Alan & Sandy's Excellent Tahitian Adventure

Renaissance Cruises -- 10 days - June 2000

Al & Sandy in Bora Bora at a private motu

All photos are Copyright 2000 by Alan D. Hull

[Note: all photos taken with a Kodak DC260 digital camera with 40 Mb compact flash memory card. Compaq M300 laptop used to transfer pictures off the camera each day. All photos shown were manipulated with Jasc Paint Shop Pro v6.1, and web pages built using FrontPage Express.]

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Our Tahiti Adventure...

...did not start out auspiciously. Our flight from Detroit to LA the day before departure was delayed 2 hours while we sat on the airplane, waiting for the maintenance crew to fix a cracked cargo door hinge. Finally got in the air and made it to LA without any further delays.

On Wednesday morning, bright and early, we went from our hotel near the airport via shuttle bus to our Hawaiian Air check-in to get our seat assignments. We were there at 7:20am and walked right up and were given a good seat assignment very quickly. Right over the wing on the right side. We'll have the same seats coming back.

Since we still had about 3-1/2 hours to kill before boarding time, we came back to the hotel, had a nice breakfast, and relaxed in the room until 1 hour before departure. This was a great way to do this - no stress over missing a flight, etc.

The plane to Papeete, a DC-10 with 2-5-2 seating, was loaded up, only to have a string of bad luck start up. First, 1 passenger was late coming from the Duty Free shop, and the crew had to hold the door for her. The passengers all applauded when she arrived - making her feel like an idiot, I'm sure.

We took off, and only 18 minutes into the flight, the captain announced that due to a problem with the cabin pressurization and the air conditioning system, we would have to return to LAX for repair or possibly to switch planes. We had to fly in circles for at least 1/2 hour over Catalina Island dumping jet fuel to get the aircraft weight down to a safe landing weight. That had to cost a small fortune as we watched fuel streaming out of the dump tubes near the wingtips. Everyone was glad they did return, however, as the cabin temperature and humidity were barely tolerable.

We landed, disembarked, and were told we could use our boarding pass stub for up to $10 at one of the two restaurants at the terminal. So Burger King was quickly swamped with 250+ people.

We kept getting updates from the airline, and eventually reboarded the plane after a nearly 5-hour delay. We were supposed to leave at 12:30 pm, but actually took off at 5:30 pm. The flight down was very smooth and comfortable this time around.

 

Faa'a Airport

We arrived in Papeete at about midnight local time. We were immediately struck by the warm night air temperature of about 75 degrees and the humidity. We walked over to the Faa'a Airport main entrance where they collected our customs declarations card, and then we lined up to clear customs. An older couple just ahead of us held up our line for 10 minutes while they filled out their entry forms. I guess they didn't have time on a 7-1/2 hour flight to take 5 minutes to fill out the card like everyone else. Oh well. Customs was a breeze - no baggage inspection at all. We got our leis from the greeting committee and were quickly loaded onto buses waiting to take us to the ship, the R3. The efficiency of Renaissance is every bit as good as we'd been reading on the web site. Checking in at boat side took only minutes and we climbed the gangplank to the 4th deck entrance.

The R3 anchored in Papeete

The Grand staircase

Stepping inside was like entering a dream. The cool air-conditioned air immediately envelopes you as you enter, and you are greeted by the sight of the Grand Staircase, covered in gold in many places and looking every bit as elegant as the staircase in the movie Titanic. This is directly across from the main reception desk.

We were shown to our cabin on deck 6, near the bow on the starboard side, by one of the crew. Our balcony view looks directly towards the neighboring island of Moorea, which will be our next port in two days. Our category D cabin is actually fairly roomy, with a queen size bed in the middle, a writing desk with mirror and a loveseat with small table. The bathroom is a marvel of efficiency. The bed was really hard - it's a mattress on a platform - no box springs. We should have asked for a foam pad, which we found out later, are available upon request. The toilet is a bit cramped for larger people, but it has the best vacuum plumbing I've ever seen. Each flush sounds like it would pull you down into it if you were leaning over it too closely. The shower is about half the size of a phone booth with European bath fixtures.

Queen-size bed - Category D cabin Category D cabin looking towards door Category D cabin loveseat and balcony door Category D writing desk and balcony

In the cabin, the closets and storage are right behind the cabin door, with the 19 inch TV and room safe on the end, facing the bed at an angle. We turned on the TV, only to be amazed to see Star Trek: Voyager on the tube. In Tahiti! This is a good omen of things to come.

TV heaven!  Star Trek: Voyager in Tahiti!

Our luggage arrived at our cabin within about an hour.

Please click on the links below to continue or browse by island (links listed in trip order)

Papeete - Day 1 Papeete - Day 2 Moorea - Day 1 Moorea - Day 2 Huahine - 1 day stop
Raiatea - Day 1 Raiatea - Day 2 Bora Bora - Day 1 Bora Bora - Day 2 Tahiti - Papeete - Final Day

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Unfortunately, soon after the tragic events of 9-11-2001, Renaissance Cruise line went bankrupt. The ships were sold to a new cruise line called Oceana Cruiseline, which has not only kept the ships in their impeccable styling and condition, they have made many improvements. Their service has been rated by former Renaissance customers as "stellar". There is also an active Oceana discussion group on Yahoo Groups.

Contact info on the private tours that we took.

More Tour Contact info

All photos are Copyright 2000 by Alan D. Hull

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