Regatta - Northern Europe: Regatta Cruise Review by snuffbeans
Overall Member Rating
Regatta - Northern Europe
Destination: Baltic Sea
The good stuff. The ship is clean and well kept; lots of room to move around. Crew is helpful and pleasant. Food is excellent. Among the best we've had, including Silverseas. Oceania has done a good job here in all venues. Beds are as advertised. We slept well every night.
We've booked another Oceania cruise from Istanbul in 2006. If you use Oceania for your air, do yourself a favor and pay extra for direct routing. Otherwise, they'll send you the cheapest, most round about way that'll take you extra hours. We arrived home almost 6 hours later than someone who had direct and we both left Stockholm on the same flight and went the same distance, me to FL, them to Chicago.
We really didn't like the nickel and diming: EVERYTHING'S extra. And the prices are a bit high, but cleverly not so high that you'd really pitch a fit. Good research More there on Oceania's part. Wine corkage of $20 is ridiculous. Open the bottle in your room, pour a glass, and take it with you. A dinky bottle of water to take on shore excursions is $2.50. It's a really nice size for this. Keep the bottle and refill it. Save you lots of bucks.
Oceania@ Sea is a joke. Computers down most of the time; internet service is $.95 PER MINUTE with really sllooowwww servers to make the minutes add up (shades of early AOL), and emails are $2 each, in or out. I sent one email to 4 people; $8. A real rip off.
Our butler, David, was great. Always there, very responsive, pleasant. Even when I asked him to clean the dog poo I stepped in.
Toscana is so-so, Polo was good, Terrace has a great buffet, Tapa was a worked over lunch, Grand Dining Room was the best as far as service and food. We found service in all restaurants to be spotty; sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The servers tend to be forgetful, but try really hard. In Terrace (the buffet) you are served everything. You do not touch the utensils. Seems like a really nice touch, but the portions handed out are skimpy. Portion control? Good idea as many of the people on this cruise were really big. Lots of fat bellies. The manager of Polo had his nose in the air too much. Andreas, maitre d' in Grand was great. Grand Dining Room is too small. For open seating, there's no excuse for a 20-30 minute wait. Boutique is a bit small, but reasonably well stocked. Staff was pleasant and helpful. Prices were high for everything, except on the "sale" days. Buy then and it was reasonable.
With our suite category, we boarded directly, but couldn't get to the cabin until 1 PM. That however was two hours sooner than the regular cabins. Also, penthouse suites are much larger than regular cabins.
Shore excursions were good. Guides were knowledgeable and spoke good English for the most part. Most buses had fair leg room. There was lots of confusion in the meeting Regatta lounge before tours. Too many people at one time; too noisy. Spread it out. There's no reason to try to have all the tours leave within a half hour when the ship's in port for 8 hours and most tours are 3-4 hours.
Berlin was a long day but well worth the time and cost. So much history. The Moscow day excursion was long and very expensive. Worth every penny. What a thrill to stand in Red Square; ride the metro; go inside the Kremlin; see Putin's office (from the outside). This was the highlight of the cruise for us. I could say more, but then it's rambling. If I didn't mention it, we didn't do it.
Swim, spa, golf, etc. As I said above, we've booked another cruise on Oceania, so the plusses way outweigh the bad. Less