We chose this cruise based on recommendations from others who used Oceania and its reputation as an upscale cruise line. The service was incredible. I think the fact that we were in a large suite may have helped, don't know for sure, ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on recommendations from others who used Oceania and its reputation as an upscale cruise line. The service was incredible. I think the fact that we were in a large suite may have helped, don't know for sure, but the fact that we were greeted by name the first night at the specialty restaurants was impressive.
The room was great, the butler Mani was fantastic, and everyone on board was friendly and helpful. It was our first "sea trials" cruise since my wife has an issue with motion sickness, but the Marina proved to be very stable in the Pacific. Only on one night she was a bit queasy on the long trip north to the Marquesas, but was not too bad.
The service was better than I have had in any hotels and the wait staff as good if not better than any restaurants. We enjoyed it very much, so much so we booked 2 more cruises with Oceania. Houskeeping even arranged our shoes back in the closet!
The food was great. We preferred the specialty restaurants and the magnificently decorated Grand Dining room. They were quieter and more relaxed than the buffet and we were not in a hurry, even for breakfast. We especially liked having our breakfast in the suite. The terrace cafe was too crowded and we felt jostled while trying to get food. There was a nice variety of food there, but people were standing over tables waiting for seats at times. People would sit there grazing for hours if they had no trips ashore or the ship was at sea and occupying all the tables. On those days we went to the Grand Dining room for breakfast or lunch as it was usually empty and much more relaxed, even if there were fewer menu choices. We like the quality atmosphere rather than quantity. You are afforded that choice.
The suite afforded us more access to the specialty restaurants, Polo-Steak, Toscana-Italian, Red Ginger-Oriental, and Jacques-French. All were good but Jacques was some of the best French food we have ever had, even better than in Paris IMHO. The Chef Geno was a true "Genius". Do youself a favor, try Jacques even if you do not have a reservation included. Best French food EVER in my humble opinion.!
In Tahiti, the ships excursions were good, convenient and planned well, albeit expensive I think. If you are not in Tahiti for Diving or watersports, there is only so much sightseeing available. If you are budget conscious, you may do better by renting a car or taxi, but the cruise ships pretty much use up all the local transportation. Divers on board seemed to do better booking their own trips onshore. One person paid a local in Huahine to drive him around for $20 he said. Even drop off and a pick up later at the beach? Caveat emptor.
The scenery is gorgeous. The ports except for 2 require tenders which require a little more planning. The tender crews were efficient and accomodated the handicapped. Not a cruise for children or even teenagers. The onshore attractions are mainly scenic which is spectacular. Some of the others (see Trip Advisor) were a bit contrived and touristy, but ok for a few hours. I.E. One pearl farm was real, the other was just a gift shop, a vanilla farm was also a gift shop. I found better prices on pearls in COSTCO and NY, so unless you want a souvenir, do some research if you want a low price. Be aware that Oceania has a 36hr cancellation policy if you change your mind on shore excursions.
There were excursions for limited mobility persons. Check the info on the Oceania website.
The live entertainment on board, other than the culinary classes was just average. We are spoiled being so close to NY and Broadway maybe?. The entertainers tried hard, but "missed" a few notes. This combined with the fact that they start at 9:30 and we were usually tired, limited our participation. Some folks liked it, most others so-so. I would not cruise for the entertainment. We did miss the comic, which I heard was good. We did like the piano player in the Lounge and the afternoon tea with the Chamber music was delightful. The pastries were enough to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. The Captains cocktail party was definitely worth attending.
Our room was wonderful. Having a large room, although more expensive, allowed us some quiet privacy with enough space that we did not need to use a lounge to spread out. The hot tub on the deck with the TV was over the top too.
It was windy on the front of the ship, and they tied down the furniture at night, but that was not an issue for us. Other folks did have an issue with this in prior reviews, but we did not. The staff was there in the am and set it out again every day.
But being in the front of the ship and watching as we entered the next island anchorage was priceless.
We did get "scolded" one night by the captain because we did not draw the curtains at night while underway. We were at dinner and were late so we forgot. We had a polite but assertive phone message telling us the captain was not pleased. Our room was directly below the bridge and the glare affected their visibility. The butler dealt with it, but were definitely "scolded".
The room had a small excercise room with two machines which we used once or twice, but It became more of a storage room for the cushions, chargers, etc. Would be better as a bedroom or study I think.
TV was limited but had nice previews of the ports. Also, Jacques Pepin had his own cooking channel which I liked, but we were not really there for TV except to check th News on CNN and MSNBC etc. Won't find your sitcoms, but we did have a library of movies. Liked the binoculars in the drawer, but found them by accident.
Understand you are in the middle of the Pacific and the Internet is not what you have at home. UNLIMITED Internet means 24 hr unlimited access, NOT UNLIMITED BANDWITH. Streaming applications are not supported, video conference, etc. You are sharing the satellite connection with 1500 other guests and crew so if you set your expectaions and enjoy the ship and scenery and save the internet for home, you will be less dissapointed. ITS SLOW,,,,, PERIOD!
Our houskeeping was great. Bulgari amenities nice, fruit everyday and welcome bottle of top shelf champagne. We had 6 bottles of top shelf liquor which sufficed so we did not get the liquor plan. We opted for a glass or bottle of wine at dinner.
One nice thing the sommelier told us is that we could save the unconsumed bottle for the next night at a different restaurant. They vacumn sealed it and brought it the next night. This was good because my wife does not like red and I did not want to drink or waste the rest of a bottle, especially an expensive one.
Also liked the wine tasting of the "old school" wines. They had a great selection, including Tignanello one of my favotites. Don't always see some top end wines at a tasting. The beverage director really knew his wines and regions. A nice upscale break from more local or touristy winery tastings. The wine markup was not outrageous for the higher end wines. A bottle of Tignanello, although pricey and retails for $90, was $140 on board for a reference. You can also get a decent chard in the $45 range.
Boarding was fine. Transfers for our 8:30 am flight great. Although a suite is expensive, when you add up the perks, it helps defer some of that cost. Early boarding, more excursions, more specialty dining, liquor, butler service, really added to the experience. A splurge, yes, but when spending your kids inheritance, who cares! LOL The VISTA suite has all the perks, more than enough room, and all of the perks of the owners suite. Usually sells out first.
Air Tahiti is not bad, but if you are tall its tight in coach. Sit on the outside. No Economy plus seating. Try for the newer plane. First class is good, but very very expensive.
In summary, wonderful trip, great service, great food, great room, average entertainment for my taste..
Will go again, booked 2 more cruises.
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Mark Twain Read Less