12 Tahiti (Papeete) Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every ... Read More
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every single day! The bar and restaurant crew were outstanding and taking care of our every request To our pleasant surprise the crew gave us an entertainment nite to be part of and have real fun! Every whim was taken care of!! I only wish that there had been a larger pool though the ocean was there too! Every island we docked on had such unique offerings that we wished we had more time to explore all Lastly the beach barbecue on the private island topped it all with the activities one could do all day long We will definitely set the sails with this cruiser in the future! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We went as part of Sea Courses so 4 days were dedicated to lectures - Always when we were at sea. This was our first cruise and I think we hit the jackpot. We have nothing but good things to say about this experience. We stayed in a ... Read More
We went as part of Sea Courses so 4 days were dedicated to lectures - Always when we were at sea. This was our first cruise and I think we hit the jackpot. We have nothing but good things to say about this experience. We stayed in a window cabin on deck 4 so not the top of the line, by any means. However, we were extremely happy with our cabin. We didn't need anything more. Our cabin had tons of space for storage. It was comfortable and cleaned diligently by our friendly housekeeper, Sharonette. The bar was well stocked and fruit replenished daily. Dining was superb. By the second day, Angelo, our waiter, knew what we liked to drink. The waiters were all friendly, funny and they took such good care of us. It was great having the daily activities printed and presented to us every evening for the following day. Reception staff was so pleasant and helpful. The ports of call were lovely. We chose not to go ashore every time we docked but were never bored. There's always something to do. Loved Les Gaugines and Les Gaugins. Delightful and beautiful. We took a few excursions and enjoyed them - outrigger excursion was my favourite. Most were booked by the time we were on board. Our flight to Tahiti was very late arriving so we didn't explore Papeete but went on a tour on the last day. Very informative. The one negative comment would be that the meal times could have been a bit longer. It was a marvellous experience. The ship experience and the destinations visited were just great but the journey to get there and back was brutal. I don't think I could do that again. A very long time to get there from Toronto, not helped by the tardiness of Air Tahiti Nui. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I had been to the Marquesas Islands on a sailboat in 2002 and wanted to share this unique part of the world with my wife. This cruise was an amazing two week trip and cultural immersion of French Polynesia and especially the Marquesas ... Read More
I had been to the Marquesas Islands on a sailboat in 2002 and wanted to share this unique part of the world with my wife. This cruise was an amazing two week trip and cultural immersion of French Polynesia and especially the Marquesas Islands. Having been here before, my wife and I really enjoy this part of the world, and especially the nice people. We have heard all of the complaints - it is too far - it is too expensive - they speak French and the French are snooty - blah , blah , blah. Nonsense all........................................ Yes - they do speak French, but the people are exceptionally nice there. It may not be paradise, but PF (Polynese Frances) is about as close to the garden of Eden as you can get. Get this - lots of fish that are easy to catch, delightful climate (too warm for a lot of folks), many varieties of fruit falling off the trees, cheap French wine, and really nice people. Not too bad. This was our fourth trip to PF as a couple and my fifth. This time, we took the very unique "adventure cruise” on the Arenui5. This is a very unique cruise indeed as the Arenui5 is 1/2 cruise ship and 1/2 freighter. It is a very small ship (as we found out) - only 7500 tons of displacement. Compare this to the current supply of cruise ships. The smallest ship that we have been on before was the Pacific Princess that was about 30,000 tons. Most cruise ships these days weigh in at over 100,000 tons. I have been looking at the “Aranui" cruises since way back in 2002 when I sailed the Marquesas and Tuomotu islands with my buddy on his 42 foot sailboat. A bonus was that on our 11/7/17 sailing, Maurice Bligh was the guest lecturer on the ship. He is the great great grandson of the famous Captain Bligh of the famous HMAV Bounty. We had read extensively about the famous mutiny on the Bounty in 1789. We landed two days early in Tahiti for the cruise. To get in the swing of things, we took a side trip to Point Venus and Matavai Bay where the great explorers (Wallis, Bouganville, Cook, and Bligh) anchored their ships upon arrival in PF. This is a must see for history buff cruisers. The next morning (Tuesday 11/7) , we got to the ship early (7:00) as it was “all aboard” for sailing at 9:00AM (actual departure was 10:00). The ship loads cargo for 3-5 days at the commercial side of the harbor. Then it comes around to the “cruise pier” at the waterfront in Papeete for boarding the passengers. The Aranui5 is a new ship (2015) but different from most modern cruise ships. Except for the deluxe suites, dining room and lounge, the ship has linoleum floors and is far more austere than most cruise ships. It is owned by a Chinese family named Wong and to our surprise Mrs. Wong, the owner was a passenger on this cruise. (It is good to be the King) The ship was built for its exact purposes in China and it appears well built and safe - it was also subsidized by the French government to carry out it’s mission of supplying cargo to the Marquesas as well as to support the tourist trade. While the passenger composition changes from voyage to voyage, our cruise was typical. About 50% of the passengers were French or Tahitian. 35% were Americans, Brits, Aussies and Kiwis - and 15% were Germans. Everyone was friendly and accommodating. We had fun even with the French folks who spoke little or no English. The ship has a crew of about 100 persons who are mostly of Marquesian heritage and who (except for some of the cargo and ship operations people) are always friendly and have good attitude. Even the operations crew people are not trying to be unfriendly, but have their heads into their sometimes very difficult and physically taxing jobs. Meals are all inclusive and included. Breakfast (American style) starts at 6:00 on some days or more commonly 6:30 and runs till about 9:00. But you cannot rest on your laurels, as your language group may leave for your day trip as early as 7:30. Miss the shore boat and you will miss your entire day's excursion. Lunch is very French style and starts at noon and includes 3 courses and wine that is not bad at all. The deserts are "over the top" French pastries, and all of the entres have a sauce some kind. Like I said very French. Dinner is a similar French style affair with three courses (no choices unless you pre-order like vegetarian food). There are two "seatings" for dinner 7:30 and 8:00. Advice to all of the Americans.... Get on the ship early on the first day and sign up for early seating at the reception desk. The ship sailed at 10:00 after a nice short Tahitian dance show on the aft deck. We settled into our very tight starboard cabin on Deck two. We had only a porthole in our cabin and it sits slightly above the waterline, but just barely when the ship goes out heavy with cargo as it did on our voyage. Our cabin was a blessing and a curse on this small ship. Just out of port, water began to fill our widow (outside obviously) as if we were inside of a washing machine and it was fairly noisy. This proved to be an annoyance till the cargo was unloaded half way into the trip. The blessing was that, being low in the ship, there was less movement as the ship does not have stabilizer wings and rolls quite a bit. This ship is like no other. As we left the port of Papeete, many of the pasengers went up on the bridge and watch as the ship eased out of the harbor. As a passenger, you are free to go up on the bridge at ANY time and interact with the crew. They are happy to explain the ship operations and only want to be left to their own devices when docking or leaving port. We spent quite a bit of time up there and you can just talk with the Captain and crew up there with no sense that you are invading their space. This is truly a comprehensive “cruise” - it includes all shore excursions, all three meals (wine at lunch and dinner), and tour guides. They even include free laundry three times during the cruise. But they do not wash underwear or socks. We spent only $300 during the cruise on happy hour cocktails (1/2 price), one premium boat excursion, bike rentals, and souveneers in the excellent gift shop on board. Every day there is a briefing in your specific language at 5:00 or 6:00 to explain the next day’s activities. You are given a one page handout with very detailed info and maps on the next day’s activities. The "guides" are absolutely first class and answer all of your questions with class and a lot of great humor. They are all very intelligent and have a lot of experience. I cannot speak highly enough of the guides who are also watching out for your safety at every shore stop. Our first port of call was Fakarava in the Touomotus archipelago. We arrived at 7:00AM and went through the narrow pass (channel) into the calm waters of the atoll. All the passengers were on the bridge for this event, and an amazing experience it is to sail into an atoll and watch the arrival from the bridge. We all went ashore on the launch. As there was no tour of this tiny town, you were free to spend the AM on a walk around the town, a swim, or as we did, rent bikes and go for a short 5-6 mile ride and swim. Fakarava is a popular scuba diving destination and a UNESCO site. It is the third largest atoll in the world. It has less than 1000 inhabitants and the arrival of the Aranui5 every three weeks is a big deal. We reborded the ship at noon. We then sailed out of the pass to our next destination of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands - approximately 600 miles NW of Fakarava. The next day was a fairly calm full day at sea with the regular long French style meals with wine, bird watching, lectures and the 5:00 briefing on our next stop of Nuku Hiva. At every stop there were well arranged excursions, transportation, lectures, cultural experiences, dancing and music concerts, and meals on shore or on the ship. This is an absolutely first class operation from the passenger perspective. But you must remember that freight transport is 1/2 of this ship's business, so on many if not most piers, you are dodging around pallets of freight or waiting for the freight lighter to be unloaded so that you can land on the small dock. Despite this, safety is a priority, and the ship personnel do an excellent job of caring for your safety. They get five stars in this area. If you want to enjoy a lot of cocktails in a sleepy tropical environment - forget this cruise. The cocktails while great are not the core of the experience. The cultural experience is absolutely fantastic and the ship is not bad either. If you are prone to sea sickness, get a scopollomine patch or meclazine before you sail. The ship is tender and rolls more than most modern cruise ships. One of the coolest things was that on our last day on Bora Bora, we had a special excursion. I do not want to even tell you what we did, but the day was absolutely magical.It was a fantastic end to the voyage and a unique treat. Finally when you land back in Papeete on the final day at 7:00AM, they do not give you the bums rush to exit the ship like they do on the big cruise ships. They land you in the commercial pier area where they will load cargo for the next 3-4 days. You have a nice breakfast and say your goodbyes. You exit the ship at your convenience. All very civilized and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our first cruise on such a small ship. We have previously sailed on large megaships with Holland America, Princess and Celebrity and found Windstar to be far superior for experienced travelers who enjoy adventure and more unique ... Read More
This was our first cruise on such a small ship. We have previously sailed on large megaships with Holland America, Princess and Celebrity and found Windstar to be far superior for experienced travelers who enjoy adventure and more unique ports. The Tahiti ports are the south seas paradises we dreamed of and more than lived up to our expectations when we booked. They are still relatively unspoiled by hordes of tourists and far more relaxing than Hawaii. The food on Windstar was outstanding and there were no upcharges for specialty restaurants. The staff were uniformly professional and friendly and the food was far better than that we experienced on mass market cruiselines. My only caveats are that Windstar is not well suited for families sailing with children, elderly people with mobility issues and party people. Independent adults and couples looking for a very relaxing vacation will find Windstar to be an ideal and adventurous escape. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this ... Read More
We went on this cruise because of the "sea less traveled". It was an adult only charter cruise. The staff was over the top polite and genuinely nice. The cabin, 817, was close to the pool/bar and restaurant. I would book this room again. Just be ready in the morning for the joggers to start stomping like elephants at 8:30 am above your room. After all, you do have to get up for breakfast. The shore excursions were the absolute best we have gone on. People that go on the the cruise and expect a giant mall in each port should not go. This is for adventure and seeing something new that you can check off your bucket list. We hiked to a waterfall after a rugged 4-wheel drive ride. Not for the feint of heart or handicapped. I made it with the help of our guide. We swam with lemon sharks, reef sharks and rays. We say the ship's namesake's grave and learned during lectures about his life. The on board archeologist who accompanied us on excursions gave us lectures and information we would have never known about. I would suggest doing only one excursion picnic on the beach and it would be the one in Bora Bora. Authentically cooked in the ground instead of brought in from a kitchen. That's just me. I found the on board activities fun and hard to choose from because they scheduled multiple events at the same time. I am not much of a meat eater, so I can't say much about the food. The people I ate with seemed puzzled at the weird combinations in the special restaurants. Pate on a slab of tuna tartar? Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was such a magical cruise! Totally amazing look at the island nation of Tahiti.It truly enriched our lives. The food was top notch and we have cruised and traveled the entire world. It's a nice small ship where you get to know ... Read More
This was such a magical cruise! Totally amazing look at the island nation of Tahiti.It truly enriched our lives. The food was top notch and we have cruised and traveled the entire world. It's a nice small ship where you get to know everyone, crew and fellow passengers. We saw 6 or 7 islands Bora Bora and Huahine being my favorite.The crew couldn't have been better. Rina and Natasha at the front desk were SO NICE and helpful they knew everyone's names. They deserve a raise! Captain Ned and first mate were the most personable officers I have ever meet on a cruise, loved them. The excursions were to die for. Loved the floating mats off the back of the boat when we stopped. Dody my room steward (room 104) kept or room immaculate at all times. The crew on this ship made this cruise they were the best of any cruise I have ever taken. Just loved this cruise. They do need new mattresses in the cabins. I hope that is part of the refurb they are about to do. If you want to do Tahiti this is the way to go, even better then staying a week in Bora Bora. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We initially were made aware of this cruise by Go Next which was actively promoting this cruise last year, however we ended up booking it through our own travel agent for a slightly better deal. As others have mentioned, French ... Read More
We initially were made aware of this cruise by Go Next which was actively promoting this cruise last year, however we ended up booking it through our own travel agent for a slightly better deal. As others have mentioned, French Polynesia is beautiful, remote, and quiet. It was extremely hot and humid when we visited, but we enjoyed it immensely. Oceania did promote this accurately as not for children, and in fact only 1 lonesome child was on the ship, which was nice for those of us who need a break from grandchildren. We had never cruised Oceania before, so my remarks will compare it and the smaller ship adventure to our previous cruises with larger ships and other cruise lines. Our package included the cruise, flights, WiFi, gratuities, and 4 excursions, which made it so much easier when it came to the final bill. Soft drinks and bottled water were included, the bar fridge was stocked with soft drinks, and bottled water was included as we disembarked each day. drinks were very expensive at over $11 for a mixed drink, and $7 for beer, so if you are a big drinker, you might look into the drinks package. The gift shops had only high end items, one of the two shops was dedicated to a brand of high end jewelry and the other had minimal, but high end clothing. Embarking the ship was easy and smooth. Tendering was easy with only 600+ passengers, also no photographers, no art auctions. On the negative side, the buffet was small and limited, but very good. Entertainment was limited with a large lounge instead of a theatre without tiered seating. The ship also seemed to ride a bit rougher with its small size, even though the seas were calm, more of a bounce in the fore and aft where the dining room and entertainment were located. It was a real bonus that the specialty restaurants were no extra charge. The Tuscan Grill was so so, but we loved Red Ginger with excellent food and service and a great maitre d'. As on many cruise ships lately the food, service and staff were excellent. The cabins were slightly smaller than we have had, with the bathroom noticeably smaller, but they were well appointed with a super comfortable beds and bedding. Our Oceania experience was great, but not better than we have had on other cruise lines. The small ship experience was good for this itinerary, but we probably prefer ships with 1000-1800 passengers. This itinerary was wonderful and relaxing, just what we were looking for; however we could have missed the 3 days that it took to get up to Nuka Hiva, as on a small ship there isn't a lot to do on sea days. We would recommend this cruise for the quiet adventure, and the ship to those who prefer to do without all the hype and hassle of the huge ships. Passengers on this cruise were mainly American and well travelled. We enjoyed sharing a table at meals and hearing new travel stories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming ... Read More
We were a group of 9 family and friends traveling together. My DH and I had been to French Polynesia before but the others had not. We chose this itinerary because we're avid snorkelers and family members like to get out of Wyoming Winter in February! Most of our cruising has been on Regent or Silversea so I'm sure that has biased my observations some. Other family members have mostly done Celebrity. Consider that as you read this review. Ship: Overall ship was very nice. Only surprise was several of the common area restrooms are configured for only one person at a time (for privacy you had to lock the door on the way in). While the public restrooms outside the MDR and Terrace Café could service multiple users, I still found this a bit odd. Cabin: We were in 4044, a Deluxe Oceanview. The location is really excellent! Close to Reception and MDR, amidships and low (DH gets seasick sometimes), and nothing that makes late night or early morning noise above or below. Cabin was viewed by everyone as small (even though I tried to manage everyone's expectations). That said, everything fit nicely and bathroom, while small was fine for two. We have tripled up on Regent and Silversea in the past, but this would not be possible here. Everything in the cabin worked and our room steward was excellent. Dining: Everyone's favorite was Red Ginger. Second favorite was Terrace Café. Overall everyone thought food was excellent. Only issue with MDR was that it took about 2 1/2 hours to have dinner. Several in our group are big lobster fans, so being able to have "All You Can Eat" lobster was a big hit for the Terrace Café. I liked the "All You Can Eat" sushi; so Terrace was a Group hit. The surf and turf sandwich at Waves was also a big hit. Brother even took to ordering Surf and Turf, hold the turf and hold the bread! In my opinion the best steak I had on the trip was the turf part of the Surf and Turf sandwich. Only "real" negative comment regarded the Ice Cream/Milkshake bar next to Waves. While it opened at 0630 (who eats Ice Cream or a milkshake at 0630?), it closed at 1600. So, if you came back from an excursion after 4PM and wanted a milkshake you couldn't get it. Wasn't available from room service either. Even though "creamed spinach" (my personal favorite) was not on the MDR menu, I was able to get it every nite we ate in the MDR. A special shout out to Gluten Free folks. My DH is GF so we let O know before hand. This worked out really nicely. Most dishes in the MDR and Red Ginger could be prepared GF with the one day notice using the menu provided in our cabin.. DH was even able to have a "standing order" for GF Escargot for lunch in Jacques. DH could always get GF bread in the MDR, and at the Terrace Cafe (though it took a few minutes longer there) and thought was good! DH even insists on making GF bread at home as we don't care for most "store bought." So I considered this a significant endorsement of O's GF products. Though Home Office couldn't tell me before hand, they do have GF soy sauce available at Red Ginger, but only in the Red Ginger. Brought our own for use in Terrace Café. Not sure why if GF Soy Sauce was available in Red Ginger why it wasn't available at MDR. Entertainment: The production show staff were solid, maybe voices weren't as strong as I would have liked, but generally solid. The guest entertainers: comic, magician/comic, and singer were OUTSTANDING! All three were great in their craft and talented showmen. Activities. The "usual" putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, bean bag toss and trivia games were all well executed and fun. One of the Guest Lecturers was mediocre at best. O would have done better to find someone local (like Polynesian Anthropologist Mark Eddowes) than lawyer/professor from DC. That said, the ship's Navigator gave a lecture on navigation that was just OUTSTANDING. Could have used one or two more from him. Service in all venues was generally outstanding. There were occasional lapses but they were generally rare. All pre-arranged requests were honored (GF, Diet Mt. Dew or Coke Zero). Special requests in Dining Venues (see above) were met (except my brother's request for beef Wellington every night.). Ports and Excursions: I agree O's excursions are overpriced; but, we did opt for the 4 included excursions per person and enjoyed them. That said, I'm sure glad I didn't pay list price for them! As expected, the ports made this trip. We had "private" tours in Fakarava, Bora Bora and Raiatea. The Bora Bora and Fakarava snorkel trips were the highlights of the cruise. Truth Teller: We booked another O cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
It was always my dream to cruise the Tahitian islands and it was my chance to try the Windstar Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in taking this cruise! I have limited experience in cruising, having only been on an Oceania Cruise before ... Read More
It was always my dream to cruise the Tahitian islands and it was my chance to try the Windstar Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in taking this cruise! I have limited experience in cruising, having only been on an Oceania Cruise before this. I think Oceana sets a high bar and this cruise met that bar. The cabins on the Wind Spirit are all the same size. There is a price difference between level 1 and level 2 and cabins in the mid-ship. I do not see any real difference in these cabins other than a few extra stairs and the water level outside your 2 port holes. I would avoid cabins 205, 207 and 209, which are right by the tinder. The people in the cabins will look out at the tinder but to be honest, can't say when I was on the tinder, that I could see in these cabins. The cabins had a ton of storage. Sufficient hanging space, 4 drawers and more under the seats of the banquette. Shelves in the bathroom both above the sink area and below. There were shelves next to the bed for night reading and other items. Outlets were US compatible. The TV in the room was adequate. There were a variety of movies that played during the week and a ton of DVDs in the library. We only watched the news when getting ready for the day. We had a standing order of coffee delivered each morning, which was wonderful. The breakfast had a nice buffet as well as different al a cart items each day. I only had lunch a few times but it also had a changing buffet and al a cart items. Dinner in the dining room was fabulous each evening we ate there. For one evening we had a buffet on a motu- good food, another, a BBQ on deck which also had good food. Candles was an option for one evening and it good as well. We heard from others they had a great meal at Candles, but our steaks were a little tough. We ordered room service on the pool deck a few times and once in the room. The staff was wonderful and accommodating. Everyone was cheerful, went out of their way to be helpful and extremely polite. They knew our names by the first evening! Several of the wait staff were more than welcoming and were more like friends by the end of the cruise. We can not say enough about the level of service on this ship! Embarkation was quick and easy. The work out room was really small and a little warm. There was yoga and stretching on the upper deck each morning. Snorkel gear is available for use for the week, just go to the marina to check out the items. You can kayak, swim or SUP from the back of the ship. You can also use these items from the motus in Ta'haa and Bora Bora. You can not use these from the ship when it is docked in Raiatea. I used the ship's excursions for a discovery dive in Raiatea and a snorkel safari, as well as a catamaran tour in Bora Bora. The other excursions I booked myself directly with the tour companies. I used Marc's Combo Tour in Huahine, Francky Franck's in Moorea, We took a taxi bus for an island tour on Bora Bora. We also did an impromptu boat tour of the river in Raiatea. We stayed at the Intercontinental pre and post cruise. There is more rocking in this sailboat than the larger ships. I was on a relatively small ship on Oceania, the Regatta, but it had much less rocking than this ship. If you have sea sickness, be sure to bring your meds. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My partner and I just completed an 11 night cruise through Society and Cook Islands. The experience was phenomenal. This was not our first time in these islands but it was our first time cruising. The Paul Gauguin is a lovely luxury ship. ... Read More
My partner and I just completed an 11 night cruise through Society and Cook Islands. The experience was phenomenal. This was not our first time in these islands but it was our first time cruising. The Paul Gauguin is a lovely luxury ship. Great food, clean and pleasant decor, extremely friendly and efficient staff - especially the dive operation, room service and wait staff. Of course, the ports are amazing and the excursions diverse - the travel desk is very accommodating and search for other options at your request. The staff as well as the passengers were totally accepting of us as a same sex couple and made every effort to make us feel included, welcomed and part of the scene. That has not always been my experience and it has made me leery of "straight" cruises in the past. This was a very pleasant surprise. The primary disappointment we had on the cruise was the diversity of entertainment and onboard activiites. The entertainment needs to be reviewed and upgraded. While the performers were pleasant enough, they aren't "star" quality. Also, there needs to be more diverse entertainment in other areas of the ship (restaurants, bars, etc.). There's not a lot to do onboard ship during the day and that should be addressed. One bright spot is the Enrichment Series of lectures - very informative and passionate speakers on polynesian culture and history. Another major source of dissatisfaction is the expensive and dicey internet service. I spent almost $500 on internet service. I am still employed and had to check in often, download some documents, etc. I think the cruise ship needs to upgrade their service and their pricing model. If planes can have internet at 40,000 ft, I'm not sure why a cruise ship can't. I also overhead people complain about wanting to send pictures home to family, facetime, etc., and it is not practical to do so. The cruise line needs to "get with it" if they want to attract a younger professional passenger. All in all, it was a great cruise, a wonderful ship, amazing ports of call and very pleasant staff. We can highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I was leading a Spanish group. What a great experience on that intimate small cruise ship! Great service, very friendly team. the room lady and the "chef de rang" was able to remember our names. We visited Taha'a ... Read More
I was leading a Spanish group. What a great experience on that intimate small cruise ship! Great service, very friendly team. the room lady and the "chef de rang" was able to remember our names. We visited Taha'a private beach, Huahine, 2 days at Bora Bora and 2 days at Moorea, my home island. And I agree with most people: Moorea is the nicest one! The scenery of the mountains when you arrive is so dramatic! And the water of the lagoon so pristine... And there is much more to do on Moorea: - Land tours, by bus or 4X4, hiking, horse riding (and new in July 2016: Treetop adventure park), shopping in Maharepa... - Lagoon activities: half a day minimum at the Lagoonarium, sting rays feeding (no danger with the black tip sharks), dolphin watching, whale watching from august till november.. This ship is very luxury and all inclusive. I had champagne every dinner and I didn't have to ask for it: the waiter would bring a glass to me even before I had time to get sitted... They have 3 restaurants and each guest has the possibility to go to the gastronomical one once in the week minimum. But the other two are great too, anyway! Great experience! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Quite frankly the thing about Oceania that most impressed me was the hand-holding they provided during travel to and from Papeete, Tahiti, our point of embarkation/disembarkation. We checked our bags in Pittsburgh, and three flights later ... Read More
Quite frankly the thing about Oceania that most impressed me was the hand-holding they provided during travel to and from Papeete, Tahiti, our point of embarkation/disembarkation. We checked our bags in Pittsburgh, and three flights later we got off the plane in Papeete. Oceania chartered an Air Tahiti Nui Airbus A343 for the flight from LAX to Papeete. A brief stop in Papeete at immigration and we were given a flower lei and directed to a bus. We arrived at the dock, boarded the ship, got our ID/Cabin Keys and went to our room. Before we unpacked and stowed our carry-on items, our bags showed up. Sweet! Oceania had people at LAX to direct us to the Tom Bradley International terminal, and at Bradley to direct us to the gate for our flight. These people had lists with our names, and they checked us off, so they weren't just Walmart greeters. Ditto for the return flights, except that we had to claim our bags at LAX and go thru US Customs. We then put our bags back on the belt and we next saw them in Pittsburgh. All this air travel was included in the cost our trip. We've traveled enough that we don't exactly need this level of hand-holding, but it sure was nice and relieved any stress that we may have had. The second thing we most liked about Oceania was the food. We ate in all four of Marina's specialty restaurants, and we liked them all. It's hard to pick a favorite, although Red Ginger and Polo Grill slightly bested Toscano and Jacque's. We only ate in the Grand Dining room twice, once for breakfast on a rainy morning, and once for dinner. The rest of our meals were enjoyed in the more casual Terrace Cafe where we could dine outside in the warm Polynesian weather with gorgeous views of whatever island we were visiting. Great sushi & sashimi in Red Ginger and the Terrace Cafe. We also spent a fun rainy day in their Bon Apetite culinary center taking a cooking class and eating our Zdelicious (if I do say so myself) results. My wife gained 7 pounds on this cruise, and she's the careful one. I'm afraid to get on a scale. The Verandas on Marina are wonderful. You can sit down and enjoy an almost unobstructed view of what's out there. Very nice design with only a varnished wooden handrail at the top and several slim metal rails below. RCCI's Explorer of the Seas, on the other hand, was more metal than view from our Grand Suite. But this aspect would very greatly from ship to ship rather than from line to line. If you like to sit outside and take in the views, you'll like your veranda on Marina. Now for the complaints. On-board entertainment wasn't much to speak of, other than Tom Drake a funny comedian and music by the Orpheus String Quartet, a "name" chamber music group who performed throughout the cruise in various venues. We also enjoyed the Marina Band. But compared to what we've experienced on Royal Caribbean or Princess, the entertainment was only so-so. But that wasn't why we came, so not a big deal. Wine & drink prices are too high. A pour of wine might cost just slightly less than a bottle back home. I ran the numbers after we got home and even with the gouging, buying by the bottle or glass still saved us a ton over what we would have paid by buying one of their ridiculously priced drink packages. Royal Caribbean's wine package is much more flexible and reasonably priced. Land Tours are really overpriced. While this won't come as a shock to anyone who reads the boards on CruiseCritic, it seemed a shame. We signed up for none - zero. No one begrudges Oceania a profit on a service provided, but a simple 3 hour excursion that one could do for $35 per couple would cost well over $100 thru Oceania. I don't know how many of their offerings actually sold out (some certainly did), but if they lowered the prices we would have booked thru them rather than going ashore and finding our own. While I'm tempted to say its not about the money its about refusing to be taken advantage of, in reality its both. The bathroom (design). Our bath was striking visually. We had both a tub with a European style partial glass partition, and a walk-in shower. We used the shower. My wife showered in the tub once to try it, but used the walk-in after that. The only problem with the walk-in was the size - very small. I don't know about you, but I haven't taken a bath since I was a child. I don't know anyone who bathes. Tubs are so yesterday. Now I'm sure that some people do bathe. But why on a virtually brand new ship couldn't they have fitted at least a portion of the stateroom with only a shower? Removing the tub would have allowed them to increase the size of the walk-in shower by, say 50%, and enlarge the stateroom with the remaining space. If they had done this for say 10% of the staterooms, and identified these rooms as shower only on the deck maps showing staterooms, I would bet these would be the first to sell out in their category. I would predict that if they had tried this, after time and retrofits, eventually rooms with tubs would become the exception rather than the rule. I also wonder why bath tubs on cruise ships seem to have higher sides than at home. On our previous cruise on RCCI's Explorer of the Seas, we almost needed a ladder to get in and out. There we had no walk-in shower option. I'm guessing this is so the water wouldn't splash out in rough seas. Dump the tub! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013

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