on Moorea, the clerk advised that I could exchange or trade up if I found another piece I liked better there. As it turned out, I did not find anything I liked better. There was a local festival going on in town that night but we opted to eat on the ship and stay on board--in hindsight, we should have gone to the festival.
Day 2: The next morning we returned to shore and wandered through several shops--lots of pearl and souvenir shops but not much in the way of art galleries, which I'd hoped to find. We did not have time to rent a car and drive around the islands.
After lunch we took the ship's tender service to their private beach area. There are no chairs and no restroom facility but it is a nice beach with good snorkeling and they had a kayak as well. They do offer drink service--pop, beer, rum drinks, and water.