This was originally the first segment of an around the world cruise. There were a couple of Itinerary changes prior to departure due to countries not allowing travel. We were disappointed that we would finish the segment in Papeete vs. continuing on to Auckland. New Zealand, Fiji, American Samoa, along with some ports in French Polynesia were cancelled. Oceania added two days in San Francisco and an additional day in Honolulu. We decided to go on the cruise since we hadn't been able to travel for two years due to COVID. Embarkation was a bit difficult due to Oceania requiring COVID testing prior to boarding. The entire process ended up taking about two hours. Prior to departure, on December 18 2021, Oceania instituted a masking requirement, which meant that anytime a passenger was in a public space, except while eating or drinking in a restaurant, a mask was required. One other requirement was that any time a cabin attendant came in for the morning cleaning or evening turn down, passengers had to be out of the cabin. Couldn't even remain on the veranda during this time. There was passenger COVID testing prior to arriving at the first port in French Polynesia. The ship was due to overnight in LA and before we departed we were informed that we wouldn't be going to San Francisco due to a huge COVID spike there and the SF government wouldn't let us port. Instead, we went to San Diego for two days. The downside there was that there were no tour options, town shuttles, or notifications on things we could do there. For interesting things that we were either told or found out in conversations, there were only 337 passengers on the ship that could berth 684. 254 of the passengers were on the around the world cruise. I was also told the crew was getting COVID tested every week. Due to the light load, crew members were asking passengers if they wanted additional reservations in the specialty restaurants. After leaving San Diego, the big itinerary change, which did not affect us, was that After French Polynesia, rather than continuing around the world, the ship would head back to San Diego, then through the canal to the Caribbean. After stopping at many ports there, the ship would continue to the Mediterranean and stop at many ports there, then ports in the Baltic before the last segment of Lisbon to New York. Since the cruise was no longer 'Around the World', Oceania offered to return passengers home along the way of the new itinerary. I heard there was compensation for those that did leave the cruise. Other things that were not related to Oceania changes to or cancellation of some tours. Due to the light passenger load, the crew was extremely attentive, being able to spend more time with individuals. There were three crew members that were on the last cruise we were on. Amazing that we were remembered and greeted us by name when we walked into the Terrace Cafe. Another thing was that they split the Captain's Greeting and Oceania Ambassador's get together into three groups to avoid everyone together at once.
One thing that we have noticed is the quality of food has slipped a bit over the last couple of Oceania cruises that we have been on. Seems that it may have started about the time Oceania fell under NCL. Dining was still very good.
We don't normally participate with the shows or most of the other joint activities. I would add that with the upgrades to the cabins, the video system was changed and upgraded significantly. no more checking out DVDs. Although we didn't spend a lot of time watching movies, we watched more that we have on any other cruise. also there were other additions to the video system that were nice to have.