The ship is gorgeous -- decorated in very elegant but striking gold and glass. It sounds kind of glitzy but every day I would notice a new spot on board that was just exquisite. The ports that we visited on Mediterranean Tapestry were are great. There is so much to do that, in each place that even if you have been to them before you could find someplace new to discover. Go book this cruise now! It was wonderful! Dining Food was pretty good. We dine out a lot and I enjoy cooking so I know what good food is and I also know what institutional food is. I went on this cruise with fairly high expectations because of other reviews but tempered with the understanding that I was on a cruise ship with 1200 paying passengers plus crew. The specialty restaurants delivered good food AND service that compared to many restaurants in the states. I must confess however if the service could be tweaked just a tiny bit (more on that later) in the Terrace Grill one of my favorite meals would be breakfast More
in the Terrace. Chocolate Croissants, a wonderful bowl of perfectly ripened berries (ok and maybe a slice or two of bacon on a couple days) along with a great cup of coffee made for such a great way to start the day I gave up room service just to come up and enjoy. We ate in each of the specialty restaurants and I would encourage everyone to take the time to make reservations ahead so that you are not disappointed. They each are very special. My favorite was Jacques but my husband liked Red Ginger. It's very minor but the weak link I found in the restaurants was starches. I love potatoes and honestly, the best potatoes I had on board were the fries on the Waves Grill. I had frits in Jacques and the ones in Waves were better. I can't tell you what I had in the main dining room but across the board the potatoes were under seasoned and disappointing -- I'm guessing these are the most often pre-prepared dishes. Speaking of pre-prepared, cruise ships should just realize that beef Wellington is not something they will be able to do well and quite trying. I watched a tablemate grimace a bit when he found the soft (not crispy) pastry wrapped around a nice piece of beef. My service concern in the Terrace is just a training issue that Oceania should address because I'm not the first person to notice. The staff is very well trained to greet everyone who comes thru the door. However, in the morning I don't need 8 people saying "Good Morning Madam" as I walk in. I just want my coffee. AND, I want my coffee to stay warm and at the table while I am in the dining area. In addition to being trained to greet everyone in their path the staff in the Terrace must be trained to remove anything and everything that isn't being consumed at the moment. One day a server actually interrupted a conversation in order to remove a small little piece of paper (empty tea bag maybe?) I saw more that one person have their wine or beer removed while they went to the buffet line at lunch or dinner. It frequently took too long to get coffee. If they can have staff standing around for half consumed drinks they can have staff roaming thru dining area with a pot of coffee. Culinary Center If you are interested in cooking by all means sign up for a cooking class in the incredible culinary center. I had experienced cooking classes on other ships where the instructor was more concerned about being entertaining than instructing so I was a little leery of trying again but I couldn't have been more pleased. Chef Noelle is passionate about cooking and sharing her cooking skills with others. I definitely came away with a few ideas I wanted to try when I came home which is why one would take a class.
Concierge? We had used Concierge lounge on other cruise lines because it was the one place onboard where we could reliably find fresh fruit and vegetables and friendly, helpful service. The food and service on Marina were so good it wasn't necessary to use the concierge lounge and quite honestly, the food there (in CL) was not all that interesting or plentiful. We were in cabin 11064. This is a regular outside veranda sandwiched in between penthouse staterooms. I didn't really enjoy it. Because we were not "penthouse" guests we had to walk past the penthouse concierge lounge (which seemed very seldom used) on our level to go down to the regular concierge lounge. It would have been very convenient to do laundry and use lounge while waiting. In addition, every afternoon when I returned to my cabin (which was lovely) I walked past carts of chocolate dipped strawberries and all kinds of yummy looking snacks that were not available to me because I wasn't a "penthouse" guest. I don't know why but the staff seemed to use the space right outside our room as a parking spot. If I had been on the 8 floor with all of other veranda staterooms, I'm sure I would not have thought about the snacks but walking past them every afternoon became a nagging little irritation. On the few occasions I did look for concierge help the person at the desk was very helpful.
Tours We booked all of our tours thru private operators prior to boarding. It only takes one time of sitting on a large bus of tired tourists waiting for one inconsiderate passenger to stroll slowly up to the bus and feign any understanding of why everyone on the bus is irritated to convince me there is a better way to travel. We had great professional guides in most ports and I wouldn't do Europe any other way. (feel free to contact me directly if you want info on any of the services we used -- email@example.com.)
Pre/Post Hotels We booked our pre and post hotels thru Oceania. Because we were on this cruise to celebrate major anniversary my husband wanted to be sure we were in nice hotels and not stressed by trying to find our way in cities we had not visited before. The thought was nice and the hotel properties were lovely (physically) but not at all convenient. We had booked just one extra day at each end (Athens & Barcelona) because I thought it would be a shame to see only the port and airport of these two great cities. Both of the O hotels were quite a distance away from anything. The Rey Juan Carlos in Barcelona wasn't even within walking distance of good restaurants and the people at the front desk were arrogant. Having to fit sightseeing into the very constricting Oceania schedule along with the fact that the hotels were not well situated actually ended up adding more stress than if we had just booked a convenient hotel that offered good front desk service. (friends stayed at the Athens Gate -- check them out on Trip Advisor)
No Ship Photographers There are no annoying ship photographers lurking around or slowing you down as you leave/arrive the ship. It took me a day to realize they were not there but once I did it was wonderful. What I did love was the staff at a few of the tender ports greeting us with lemonade! Other Ship Features The library was well stocked and wonderful. We only spent a few minutes in the casino but it seemed as though the few folks who were there were enjoying it. (I lost!) My husband used the workout facility regularly and seemed happy with it. We attended one of the enrichment lectures (by Dr. James Curtis) and left feeling enlightened. Thank you! The art work on board is amazing -- sometime during your cruise just take a walk to enjoy! There is a wonderfully decorated pink glitzy bar near the casino that you need to enjoy. It is a small but special place.
We were on this cruise to enjoy the ports so mostly we skipped the entertainment and either turned in early or enjoyed some time in the lounge with friends. This is not a ship with big production reviews.
This is a port intensive cruise - not much time to enjoy the ship.It would be nice if there would be an extra day at sea or maybe 2 days in Rome to see all that there is to see there. I came home pretty tired. Less
We arrived the evening before - used the hotel shuttle to get to Plaka and had dinner with other shipmates that we had met on Cruise Critic. Fun evening. The pictures we took of Acropolis at night were beautiful. Using taxi's in Athens is frustrating - fares varied by as much as $5 euro. Shuttle wasn't always convenient. Wish we had stayed closer to city center.
Day 1 We had a tour to Florence and SanGigamono. My interest in Florence was to see the David then I wanted to see the Tuscany countryside which is exactly what we did on our private tour. The country is so beautiful, we kept asking our driver to stop so we could take photos.
Day 2 On our 2nd day in Livorno (actually the port where docked) we spent the day in Tuscany. Made a quick stop in Pisa for photos and then on a foodie tour that included lunch at small cooking school (Pastaalpesto.com) and a stop at a cheese maker where we not only tasted goats cheese but met the goats!
I booked this cruise primarily to see Ephesus and was not disappointed - an incredible site. We booked private tour so that we could be sure to see and spend as much time in all of the sites (including House of Mary which I thought was very special) and the Terrace Houses which were just amazing.
Private tour here included a stop at a great local market where we were able to buy some great linens and then put together a picnic with fresh fruit, wine bread cheese and roast chicken. Beautiful countryside in Luberon area and interesting history. Try doing that from a big tour bus!
we booked highlight tour with Rome In Limo. It was definitely highlights and so fast it was sort of a blur. If Vatican is important you made need to look at alternative. We had only one day and there is sooooo much to see if you want to see everything then the Highlights tour is the way to go.
We booked private tour - had fun touring the island and stopping at small market where the owner grew her own tomatoes and then dried and processed them. Ate lunch at a seaside restaurant with fresh calamari.
We booked a private tour here. The Amalfi coast is a must see. Amazing views We made a shopping stop and had lunch at Da Constantino in Positano. They served what I would call fairly traditional Italian food good but not necessarily great- friendly staff and incredible view. We did notice a number of other small tour groups here.
We actually tendered to Giardini Naxos which is small resort area that is a cab ride away from Taormina. The ship literature said we should reserve Ship's transportation because there weren't always enough taxi's available. We did not find that to be the case. As I recall there weren't many other ships in port that day so maybe it would be different at other times. Because we had tours planned at all of our other ports this was the day we decided to take a more casual approach. We took a taxi into Taormina and shopped and then ate one of the all time best pizza. We ate at Grandolfo which was on the right side of the pedestrian walk. Locals can direct you there. Plenty of shops to check out. If you like taking photos this is a great place.