I am enjoying the cruise and observe many happy guests. The crew has been amazing and Corey Powell is doing a great job as Cruise Director. Very effective and a really nice guy! He and the entertainment staff did a great job on the "Showdown" performance. The crew work so hard to please all of the guests. The crew seems to be enjoying this Transoceanic cruise as well. Most of them work long hours, every day, away from their families for 6 months. I have lots of respect for all of them!
The South Pacific ports have been amazing and we have had good weather in most ports. My favorites so far are Pago Pago, American Samoa, Port Vila Vanuatu and Noumea, New Caledonia. Shore excursions are well managed and interesting. We did not stop at Apia, Samoa due to the measles outbreak there and state of emergency there (a wise decision). Food has been very good as expected. Fellow guests are mostly from Canada, Australia, USA, Germany and Europe. Most guests are in their sixties and seventies.
Lecturers have been interesting and relevant to where we are sailing. Especially enjoyed the story of the ship's recent refit. Oceania had to move the refit of Regatta from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada due to the U.S. not allowing key contractors with special skills to enter the USA. An economic boom for Canada and a loss for the USA. Then it rained for 17 of the 21 drydock days which required improvising ways to dry the finish on all of the teak wood that is applied after all of the teak is installed. Painting in the rain was a challenge as well and LOTS of creativity and hard work needed to complete the project. Many crew members slept thru 24 hours a day of construction for 3 weeks. Also, many crew members hauled all of the new mattresses and furniture without the use of the elevators. Wow!! Congratulations to Oceania for the successful project! The ship looks great!
Even though smaller than the Veranda cabins on Marina, there is lots of storage space throughout the cabin in many places. New shower doors work well. Takes a little bit of time to get used to the smaller space but it is comfortable. Note: there is no Concierge lounge on the "R" class ships. Aft of ship is great location because all of the restaurants and Baristas are there.
Embarked here. Stayed overnight at Tahiti Pearl resort in Arue. Taxi for 2 including luggage to the dock was only $23. Stores not open on Sundays. Enjoyed learning about life here from the taxi drivers.
Been here before so did not do a shore excursion. We tendered to Vaitape which has a number of stores. Ship anchored in beautiful lagoon.
Took a taxi ($5 per person) to the National Park headquarters in town. Purchased souvenirs (cash only) and got the rare Park stamp for this park. Then walked back to the port while stopping in several shops. There is a small grocery store near the ANZ bank and fire house. Also, shopped at the Wesley bookstore opposite the port. Enjoyed talking to folks about life here in American Samoa. There were a number of tents with inexpensive items for sale right at the dock near the ship. Very good items for sale here at reasonable prices. Cash only.
I walked along the coastline to the Fiji Museum in Thurston Gardens. Very interesting. Shop accepts credit cards and had some very good items for sale, some of which were quite inexpensive. Walked past President's home with guard in a "man skirt" as well as the Grand Pacific hotel. Visited the Handicrafts market. Note: this is a ship replenishment stop for fuel, food, etc.
Took the free shuttle to downtown Brisbane from the port and then walked Queen Street mall to the free Cityhopper ferry that goes along the Brisbane river. After traveling the entire length of the ferry run, we got off at Eagle Street Pier and enjoyed lunch before walking back to the shuttle stop opposite Central (train) Station. A delightful day, Also, we cleared Australian customs here as it is required that everyone exit the ship. It was not that hard or time-consuming. Took about 20 minutes.