This was our first time sailing with Oceania and were very impressed. The Marina was a beautiful ship and the staff was the best we have ever experienced in our years of cruising. My husband surprised me with a suite, 10044 as a birthday present. Maria our stateroom attendant and our butler Neerjarian (? spelling)were absolutely wonderful. The state room was very spacious and the closet had more room than we needed, when can you say that about a ship's stateroom?
The food was the highest quality from the buffet to Jacques French restaurant. Passengers never touched the food in the buffet or the daily tea which I am sure eliminates the spread of germs. Oceania does not charge for cappachinos , lattes or smoothies, nor do they try to sell spa services. A welcome change from our usual experience of up-selling with every "lecture" or having to pay a huge price for fresh squeezed orange juice or coke. Great bonus, lobster every night in the buffet. I was not all that impressed with the Grand Dining room, food was not as good as the buffet and service was slow.
I was told not expect great entertainment on board, I was pleasantly surprised. The Oceania troupe was ok, they tried their best. John Charles was fantastic, another performer a singer was wonderful and the ventriloquist was also very funny. The two guest lecturers aboard were very informative.
The ports were wonderful, Huahine, Bora Bora, Fakarava and Easter Island (Hanga Roa) and we seemed to have ample time at each port. This cruise was also scheduled to stop at Pitcarin, however due to a medical emergency we did not. It would have been nice to at least go by the island for the passengers to get a glimpse. Many of us were disappointed, but we did gain an extra 5 hours in Easter Island.
One thing that Oceania does not do well is excursions. The Destination staff puts out information on each port which is mostly inaccurate. For example "no taxis available on Bora Bora or Easter Island--Wrong, many taxis available. They did not offer an excursion at all on Fakarava and Huahine tours were limited. I booked my own tours for all the islands except for one day on Easter Island. We booked the 3 hr. tour with Oceania ,visiting the Quarry, Anakena , and Tongariki. We went at breakneck speed and did not completely see these sites, (we found out later). The tour guide was not very knowledgeable and her intent was to return on time. This tour cost us roughly $300 per person--way overpriced! We booked our own tour the next day with another couple and for $50 per person saw the entire island at our pace from 9 a.m. to almost 5 p.m. For future travelers to these ports here is what I booked:
Huahine, 4x4 island tour for $50 pp with Huahine Explorer contact: email@example.com.
Bora Bora, 4x4 island tour for $75pp with Maohini contact: patrick @maohinui.net. Rapa was our tour guide--Great!.
Fakarava, Blue Lagoon tour, full day includes snorkeling and lunch on a Motu. $105 pp. with Fakarava Explorer @hotmail.com. It was one of the highlights of the trip.
Hanga Roa/Easter Island private island tour with Nora Nahoe, met her at the dock and negotiated the tour for the next day. Her website is: www.cabinsKrava.com or phone number, 9913208. She was wonderful ,native born and very, very informative and patient with our difficult fellow tourist.
A few hints for these ports. In all of the ports taxis are plentiful, a little less in Huahine and very few in Fakarava, but Bora Bora and Easter Island very easy to get a taxi, just ask the price before you get in. On Bora Bora you can easily get a ride to Matira Beach for $5 pp throughout the day they return every 20 minutes. In all the ports there was an opportunity to book a tour if you didn't do it before. Bora Bora is extremely expensive, but they do have an internet cafe for free WiFI. There is also a community craft building at the tender site, the most reasonable prices for souvenirs. I booked all my tours online and no one asked for a deposit. The people on the islands are very friendly and in my experience very honest . All the ports were tendered ports which meant you needed to either walk into the center of town or catch a ride. As I mentioned earlier not difficult. We walked in and took a taxi back on Easter Island.
The cruise was wonderful and I have only one complaint for Oceania. We boarded the ship in Papeete at 8:30 p.m. after arriving on a Oceania arranged charter. The plane was originally supposed to be from Atlas Air, but the last minute they changed to World Airways. The flight was great, crew wonderful and plenty of room. No complaints on the flight or embarkation. My complaint has to do with disembarkation, the passengers disembarking in Lima were told about 4 days prior to disembarkation we would have to be off the ship at 9 a.m. on May 6th. Oceania scheduled our flight home at 1:30 a.m. on May 7th, that meant hours at the airport--not fun or taking one of their expensive tours of Lima. They also suggested we book a room at the hotel across the street from the airport for the day at a cost of $270. We were forced to book a room, we had no desire to return to Lima. Oceania could have garnered many customer service points, instead of making about 100 passengers very unhappy by doing the following: Offer the option of flying out at 1:30 a.m. on May 5th, provided airport lounge passes or notifying passengers they could relax in the hotel and store their luggage free with a purchase of a meal. Sadly, they did none of those things, but said " get off the ship" instead.
Two other bits of information, you do not need to purchase a spa pass to use the Sauna/Steam room or even the hot beds. You do need to purchase a pass or stay in a suite to use the private sun-deck and jacuzzi area.
If you book a tour on Easter Island for one day from the ship and it includes a visit to one of the Rapa Nui National Park sites be sure and ask for your park pass. This pass costs $60 and should be included in your ship's tour and it is good for two days. I had to track someone down from the ship's tour guides to get my pass, they did not offer it to you. I used it the next day when visiting other Park sites on the island on my own.
Would I cruise on Oceania again? Maybe. It would depend on the itinerary.