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Marina Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
713 Reviews

Oceania over the top in Tahiti and French Polynesia

Marina Cruise Review by njtravelcritic

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2018
  • Destination: the South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite

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

njtravelcritic's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite
Cabin VS 10000

Magnificent cabin. Decorated nicely. Like the front of the ship while entering islands. Exercise room not really used much by us, but if you want to bike, its nice. Great king bed, very comfortable. Huge closets, lots of storage. 2 bathrooms, one huge, marble and large spa tub. Showers good, tad small as compared to the overall size of the master bath.

Outside veranda tub with TV. Huge veranda with lounges. Dinner on veranda nice. Big TVs and sound. Satellite Internet slow, no streaming as they say in the brochure,deal with it.

Like the extras, daily canapes, fruit, in room dining, liquor in room, bar, fridge, binoculars, early boarding, etc.

Windy while underway but loved waking up early to see ship entering the islands which more than made up for that. . Salt water pool on-deck was nice.

Light switches confusing, many many lights and switches in multiple locations. Turning of all the lights was a minor challenge after some wine.

Booked the Vista again on another cruise. Had to do a Penthouse on another as the Vista was booked. Seems it sells out first, so book early.

Happy Sails.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Tahiti (Papeete)

Spent pre-cruise time in Tahiti at the Inter-Continental. Took a taxi tour on our own. Far side of the island nicer. Liked the falls and the garden and over water bungalo. Downtown Tahiti was similar to the Caribbean, metro and not much to see in the way of tourist sights. Market was interesting for an hour or so.


Nice town, walked around and did some shopping. Took it easy and soaked up some local culture.Friendly people. Some shopping and local island crafts for purchase. Nice glimpse of Polynesian culture including their focus on tourism.

Belvedere Lookout

Great photo op. Went here on an excursion from our cruise. Don't know how the full size bus made it up this windy road but it was worth the trip. Great views and photo op. May want to bring some bug spray if you plan on staying awhile. Great panorama of the bay.

View All 15 Belvedere Lookout Reviews
Tiki Village Theatre

Nothing much going on here. Was a little disappointed. Here as part of a bus tour. Just some snacks and gift shops. No really authentic Polynesian village things. Touristy place. If you go here, try and do it when there is a show or something going on. They could do a lot more here to make it interesting. Empty amphitheater with nothing going on. Basically closed this day except for a Polynesian princess in a coconut bra for a photo op.apointing. Basically a gift shop. No show and a brief description of a pig roast.

View All 1 Tiki Village Theatre Reviews
Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Nice guide, nice ride on the lagoon. I am a diver, went for my non-diver wife to see the reef so the reefs were so-so in my opinion. Non divers or novices would enjoy it more. Expensive from the ship.

View All 9 Glass Bottom Boat Tour Reviews
Pearl Farms

Booked this from the Oceania cruise, only to find the Gaugain farm offers a free shuttle, so save yourself some money.

Otherwise this was a nice presentation. Very informative. Nice live demonstration on seeding and harvesting pearls. No pressure. Nice quality pearls for sale. Seemed more expensive than some we have seen, but I am not an expert on quality.

Was a real pearl farm not just a gift shop "farm" from what I could see.

View All 5 Pearl Farms Reviews
Fare Potee

Was here as part of an overall tour. Interesting history lesson on Polynesia. The guide is what makes the tour and their knowledge/presentation of how it was in ancient Polynesia.. Disappointed we did not get inside the replica Marae though as it was closed for the holiday it seemed..

View All 1 Fare Potee Reviews
Island Tour

Great tour guide and great tour. Hit all the spots on the Island on one tour. Very informative and friendly. The trip included the ancient fishing traps, Vanilla Shop, pearl shop/farm, sacred eel feeding, archaeological site, town, etc. Great photo tour. Guide was very informative and helpful.

Liked this tour very much, in-depth and inclusive. Best way to see the island in my opinion

View All 11 Island Tour Reviews
Pearl Farm

Nice little shop in the middle of a lagoon. Short boat ride to the place. Did not see a "farm" but there was an explanation of pearl oysters and how they are seeded. Nice shop and staff was helpful. Prices seemed competitive. Scenic location.

View All 2 Pearl Farm Reviews

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