If reading the other reviews of this cruise, they are either great or would not recommend this cruise. We had a 5 star experience but even on board, I could see that it was a no, 1, or 2 star experience for others. Read CC and other websites to make the most of this and other Oceania cruises-it certainly helped us.
Weather-The weather was warm and humid but not rainy as happened a year ago at the same time. Remember though to be careful in the sun and bring lots of sunscreen (and insect repellent for Nuku Hiva).
Ship-The Marina is a beautiful as reported.
Cabin-We usually get an inside on purpose but upgraded to a veranda cabin on this cruise. It was roomy enough for us and we really enjoyed having a drink on the veranda and watching the sunset sky every day. If you are an early riser, however, the walking track on 15 is an even better place to watch the sunrise and sail ins and you can get coffee to carry with you in Horizons at any hour.
Food-Better than on other lines we have sailed with and I am never unhappy with cruise food. Everything was good but the bread and pastries were fantastic. We liked the GDR but went early all 3 times we went to get table we wanted (2 dinners and brunch buffet-buffet was very good though crowded). We had great food in 2 of the specialties and just okay in 2-this is very subjective. CC told me just how to get extra reservations (1st night in Bora Bora is a good time to try because many are off ship overnight) and we got two extra. BUT some people did not even get all 4 that they were entitled to. Not sure if it was because of group size or waiting too long to book. Book restaurants online when booking opens as recommended on CC!
By the way coffee in machines and Baristas was good but all dining room coffee tasted like Nescafe. Also, eat fresh local tuna if you like it. It was very good on and off the ship. If you ask for medium rare on the ship, it will be more done than seared but not overdone.
Service: We had great service from all we came in contact with but again, this was not the case with everyone. At Toscana, for example, our share table for 4 got excellent service while the table for 4 next to us got ignored even with repeated complaints. They went away mad-that should not happen.
Excursions: We made all private reservations as recommended on CC. It was much cheaper. However, while some did not find the excursion they wanted if waiting until docking at each port, there were options for taxis, tours, etc at every port even Fakarava which was substituted when the ship could not dock at Hiva Oa. Many did take the Oceania excursions and seemed ok with them.
Our favorite excursions were ATV MOOREA ATV tour on Moorea-lots of fun, Reef Discovery half-day snorkel on Bora Bora-very well organized, and Pa'ati Excursions on Rangiroa-a great full day trip with a good lunch and also very well organized. We did not love Claude Pua's tour on Nuku Hiva (too many people and not enough of the drivers spoke English though ours did and was very good-Paul) or Moana half day snorkel on Bora Bora. We rented a car on Tahiti and enjoyed the circular drive around the island more than we would have enjoyed sitting at a hotel pool or beach.
"Free Air"-We were satisfied with what we got: nonstop going from Florida to LAX then Air Tahiti to and from Papeete with 1 stop on the way back. All flights were on time and checked luggage interlined successly. Air Tahiti was very friendly but really cramped. We got the newer plane going so had entertainment but not on the way back but we slept anyway so not important. Food was not very good but kept us from starvation going. We had a very good fresh baguetter in the airport before boarding on return so do not know how meal offered was on return. Breakfast was not good. First stop in LAX was for coffee.
I would recommend this cruise and think January is an especially nice time to take it if the weather holds in FP. The islands are something like Hawaii but with even nice lagoons and a French flavor.