3 Santiago (Valparaiso) to South Pacific Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews

We had been trying to get to the South Pacific for some time and had always been thwarted in our efforts. Then we noticed the Oceania cruise from Valparaiso. A bit of a tight squeeze getting there after Christmas but the flight ... Read More
We had been trying to get to the South Pacific for some time and had always been thwarted in our efforts. Then we noticed the Oceania cruise from Valparaiso. A bit of a tight squeeze getting there after Christmas but the flight arrangements Toronto-Miami-Santiago worked out just fine. We took the transfer from Santiago to the port of Valparaiso - a very busy port and it was interesting to watch all the cargo operations on the dock. We had sailed twice before with Oceania - on the Insigna and the Regatta - but this was our first time on the Marina - and we loved it! We loved the itinerary since we visited Robinson Crusoe, Easter Island - 2 days (spectacular - we did a private tour with Easter Island Spirit tours), Pitcairn (couldn't go ashore but the islanders came on board and sold local produce....(honey, crafts, t shirts, stamps etc- )Fakarava (really unspoit) then Bora Bora (2 days) and finally Tahiti (where we stayed on for an extra 2 days at the Intercontinental). Alot of days at sea but we were never bored - always something to do and we had lots of time to catch up on reading (take an e-reader but the library is really excellent). We were pleased we chose the concierge level cabin (an A4) which permitted access to the concierge private lounge area which has its own concierge and access to coffee and soft drinks and snacks 24/7 and International newspapers are available in the lounge. We also had access to a private deck off the spa area which was very relaxing but, unfortunately, too exposed to the sun. It would be nice if Oceania covered off a part of the area to provide more shade. We tried the so called Sanctuary area which is open to all passengers but it is open and pool noise is a problem (plus passengers use the doors for access to the deck all the time which creates noise). I guess our main criticism is that there is little space on board for passengers who want to read quietly but who want to be outside in a shaded area. The library is really lovely but many of us prefer to be outside and to read in a quiet, shaded area (the Sanctuary area on Princess ships is ideal). Most of our dinners were in the Grand Dining room (food was excellent - very good choices each day and presented very well. Plus the wait staff are very good indeed). What we like most about Oceania is the flexiblity in dining arrangements - no set meal times which leads to a much more relaxed feeling in the dining room. We really hate all the lining up and general rush to get into the dining room on most ships which have set dining times. The only warning is that if you want a table for two you will have to get there reasonably early because after 7 pm most of the tables for 2 are taken. For breakfast and lunches we used the Terrace cafe which was very good - and we ate dinner there on our last evening and found it very good indeed. In future we might choose to eat there more often. We tried all 4 of the speciality restaurants (kudos to Oceania for not imposing extra charges) and they were all truly excellent - our particular favourites being Toscana and Red Ginger. We had dinner at the former on new year's eve and it was very special indeed (nice party on deck afterwards!) The decor in Red Ginger is spectacular and the food very good indeed (especially the sea bass). The artwork in the ship is the best I have ever seen - some wonderful glass pieces and generally very elegant and understated. We liked Horizons - great views and wonderful afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream and jam at 4 every afternoon while being entertained by an incredibly talented string quartet (the best entertainment on board - they also played in the long bar area in the evening). We also went there for a single malt scotch nosing! We found the ship's band rather noisy - but that's a matter of taste since we are not keen on brass instruments. The enrichment lecture series - husband and wife team -were excellent. He covered many aspects of the South Pacific (navigation, coral etc etc plus the history of the Bounty) while the Star Lady gave us some very important instruction on the stars in the southern sky and even had some sessions on deck where we tried to locate the Southern Cross - success! It's really nice to have these instructional sessions on longer cruises. Are there any criticisms? A few. On this cruise we had to use tenders at most of the ports. The arrangements at Easter Island were truly chaotic since only 1 tender was permitted to dock. The staff seemed ill prepared for this situation and it caused a lot of annoyance since there seemed to be no system - and everyone rushed forward. Oceania needs to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and should not permit queue-jumping by those with sharp elbows! By the end of the cruise they seemed a bit better organized but of all the staff on board the destinations staff seemed the least organized. We booked only one excursion with the ship (2nd day in Bora Bora - snorkelling with rays and beach - it was good but other passengers booked independently and got much better deals. The Oceania excursions seem generally overpriced). Another criticism is of post-cruise arrangements. We booked the 2 day extension at the Intercontinental Tahiti through Oceania. We were given a half day tour of part of the island before being taken to the hotel. Check in was 2 pm so we had lunch first. No-one seemed clear about the arrangements and where check in was to take place. First we were told Tiki Bar then without telling anyone it was switched upstairs. Some people got the Oceania handout about checkout arrangements....others including us did not and we only learned of it from other people later. Then we were given the wrong handout! One handout said the water was safe to drink...the other said not! There was no rep from Oceania at the hotel......the hotel staff did their best but they were clearly uncomfortable since Oceania never liaised.with them to confirm what was to happen. This part of the trip really needs work! The Intercontinental staff were great but they need Oceania to co-operate with them. One further criticism - the concierge who is in the special concierge level lounge booked a lunch for us at the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora. She confirmed we had reservation for noon. After we got there (following a boat ride) we were told we couldn't have lunch but had to have a day pass costing over $100 each! We had not taken swim wear with us - which we would have done had we known. The concierge at the Intercontinental was wonderful and she apologized but said they never received the reservation etc. and that it is not possible to only have lunch....she indicated they had ongoing problems contacting Oceania and they wanted to get things straightened out so this would not happen to other passengers. We paid the $100 plus and were glad we did - we had a wonderful lunch and the day pass is a very good deal - just wish we had known of that in advance and we would have gone with swim wear. Overall it was a wonderful cruise and we would certainly do it again - the ports of call were truly incredible. Our criticisms relate only to a few issues where Oceania can certainly make improvements.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free ... Read More
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free internet and prepaid gratuities. They also offered $500 in onboard credit and our travel agent also gave us $500 in onboard credit. Even with inflated wine and drink prices we would have a hard time spending that. We chose to take a credit for the airfare and used frequent flyer mileage to get to Santiago and fly back from Papeete. This gave us a little more flexibility and allowed us to stay on for a few days at the end of the cruise. We flew down from Los Angeles on LAN Chile and we are very impressed with the service LAN offered. We spent a couple of days in Santiago pre cruise and then took the bus down to Valparaiso. The ship offered transfers but they were expensive. The bus from Santiago was about $8 and very easy to take. Very modern Mercedes buses leave about every half hour for the 2 hour trip. Check in was super easy. We were onboard about 20 minutes after we arrived. Of course our cabins were not yet ready but we hung out in the upstairs restaurant having a light lunch while we waited. It wasn’t long until we could get into our cabins and stow our carry on luggage. We then explored the ship. We mostly have cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We quickly noticed a big difference in that Oceania isn’t always trying to sell you extra stuff. There were no photographers trying to get you to pose for pictures. That is not to say there were not opportunities to spend money. There is a small casino but there were not really that many people playing in it. Wine was expensive (least expensive bottles were around $35 but most were closer to $50 and some were in the hundreds) When we first got on, they were selling a wine package where if you bought two bottles you got a 20% discount and if you bought 3 bottles you got a 30% discount. We had a lot of shipboard credit so we used some on wine. Our cabin was quite spacious and the bath was fantastic with full bathtub as well as shower and granite counters and tile. The shower was a bit small so it made it a bit difficult to bend down if you dropped the soap. Still it was without doubt the best bathroom of any ship we have been on. The bed was extremely comfortable and we had a large balcony. The one design drawback was the closet access was limited by the location of a bedside table. It just meant that to access it, you had to lean way over. The room stewardess kept the room made up and always seemed to have it ready by the time we returned from breakfast. One small early complaint was that they forgot to bring ice several times. After I told them I really liked having ice, my ice bucket was filled twice a day. The food. What can you say that hasn’t been said a thousand times. It was the best we have ever had on a cruise. We were allowed 4 reservations at the specialty restaurants and we visited them all. We also could make additional reservations the day of, and managed 3 more visits. Red Ginger was our favorite but I couldn’t really see the need for being offered 6 different kinds of chopsticks. If we were not at a specialty restaurant, we ate our meals in the main dining room, usually asking for a share table. We met so many interesting people over dinner. The cliental on this ship were very well traveled. One dinner we sat with a couple that were taking their 53rd cruise and the other couple were on their 35th. Many dinners extended beyond 2 hours, partly due to the interesting conversations, and partly due to the wait staff not hurrying you to clear your table for more diners. In fact the main restaurant was rarely crowded. Many people were in the specialty restaurants and people in more of a hurry were eating in the buffet. We did eat in the buffet one night and it was very good for a buffet but it still didn’t have the elegance of the main dining room where you were treated like royalty and waited on. Still, the food at the buffet in the evening was just as good as the food in the main dining room, with lobster tails available every evening – not something we had experienced on any other cruise. The tours. We arranged tours for Easter Island and Bora Bora in advance with local tour companies. They cost less than half what the ship was charging and we saw a lot more. The only advantage I could see with a ship tour is you had priority for the tenders. We did take the “Le truck” bus tour around the island on our second day in Bora Bora but that was because we had extra shipboard credit to use up. The shops. They supplied the ship when they were in Barcelona so by the time the ship got to Valparaiso, there was not all that much available to buy in regards to clothes. They had a lot of high end jewelry but overall, the shops were small with limited selection. And we were surprised that there was no liquor store on board. Wine was available for purchase but that was the only alcohol. We were pleasantly surprised that they had a very good bridge program onboard. They had two excellent bridge instructors who taught lessons and then every afternoon on sea days, they had a duplicate game. We usually had 12 tables and they gave out ACBL points if you were an ACBL member. One disappointment was we never got to land on Pitcairn island. I had read prior to the cruise that usually the ships don’t land passengers due to the difficult harbor and the changing sea conditions but we had hopes we might be the lucky ones. Alas, we were not. A group of Pitcairn islanders did come out to the ship and they set up a bazaar in the observation lounge where they sold all sorts of stuff they make on the island. (honey, moisturizing cream, wood carvings, stamps, postcards, T-shirts and a whole lot more) They are trying to build a new harbor on the lee side of the island but for now, if you go to Pitcairn and want to actually land, you better go on a smaller boat and pray for absolute calm sea conditions. Entertainment was only so so. They had one show at 9:45 each night.. I liked the magician and have no idea how he did what he did. I was very disappointed in one of the comics as his material bordered on racism as he mocked the accents of Latinos. I just thought it had no place in a show, especially one that sailed from Chile and had lots of Spanish speaking folks on board. The music was sort of hit and miss. They had one lady who had been in a number of Broadway shows and she could really belt out a song. I kind of look at the entertainment as sort of a bonus. You don’t take an Oceania cruise for the shows. My overall impression of the cruise was very favorable. It was a little more expensive than what we were used to but the value was there. I will sail with Oceania again if I find a cruise that has an interesting itinerary at a time that fits my schedule.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free ... Read More
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free internet and prepaid gratuities. They also offered $500 in onboard credit and our travel agent also gave us $500 in onboard credit. Even with inflated wine and drink prices we would have a hard time spending that. We chose to take a credit for the airfare and used frequent flyer mileage to get to Santiago and fly back from Papeete. This gave us a little more flexibility and allowed us to stay on for a few days at the end of the cruise. We flew down from Los Angeles on LAN Chile and we are very impressed with the service LAN offered. We spent a couple of days in Santiago pre cruise and then took the bus down to Valparaiso. The ship offered transfers but they were expensive. The bus from Santiago was about $8 and very easy to take. Very modern Mercedes buses leave about every half hour for the 2 hour trip. Check in was super easy. We were onboard about 20 minutes after we arrived. Of course our cabins were not yet ready but we hung out in the upstairs restaurant having a light lunch while we waited. It wasn’t long until we could get into our cabins and stow our carry on luggage. We then explored the ship. We mostly have cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We quickly noticed a big difference in that Oceania isn’t always trying to sell you extra stuff. There were no photographers trying to get you to pose for pictures. That is not to say there were not opportunities to spend money. There is a small casino but there were not really that many people playing in it. Wine was expensive (least expensive bottles were around $35 but most were closer to $50 and some were in the hundreds) When we first got on, they were selling a wine package where if you bought two bottles you got a 20% discount and if you bought 3 bottles you got a 30% discount. We had a lot of shipboard credit so we used some on wine. Our cabin was quite spacious and the bath was fantastic with full bathtub as well as shower and granite counters and tile. The shower was a bit small so it made it a bit difficult to bend down if you dropped the soap. Still it was without doubt the best bathroom of any ship we have been on. The bed was extremely comfortable and we had a large balcony. The one design drawback was the closet access was limited by the location of a bedside table. It just meant that to access it, you had to lean way over. The room stewardess kept the room made up and always seemed to have it ready by the time we returned from breakfast. One small early complaint was that they forgot to bring ice several times. After I told them I really liked having ice, my ice bucket was filled twice a day. The food. What can you say that hasn’t been said a thousand times. It was the best we have ever had on a cruise. We were allowed 4 reservations at the specialty restaurants and we visited them all. We also could make additional reservations the day of, and managed 3 more visits. Red Ginger was our favorite but I couldn’t really see the need for being offered 6 different kinds of chopsticks. If we were not at a specialty restaurant, we ate our meals in the main dining room, usually asking for a share table. We met so many interesting people over dinner. The cliental on this ship were very well traveled. One dinner we sat with a couple that were taking their 53rd cruise and the other couple were on their 35th. Many dinners extended beyond 2 hours, partly due to the interesting conversations, and partly due to the wait staff not hurrying you to clear your table for more diners. In fact the main restaurant was rarely crowded. Many people were in the specialty restaurants and people in more of a hurry were eating in the buffet. We did eat in the buffet one night and it was very good for a buffet but it still didn’t have the elegance of the main dining room where you were treated like royalty and waited on. Still, the food at the buffet in the evening was just as good as the food in the main dining room, with lobster tails available every evening – not something we had experienced on any other cruise. The tours. We arranged tours for Easter Island and Bora Bora in advance with local tour companies. They cost less than half what the ship was charging and we saw a lot more. The only advantage I could see with a ship tour is you had priority for the tenders. We did take the “Le truck” bus tour around the island on our second day in Bora Bora but that was because we had extra shipboard credit to use up. The shops. They supplied the ship when they were in Barcelona so by the time the ship got to Valparaiso, there was not all that much available to buy in regards to clothes. They had a lot of high end jewelry but overall, the shops were small with limited selection. And we were surprised that there was no liquor store on board. Wine was available for purchase but that was the only alcohol. We were pleasantly surprised that they had a very good bridge program onboard. They had two excellent bridge instructors who taught lessons and then every afternoon on sea days, they had a duplicate game. We usually had 12 tables and they gave out ACBL points if you were an ACBL member. One disappointment was we never got to land on Pitcairn island. I had read prior to the cruise that usually the ships don’t land passengers due to the difficult harbor and the changing sea conditions but we had hopes we might be the lucky ones. Alas, we were not. A group of Pitcairn islanders did come out to the ship and they set up a bazaar in the observation lounge where they sold all sorts of stuff they make on the island. (honey, moisturizing cream, wood carvings, stamps, postcards, T-shirts and a whole lot more) They are trying to build a new harbor on the lee side of the island but for now, if you go to Pitcairn and want to actually land, you better go on a smaller boat and pray for absolute calm sea conditions. Entertainment was only so so. They had one show at 9:45 each night.. I liked the magician and have no idea how he did what he did. I was very disappointed in one of the comics as his material bordered on racism as he mocked the accents of Latinos. I just thought it had no place in a show, especially one that sailed from Chile and had lots of Spanish speaking folks on board. The music was sort of hit and miss. They had one lady who had been in a number of Broadway shows and she could really belt out a song. I kind of look at the entertainment as sort of a bonus. You don’t take an Oceania cruise for the shows. My overall impression of the cruise was very favorable. It was a little more expensive than what we were used to but the value was there. I will sail with Oceania again if I find a cruise that has an interesting itinerary at a time that fits my schedule.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

Find a Marina Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click