We chose this cruise because of price, destinations and timing. We have over 50 cruises mostly on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. This was our first on Oceania. We stayed a week in Tahiti at the Intercontinental in an over water bungalow prior to the cruise. Embarkation was flawless and fast. Disembarkation was smooth in Sydney with the exception of taxi availability. It took 1-1/4 hours to get a taxi. Smaller ships that can fit under the bridge go to a new dock area which is further away from the city. There were three ships in port and the city taxi system can't handle it.
The ship has been refurbished beautifully. We were impressed with all the dark woodwork. It made a great 1st impression which didn't fade throughout the cruise. The cabin was beautiful. We had an outside cabin with a window on deck 4. 4016 was near the elevator which was a perfect spot. Elevators had little or no wait. The room had a lot of storage. More than newer ships offer. If you go for outside cabin, ask for category that has window and not porthole . Bathroom is small but adequate. Shower curtains are not an issue as a lot of people seem to note in other reviews. Dining and service are what these ships are all about. They didn't disappoint. If that's what your looking for in a cruise you will be very happy. The grand dining is beautiful. No problem getting seating for 2 or any other quantity with no advance booking. Different and varied menu every night of the 17 day cruise. There is no charge for specialty restaurants. Tuscan was excellent with perfect steaks and real Maine lobster. Red Ginger was a real surprise. The sea bass was out of this world. The other offerings were all wonderful. Depending on your room category, you can pre-book these restaurants for 1 or more nights each. Outside cabins are allowed 1 each. You can then book one added night in each upon boarding. There are usually openings that allow for additional nights if desired. The service at the buffet is perfect in the morning. Servers handle all the dispensing of food. There are so many servers, you don't wait for anything. They deliver all coffees, juices and beverages and you are never looking for a server. All soda, and specialty coffee is free. All soda and water in your room is free. Bar service is perfect with plenty of staff. The only small complaint regarding food or drink is that they ran out of the most popular wines with 5 days left to the cruise.
The problem with this cruise was the entertainment. Keep in mind that me and my wife are 70. We were bored before and after dinner. The entertainment consisted of a piano player in one lounge, a string quartet in the foyer and 45 minutes of dancing to the show band which doesn't have vocalist. Many people were sleeping as we walked in. The shows aren't great. They had 4 production numbers and some guest performers such as an oriental country singer who was a good musician but sang with an accent. It doesn't help that the show room is one level with a low ceiling, lots of posts and no elevated seating. If your not near the front you have difficulty seeing. They need a house band with a singer that can play dance music that gets people active. There is no pool deck live music. Their best night was called a deck night at the pool. 1-1/2 hours with the show band and the production singers as vocalists. If they had 3 more of them it would have helped. Casino usually had one table with $15 minimum. Usually played alone.
Great cabin with plenty of storage. Make sure you get C2 for a window. Otherwise you'll get a porthole.
We stayed at the InterContinental Resort Tahiti for 6 nights. We were in the over water bungalows. Everything was fantastic. Booked with IHG and got buffet breakfast included. Good idea because breakfast will cost you about $80.00 for 2 people. Don't eat dinner there. Food wasn't worth the cost. Concierge personnel were very good. Pool area and grounds are awesome. Jet ski prices are very good. Half hour with guide is sufficient.
Great place to eat is Casa Bianca. About 5 miles away. Italian food. Get the antipasto. It's fabulous. Another great place to eat is the food trucks in Papeete. Great food and experience at a low cost.
Take a 4 x 4 tour to see some inner parts of the island. Many companies available. 4 hours is sufficient.
Didn't get to see much. It rained hard that day. Not much to do or see in area near ship.
Another rainy day. Not much to do around ship.
Nice little port town with tent area for shopping. Within walking distance. Spent most of the day at Tisa's Barefoot Bar. About a half hour drive. You can flag one of the open air buses down and get them to take you there and back for about $20. This is a must stop for a true island experience. Candyman built, owns and runs the place. He'll tell you stories and serve you. Small secluded beach with mild surf for swimming and snorkeling. Drinks made from fresh ingredients. Even though they weren't serving food yet, his wife whipped us up a shrimp and banana chip meal when we said we were hungry that was delicious. He can tell you stories about the tsunamis that have hit there and how he built the place.
Kind of a poor city. Walking distance from ship. Nothing there to excite the traveler.
We were there on a Sunday. Nearly everything closed. Looks like a nice port town with lots of shopping. You can walk about 30 minutes to get to town.
Great port to stop in. Easy to get around using to hop on bus system. Good beaches. Nice restaurant and bar area at one of the nearby beaches. Good night life on weekends. Take water taxi out to closer of the 2 offshore islands for snorkeling. Island has a full bar, restaurant, lounges and umbrellas. make sure you book time of your return trip on boat when you board the boat. Lines can form to get on the boat and those with the time for that boat get preference. You can buy tickets for the water taxi and buses at building that is adjacent to where boat docks. Don't go to island that is further out. Snorkeling isn't any better and it is a resort that will cost you more. The only plus is that the resort has a pool.
You will be far from city when you dock. If your ship is small enough you will be at the closer dock. At least 20 to 30 minutes by taxi or shuttle if your cruise line provides one. Oceania does provide free shuttles. We suggest getting a taxi to get to the city as quickly as possible. About $22. A good place to book and find tours is at the Australian information centers. There is one near the main center of the pedestrian mall area. They have a big orange "I" for a sign and on most maps. Buy ticket for Mirimar II river cruise and Lone Pine Koala Center. $104 with one way boat. It leaves at 10:00 AM. It's a 10 minute walk to the south bank pontoon dock to pick up the boat. Buy only the one way boat trip. It's faster to return by buses that are readily available at the Koala center. You can also return when you want by bus. Boat trip is narrated and lasts about 1 hour and 10 minutes. They dock right at the Koala center and the entry fee is included. It will cost $15 for a picture of you actually holding a Koala. One of only a few places that allow it. You will also be able to go out into a field and feed kangaroos and emus. Many other animals to see. You can see it all in a few hours. People that traveled from our ship to the big zoo that Steve Irwin made famous said it was so far away they had little time to see zoo. Zoo is also massive area to cover. They wished they had chosen the Koala Center. Take bus 445 Adelaise St., stop 40, West bound to get back. It's less than $5.70 ($2.80 seniors) if they even charge you. Takes about 35 minutes. You'll be a couple of blocks from where all the shuttles are that return to the ships. Take shuttle if its free or a cab back.