Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Polynesia / Cook Islands Cruise

As I promised, it's time to forget about the winter and think about something tropical. One of our favorite cruises was our 10 Day Polynesia / Cook Islands Cruise on Tahitian Princess.

Tahitian Princess was previously one of the Renaissance vessels.
By today's standards, this is a small cruise ship. It is only 30,227 tons with a capacity of 670 passengers. For that reason, it is necessary to book well in advance if you are planning a cruise on this ship. In our case, we booked about a year in advance and were able to obtain our first cabin category choice - a mini-suite (cabin 8030). You can see from the picture that there is plenty of room to relax in this cabin both inside and on your private balcony.

The flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) takes about 8 hours, so we decided to fly to California a day early. We spent the night at Hilton Los Angeles Airport. By flying out a day early, we broke up the long flight into something reasonable and also saved the $500 surcharge per person on Princess Cruises airfare (for other departure cities). We usually purchase airfare on our own, but this time it was cost effective to use the cruise line air. It included transfers between airport and pier. The Hilton had a shuttle which we used to get back and forth from LAX. After breakfast, we caught the shuttle to the airport.

The flight from LAX to PPT was via Omni Air charter. We had heard some horror stories about that airline, but were pleasantly surprised. Our seats were the last ones in the middle section of the DC-10. We had plenty of room and the service was very good.

When we arrived in Papette, we went through customs and Princess Cruises had representatives there to guide us to our bus transportation. After checking in at the pier, we dropped off our carry-on luggage and headed back out into town to do some exploring. Since it was Sunday, almost everything was closed. We were able to purchase a flower bouquet for about $20 from a street vendor. This flower arrangement lasted the entire length of the cruise. We would awake every morning to the smell of tropical flowers in our cabin.

Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile know that we have posted many photos on Kodak Gallery from our cruises. Tahiti was no exception to this practice. We must have thousands of photos in our albums from all our locations. Of all the albums, the Tahiti albums are the most popular amongst our visitors. I'll be discussing each of the ports in detail, but if you want to look at some photos in the meantime, see our Tahiti Pictures page.

Unlike most cruises, there is an overnight stay in the departure port before setting sail for the rest of the islands. In my next post, I'll talk about the shore excursion we did in Papette.

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