After our first Oceania-cruise to Antartica with Ms Insignia we decided never to sail with Oceania again. Many reasons for that:
1. officers were invisible.
2. the food was not of constant quality.
3. the admosphere at the ship was terrible.
4. we missed the scheduled stop at the Falklands. During seven days we were told, this was because of the severe winds. But then the truth came out: we lost the biggest part of an anchor! The general manager told this while the concierge had not yet stopped lying about it. We took pictures when the rest of the old anchor was replaced by a new one, to prove that the old anchor was incomplete. Despite of this, when we send an email to Oceania, they continued denying the loss of the anchor again!
No compensation for the skipped port.
Why do I write this? Well, just because nothing has changed.
When getting an offer from our travel-agency which looked attractive, we decided to try it one more time, because of the great itinerary: England, Iceland, Greenland. That was a serious mistake.
This cruise started with long waiting before we were allowed to enter the ship. Unbelievable, but true: nobody there, exept a girl at the elevator at a distance of about 15 meters. What a difference with other cruise-companies, where you hear: "welcome, nice you are here, would you like a glass of champagne?" With Oceania only a girl at the elevator, who shows you the way to your cabin. No fresh fruit there and no flowers during the entire cruise.
Our luggage arrived about 16.45!
Breakfast: the same bread as a year before. No whole yeast bread, the baguettes already sliced some hours before and always dry. When you ask for fresh, an unfriendly rude girl says, she has to ask her boss. But okay, then you can get it at the end. Leaving that girl with a face that makes me think about acetic acid.
Fresh Orange-juice is only available when you ask for it and after they say that the juice from the machine is also fresh, which is a lie. Ofcourse they often forget to bring it to you, but you are not forbidden to ask it again.
Most of the time the fresh fruit is of good quality, but sometimes it is not ripe.
Lunch at the buffet-restaurant: every day almost the same food; quality like the fastfood-restaurants back home which you thought to have escaped.
Dinner at all restaurants: quality like the luch menu. Sometimes friendly servants, sometimes very unfriendly. The meat was often overcooked. The vegetables (if any) are hardly cooked at all and must have been discovered by a dentist.
Most of the time the soup is to cold and the icecream is already melted when served.
One guest at my table ordered cod-fish but got salmon. Not by accident, but just because the cod was not available anymore. Not a word from the waiter!
Icecream at dinner is bad, but most sorbets are exellent.
It never occurred that dinner was excellent from the start to the end. Always 1 or more errors.
When you read in the Oceania-brochure about their "best cuisine at sea" I can only smile a little. (Trying not to get angry)
Because of my first cruise with them, I did not expect very much, but the quality has even decreased. The food, we were told, would be outstanding. It wasn't. Overall, at most standard.
The wines are not included as on Azamara-ships. They are much to expensive. For instance, a Gerard-Bertrand-chardonnay was about 60 dollars here. At home, as a private client, I pay about 6.5 euro! I brought some own bottles and even after paying a huge corkfee of 25 dollar that's a much better deal. But some wine-waiters are friendly at least.
Activities on board: not many.
The first day, I asked at the reception "do you have a bridge-teacher on board" "Yes" was the answer. I had my doubts, so I asked: "what's his name?"
The girl looked at her computer and said " can't see it here". The first answer was a lie. I do trust the 2d answer.
But I liked the lectures. A pity that because of the absence of other activities the lounge was always very crowded. But when no seat was available a crew-member said to me "there you can get a chair". On an Azamara-ship the crew would surely bring it to you.
The Nautica left Edinburg 2 hours earlier then originally scheduled: 15.00 and not 17.00. Ofcourse a disappointment. When I asked the concierge for the reason, the answer was "because of tidal conditions". These conditions are known years in advance. So I asked the concierge why Oceania does not know them. You will not be surprised that I'm still waiting for the answer, though I asked it a second time after some days.
The cabins are small, but for me good enough. The beds are to small (80x190 cm) but of good quality. The waterpressure was not enough to get the shampoo removed from your hear. We asked for repair. Though they tried to fix it, there was no result.
Our windows were cleaned only once after we asked for that, because, due to much dirt and salt we could hardly see anything. Cleaning of the cabin is at most fair.
Ofcourse we never booked an excursion, organized by Oceania, because they are much to expensive. What to think about 3 hours only walking for 90 dollar?
Many passengers must have been thinking the same, for several excursions were private, organized via the cruise-critic website by other travellers. They were good and about 1/3 of the Oceania-prize.
Prized at Oceania are extreme high: the excursions, the wines, the gratuities, the spa; just everything what is not included.
The automatic daily gratuity was $13.50 and the bar tab added 18 per cent.
When comparing prizes take care that you take in account the gratuities and the wines at lunch and dinner. That makes a big difference!
Announcements at the ship were hard to understand, except the irritating announcements for the bingo, where Oceania earns money.
Safety on board is not really guaranteed. (see also my remarks about the anchor!) Many days our luggage was not controlled when coming back in the ship. Sometimes it was scanned, but then nobody was looking at it.
After coming back we like to drink an expresso, but here we miss the exellent Azamara-coffee-bar with good coffee and some snacks.
At the Nautica you can try to get it in the empty restaurant and then take it with you to the bar. Ofcourse nobody serves any drink in the large room around the atrium. That's a big difference with the Azamara- and Princess sister-ships which have the same size. No atmosphere at all here for that reason.
At the bar they refuse to give you a seven-up-light, saying they are not allowed to serve it here. You can take it with you from your mini-bar.......
Flexibility is yet to be discovered here.
As you can read the medical service is extremely expensive and not all doctors have a 2012 lisence as you can read in earlier revievs about this ship.
Internet was not always available and very slow.
The evenin-shows are horrible. A vibrato-soprano who was allowed to return a second time, a mediocre jugler, a violin-player who seemed to have had lessons of famous world-class players but unfortunately without much result and to make it worse with an electric violin bbrrrrrr. The last evening a guest-show. I was afraid that the guest-singer who seemed to be escaped from the alzheimer-hospital was singing again, so I did not go there. This man was sometimes singing in the bar, so we were warned.
Lesley, the cruise-director was good, especially when compared with "silly Willy" a year before at the Insignia.
The captain said about 15 words at the captains party for repeaters and hardly knew how quickly he could give the microphone backto. He seems not to like this part of his job. Maybe he is better at a cargo-ship.
Shuttle-service is insufficient at places where it's organized by Oceania.
Result: angry passengers who, in time for a scheduled bus,were banging on the doors when not allowed to enter.
I was not really surprised that the ship lost an anchor. Again! How is it possible. The same as with the Insignia a year before. This time the reception lying about it: "No we did NOT loose an anchor", but when I came back with the picture of the the broken thing, the concierge agreed with me: "yes we lost an anchor".
Last year a lying concierge and an honest general manager, this time a lying reception and an honest concierge..........
Oceania's maintenance of the ship seems to be not accurate. At least you would think so. Are there any inspections? Or do they just sail until it goes wrong?
This time only one skipped port. They said because of icebergs. Maybe it was the truth; you can never know.
Many passengers had complaints about Oceania, the crew, the food, in fact about everything. Remarkable that the only satisfied guests did not cruise with other companies before. They should!
It appears that Oceania Cruises is attempting to reduce its operating costs in many areas in order to cover its expenses and still remain competitive. The result is that the quality of its cruise experience has been diminished and it is not what one typically expects from a luxury cruise line.
In fact it has nothing to do with luxury, unless you appreciate the free lessons in lying about everything. But I don't like them at all and for that reason my rating at this forum of the overall cruise-experience can't be higher then 1. (zero was not possible)
I can add many other negative things, but this should be enough to warn every future guest: dont go here!
At Azamara-ships I'm welcome.
Here my money is welcome.