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sailing Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands

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Hello fellow travelers,  

I was hoping to get some advice on sailing the waters to Fakarava from Papeete and from Rangiroa to Tahaa.  

We are looking at a Windstar ten day cruise in May of next year.  The cruise would be to Tahiti and the Tuamotu islands. 

 

My husband I  enjoyed  the  Paul Gauguin - traditional seven day Tahiti itinerary.  It was wonderful and we loved it. The sailing was pleasant and mostly at night.  It was an amazing trip with fabulous scenery, snorkeling and water sports!

 

  However, this trip  would be on a smaller vessel and  have a sailing day to and from  the Tuamotu islands. It would be a graduation trip for my 21 year old daughter who was too young when we went to Tahiti the first time.   Should I anticipate rough seas or unpleasant sea days on such a small vessel?  Are the sea days "worth it" on this trip?  We love to snorkel and I understand that Rangiroa has  aquarium like snorkeling. We don't dive.  We enjoy the sun, so sitting on deck isn't an issue, but wanted input on whether a ten day cruise is a better fit than the seven day that is more traditional Tahiti?

 

Any opinions on Windstar, Wind Spirit, this itinerary, weather in end May, activities, shore excursions, etc are welcome.  

 

 

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We are doing a 17 day Wind Spirit November 26 that includes Fakarava and Rangiroa so can tell you more about it next month. We've done the 7 day Windstar before and it was not nearly enough- fantastic. It can certainly be rough but on our cruise the seas were very calm. We did not do Fakarava but have done Rangiroa before and it is a snorkler's paradise. The Aquarium was memorable for the numbers of fish and clarity of the water. The tour operators for the Aquarium include a drift snorkel on the Tiputa Pass if you are up for it- exciting. Google Ile Aux Recifs for an alternative in Rangiroa. The weather at the end of May is ideal. We've cruised Tahiti in May, June and September and had about as perfect weather as can be had. The drier season is April through October. The itinerary is so port intensive that a few sea days to relax in the sun was welcome.

You might want to post in the Windstar forum to get some direct from the horses mouth feedback. Happy cruising.

Edited by Petoonya

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Cruisenshop. You're probably a big researcher and have already read about the Coral Garden in Tahaa. It's supposed to be exquisite. We also do Tahaa twice and doing the Coral Garden once with our cruise ship and another time on the all day excursion with Bruno at Le Excursion Bleue. You're 21 year old is a a fortunate one!. The age on Windstar averages in the mid-50's, but on our last cruise there were a several young-lings too. Your daughter will make everyone feel their age on excursions and water platform activities!

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Cruisenshop....I did an extensive review about a week ago but it has yet to be posted. It was FABULOUS! We can't wait to do it again. I think most of your questions should be answered in the review- did a long review on excursions- but if you have any specific questions be happy to answer. I'll post here as soon as it's published. Just one thing you might wish to consider, there were very few people under 30, but think that may have something to do with the time of year we went. Crew said that there's a younger crowd June-Sept. It's a very active, athletic cruise. We snorkeled everyday with the exception of two sea days, and all I could think of was how much my kids would enjoy. If your daughter loves the water and is OK with a cruise ship that is spectacular but does not have the activities a big ship has, she will LOVE it. The Aquarium on Rangiroa is wonderful, easy snorkeling, and you'll like it on deck by the pool or forward on the bow where there's always a lovely breeze. I would definitely go for the 10 day- 7 days is just much too short, and Fakarava and Rangiroa are must sees. There were two evenings when we had rough seas but those who had difficulty seemed to do fine with the patch.

 

It would be a very memorable graduation gift!

Edited by Petoonya

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Cruisenshop- my review is up. It's outrageously long but I had a lot to say! If you do like to shop be sure to bring all the clothes you want to wear with you. There were a few ladies I spoke with who were disappointed that they were unable to shop for island wear in FP. But black pearls a big yes. Best wishes!

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On 12/23/2018 at 10:53 AM, Petoonya said:

Cruisenshop....I did an extensive review about a week ago but it has yet to be posted. It was FABULOUS! We can't wait to do it again. I think most of your questions should be answered in the review- did a long review on excursions- but if you have any specific questions be happy to answer. I'll post here as soon as it's published. Just one thing you might wish to consider, there were very few people under 30, but think that may have something to do with the time of year we went. Crew said that there's a younger crowd June-Sept. It's a very active, athletic cruise. We snorkeled everyday with the exception of two sea days, and all I could think of was how much my kids would enjoy. If your daughter loves the water and is OK with a cruise ship that is spectacular but does not have the activities a big ship has, she will LOVE it. The Aquarium on Rangiroa is wonderful, easy snorkeling, and you'll like it on deck by the pool or forward on the bow where there's always a lovely breeze. I would definitely go for the 10 day- 7 days is just much too short, and Fakarava and Rangiroa are must sees. There were two evenings when we had rough seas but those who had difficulty seemed to do fine with the patch.

 

It would be a very memorable graduation gift!

Petoonya, 

We are booked for Twice the Tahiti next November. Starting to work on excursions. Which ports are an easy DYI to go to a local beach for snorkeling or using the sports platform. We don’t want to miss the must do snorkeling, but also do not want to pay for 18 days worth of excursions. Thanks for your help.

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Salman,

It's very hard to say which ports are must dos for snorkeling as they are all worthy and you'll get lots of advice from many others here.

If I had to say which to do, out of four days I'd do at least one on Bora Bora and I'd do that with Tohora Bora Bora. The price is more reasonable other providers in BB at $100pp  and you'll see everything there is to see snorkeling. That was the most memorable for us. Be sure to tell him you want time to see the lemon sharks. There is a beach about 5 miles from the dock, Matira Beach that is beautiful and you can catch Le Truck to see it, but know that it's VERY hot and little shade. Then the other 2 days you might visit the dock area in Bora Bora and do the sports platform.

Next I would do Raiatea and any excursion that includes the Coral Garden. You might just do the ship's tour. The Coral Garden is magnificent and a must see. Le Excursion Bleue and Arii Moana are all day tours and do vanilla and pearl farm which we thought were boring. But we loved the rest of the snorkeling with them,  and especially the Coral Garden. If the ship's Coral Garden tour is cheaper I'd just do that as that's what you want to see.

Probably next would be Ato's tour on Fakarava- excellent snorkeling and Fakarava's snorkeling is truly a must see. Don't do the bicycles- much too hot!

You have 3 Moorea days and I'd do a snorkel tour. We did jet ski's $175 for 2 people and it included. There are lovely beaches about 8-10 miles from the dock in Moorea, one is Temae Beach, and you can get reasonable transport from Torea Transport or Alberts's. The best option would be to rent a car for the day and scout out beaches and places you'd like to see. We paid $75/day for a car booking early at Avis.

Huahine is gorgeous but there is really nothing close by to DIY. Honestly I didn't thing what we saw on the tours surpassed Bora Bora and the other places I've mentioned. But if you do go Huahine Nautique and Tahiti Sailing Charter are $100pp for the day.

Rangiroa- there's not a lot to do that you can access from the ship. Your best bet is to at least do a snorkeling trip to the Aquarium that includes a drift snorkeling run, about $65pp.

Don't waste your dollars on Papeete as there is so much more to see on the other islands.

 

Unfortunately it is a place in which there is little DIY, but since many places you visit have more than one day you can stretch your dollars. You do one tour each on Bora Bora, Fakarava, Raiatea, Moorea and Rangiroa- maybe leave out Huahine as we did not think the snorkeling was as good as the others. My husband was a little bored doing a lot of the places a second and third time and doing the sports platform would have been fine with him. It really is a lot of fun especially tubing. If you change your mind and want to add on tours at the last minute there are snorkel tours from the dock in Bora Bora, Moorea, Rangiroa, and Raiatea. You might think of getting a car Bora Bora to save too. Someone on our boat was even able to hire a snorkel tour on little Fakarava. But I'd pre-book as much as you can in advance to get the best operators.

Please post if you have questions about any of this.

Maybe others will chime in on other DIY in the islands.

Nancy

Edited by Petoonya

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Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this great information--just what I was looking for!

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5 hours ago, salmn said:

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this great information--just what I was looking for!

If you have more questions petuniafish at gmail dot com

Nancy

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