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2 Tahiti (Papeete) to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise on Oceania, the 12 day ‘Pure Polynesia’ on Sirena. We tend to be land based travellers, but some places are just better by ship. Sirena is a smaller ship, which we prefer. The ship, refurbished in 2016, is ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania, the 12 day ‘Pure Polynesia’ on Sirena. We tend to be land based travellers, but some places are just better by ship. Sirena is a smaller ship, which we prefer. The ship, refurbished in 2016, is beautifully decorated and maintained, with lots of dark wood and brass, immaculately clean. Being a smaller ship there is not that much room for guests to spread out, and it started to feel a bit smal toward the end of the cruise. The pool area is especially small, and people wanted shade as it was so hot. The lounges were coveted real estate, and just like resorts, the lounge hogs reserve early in the day, and keep them all day. Sirena discouraged this, but did nothing to correct it. There are other areas on the upper decks where pool staff can place lounges, but this is done only at your request. Embarkation and dis-embarkation were seamless. We actually arrived before our appointed time, due to hotel check out. We were checked in without any hesitation. Dis-embarkation was also smooth. Our luggage was picked up the night before & we left the ship after breakfast. We did all of our own planning, including flights, hotels before and after the cruise. We heard grumbling from passengers who had Oceania do the planning. Part of it was expense, but can’t comment further as this was not my experience. There are three dining rooms, plus the buffet and pool-side grill. The grand dining room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as does the buffet. Specialty restaurants include Red Ginger, serving Asian cuisine, while Tuscan Steak is a steak-house with Italian flavor. Both are beautifully decorated, and at no additional charge. Given our status on the ship, we were entitled to pre-book one meal at each specialty restaurant. You can book additional dinners, based on availability during the cruise. Red Ginger was our favorite, but only by a bit! The food was incredible at both! The grill by the pool serves good burgers and sandwiches for lunch. Breakfast at the buffet served a varied selection, which became a bit routine by the end of the cruise. There are occasionally flow problems as the main walkway is narrow. The buffet offered a special breakfast, Eggs Benedict, or some variation daily. This was offered in the center of the buffet. It took 4-9 minutes to prepare your selection. Either you waited there, causing a bit of a log jam in the area, or the server could bring it to your table. But they had no organized way of identifying you, so the servers often wandered around trying to find you. A smarter method of doing this is needed. Lunch and dinner at the grand dining room were excellent. There were many (too many!) choices for dinner. The Jacques Pepin signature dishes were delicious. All was beautifully presented. Food is a big highlight of Oceania, so prepare to be fed! The ports of call were excellent on this cruise. We were at sea for a few days in the early part of the cruise heading to the Marquesas Islands. It was a bit rough and unbelievably hot at sea. The Captain reported the sea and air temperature as 89 degrees one day! There was no relief even in the wind! We enjoyed experiencing the remoteness of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. I picked up some amazing craft jewelry from the co-op by the dock. Wish I bought more! Sirena invited local dancers from the island to perform on the ship in the evening. It was an amazing show! We don’t usually attend the shows, so can’t comment much here…except the theatre is not tiered and can be hard to see for those of short stature! We found the excursions to be expensive, but wanted to experience as much of the islands as we could. We decided to book the unlimited passport package for $989 (each). A few excursions had an extra charge on top. Overall we were quite pleased with the excursions. Our focus was being on the water and snorkelling as much as we could. We swam with the stingrays and sharks, snorkelled beautiful coral gardens and did a sunset cruise in Bora Bora! Some passengers negotiated with locals for less expensive adventures when they came ashore. It seemed to work for them. But the ship will wait for you if you are back late from one of their excursions! The staff on the ship varied from young to very experienced. All of the staff worked extremely hard on Sirena, and did an amazing job to make sure the guests were happy. A few who really stood out include: Maitre’d Leandro, Susan (Red Ginger), Sara (Tuscan Grill); Bartenders Igor & ‘Joe’; sommelier Nicola; our cabin attendant, Vanessa. But there were so many who worked behind the scenes, or whose name I missed, that kudos go to the entire crew. We chose the premium drinks package. It was an extra $480 + gratuities. This gave us the option to drink anything they offered, with the exception of full bottles of wine. (Other cruise ships give a discount on full bottles with this package.) Overall we were quite satisfied with the package. All of the bartenders made excellent mixed drinks. The wine sommelier/stewards are in the dining rooms helping guests match wine with their meal. There are not enough wine stewards for the grand dining room and the wine sometimes arrived after the course it was meant for. These individuals are literally run off their feet doing their best to keep up, but there simply aren’t enough of them! We were absolutely not impressed when the ship ‘ran out of’ most wines we wanted the last dinner of the cruise…and the list was long! We requested a discount to purchase a full bottle of wine, and miraculously the wine we wanted was found. This did not end the cruise on a positive note. I would cruise with Oceania again. It was a notch above other cruises I’ve taken, but just a notch. Some passengers continued on to Australia. While the itinerary sounded great, I was ready to get off the ship! Read Less
Sail Date February 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

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