We were attracted to Oceania on the Islands to Incas Cruise because of the ports visited and the claims of outstanding food. Most of our Ocean travel has been on Holland America, with one Royal Caribbean and one Azamara. Our report is a mixed bag.
Oceania provides transfers from the airport to the ship but are extremely overpriced. The 7 mile trip from Papeete Faa'a airport was $129 per person. I contracted directly with a company called I Hate Taxis for $79 for the two of us. Guess what? We were on the same bus as those who paid the $129pp tariff!
We had a Concierge Level Verandah stateroom on Deck 9. The room was roomy enough for the two of us. They advertise that these staterooms each have a PC for your use. The PCs are locked, no access to the drives, the USB ports, etc. They are set up simply as a terminal for their wireless internet service and have Microsoft Word that you can use to prepare notes for your email. We fortunately brought along a laptop so that we More
could download our pictures and videos and process photos for email to family and friends. I had an on-going business transaction and I had forms emailed to me that I had to complete and sign and return. I took the PDF file to the Computer Center where the administrator printed the pages for me. After I completed the forms, I took them to the Reception Desk and they emailed them for me for $4.95. I copied myself on the email and the pages were transmitted promptly.
All the staff is very friendly and helpful. Most nationalities are represented, many Eastern Europeans as well as the usual Filipino and Indonesian.
Food was not exceptional contrary to their claim to fame! About on a par with HAL in that they had a good selection of entrees. Other passengers have stated the same. Best for me was the Filet au Poivre in Jacques specialty restaurant. The meat was thick, cooked right, but sauce was not as peppery as I like. The wife's favorite was the grilled Norwegian salmon in the Grand Dining Room. Breakfasts were good wherever we eat. Waves on Deck 12 had the best hamburgers we've ever had on a ship. The meat was loose (fresh) whereas on HAL they are hard compressed frozen patties. We ate in 3 of the specialty restaurants (Jacques, Toscana, and Polo). There is no charge to dine there unlike HAL. We did not like Toscana, the food was almost poor. The other two were fine but certainly not exceptional.
The TV movies were horrible, four channels only and the selections stunk! The DVD collection was great and were free.
They have an extensive library. You can take books anytime of the day and night. The books are categorized into 10 or 12 types so items are interest are easily located.
The music channel 29 was labeled Country. It was soft jazz. Checked all the other music channels and none had anything remotely country.
Cash advances were easy but they charge a 5% fee.
The laundromat was good - one on each passenger deck. $2 to wash a $2 to dry a load.
The excursions are grossly overpriced, at least 2 to 3 times what you can buy yourself. Their allocation of tender tickets absolutely sucks. You had to go to the Marina Lounge on Deck 5. If you had ship's excursions you were immediately given seats and given tender tickets to make their scheduled departure. Those of us with our own tours (independents) were assigned a few rows of seats and the rest of us had to stand in a line for as long as 2 hours before we got a seat, bear in mind that the vast majority of passengers are 60+ years old. The ship's tours had priority whereas the independents had to wait until the ship's tours were disembarked. We were over 3 hours late for our tour in the first day at Easter Island. To put it into perspective, Azamara tours were priced about 2 times the actual cost but they allow you to get a 50% discount on all their tours as long as you commit prior to sailing. With this discount, the prices were fair and we used ship's tours on every day in port on the Azamara cruise.
One of the reasons we picked this cruise was because it was advertising a landing on Pitcairn Island,. the island where the Bounty mutineers settled. Up to the night before, we were led to believe we would be able to go ashore, they even provided walking trail maps of the island. The next morning they announced that we were not going to land and that the islanders were aboard setting up shop to sell souvenirs! The single engine motor whale boat they used to come to the ship was open and carried 42 people to the ship. They could make it out and back but the ship's tenders that have dual engines and props could not (the tenders are enclosed and can carry twice as many passengers.). Jaqui Christian, an islander gave a presentation onboard. Someone asked how many people make it ashore. She said that season they had fourteen cruise ships anchor and only 80 people actually got ashore (equating to probably about 1%). IMHO, it is criminal to advertise this when they know 99% of the time they do not land!
They have Happy Hour in three of the bars daily from 1700-1800, two for one drinks. I usually drink Grolsch Beer with is $7.50 a bottle plus 18% gratuity. At Happy Hour, they were half price. I finally figured out - buy your daily beer supply at Happy Hour and keep them in your stateroom refrigerator.
They specifically permit you to bring wine aboard from the ports for room consumption. I brought local beers back in my backpack and even saw one fellow who carried a twelve pack in the open and it was no problem. Kudos to Oceania on that informal but fair policy!
Bottom line - Oceania is very good due to the ports they service with the sole exception, on this cruise, of Pitcairn Island. Their claims to outstanding food is vastly overstated. Their staff is capable and friendly. Their tours are way overpriced. Less
Marina Cruises to the South Pacific
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Value for Money
The room was roomy enough for the two of us. They advertise that these staterooms each have a PC for your use. The PCs are locked, no access to the drives, the USB ports, etc. They are set up simply as a terminal for their wireless internet service and have Microsoft Word that you can use to prepare notes for your email.