I don't know where to even start with writing a review... Let me say that this was the best vacation of my life and I've traveled a lot.
I booked totally with Oceania, including air. Did not book any extra days so can't comment except if I went again I would do a few days in Moorea... And one night at the end of cruise in Tahiti.
I did not book transfers and this was a good thing... saved some money. Oceania had my luggage brought to ship and back to airport anyway. Paid $35 to ship and $25 to airport on way back.
This trip was an adventure from the start. I am in school, yes too old for school... but I am...43 yrs old... So I planned for my time to take off. Had my packing done ahead of time (thank goodness). Then my MIL got really sick and friend who always travels with me couldn't go because her husband got hurt badly... Two weeks before our "once in a lifetime trip" we were both sitting in the ICU waiting room at a near hospital... me with my MIL and her with her husband.
So, a few days before cruise I decided just to go ahead and go... GREAT DECISION!!
I drove from Alabama to Atlanta Georgia to catch my flight... (got speeding ticket, going and coming) Not funny!!
Got to Atlanta airport and they could not find my reservations... Had to go to special services and get checked in... Everything went fine... So onto my flight.
The flight from Atlanta to Lax was not that bad... Only about 4 1/2 hrs... Then changed to Air Tahiti Nui, which seemed like it took forever... It was actually about 10 hrs on that plane... I'm very impatient so not them... It was me!
On these flights I arrived at night and left at night so missed the scenery from the sky but... Once we landed and started off the plane I knew I had stepped into paradise. It was hot and humid that night, but they had tahitian dancers and music playing... It was pretty cool and felt like you had stepped onto Fastasy Island... LOL.
After going through customs, which was quick, I was going to get my luggage and I asked them... And they said no, that oceania would bring them to the ship... And I didn't have tranfers, so was a little concerned. But actually got to ship before the bus loads, which was nice... Just hopped in the cab and on my way. Only about 5/10 minute drive to ship. Once to the ship it was very different... I'm sure because of the location. But had to go up steps and onto the ship and to the marina lounge to get all signed in. Which took a good 5 minutes is all... So fast, loved it...
Went to my cabin and it was beautiful... Remember I'm traveling alone now, so I have the whole room to myself. Wonderful. Went onto the terrace grill, and grabbed a bite to hurry and meet the cruise critic folks... After that I went to bed... It was dark and couldn't see nothing and I was exhausted from the trip there.
Next morning, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise that I will never forget. Then very soon after watching as we came into Huahine I felt so blessed to see this amazing place...
We had booked Marcs picnic & island tour.
It was great!! Saw the island, sacred eels, shopping, and then to the boat. Those of us that wanted to snorkel, he took us out for 30-45 minutes are so. Then onto the motu for lunch. This place was so fun... Table in water, water was beautiful, lunch was great. Just a fun time...
Raiatea was the only place we actually docked. We had mostly all booked Bruno's Excursion Blueue. They had about six boats, I'm guessing. And Bruno was our guide... I would totally recommend this tour with some exceptions...
Boat ride over to Ta'haa was stunning, they took us to the coral gardens to snorkel. Once there we had to get off in water, which was really fun... Like to your knees so not deep... Our problem was Bruno did not speak good English so there was issues of not knowing where or what we were doing at all times. Very frustrating. So we followed him onto the motu... STUNNING VIEWS... Like really... wow moments... Most of us took stuff with us, not know we were walking to other side of motu to get in the water to snorkel the coral gardens right back to the boat. So we had things that had to be carried back by others or left to come back for later... So if you go to snorkel it...Only take snorkel gear, water camara and swim shoes. I had my fins on but would recommend not to... Swim shoes are best due to you are snorkeling in shallow water and very near to other people so it's a danger to them. I am a very good swimmer, actually love to scuba dive and this place was dangerous. I think most come out with cuts and bruises and some in some really bad shape. I would personally not do this again and just opt to stay near the boat and snorkel and swim... would have much more fun. I was just praying to get out of there with no forever scars... Which I did... The current just sweeps you over those corals so if you hit one too bad... No guide to could come back and really help out much. Most got out and walked back. Some people were having panic attacks... Just not a safe thing unless you were alone with one guide and a great swimmer... But still enter at own risk...LOL
Loved it by boat thou, wish I had spent my time there...Once on boat we were all trying to stop the bleeding on poor Darwin's Leg... It was bad... To the wonderful things about this place. It was stunning... You could see Bora Bora in the back ground, rather close actually... The water and scenery was nothing but breathtaking. A must do, but don't snorkel the coral gardens!!! Don't say I didn't warn you... LOL
Then seemed like a long boat ride to the motu for lunch. But beautiful to say the least. The most beautiful water I've ever seen.
We stopped at a black pearl farm, for some shopping... That was pretty cool to see and a break to get off the boat.
Once at the motu for lunch... Still having communication problems with Bruno. We didn't know much... He did get us a table and we had some fun. Here they had some fish caged off on edge of motu... sting rays, a shark, other beautiful fish. You could get in with them, which I did... I was told not to get in with the shark by one person but Bruno was gonna help me... The problem was it was a small area and once in the shark sorta panicked a lil. But I wanted to swim with the sharks... Not knowing I have plenty of opportunities elsewhere. So we headed off, everyone ready to get back to the ship... tired. But NO, he took us to the vanilla plantation, which some of us just stayed on boat and waiting for the others.
It's probably about a mile walk one way... so if you're up to it... if not... stay on boat.
Then back to the ship...
I would definitely do this tour again, I would request an English speaking guide and I would know to not snorkel through the coral gardens for safety reasons and enjoy that beautiful water right by the boat or just sit on the motu and enjoy the sites.
Bora Bora was beautiful. We booked Patrick's 4x4 island and snorkel tour with lunch... Definitely do this tour. With some thoughts to some issues... Patrick and his uncle Frank were totally great. They split the group, while Patrick took half onto snorkeling and Frank did the 4x4... so I opted to do 4x4 first because I didn't want to ride around wet all day.
We headed out... Took roads that took you to some lookout points. We laughed and laughed but this was some serious road action. These were not roads; they were holes and mud about 2/3 ft deep. We actually got stuck trying to let another truck pass and had to be pulled out. But it was rainy season. This was a bit dangerous and I would not recommend the 4x4 ride for someone with back, neck issues or someone weak. I'm pretty strong and it took all I had to hang on. At times being threw all around. The back had bars and such where you're not gonna fall out, but it was a rough ride... I'm all about it, so it was fun to me. Just not for all. The thing is, once your at the top, views you would only see in post cards... I mean really... It's like is this place real ???
Took two roads to top of peaks to see different views and they were worth it all... You could just stay there and look at it for hours it was so beautiful and plenty of time for photo's.
Then we met Patrick at a dock and he carried us over to the other group on the motu where we ate lunch...It was beautiful, picnic tables in the water and scenery in every direction. OWB that was used to film the movie " " I just wanted to sit and look at it from every angle. Had about an hour or more there... Food was great... Lobster, chicken, really really good and I'm picky.
Then we separated again and we went with Patrick on boat to three different snorkeling spots... All was amazing... Stunning, tons of fish. Sting rays all around you at one place. And my favorite was the sharks. Took you over the reef to deeper water. Don't be afraid, this is safe. We all held onto the boat rail on the side... don't know what it's called but... so the black tips would stay up closer to top but would not come maybe 5 ft from you... The bigger lemon sharks were on the bottom... I mean, how awesome is this. Patrick is right there and was at attention to make sure we were all fine... But the sharks didn't care we were there and never even give us a second thought ? Patrick even dove down and held onto the lemon shark... cool pics...
Hated to leave but everything must come to and end.
And amazing day. A must do tour... Worth every penny. One thing is, if your not in good health you may want to do the ' day and skip the 4x4 ride... just because it's rough. But then you would miss those views and I will never forget it...
Nuka Hiva we booked with Claude's Island and lunch tour. This was a fun day. A very different island... I called it the king kong island because that's what it looks like. When you get off then tender, these precious kids are dancing and putting beads/necklaces on you... They have people playing native music with drums... Very cool... And I actually like the shopping there. This is were I bought my carved bowl... In my opinion this is the best place to buy carvings for beauty and price.
After all our group was there we got in groups of 4 and headed out in trucks. This is a long day of riding and sight seeing but it's absolutely beautiful. This is a island with black sand, so water is not the same blue we saw on other islands... Just a different kind of island. The roads were curvy and had many many stops to tell the history of the island and for photo shots... They took us to a nice restaurant on the island. Wasn't what I expected but the food was awesome. There was another beach right across but seemed a bit rough, but some natives from there were surfing...
We went to see ruins that were unlike anything I've seen before. Trees that were unlike anything I've seen before. I would say this is a must see and at any physical level and too many sights to mention.
Moorea, it stormed that day so didn't get to see this island but will have to go back. I'm sure it's beautiful.
Rangiroa, was my favorite day of all. I got a group together with Jean-Pierre
He did not speak good English and was not quick to respond to emails but was there and ready for our group of 31, plus some. We actually got the boat with a guide named, Fisher, he was awesome and a spoke great English. This is was the blue lagoon tour... DO NOT hesitate to do this. This was the most amazing place on earth... It was a good distance to the motu (blue lagoon) but gosh it was worth it. We had to dock off from the motu due to shallow water so again, it wasn't deep. Once we got to the motu and you walk around the other side, it was one of those AWWWW moments... Everyone was get'n their camaras out... It was amazing... Like a post card in every direction. We all got the beach location where they were cooking us lunch and we all hit the water... It was so swallow and then you could go to some deeper spots if you wanted. Amazing, amazing, amazing... Got to be heaven on earth!! And there were lil baby black tips everywhere. You just walked right by them without even realizing they were there. They wouldn't get close to you but you could see them and watch... Very cool. They seemed to stay in the shallow more so than when we got on mayby 4/5 ft of water. Water was as blue as blue can get... So many different colors of blue... Everyone was in beauty shock I think...
And everyone had a great time... the lunch was awesome and they tour guides did a great job. You could walk to the other side of the motu and the sharks were a lil bigger. But there were other fish there too, but not tons.
Once we had the most amazing day of my life, we walked back through this beautiful water to get back on boat. Once on boat, they fed the sharks again, then they were swarms of much bigger black tip sharks coming up right to boat. They are not after us, so don't worry. A few people even jumped in to snorkel with them. I stayed on boat and recording them. Totally awesome!! Boat ride back and then to a snorkel spot. It was nice with tons and tons of fish... Then back to the ship.
A MUST DO!!!
Back to the ship, oceania marina... Was a beautiful ship... It did seem to sway more than most ships but didn't bother me at all.
Service was beyond great.
Hair dryers... NOTE, if they get hot they will stop working... Just give them a few minutes to cool off and it will work.
Another issue. Plug in's... There are two over the desk which are about too close to use two things at once. But look where your flat screen tv is plugged in and there is another plug. Also in bathroom, take off the plate to that one and you have another one. So, it was fine. Actually more access to plugs than most ships I've been on. But you gotta know where they are.
Calls home were very expensive, I believe like $4.95 minute.
If you want the internet service I recommend you buy the package before hand, It's like $20/$30 day for unlimited if you buy it for the entire cruise. Otherwise you don't get the discount and it's more. You can only buy that package before cruise and maybe the first day. I tried to do it midways and I couldn't.
So if you want internet service, do the unlimited.
Tours on ship are very expensive and to me not very interesting. Our cruise critic group all booked mostly together and off the ship, saving lots of money.
I can say that this was the hardest trip to plan, the excursions are what makes the trip to me so put some time in finding out what you want to do. I have named the companies I went with and they were all great and I'd do them again.
Food on ship, I'm a picky eater so fries and chicken fingers or steak is enough to satisfy me. But the terrace grill to me had the best variety and was great. The specialty restaurants were good too...
Once we docked back in Tahiti, note that you can stay on ship until 3pm. You can get on and off, not a problem. And the marketplace is just across the street... Maybe two blocks. That is a great place, very interesting and the place to buy your last minute items. There were more stores but didn't venture off too far. And went back to the ship. You have to be out of your cabin by 12pm, but you can lounge around until you have to get off. I say this because they do sell day stays at hotel resorts if you choose too. Too me, it was more stress just going to a hotel for just the day and then to the airport. So, that is why I would choose to stay one night in Tahiti after the cruise. To see the island for one, and to miss the cruise rush at the airport that night.