RSSC Paul Gauguin Cruising Review

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Papeete, Tahiti French Polynesia

Disembarkation 1 Saturday, January 18, 2003
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Los Angeles
Papeete
Raiatea
Tahaa
Bora Bora
Bora Bora
Moorea
Moorea
Papeete

Disembarkation

While none us really wanted to go home, preparations began as the ship docked Friday night around 9pm in Papeete, Tahiti. Luggage needs to be out by 1am, and you could pickup your passports beginning at 5pm. The next morning, they requested everyone be out of their room by 8:30am, and by 8:45am, most everyone had said their good-byes, and were off the ship.

(click to enlarge)

Tour

While some of the people went on tour, others went directly to the hotel. I went to the Meridien, while others went to Beachcomer. The people who checked in early had no problem (even though they say in the literature you can't check-in until after 1pm). The three hour island tour took us to a Polynesian museum and to the Paul Gauguin center which displayed some copies of his original prints. Other than a stop at a tropical grotto, that was pretty much it for the tour.

The Museum does not have any original paintings
(click to enlarge)

Hotel Meridien

We arrived with a busload of people in pouring rain at the Meridien, and were checking hassle-free within moments. They have a very efficient system in place and within a few minutes, I had dropped of my bags and was enjoying the included lunch buffet. It rained for about an hour, then the sun peeked out for a short while so that some of us could enjoy our last day in paradise near the sand pool while sipping on some drinks. The hotel property is just beautiful, and I have to admit, they had the best sunset of the trip (most others were obscured by some late forming clouds on the horizon during the cruise).

Skip the tour, just go to the hotel
(click to enlarge)

Air Tahiti Nui

I took a cab separate from the normal tour bus transfer to the airport, hoping to upgrade to business class, but the plane (a new Airbus -300) was completely full. This new jet had a few First Class, some Business Class, and a large Economy Class section. Since it was a new plane, the seats were a bit more comfortable, and each seat had its own flat screen monitor for movies, flight tracking and games. If you get the chance to do an upgrade for $600 from economy, it's worth it. The food, and wine are very good. Best of all, the seats recline almost near horizontal for sleeping.

Flight

The just over 8 hour flight departed on time around 10:30pm, to arrive in LAX around 8:30am local time. There is a two hour difference between LAX and Tahiti, so jet lag is not a big factor. During the flight, we were at 37,000 and doing around 530 mph groundspeed. The temperature varied slightly, and at its coldest was about -70 deg. F outside. I thought this was a bit odd, since on the way over, it was only about -50 to -56 deg. F.

LAX

Since my flight to Chicago was delayed, I had to do some creative rebooking, but finally made it back to Madison, Wisconsin (to a chilly 20 deg. F) around 8:45pm.

O'Hare

Oddly enough, there were a number of WiFi networks in O'Hare. I was able to connect to the Internet from the local Cinnabon shop in one of the terminals.

Additional Photographs: Disembarkation 1

(click on photos to enlarge)
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Photo Highlights from this Day ... for all photos, please click on the < or > as indicated above. There are five sets of photos for each day of the cruise.

Related Information

General Info
Paul Gauguin Information
Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, French Polynesia
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Panama Canal Books | Ultimate Travel Gear | Digital Photo Tips | Luggage Info | List Info | Ultimate Packing Info | Caribbean Books | NCL Norway Review | Cruise Ship Secrets | Radisson Diamond Review | 2003 Radisson Paul Gauguin Review | Travel Bath Kit | NCL Norwegian Sun Review | NCL Norwegian Dawn Review | Radisson Seven Seas Voyager Review | 2004 Radisson Paul Gauguin Review | 2004 Radisson Navigator Review | 2005 Bora Bora Cruises - Tia Moana - Ship Review | 2005 Seadream Yacht Club - Seadream I - Ship Review
Los-01 | Papeete-01 | Raiatea-01 | Raiatea-02 | Raiatea-03 | Raiatea-04 | Raiatea-05 | Tahaa-01 | Tahaa-02 | Tahaa-03 | Tahaa-04 | Tahaa-05 | Bora-01 | Bora-02 | Bora-03 | Bora-04 | Bora-05 | Bora-01 | Bora-02 | Bora-03 | Bora-04 | Bora-05 | Moorea-01 | Moorea-02 | Moorea-03 | Moorea-04 | Moorea-05 | Moorea-01 | Moorea-02 | Moorea-03 | Moorea-04 | Moorea-05 | Papeete-01 | Papeete-02 | Papeete-03 | Papeete-04 | Papeete-05
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