We chose the cruise for its itinerary. We wanted to got to French Polynesia and had never cruised across the South Pacific with such exotic locations as the Pitcarin Islands and Easter Island. The flight over allowed us to visit one daughter & family in California out the way over and ended in New York where a second daughter lives. A bonus was a scheduled stop in Norfolk with even more family.
Past cruises have shown us that Oceania really takes great care of its guests in the top suites. We were booked in a penthouse but wanted an Oceania Suite. About 3 months prior to sailing, an Owners Suite came available for leg one and in January the same cabin came available for leg 2. We call that cruise karma.
From the moment we stepped on the ship we were treated with the best service available. We had the head butler at our disposal (he has only 3 cabins and supervises the other butlers). This gentleman made the cruise for us. He got us into the restaurants we wanted when we wanted and was always available for anything else.
At 2000 square feet, the suite was larger than my wife's first house. We had a bedroom with a separate bath and his and her closets. The foyer was our favorite as it had a fully stocked bar, sofa and grand piano that was a modern day player piano. The living room had a desk, table for 6 and full sofa. Everything was Ralph Loren, right down to the drink coasters and candy trays. With the number of sea days and with poor weather in the first week after leaving French Polynesia, we found our suite even more enjoyable.
Unfortunately everything did not stay perfect. First, we missed the port call at Easter Island. The weather was great but there were ocean swells entering the tender harbor. Many were mad but we understand that this was just bad luck and, having done our homework, we realized that this was a real possibility. We booked an independent shore excursion there and as a result lost half of our prepaid excursion cost.
Lima was mid cruise change out day. All was well but unbeknownst to us, someone brought aboard the dreaded GI disease. This was not our first experience with GI and Oceania. It is not a pretty site. Within 2 days of leaving Lima we started to see items disappear like the sugar bowls in the coffee bar. Next comes the announcement that if you feel sick, see the doctor for a free consultation (buyer beware - they do not say free treatment - see one of my previous Oceania reviews to learn about how Oceania will completely empty your pockets if you visit the medical center. When they hit the high level - 20 -30 people sick, service stinks. When entering a restaurant, there is nothing but a bare table cloth. Anything you can touch that can be removed is. The putting green is closed, but interestingly, live goes on as normal in the casino and ad in any other retail or money activities. We retreated to our room and used room service a bit more than we had been. The really bad part of this is that they keep the ship at this "protocol" until the GI is eradicated. It was almost over in central america (after a week) but 2 more came down with the GI. The end result was that the ship went back to normal only 3 days prior to the end of the cruise, so the total time under the sad conditions was 12 days in total. I suspect that other reviews will point this out.
On departure from Miami we were informed that we would skip Norfolk and put into Port Canaveral. Good call. A check of the internet indicated 26 foot seas around Cape Hatteras and we would not have enjoyed it. I missed seeing my sister in Norfolk, but such is life.
Sail into New York was mid-day and was an event everyone should get to experience. We sat on our expansive back deck and enjoyed the arrival with a room service lunch.
Our travel agent has always warned us that Oceania lacks in entertainment. It did. Lectures weren't great, save for the Easter Island resident historian who prepped us for the visit that did not occur. The on board cast and guest entertainers were mediocre at best with the exception of a Vegas entertainer aboard the last week who was heads and shoulders above anything we had seen the entire 34 days aboard. This is not a high priority for us as the show mainly keeps us from going to bed too early.
Overall, I would rate the cruise at a 4.5 if I could. I have been very critical of Oceania in the past, we are not likely to go again on the older smaller ships, but this one was great save for the unavoidable missed ports and GI experience. We are likely to book the larger Oceania Ship again, but only if we can get one of the top suites. We normally travel with Regent, Crystal or Seabourn but this experience was equal to or better than those lines.
2000 square feet of Ralph Lauren luxury. It was far better than expected and actually worth the money.