Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Tahitian Princess
Sailing Date: June 3rd, 2005
What a wonderful experience. We have two children (ages 14/10) and so often we select those HUGE ships so the kids can have plenty of activity. Personally I find them exhausting. We chose this cruise for some good old fashioned r&r - enjoying the day excursions and relaxing in the evening. What a pleasure it was to be on a ship small enough to get to know most of the other passengers and to not feel exhausted going from one end to the other.
The ship was completely sold out and yet we never once felt crowed - no lines, no pushing, no waiting for elevators....
The best part is that we arrived on a Friday and though the ship departed on Saturday evening, Princess allowed us to check in early and therefore enjoy the following day in downtown Papeete. We set sail at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and were very relaxed (even bought some beautiful flowers at the local market to bring aboard to brighten the room).
The staff was wonderful. They knew our names and preferences by the end of the first day. Each individual really seemed to care.
Here are some basics most people are interested in:
1) the ship is extremely clean
2) the food is so-so but it's still good. In addition to the main dining room, there is an Italian restaurant and a Steak restaurant (both excellent).
3) the drinks are very reasonable. I was drinking top shelf vodka and tonic for only $5.25 The $25 unlimited soda card was great for the kids.
4) After coming back from the Cook Islands you have the morning to go and collect your passports and do much of the stuff you usually do at the end of a cruise. No sitting around like a bunch of blobs waiting until your "color" is called.
5) There aren't many children on this cruise, but those that were on spent the days with their parents and then found each other in the supervised game/card room in the evening. There is also a very nice library onboard - fully stocked as well as a good size internet room.
6) The entertainment isn't Broadway quality, but it's still good - and clean enough to bring the children. The performers obviously work very hard at making their shows enjoyable --but I must say the children of Raiatea that performed their native dances were the best show of the week.
7) Same procedure with disembarking as embarking. We arrived in Papeete on Sunday night, and though we had to check out of our rooms by 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, we had the rest of the day to enjoy the ship (swim, eat, or go ashore).
8) no need to bring beach towels, there are plenty and you can even bring them ashore.
9) the gift shop sells everything from the obvious sundries to "water shoes".
10) Buy their reusable underwater cameras -- it's great deal. They also sell memory sticks, cameras, etc. We had our photos developed onboard and it was really reasonable.
11) Black pearls are EVERYWHERE. By the third day you get dizzy looking at all of them. After going onto every island in search of the perfect pearl, I finally realized it was on the ship in the jewelry shop. They have the nicest selection, artistically designed, they give you an education as what to look for and then the don't charge you duty. What could be easier?
In conclusion, I believe Princess is a cruise line that cares about the passengers and never tries to make you feel like you're paying too much. I truly appreciated the ease of the trip, the staff, the ability to meet and make many new friends because I could find them all!
I highly recommend this ship/itinery and hope my family gets to do it again sometime soom.
We're going on the Star Princess in Dec. because it's a big family outting - I'll let you know how I feel about the difference between a 40 ton ship and a 140 ship!!!!! Until then..........