We chose this cruise, back-to-back, San Francisco to Papeete and then on to Sydney, because of the itinerary and we have been pleased so far. This is our second Oceania cruise. The weather has been great, the facilities on the ship are in good order and our cabin (veranda) has ample storage room and is nicely furnished, good bedding, fake wicker on the veranda. Embarkation was very fast and easy, even though I had to change credit cards due to a fraud.
Let's go with the good stuff first. The food has been, almost half way through the cruise, excellent. They must have amazing refrigeration to keep berries fresh for so long. There are ample choices at all meals and high quality. The food service at the buffet, Grand Dining Room, and specialty restaurants is professional and friendly at the same time. The Waves poolside grill is also very good with a great menu. The public areas are spotless and well-maintained.
Our cabin steward is a wonder. Our cabin is always clean and fresh, with everything well maintained. Sharmila goes above and beyond to give good service.
The wifi on this ship is the best I've seen on any cruise line and we have sailed on many. Help in the computer room is here for many hours each day. The spa services are priced as usual at sea (double what I pay at home) but service is excellent. The contract with Canyon Ranch will expire in 6 months and they will be switching to Steiner, so I don't know what staff changes there will be, but those working there now are great! The gym facilities are more than adequate for the passenger load.
The tours are overpriced, of course as expected. We are using private tours whenever possible. The entertainment has been better than expected in the Regatta Lounge and the string quartet and pianist have large audiences every evening.
Now for the bad stuff. Oceania must know the demographics of their passengers, especially on an itinerary like this one. Most are over 70 and at least half use canes or other mobility devices. The ship and, from talking with the concierge, the company, makes little effort to accommodate these passengers. Maybe is it a cost issue, but the piers chosen in Hawaii (3 ports) were out of the way, with long and difficult, badly paved walks to get out to a street. I have been to Hawaii 3 times and never had this problem with any other cruise line. Not only didn't they not mention the difficulty such as a half mile walk in Maui with no place to stop or rest, but the concierge said "It's not our fault." No mention in the Currents newsletter or port information about this. Other cruise lines provide golf cart or other shuttles, wheelchair assistance when needed and warnings. I saw a man with double canes struggling and a woman trying to get off the pier to meet a relative on Maui (not allowed to drive to near the ship) look faint as she and her sister walked with canes. This is not only inconsiderate, but dangerous as there was no way to get help. My husband and I (82 and 78) are capable of the walk, but I can't say it was easy. We had to phone relatives we are traveling with and tell them not to even try.
In speaking to other passengers, we have found that this is a common complaint on this cruise, one man even taking most meals in his cabin because the ship is so unaccommodating. We have never seen or heard about this before in the 60+ cruises we've taken on many different cruise lines, including, in this price class, Viking Ocean and Azamara. And nobody in management seems to care or even admit there is a problem.
Another policy issue. I spoke to the Fitness Manager and asked about offering chair yoga for those of us who can't get down on the ground. She told me she would be glad to do so but had no chairs. I suggested they use the chairs in the Card room which is right next to the Spa. She said that management won't allow it and that is true. The official line is that the card room must be kept available for card players. There are none at 8AM, I pointed out, but there would be at least a dozen yogis, maybe more, at that hour. The concierge reiterated that the room must always be available to card players, illustrating a total lack of flexibility and willingness to fill guest needs. Both Azamara and Viking Ocean are really great in doing whatever they can to be helpful, but Oceania is more about following corporate rules. For these reasons, I will probably not be cruising with Oceania again.
Clean, comfortable, much storage. Bathroom and shower are small, as on all ships of this class. Viking Ocean has much better bathrooms.
We used AAA and Uber to get around the city.
Very hard to get anywhere due to pier location.
Impossible for many not on ship tours to even get off pier.