Cruising French Polynesia aboard Oceania Sirena

Trading tedious cold winter for Tahiti cruise aboard Oceania Sirena Ah, Tahiti… The name conjures images of balmy beaches, spectacular sunsets, friendly folks and long lazy days sweeping away cares of the world. With my Indiana home in the midst of yucky winter weather, the thought of visiting Tahiti is certainly a dream scenario. Never did think it would happen but here I am heading for that faraway island. And I am going to visit French Polynesia …

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Learning how to wear a pareo, feeding sand crabs, drinking at Bloody Mary’s and more on last cruise stop at Bora Bora

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – She made it look so easy. A few knots here, some stylish tucks there, a loop around the neck. And viola. A beautiful pareo, the sarong-like clothing worn by Polynesian men and women. Asking for volunteers from our group of Sirena passengers, the Mama Ruta designer created four different sarong styles. That was quite impressive but what I found even more interesting was how the artists at Mama Ruta’s hand craft the …

Read moreOceania Sirena Cruise: Learning how to wear a pareo, feeding sand crabs, drinking at Bloody Mary’s and more on last cruise stop at Bora Bora

Oceania Sirena Cruise: Learning about black pearls and a rare flower that grows nowhere else except Raiatea island

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – The island where Sirena is docked today is home to a five-petal flower so rare that it grows nowhere else on earth except here on Raiatea. Named Tiare Apetahi, the blossom rising out of a bed of dagger-shaped leaves has an equally lovely legend. The story goes that a beautiful Tahitian woman named Apetahi fell in love with the son of a king. Devastated that as a commoner she could not marry …

Read moreOceania Sirena Cruise: Learning about black pearls and a rare flower that grows nowhere else except Raiatea island

Oceania Sirena Cruise: Vanilla plantation, historic marae, ancient fish traps, sacred blue-eyed eels among Huahine highlights

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – When we pulled into the tiny village of Fare, a shorts-clad youngster was wading in the beautiful turquoise lagoon under the watchful eyes of nearby parents. By the time we got off our excursion bus, that child had removed every stitch of clothing and was happily playing au naturale in the water. Ah, childhood! Ah, French Polynesia! For my day in Huahine, I chose to take the “Cultural Highlights” tour of the …

Read moreOceania Sirena Cruise: Vanilla plantation, historic marae, ancient fish traps, sacred blue-eyed eels among Huahine highlights

Oceania Sirena Cruise: Having lobster at ship specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I dined at Sirena’s specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak and ordered lobster. Why not? I know that Tuscan specializes in steak but I was Just in the mood for a great lobster dinner. I was not disappointed. Nearby diners said their steaks were great but I also noticed that some looked at my lobster with envy. Plus, I got another wonderful window seat in Tuscan Steak to watch the ocean as I dined. …

Read moreOceania Sirena Cruise: Having lobster at ship specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak

Oceania Sirena Cruise: Visiting Moorea island, said to be inspiration for Bali Hai

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – To discover the Polynesian paradise of Moorea, I rode around the whole island. Of course, that isn’t very difficult. Moorea has only one major road and it takes about one and a half hours to drive the whole thing. But, oh, what beauty that drive revealed. The heart-shaped island is said to have inspired the mythical Bali Hai in James Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific.” Located only 10 nautical miles from …

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Seeing a revival of traditional Tahitian tattoos

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – Tour guide Teiva moved over, thinking he was blocking my picture. But he was my picture. The tattoos on his arm and neck were fascinating. When I told Teiva I would like to photograph them and learn more about the art. Teiva was happy to oblige. “These are in honor of my family and my heritage,” he said, gesturing to the designs on his left arm, hand and fingers.  A shark tattooed …

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Goal of new ship concierge is to visit every country in the world

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – When Matteo Ribecco was a little boy – “maybe three or four years old,” he says, the youngster told his parents he was going to be a world traveler when he grew up. “I have wanted to do that for as long as I can remember,” Matteo said. However, his parents were not sure how their son could fulfill such big goals. Born and raised in Reggio Emilia, a small city in …

Read moreOceania Sirena Cruise: Goal of new ship concierge is to visit every country in the world

Oceania Sirena Cruise: Specialty ship restaurant Red Ginger is superb

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I’ve never seen this happen. Maybe I just haven’t eaten in the right restaurants. Oceania Sirena has two specialty restaurants where reservations must be made. There is no extra charge – in fact, there are few extra charges at all on this cruise ship. Most passengers can expect to dine at least once in Red Ginger and once in Tuscan Steak. If the restaurants …

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Dining options and excellent wait staff

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – For my first lunch aboard Sirena, I was escorted to a window seat overlooking the panoramic Pacific. When I told maître d’ Susan Lingao that I thought I had the best seat in the Grand Dining Room, something surprising happened. Every time I entered the dining room after that, I was lead to that same special table. Even when the dining room was full and window seats were at a premium, I …

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