Cruise Information from Passengers
personal.lig.bellsouth.net lig l c lcoffman Raiatea part of excellent cruisediva.com
Quotes (Diane and Buil experiences follow others):
All these from DianneC "Masked Traveler" (note Tahaa was also involved):
The wharf project is moving along at great speed,
really impressive. All the little pareo/craft shops are in the little
All the tour people at the dock are great depending on what experience you want.
Tahaa Discovery, Lysis & Andre all go to the same motu. The quality of the motu facilities is in that order, but we enjoyed Andre & his family.
The trips that offer the river & garden trip go to a different motu where the facilities and the snorkeling are very, very nice. They use herbicides at the garden, so beware if you decide to do that. You can get them to just leave you at the motu.
A different experience, if you are willing to pay for the idyllic is John's Tours. Yes, you will pay twice as much as with anyone else, but who cares! John has a little boat with a red cover and a huge motor. (In addition to your snorkeling and Motu Tautau experience, you
can get the thrill of a jet ski without paying for it.) John is also set up for fishing trips too. Phone or FAX (689) 66-33-44. John is retired after 30 years on the police force. We loved this.
We found Raiatea to be quite nice and the people quite friendly. We took a tour off the dock to a snorkeling Motu, which was l/2 the cost of the excursion offered by R4.
...ship...ties up...at the dock...seem like a fair-sized town after the last two islands...a little open-air market building a block or two away...sells lots of flowers...bought a gorgeous huge arrangement for $10. The town is...good place to buy pareus, flowered shirts, water, shell necklaces, or...similar...took a Renaissance excursion...the 4x4/outrigger trip...jeeps up the mountain...driver explains...lot of native plants...top of the hill...give you fruit and fruit juice...drive to the beach and take an outrigger back along the shore, and partly up the only river in French Polynesia...takes about 3-1/2 hours and costs $60 and was well worth it. (We didn't hear very good things about most of the other excursions.)
At the port...a number of people who will take you snorkeling, scuba diving, etc. If you take the 4x4 excursion it might be worthwhile to go down early and sign up for something the next day. We didn't, and just about everything was booked when we got back...took a little boat over to a Motu...swam and snorkeled...was okay, but...got very crowded...people from our ship...whole lot of locals...for a big BBQ. I don't think I'd bother with that one again. It was $20 round trip. They rent snorkeling stuff and kayaks for an extra $8.
...a disco (the only one on the island)...normally a $20 cover charge but they asked "From the ship?" and...let us in free...There weren't many people in there, but after about half an hour a bunch of the waiters and crew came in...really lively and crowded, but never felt unsafe...drinks...very expensive...ordered water...a 2-liter bottle...charged $10.
...got on a “by land and sea” tour, which we loved. The marae are huge and very interesting, the ride back by catamaran extremely photogenic. Afterwards we did a little last minute shopping in the craft area right on the dock (they had the BEST selection of stuff and good prices too).
DIANE and BUIL's EXPERIENCES:
The R4 was scheduled to dock at 7am.
In the morning, as we walked off the ship onto the dock at Raiatea it was lightly raining. We decided against snorkeling and a couple we'd met at dinner asked us to go on a 4-hour 4x4 tour ($30 per person) including the crater of the volcano (long ago). We agreed, and they rounded up a required 3rd couple. This was an unexpectedly outstanding tour even though it was sprinkling rain. You can get the tour right at the dock. Maria and Gerard run this tour, named Raiatea 4x4, and charming Maria took us in an air-conditioned Isuzu Trooper (very comfortable). She was an extremely earnest, competent, happy person who told us many things about Raiatea, Polynesians, the many plants...many times she stopped and picked flowers for the women...often we stopped and she explained details about the plants and fruits including a demonstration using 3 large leaves on how a plate of leaves was made & how to hand pollinate a vanilla bean flower...we forded streams...went to a marae...were she gave us a brief talk, cut up pineapple, guava, and coconut onto a large leaf for us along with fruit juice Maria and Gerard made each morning. No large group tour could possibly compare with this personal attention.
The port (dockside) was under a fair amount of construction for craft shops and what looked to be fairly elaborate buildings (a small mall?). We walked thru the small towns shops...saw 5-6 grocery stores (more than expected).
We arrived back on the ship and around the pool we watched the Raiatea women make crowns of flowers for many of the passengers. The flowers were bright and the crowns were slightly more colorful than the Huahine crowns the day before, however they did not last as long (Diane's more tightly woven pastel Huahine flower crown lasted til the last day...about twice as long).
For this second day, we were asked to be back on board by 4pm. The R4 was scheduled to sail at 5pm.
Sunshine as we came off the dock the next morning we decide to take the Hinerani Tour (at the dock) with Lysis and his wife Heiariki to the motu (same as ship tour) to snorkel for $30 per person. They were very charming and always smiling (the real thing in French Polynesia, not manufactured). We arrived on the motu and were taken to a thatched roof over several tables were we placed our belongings which Heiariki watched over (huge group from the ship's tour had their belonging's strung along the shore and paid $59). We had coconut, coconut bread, pieces of freshly cut pineapple, and fruit juice. Also Heiariki danced for our tour just before we left the motu. This was much better than the ship's tour.
Hotel Raiatea Pearl Beach Resort
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