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SWFLAOK

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    294
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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. I was just amazed that Regent gave a $7500 pp for Florida to PPT, leaving so little to pay for their cruise. But, having done 2 PG cruises to French Polynesia, and 1 Regent cruise to Alaska, I am much happier being on the PG than the small (750 passenger), older Regent ships. The newer Regent ships are too big for us. I just got a Jet Blue Visa with 50000 bonus points so our flights to LAX next April should be covered. I'm sure you'll love the Paul Gauguin. It's our favorite.
  2. We haven't stopped there on a PG Cruise, but we did drive there while staying at the IC Tahiti for 2 nights after a PG Cruise. We rented a car and drove every coastal road on both Tahiti and Tahiti Iti. On Tahiti Iti, you can drive a car along the shore past Vairao until the road heads inland and ends. There was nothing of interest along the shore other than some small beaches and one beachfront restaurant (but it was too early for lunch so it was closed). There are offshore islands, but no way to access them. This is a big surfing area, but we don't surf. After that, we drove back toward Tahiti, and took the road to the other shore. We drove out as far as we could find a road that continued near the shore. We ended up in a small town with a tiny park on the shore. And then headed back toward Tahiti looking for the road into the mountains. We eventually found it and drove up to the lookout, passing the cows. It's a nice view, but hard to find. We continued driving hoping to find a way to the far end of Tahiti Iti, but ended up coming back down on the same road we had been on earlier. We found more things to see on Tahiti than Tahiti Iti, but if I was on that cruise, I would do the excursion "Bonjouir's Garden of Eden" since I have no idea how to drive there, and it sounds interesting.
  3. We didn't receive an e-mail. It was a brochure. We receive at least 2 of those every week from Regent, along with other cruise lines, some of which we've never traveled on, and probably won't (Oceania). So anyone that received an e-mail may have been targeted. The offer did nothing for us based on the cabins we had already reserved.
  4. Having been to all of those stops without being on a cruise, I would choose the Sea Dream 1 cruise. There's nothing wrong with the other ports, but Nevis, Anguilla and Jost are 3 of the spots we've ever visited in the Caribbean. Nothing wrong with the other itinerary, but we just liked them less. I think we need to look at a Sea Dream cruise for 2021.
  5. As I mentioned on a thread on the Regent forum, where someone was looking at a French Polynesia cruise on Regent and some of us were suggesting Paul Gauguin, there is definitely a lack of business class flights to Papeete. Regent provides business class airfare as part of their cruise package for intercontinental flights. So, if I booked Regent from Florida, I would be in business class for at least the last part of the flight (and maybe more). With PG, I have to pay to get to LAX from Florida, and now I get a crappy 2 seats for my husband and I, and a stranger sits with us to do the elbow poking, and/or the thigh rub with one of us. We have a one way to Papeete on our next cruise since we fly back from Fiji. We paid 1600 for both of us to upgrade to premium economy on that one way flight so we can eliminate the unwanted third party. We didn't upgrade on the way back from Fiji since their plane still has 2-4-2 and we were able to get decent seats near the front of economy. Regent is more expensive for a cruise around French Polynesia with the lowest cabins being aroung 12K per person, but if you turn down the Regent flight, you get 7500 per person as a credit for airfare, which leaves you with a tremendous bargain for an all-inclusive cruise at 4500 per person. I found this to be unbelievable since we have a Regent cruise from Singapore to Sydney and were offered only 6000 per person roundtrip from Miami for a cruise that is costing us 60K for the 2 of us. While it's easy to find roundtrip flights from the US to Papeete for much less than 7500 per person, especially in economy, it's impossible to find flights from Miami to Singapore, and Sydney to Miami for less than 6000 per person since economy is not an option on flights that long. And both age and experience both have to do with it.
  6. We received an advertisement a few weeks ago about the 3 category upgrade on the 2 cruises we booked a while back. There were no cabins available at the higher levels. It was basically the ability to upgrade from a guaranteed verandah on Voyager to a guaranteed concierge. Not interested in being given a cabin that no one else has chosen.
  7. We've always blamed evaporation as well. I'm not sure if it's the refrigerator or the cabin AC that evaporates it, but one or both of them always makes it disappear before it should. I tend to blame the cabin AC, but I have just added a wine bottle stopper to my 'must bring items' bag for our cruise next month.
  8. If I remember correctly, when the area around the pool is staged with tables, it's reservations only, and you're expected to dress appropriately, with no shorts. The last time we ate there, we were in the bay in Moorea, and it was a wonderful experience watching the sun go down behind the island. There were no tables for large groups around the pool area for dinner on either of the cruises we have been on so far.
  9. Our first cruise ever was on the Paul Gauguin, Society Islands and Marquesas. My husband changed out 4 large truck size batteries from our boat, which we sold a few months before our cruise. He was experiencing some hip pain shortly before the cruise, but nothing was found on, and his doctor perscribed 5 days of steroids. It didn't help, so he was given some Advil with codeine to take with him, and scheduled an MRI for his back after our cruise. After flying to LAX from ORD, and staying overnight after arriving 3 hours late at midnight, we made our way to the airport. The TSA line at LAX was huge, and while standing in line, my husband's back suddenly gave out, and he had to sit on the floor. A helpful TSA agent took him through the line as a disabled person, and we made our flight to Papeete without a problem. We boarded the PG, and did a day at sea to Fakarava. We did a snorkel excursion there without a problem (other than me being scared to death by the large sharks swimming with us). We then had another day at sea going to Nuku Hiva (a change in the itinerary to avoid a large cruise ship that was scheduled to arrive when we did). The excursion we took was not supposed to be hard at all. If was a drive to a number of locations by a group of taxis, along paved roads. However, the taxis were small pickup trucks, and the paved roads ended before the parking lots at the locations where we stopped. By the time we parked at the first location, my husband was experiencing discomfort. By the time we parked at the last location, he was unable to get our of the vehicle. After visiting the on board doctor the next morning, who could do nothing other than recommend bed rest, I was on my own for the next 3 days in the Marquesas. We were loaned a wheel chair to get to the pool bar, and the restaurant on deck 8 from our cabin on deck 8. By the time we got back to the Society Islands, we were able to go the boat to PG's beach on Bora Bora, the Ta'ha'a beach picnic, and the Motu picnic on Moorea, without a problem. After returning to the US, an MRI showed that a ruptured disk had nearly healed itself, and a physical therapy session led to a complete recovery. Sorry to be so long winded, but I guess it depends on your back problem. Snorkeling didn't bother his ruptured disk. A drive that was supposed to be the easiest one in the Marquesas was much worse than expected. There were no bumpy rides by boat on the rest of our cruise. Tendering can be risky for a bad back. 2 of the tender rides I did without my husband in the Marquesas had large swells, but they were no where near as rough as on our subsequent cruise to the Cook Islands. The tender to Aitutaki was an extremely rough ride. On the way back to the ship, waves broke over us. Luckily neither of us had any back problems on that trip.
  10. To those who found that Regent gives a 7500 dollar credit on a Papeete based cruise that costs as little as 11,999, you are brilliant. I suspect that business class air is very hard to come by for Regent on flights to Papeete, and they very much want you to turn it down and take the credit. They still have passengers onboard, and don't have to tell anyone that they can't give them the business class air. And on your own, you can find flight better flight options based on where you're coming from, and airline points. While I love the Paul Gauguin, the Regent cruise is definitely a bargain if you book your own airfare. We paid 1600 extra to upgrade to economy plus from economy with the new configuration where someone else would be sitting with us on our September PG cruise. That's one way since we fly back from Fiji. Our return flight to LAX is in economy since we didn't want to pay 3200 to upgrade. We hope our plane remains the same since we have 2 seats window and aisle in the second row of economy. As a comparison on the 7500 dollar credit, we have a 32 night Singapore to Sydney cruise on Regent in December (a back to back cruise), and we could have taken the 6000 dollar credit rather than Regent's business class on Emirates. For flights that long from Florida, 6000 dollars would not have covered seats that we wanted to sit in for that long. But business class is much easier to find to those destinations.
  11. I just remembered that they used to have a Cousteau program for teens in the summer. I don't know if they still have that, but the website should have details if that's still available.
  12. I think that most of your questions should be answered by reading the Paul Gauguin website. I also think that the Paul Gauguin is not geared toward large family groups with children. There are no activities provided onboard for kids or teens. No one onboard makes sandwiches to bring on excursions. Food is not stocked in the fridge so there's no way to do that. The PG website covers excursions available on each cruise. Excursions are not included in the cruise price, and are booked online after you make reservations and pay for them in full. Have you looked at any ships on a different cruise line that might have activites for teens and preteens?
  13. I totally agree with Wendy about the Paul Gauguin. It's not "themey" in any way. It's home port is Papeete, and they always have a group of young people from French Polynesia as part of the crew to provide insight and entertainment on board. They are very genuine and provide a lot of information about the place where they live. The cabins aren't large, but they are comfortable, and the crew is wonderful and provides excellent service. The food is quite good as well. If you like a small ship experience, there's not better way to cruise in the South Pacific. Ronrick1943 mentioned that it looked like it was family oriented. We have met a few small family groups on board, but the cabins really only hold 2 comfortably. We have seen very few children. The family groups we have seen have been siblings, and a parent of 2, traveling in their own cabins. They have been outgoing with the rest of us; unlike very large family groups with children we've encountered on larger ships, where they're looking for tables for 20 or more at the same time. The OP mentioned that they're a group of friends traveling together. If they're a group of 8 or less, or a larger group that doesn't mind going their own way for meals and excursions, and mixing in with other passengers onboard, then they would fit in on the Paul Gauguin. If they're a group of 20 friends that will be staying together onboard and on excursions, then a somewhat larger ship like the Navigator would be more comfortable for that size group.
  14. Actually, I haven't chewed gum since I was a kid so I won't have a problem with it in Singapore. I used to swallow it and my mom told me it would stay in my stomach forever. While that wasn't true, it was bad for my teeth. It's good to see Regent reacting quickly to the situation with Cuba, and it's even better to see that they're compensating their customers. I wish they had done the same when they cancelled Brunei as a port due to their political situation. They decided to just skip that port and add a day at sea, with not even an onboard credit for the loss of a port and the "free" excursions, or port fees, that went with it. They were pretty quick on updating their printed cruise advertisements that we receive numerous times a week to remove Brunei as a port. I'm still waiting to see Regent remove Komodo Island as a port of call. From what I've read, it will no longer be accessible to cruise ships after December 31st, 2019. I hope they have another stop lined up nearby, but I'm surprised they haven't reacted to it yet.
  15. No. I think the list of countries that we are told not to visit should be more than that. If you want to visit DRC, with it's uncontrolled Ebola outbreak made worse by civil unrest, then you should not be allowed to return to the US. If you are arrested in Afghanistan for spitting in public, our government should not assist you in returning. Fortunately for those who make bad choices, our government has more empathy than I do.
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