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Our June 8 Paul Gauguin Cruise

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On 8/28/2019 at 11:09 AM, lovestx said:

Thanks for taking the time to share this detailed review/Trip Report.  I had read it earlier as we began to plan our PG cruise but read it with even more interest as we prepare to embark on PG for the Society Islands and Tuamotus on October 2.  VERY helpful.  We will arrive two nights early to get over East Coast jetlag and will stay at the Intercontinental.  Our cruise is 10 days long, we are staying in a C balcony cabin and we are staying four nights afterwards at the Hilton Moorea.  Great minds clearly think alike!


I hope you and others won't mind answering a few additional questions:


1.  I understand that it is important to make good use of our time when we first board to make dinner reservations for La Veranda and Le Grill (for the Bora Bora overnight I believe) and to get our snorkeling equipment.  Would you agree that we should do both of these things immediately upon boarding?  Anything else we should attend to?  Marina reservations?


2.  Given that we have booked almost all of our excursions with PG or with private operators that we will pay with credit cards, did you find that you needed much extra cash?  We will probably eat off property in Moorea more often so I know that will make a difference.


3.  We have booked an overwater bungalow at the Hilton.  We are HHonors Gold.  Do you think you got an upgrade to a better location?


4.  We were sorry that you got to the airport at 6 p.m. for a much later flight?  Hoping we might be able to go over to Papeete a bit later.  We have Premium Economy seats on the way back.


5.  Any advice for getting upgraded to PE for our flight down?  


I know that's a lot to ask.  Anything you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated!


1. I went to get snorkeling gear right after the lifeboat drill after embarkation. Highly recommend Le Grill outside dining for Bora Bora overnight. Wonderful. We were in Category B, so our butler made the La Veranda and Le Grill reservations for us. Sooner is better.


2. We went to the ATM for local cash at Papeete airport right before we boarded the PG bus to the Intercontinental. We got about $250 US in XPF currency. We also had about $200 US dollars. That was enough. We used cash for taxis, a few local vendors, and other miscellaneous stuff. Came back with 1000XPF (which is about $10US) and some leftover US $$. We ate all of our meals on site at the Hilton. The off-site dining options seemed limited, but we are used to really nice restaurants in Hawaii and other spots, so some of the more rustic Moorea spots didn't really speak to us when we drove by them in taxis or when we were on the ship's tour of Moorea.


3. We booked a "Panoramic Overwater Bungalow" at the Hilton Moorea, and that is what we got. My wife is Hilton Honors Diamond and I am Gold. The only upgrade from Panoramic is whatever category they use for the ones at the very end of the piers, and we did not get upgraded to that, but there are very few. Our bungalow was almost at the end of the pier, so maybe we just got one of the better Panoramic Bungalows.


4. The key to when you go from Moorea to Papeete is dictated by the ferry schedule. We took the last ferry from Moorea (as I recall it was around 4 or 4:30 departure). We were on Terevau, but there was an Aremiti that left at about the same time. So, I'm not sure you can opt to get there any later. By the time we got off the ferry in Papeete, found a cab, and got to the airport, we got there about 5 minutes before ATN opened their check-in counter. We booked Premium Economy for the return flight, but since ATN changed equipment for our flight back to the A340 which doesn't have PE, we got a free upgrade to Business Class, so we got a free pass to their VIP lounge. That was great and helped pass the time because one of the couples that we met onboard the PG was there also, so we chatted and had snacks/drinks until flight time. It would have seemed like a longer wait if we had to wait in the boarding area. 


5. We booked PE, so have no idea on how to upgrade.


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16 hours ago, JIMinNC said:


2. We went to the ATM for local cash at Papeete airport right before we boarded the PG bus to the Intercontinental.


There are two ATMs in the airport that I know of.  As you come out of the luggage area into the main part of the airport if you turn left there is one that is easy to spot, so after a flight lands often there is a lineup.  If you turn right there is a second ATM that is not actually inside the airport building but just outside, and I've never seen a line for that one.

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