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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving on Sapphire Princess

Aloha Everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Our dinner table mates at Vivaldi Dining Room were a couple from Canada and their close friend and neighbor with whom we’d shared a table previously. Enjoyable conversation, we covered a very wide range of topics.

We feasted on a real traditional Thanksgiving dinner with choices of roasted turkey, ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn bread and pumpkin or apple pie.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Moorea, Tahiti

Aloha Everyone,

Picture perfect French Polynesian Island with soaring jagged mountain peaks sandwiched between blue sky and turquoise colored sea is Moorea. Simply put, our main and final destination was exactly what the cruise line promised. 

Our tender took less than 20 minutes to cross to Moorea. Actually the island was visible from the Sapphire Princess. 

Public market with their souvenirs including black pearl merchandise were on display as passengers exited the ship’s makeshift gangway. 

There were only a few vendors selling souvenir T-shirts. We approached all of them to checkout designs and prices.  One thing that stood out were prices of everything were at least 20 - 30% higher than what we found in Papeete.  Limited supplies in terms of choice of color, size and design. We felt an urgency to decide before someone else grabbed the item and paid for it. It was not a shopping frenzy but I definitely felt the time pressure.

We signed up for a tour. Our bus, a quick two hours island trip with several major tourist stops was US $40 per person. We didn’t leave until the vehicle was filled with 15 passengers and that took another hour.

Our driver was experienced and was familiar with the island. He helped out our guide who has started working this morning.  With no training and only a high school education, he fumbled throughout our two hours drive repeating, “I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer.” His father is an American, mother is a Tahitian and he grew up speaking English, Tahitian and French. 

In 1984, Tahiti became autonomous. Then France modified the French Polynesian to overseas territory. Since 2004, French Polynesia is self-governed while maintaining strong affiliation to France.

Most of the street signs are in French but Tahitian is widely used as the spoken language. English is taught in school as a language of commerce. With approximately 90,000 inhabitants on Moorea, this small and remote island was a great choice for our final ports of call.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Papeete, Tahiti

Aloha Everyone,

Welcomed by Tahitian musicians and women carrying baskets with fragrant pikake flowers passing them to disembarking passengers. It’s easy to imagine how writers and artists have fallen in love with this paradise.

There were a lot of fun activities just outside of our cruise terminal. We meandered the farmers market noting varieties, prices and quality. The government of Tahiti has very strict agricultural laws. No fresh fruits or fauna and flora maybe taken out. 

J.J. and I founds a clothes shop to purchase high quality t-shirts. 

After walking around 4 streets deep mostly of businesses focused for visiting cruisers J.J. and I came across a replica of a Commemorative Canoe exhibited on June 29, 2022. 

In the evening we watched Polynesian Expression presented by guest performers in the Princess Theater. I overheard a couple of passengers talking to each other, “So that’s what we have to do to get rid of our belly fat. Wear big smiles, shake vigorously as you rotate your buttocks side to side." It’s easier said than done. Using muscles one doesn’t usually use can cause discomfort or even injuries.

Aloha -- Cathi