26-day cruise from Papeete to Ft Lauderdale

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
Trip End Dec 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Tahitian Princess

Flag of French Polynesia  , Îles du Vent,
Friday, December 19, 2008

Map of the cruise


This travelogue is being revised to have a separate blog for each destination during the cruise.  You may follow the chronological order of the cruise or look at the different destinations on its own.  

Some stats on the Tahitian Princess:
  This is the same ship that Oceania
Cruise uses with the same floor plan. It holds about 680 passengers,
and moves at about 18 knots (about 20.7 mph). When this cruise went
on sale, it sold out, but when the economy started to tank, many
people canceled. We had only 618 passengers for this cruise. They
have open seating for breakfast and lunch, but fixed seating for
dinner at 6:15 and 8:15. We sat at a table for eight. There are two
alternative restaurants; a steakhouse that charges a $15 fee (where
we had dinner three times), and an Italian restaurant also charges a
$15 fee (never tried it), plus the buffet that is open for breakfast,
lunch, dinner, and late night snack. They also have an open grill on
deck 9 where you can order hamburger, hot dog or sausage. The quality
and variety of food offered was excellent, and one can order as many
dishes as one pleases. Greg, my roommate, ate seven lobsters for
dinner in one sitting. All the kitchen and dining room staff numbers
around 150, and the people consumes about four tons of food every
day. There is a small swimming pool on the 9th deck with two jacuzzi
pools (where I have spent a few hours on several occasions when the
weather was hot). I also spent time in the gym to ride the stationary
bike a handful of times and was able to reach burning 200 calories in
30 minutes. When we booked this cruise, we were assigned stateroom
6041 which is an outside stateroom, but blocked view from the
tenders. However, when we arrived at the ship in Papeete, we got
stateroom 6051 with a balcony. There are ten levels on the ship, but
passenger staterooms start on the 3rd deck.

The staff on the
ship comes from around the globe, but the majority from the
Philippines. There are a few from the US, Balkans, India and Europe.
Many staff work 14-hour days. The dancers and singers on the ship was
mediocre, but most of the professionals were above average to
excellent. Duncan Tuck, a guitar player-singer was one of the best. I
even purchased one of his CDs. The best show (in my opinion) was the
cultural show put on by Peruvians when we were in port of
Callao called the "scissor dance."

All alcoholic and soft drinks have an additional
“service” charge of 15% added to the bill. They also charge for
special coffees such as cappuccino and espresso. Beers cost about $5,
house wine $6.33, and vodka martini $8.91. Most mixed drinks sell for
$6.75 to $7.75 plus the 15%.

The cruise line adds $10.50 per
day ($273 for 26 days) per passenger for staff tips, but this is
“optional,” and be removed by going to reception to make the request.

This is the first Panama Canal transit for the
Tahitian Princess, and the first time cruising the Atlantic Ocean
since its inaugural cruise nine years ago. They will be changing the
name of the ship to Ocean Princess before they begin their world
cruise this year.

Dec 19: Our first travel day wasn't too bad
compared to many who came from the mid-west and East Coast of the US.
We had about fifty percent British with the other half made up of
Americans, Australians, Canadians, Panamanians, and a few from
other countries.

My flight from was from SFO to Los Angeles to Papeete.   We arrived at the ship in the evening, and other than seeing some of Papeete during our coach ride from the airport to the ship, we failed to see much else.  

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