9 Tahiti (Papeete) Fitness Cruise Reviews

We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the ... Read More
We are not new to cruising as this was our 15th cruise but the first with Oceania. We were attracted to Oceania because of the French Polynesia itinerary as well as its reputation for good service and food. We absolutely loved the itinerary as well as the very good service by our cabin staff and butler as well as the food in the specialty restaurants. However, we found that the added costs were not compensated by our expectations for value. To begin, we were very disappointed by how we were received upon boarding as well as departing. Our experience with other cruise lines has been that we were greeted with a welcoming drink as well as food available. Likewise, upon departure, we have been provided with coffee and muffins/danish etc. None of this was available on the Marina. We arrived with 200+ people on our 8 hour overseas flight. There was no welcoming drink and by the time we checked in, all food services were shut down. One would think that a table of refreshments would have been provided by the ship. Similarly, upon departing at an early hour (5:40 am), that coffee and a muffin could also have been provided. This was neither a good first or last impression of the cruise. As part of our booking, we were provided with free unlimited internet access. This was a total joke since access was not available in most parts of the ship. Moreover, it was impossible to upload or download photos or documents. Finally, it was impossible to contact others via FaceTime or Skype. On all of our other cruises, this was never a problem, I then learned that for an added $15/day, I could upgrade to unlimited streaming. I did so. However, although I could sometimes (but not always) access FaceTime, I still could not upload photos or download documents. This was particularly concerning since I needed to be reached due to an ill family member. Needless to say, this caused considerable stress. I enjoy working out. The fitness center was tiny and the room for classes was even tinier. On a positive note, the fitness instructor, Diana was superb. She knew her stuff, was inspirational and very nice. There was a sign up sheet for classes which was done to limit the number of passengers attending. However, the fitness staff let in whoever showed up. As a result, there was often 20 passengers in a class that was listed for 12. This made the experience challenging and at times, unsafe. The Terrace Cafe had a limited variety of food. At times, I would have loved to have a scoop of tuna or egg salad. This was never available. Although a crew member was immediately available to serve us water, coffee or juice, anything else was simply unavailable. On three occasions I asked for sparkling water and never received it. The dining room was very pleasing. The staff was great. But the food was hit or miss. Some was excellent while others, just awful. The speciality restaurants were excellent. We especially enjoyed the Red Ginger. We found the cruise offered excursions outrageously priced. We only took one excursion from the ship - a one hour glass bottom boat right for $129/person. We enjoyed it but it was very overpriced. Alcohol prices were similarly overpriced. I didn't order one drink the entire time I was onboard - simply out of principle. The most outrageous cost was the airport to port & return transfer. Since we our flight arrived at 9:40 pm and left at 8:40 am and because we were unfamiliar with the services in Papaeete, we decided to take the transfers. Each one way transfer was $129/person. The ride was under 10 minutes. Worth of all, there were delays at each end. This was utterly ridiculous. From now, we'll stay with Celebrity our preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Air fare from Los Angeles is included in the price. Everything was handled to perfection. The ship and its staff was beyond our expectations and we felt like royalty. Food was incredible, and the ports visited were magical! Staff knew our ... Read More
Air fare from Los Angeles is included in the price. Everything was handled to perfection. The ship and its staff was beyond our expectations and we felt like royalty. Food was incredible, and the ports visited were magical! Staff knew our names by the next day, and our preferences. Loved the fact you could choose from 3 dining rooms for dinner each night. 2required a reservation but there was never a problem making them. We were on board for my husbands birthday and they spoiled him all day. Room was even decorated and a special cake at dinner. Also liked the relaxed attire dress code wise. Didn't have to pack my husbands tuxedo to be used only once or twice. A surprise at the end was the fact we were put up in a day room of a beautiful resort with all transfers included, as our plane left after 11:00pm the day we disembarked. That was the icing on the cake! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
From the time we boarded the Wind Spirit until we disembarked 7 days later, we thoroughly enjoyed everything about this experience. The islands, the sky and the ocean, of course, are beautiful. But the ship, our cabin, the food, all of the ... Read More
From the time we boarded the Wind Spirit until we disembarked 7 days later, we thoroughly enjoyed everything about this experience. The islands, the sky and the ocean, of course, are beautiful. But the ship, our cabin, the food, all of the service and most importantly the crew, were outstanding. A highlight of the trip was the crew, starting with Martina, the activities manager. The fitness/massage team, especially Susan, the sport activity leaders, Bang Bang and Uus, the entire food and beverage group, the casino manager and our cabin steward, Indra, were all personable, excellent at their craft and worked hard to ensure that each passenger had everything that they needed or wanted. We met the ships captain and many of his staff. As we arrived safely and on time to each location, I assume that they too are excellent at their jobs. This cruise had 131 passengers and 100 crew. There were no children. The median age of the passengers was in the 50s. The boat was comfortable, safe and very clean. Each stop offered multiple shore or water excursions in and around that island or the nearby atolls or motus. We went ashore each day, either for a ship-sponsored excursion (we took 3) or to rent bikes or just hike around town or to a local beach. Many of the other passengers on this cruise seemed to be more seasoned cruise participants than us. All appeared to clearly be enjoying the trip. Certainly the ones who we met were having a great time. Although options existed on each island, we wanted to take every meal onboard the boat because the 3 meals a day were truly delicious; fresh fruit and vegetables, excellent seafood and beef cooked to perfection and plenty of beverages, non-alcoholic and alcoholic. The ship offered an alcohol package that we did not take but it appeared to be a good deal if you were inclined to drink a lot. There was also plenty of cheeses, deserts, salad options and soup. I focused on the main courses which were plentiful and excellent. There are many spectacular-looking trips on the Windstar itinerary. If I knew that this crew and this ship were leading another cruise anywhere else, I would consider that cruise next. Having said this, I assume that the culture of service and professionalism on the Wind Spirit is a hallmark of all Windstar cruises. We will definitely take another Windstar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Tahiti & the Society Islands. I had very high expectations for this trip. The Paul Gauguin exceeded my expectations in every way. The ship is small (332 passengers) and that is a huge plus. Staffing is 1.5/1 and that is great. We had ... Read More
Tahiti & the Society Islands. I had very high expectations for this trip. The Paul Gauguin exceeded my expectations in every way. The ship is small (332 passengers) and that is a huge plus. Staffing is 1.5/1 and that is great. We had an upgraded suite that was just terrific in every way. Our butler and housekeeper were on top of our every need. Dining - fresh locally caught fish every night - every night! There are themed lunch buffets every day. Breakfast buffet is also wonderful. You also can order from a menu at breakfast and lunch. The food was terrific! The fish at dinner was just phenomenal. Any of those dinners would be a $40+ price in Hawaii. Go to the Crew Follies. You will be pleasantly surprised with the talent some of these young folks have. And while in port you can do several water activities right off the back of the ship. Service... Let me say this... I never heard the word "no" all week. Everyone went out of their way to say "yes". This was a World Class way of creating raving fans. The other thing about the staff is that we had a blast with all of them. I told them when we left that we will talk about them for years to come and we will miss them. They were an integral part of an amazing experience. Our travel partners who have gone on more than a dozen cruises said that this staff was the best they have experienced. Shore Excursions run the gamut from active water sports to cultural tours. If you get bored on this trip, that's on you. Can't happen as far as I am concerned. We hope to cruise again with Paul Gauguin in the near future. To sum up, when we filled out our satisfaction form we had to add a page. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a wonderful cruise. My husband, self and three children 17,19, 21 loved every minute of this cruise. We have cruise the Meditteran and Asia and this was the best. The ship was top notch with superb service and anything you ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. My husband, self and three children 17,19, 21 loved every minute of this cruise. We have cruise the Meditteran and Asia and this was the best. The ship was top notch with superb service and anything you could want. This cruise is an active cruise which we loved. Everyday you were snorkeling, scuba diving with sharks, stingrays, and millions of fish. We had been in Australia before and scuba dived and snorkeled from Cairns and this was just as good and even better because here we swam with the sharks and stingrays. There was 4 x 4 tours of the islands we stopped at, or jet skiing, ATVing, shopping etc. We did it all. The private Island was wonderful and even though we only had really two sunny days the rainy mist didn't dampen anything. We still had a wonderful time. The meals and food was excellent. You never wanted for anything. The staff were all so helpful and knowledgeable. The cleaning staff superior. This is definitely a trip every should do from young to old. We had 80's year olds on our 4 x 4 trip and they loved it. Only negative I would have to say is that the nightly entertainment was at 9:30 pm and we were always to tied to make it down for it. Would have love it around 8:30 would have been perfect. We ended up watching an in room movie most nights and sleeping early for the exciting next day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We embarked at Papeete. Cruised for 7 days Moorea,Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora two days, and Huahine. This is a magnificant Sailing Yacht. It is by far the best cruise we have done in 22 cruises. We have been on 6 star cruise lines that ... Read More
We embarked at Papeete. Cruised for 7 days Moorea,Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora two days, and Huahine. This is a magnificant Sailing Yacht. It is by far the best cruise we have done in 22 cruises. We have been on 6 star cruise lines that don't come close to Windstar. With only 115 Passengers and 93 crew it was comfort at its peak. The food was the best we have ever had on a Cruise ship. The entertainment was great and the attractions visited were stunning. When you don't have an excursion you can jump off the back of the ship and go Sailing, Canoeing or just laze on a floating matress in the beautiful blue warm waters of Tahiti. Wind Spirit looks just stunning in full sail and gives me goose bumps just looking at it. We have booked again on a longer trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our fifth Crystal cruise, all have been on the Symphony. Our first, in 2010, was the best. Since then, the quality of Crystal's offerings have declined slightly, but noticeably, with each succeeding cruise. There seems ... Read More
This was our fifth Crystal cruise, all have been on the Symphony. Our first, in 2010, was the best. Since then, the quality of Crystal's offerings have declined slightly, but noticeably, with each succeeding cruise. There seems generally to be less attention to detail. For example, there were stains on our stateroom carpet, there was a broken table in the stern lounge area that was never repaired, there never (not once) were both red and white wine glasses for each place setting at our dinner table in the main dining room, and there were windows that needed washing, especially in Palm Court. This was especially irritating on Feb. 8, 2014 as we viewed New Zealand's majestic fjords through dirty windows. Why were they not washed in Dunedin (the previous port). Finally, the wines offered in the all inclusive service were generally rather mediocre and so was the coffee in the restaurants. These offerings need to be upgraded. Crystal seems no longer to be competitive with Seabourne and, perhaps, not with Regent either. People at our dinner table compared Crystal unfavorably with Oceania and we believe that the Symphony could even be in danger of becoming an all inclusive version of Holland America or Celebrity. We suspect much of this has to do with a cost driven attempt to increase staff productivity. Many of the public contact personnel seem to be seriously overworked. Perhaps the new CEO will make the restoration of Crystal's image of very high quality and attention to detail one of her priorities. Here are some of the things Crystal continues to do well: Louis Armstrong at sail away is a lovely tradition. The spa is excellent and the health club is also first rate. Our cabin attendants have always been excellent and the butler on our 2012 cruise (Greg) was absolutely outstanding. The talent of the on-board performers is remarkable. Where do they get these people? We understand free internet access is being added to the all inclusive package this fall. Bravo!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We took Air France to Tahiti as it leaves LAX late in the morning and arrives first thing in the morning in Tahiti. This is a pleasant schedule. We flew in 3 days early to enjoy some off before joining the cruise. As usual, one of our bags ... Read More
We took Air France to Tahiti as it leaves LAX late in the morning and arrives first thing in the morning in Tahiti. This is a pleasant schedule. We flew in 3 days early to enjoy some off before joining the cruise. As usual, one of our bags did not arrive and we made our claim with Air France. The next flight was not until Sunday, the day before the cruise. We are used to this routine and that is why we fly early…And, fortunately, on Sunday, our last bag arrived at the hotel and we had our dive gear for the cruise. We spent the three days at Le Meridien which is a distance away from the main downtown area. It was a 3500 franc cab ride and it was quite nice being in a local, quiet atmosphere. Taxis in general are pricey since fuel is close to $10 per gallon. The hotel restaurant prices were VERY high, but you can mitigate this with eating at some of the local places just outside of the hotel property and only 5 minutes walk away. You can get many snacks and food at the nearby grocery as well. You can always use your credit card as long as you spent at least 2000 francs (approximately $20). Things are very expensive on the islands because the taxes are very high, there is very little employment and most government revenue is from import duties. That is what generates the high prices and in general, there is no bartering or negotiation with retailers no matter how hard you try. On the positive side, you do not need to tip anyone in restaurants, bars, etc. It is not the custom nor is it expected. We headed to the ship after breakfast and packing and we boarded around 11:30 on Monday, December 9th. There was a small line, but it took no more than 15 minutes to get checked in. They have a tent to keep you in the shade and it all moved pretty quickly. Some people fear the fact that there is a lot of the previous cruise passengers still onboard the ship. It is true, but it really was not a problem. Many do stay the entire day until the evening, so the Panorama Buffet is a little crowded, but nothing horrible. Many people hang out in the gym, library, common areas, etc. As soon as you are onboard, your room is ready. As soon as you have lunch, your bags are outside your room and ready to be unpacked. We had a mini-suite (8002) and it had a ton of room. Very comfortable. Very little noise or any complaints. The bed, pillows and linens were very comfortable. The TV is quite small though…Our room steward was Dennis and he was awesome. He was always meeting our every need and special requests. Our ship was 2/3 full with 429 passengers, about 50% American, quite a few Canadians, UK and Australian. Never felt crowded or encountered any lines. Getting on and off the ship took only minutes. The first night has open seating because of present and past cruise passengers onboard the ship. And some people are still coming onboard for different reasons. Good reason to try out the Sterling Steakhouse (The Grill). The steakhouse was not crowded, the service excellent and the steaks were a real delight. Worth the $20 extra charge. The first night was the local Tahitian dance show. The shows are kind of late: this one was at 10:00. Good show and lots of energy. Worth watching and they let you take as many photos or videos as you like. The next day is open for tours and anything the guests would like to do. Essentially, there are no lines and you and get on and off the ship into the downtown are within 5 minutes. It was a little weird not having the life boat drill the first evening. For some reason, we really did not feel like we were on a cruise until we went through all the normal routine… There is one laundry on the ship for everyone – quite adequate. But warning, don’t plan on using in Bora-Bora as local regulations forbid the grey water from being discharged. Entertainment It was a little bit of a mixed story here. There is only one (main) show per night starting at 9:30 or 9:45 PM. It is never full and one of the challenges is the audience is very diverse. The singers, etc. are very talented without a doubt, but their chosen programs or planned song choices just did not connect very well with people. It was very awkward for everyone. David the cruise director also did not seem to connect well with the audience. He played the role, but did not seem to adapt to the mood and demographics of the present company to create an environment needed to invigorate the passengers. Jenn – the assistant cruise director from Toronto was a little more lively and a little more dynamic to connect with passengers and create a lively atmosphere. The “martini shakeup” was truly fun and generated lots of laughter and fun. In addition, I will admit the smaller lounge singers and entertainment were excellent and tried very hard to connect with attending passengers. The piano player, Brad Stevens, always evaluated the room audience and adapted well to liven up the room. He is very agile and flexible to meet all requests. But, with no surprise, every 10:00 PM, 50% of the passengers are retired to their cabins and there is no evening nightlife. The magician was decent and generated a few laughs, but again, the audience was very muted and quiet. I must admit that waiting until 9:45 every night for a show was hard for many and when the talent performed well, everyone was sleepy and too tired to clap sometimes. Formal nights Like most cruises, only 10% of the passengers wear tuxedos and long dresses and only 50-60% wear suits and ties. Many just go to the Panorama buffet since they do not want to dress up. Overall, the ones that do dress up have more fun and we joined in. Dining In general, the quality of the dining room and service was quite good. Is it 5 star and unforgettable? No, but it was also nothing to ever complain about. The staff worked very hard to meet all your needs, but I cannot say that anything was above and beyond. The fish dishes were generally the best, but I must admit the soups were often a little bland. The Italian night was the best night overall in the dining room. Most people take the early dining option. The Panorama buffet is always good for breakfast and lunch. Decent selection and variety. Only two pieces of constructive criticism: One is there is a very limited salad bar option. There are numerous vegetarian dishes, but limited individual vegetable options offered. The second complaint is the very low plastic barriers that makes it very difficult to reach under and select/spoon on your food. Very awkward. We attended the Chef’s Table dinner on the 7th night. There is only one seating and it is only 10 people. You have to call immediately as soon as you onboard and it fills up fast. It is one of our favorite opportunities and it is definitely worth the $95 per person surcharge. It does include champagne and wine which is quite nice. Common questions: Q: Can you truly bring flowers onboard the ship when you visit the farmers market? Yes, they cost about 1500 francs and they are gorgeous. 5 minute walk and you are back on the ship with them. Q: Is there a wine store in the shopping mall in Papeete? Yes, there is a nice selection of (French) wines available and similar to when we boarded, we brought aboard a few bottles and they did not stop or ask any questions. Q: Is there a good gym or fitness center on the ship? Yes, there is lots of equipment and space for everyone. Not crowded and they do have some free weights. On our cruise, the fitness instructor became ill and unfortunately had to depart the islands. Q: Is there a good library? Yes, it is excellent with a very good diverse collection and a very good passenger book exchange. Hints and tips: • Turn off your lights in the room. They heat the room up a lot and you don’t want them to compete with the air conditioning. • The Internet is faster on the ship than on the island itself! Definitely worth the money for those of you who like to stay connected. • There are very rare taxis to use and contract with for external tours or drives. They are limited to 2-3 separate customers, so be aware that it is not that easy to get your own custom tour on an island by just walking off the ship. You will need to connect with someone in advance before the cruise in my opinion. • Not many people know this, but if you are a veteran with military service, you can get a $100 onboard credit if you provide proof of your service  Ports and Tours Most ports are very similar in many ways. I am not sure one is better than another, but I will say that Bora Bora is not heads and shoulders above the others. They are all great and they all have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Some you can get lucky with a low cost taxi or tours…others you cannot. It is always a gamble when not using the ship’s higher cost, but guaranteed tours. We published our photos and activities on our travel blog at: http://mrandmrsxblog.wordpress.com   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But ... Read More
My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But due to shallow waters and cost of getting to Tahiti, small ships are all that cruise there. We flew Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti, to catch the ship. The ATN counter at LAX international terminal opened 3 hours prior to the flight and everything went smoothly. Food on ATN in coach is somewhat poor, especially the dinner - breakfast was OK. I recommend you eat prior to boarding - note the restaurants at LAX international terminal are before the security lines, there is only a coffee shop once you pass thru security. We arrived in Tahiti at 4:30 AM - the bank at the airport is open 24/7, it's the best place to exchange dollars to French pacific francs. I recommend you bring enough cash for what you want to exchange - my ATM card did not work at any banks I tried in Tahiti. Also, the Pacific Princess did not have an ATM machine. Most merchants took credit cards - visa & master card - the street vendors took only cash. Some islands, like Bora Bora and Moorea, took dollars, but don't always count on it. We stayed overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete in an overwater bungalow - very nice room worth the exorbitant cost. Going to Tahiti is expensive so you might as well enjoy it. I highly recommend planning 1-day stops in LA and Tahiti before getting on ATN and the ship. We ran into several couples on the ship that had to divert to Tokyo or Hawaii to make connections to Tahiti and either missed the ship in Papeete (so flew to Huahine to board) or did not have their luggage. We stayed overnight in LA & Papeete and had no problems. Boarding on the Pacific Princess at 11:30 AM on 9 October was fast, we never saw much of a line the first day. Passengers arrived up to 5 PM on 10 October when we sailed. Although we felt the ship was small and dated, with not too much to do, we both thought the crew were very friendly and helpful. Having cruised on the RCCL "mega ships" before, the Pacific Princess seemed tiny. It's OK for Tahiti where you have a lot of stops, but I'd think an overwater cruise would be very boring. Also the ship pitched and rolled a lot, even in gentle seas, so plan ahead if you are prone to sea sickness. We stayed in a mini-suite, the cabin was roomy. Only complaint was they "upgraded" us to a wheelchair accessible room (#8044) which had a large shower in the bathroom instead of a tub - it took up way too much space plus the water flow was poor. We tried to get back to our reserved mini-suite (#8002) but were told the ship was full and room assignments were made at Princess HQ, not by the ship. Food onboard was adequate, not that tasty, but plentiful. Dinners had gourmet titles that often tasted strange. Best meal was the lobster on the second of two formal nights. Buffet was open 24/7 so you could usually find something there, like pizza, if still hungry. Best food was the fresh pineapple but they ran out halfway thru the cruise (in Tahiti?) until near the end. Room service menu is very limited, only a few sandwiches. We did the continental breakfast on our balcony, which included some basic egg dishes, a few times to watch the ship sail into ports. We ate at Steakhouse ($15 per) and had great filet mignons, worth the cost as you can't get good beef in the main restaurant. One tip - we chose late dining at 8:15 - this was too late as dinner was slow so we didn't finish until after 10 PM. Early dining at 6:15 is better choice although you may miss some island viewing. The one pool was pitiful, barely a large tub. So we bought passes to the spa deck in front of the gym/spa. Although slightly expensive, it was worth it! Had a large jacuzzi and was limited to 16 people the entire cruise, but you have to buy the passes at spa within first day or 2. We spent most of our deck time there as it's also the best view out the front. Gym had old equipment - we were told it was due to be replaced this winter. Exercise classes were great - the instructor, Arlene, was fantastic. But limited in size so sign up the first day. My wife enjoyed some of the spa treatments as well. Shows in lounge (no theater on Pacific) were OK, singers/dancers not great, but we enjoyed the comedy acts. Not very crowded as most people tended to go to their rooms after dinner, mostly due to the tropical sun & heat of the day. IMPORTANT! Take a lot of sun tan lotion, SPF 50 or higher - we went thru 2 bottles. We saw many red bodies in the beginning as the sunshine is brutal near the equator. We had great weather which was a mixed blessing as some days we hoped there would be clouds to keep sun off. Also take bug spray if you go inland as flies and mosquitoes abound away from the shoreline. Islands were fantastic and got better at each stop. Main island, Tahiti, is very crowded so we just took a ½ day trip sightseeing. We used Carl Emery for our tour, he speaks English and is very knowledgeable about the island - check out his website. Papeete is OK to shop before ship sails but I recommend you just browse and check prices, then look for better deals during the cruise. You are back in Papeete at end of the cruise so you can always make the last purchases there. First stop, Huahine, is OK. Pretty at first, but paled in comparison to later islands. We took bus to the small town and walked to the beach. I recommend you bring your own mask & snorkel and take them with you onshore wherever you go as there are always places to swim. Sea day to sail to Rangiroa, which is on east side of Polynesia. Rangiroa has best scuba diving, also good snorkeling & glass bottom boating. We did a drift dive along a gorgeous reef, most colorful fish I've seen! Saw one gray shark and many small barracuda. Sea day to sail back to Raiatea. Raiatea was only place we docked besides Papeete, rest was tenders which were pretty efficient. We did the pearl farm/snorkel and enjoyed it, the pearl farm is interesting and you snorkel right off the overwater farm so you can see their oyster beds plus the reef. Wife bought some Tahitian dark pearls there since they are authentic although pearl prices are pretty consistent throughout Polynesia. We also hiked up the 1,000 ft hill behind the ship to get a great view of Tahaa & Bora Bora - take water if you do as it's a hot hike. Good Polynesian dance show on ship that evening and a dessert/fruit buffet. Bora Bora was fantastic. We stayed 2 days and enjoyed both. Scuba dove the first day, reef was good but not as colorful as Rangiroa, but saw several 9 ft lemon sharks and many 4-5 ft black tip sharks. They are fed by local scuba divers so are docile and looking for hand outs (but I kept my hands in). Good shopping in Bora Bora - finally found some T-shirts and other tourist junk. Tahitians don't go in for tourist junk like they do in Caribbean so you have to hunt to find what you want. Also they are very friendly and not pushy. Second day we went wave runnering (aka jet ski) thru the local tour vendors by the pier. Went totally around Bora Bora in 2 hours, saw all the fancy resorts as well as the mountain from all sides - expensive but worth it. Had lunch at Bloody Mary's restaurant about 2 miles from the pier - apparently a well-known tourist stop, especially for Americans. Last island was the best, Moorea. Very beautiful, amazing mountains, not too crowded. We did a catamaran/snorkel trip, it was OK. Heard scuba diving was good also. But best tour was the whale watching as they found a pod of whales and were allowed to snorkel with them... so take your mask & snorkel if you do it. Good shopping there also. Only 3 hours from there to Papeete, we were docked by 8 PM on 18 October. As most of us had late flights on ATN the next evening, we did not have to leave the ship until 6 PM on 19 October. You have all-day in Papeete to finish shopping and take any last excursions. Princess was very gracious to let us stay on the ship using all facilities as the new passengers were arriving. We had to leave our cabin by 8 AM but gym/spa has good changing room with lockers and showers, so we swam & sunbathed most of the day. I recommend taking Princess transfer to airport as otherwise they want you off the ship by 3:30 PM. The lines to check-in, immigration, and security for ATN were slow but we got thru in 1 hour total. They provide carts for your luggage. Once inside terminal, the waiting room is great - comfortable couches and a small restaurant. I recommend you keep 2,000 francs (about $25) for last-minute snacks & drinks there. ATN flight back was OK - poor dinner and better breakfast. Tight seating in coach. I recommend going first or business if you can afford it - we will if we do it again. Once back in LA, it was nice to hear announcements only in English as everything on ATN and ship was repeated in French, Tahitian, sometimes Spanish, and English. To summarize, Tahiti was fantastic - expensive but a once-in-a-life trip for most. Ship was not great but it was OK. Crew was great and tried hard to please, given the small older ship. I think we're spoiled by the larger RCCL ships like Voyager & Independence but their destinations are limited. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009

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