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Wind Spirit Tahiti Shore Excursions

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Hubby and I are excited to embark on our first Windstar cruise for 10 days through the islands of Tahiti.  We've cruised before, but never that area.  We're curious if anyone else who has taken that specific cruise and has thoughts or advice on which excursions were best, or not.  We plan to do a ton of snorkeling.  Also, any advice on pearl shopping and what we can expect to pay for a single pearl?  We've heard there are deals to be had off the main path, but unsure if that's true.  Finally, we plan to use our debit card with supplement with a little local cash.  Thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance!   

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Posted (edited)

I'm sure you'll get lots of replies on this one! We did the 17 day which was a combo of the 10 day and the 7 day last December. Will give my suggestions and let you do the reading about each tour on Tripadvisor on your own.

But we had the time of our lives and we are also avid snorkelers- that's all we did for 17 days. With the exception of two tours we did all of ours independently and were very happy we did. I think we saw and did a lot more than others from the ship who we compared notes with.

Rangiroa- have done the Aquarium snorkel with the drift snorkel of the Tiputa pass before this cruise and did it again. It's spectacular. Water clarity and numbers of fish at the Aquarium are amazing. The drift snorkel is very exciting. All of the companies that offer snorkeling are primarily dive outfits that offer snorkeling as Rangiroa is a huge dive destination. But we use

https://www.the6passengers.com/en/

Fakarava- Blue Lagoon with the ship. Book early so you can get the morning run. There's not a lot of snorkeling on this tour except at Pufuna but the lagoon is worth it. If by any chance you get lucky enough to get an independent tour with Ato Lissant you are in for a treat- lots of snorkeling, But he requires 8 passengers to reserve the tour. fakaravaexplorer@hotmail.com

Motu Mahaea (Tahaa)- Oooooh don't miss the Coral Gardens drift snorkel with the ship! (You'll still have plenty of time at the motu). I still am slack jawed when I recall it. Not only is the scenery spectacular but the drift snorkel is like watching an IMAX live fish movie go by. How much you see and how quickly you see depends on the current. There is a lot of sharp coral and we saw a few people on the ship with coral injuries as you can get slammed into it by the current. We were forewarned and were sure we brought water shoes, leggings, gloves, and rashguards. Wrecked havoc with luggage space but worth it.

Bora Bora- obviously perfection in snorkeling. We had four days there so used three different snorkel outfits, Tohora Bora Bora, Lagoon Service and Pure Snorkeling. All very good but we loved Tohora the best. Engaging guide, no touristy stuff and more challenging snorkel sites.  https://www.tohoraborabora.com/index.html

http://lagoonservice.com/

http://www.puresnorkeling.com/

Moorea- did a jet ski snorkel tour. A lot of fun. Only $185 total for 2 people for 3 hours https://www.mooreaactivitiescenter.com/waverunner

A lot less than the ship.

Huahine.  Marc's Nautique is very good http://www.huahinenautique.com/english

Most people who did the ship's snorkel too raved about it but Marc's is just $100/pp and wonderful.

Papeete- so many choices....you can rent a car or do an all day tour. Or do like we did a two hour shipwrecks and turtles snorkel with https://www.whale-dolphin-turtle.com/

Excellent. Expensive but we shared the cost with another couple. Be sure to read reviews on Tripadvisor.

Pearl shopping everywhere but you'll get the best selection in Papeete. Price depending on size, quality and luster. I ended up buying on the ship as we had $1100 in onboard credit- $200 with a chain.  Moorea had a lovely stand right at the dock that was all handmade jewelry with excellent prices. I'd already bought mine tho. She is not there everyday unfortunately. But could be worth choosing what you like in Papeete and seeing if the Moorea stand is there.

Don't need cash except for small roadside markets, but we always carry about $100 USD anyway. There are ATM's everywhere even the smaller islands.

Here's my review of our cruise. If you have any questions happy to answer by email. Can you tell I love Tahiti?! Going back next April.

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=641857

petuniafish@gmail.com

 

 

 

Edited by Petoonya

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We very much enjoyed the Blue Lagoon excursion. Very relaxing, a nice easy walk from the boat to the lagoon, nice area for snorkeling or just hanging out. This would be a good trip for a couple where one isn't a snorkler as there was a nice beach with some shade to just hang out.

 

The also enjoyed the tour that includes a stop by the Blue Eyed Eels - sorry, the Islands all blur together. That one included a stop at a Pearl farm that was a short trip out to by boat. We actually bought most of our pearls there, and the tropical fish were swarming around so you could watch them right off their deck.

 

On a different note, in Papeete, there's a sandwich shop of the upper level of the marke that has great chow - I don't know the name, but there is just one so you can't miss it.

 

Odd tip of the day. If you stay at the Sofitel, in the shopping center that's walking distance there's a Boulangerie/Patisserie where you'll swear you're in Paris when you walk in the door.

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Be careful with Huahine Nautique, they gave us the wrong time and then left us behind.  

 

Patrick Adventure on Tahiti was a no show, and I had a written confirmation.  He gave me some song and dance about a computer malfunction.  We think he either got a large group or didn't have enough people.  Either way it was bogus.

 

As far as pearl shopping, we were in the market for a strand of pearls.  We did our homework and shopped around.  Papeete was no less expensive than anywhere, and some of the place were considerably more so.

 

We opted to buy from Ron Hall in Moorea.  His prices were beyond fair, no pressure shopping, and we loved that we weren't paying for middle men and fancy stores.  Additionally my pearls appraised for more than four times what we paid for them not once but twice--I didn't believe the first appraiser so I got a second one done.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Ducklite!  This is helpful.  Can I ask about what you estimated you paid for a single pearl on Moorea?  That sounds like the place to buy and we’re on a limited budget. Also, where did you find Ron Hall?

Thanks in advance! 

 

Edited by Seattle Sails

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2 hours ago, Seattle Sails said:

Thanks Ducklite!  This is helpful.  Can I ask about what you estimated you paid for a single pearl on Moorea?  That sounds like the place to buy and we’re on a limited budget. Also, where did you find Ron Hall?

Thanks in advance! 

 

 

Google brings up many hits for "Ron Hall Moorea" here's one site with glowing reviews:

 

https://www.inspirock.com/french-polynesia/cooks-bay/ron-hall-pearls-a611867363

 

 

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We shopped there and it was a sour experience: we thought very expensive, he would not educate us on quality, he was arrogant, we felt that he viewed us as not wanting to spend a lot of money and we were ready and wanting, he was dismissive. Really rude. We walked out. We are not shoppers so we buy quickly we were ready and waiting. We are truly easy,friendly people, we speak French. We loved Tahiti with WS truly the only way to go. Our WS experience was thrilling. Happy Sailing. 

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21 hours ago, Seattle Sails said:

Thanks Ducklite!  This is helpful.  Can I ask about what you estimated you paid for a single pearl on Moorea?  That sounds like the place to buy and we’re on a limited budget. Also, where did you find Ron Hall?

Thanks in advance! 

 


I only purchased one single pearl, I got it for my niece who was at the time around 9 and liked to give her things away to random people, so...  I paid a few bucks for it, no more than $10.  Ironically she still has it.  It was not particularly high quality.

 

Ron Hall is in Moorea.  From the tender dock, walk to the street and then to your left for 1000 feet or so.  He'll be on your right--the land as opposed to ocean side of the street.  Look for his light blue sign.  It's a white building.  The place is unassuming, a beach shack with bathing suits, sunscreen, and towels on one side and fine pearl jewelry on the other.  One of the ways they keep prices reasonable is by not having a ton of overhead with fancy shops in high rent downtown shopping districts, hotels, and cruise ships.  I can't really say how much a better quality individual pearl would cost--maybe around $50 - 300 or so depending on the size, shape, luster, etc.

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As for pearl, we just came back from 2 weeks in Tahiti and Moorea (we did the Wind Spirit cruise in 2017). Pearl quality and prices varies but the market is pretty sinilar. Most of the time you can get good and great looking Cat. B and C's.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/activities-and-interests/the-lure-of-the-black-pearl-a-buyers-guide/article22412822/

 

Here is a few prices from around Papeete last week

IMG_20190712_093531556.jpg

IMG_20190714_171244636_HDR.jpg

IMG_20190719_162649735_HDR.jpg

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I can attest to the quality of our guide at the Moorea Activities Centre. It was our 2nd time there. Great fun.

BTW, we missed the arrival of the humpback whales 2 weeks ago. The day we left, a rare white humpback as spotted between Tahiti and Moorea and a whale shark was encountered. This is one of the snorkling spot on the seadoo excursion and a friend who decided my ride was a good spot to rest tired wings.

 

IMG_20190717_113227318.jpg

IMG_20190717_111352505_HDR.jpg

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