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4 Star Clippers Tahiti (Papeete) Cruise Reviews

I booked this cruise for myself and my 17 year old daughter as a high school graduation present. Our first night on the cruise couldn't have been better. We got there at midnight so we were exhausted. When we started sailing it ... Read More
I booked this cruise for myself and my 17 year old daughter as a high school graduation present. Our first night on the cruise couldn't have been better. We got there at midnight so we were exhausted. When we started sailing it was like two in the morning. I was already in my room but my daughter went up to check it out. She came back down immediately to tell me I had to see this. We went back up and the sails were going up and they were playing some great music. There was a huge full moon so the whole scene was like something from a movie. You could see the mountains in the back ground and the moon thru the sails. It was truly magical. We stayed up there another 2 hours so it was four in the morning before we went back to the cabin. We had been up well over 24 hours at that time but it was worth it. The cabins are fine or how little time you spend in them. I was surprised by how much storage there was. We didn't have any noise problems either which surprised me because I figured we would. The crew was great especially the cruise director angela and the sports team. By day they take you on activities like snorkeling, water skiing diving, etc. By night, they are part of the entertainment and did a good job of pretending to enjoy it. The food was fineespecially breakfast and lunch. The dinners were too formal for meits a sailboatI didn't want to have to change into a dress. I figured my daughter who is a picky eater might have problems finding something to eat on the boat but she did fine because there was a decent selection. They could use an update to their music but they were good about taking requests later in the evening when trying to get folks to dance. We didn't have much luck with that. But you do get so tired from the days activities that most people just went to bed after dinner. The bar was great and the bartenders were fun. The ATV ride on Moorea is not to be missed. It was worth every penny. Make sure you take the full 3.5 hour oneit is unreal. The Helmet dive is also a great excursion. I didn't care for the jeep safari I took on raieeta We were crammed into the back of a covered jeep and looked more at each other than anything else. My daughter took the hiking trip up the water fall and loved it. The picnic on the private beach is great and you should just do that and save money on excursions on that day. The island is wonderful and the snorkeling is great. The also have all the activities so there is plenty to do. We took the Robinson Crusoe lagoon/snorkeling tour in bora bora and that was a BIG waste of money. 150 euros per person. The took us around the lagoon in a boat which was fine. Then he stopped and said this is one of our snorkeling stops even there are never any fish this time of day. Then he took us to his motuwhich was dirty and shabby. We walked across some coral and then were put into the tip of a drift snorkel which washed us back up on the island so fast you couldn't see anything. I wish we had just went to the beach and saved our money. Some fellow passengers did the jet skis and loved it but that was huge money. We got tired of doing excursions (and paying for them) so we started just going to whatever beach they were taking people too on any given day. We saw great beaches and they were close to some villages so we could walk to do some shopping. We took a 3 week trip to tahiti and the cruise was the first week. it was the best part of the trip. We will def hit them again Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
For about half our honeymoon, we booked the 7-day Star Flyer cruise through the Society Islands. I hesitate to say "cruise" because I am not a big fan of cruises (this was the largest boat we've travelled on, usually we do ... Read More
For about half our honeymoon, we booked the 7-day Star Flyer cruise through the Society Islands. I hesitate to say "cruise" because I am not a big fan of cruises (this was the largest boat we've travelled on, usually we do Diving liveaboards or the like). So take this feedback from the standpoint of a "cruise hater" if you will. The boat itself is extremely nice. Again, I have not travelled on massive cruise ships but compared to "real" boats I've sailed on, this was extremely nice, large, and well maintained. It makes a good first impression when getting on-board. The cabin we got was also quite spacious, compared to what we'd expect on a smaller liveaboard boat. It was smaller than a typical "Motel" room on land, but still felt plenty spacious for the amount of time we spent there. We got a "Category 2" which seemed to be a sweet-spot for price/value. Most rooms seem the same basic size, but the location varies. I would recommend to anyone going on-board to avoid Categories below 3, they are (from reports from others) generally too noisy or otherwise compromised. Cat 2 are on the "main" room deck. Category 1 are larger and on the top deck, but are a bit in "high traffic" areas and didn't seem worth the price bump. Our trip was about 50% full, and most people on board had either gotten a hefty discount through a consolidator website (as we did) or cashed in on a free airfare offer from the cruise company and paid the standard rate. We were told by the crew that the next cruise out had about 110 people, which is more like 80% capcaity or so, but it seemed like the boats have been going out something like 50-75% full. IMO this is a good thing for the passengers, more staff-to-guest ratio! The activities from the boat are a combination of sign-up sheet outings which vary from place to place and open-ended schedules of boats to-and-from the shore or beach (or both). The activities were mostly pretty active - ATVs, Shark Feeding, Kayaking, etc. Most ports they also had up to 2 dives. Even with 50% of the guests possible, activities were popular and I think groups went out diving every day it was offered. The sports crew was very friendly. The whole crew was extremely friendly, even by FP standards. English is the primary language of the boat, followed by French and German. The sports crew for example was 75% Canadian. The bartenders were all great, very laid back and friendly, joking with the passengers. Not at all stuffy. The waiters as well. Prices for stuff on board were actually surprisingly good! In fact when we were moored the last night in Papeete, the crew (who were very friendly with by this point) said that the cheapest place to drink that night in Papeete was... on the boat! 3.5 Euros for a Hinano is pretty fair. Tropical drinks are like 4.50 each day when they are the "drink of the day" and maybe 7 euros otherwise. Compared to Bora Bora later, it waas a HUGE bargain. Prices for outings are probably marked up a bit from what the local vendors charge, but still quite fair. For diving, they charged 48 euros per person per dive with all equipment. Compare to our dives on Bora Bora which came out to around 75 euros per tank/dive. The dives go out directly from the boat to a local dive site via Zodiac launch. Very quick and convenient. Their dive gear is good, but could use an update. The food was good, and varied quite a bit. Breakfasts were pretty much the same each day, with a bit of variation (just like hotels). Really the food quality was on par wih a 4-star hotel's. Lots of snacks here and there. I was a bit annoyed that they charged for sodas and bottled water, I think it would have been classier to include non-alcoholic drinks. The average age of the passengers was definitely higher than we saw later at Bora Bora (Thalasso), but not as high as I would guess for a cruise like the Paul Gaugain. Being in our mid-30s, I would say there were 10-12 couples our age or younger, quite a few in their 40s-50s, and another groupd of 20 couples in the grey-haired years. But it was definitely not a cruise of "napkin folding lessons on he Lido deck" sort of thing. There were moments of cruise-ship cheesiness. There was a full-time "musician" guy who did cheesy renditions of randon stuff on a Casio keyboard. It verged on a "so un-hip its hip again" sort of vibe and was tolerable. There were little evening events (most of which we skipped, usually exhausted from so much sun & beach sports). Some like the talent show were a bit hit, and aided the sense of bonding amoung passengers. I should note here, even if you don't want to pay for beach actiities, there is a lot you can do for free. Each day either from the boat or from a nearby beach, you can Waterski, wakeboard, snorkel, Windsurf, Kayak, etc. all for nothing. Overall, this was a great way to see a lot of different islands at a per-night rate, including food, that is significantly cheaper than hotels & restaurants on each island. Especially on Bora! We had a lot of great unstructured days, like spending all day on a quiet beach in Huahine and drinking a lot of beer and having burgers at a local beach bar with some of the crew, to doing the same Shark & Ray feeding stuff in Bora that the hotels send folks to. There were some negatives. If you have any history of sea-sickness, this boat does move quite a bit. We had a lot of nights and even sometimes during dinner where the boat motion made a lot of people ill. Don't disregard this potental negative to your trip! Take all precautions ahead of time. Also the current schedule they are on feels a little rushed in some locations. We only really spent 10am through 4pm on Bora before the boat had to start paddling back fo Moorea. I would think the schedule could probably be improved to allow more dinners at-port. Overall, this was a great experience for us. Unlike a hotel, you really do get a chance to make friends with the crew and other guests. We ended up trading emails with about 20 other couples and sending each other pictures from the trip. The passengers were probably 50% or more American and decidedly west-coast so there are a lot of people to chat with, and dinners/meals are setup with a mixture of social tables with up to 8 spots, or 2-spot tables if you're feeling standoffish. It was very easy to make friends and conversation. The biggest negative is probably that the Star Flyer is only staying in this great location for another year and then heads back to Europe. According to the crew, this has less to do with the economic downturn, and more to do with escalating costs & regulations imposed by the FP government, as well as the maintenance challenges of maintaining a boat like this so far from the required parts and suppliers. I strongly recommend folks checking this out as a great way to get the highlights of all the major Society Islands (or Tuamotus on the longer 11-day cruise) at a great cost/value. You literally can experience all the best activities on each island (Scuba, snorkling, sharks, turtles, ATVs, etc.) while still paying less than $600 per night including your food for a very nice cabin. My only reservation would be if you are known to be susceptible to motion sickness that doesn't respond to Bonine or "the patch", don't risk 7-days of potential nausea, its a smaller boat, not a floating hotel! Don't avoid this thinking that its too full of old people (that's somewhat true, but not to a degree that detracts) or that there won't be anything to on board for the active vacationers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We did a fair amount of research before settling on Star Clipper Cruises. Our decision was based on the fact it was a small ship, small number of passengers (140), and a 7 day (as opposed to 14 day) cruise through Tahiti, our chosen ... Read More
We did a fair amount of research before settling on Star Clipper Cruises. Our decision was based on the fact it was a small ship, small number of passengers (140), and a 7 day (as opposed to 14 day) cruise through Tahiti, our chosen destination. The ship's size was wonderful. Comfortable in size, sort of like a boutique hotel. Two swimming pools, maybe a little short on deck space but tolerable. The trade off of size meant a little touch and go with respect to big waves while sailing, but tolerable. There is essentially no ship-board entertainment, but again we knew this getting in. A very international group of well traveled passengers, all very interesting. Essentially no kids, which was a plus. Most 40 - 60's y/o. Many Europeans, Americans, and a few Asian and Central American passengers. Food was ok, generally not remarkable. Breakfast buffet as expected; Lunch about the same. Dinner was ok but nothing fabulous. Decent selection but presentation and tastes perhaps a bit better than some ships, i.e. Princess but not as good as Oceania or RSSC. Afternoon cocktail hour was amateurish, the food that is. Cost of drinks on the ship were very reasonable and appreciated. During our cruise there was a problem with the AC in the dining room, so dinner was a bit uncomfortable. Stateroom quite small which was tolerable except for the intermittent functioning of the air conditioner (average temperature in Tahiti was high 80's F. Mattress of the bed was substandard, felt as if it was made with straw. Bed covers were decent but no top sheet provided, rather an integrated comforter. Also by the 5th day the toilet began to smell a bit. Maybe you get what you pay for. Our cruise was about $6500 for 2, including airfare from LAX. Would we go again? Maybe, would probably go for one of the larger Star Clipper ships and maybe in an upgraded room. Good way to see Tahiti. Suggest visiting during their winter, not summer...too hot and humid...and we're from Hawaii :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We were very pleased with our Star Flyer experience, although we didn't sail much, mostly motored, presumably due to light winds that week. Our cabin was small, but comfortable, with sufficient storage. The ship is very attractive, ... Read More
We were very pleased with our Star Flyer experience, although we didn't sail much, mostly motored, presumably due to light winds that week. Our cabin was small, but comfortable, with sufficient storage. The ship is very attractive, and altogether different experience than the big cruise ships. The embarkation and disembarkation worked quickly and smoothly. Breakfast and lunch were expansive buffets. Breakfast included eggs cooked to order (omelets, fried eggs), grits or oatmeal, fruits, cheeses, usually some smoked salmon, croissants and pastries, toast, several types of fruit juice. Lunches included breads, cheeses, platters of cold cuts, smoked salmon, marinated herring, etc., several salads, three or four main dishes, potato and rice, and fruit plus three desserts (usually a tart, a mousse and a warm dessert such as a cobbler) Dinner was also very good, and included one choice of sorbet, salad and soup, two choices of appetizer, and four choices of main dish including a vegetarian, and three choices of dessert, all elegantly presented. I recommend that if you would like iced tea with lunch and dinner, ask for it. It was never offered, but after the first day, I realized it was available, and after asking a couple of times, the waiters remembered, and automatically served it to us every day. Our cabin steward was excellent. One day, on Tahaaa, we had a motu picnic with a barbecu and Tahitian show -, plus water sports -= very nice. the last night, a Polynesian dance and musical group presented a show on deck - amazing dancing! The weather was perfect, and Polynesian ports were truly beautiful. We were travelling with a group, so had several arranged tours. The two ship's excursions that we took were truly wonderful. We would highly recommend them!! One was the HELMET DIVE on Bara Bora. You descend 10 feet below the surface with a helmet over your head which permits you to breath normally underwater, and you can even wear your glasses (I don't snorkel due to the need for glasses, being very near-sighted)There were at least 100 varieties of fish swimming very close to us - amazing!! You have about 30 minutesof viewing time. If there are enough people for 2 groups, you laos get about 390 minutes of snorkeling time, while the other group is diving. My husband said he snorkelling was also very good. The other was the DOLPHIN WATCH with Dr. Michael Poole , who is a world famous expert on dolphins and whales. Dr. Poole is very personable and interesting. We boarded a covered boat, and within minutes of casting off, there were dolphins playing about 40 yard off the boat. Each of the passengers spent some time sitting up at the bow, and when it was our turn, there were dolphins swimming right in front of it, so they were 5-6 feet below us. Incredible!!! WE spent about 1 1/2 hours watching the dolphins swmiming and playing, then as they moved away, we cruised around the lagoon, observing the huge yachts moored there and learning about the area, and about dolphin lifestyles. Don't miss it! Papetee definitely has most of the shoppihng opportunities, either at the marketplace (open on Sundays from 5-8 am, closed the rest of the day) open during the week. The upstairs is where to buy souveneirs, and that isn't open on Sunday at all. Quite a few businesses close for a midday lunch break. One of the islands is known for it's black pearls, but you can buy them on any of the islands. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
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