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SWFLAOK

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  • Content Count

    492
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About SWFLAOK

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Florida
  • Interests
    Traveling, Cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Paul Gauguin, Regent
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    South Pacific

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  1. Last November, we upgraded to the Silver Suite on the Silver Whisper cruise from Barbados to Barbados to Manaus in Brazil and back. We decided to upgrade since my brother was also going to be onboard in a Veranda Suite, and the guys didn't want to dress up more than a sports jacket if they could help it. Our fantastic butler had no problem serving an extra guest for canapes on many days, and dinner in our suite on all but one formal night. He was rewarded for his efforts, and we totally enjoyed our cruise, with our onboard experience even better than many of our cruise stops. The only thing I disliked about our Silver Suite was the long trip to the toilet at night. It was either through the walk-in closet and the shower/bath tub area, or out through the dining room, living room, hall and into the toilet/sink area. Having too large a cabin can be so hard to take. OK, I'm just kidding. ... we really loved the Silver Suite. And, what we didn't know until we arrived in our cabin was that we had laundry included. Don't tell my brother since he happily used the laundrette halfway through the cruise so we didn't mention it.
  2. The Pacific Princess with 670 passengers is too big for us to consider in French Polynesia. That's the ship size that we hope to never encounter on our PG cruises, especially in the Tuamotus and the Marquesas. That's too many people for the small islands to handle. Hopefully some of the Princess passengers stay onboard in these small tendering ports rather than overwhelming them. Someone recently mentioned that the PG had to divert to Cook's Bay at Moorea, inconveniencing them for their tender dockage and excursions because Princess was in the anchorage they were scheduled to anchor in. We love having the crew remember us, and we love deck 8 with a balcony on the PG. It's a long way from Florida to Papeete, so we're not looking to save money in the South Pacific. We can cruise the Caribbean cheap, but at this point, it's too crowded with cruise ships to enjoy. We've tried twice, and will fly to the Caribbean in the future. Cheap cruises to the South Pacific will make it the same over crowded destination, and going to small destinations further away such as Vanuatu makes it even worse.
  3. Regent does a better job than many other cruise lines of describing the difficulty of the excursion, and what that difficulty is. I have an extreme fear of heights so I look for that in the excursion description. If I see it, I look for reviews to see if others had problems. There are sometimes changes once you board in the information given you in your cabin, so that is the time to cancel if it's changed to more difficult, or sign up if it's been changed to easier. We're mid 60's in reasonably good shape and can easily walk 4 or 5 miles on trails in Florida which are mostly flat, with hot and humid conditions. Before our Med Cruise, I did the 10 flights of our condo stairs every other day for 2 months since we expected to walk many steps on our excursions. We had no problem doing the excursions that were listed as strenuous on our Med cruise, despite the extreme temperatures in July. There were many people who struggled, even with flat walking in Florence, and we could predict who they would be while leaving the ship since they found getting from the ship to the bus as a strenuous walk in the summer heat. Some of them held the tour up and prevented us from seeing everything we expected. Others relented and paid for transportation back to the ship, which the guide arranged for them. I think wipro has a good suggestion with the private tour. It might cost more, but you can see what you want at your own pace, and get off the ship for at least half a day.
  4. Thanks for traveling with you on your cruise. We'll be boarding Voyager in Singapore in a little over 2 weeks for 32 nights to Sydney. I'm excited and nervous for our first trip to Southeast Asia and Australia, but we've enjoyed Voyager twice so far, and expect to enjoy our Penthouse B cabin onboard.
  5. I'm sorry to say that we can't limi ourselves to only 2 weeks onboard. a Regent ship. We want more nights than that. That means we need to lose weight before we get onboard, and we expect to lose weight after we leave. But while we're onboard, we never order more than we would order at a restaurant at home. But we don't eat at restaurants 3 meals a day, everyday, at a restaurant at home, so we try to order small rather than large portions while onboard.
  6. Sending positive thoughts to you Lois R. I've enjoyed your posts, and look forward to hearing about your future travels.
  7. Based on our experience with 3 PG cruises, if you book your air through PG, they will wait for your flight. It you are flying on your own then you are on your own. If you're late, how would they even know that, and since you avoided them for air transport, why should they care? If PG offered airfare from SFO to PPT for your cruise, and it was on the same flight you chose, and there are passengers who paid PG for airfare on that flight, then you will be OK if the flight arrives late. When I'm paying a significant amount of money for a vacation, I never take a chance that I might miss the ship.
  8. We avoid formal night, but 2 backpacks are absolutely not happening for us. I can easily pack a week's worth of clothes for myself in a carry-on. My husband needs a backpack that size just to carry his laptop, and other mostly electronic things important to him, along with a change of underwear and a raincoat (which I insist he include). I don't know how anyone could pack for an extended period of time on a luxury cruise in a backpack. Earlier today, I saw a picture from a hotel room where the person cleaning the room found the guest's underwear being boiled in the electric tea kettle. I have often used the electric kettle or the coffee maker in our room. I also have cleaned it thoroughly before using it, and now I feel vindicated. One last question I have is where do you put the jacket in your backpack? Maybe you roll it up and then have it pressed, and after that have laundered at least once if your wearing it most (or all) nights?
  9. I really don't think you can go wrong by taking any of the extended Paul Gauguin cruises. The islands close to Tahiti are great destinations. If you enjoy those, the islands visited on the cruises longer than 7 nights are great destinations that you should enjoy as well, and with fewer tourists. We always try to be onboard the Paul Gauguin as long as possible.
  10. Many years ago, we took our first trip to French Polynesia. We spent a week on Bora Bora at the Sofitel, and a week in Moorea, at what is now the IC. At the IC, we attempted to sign up for a fishing trip. The boat held 6 passengers, and was full. We put our name on the wait list, but no one cancelled. At happy hour that evening, we met the people who had gone out. The water was very rough, it was very hot, a few were very seasick, and the captain mentioned that he hadn't caught any fish in weeks. After a few hours, the guests suggested giving up and returning to the resort. The captain said that there was still 6 hours to go, and he had a new place he wanted to try. They went there and tried it, and still no bites. At that point, they asked to go back to the resort. The captain refused. They offered him money to take them back immediately, and he refused. They thought about tossing him overboard and taking the boat back themselves, but they didn't think they could get the boat back to the resort. We told them we were sorry to hear about their ordeal, were relieved that we had not made it onboard. It sounded like a terrible experience, but we did have the boating experience to get the boat back to the resort. Who knows what have happened? But we haven't heard any great experiences with private fishing charters, and I wouldn't feel comfortable letting my kids go out with the charter boats we've seen in French Polynesia.
  11. I agree that it's a difficult decision. Aitutaki is a tough port to get to, and often it's not possible to enter. In December 2 years ago, we tendered in huge swells. The ship holds station outside of the small protected port, and needs to move to protect the tender as it approaches and leaves the ship. Heading into the port, it was rough, but on the way back, waves came totally over the tender. Once we reached the platform, it felt exhilarating, since we made it. The first time to Aitutaki, we went on the One Foot Beach excursion. We found it too long and too crowded, on a slow boat. We just returned to Aitutaki this September, and we had a much easier entry to the port. Seeing the same tender Captain as on our previous 2 PG cruises (including the biggest swells we've ever encountered during tendering when in the Marquesas) made me feel quite confident. We took the drive around the island since we hadn't seen that before. We enjoyed it since we hadn't seen much of the island previously. Others on the drive found it too hot and humid, but it was only in the low 80's and much cooler than Florida in September. We've been to Fakarava on our Marquesas cruise. There's really nothing there. There's a small beach, snorkeling and diving. If you bring cash with you to shore, you can take a taxi tour and see everything, and learn about life on the island in an hour. We did the taxi tour, and enjoyed it, and then did the ship's snorkeling excursion where the number of sharks made me uncomfortable. We enjoyed our excursion on Rarotonga much more than Aitutaki on our Cook Islands cruise. But at the end of the trip, we needed a few New Zealand dollars for 2 beers and didn't have them. We haven't stopped at Rangiroa and probably never will. If it's like Fakarava, we know what will be there. We really enjoyed our Marquesas trip in February 2017, but our recent Papeete to Fiji cruise was also wonderful as well.
  12. With 10 cruises under our belt, we have had one hard sell and soft sells. The hard sell was on Holland America, and we were once and done with that cruise line for more reasons than that. People enjoy different things. That's OK with me, and I hope it's OK with you. I don't like to be massaged, even by my spouse, and having a stranger do that is just creepy. I don't have the patience to sit through other treatments. I find my zen swimming laps in our condo's pool at first light.
  13. We've never done any spa services on a cruise and never will. We consider it a waste of space. We find it annoying that we're approached by spa people trying to get us to buy their services. We also never go to spas when we're not cruising. Is there anyone else like us, or do most people on cruises use the spa on a regular basis?
  14. We've never stayed at the Sofitel so we can't comment on the food. If it's the former Meridien, it's a lot further from the airport than the IC. At 5PM, the IC has happy hour in the lower bar, the food available depends on the night of the week. They have a nice pizza on some nights but not others (like the show nights). There's an upstairs bar with casual food selections at that time every night. We've never had access to the ATN lounge at PPT, but having access to Business Class lounges elsewhere, I wouldn't eat dinner before heading to the airport.
  15. I would never wait to board the PG that late in the day on embarkation. Why not take the earlier ferry so you can board in the late afternoon, and take part in the mandatory safety drill at 5:30 (you'll need to make up for it at a least convenient time since it's mandatory on all cruise ships). You'll have a chance to unpack, and enjoy a relaxed dinner in port. And most importantly, as others have mentioned, you won't have to worry about the last ferry of the day being cancelled. There's nothing worse than missing your cruise because you wanted to spend 2 extra hours at a hotel that is on an island that you will be visiting again on your cruise. You will miss much more trying to catch up with your ship if you don't board on the first day.
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