Just as introduction: I like Oceania's smaller ships a little bit better than their bigger ones, but mostly we choose by itinerary. We're Oceania regulars, but occasionally cruise on Viking Ocean, which we also love. We've also cruised about 4 times on other ships. We were happy to find that Oceania's quality had not gone down in the year plus it had been since we had last cruised. The itinerary was what we like, and what Oceania generally offers -- a mixture between lesser-known ports and better-known ports, with a decent ratio of port to sea days, as I really like being in a port almost every day. However, when you're cruising a large country/continent like Australia, you have more sea days than expected. I managed.
Service and food were still wonderful (with a few exceptions, of course - nobody's perfect, and each person's taste is different). The crowd was a little older than usual, and there were a good number of Aussies and Kiwis on board, which is a first for me. Most of the people had been on the cruise for the previous cruise or had embarked Dec. 6 to do a circumnavigation of Australia, embarking/disembarking in Sydney. There were only about 80 of us embarking in Bali of the completely full ship (788 max, I believe).
Regatta was re-furbished maybe 4 months ago, and it is now nicer than when I cruised on her last. I loved the new, more modern and light decor and furniture in our stateroom (we were in an inside cabin) and the enhancements to the TV system, although I mostly used the TV to watch/listen to port talks/enrichments lectures/destination talks rather than movies or music. It seemed like there was more space in the bathroom for things - plenty of room, and not on shelves, but hidden behind the mirrored cabinet. I also liked the two part mirrored cabinet, as I could put things I used a lot in that part of the cabinet and just open that part. The new hooks were nice, but I would have preferred if my spouse had NOT hung things up there. I should have made HIM sleep on that side of the bed to solve the (tiny) issue of having to walk carefully to avoid hitting clothing and a backpack when going to bed!
Our cabin steward, Rosario from Goa, India, was absolutely the best we've ever had, in all our Oceania cruises, plus on other cruise lines. When I heard he alone would be cleaning our cabin, I was thinking his attention to detail might be stretched, since on our last couple cruises, the steward had a helper. But Rosario kept our room immaculate, and he was extremely personable/friendly, while still being professional. He read my quirky husband like a book, which made for some fun times.
Service throughout the ship was excellent; so was the food. We really liked some of the lesser-popular food at Waves (salmon, for example - real salmon, not salmon cake!). We ate dinner on the Terrace a lot, and sat outside a lot if it was warm enough. We didn't eat in the Grand Dining Room a lot, but when we did, we asked for a fast waiter and a 2-person table. Julio was great.
We seldom take very many ship offered excursions, but the ones we took were quite good. We enjoyed the free internet, although at times it could get a little bogged down, and ran slow. But using it at dinner time through bed time or first thing in the morning solved that problem for me. And while only one person (device) per stateroom can receive it for free (at least in an inside cabin; not sure about suites), that was no problem for us.
Cruise director Corey Powell did a great job. There were the usual activities and entertainment, although I didn't go to many of the shows or even the activities. I'm just not much of a "doer" on any cruise ship. My spouse had a great time doing activities, though, especially the trivia. Entertainment, as is the case with Oceania, was not the splashy affairs that the larger ships have. However, it seemed certainly adequate for my spouse and I. There were some local Australian performers brought on for a show, which was nice. Lecturers were good. My husband liked seeing the Southern Cross with a group of people and the enrichment lecturer, who covered astronomy, history and nature topics.
There were some nice touches for Christmas and the New Year's Eve party was great.
There were a couple disappointments due to missed ports (weather, etc.) but I've learned that those are just a part of cruising, and so I roll with the punches if they occur. Of course, it didn't help that we cruised when Australia was experiencing far-reaching bush fires and high winds in the SE part of the country.
The ports we visited were great, and Australia really seems to roll out the carpet for cruisers in many ports.
Overall, I thought it was a fabulous cruise, and my opinion of Oceania remains high. I will no doubt cruise with them again.
We like the F inside cabins because location is great - midship (never far to walk), not way in the bottom of the ship, not far from The Terrace, where we spend a lot of time.
The bathrooms & shower are a little small, but fine. I liked the extra storage space there.
Love the new look, with lighter decor and more modern furnishings and furniture. Spouse liked the hooks.
Went to Bali 3 days early (highly recommend doing this), hired Dewa Gede email@example.com, +6285 238 493 089) for transportation from airport, to port, and to Ubud, Bali. Had wonderful days of touring with Dewa, seeing places in and around Ubud, including Goa Gajah, a dance performance in Batu bulan, Sangeh Monkey Forest, Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets, Jatiluwih Rice Fields, a blessing ceremony, temples, a waterfall, Sanur beach area, etc. Best part of our month long trip. Highly recommend going to Bali early if you can, hiring a driver/guide (Dewa was awesome, and quite inexpensive) and getting up to Ubud. Likewise, if your ship is in Benoa port for a day, hire a driver, or if your ship is in port for 2 days, stay overnight in Ubud. There's a lot to see between the port and Ubud, but not much to see around the port itself.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Tried to arrange a taxi trip pre-cruise to get me to the lighthouse on the other side of Geraldton from where we docked. That fell through, so walked to the lighthouse and back, then found Midwest Adventure Tours, and we took a 3 hour tour of the gorgeous HMAS memorial, plus maritime museum (OK), Old Gaol & Craft center, and one or two other places.
Loved Rottnest, and did it on our own to save money. All you need to do is walk down the main road about 10-15 minutes to get to the ferries for Rottnest. I booked ahead of time to make sure we wouldn't lose out. In particular, the ride back should probably be booked in advance, as you certainly don't want to miss your cruise ship's departure. We were in Fremantle until 4, which meant it was important for us to get an early ferry to Rottnest, and to allow time coming back in case something happened. It didn't. Note, however, that there are 2 ferry companies, and you can take one ferry there and one ferry back. While on Rottnest, we took the Explorer Bus around, and got off at a place not too far from the lighthouse (though uphill). Then we got back on the bus and went back to the little town for lunch and to photograph the quokkas. Then I went to find the other lighthouse and by then it was almost time to go back to the ferry dock. Rottnest is beautiful and different and we were glad we chose to go there rather than go to Perth.View All 1 Rottnest Island Reviews
I researched pre-trip and found that the Busy Blue Bus was going to offer at least one small bus trip to the Natural Gap, which interested me. The price and time worked for me, so that's what I did. It was fun and worthwhile - spent time at a windmill farm, got to see some wonderful landscapes not far from Albany, and would recommend this tour to just about anyone, unless you can only walk short distances, as there was a decent amount of walking, and occasionally scrambling around!
Nothing really grabbed me here, so we just went to the Botanic Garden and Zoo via trams. Adelaide, however, is nice in that you basically walk about the equivalent of 1 1/2 blocks to get on a tram that goes downtown. But it's a 40 minute ride, so you may want to just take a ship's excursion here! Zoo was OK, nothing special, but at least we saw Australian animals for the first time!
So much to do in Melbourne, so little time! We went to the central business district by trams 109 and 35, including Chinatown. It was OK. Then after lunch I went to St Kilda - pretty fun if you like to do photography. I fell in love with Luna Park.
For the money, I enjoyed it. Also, it was nice that it was offered same day; you did not have to reserve in advance. There were about 3 tours offered that way, same day, from Makers Workshop. (Makers is where you are shuttled to, as Burnie's port is very secure.) I was happy to see a lighthouse on this tour, and to see part of Tasmania's beautiful scenery. Hellyer's Distillery stop was good; not a whisky lover, but the cream one I tasted was yummy, and the place and setting very attractive. All in all, it was a good tour, but nothing special. The waterfall was pretty but there hadn't been a lot of rain, so not spectacular. Fern Glade is pretty but it's unlikely you'll see a platypus. Table Cape stop was nice, with good views and the lighthouse in the distance, but be aware it's just a stop with views. I enjoyed the tour but when we were back in Burnie I took a customized tour with That's the Spirit that was much better - though more expensive! Good things about Burnie include that there's a shuttle that takes you to the shopping/eating area of town as well as a stop by several museums. And the Makers Workshop is beautiful and fun. Don't forget to go out back and look for little penguins in the concrete burrows below the boardwalk nearby. You'll likely have to get down on all fours to see any, if they're there during the day! I didn't but someone on the cruise DID. You can also see your ship from there.View All undefined undefined Reviews