3 Tahiti (Papeete) Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it went to Pitcairn Island and Easter Island from Papeete. We then stayed on for a further 6 days and cruised to Chile. Embarkation at Papeete was shambolic as the Paul Gaugain was also boarding at the same ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Pitcairn Island and Easter Island from Papeete. We then stayed on for a further 6 days and cruised to Chile. Embarkation at Papeete was shambolic as the Paul Gaugain was also boarding at the same time. It appeared that no one from Ponant was present to advise us what we were to do and we were all walking around like sheep. At the disembarkation end it was even worse as we were told there would be taxis once we got out of the terminal and of course there were none, nor did the taxis even come there, so we had to arrange very expensive private transfers after waiting more than an hour for a fabled taxi. Once on board, our cabin was what we expected. It was very clean and our room steward was excellent. The turnaround for laundry, which was free for us as past passengers, was brilliant. Service in the dining room was inconsistent. Sometimes it was good and sometimes not. The service on any gala night seemed to favour those tables which had officers, which seemed to only host French passengers. That said, the wait staff we had were always happy and helpful. The standard of the entertainment is consistently good and the shows are always a highlight. Kamel, the Cruise Director is a huge asset for Ponant. The food is the biggest let down on this ship. In advance of this cruise we were required to produce significant medical evidence of our ability to travel for the last 6 days. From that I would have thought that both I, and my doctor, had made my gluten intolerance very clear. Apparently not. The choice of gluten free food is beyond poor. I raised this at the first opportunity with the head waiter, who then raised it with a very indignant head chef, who effectively dismissed my complaints. To be given a broken piece of toast for breakfast is an absolute insult, given how much this cruise cost. There were no gluten free pastries, not even rice biscuits for the cheese. The room service menu was even more limited. It is not often that I can go on a 3 week holiday, on what sets itself up as a French culinary gastronomy cruise and lose weight, but it happened. The quality of the included wine was very hit and miss. It was all French. Some was acceptable and others were very, very ordinary. The cocktails however were fabulous. The port calls were a bit of a problem, but mainly due to the water conditions. Our captain did a great job to get us to Pitcairn. In other reviews, non French passengers have made the complaint that there appears to be favouritism shown to French passengers and a sense of entitlement. We saw this too. I don't know how many times I was literally pushed out of the way by a person thinking that they had a better right than I did to be in that position in an ordered queue. We had very few landings on this cruise and for our special lunch and performance on Easter Island the French speaking passengers arrived significantly before the English speaking ones and took up the very best positions. We found it so hard to find a spot together so far from the action that it was not worth even bothering to get involved in the show. With so many non French traveling on Ponant this really needs to be addressed. We really did feel like we were getting second best treatment. Overall, if this had been my first cruise with Ponant I would be in no hurry to do another. We have been on two other cruises ( the Kimberley and from New Zealand to Sydney) and they were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
As the title suggests we were not overly impressed by the ship as far as first impressions goes it was a fail for Norwegian. The ship looked very nice at the docks we viewed it the night before boarding but alas that was to our only good ... Read More
As the title suggests we were not overly impressed by the ship as far as first impressions goes it was a fail for Norwegian. The ship looked very nice at the docks we viewed it the night before boarding but alas that was to our only good impression. The boarding experience was abysmal we lined up for and hour and a half in hot conditions imaging that it must be slow as they were checking people in but no that was just getting them on after finally making it on board we were told to climb two flights of stairs to finally do check-in. Disembarkation went a bit better at least we were never in weather conditions. I'm afraid my review is not going to be positive but here goes anyhow. The first onboard shock came with the size of the cabin the smallest I have ever been in the design was user unfriendly the cabin was supposed to be suitable for 4 fat chance. The upper bunk slid down from the side wall it protruded out making it a hazard getting in and out of bed the other side had a useless table almost against the bottom of the bed meaning you had to crawl in and out of bed. We met another couple experiencing the same difficulties who suggested we make it into twins (so romantic NOT) it made it a lot more workable but this was a special holiday we would have liked to share the same bed. The bathroom although compact did have a proper shower screen a first for us and much appreciated. BTW never did figure out where the fourth bunk would have gone if the were 4. Thinking it must be going to get better we headed to O'Sheehans for our first drink with a view only to be scolded by the waiter for sitting down without asking and going to the bar ourselves it took some days to return. This bar although situated in a good position seemed unable to handle crowds their service lacked each time we did return. On a positive note about O'Sheehans for those who wish to send a picture and short message home who do not have WiFi you can send from a machine just outside the bar on a daily basis. Other free food outlets were good enough if a bit repetitive the buffet sometimes suffered what many buffets suffer and that is not overly hot food. The main dining was usually pleasant if a little noisy I think maybe the ceilings are a little low. No one could have left the ship starving the washy washy girls were just delightful they made our days. The ship itself is well in need of its upcoming refurb old carpets seating and the Italian restaurant is so old hat its just not funny. I was told by other passengers that other ships are a lot nicer so I would recommend using one of them until after the refit. The outside deck space was very exposed during sunny weather some umbrellas would help greatly as shady spots were near impossible especially with the usual deck chair hogs who appear to rise before 5am. I was thinking post cruise some of the staff may be very tired and stressed as service was lacking in many area. We did find some staff very pleasant and friendly and interested to have conversation we enjoy talking to staff to find out about their home countries and to show interest in them personally. The entertainment was a bit of a fizzer the house bands were mostly boring except Temperature. The best attribute they had was the dance troupe Burn the Floor they were fabulous but were under utilized over the 18 nights they could have done double the shows. If that had happened I would have overlooked other disappointments they were so exciting highly talented and together with the acrobats just amazing. Black Tie were also very talented and we enjoyed both shows they made a change of pace and not the usual package comedy classical music and opera. I am not into magicians illusionist mediocre comedians or cover bands/artists and that made up the rest. As this cruise was on its way to Australia it would also have been helpful to have one chanel on the TV that had Australian news so damned sick of the Trump show and a better selection of movies then repeating the same over and over. The reason for our selecting this cruise was the ports and we were not let down. We began our holiday in Moorea several nights pre cruise loved it. Our first cruise port Raitea was lovely although we went of a private excursion to Tahaa to do ray and shark as well as drift snorkeling. Our second the much anticipated Bora Bora it lived up to all the hype same kind of excursion but added a coral garden and 2 to 3 mt lemon shark experience. Next American Samoa should have explored further but was not well that day I think it could have been interesting on the places further from the port. Unfortunately the choices in Fiji not the best but we still did go to and outer island from Lautoka but just looked around Suva on our own. Vila is always nice great duty free we spent the day on Erakor island just snorkeling and sunning hardly and guest so very relaxing. Noumea turned out to be a surprise went to Duck island first impression not great but once we found the snorkeling chanel it was supurb fabulous variety of fish and quality coral. Last of all and all time favorite Ilse of Pines such a sweet place even with all the ship on shore it still never gets overcrowded as there is both beach and lagoon. I can truly say I wish I could have loved the ship but just couldn't have never been able to find anything to compare with the smaller RC Radiance of the Sea design food and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
As an itinerary cruiser this trip has been amazing! All the ports of call have been new to me and have provided so many days of wonderful sights. The ship, however, is past due for a face lift. "Tired" is putting it ... Read More
As an itinerary cruiser this trip has been amazing! All the ports of call have been new to me and have provided so many days of wonderful sights. The ship, however, is past due for a face lift. "Tired" is putting it mildly. Carpet is worn and dirty, a lot of the furniture is "old" and needs to be replaced. The library, where I had hoped to find some peace and quiet reeks of cigarette smoke; cannot stand to go in there. No smoking is allowed in the library, but, smoking is allowed at the outside bar located near the library. On a more positive note, the officers, staff and crew are very professional, courteous and generous. All the servers have smiles on their faces, officers are attentive and staff are willing to help in any way possible. Despite the "tiredness" of the ship we are booked on another cruise on this ship in April of 2018. The itinerary that is offered is our main reason for booking again on this same ship. The entertainment on the ship has been superb! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017

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