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Rosaslovian

Star Flyer Tahiti Transpacific to Caribbean 02/14/2010

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That must have been confusing with both 1 & 2 being Sergie's:D

 

The Flyer should be all spiffed up when you board....looks like they had a pretty extensive drydock in Papeete.

 

Mike

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Budaman, you are welcome on this site anytime. Your expertise and insights are appreciated. I envy your underwater camera trips (BTW, great pics!). I have an underwater housing but not as fancy as yours. Am excited to use it on this trip, during both Pacific & Caribbean dives.

 

All of us passengers, so far, are going to Panama. I am looking for anyone interested in joining me to go on the Panamanian Embera Indian Village Tour on Saturday, March 20, 2010. I think we have at least 4 interested folks (Ineke, Boneleone & spouse?, plus myself...maybe Gail??). Would you please let me know soon? There are several tour operators, so if you want to help choose any variables, please let me know now. I have narrowed the field down to two and emailed my 1st choice Garceth Cunampio (at "Embera Tours Panama)" for pricing and availability: http://www.emberatourspanama.com/index.php

 

My second choice is the "Embera Village Tours" lead by Anne Gordon de Barrigon: http://www.emberavillagetours.com/Embera_Tours.html

 

I am waiting to hear from Garceth before writing Anne. Both tours have excellent customer ratings. I believe the cost per person will be around $90 USD (64 Euros), varies depending on the number of people. Typical tour: 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. (but hoping for custom schedule since Balboa port arrival is 8:00 A.M.). They pick up at hotels/ships. A tour of a lifetime! Thanks for any input. We can make it happen.

 

KP (Keep Packing)!! Two weeks to be in my dream awake! -Walt

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Thanks Walt! You're going to love the diving in French Polynesia. It's a bit different than the Caribbean, in that it is mostly hard corals that don't have much color, so the fish just pop against the bland background. You'll quickly get over any latent shark fears after the first couple of dives. They'll seem like groups of puppy dogs after a short time. You'll also have the expertise of a local dive guide that will accompany the ship's dive master and divers on the dives. They are great about spotting all the little critters that are hiding.

 

Mike

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Walt,

You can add my name to the list for sure. Hopefully we will have enough people so we can have a private tour. Let's wait and see.

The first and last time I used my waterproof camera housing was three years ago in the same area. I thought I did not take any pictures, since you don't feel it when pressing down the button. But back on the ship it worked out I had taken over 100 photo's. Some of them were quite amazing. Was a big surprise. I am taking everything with me, but sadly my underwater cover is not big enough for my new camera. So I am taking two camera's with me.

Budamn, can you tell me where I can find your tips? I think I will leave my new camera on automatic! There are so many pages with possibilities, too confusion (to be honest, jus too lazy). I am taking the booklet with me, another thing to do when being on the ship. But luckily, one hand for the drink (instead of the ship), the other one for the book.

Still no papers!

Will let you now where you can find my blog.

Have a nice evening.

Ineke

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Hi Ineke!

 

What sort of tips are you looking for?

 

I do have one....have the males in the group watch out for some of the young ladies...mainly in Papeete. There is a large trans gender population there, and some of them are downright gorgeous;)

 

Mike

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I heard back immediately from Garceth for the Panama Embera Indian tour on 3/20. He will accommodate us and asks for our reservation ASAP. No deposit required, cash upon pick up. Currently, we have 4 folks interested (Ineke, my sister Bone & her husband Tom, and myself). If we get at least one more person, we can lower the cost per person from $120 (86 Euro) to $100 (72 Euro). Any other takers? Thanks, Walt

 

Here is Garceth's reply:

 

Dear Walt & friends,

 

Welcome to Panama……! Very happy to share a wonderful time with you, thank you so much for choosing Embera experience with someone from tribe, I am Embera born, grew up at thicker jungle called Darien on the East side of Panama, educated on Nature Resources at University, 11 years of experience as Park Ranger, six years on Ecological Hotel. Panama has 7 different tribes and a couple of them are accessible to visit one place is where I take visitors no fare away from main city. It will be my pleasure, to spend a wonderful day, give information, translating from Embera language to English provide the real history, story, lifestyle of my people. Usually I gathered visitors in city (Hotel, House) at 8:00 a: m returning at 4:00 P.M, It take around almost 2 hours by car from city to where we will take a dugout canoe up rivers depend what village we will be visiting, it will take about 45 minutes up river. I am happy to share with you and friend on March 20 no problem, it is high season of visitors so I may have others visitors with me on same day and same transportation, let me know what is your vision at sooner possible to set up all.

 

For more information here is www.emberatourspanama.com

 

It is include on price for Embera experience entrance fee on National Park, on village, traditional food (Fish and plantain), tropical fruits, transportation on wooden Canoe and Car, waterfall visit, speech about culture, tradition life style, dance performance by Embera ladies, music performance by men, free photos opportunity , buy local craft at lower prices than on city.

 

Costs will depend on group as following:

 

Embera Experience day visit

 

1 person cost $150.00

 

2 up to 4 visitors cost $120.00 per each person

 

5 up to more visitors cost $100.00 per each person

 

Child 0 to 5 years old is free

 

Child under 6 to 10 years old half price

 

Overnight visit

 

1 person cost $ 220.00

 

2 visitors cost $ 150.00 per each person.

 

Here is a suggested list of things to bring: bathing suit, towel, bottled water to drink ,light rain coat (for rain or spray from the river, lake on canoe) ,sunscreen ,sun hat ,bug spray, camera ,shoes that can get wet, Teva or Keen type sandals are perfect. Extra cash in smaller bills villagers will not have change of $50.00, $100.00 even Credit card will work to purchase any local crafts made for local on reasonable prices than at craft market in city.

 

Note: It is very important to make sure and confirm you day, place, and phone number, not need to deposit or pay in advance, on the day of you tour gave it in cash, not accept checks, or Card. If there are others visitors I will handle also on same transportation.

 

Thank you so much for choosing an Embera guide, supporting our culture, join on unforgettable adventure hope to see you in Panama.

 

Kind regards.

 

Garceth

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Now that it is time to gather all the stuff needed for this adventure. My pile has water toys like FINS, MASK, SNOKEL and WATERSHOES. This will take up some room. I'm not willing to give my space for single malt or snacks:D. I tried to use their fins last time and they almost fit. So I bought my own SPEEDO from Amazon two years ago. Nice ones ,but large in size. I have an Eagle Creek 28" duffel bag and a 21" Osprey. After my trail packing I'll see if I bring them or not. I have my books and 4 books on DVD(Spencer Novel) to bring. I just hope they don't run out of draft beer like they did after the last stop in Egypt before Goa India. Little thingd mean a lot for the final 17 days at sea. Weather here is going to be in the high 60's to low 70's until we leave. Let the fun begin.

 

Ed

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Hi all, lots of activity I see as everyone getting excited...

 

Walt, please add me to the Panama Embara tour and somehow I will work out what to do with baggage, as am getting off in Panama and doubt I will have time to get to hotel to get picked up, so will leave from ship and return to ship to pick up bags and get to hotel after tour.

 

Internet: on the crossings I have done, no outgoing internet once past the zone, as previously stated, but the office COULD always get internet in, but they started charging x Euro per page to give it to you,, and this change was in the miiddle of the ocean so you had no way to tell people to quit writing! But good to know for emergency at least, or if you REALLY want to hear from someone. I like getting those little white pages under the door (that are not bar bills).

 

I heard from Ruth, the Swiss woman (and fellow sailor) who teaches the Tai Chi that she picked up from one Sergey, that a friend she sailed with is joining us (I think the entire way to Lisbon?) - so if we hear from Claudia from Argentina, she is our new passenger. And Ruth will join in St Martin or Lisbon, forget which. I told Ruth to tell Claudia to join us online, for tour or dinner Sat night. Hi Claudia if you read this!

 

Baby laptop already point of frustration as touchpad quit working, Lenovo offshore help is no help, so it will travel with a small mouse and get fixed when I come home. Now will reload everything again on it,, so if you all see small laptop flying overboard during trip,, Chinese quality and frustration will have won out!

 

Have packed in 90 lbs of dog food and a mere 45 lbs of cat food, the home team won't starve while I am gone.

 

Oh, and per office, our captain is Brunon, who I have sailed with 2x before, from Poland I believe. He was captaining the Flyer Nov 08 in Tahiti, and Star Clipper out of St Martin in 06 or so... nice guy.

 

Talk to you all soon, no hope for sunning in Austin prior to sail, we are having ,,, like a ,,, real winter??? But the hyacinths are blooming,,, Gail

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Gail,

Is there a way you can get in tough with Sue? I am asking this because up till now (being Tuesday afternoon Febr. 2nd) I still not have received my travel documents! Next Wednesday I am flying! I have contacted my travel agent, and they came up with the excuse that Star Clippers is lately very late with sending documents. So, if you can ask Sue, if and when she received her documents, than perhaps I will know a little more. If she is living in Switzerland, she must receive her documents from the Monaco office as well. You probably have received your documents from the Miami office. I must admit I am getting a little bit worried. Hopefully everything is ok, but the thought that the travel agency perhaps forgot to pay my final payment to Star Clippers keeps coming back in my mind and also that since they perhaps have not received my money, they have sold my cabin to someone else!

Just the idea I might not go on a trip I have booked in April 2009 gives me the creeps. Hopefully I am too negative, will keep my fingers crossed that my worries are not valid.

Had to share it with you, so hopefully you don't mind.

Thanks.

Ineke

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Hi all,

 

Just heard from the travel agency that my travel documents are on its way by registered mail! Finally!!!! Just 6 days before I am leaving! :mad:In my opinion way too late. When I will be back I will inform Star Clippers that they have to adjust their procedures. Having no docs gave me sleepless nights!

So hopefully I will have them tomorrow. Keep my fingers crossed.:rolleyes:

Am also getting a headache from all the stuff I have collected, and not getting over 20 kilos plus a carry on with a max of 10 kilos, it probably means I have to leave stuff behind. Just bought a new laptop, so Walt you were right, I cannot do without a laptop for 70 days. Decisions, decisions, I wish it was Wednesday February 10!:D

Have a safe trip and I will see you on Saturday afternoon.:cool:

Ineke

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I called Star Clipper 2 weeks ago and the told they were sending them out that day and received them in 3 days. Sounds like the travel agency :mad:is slow if you used one, if not the postal system is at fault. Any way you will get them in time:rolleyes:. Think postive and have some good wine or single malt. We leave on the 10 and over night in Hawaii before going on to Tahiti for a restful night. See every on at the docks for drink and food:p.

 

Ed

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Down to 7 snow days before I leave for paradise! I can relate to Ineke's packing dilemmas. Had to also make some serious decisions, what to remove from my luggage and what to add. I decided to follow Ed's advice...I am bringing my goggles & snorkel but removed clothes and other non-electronics to make room for booze from Honolulu duty-free and souvenirs upon return. Managed to keep all toys and actually close the luggage this time! No room for fins, however. I believe lots of folks would like our "problems". :) It is going to work out great for all of us! I am ready!

 

Ineke (et al): Glad you are finally getting your tickets! Exciting news...Garceth (our guide from Embera Tours Panama) has agreed to pick Bone & Tom up at their hotel and then pick Ineke, Gail & Walt up at the Balboa Harbor at 9:00 AM. He wants $100 in USD/person upon pick up if we have 5 or more of us going. Bring your own water. He invites any others that want to join us but needs advance notice. Let me know if you want me to add you to Garceth's list for this tour on 3/20/2010 or you can contact him at: gcunampio@yahoo.com

 

Happy packing! See ya soon. Walt

 

 

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Hi Walt and Ed,

 

Thanks for your positive approach to my little problems. I was getting so worked up over not having my documents, that I indeed had some sleepless nights. But..... no longer.

 

Walt,

We can pair up doing the Chai Chi. One hand for the cocktail, the other we need to support each other, while doing the excercises:rolleyes:. It should be possible. I hope somebody will take a picture if we are going to do this.

Are your sister and her husband returning to the hotel after the excursion? If they are going to board the same day, why don't they take their luggage in Garceth's car and drop it of at the ship? Just a thought. I just checked my seat assignment and the middle seat is still open! Will keep my fingers crossed it will stay that way. This way I won't bother the person sitting next to me with my bum sticking out over my seat:eek:. It might sound warm and cosy, but nog for 11,5 hours:eek:.

If I buy some duty free booze in LA do I have to put it in my suitcase or can I take it into the cabin, does anybody know? Or should I buy it in Amsterdam and since I have to pick up my luggage in LA, I can put it in there before check in. Tips are welcome.

Well, 7 days to go before leaving and 10 days before we all can put names to the faces. You will have no trouble recognising me: I am nearly as round as I am tall (which is not that tall). See the picture?:D.

Take care everybody, have a safe trip and see you on Saturday.

Ineke

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Hi There...me again!

 

If you buy liquor at Duty Free in LA, they will deliver it to the gate prior to departure, so you don't have to check it.

 

Also, if you are flying ATN out of LAX, check in as soon as the gate opens...9 or 10 if the early flight, and try to get a bulkhead seat. They don't assign these prior to the flight and they have at least twice the legroom of the standard coach seats. Our first trip, it worked for us.

 

Also, call and reconfirm reservations the day before. Even though you are assigned seats, if you don't do this, they will move you around. We forgot on the return trip last time and went from the 2 seat window row to the middle of a 5 seat row.

 

Finally, get off the plane & to customs as quick as possible.....they are very slow at processing. There are plenty of cabs out front to take you to the hotel or docks if you don't already have transfers.

 

I wish we were going with you! Have a great voyage.

 

Mike

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When we reboard the next day in Hawaii I will buy me HAPPY Juice then and will have it when we get off in Tahiti. I will pack it in my big bag that night ther before boarding the boat the next day:rolleyes:. See you all at the docks that night;). Still thinking aboput a hamock for the deck for sleeping at night. IO have a small one I've used before , but not on a sailing ship. It was used between palm trees.

 

Ed

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Ineke, my docs did not arrive until I called my TA, she called the office, and they then checked on their document department or something and they had not gone out, so they sent them directly to TA instead of to her company's office since it was sooo late, so I guess its good we check on these things, I may not have checked until later if many folks here had not mentioned they received theirs. It is a strange office, to be sure. But, it sounds like we are all set now (except where the travel butler comes in and makes all the stuff on the bed disappear into neatly packed within weight bags!!!).

 

I have booked Dec 5 also with a friend to celebrate our 60th birthdays, from Costa Rica to Nicaragua, following that old addage, never go on one vacation before you have planned another one (I won't say next as there is a lot of time between March and December!!), so am researching Costa Rica as well.

 

Ed, on the hammock, my only experience on the Star Clipper ships in general is there is a lot of light, cleaning, hosing down and other activity on the deck at night,, but if you bring it, I might want to take a turn in it, love hammocking,,,,

 

Thnking buying liquor in duty free LA sounds good, have a couple of extra bottles here from gifts, etc. but that weight issue,, on the bags,, guess will determine as I pack and weigh, weekend job.

 

Hit the bank today for travellers checks (I often use them at the end to pay the tip, one more chunk of change not being converted into Euros or having the credit card 3% exchange fee tacked on) or to just get some US$ from purser's office at end of trip. Also got small bills in USD to use where I don't have local currency, did that before and it worked well. Looks like Marquesas use the same currency as Tahiti (guess part of French Polynesia).

 

Walt, I sent a note to Garceth (?) asking him if my luggage would be safe in his vehicle or not (think not) or if I should leave ship early to get to hotel and he pick me up there, before the tour.. was thinking sometimes those ports are tightly controlled and you need the boarding pass to get back in,, just depends on situation if leaving luggage on ship is a realistic option, but will work it out one way or another.

 

OK folks,, I keep thinking its the weekend, and its only Wed!! Watched a whole CD of photos from a friend's trip to Marquesas last night,, it looks wild and wonderful. Later, Gail

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Greetings to the board group on this trip. Have been readiing all the latest posts and learniing a lot. Believe earlier on there was mention of early arrival hotel in Tahiti. We will be leaving ORD on the 10th, arriving early on the 11th for 3 nights. Going to be at the Radisson so if anyone wants to have a gettogether before our Saturday outing, let me know and we can arranged it out there. Also believe there are one or two getting off in Panama besides my wife and I. Were you able to find a decently priced decent hotel? I checked several on Trip Advisor and one report said this hotel was good and the next report said it stank! So, just wondering. Both of us and ready to get out of the snow and into some warmer climes.

Terry & Jean:)

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Hi Mike,

 

Thanks for your tip of buying liquor in LA. Just received my docs (sigh of relief), and one thing I noticed was that passengers were not allowed to take any alcohol beverages for consumption on board the ship. It is the first time I have seen this policy. As far as I know it was always allowed to have a drink in your cabin.

Do you still have to confirm your reservation, even if you have an e-ticket with a confirmed seat number?

Well, I am going to give it another try to download my e-book to my e-reader. No success so far.

Thanks again.

Ineke

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Hi Ineke!

 

The no alchohol policy has always been there, but that doesn't really stop people. We put it in our carry-on while boarding, and have not had an issue. The only way you would probably have an issue, would be if you were flaunting it on deck....carrying around a bottle & pouring drinks;) We haven't even had a problem mixing a couple in the cabin & taking them up on deck...just keep a plastic cup or one of the coffee cups.

 

On ATN, you still need to confirm. When we questioned the agent when we were issued new seats, their response was that specific seats are not guaranteed, you are just booking passage on the plane, and since we didn't reconfirm 24hrs in advance they had the right to reassign the seats. I could have understood it had we been late checking in or something, but we were within the first 10 people to check in at the gate.

 

Mike

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Some pieces of information:

1. Don't count on the pursers office for exchanging much money or any banking. Their primary purpose is billing you for drinks, excursions, etc. They just don't keep much cash around and banks/atms can be hard to find at some of the stops in FP. Bring lots of small US bills for such a long journey. Also, travelers checks can be difficult to cash and entail some steep fees. Your cabin will have a small safe to keep your money and valuables in.

2. When we flew to FP last Feb, the ATN flight was about half empty. From what I hear, things have gotten worse for ATN and they fly way under capacity. You can probably have a whole row to yourself but that's not guaranteed. You can also buy into business class on ATN at the check in counter. This cost us an extra $700 pp but it was sweet. Going back to our usual place in the cattle car has been tough ever since.

3. Consider bringing a fairly good first aid kit along. They have this stuff on board thru the doctor or nurse. Tracking these folks down can be a "pain" and their meds (although they did forget to bill my wife for some throat lozenges) aren't close to being free. A bottle of asprin/tylenol doesn't take much space. Finding anything on shore beyond a bandaid can be nearly impossible. Stores don't sell medications of any kind. You have to buy all medications from one of the government medical clinics (we decided that taking a water taxi for a 25 mile jaunt to another island where the clinic was located for some asprin was a bit much!).

 

Have lots of fun on your adventures! I wish we were going too.

Roger

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For those continuing on from Panama to St. Maarten, if you have not seen it, here is the Star Clipper shore excursions schedule for that leg of the voyage:PanamaStMaarenExcursions.pdf

 

Thanks to Mike & Roger for their advice. It all helps to make our journey that much better. I have read other posts advising not to take travelers checks to FP.

 

About bringing booze on board...I read other posts saying that carry on & luggage are not inspected when boarding. So, I took bottles on board at almost every stop on the Royal Clipper and never had troubles. Mind you, I did buy a cocktail initially and reused the logo glass, refilling as needed from my cabin. :D My cabin steward figured out what I was doing (I did not hide the booze) and provided clean cocktail glasses each day in my cabin. He got a big tip! I saw crew carrying bottles on board, too. Granted, this trip is different...being so long, it is next to impossible to smuggle enough booze to last a month or two...unless y'all have other ideas!?! Gail?? Is booze expensive or easily found in FP? Expect to have higher bill this time. You only live once or twice! See ya in a week! :D -Walt

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If you are staying at one of the hotels up by the airport( Intercontinental, Sofitel) the Chadreau market should have alchohol. There is also one on the way to the Radisson south of the Port. I noticed that Moorea is your first stop....check out the Juice Factory...you can get some terrific fruit rums there at reasonable prices. If you go, check to see if Edna is there. She doesn't work there, but family does...we met her our first trip when she gave us a 4X4 tour and she took us there. We met her again when we went to the Juice Factory last time. She didn't remember me, but she remembered Connie. Long story...long....after spending a couple of hours there, she hooked us up with her Aunt who owns a Black Pearl business, and we got some awesome pearls at very reasonable prices. The really great part about it, we did it all sitting right on the dock overlooking Cook's Bay with the Star Flyer in the background. It was one of those moments that stays with you forever. Oh, if you see Edna, tell her Mike & Connie says hello!

 

Mike

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I plan on getting a bottle to tide us ove at the last stop before Costa Rica. We also had no problems ;) taking a bottle(SHARM EL SHIEK) on the Star Clipper when we sailed from Athens to Goa in 08.

I'm in the final packing as we are leaving for LA for overnight and then flying Hawiaan Air to Ohau . We will stay over night there with friends. When we reboard ,I will pick up a bottle from Duty Free for the first leg, Sue will also get hers the sameway. We also plan on snacks Dark M&M peanuts, cashews, etc:p. I have a flask of Cognac I bought in Cognac last year. I might as well bring it also. Great for the evennings under the stars with friends.

Can't wait until we all see each other in Tahiti at the docks for dinner and drinks.:D

 

Ed

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Walt,

 

Since the two of us are staying on after San Blas, we have a head start for signing up on the excursions offered. Do you have any preferences? Just let me know, I saw one that appealed to me, something to do with floating from the bay to the motu. Have read it, but forgot the title.

Roger, David,

Thanks for the great tips.

I know from experience that the medical cost on board the Flyer is outrageous. I once had back problems, the docter gave me one injection, it was € 175,=! Luckily it helped, but still very expensive.

A couple of weeks ago I had knee problems. I tore the ligaments and have been on crutches for two weeks. I probably need a new knee in the future. I therefore take my knee brace with me, I always use them when skiing. Being on a sailing ship, you tend to tighten your muscles the whole day, to keep your balance, so I foresee that my knee will suffer.

I finally managed to download my books on my e-reader, with the help of the web shop. So I have now 28 books to read. Don't think it will be enough, but counting on the library.

Well, I am off to bed now.

Will see you Saturday

Ineke

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FYI...Here is the info provided by Star Clippers as to where we will come ashore upon arriving in Balboa, Panama at 8:00 AM, 3/20/2010. Looks like it will be a tendered departure from the ship for those going ashore:

 

"We will be anchored off Isla Flamenco (or Flamenco Island), and new passengers should be directed to the Flamenco Marina at the end of Amador Causeway. Embarkation procedures will be done at the pier and are scheduled to begin at 4:00PM until Midnight. The distance from the airport to the Flamenco Marina is approximately 20 miles or about 45 minutes."

 

Bali Ha'i may call you, any night, any day!:D -Walt

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