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Seven Seas Paul Gauguin Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and French Polynesia Disembark 1/4

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RSSC - Regent Seven Seas, Formally Radisson Seven Seas Cruises Seven Seas Paul Gauguin

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2004 Date: 1/17/2004

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Email: greg@cruisingreview.com

TEL: 608-238-6001

Disembarkation

Beachcomer

The color-coded disembarkation went smoothly and efficiently. With only 138 passengers, there were no lines. For those passengers with nighttime flights, you are transferred to one of many hotels for a day room. You can't check in usually until 1:00 or 2:00 p.m., so pack that swimsuit in your carry-on luggage so you can spend the time near the pool. You are dropped off around 9:00 a.m. so you'll have a few hours to kill. Radisson gives you the option of taking a guided tour by bus which lasts about three hours, before dropping you off at the hotel. I did this last year and found it to be not all that interesting. Better off just going to the hotel and relaxing.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Pan View From Lobby

Beachcomer Hotel

View From Lobby

I stayed at the Beachcomer for my day room, and it's just beautiful. The infinity pools are huge and it's much more modern than the Le Meridien. It has a sweeping palm tree lined view of the lagoon, reef and the cloud capped Moorea only a short distance away. I'd highly recommend the Beachcomer for a pre-cruise stay if you were staying in Tahiti.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Room Pan Viewing Out

Business Class Check-in and VIP Room

Main Pool

Waiting for the bus, the tour people and other delays, it's better to just cab it to the airport instead of taking the shuttle bus the ship provides. If it's only a few people, take the provided transportation. Otherwise, save yourself some time with a $5.00 cab ride. Since I was Business Class, I checked in with no lines and proceeded to the Quantas VIP Lounge (which is the only air-conditioned room in the airport) and relaxed before the flight. This flight was fully booked, and I was pleased to be in a more roomy part of the aircraft. We even had our own separate boarding airstair.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Saltwater Pool Pan View

Long Pacific Flight

Over the Water Hut

The flight back is only 7.5 hours, or about 1 hour shorter than going west. It's still a long flight however. We were served a delicious dinner around 11:00 p.m. and then breakfast at 5:00 a.m. The lights are turned out after dinner and the entire aircraft turns into a snoring consortium. It was so loud, that it was nearly impossible to sleep, so I worked on my review and digital photos.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Hut Before Sunset

Arriving LAX

Saltwater Pool

We landed around 7:45 a.m. and proceeded to customs. Usually, this takes me about 5 minutes total time, but several large-bodied international jets had also just arrived and it took about 40 minutes. I also had a large purchase item to declare (a watch bought on the ship). To my surprise, my extra duty was only $75.00 While I could have easily not claimed the item, I believe in working within the system. The duty-free watch I bought is still far less expensive than purchasing in the US even with a duty.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Pool View Pan

NW WorldClubs

Tiki

Upon arriving at LAX, I checked in the self-service E check-in and proceeded to the WorldClubs VIP lounge to recharge my PowerBook, shave, and prepare for the next four hour flight to Detroit, then Madison.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Relection at Sunset

LAX to Detroit Airbus 320

Oceanview Huts

The long four hour flight to Detroit was a beautiful array of Americana. From flying over Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Red Rocks and across the as of yet unfrozen Lake Michigan, the entire country was viewed in one showing. The red and amber colors of the Canyonlands was incredible. We arrived at Detroit 6:00 p.m. local (Eastern) and waited a bit for a gate to clear. The 320 was cramped, but I got the window seat behind Business Class (row 5) which had lots of legroom. Detroit was 13 degrees F, a bit cooler than the 90 degrees F during the evening when I departed from Papeete. Business Class 2x2 seating and Economy was 3x3 seating.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Pool at Night just after Sunset

WorldClubs Detroit

Sunset at Reflecting Pool

After a long walk down the terminal, which felt good to stretch the legs, I planted myself firmly in the NWA WorldClubs to plug in the computer to recharge, use the phone and check and see if there were any open WiFi networks. To my luck, there were two concourse networks set up without WEP. Signals were 22 and 49 (the 49 was usable). I was amazed at how busy Detroit was on a Sunday night-- the terminal was packed. The internet turned out to be the Detroit proprietary network for $6.59 access for a 24 hour period.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Sunset Reflecting Off of Pool

Arrival Into Madison

Sunset

We arrived almost one hour after our original time. Madison is beautiful to fly into at night.

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Movie-Papeete Beachcomer Tiki Torches

CONTACT TEL: 608-238-6001 Email: greg@cruisingreview.com