Not a regular cruiser, I was lured in by a university alumni association brochure. Even though there were some negatives, This cruise ended up being the vacation of a lifetime.
What my husband and I liked:
Embarkation: Smooth, efficient, quick, and without fanfare. We especially liked that there were no sales pitches or photo promotions before getting to our room.
Dining: Authentic French croissants, French baguettes, fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies for breakfast, Cappuccino and expresso options for breakfast and in bar near library, fresh seafood salad for lunch- it was a foodie heaven - and those were outside the specialty restaurants. We loved the four specialty restaurants, especially Red Ginger and Polo a Grill. The variety of choices and quality was excellent wherever we went. We really liked that we could reserve ahead of embarkation. Our food waiters were accommodating, personable, and reliable, making dining a pleasure. It was harder to secure reservations at these after our initial reservations ended, but on the nights we ate in the Grand Dining Room, we thought the food was very good.
We took advantage of the Wine Spectator dining experience twice and very much enjoyed the menus and wine pairings both nights.
Afternoon tea at 4 PM with white gloved service and live classical music was amazing and the icing on the cake of luxury. Happy Hour at Horizons was festive and the band worked hard to accommodate requests.
A Negative: Purchasing the seven bottle wine package was a hassle. Upon boarding we were directed to the main reception desk where we were given brochures for the two more expensive wine packages. When we persisted in the seven bottle package , we were redirected to a bar , where we were redirected to a restaurant. We were then told to purchase from our first sommelier. That night our sommelier told us “ no , you don’t want to purchase the package. It’s better to buy by the bottle.” We knew it wasn’t. The next day we were finally able to buy the 7 bottle package. On our final night, our sommelier told us our package was done. We asked to see our consumption history. A half hour later, we were told we indeed had a bottle left. Our wine package experience was disappointing.
The stateroom: we really liked our room, 10091. It was quiet and near a main elevator and stairway. We found the room adequate in size with ample closet space and drawer space for our clothes, and I’m not a light packer! I really liked that the desk doubled as a vanity for hair drying and styling. We also liked having a couch and coffee table for the few times we wanted to relax in the room. Our bed was very comfortable and the linens were sumptuous.
The bathroom was pretty and modern. As others have said, it’s a bit odd because there is a separate and smallish ( for average size people) shower stall and a full bathtub with shower. My husband used the bathtub the first night; I used the tub shower the next morning, but we found it most useful for hanging wet swimsuits and beach shoes because of the handy laundry line attached to both ends of the tub.
We loved the balcony and used it to rejuvenate daily.
Bathroom Storage space for toiletries was generous and exceeded my expectations.
Housekeeping service was efficient, friendly, and reliable.
Canyon Ranch Spa: This was one of the highlights of the ship. We opted for the six massage package and enjoyed our experiences very much. Anzelika was a caring, skilled professional who gave me some great tips and resources to use at home. I had a free orthotic consultation and came away better informed about how to take care of my arches.
My husband and I loved the spa guest sun deck area, the wave chaise, and the separate sauna and steam room facilities.
A negative: I added a manicure appointment near the end of the trip. It became a jarring surprise when my technician was tardy and then discourteous and haughty. This was the only cruise staff I encountered in 10 days who wasn’t friendly and professional.
Ports: We loved all the ports. We especially liked renting bikes on our own from locals in Fakarava and just walking and exploring on our own in Rangiroa. We chose the 8 ‘free’ excursions as part of our cruise and liked most but found our choices of excursions were limited to mostly bus tours. We found our guides very informative but some of the same themes were repeated: pearl farms and ancient ceremonial sites. Our favorite excursion was a separate one we booked that took us out for snorkeling and swimming. Next time I would choose the ship credit and book excursions on my own.
Disembarkation: Smooth, efficient, organized.
Even though there were a few negatives, Oceania Marina delivered an outstanding experience filled with relaxing, luxurious amenities and features.
Although our room felt small, we liked all the amenities and features it came with. We particularly liked having a Landry room with an iron on our floor. We also fully used the free laundry service up to three laundry bags. We liked our room location, near a main elevator and stairway but far enough away to be quiet. We only visited the Concierge a Reading Room once as we didn’t see a need to use it. We loved having a private balcony and rejuvenated there. The bed was comfortable with sumptuous linens. Although some have complained about the awkward placement of the closet, my husband and I simply took turns using it. It was generously sized and with the drawer space beside it and in other furniture, there was plenty of clothing and accessory storage space. The bathroom was pretty and modern. The stand alone shower stall was a bit small, and I’m not a large person. Although I liked the adjacent tub shower best, we used the bathtub with shower combination mostly for hanging wet swimsuits and beach shoes because of the laundry line that could be hung end to end. Our designated housekeeping staff person was friendly, reliable, and thorough. All in all, I’d choose this room category again.