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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We have sailed with Oceania before, but this was our first time on their Regatta ship. We chose this cruise because of its itinerary which included ports of call in New Zealand, the west coast of Australia, Komodo Island, and ended in ... Read More
We have sailed with Oceania before, but this was our first time on their Regatta ship. We chose this cruise because of its itinerary which included ports of call in New Zealand, the west coast of Australia, Komodo Island, and ended in Bali. Most of the other cruise lines visit just the ports in New Zealand and Sydney resulting in a shorter cruise. Oceania's 24 day cruise was worth our while to endure the long flights to and from our home in Vancouver, BC. Other incentives to buy this cruise included: free air, free unlimited internet usage, plus another discount of our choice from excursions/beverage package/onboard ocean credit. Other credits from Oceania and our travel agent covered the tips and a couple of bottles of wine resulting in few additional charges at the end of the trip. Oceania booked their customers into Auckland's luxurious Sofitel Hotel located just a few blocks from the port where Regatta would be docked. We arrived at the hotel at 7:30am and had to wait for a room - not the best thing to hear after a red-eye flight! Other than that inconvenience, I would highly recommend this luxurious modern hotel. Our room was not the ordinary hotel room due to the finishes, the coffee/tea bar, the large bathroom with separate deep tub and roomy shower, the floor to ceiling windows along one wall, the fluffy bathrobe and slippers, and crisp bedding on a very comfortable bed that even had a number of decorator pillows on it. The difference between this lovely hotel room/hotel and our veranda stateroom on Regatta was noticeable on the first day aboard the ship, but we quickly adjusted to the confined space. Our room, the bathroom, public areas of the ship and dining areas were what we expected from our previous cruises on Oceania. Embarkation in Auckland was not a quick process. We had to stand in line in the cruise terminal for over an hour as the limited crew slowly processed the crowd of people who had turned up from several bus transfers all at the same time. Other than that day, Oceania handled our entrances and exits very well. The Destination staff were well organized in getting the various groups on excursions to their appointed buses. However, the destination staff both on the ship and in the Miami office gave incorrect information about docking locations for Sydney (not Circular Quay but White Bay) and for Brisbane (not Portside but Port of Brisbane) which matters when private tours have been arranged. In addition, the Destination Staff on board gave incorrect information in the ship's daily Currents about the starting times for the complimentary bus service between the port and downtown. These buses provided service right from the time of docking, not after all of Oceania's excursions had left the ship. On other occasions like in Wellington, the Destination staff abroad the ship were unaware of the drop off/pickup location of these complimentary buses in the city. Often these locations are the Visitor's Center but not so in Wellington which uses the bus stop at the corner of Brandon and Featherstone St - a 10 minute walk from the Visitor's Center. We appreciated these complimentary bus rides from port to CBD with their frequent departure times. The ship's arrival and departure times at the various ports were on time and as published. We are familiar with the high cost of Oceania's excursions and thus made our own arrangements to see the sights in most of the ports of call. When there was a great distance to travel between the port and the attraction we were interested in (to Christchurch, to Hunter Valley, to the temples in Bali) we bought an excursion. Unfortunately, for Komodo Island we had to buy the expensive ship excursion in order to get off the ship to see the Komodo Dragons. This excursion turned out to be a 2 hour guided walk on a pathway in the rainforest with a quick view of a group of Komodo Dragons - not good value IMO. The food on board the ship was always excellent with much choice at each meal and venue. We used all venues - the Grand Dining room, the Terrace Cafe, Waves, Polo, and Toscana. The service was excellent wherever we ate from friendly wait staff (Asian and Eastern European) who couldn't do enough to make your meal the best. The menus are on a 2 week rotation, so on a long voyage the repetition is welcomed as one gets to try items overlooked before or to indulge in those enjoyed before. When the Terrace Cafe closes at 2:30, the Waves poolside cafe provides grilled meat sandwiches and a salad bar. Every afternoon tea was served in Horizons from 4-5 which included delicious crab finger sandwiches and baked sweets. Cookies were available all day at the baristas. Coffee machine was open 24/7 in the Terrace Cafe. There were several extravagances - the grand afternoon high tea, the Sunday brunch, the captain's free cocktail meet and greet. Each was looked forward to and met our expectations. All were never charged extra. The usual on board entertainment was available for those wishing to participate. We usually got up early and, with the heat, we found ourselves ready for bed soon after dinner. However, we did listen to a few string quartet recitals, the pianist in the cocktail bar, the British lecturer on Asian countries, 2 Australian comedians, one cooking demo, and a couple of newly released movies from the movie channel in our room. I dipped into the small pool a couple of times, but usually spent time reading on our shady veranda instead of on the loungers around the pool. The ship provided many other activities and services I have not commented on like the spa, the exercise room, the walking area, room service, polynesian crafts, bridge, trivia, bingo, etc. The public areas of the ship were well air conditioned as were our rooms - so needed in tropic weather. The ship provided 2 computers in the library which I preferred to use as they were closer to my stateroom than those in the computer room at the other end of the ship. Getting an internet account was easy and the attendant answered questions quickly. The internet connection was relatively fast. Those times when loading was slow, I was glad I wasn't paying by the minute for internet use. Also, the library with its leather chairs and upholstered sofas provided a quiet, bright place to relax while reading. The book shelves were filled with a variety of reading materials - fiction, nonfiction, reference books - but some did look uninviting due to age. Don't expect to find many newly released bestsellers on these shelves. We enjoyed our 24 day cruise on Regatta and look forward to another cruise with Oceania booked while aboard to gain some additional discounts. There were no problems with this cruise - everything went as laid out in the brochure. The captain informed us daily at noon about the weather, the course, and sailing times. Communication about the ports and daily activities arrived in our cabins the night before. The room, the public areas, the food, the service was all as expected. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our second Oceania cruise, and we loved it as much as our first (5 years ago on the larger Riviera ship). Fantastic service from all staff members, who work exceptionally hard and yet always have smiles and positive attitudes. ... Read More
This was our second Oceania cruise, and we loved it as much as our first (5 years ago on the larger Riviera ship). Fantastic service from all staff members, who work exceptionally hard and yet always have smiles and positive attitudes. And they know you by name within a couple of days, which simply amazes me. We love the food, both in the Grand Dining Room and the Terrace Cafe, and they are great about accommodating a gluten-free diet. Another plus for me is that the chairs in both venues are very comfortable. The two specialty restaurants were not a big draw for us because of our food preferences (and we missed having Red Ginger, which was on the larger Riviera ship). The Regatta is not new or recently refurbished, but they keep it exceptionally clean and tidy. It hardly ever felt crowded and we could easily find places to sit and lounge. Even the few mornings when the breakfast buffet was exceptionally busy, there was none of the elbowing or jostling you tend to get on other ships. We enjoyed the small ship and longer cruise, as it allowed us to meet more people and really make friends. We did not attend any of the enrichment lectures or evening shows, but heard from others that both were good. We did enjoy playing trivia, chatting with new friends during happy hour, reading and relaxing - all while being waited on hand and foot :-) Without referring to the itinerary, I think we had 6 ports in New Zealand, 6 ports in Australia, and 2 ports in Indonesia on our 24-day cruise. A couple of the ports were not exciting - Newcastle and Cooktown. We would have appreciated an extra day in Sydney and perhaps a day in Melbourne instead. However, we enjoyed most of the ports and were fortunate to have good weather throughout our cruise. Oceania's shore excursions are not a good value. While they are well-organized, they are very over-priced and often don't live up to the description given in the brochure. We only did 2 shore excursions through Oceania and booked the rest privately. We unfortunately missed one of our private excursions which was to be all-day, but our ship arrived in port 2 hours later than expected because of a medical emergency and headwinds the day before. This is a risk you run with private excursions, but we've always done relatively well going the private route. If you are not already aware, Oceania cruisers tend to be in the 50 and up age bracket (mostly "and up"). No problem for us even though we are at the low end of that range. We had a fantastic cruise and would do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise bc of Oceania's reputation for good service. But the service we got was horrible. Every time we had to interact with someone (anyone) from guest services, the responses were invariably "what did YOU do to ... Read More
We chose this cruise bc of Oceania's reputation for good service. But the service we got was horrible. Every time we had to interact with someone (anyone) from guest services, the responses were invariably "what did YOU do to screw this up, valued passengers of ours?" Almost every port of call had a major mishap - either we had to miss 2 due to weather, the tender was hours late, they had the wrong gangway out, they dropped us off at the wrong spot to retrieve a shuttle back to the ship and left us standing in the rain for 90 minutes, etc etc. It ended up that we spent an extra 2.5 days at sea - out of a 13 day cruise bc of weather, but NO efforts were made to help make up for the missed shore excursions. The lecturer was OK, although his style was disjointed, and with so much time at sea, the bridge experts became the only option to fight off boredom. Unfortunately, they were both controlling ladies who would not let the passengers play the game - instead monopolizing the play. We were never welcomed to the ship, and they could not wait to get us off the vessel either (admittedly, we couldn't wait to leave, so that worked out great) We would NEVER consider cruising with Oceania again. Save your money and go for a better, and more affordable cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Looking for cruise in warmer location in the winter. Never visited NZ/AUS. Heard good things about Oceania. Liked small ship. Regatta is "Old" but we did not notice any particular defects. We had two ports cancelled due to ... Read More
Looking for cruise in warmer location in the winter. Never visited NZ/AUS. Heard good things about Oceania. Liked small ship. Regatta is "Old" but we did not notice any particular defects. We had two ports cancelled due to stormy weather for safety reasons. Disappointing but beyond control of Oceania. Cost of missed tours was refunded. No mechanical problems that we were aware of. Embarkation went smoothly. We had priority boardung due to cabin location. Fairly large que for concierge class and below at the check in. Rooms onboard not ready until about 1:30 PM. Everyone ends up in the buffet line until room is ready. Cabin air conditioning somewhat loud, but not overpowering. We did not find the electric outlets a problem. All of our plugin equipment worked on 220V. Room came with a Laptop computer. This device is only useful for using the internet. It can't upload any personal files (thumb drive) or save anything like camera downloads. So, bring your own laptop if you need to do any serious work. Overall a positive experience. Would book Oceania again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My wife and I chose Oceania because the company had a good reputation among some of our friends, who are seasoned travelers. We had been satisfied with previous cruise lines, i.e., Crystal, but Oceania had the best travel time for us. Our ... Read More
My wife and I chose Oceania because the company had a good reputation among some of our friends, who are seasoned travelers. We had been satisfied with previous cruise lines, i.e., Crystal, but Oceania had the best travel time for us. Our excitement of seeing the Regatta from the outside gave way to gross disappointment when first taking in the so-called renovated interior. It had a very dated appearance, reminiscent of the first cruise we took 43 years ago. This view was shared by all of our many friends, whom we were fortunate enough to meet on board. Apparently, the other Oceania ships are nicer. That being said, the ship was spotlessly clean. Our stewards were a highlight of the trip and basically served as our private concierges. Otherwise, service was a mixed bag. By in large, it was excellent throughout, but with several glitches. For example, we requested morning coffee in our cabin. The waiters were as nice as could be, yet we often had to call several times because our order had been forgotten. In another instance, a sommelier had total screwed up our bill that we had to stay for an extra 20 minutes till he tried unsuccessfully to straight it out. Many of our friends did not like the food, but we did. Helping size was small but typically we can always ask for more. We are both fish eaters and were astonished to find out that they rarely served fresh fish. As a result frozen lobsters were terrible. We complained to the head chefs in 2 restaurants, who noted that it was company policy? Yet, huge fish markets at most ports. Humm! The speciality restaurants (Polo and Toscano) were hardly special. All fluff with no stuff. Menus did not change. 2 bad entrees there! Indian and Asian buffets were exceptional with legitimate native choices. Wine was good with a large selection and rather inexpensive! Passengers were disappointed that the ship did not dock at Akoroa (Christ Church) and we bypassed Milford Sound, ostensibly because of bad weather. No fault of of the ship unless the captain made a bad choice. The costs of excursions were out of sight and inflexible. We booked only one trip with Oceania for a 10 hour drive along the Great Ocean Road in Geelong. Because my wife wasn’t feeling well, we had to cx, but they would not return money even though there was a waiting list. Shame on them! Fortunately, I had made reservations in all of the other ports with private companies at a fraction of the Oceania cost and greater flexibility We were very pleased with global Viator and local Zealandier. Both were communicative and provided great tour guides. Opting for the WiFi package saved us a lot of money, but the bandwidth was weak and no more than one device can be used at a time. Ancient! Entertainment was good to excellent, even though the showman always catered to an older audience. Enrichment activities were inadequate. The ship needs at least one nationally recognized presenter per cruise. The laundry room was a disaster! Only 3 operating washer-dryers for 600+ passengers. 3 hours to wash underwear in a small hot room with guests who paid a lot of money needing to sit on the floor! Really? The bottom line is that we like cruising will not ever use Oceania. The value is overrated! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We have been on about 20 cruises, but this was our first Oceana cruise. We wanted something more upscale to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday. We were extremely disappointed in the cruise. Several weeks prior to sailing, we were ... Read More
We have been on about 20 cruises, but this was our first Oceana cruise. We wanted something more upscale to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday. We were extremely disappointed in the cruise. Several weeks prior to sailing, we were offered an upgrade from a balcony to concierge cabin for $500. We took the offer - big mistake. The cabin we got was 6000, in the front of the ship. Unfortunately it was right over the Sirena lounge, and was incredibly noisy when there was a show, or a rehearsal. Then at night we were awakened by someone coughing in the adjoining room - the walls are paper thin. In the morning it was even noisier when the ship was docking or lowering the anchor. The cabin was a nightmare. We did complain, and Oceana did offer us a cabin in the back of the ship. It, however, had quite a vibration from the engines. On the plus side, service was exceptional. Food was good, although not any better than Celebrity. We had expected more. Shore excursions were not that good and overpriced, In some places the buses were old and had no air conditioning. That had been mentioned in advance, but it is the tropics and the tours were very hot. In some cases the guides gave us incorrect information or reported myths as facts. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the fact that it went to Milford Sound. The day we were in Milford Sound was amazing. The normally shrouded in clouds location was bright and sunny and clear, which made viewing of the glaciers, ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and the fact that it went to Milford Sound. The day we were in Milford Sound was amazing. The normally shrouded in clouds location was bright and sunny and clear, which made viewing of the glaciers, mountains, waterfalls just spectacular. Oceania does a very good job in many areas. Food is always beautifully presented and delicious. The selections are varied. What we had issues with on this cruise were our cabin location (read below), the VERY SLOW internet, the choice of a couple of ports that were nothing ports when we could have or should have spent an overnight in Sydney or Bribane or Auckland, rather than Eden, Cooktown, which we missed anyway due to rough seas for the tender, and Darwin. Cost of a cocktail with an automatic 18% upcharge is just not right especially when a martini or Cosmo is served in a 1/2 pour baby glass unless you get it in "Martini's" lounge. Staff was outstanding. Entertainment so so. Ship was clean but they were varnishing the stair railings so you had to put up with that smell for most of the cruise. I would take another Oceania cruise as we like their itineraries and the low number of passengers. Everyone we met was well traveled and lovely. There were only 2 children on this cruise and they were on the 180 day around the world cruise. We were only on for a 23 day segment. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose the Auckland to Bali leg of the Insignia`s world cruise and were very happy with itinerary, Milford sound being a particular delight. The ship`s staff were universally helpful and friendly, the food just about the best of our 20 ... Read More
We chose the Auckland to Bali leg of the Insignia`s world cruise and were very happy with itinerary, Milford sound being a particular delight. The ship`s staff were universally helpful and friendly, the food just about the best of our 20 or so cruises, and the wine package reasonable. Having cruised on the larger Riviera we prefer the latter not least for the more roomy public areas and theatre, the latter on the Insignia suffeing from a petty flat floor and therefore restricted vews. This would have been a 5 star rating if it hadn`t been for three issues : - our package included free wifi - fortunate as this was very limited although one passenger did confirm it was better at 2.00 am in the morning. We were also restricted to only one device at a time meaning constantly switching between my wife and me - it was good to have a shuttle bus service in most ports where necessary, problem was that Oceania chose the low cost povider meaning erratic service with one wait of an hour for a 30 minute service. It was noticeable that the Princess line ship in two ports had a more regular timetable and better buses - and for a lower cost line come to that - were disembarked at Bali at 08.30, at the airport by 09.15 to find our airline desk not open until 16.00 hours resulting in a long wait in a hot airport with limited facilities and no possibility to go to the lounge which we had booked. On other cruises we have had the option to be transferred to a local hotel for the day with regular transfers to the airport, some free and other with a charge which we would have gladly paid. Not the way to end an enjoyable holiday with a long flight in prospect. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The service on this ship was outstanding! Staff were very friendly and very helpful. However the general operation of the ship seemed to be sadly lacking. We rarely saw or heard from the captain other than to give us our compass bearing. ... Read More
The service on this ship was outstanding! Staff were very friendly and very helpful. However the general operation of the ship seemed to be sadly lacking. We rarely saw or heard from the captain other than to give us our compass bearing. Entry into some of the ports was obviously very difficult because of the reefs. We heard from another passenger than the reef around I believe it was Samoa was second only to the Great Barriere Reef in size. Nothing from the captain. We had 5 days at sea. The sea was not that rough but the Marina really rocks from side to side. Not a pleasant experience. I DO realize that we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean but it seemed excessive for the roughness of the water. Although Oceania prides itself on its food, we were sadly disappointed. Red Ginger and Jacques were excellent but the other places to eat need improvement. I had the special of the day in Toscana - a white fish that tasted like mush. Of course they offered something else but not much fun eating by yourself when everyone else at the table is finished so I declined. We had dinner a couple of times in the Terrace buffet because they served Sushi. They had it only once at lunch. More often would be nice. One night I had paella in the Terrace Grill. Inedible and that was not just my opinion. Others said the same. On the last night aboard ship, we ate in the GDR so that we could finish in time to see the show. Wiener Schnitzel sounded lovely but was dry and absolutely tasteless. We asked for some type of condiment to help the taste and were told they had none. As it really was inedible, we left our dinner and went to the buffet for sushi. It is very lovely to have the ability to just go somewhere else but also very wasteful. Dress code in the dining rooms left much to be desired. If it is resort casual then that is what it should be. Not formal but not a tshirt either. I think the part that we disliked the most was the disembarkation process which started two full days before we were due to get off the ship. When we were still in Bora Bora, the ship info on the TV was all about how to disembark. WE STILL HAD ANOTHER PORT TO VISIT, There was not a word about Moorea or things to do there. Also two nights before we were due to leave the ship, they had the staff all come up on the stage as a Farewell. We still had another 36 hours on the ship. On the day we were in Moorea, the whole atmosphere on the ship seemed to change. They were now into gearing up mode for the next lot of passengers. On the final evening, the TV actually had a welcome greeting for the new passengers! The Tahitian dance show on the final night was wonderful! They could have had the staff come on stage that night and it would have been a much better farewell. Some ships have a wonderful deck party and staff parade on the last night which is much more of a send-off and a thank you to their departing passengers. Then of course there is the saga of the long wait in Papeete for flights home. This really isn't the fault of Oceania although when you book your fare includes air you do not expect to have to pay for a taxi to the airport. Needless to say we will Not be cruising with Oceania again. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I haven't published a review in some time, as many of the major cruise lines have thousands of reviews already and what can I add? But Oceania doesn't currently have that many reviews up, and certainly not many of this particular ... Read More
I haven't published a review in some time, as many of the major cruise lines have thousands of reviews already and what can I add? But Oceania doesn't currently have that many reviews up, and certainly not many of this particular cruise leg on Marina. This was our first cruise with Oceania. We were traveling with my spouses parents, who have been on 50 or so cruises, mostly on the majors. They are (to be blunt) jaded. We wanted this cruise to be special, as we go on relatively few cruises ourselves. The big question we had prior to setting sail was "is the increased cost of a line like Oceania worth it?" If so, we would prefer to go on fewer cruises and have a better experience. Did it end up being better? I will attempt to answer that question in this review. *The Package* It seems the big difference between Oceania and other cruise lines is the way they package their cruises for sale. 2 for 1 cruise fares. Airfare included. Free this. Free that. I think this is a big part of their value proposition. However, whether someone feels this is an actual value may differ from person to person. We had the free airfare, $400 per cabin shipboard credit, free wifi, and maybe a couple other minor concierge-level things. Soft drinks are free for everyone. There are no charges for the specialty restaurants. So with everything included, it seems the price was comparable to some Holland America cruises, where you make all those other arrangements yourself, and you pay extra on board for the other services. The cruise itself was free of the constant begging and upselling which can be a real nuisance on some cruise lines (looking at you, Celebrity!). One good thing about letting Oceania do all of the travel arrangements for you is that once you book your cruise, they will send you notices about upgrades, alternative itineraries, etc. which you can take advantage of if you haven't already made travel arrangements yourself. We were tempted to chose an alternative cruise offer (which would have given us a higher class of stateroom and some cash back), and the Oceania travel agency would have made all the changes for free. Plus, if they make the arrangements and there are delays or other problems, they fix it. The bad thing is that you are hostage to their arrangements, and you really have no say in when you leave, what seats you get, what airline, etc. If you value these things, and I do, it drives you crazy to be so powerless. You can have more control if you do their "Deviation Request" but this will cost extra. Bottom line: if you like having someone else in control of the arrangements, this is a big convenience and they do an OK job. If you don't want to sit in the cattle section, pay for the business class upgrades. If you want to fly in a couple days early, pay for the deviation request. Their travel agents are competent and able to fulfill most any request...for a price. *The Food* Oceania makes much of the fact they "spend the most per passenger on food!" Perhaps they do. There sure is a lot of food. On the 3 larger ships they have 4 specialty restaurants. Pre-cruise you can make one reservation for each restaurant online. Then you can make additional reservations by the day. We had pretty good luck getting in to all of them. Red Ginger - Asian - People seemed to really like this restaurant and they talked about it a lot with their fellow passengers. The first time we went I thought the food was too sweet. Fruit in everything. Sweet sauces. The second time we went it was better. I had the Malaysian Paenang one night which was very good. Overall I thought Red Ginger was so-so but others liked it better than I did. Polo - Steakhouse - Our party really liked this restaurant. The beef was high quality. The appetizers and sides were excellent. The service was great. Jacques - French - Namesake of famed French chef Jacques Pepin. This was by far our favorite of the four specialty restaurants. The lamb loin was easily the best dish I have ever had at sea. Fantastic service. Toscana - Italian - In our opinion the weakest of the four. I ordered a pasta entree one night, it happened to be the special of the day, and I received 4 small ravioli on a huge plate covered with a little tasteless sauce. Disappointing. They had some fresh fish dishes that were good, but otherwise, all the pasta tasted the same. Aside from the four specialty restaurants, the Main Dining Room had a fairly extensive menu. The buffet was actually pretty good, and they had a casual cafe, Waves, out by the pool. We ate breakfast mostly in the buffet. We didn't eat as many meals in the Main Dining Room as we do on other cruises. The Good Overall the quality of the ingredients was high. Preparation was mostly good as far as technique went. The restaurants and buffets are very clean - they didn't allow passengers to help themselves in the buffet. The Bad I think some of the menu options in the MDR tried too hard. Some were overly complex. I was surprised that a lot of the offerings were so tasteless. They could have used a lot more herbs and spices. More heat. When you order a spicy dish extra spicy, you want it extra spicy. When you order off the "Menu de Degustation" you expect it to taste like something more than what is offered at the Macaroni Grill. Also, maybe have some family favorites to order. Not every night has to be a 2 1/2 hour gastric extravaganza. Sometimes you just want a nice plate of spagetti and meatballs! *The Ship and Staterooms* Marina is a beautiful ship. Nicely appointed. Beautiful artwork. Some nice marble work. Spotlessly clean. She's smaller than most of the ships in the majors. I found Marina to be the perfect size. I liked the Canyon Ranch spa and the concierge level spa deck. Staterooms were okay. Supposedly they are more spacious than on other lines. The bathrooms are nice, but imo they should ditch the separate tub idea. The tubs take up a lot of room that could be used to make the showers bigger, and the staterooms a little bigger as well. The balconies were decently sized, but not overly large. The storage was adequate, though I thought the closet was a little small. The bed was fantastic! Another Oceania exclusive is the bed and bedding. First rate. Unbelievably comfortable and luxurious. *Dress Code* Country Club Casual. They mean it. I wasn't real sure. But if you have slacks/polos or khakis/oxfords for men, that's all you need. Women can wear sparkly tops over slacks or skirts and be right at home in the evening. Some people dressed up more but typically if you just follow the "no shorts, no jeans, no t-shirts" maxim for the restaurants and MDR you will be fine. Shorts and T-shirts ruled during the day. *Excursions* Excursions come up in the reviews I've read. Most people saying they are too expensive. I don't know about that. They seemed priced in line with the competition to me. One nice thing about booking the excursions through Oceania is the time guarantee. You don't have to worry about missing the ship. We were in port late one morning, and all the times of the Oceania excursions were adjusted accordingly. I imagine if you had made alternative arrangements all that would be up to you. I did think a couple of them were overpriced for what you got. The book description of a few were really over the top compared to what we actually saw and did. One in particular was especially egregious. We were supposed to go see a Sea Turtle Refuge, and the description was quite exhaustive and made it sound like this was a really special place. All eco-touristy, save the turtles. Well, it was actually a dirty pond off the main road, with no sea turtles in it. At first they were going to skip it, but it was the whole reason why we booked the tour in the first place and a lot of people insisted they stop. Otherwise, it was just an expensive excursion to go sit around by the pool at a Sheraton Hotel. So this particular one - bad. But overall, no better or worse than any other cruise line imo. *Itinerary* - quick notes. I may do separate port/excursion reviews sometime. New Zealand - Tauranga and Bay of Islands. Fantastic. Nothing like sailing into the Bay of Islands at sunrise, smelling the jasmine in the air. New Caledonia - Noumea. Good maritime museum. Isle of Pines - Beautiful. Good snorkeling. Primitive. Fiji - Fun place. Fijians are very entrepreneurial. I liked the orchid gardens. Apia, Western Samoa. Samoans are the friendliest people in the world. Pago Pago, American Samoa - Not as friendly as Western Samoans, but pretty friendly! Beautiful island. Bora Bora. One of the most beautiful islands in the world. Spectatular lagoon. Good beaches. Warm water. Moorea. Another beautiful island. Dolphin watching was fun. Tahiti. Interesting but not as compelling as other islands in French Polynesia. *Embark/Disembark* They really need to work on this. Very chaotic. By far the worst experiences of the trip. Embarkation in Auckland. Masses of people leaving the ship trying to get taxi rides to the airport while passengers from the first 3 Air New Zealand flights were trying to figure out where to go. There really was no place to go, as we were at the alternative cruise terminal. We ended up taking a harbor cruise to kill some time. It was nice! And by the time we got back a few hours later we could board the ship. Disembarkation in Papeete. Horrific. We had to leave the ship by 9:00 am. But the Air Tahiti Nui flights weren't until 10:30 pm and later. For us it meant 15 hours. We had arranged for a 5 hour circle island tour for the afternoon. Some people got day rooms. Most people were just cooling their heels in a "hospitality center" a few blocks from the docks. Communication was bad. Nobody to tell you where this hospitality center actually was. We knew the day would be a buzzkill, so that's why we booked the afternoon tour on our own. There was nothing offered by Oceania for this day tour wise. They did offer "airport transfer" for an outrageous price of $160 per person. For this, you got use of the hospitality suite all day. But you can use this anyway. Then they took you to the airport which is about 10 minutes away. In contrast our circle island tour was 44 Euros per person, and they dropped us off at the airport. The airport in Papeete is pretty bad. Open air. It was hot. People burning crap nearby. Not many places to sit. Had to wait for the ticket windows to open 3 hours before each flight. Don't check in too early because there are few places to sit once you get inside. Overall a brutal day, which ultimately made us a little less likely to cruise with Oceania again. *In Summary* Would we do it again? We are thinking about it! But it would have to be a deal. Otherwise, I still think I prefer Holland America. But even our folks are up for going again on Oceania even though they are Diamond on Royal Carribean and, as such, get lots of perks and extras. So overall, a success I think. If you are looking for a bargain, or deep value, or you are too focused on economy, you probably won't like Oceania. *Random Bits* * Air New Zealand - terrible seat configuration in Economy on the 777-300. 3-4-3. Virgin Australia is 3-3-3. There is no legroom. If you are tall like I am, the head of the person in front of you will be practically in your lap. Service is great! But so uncomfortable. Really, it's a nightmare for a tall person. Pacific Premium Economy or whatever it is looks pretty good. Upgrading outside of Oceania is prohibitively expensive. If you go make sure your package includes the Premium Economy upgrade. Ours did not. Or do the deviation request for it. It's worth the extra money belive me. * Air Tahiti Nui - The Airbus A340 is a rock solid transoceanic aircraft but it's getting old. Their legroom was no better than Air New Zealand. The armrests did not go up all the way. The seats are crammed together. Business Class didn't look so great, but it was a lot better than coach. They have 3 Boeing 787 Dreamliners set for delivery in 2017 so things should improve. * Only 2 yoga classes in 17 days. They need more yoga classes. The yoga and pillates classes were $11 each. Probably just to keep the numbers down, as the classroom is somewhat small. * The gameroom only has 4 tables. But there were other places to play games on the ship. * Beautiful library, with nooks and crannies for reading either alone or with your SO. * Demographics. Not as old as I expected, but only 2 teenagers on board and no kids (which is a plus imo). Largest number was from the 55-75 age range. * Country of origin - my guesses - maybe 45% from the US and Canada. 20% from Australia and New Zealand. 25% from Asia - Japan, Korea, and China mostly. 10% from the UK and Europe, and a smattering from Central and South America. * The exercise room was well equipped but small. But it was large enough for the number of people using it. So I guess, it worked out. * Excellent stateroom attendants. * We never saw the officers around. One thing I like about Holland America and Princess - you know who your Captain is. You meet the officers around the ship. And you feel like you have a connection to them. * Entertainment - you don't go on Oceania for the entertainment, but I was pleasantly surprised. The string quartet was good. I really liked the jazz band. The song and dance show was a lot less lame than I expected!! * Afternoon tea - a fun diversion. They do a good job. * The staff works hard. Since its a small ship you see them at the restaurant at 10 pm the night before, then there they are at 7 am the next morning at breakfast. The deckhands work all day every day it seems. Very competent staff, very hardworking. * Television was laughably bad. They did have a video library. But honestly, no reason to have such a poor selection on the TV in 2016. * Casino was very small and the machines were outdated. They had some tournaments which were fun. * Pretty strict hours on food service. After 9 pm your only option is room service. This only impacted us negatively one time. But depending on how you cruise, it could be an issue. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The ship is in excellent shape now that it has aged a bit. The cabins seem smaller than the 242 sq. feet advertised. Oceania is now being cheap with soap and shampoo--not exactly what you expect from a luxury cruise. Other than that, the ... Read More
The ship is in excellent shape now that it has aged a bit. The cabins seem smaller than the 242 sq. feet advertised. Oceania is now being cheap with soap and shampoo--not exactly what you expect from a luxury cruise. Other than that, the cabin steward was efficient. Since this is the 3rd time on the Marina for us, there were no surprises until the last day. The food and service in the specialty restaurants is superb and you can eat there almost every night if you wish. Just phone reservations at 9 AM and you will get a seat. The MDR had a lot better food than last cruise but the service is spotty. Entertainment is a weak point for Oceania. One great show featuring Tahitian dancers the last night was it. Anyone who buys one of Oceania's shore excursions has more money than brains. They were often less well done than ones you arrange through Cruise Critic roll call or by yourself and 4 times the price. Ridiculous. This was my second time in the South Pacific and other than New Zealand, prepare to be hot and humid. Its OK at sea but on land, it is really draining. Oceania's air deviation service was a total rip off. I booked to take off at a cost of an extra $350 for the 2 of us with Air France in the morning. Somehow, even though I had a seat, they were overbooked and was bumped to the flight at midnight I was trying to avoid. Complaining to Oceania's Guest Relations has resulted in no response whatsoever. With the ship overnighting in port, They basically abandoned us to fend for ourselves in 90 degree heat We missed our hotel at LAX and our connection the next morning and with all flights booked for the rest of the day, spent another night in LA. What a terrible end to what had been a nice cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The Marina is a classy ship that was kept spotless. The highlight of the Marina was the friendliness and service of the crew. Oceania's employee training program must be top notch because every crew member we encountered said yes ... Read More
The Marina is a classy ship that was kept spotless. The highlight of the Marina was the friendliness and service of the crew. Oceania's employee training program must be top notch because every crew member we encountered said yes with a smile to whatever we requested. Our cabin stewardess, Sergia, was the best we have ever experienced in all of our cruising. Also, Palu a waiter in Martini's bar was wonderful. The food was good to excellent in all locations. In our opinion Red Ginger was the best specialty restaurant. One of the disappointing meals we had was the lobster dish in Toscana. In Polo Grill the prime rib was outstanding. The selections in the main dining room and buffet were varied and quite good. One of the disappointing things for us was that we couldn't get more specialty restaurant reservations even though we were concierge. I am a celiac and had no problems because everything was prepared to meet my needs. The entertainment other than the production shows was poor. The singers and dancers in the production shows were good and the entertainers were quite visible around the ship when not performing. The classical string quartet was quite good. The only disappointing island was Fiji (dirty and not much to see). Not enough time was spent on Moorea. To leave at 3pm was ludicrous. We were docked in Tahiti by 6pm even though we didn't exit the ship until the next morning. There is so much to do and see on Moorea that a full day is warranted. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and booked with Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were ... Read More
We booked this cruise almost a year in advance to celebrate our both being retired and now able to travel The cruise itself was, for the most part, wonderful. However, the travel service left us down. The ship and cabin were beautiful. The cabin did need some maintenance such as the grout coming loose in the bathroom. All staff that we came into contact were exceptional, and they are a large asset for Oceania. Food was also exceptional, and we enjoyed both the specialty restaurants as well as the main dining room. Much appreciated not having set time for seating and not having any formal nights (one of the reasons we are returning to Oceania, see below) Although we did not expect high entertainment, what was offered was a disappointment. In addition to the evening shows being amateurish, the television choice was poor. The music available in the cabin was also poor. Even choosing "classic rock" or "favorites", many of the selections were some weird music. This is an area Oceania should work on. Loosely related to entertainment, the library was pleasant and had an adequate selection. Our disappointment with Oceania comes with communication and travel service. This cruise disembarks one at 8 AM and the flight home was at midnight. We wondered what to do with out luggage all day long. When we called Oceania guest services they basically said "You're on your own" - spent some time looking into storage, etc. and eventually thought we'd just slough it along to the airport and rent a car to carry it around all day. To our surprise, once we were on board, it seems that Oceania would transport luggage to air port and keep it. Would have been nice if their guest service would have told us that. HOWEVER, the biggest disappointment came in our flight arrangements home. We had upgraded to business class. (This MORE than DOUBLED the cost of the cruise, but felt this would be a once in a lifetime indulgence) Everything went well over to cruise and back until we landed in LA and were surprised that the remainder of our flight to Philadelphia and then Pittsburgh was booked in coach. When we had originally received our flight information, all legs were in business (or first) class. Shortly before our trip, the last leg time was changed and no class was listed, but we had no reason to think that it had changed. Our travel agent has acquired a return (as a credit) of a small portion of the fee of the home trip upgrade cost. We are beginning a part of our life with time for a lot of travel. While on the cruise, we had decided to just stay with Oceania. However, having a surprise (and kind of a bait and switch) on the trip home, we were about to look into many of the other cruise lines out there. Because the cruise itself was the type we appreciate and with the credit, we have now booked another Oceania cruise for one more try. Not sure if we can trust the travel service. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Our debut for Oceania and the M/S Marina. Very impressed with the ship and her crew,from overall condition, decor, and attentativeness. The trip itself was spectacular at the begining and the end, while interesting in between (glad we saw ... Read More
Our debut for Oceania and the M/S Marina. Very impressed with the ship and her crew,from overall condition, decor, and attentativeness. The trip itself was spectacular at the begining and the end, while interesting in between (glad we saw it but not worthy of a "do it again"). Stayed in Aukland for a couple of days prior to embarkation seeing the sights of downtown, the west coast with the black sand beaches and chartering a sailboat for the day sailing the harbor and neighboring islands (fantastic)! Lots of sailboats in the harbor with a couple of Americas Cup boats out for the day. Lots to do on the ship if you seek it out. The culinary center was top-notch and we scheduled several classes there prior to departure. The artist loft was fun as well, you need to get there early on the sea days. It would have been nice to know what classes were on the schedule there so as to de-conflict with the other ship events. Was hoping for photography but not avaiable. Made some new friends in the 4:30 trivia with Ray as the host, know your squirrel trivia before boarding. Got into a routine with group, trivia, happy hour, hot tub, and dinner. This was our first introduction to freestyle dining and we prefer that style now, much more convenient, and no formal nights (cuts down on the luggage). The specialty restaurants were great with no upcharge. Enjoyed Red Ginger the most and Cantalinos the least. Canyon Ranch Spa was not the WOW we had anticipated. Treatments were as expected though a bit on the pricey side. The layout was poor, small dark changing rooms and only one shower. The shower lacked the multi-spray heads, colors, and music of a land based Canyon Ranch. The spa deck shut down too early in the evening and it did not have the hydro-therapy pool as depicted on the Marina deck plan, just a couple of hot tubs. Entertainment was adequate, guest entertainers better than the home grown. We were told that should improve with the recent acquisition by NCL. Time will tell. All of our excursions were done independantly but one. Oceania does double or triple the price as do other cruise lines and I just don't see the value. Get together with other Cruise Critic folks, have a more customized trip at significant savings. Disembarkation went smoothly since we arrived the night before, everything was waiting dockside and no group call outs. Just leave when you want. Stayed a couple of days extra in Moorea and so glad we did. Moorea is really special, similar to Bora Bora but a more relaxed pace. Overall a superb experience with Oceania, definately a cut above HAL, RCL, and Princess. We booked another trip in 2016, same ship, same cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
First let me say we are in our 50's, I think this is important because a review from someone my age may be very different from someone in their 70's. We are also from the US. We allowed Oceania to make our flight reservations so ... Read More
First let me say we are in our 50's, I think this is important because a review from someone my age may be very different from someone in their 70's. We are also from the US. We allowed Oceania to make our flight reservations so we flew from San Francisco to Auckland (main flight) and the captain had us in Auckland 1 hour earlier than expected. We were on Air New Zealand and I don't have any complaints. We booked Super Shuttle before we left home to get from New Zealand airport to the ship. This was an easy inexpensive way to go. Embarktion in Auckland was a breeze, disembarktion in Papeete was also very easy. We dropped our luggage off at the ship, changed clothes and bought a tour from the information desk right outside the ship. We toured Auckland for the day and we were very impressed, a beautiful city. This is our second Oceania cruise and we had an A4 cabin. We were right down the hall from the lounge so it was great to go to the lounge for coffee every morning. The cabin 9008 was starting to show a little wear with the linens but other than that no complaints with the cabin. Our cabin steward however never introduced herself and didn't tell us how to have our garments pressed for free, we found the cards at the end of the cruise. I honestly had no intention of using the service since it takes 1-2 days but it would have been nice to know. As usual with any cruise line the breakfast gets old very quickly. How about some ethnic foods for breakfast just to mix it up? A couple of nights we weren't all that impressed with dinner in the Terrace Cafe and we never ate dinner in the Grand Dining Room. We went to as many specialty restaurants as possible. We even ran into some crew from the Rivieria in 2013. Maria in Red Ginger is the best. Red Ginger is my favorite restaurant on any ship. Of course the entertainment in the Marina lounge was terrible. I have never read a positive comment about Oceania's entertainment so I can't figure out why they don't do something about the quality. I'm pretty sure entertainers who work on cruise ships don't charge an arm and a leg for their services. The ports of call were great and we booked almost every tour before leaving home. Tauranga was our first stop and we bought a tour from Learning Journeys, Michele was our guide and the tour was incredible. We stopped at a beach, the kiwi shop, the geysers and a Mauori cultural show. Her website is www.learningjourneys.co.nz. We were in a passenger van with a total of 6 passengers I believe. Our second stop was Bay of Islands and we had a tour on a Zodiac style boat with Tango Island Boat Tours. We were the only ones on the tour and it was fantastic. We had him drop us off in Russell then we took the ferry back to the ship. The tour was $260 NZD. Our third stop was New Caldonia we took a boat to Duck Island that we purchased ourselves for maybe $30 USD a piece. The snorkeling was amazing. There is a bar and restaurant there, the chairs and umbrellas were about $15 USD. Bring water shoes to get in the water it is very rocky and lots of coral. Fiji, finally we arrived and it was pouring rain. This was the only excursion we booked thru the ship the river by long boat. As we left the port we left the rain behind. We took a bus to a cultural center enjoyed a show, had lunch and then on to our river boat ride, Fiji time. We took the boat up the river about 40 minutes to a waterfall and swimming hole. The island is so friendly and the people are truly so nice. The next day we were still in Fiji just a different port, Lautoka. We had arranged a tour with others from the ship to Beachcomber Island. The water is spectacular and we had a great time snorkeling and lunching with our group. Again, water shoes are needed here for the rocks near the beach. We did have a small boat take us out to a snorkeling spot. We definitely did not want to leave. Our next stop was Samoa and when we arrived it was raining. We weren't sure what we were going to do but had found out thru the ship's Currents newsletter about Senegal Beach Resort. We called them when we arrived and they had a van picking up other passengers so we got on that van and made the drive to the other side of the island where we had sunshine the entire day and access to the resort for $60USD per person. Our next stop was American Samoa where we took a cab to 2$ beach just past Tisa's and the beach actually cost $5. The beach was larger than the one at Tisa's but had quite a bit of glass on the beach. We just spent the day hanging out and our cab driver picked us back up at the end of the day. After 2 days at sea we finally arrived in Bora Bora. This was the most spectacular port and the scenery does not disappoint. The first day we had a tour with Reef Discovery called Pure Snorkeling. Fabian was our guide for the day and he was great, loved his sense of humor. It was too bad we had to put up with a woman who had a phobia of wearing fins. This was the most spectacular snorkeling we have seen any where in the world. We went to 4 stops and if you like snorkeling book this tour, www.puresnorkeling.com. Fabian has the best office in the world. Our second day in Bora Bora we had a tour with Natura Discovery and did a 4x4 tour in a open air jeep. They do have an option for an enclosed air conditioned car but we didn't see anyone taking that option. This tour was $140 USD for two and Daniel was our guide and he did a spectacular job. He really educated us on the island and how they live. Yes, the tour is bumpy and hot but plenty of stops. We had him drop us off at a beach and caught a shuttle back to the ship. I wish I had thought to rent an over the water bungalow for the night. We met some couples who did spend the night in Bora Bora. Unfortunately we had to leave Bora Bora for Moorea where we rented a roadster for the day. Their website is www.moorea-fun-roadster.com we had so much fun and drove the entire island. We just stopped at beaches, the juice factory and shopped near the roadster shop. We wished the day had been longer. Off to Papeete where it was raining. We got off the ship that night, walked around the food trucks and found out where Avis was DT as we had a car for the next day. Avis DT was close enough to walk from the ship with our luggage. We drove the entire island stopping when we wanted and had a day room at Le Meridian. We arrived at the hotel around 2pm and hit the pool for the rest of the day. We had dinner at the hotel where the food was good and the service was terrible. We headed for the airport at 9:15 and waited for a long time to check in sweating because it is outdoors. We finally got past security where we thought it would be air conditioned but more heat. There was a place open to buy water but they only had one person working with a very long line. All in all it is our favorite cruise and a great part of the world for a cruise. The people are on all of these islands are very friendly and gracious. I was not disappointed in any of the tours we chose and really only disappointed in the entertainment on the ship and the options of food at breakfast. Oceania charges way too much for their shore excursions and transportation, I guess they are catering to those too uncertain to book their own? I would encourage everyone to look into independent excursions that are probably a fourth of the price Oceania charges. The Destination Services staff was wonderful and very accommodating. Another thing they could improve is the selection in the shops, the toiletry selection was very limited especially on over the counter medications. The ladies clothing selection was what I would term old lady along with the purses. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
We are in our early 60's and have been on the Marina last January for 12 days in the Caribbean along with 40 other cruises on 9 different cruise lines. This is an overview of our 16 day adventure to a wonderful place in the world ... Read More
We are in our early 60's and have been on the Marina last January for 12 days in the Caribbean along with 40 other cruises on 9 different cruise lines. This is an overview of our 16 day adventure to a wonderful place in the world where the people are kind and friendly and the scenery is spectacular. The embarkation was so easy because the ship overnight-ed in Auckland. Beware of the hotel Oceania offers, it is 4 times the cost per night of booking it yourself and the transfers are far worse than the shuttle bus offered by the airport at 6 times the cost. With the jet lag, it is wise to show up a few days early. The ship is as clean as it was last January, well decorated with no wear to speak of. It has library second only to the Queen Mary II but a few things fall short. There are only 2 elevators aft compared with 4 in the front. With 1200 passengers and almost all the dining areas aft expect long waits during mealtimes. The casino is barely used because it is terribly small with limited staff and a silly miniature golf course takes up prime real estate high on the bow. Although this cruise was cooler than expected, the pool is far too small for a ship this size. We really noticed this last January. The Stateroom was 10th floor middle A1 with a wonderful full bath but was cramped with small additional shower. 1st class toiletries were provided. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. Sadly the storage space is far to small and some drawers are so tiny as to be useless. The lighting is also terrible in the bathroom, around the desk and makeup mirror and we needed the crew to fix the closet door to stop that light from coming on during the night. Dining is great if you avoid the MDR. The main dining room is worse than budget cruise lines. I had only 3 meals there and all had inedible entrees with poor service to boot. The good news is although you can only reserve each specialty restaurant once, on a 16 day cruise there are a lot of open seats. Only on one night did we get shutout. Talk to your concierge or dial #8 at 9 am. We ate at these 10 nights and enjoyed 3 others at the excellent buffet. My favourite was Toscana were the Italian food was perfect with real professional Italian waiters who do double duty up in Baristas in the morning with 1st class coffees. My wife just loved Red Ginger with its variety of Asian specialties. Jacques was better this time but the Polo Grill while having still great steaks, their seafood has really gone downhill. The activities can become a little stale on a 16 day cruise. Trivia every day, bingo every day and of course nobody wins the jackpot until the last day. On the bright side, the artists studio was excellent, the cooking classes were fun but at $69 each in a group a bit too large was a bit too expensive. The guest speaker was a New Zealand ambassador in various parts of the world. Ambassador Cotton was the best entertainment on the ship. Which brings us to a serious flaw with the Marina. With only 4 dancers and 4 singers, a weak cruise director and a few less than mediocre performers, nights were really boring on this cruise. With 1200 souls on board, Oceania might make a small attempt at amusing us. This ship was far worse than ships half its size and the worst in over 40 cruises for us. The ports of call were all great except for Timaru, there is nothing there. Why not Dunedin. When it comes to shore excursions, Oceania has a corporate mindset that its clientele is willing to pays 4 times the going rate for little excursions. Case in point. Their 3 hour tour of Napier--$205 for 40 person bus ride. On shore, a 4 hour tour doing same itinerary plus a bit more in a 20 seat bus--$40. In Hobart, a tour to a wild life park with another Big bus load was over $300 each when you could take a cab for $12 each way plus $24 admission and stay as long as you like. This happened at every port and remember that Oceania provides free rides away from the docks to the I-Sites or downtown. I know other lines charge extra but Oceania has set new standards for greed. Their pricing on wine is no different. Only the QM2 can equal the markup that Oceania provides then add 18%. Luckily we were in NZ where some of the great white wines of the world are produced and the Marina has a relatively easy going policy of bringing wine on board. Fortunately, many of these very expensive add ons are voluntary hence self inflicted for those not travel savvy. One elderly gentleman was shocked when his post cruise bill was well above $5000. Finally, I'd like to discuss the passengers themselves. This was by far the oldest group I have ever sailed with. No more jokes about HAL or Cunard. I am 64 and NEVER in 16 days ate dinner with anyone younger than me. The cruise reminded me of my mother's retirement home only more walkers. One lady was over 100. The other thing I noticed is that this cruise must have been marketed heavily in Florida and Georgia. My guess is that 75% came from those 2 states. I met only 1 couple from the Northeast and a few from California. Only 1 Kiwi and no Australians. Virtually no Europeans or Asians. There was a surprising number of Canadians on board, enough that they had their own cocktail parties. It was disappointing not to engage with others from around the world when you're halfway around the world. The fares for the same cabin categories varied wildly. While I paid $6300 for both of us including air, the people next to us paid over $17000. He was not pleased. I feel Oceania preys on this elderly crowd and that's why you don't see the diversity on board. I'll be headed back to sea on another line as soon as I cancel my Oceania booking for next January. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
Setting foot on all seven continents was on our "bucket list" and only one continent remained to be conquered, Australia. So my husband and I booked passage on Oceania's "Coral Seas and Australian Adventures" - a ... Read More
Setting foot on all seven continents was on our "bucket list" and only one continent remained to be conquered, Australia. So my husband and I booked passage on Oceania's "Coral Seas and Australian Adventures" - a twenty-one day cruise to New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Australia aboard Oceania's Regatta. Getting There & Embarkation Our air arrangements were made by Oceania. We had a non-stop flight from San Francisco to Auckland on Air New Zealand. What can I say, twelve hours of cramped quarters, inedible food, and stale air. This of course is no fault of Oceania. Long-haul air travel for the serfs in economy class is usually miserable. We arrived in Auckland at 4:15 am. After clearing immigration and customs we were met by representatives of Oceania. Oceania had arranged to take us to the Pullman Hotel where a much-appreciated buffet breakfast awaited us. After breakfast we waited in the hotel's lobby until about 11:00 am, when we were bussed to Princes Wharf and our waiting vessel. The Regatta makes a beautiful first impression. She is much smaller than today's popular mega-ships. She actually looks like a ship and not like a top-heavy barge with a high-rise hotel grafted onto her. Regatta is graceful, gleaming white, and ready to take on the sea. Getting on board is another story. With only 684 passengers embarkation shouldn't be too difficult. Our cruise documents indicated that Oceania assigns staggered boarding times to avoid long lines. This was not the case. It seemed as though all the passengers arrived at once. We were herded like cattle from one long line to another. Stateroom We chose stateroom 6001, a standard veranda stateroom all the way forward. If you enjoy the pitch and roll of a ship at sea this stateroom will not disappoint. Stateroom 6001 is located directly above the Regatta Lounge so you can definitely hear the muffled drone of the band playing until about 10:30pm. The balcony looks down on the forecastle so you see the crew on deck every morning getting the ship ready to dock. You pretty much have the view the captain does two decks up. The stateroom was small, but comfortable with plenty of storage and a nice little sitting area with a loveseat, table, and vanity. The bed was marvelous, good support yet soft and comfy. The bathroom was the usual cruise ship facility, compact and efficient. Our stateroom stewardess did an excellent job of keeping our stateroom spotlessly clean and our refrigerator stocked with our favorite beverages. Dining Oceania has a well-earned reputation for excellent cuisine. Main Dining Room - The dining on the Regatta is open seating. There are no table assignments or assigned dining times. This was our first experience with open dining and we were both a little skeptical. We have always enjoyed getting to know our dinner companions. I guess we have been fortunate to have wonderful tablemates for all of our previous cruises. We like the opportunity to get to know people over the course of a cruise. We also like having the same waiter each evening. It's nice to have a waiter who knows what you like and how you like it prepared. After this cruise I may be sold on open dining. My husband is still on the fence. I appreciated the option to share a table when we wanted company or to have a quiet table for just the two of us. We got to know more of our fellow passengers than we would have had we dined each night with the same people. If we were running late from a shore excursion we could take time to recuperate and prepare for dinner without the pressure of a set dining time. The dinner menu in the main dining room is continental with a definite French accent. The food was well prepared and beautifully presented, but after about a week of fine dining I found myself craving a simple meal. The herb-roasted chicken on the every day menu was just what I needed. Order it with mashed potatoes and green beans and you have an uncomplicated and satisfying meal. On sea days we enjoyed leisurely breakfasts in the main dining room. I highly recommend the lamb chops for breakfast. Toscano - Toscano is one of two specialty restaurants. We ate in Toscano three times. All three meals were excellent. The experience begins with a basket of warm Italian breads, including grissini and facaccia. You are offered a selection of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars for dipping. The Osso Bucco was fall-off-the-bone perfection served with a creamy and satisfying polenta. Polo Grill - My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy so the Polo Grill is right up his alley. Polo Grill serves up great steaks and chops. Dinner at Polo conjures up the atmosphere of the great supper clubs of the mid-twentieth century with its dark wood paneling, leather club chairs, and celebrity photos on the walls. You half expect the "Rat Pack" to walk in at any time. So if you are craving cool martinis, rare steaks, flavorful chops, Caesar salad prepared tableside, and great New York cheesecake, Polo Grill is a must. There are no surcharges for dining in the specialty restaurants, but reservations are required. You will be allowed a certain number of guaranteed reservations depending on your stateroom category. Waves - Waves is located on the pool deck and serves up hot dogs, hamburgers, gourmet sandwiches, and salads along with great crispy fries and creamy milk shakes. Waves is a great place for a quick lunch. Horizons - The window-lined Horizons Lounge is all the way forward on deck 10. Warm wood paneling, richly textured fabrics, small tables, comfy chairs, and tufted leather banquettes create a beautiful place to sit and watch the world go by. From early morning to 11:00 am cruisers will find fresh Danish, croissants and brioche along with coffee, juice, and a selection of teas. High Tea is served at 4:00 pm in this lounge and is not to be missed. There is something far too civilized about sitting in a beautiful room noshing on perfect little teacakes, savory tea sandwiches, and fresh scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, as you watch the sea roll by. All of this is set to music of a lovely string quartet. Terrace Cafe - This is the buffet restaurant on the regatta. The food and the service are good. The tables are a little too close together and often scarce. Fellow Passengers Without a doubt the passengers on the Regatta were the most well travelled, interesting and diverse group of travelling companions we have had the pleasure to sail with. The majority of passengers were in the 65 to 75 age range. There were only two children on board. Kudos to the parents. The youngsters were very well behaved. Oceania really doesn't cater to children. There are no programs for children, teen nightclub, or daycare. I understand Oceania is attempting to attract families on their Alaska cruises by offering activities for the younger set. Ports & Shore Excursions The Destination Services department onboard the Regatta did a very good job booking and coordinating shore excursions considering many of the places we visited were not quite ready to accommodate modern tourism. Tauranga, New Zealand - We booked the "Tauranga & Maori Culture" tour. This was a wonderful experience. The excursion began with a scenic drive to a Maori meetinghouse and community center. There was a beautiful performance by the community's dance troupe. Fortunately, this was a not a glitzy "dance for the tourists" event. The tour guides and dancers were all members of the Maori community and very eager to share their culture. I was struck by how personal and warm the tour was. This shore excursion gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for this rich and fascinating culture. Nuku'alofa, Tonga - The Kingdom of Tonga is working hard to develop its tourist industry. They are planning to build a cruise ship terminal. Currently, ships may dock at the freight terminal or tender in. The Regatta docked in the morning, but the conditions at the dock were so poor the ship moved and anchored in the bay. We chose the "Oholei Beach & Hina Cave" shore excursion. There were no air-conditioned tourist busses available at this port so we used school busses for the trip to Oholei Beach. Oholei Beach is an absolutely gorgeous white sand beach. The excursion included a traditional Tongan lunch and a dance performance in Hina Cave. I must admit that my palate didn't appreciate Tongan cuisine. I did enjoy the musical entertainment provided by the band both before and during lunch. The dance presentation was very good. Warning: In order to get to the beach and other facilities you must negotiate a very steep path and staircase. The facilities on this excursion were rustic to primitive. If you have mobility concerns this shore excursion may not be for you. Suva, Fiji - We enjoyed an excursion to the Pacific Cultural Center. The excursion begins with a scenic drive through the countryside, again, no air conditioning. The tour includes a dance and cultural performance including a demonstration by the Fijian Firewalkers. Noumea, New Caledonia - Noumea is a sophisticated pacific paradise with a French accent. We boarded the cute and very touristy "Yellow Tchou Tchou Train" for a two-hour tour of the city's highlights. This is a fun way to get your bearings and see all the major scenic attractions. The train will drop you in the center of the city where you can shop to your heart's content. Oceania provides a free shuttle to and from the city center and the ship all day long so it is very convenient to explore Noumea. Townsville, Australia - In Townsville we took the "Charters Towers Gold Rush" excursion. This is an all-day trip and the only excursion going through the outback. We had a great local guide who gave us interesting insights into Australia's past and present. The city of Charter Towers reminded me of the gold rush towns in the Sierra foothills of California. The architecture is well preserved and there is a charming 19th century frontier sensibility. After an enjoyable lunch in a local restaurant we went on to the Venus Battery gold mine. My husband took the tour of the battery and said it was very informative and a great look at the gold mining industry in Australia. Brisbane, Australia - Oceania provided a free shuttle from to and from the port and the city. Once we were in the city we discovered a great hop-on, hop-off bus. We toured the entire city for about $46 AUD. Brisbane was clean and friendly with many great places to shop and eat lunch. Entertainment The regatta is a small ship. The Regatta Lounge has a small stage area and minimal technical capabilities. The glitzy Broadway shows of the big ships simply can't be done in this venue. Frankly, I didn't miss the big production shows. The Regatta had a resident cast of four immensely enjoyable and versatile singer/dancers, as well as a first-rate string quartet, and an excellent pianist. Oceania also booked in variety acts for a night or two. If you enjoy entertainment on the more cerebral side, Oceania booked two lecturers on our cruise. Both of these gentlemen gave interesting and entertaining presentations. If entertainment for you is curling up with a good book, the Regatta provides a beautifully appointed and well-stocked library. My only complaint was that the chairs were so comfortable I kept falling asleep while reading. Disembarkation The Regatta sailed into Sydney Harbour at the crack of dawn. The Sydney Cruise passenger terminal is located near the Opera House and Ferry Terminal with a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Disembarkation was swift, efficient and well organized. This was our first cruise with Oceania and we hope it will not be our last. We prefer small ships with interesting itineraries and we enjoy the feel of being on a ship at sea. We appreciate great food, attentive service, and gracious manners. Our cruise on the Regatta gave us everything we had hoped for and more. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This was our fourth cruise and first with Oceania. We did not use the cruise lines air arrangements and took their credit instead so as to have more flexibility. This enabled us to arrive in Auckland two days before the cruise to adjust ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise and first with Oceania. We did not use the cruise lines air arrangements and took their credit instead so as to have more flexibility. This enabled us to arrive in Auckland two days before the cruise to adjust to the time change. We stayed at the Westin Harbor Quay and liked its location. The day of the cruise we were able to walk to the wharf after breakfast to ensure that the Nautica was there. Check-in on the ship was fast and professional. The ship is immaculate with pristine public areas that show no sign of wear. Our cabin was ready after lunch and our luggage was nearby in the hallway (first time in last three cruises!). The cabin while small was clean and showed no signs of wear and tear. There was adequate storage space for clothing. The balcony for us was a must-have. The cabin attendant was excellent and responsive. We used the ship's laundry service several times and our clothing always came back perfect. There is a self-service laundry, and make sure you don't book a cabin nearby. We like the open dining experience and preferred larger tables to meet the very congenial passengers (mostly Americans with many Canadians and some British). The food was very, very good on the ship. Unlike other cruise ships it was well-spiced and nicely presented. Service in the main dining-room was excellent. The bread, deserts and pastries stand out as being special. The ship has an excellent policy when it comes to wine. You may buy a bottle and the wine steward will keep it for you and bring it out with diner every evening. We were visited by the maitre-d and the chef several times to ask how we enjoyed the meal. We took room service breakfast the days we toured and it was prompt and reliable. Entertainment while lacking huge production numbers was good. The singers were excellent and we particularly enjoyed the vaudeville style British magician and his wife. The library is well-stocked and larger than the casino! There were also hundreds of dvds available. TV coverage was okay, but geared towards Americans. The cruise director Dottie and her assistant Margaret (great dance lessons) were pleasant and accommodating. Sailing the Tasman Sea was cloudy, damp and at times rough. I enjoyed going up to the Horizon Lounge on Deck 10, having coffee and a croissant and watching the waves. This lounge was also a great place to view Milford Sound. Even at sea in decent weather the pool deck never seemed crowded and we were always able to get lounge chairs. We met some of our fellow cruisers on the Nautica roll-call. This enabled us to form a group of 8 passengers; several of whom were energetic and kind enough to make all the tour arrangements on the cruise. We used private contractors at all the ports that we found thru Cruise Critic(easy to do in friendly, safe, and English speaking New Zealand and Australia) for less than half the price of the ship's tours. We usually traveled in a small bus or van on a tour that was specifically modified for our requests, often combining the best of several of the ship's tours. Because we were a friendly, small group little time was ever wasted that often is a problem with a large group. Many of the ship-run tours were canceled due to lack of interest. Negatives: The internet system was totally inadequate (bandwidth problem) and it took forever to download your email. The ship also lacked "hot spots" and you had to be near the computer room to use your wireless connection. Half-way into the cruise our AT&T Blackberry telephone stopped working on the ship. No one was helpful and the reception desk denied that their system supports AT&T. Departing the ship in Sydney was easy, and done at our convenience (but by 9AM). We stayed at the Marriott Circular Quay. We strongly recommend that you stay at either of the Marriott, Hyatt, or Four Seasons in Sydney that are near the Harbor. This central location enables you to visit the Opera House (we were able to buy tickets for "Madame Butterfly" after our tour), the Rocks, the Botanical Gardens, the Harbor Bridge (avoid the bridge climb in the late afternoon as the wind is very strong; we took the FREE bridge walk to North Sydney and back) or to catch the state run bus to the beaches(the beach walk south of Bondi is impressive). We were in Sydney only four days; this was not enough. This is a well-run happy ship with a happy crew resulting in happy passengers. Simply put, this was the best cruise we have ever been on. Read Less
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