Day 43 – March 12 – Thursday–Still in (near) Rarotonga
As we boarded the ship last night from Rarotonga, the Captain announced that the French Polynesian government had refused to let us visit French Polynesia, which includes stops in Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora, and Huahine Iti. He said he was in negotiation with them to allow those passengers whose cruises were due to end in Papeete to get off the ship and fly home and to allow the ship to refuel and re-provision. As we went to bed, the negotiations continued, and we sailed completely around Rarotonga.
In the morning, we had the same sight as we had the day before.
Not a bad view, but very disconcerting for those due to get off in Papeete. During the day negotiations proved unsuccessful with Papeete, and the Captain began negotiations with Rarotonga to allow the Papeete passengers off the ship so they could fly home. The Cook Island government had, by now, heard of the actions taken by French Polynesia, and were reluctant. Given that we had just visited there the day before, they decided to let the Papeete passengers off the ship, with the provision that they be bused directly to the airport and put on planes. Only those with plane reservations would be allowed off. The ships internet was brought to a standstill as these passengers cancelled and made reservations. The logistics involved required that it would take two days to get the passengers off – 300 passengers plus luggage, in tenders, met by buses. Half got off today.