Papeete

We then spent FIVE days getting to Papeete, the Pacific is huge and Ryan sea needs to justify to the passengers that got on in LA that they are on a cruise not a repositioning trip.

We continue to go to bridge, even go to the late afternoon quizzes, usually with abysmal results. We changed our dinner seating and now eat with three other very pleasant couples at the early sitting, 5.45, but you do not get feed until around 6.15 which suits us fine. On formal nights we abandon our new companions and eat with our Australian couple.

They meet at 7 pm in a corner of the Atrium with another group of Kiwis and we make it our mission to drink as much of the free booze as possible that circulates at the Captain’s Cocktail party held at 7 pm on the night of the formal dinners.  The bubbles is actually nasty but beats paying 7 dollars Aus a glass. T cannot quite get into the Kiwi approach to free booze.

For one of these formals I wear my ‘new’ little black dress. Bought at one of  Gill’s charity shops in Southport. Looked great standing up but when I sat down for dinner it whipped up at the back and lifted the hemline to mid thigh!!! I ignored it, my thighs are in condition after the walk so who cares.

We finally arrive at Papeete, some interesting buildings, echoes of the French Colonial influence.  We get a public bus out to the area where the Gaugain museum is, not recommended, tours have stopped going there as people complained too much.  Only a couple of sketches and little else.

We pass the garden belonging to Gaugains mate, not very interesting. We arrive at the end of the island and catch another bus back. Beautiful lagoon on one side and stunning mountainous hinterland on the other. A stay at the Sofitel appealed.

We went to the market in papeete and looked at high priced Tahitian pearls, suspect many of the black ones were dyed. The price was not quite right….

Bought two bottles of good wine and went back on board for a very late lunch. Tomorrow Bora Bora, home of Bloody Mary/South Pacific etc.

Bora Bora

We negotiate our way into into the lagoon and realise it is blowing a howling gale, all water tours are cancelled, no snorkelling or swimming. We are anchored in the lagoon just off one of those fantastically expensive bure resorts, bet they are thrilled to have a cruise ship making a lot of noise right next to them.

We are ferried ashore and mooch about, more pearls, this time there is a very chic shop with its own designer, who takes a shine to Jennifer and shows us both the intricacies of this seasons collection. They were fabulous of course and tres expensive, nothing dyed in this shop.

All the frustrated snorkelers and swimmers milled about, we all found the booze shop and bought expensive French wine.  Cheaper though than the Villa Maria on sale.

Bora Bora is beautiful but seems so far away that I doubt I would ever bother going for a more extensive stay. We are not grat beach people though we do enjoy snorkelling.

Another late lunch.

Three more days at sea, more bridge and we have finally capitulated, we get up lateish, go to bridge, have lunch, have a snooze, brief walk round the deck, drinks in the cabin before dinner, dinner then a show. And all tucked up in bed watching BBC or Fox news by 10 pm. Even see the odd good movie.

Some of the entertainers bought on board are very good, some are just plain boring. The ship has its own orchestra and the leader is a stunning pianist , plus there is a chamber music group from the Ukraine so I am quite happy music wise. The crooners of the Buble type leave me cold.

Apia

Well, Apia was a pleasant surprise, could visit there again. Usual collection of funny little trading stores plus a large Chinese Department store selling everything from moth balls to mutton flaps. Discovered the fabric section and both Jennifer and I bought some exotic material, polyester brocade and cheap as chips, made in China of course.

Apia is on a sort of lagoon, not as pretty as Papeete but OK. Usual mountainous interior. All the resorts are on the other side of the island and of course were hit by a tsunami last year. Many are operating again, and I would definitely go back.

Three days left, I have been doing a little packing as I have a sneaking feeling it may get stormy as we get closer to NZ. It didn’t so packing proceeded. My heavens we have some luggage, just as well we met up with David and Jennifer as we could never have jumped ship in LA as I had threatened to do- far too much luggage!!!

Final formal night and I wheel out my vintage Diane Freis, about 25 years old. There I was spectacular in a five foot two kind of way in purple pants, tunic top and a scarf of the tunic material would around my head! T just wheels out his dinner suit plus a newly professionally laundered dress shirt.

We had a final dinner two days before NZ. The executive chef was getting off and I suspect he left the cupboard bare. Lots of lobster and pheasant. It was quite a memorable meal.

Auckland

We steam past Rangitoto just before dawn on September 4th, I hang over the balcony for a time but it is damn cold and I soon retreated inside.  We park next to Party central, not very impressive from our vantage point on the 10th deck. Still it is probably fit for its purpose.

We are due to get off at 8.20am, we go to the departure area about 10 minutes early, ‘Goodbye’ says the man at the door, ‘whaddya mean?’ ‘You can go’ was the reply. So much for thanking us for sailing with that particular line, just shove off!

We were ashore by 8.15am and a short time later, Fiona and Graham picked us up and it was all over!

Cruise again, maybe but probably not in the Pacific unless it was just for a blob out. In the Med, maybe but would want more than five hours ashore which seemed the norm for this crowd.
Really pleased we met our Aussie friends, David and Jennifer, they were great company and made the last three weeks very pleasant instead of potentially very boring.
Loved having a balcony but could have lived without the regular pong of compacting rubbish!
Next adventure- chemoland!