We have just returned from 2 back to back cruises. The first " Pearls of the Aegean" from the 22nd April to the 2nd May and the second - " Mediterranean Tapestry" from the 2nd to the 12th of May.
We were very impressed with the subtle elegance of the beautiful and Marina.
We booked a PH3 suite and it was the perfect size for my husband and I and we had no problem with the shower size others have noted in there reviews. The cabin was very well maintained through out the cruise. We did not choose this cabin category for the butler service and only saw him if we were in our cabin when the afternoon Canapes were delivered. Our cabin was 10025 and towards the front of the ship and we were very pleased with our choice as we had none of the movement, vibration or noise that we often felt towards the back of the ship and felt little to no motion at sea.
The food on board was of a high standard. I would not say it was 5 star as others have said. I felt - much of it fell a little short of the "wow" taste factor but it was very nice and was presented beautifully in all restaurants on the ship. I very much enjoyed the grilled lobster served in the Terrace cafe and my husband loved his steak in all restaurants. We liked the way the buffet food was served by gloved servers which I am sure greatly minimised any cross infection.
The staff were amazing - every one of then. They worked very hard to give us a relaxing holiday and nothing was too much trouble. Our house keeper Jahaira(?) is worthy of a special mention the way she slipped in after we left the room and magically transformed our cabin in the short time we were away morning and night. If we needed something we would leave a note and it would be there, with out fail when we returned. In the main dinning room and the Terrace Cafe - a special mention of Carlos and Pedro for their quiet, unintrusive, professional, yet light hearted manner. It was always a pleasure to be served by them.
We loved the "country club" dress code and noted that most respected this though there are always some that interpret this differently. During the day we dressed very causally from bathers around the pool to capris, shorts or jeans and cotton tops. In the evening we took it up a notch to casual evening atire. I made good use of a couple of pairs of black evening trousers and 4 dress shirts plus jackets or pashminas because the restaurants can be very cold.
We did a mixture of private and Oceania excursions. I would not hesitate in recommending Oceania's excursions. They are a bit more expensive but they are efficiently run and we enjoyed all the guides. Usually we are not fans of the "big bus" type of tours but it didn't worry us too much this time and it was a trouble free option.
The tender service was run very efficiently by a ticket system in the Marina lounge and we never had to wait more than 5 minutes and the lines moved very quickly.
We only saw 3 shows on board because they were very late, especially when we have had a full day touring, but we found the entrainment on board was very good for small ship. The singers were spot on and the dancers worked the small stage well. The shows were not too long and very entertaining. The string quartet was lovely. I think Dottie and JR our cruise directors did a fantastic job.
Like every holiday - there are always little problems which I will now mention.
For some reason we had 1 deluxe drinks package (I don't drink) booked to our room. I saw this in our documents when we received them before we left home so I rang our TA who contacted Oceania and canceled it. When we got on board the drinks package was still booked so I again cancelled it. Half way through our cruise we got called to reception regarding our drinks package. At the end of our cruise again they quizzed us on our drinks package. This cause unnecessary stress as each time I had to go through the story. They had no record of any cancellations and they charged my credit card for this package which also incurred a foreign transaction fee of $30. The cost of the package was refunded in cash as they could not refund my credit card but the foreign transaction fee was not refunded and we were left out of pocket through no fault of our own. I will take this up with my TA when we get home. So my advise to others is to check your paperwork thoroughly and and keep a printed record of communications requesting cancellations and credit card transactions etc.
We enjoyed the ships movie channels on the TV at night except we never saw the ending of most of the movies we watched because at 10.30pm it automatically switched to Oceania adds. We would contact reception and sometimes they would fix it but other times we would get and apology only. We are returning home with a list of movies we are yet to see the ending of.
Our specialty restaurant bookings for the second cruise were changed with out explanation. I booked these weeks in advance and had chosen non share seating on days that suited our activities. These bookings were confirmed by email. When we got on board we received a letter with completely different booking days and all were shared seating When I questioned this I was told that my bookings weren't available. We canceled them all and only ate in the specialty restaurants once on the first cruise.
This one is about some of our fellow passengers. - My husband and I have had the misfortune of over hearing passengers speaking rudely to or publicly chastising staff members. This happened more times than we could count and I commend the Oceania staff involved for graciously bearing the brunt of this sort of abuse. These people obviously have a need to flex their muscles but the only ones they humiliated were themselves. It pays to remember the old saying - "you will attracted more ants with sugar that with vinegar". Luckily we did meet some truly beautiful people on board and were able to give the others a very wide birth.
Ok - reading back over this - it sounds like there was a lot to be unhappy about but I can assure you none but the latter, really detracted from our enjoyment of our cruise.
Thank you Oceania for a wonderful holiday. We will be back and would highly recommend this cruise line to others.