This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free internet and prepaid gratuities. They also offered $500 in onboard credit and our travel agent also gave us $500 in onboard credit. Even with inflated wine and drink prices we would have a hard time spending that.
We chose to take a credit for the airfare and used frequent flyer mileage to get to Santiago and fly back from Papeete. This gave us a little more flexibility and allowed us to stay on for a few days at the end of the cruise. We flew down from Los Angeles on LAN Chile and we are very impressed with the service LAN offered. We spent a couple of days in Santiago pre cruise and then took the bus down to Valparaiso. The ship offered transfers but they were expensive. The bus from Santiago was about $8 and very easy to take. Very modern Mercedes buses leave about every half hour for the 2 hour trip.
Check in was super easy. We were onboard about 20 minutes after we arrived. Of course our cabins were not yet ready but we hung out in the upstairs restaurant having a light lunch while we waited. It wasn’t long until we could get into our cabins and stow our carry on luggage. We then explored the ship. We mostly have cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We quickly noticed a big difference in that Oceania isn’t always trying to sell you extra stuff. There were no photographers trying to get you to pose for pictures. That is not to say there were not opportunities to spend money. There is a small casino but there were not really that many people playing in it. Wine was expensive (least expensive bottles were around $35 but most were closer to $50 and some were in the hundreds) When we first got on, they were selling a wine package where if you bought two bottles you got a 20% discount and if you bought 3 bottles you got a 30% discount. We had a lot of shipboard credit so we used some on wine.