We're seasoned cruisers (33 total - going all the way back to Grace Lines "Santa Rosa" in 1957), and this marked our first time aboard Oceania. We sailed on Marina from Valparaiso on 17 Dec & disembarked in Tahiti on 4 ... Read More
We're seasoned cruisers (33 total - going all the way back to Grace Lines "Santa Rosa" in 1957), and this marked our first time aboard Oceania. We sailed on Marina from Valparaiso on 17 Dec & disembarked in Tahiti on 4 Jan 2015. We'd booked our air through Oceania as well, and were quite concerned from the start that Oceania had cut the time to catch our connecting AA international flight from Miami to Santiago just a bit too close for comfort (80 minutes.) We were right: Murphy's Law!!! Our 16 Dec AA flight from Dallas to Miami was 30 minutes late taking off, and we were delayed an additional 30 minutes on the MIA tarmac waiting for a gate. Finally, once we rolled up at our assigned gate, we were advised that before we could disembark, we'd have to sit tight while a medical team came on board to check out a sick passenger. Bottom Line: If our connecting flight (from Bogota) had not arrived late itself, we'd have been SOL and would've likely missed our cruise!!
Embarkation was fairly tedious, and included the fairly worthless health status declarations for both EBOLA and the flu. (If Oceania. or any other cruise line, were truly serious about preventing the spread of disease aboard their ships, they'd set up a dedicated ship's medical check-in station ashore ( a la Ellis Island), manned by the ship's doctor or nurses, and routinely take temperature scans, and quickly evaluate all passengers. (Some folks might be directed to go directly to sick bay for further eval, followed by quarantine in their cabins, for a few days to protect the health of all - or they'd be denied permission to board!!) On day two of the cruise, the captain announced over the ship's PA at midday that since 2% of the passengers and crew had already been diagnosed with a virus, that the ship would be initiating strict CDC procedures to combat it.
Accommodations (9065 Concierge Veranda) were adequate, and we enjoyed having both the separate, full-sized, glass enclosed shower & dedicated tub. We partook of the ships 4 specialty restaurants on 14 of our 18 nights aboard, but had to admit that we'd had much better food at Azamara "Quest's" two specialty restaurants on 20 evenings, during an epic 56-day cruise! The Marina's Broadway-style song and dance shows were outstanding, but the rest were of little consequence. The Marina's guest lecturers were well-qualified and their topics were spot on, as were the ships afternoon movies in the main showroom (Mutiny on the Bounty, Easter Island). Easter Island was definitely the highlight of the entire cruise. All ports of call on this cruise (except Tahiti) necessitated tendering ashore. Unfortunately, the Captain opted not to let any his passengers go ashore on Pitcairn Island, due to rough surf around the island. My better half enjoyed five of the ship's $69 "Hands-On" cooking classes at the Cordon Blue Cooking Center on Deck 12. And we both enjoyed the Hands-On art classes taught by retired Art Professor Tony Turpin, right across the deck, in the ship's Artist Loft.
Following disembarkation on 4 Jan, We'd booked an extra day and night ashore at a Beach Resort in Tahiti, through Oceania. Imagine our surprise, when our Oceania-contracted bus departed from the pier & quickly delivered my wife & I a mere few blocks from the ship to the rundown City Hall complex @ exactly 0815 AM. We were advised that we would be required to unload our own baggage here but would "Not Be Passing Go" and would not be scheduled to leave City Hall for the Resort UNTIL 1;20 PM. Bottom Line: we had to endure FIVE HOURS in a rundown, third world City Hall, with no air conditioning, no food, no security for our baggage, and huge conga lines waiting to use two single-stall toilets, co-mingled with hundreds of other displaced persons/Oceania passengers (including a few hundred who'd just flown in and were waiting to board the Marina!!) We'd much preferred to have been driven directly to the resort, where we could have checked our luggage into the resort's locked storage room until our rooms were ready, filled out our registration forms at our leisure, sat by the pool or on their beach, and enjoyed their food and beverages!!!! Thanks Oceania: YOU TOTALLY MANAGED TO WASTE AWAY OUR DAY IN PARADISE!!!! (We had to catch a 3 AM bus from the Resort to the Tahiti airport on 5 January!!!) Read Less