Regatta Cruise Review by CaptainDMW: Great Weather/Great Ports/Great Cruise!!
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Great Weather/Great Ports/Great Cruise!!
Here is a brief review of our July 12-22 ten day Seattle - Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta. Let me make it clear from the outset that, although I think their "focus" on the food is overrated (I'll elaborate later), nothing about this cruise would prevent me from taking another Oceania cruise.
Let me start by saying the cruise was enhanced by incredible weather making it possible to enjoy all the ports and glacier cruising. The crew said the weather throughout the cruise was the best it had been all summer.
Second, a 10 day cruise allows for more stops (5 Alaska ports + Victoria and a sea day going to the Hubbard Glacier) than a 7 day cruise, thus providing the opportunity to see more of Alaska. All the stops were great!
The "top" things I enjoyed about cruise were:
1) The shore excursions. We bought the 2 for 1 Unlimited Passport Collection and managed to each squeeze 8 shore excursions in. The Shore Excursion staff (including a fantastic More manager) were GREAT! We didn't have the precise schedule of all the shore excursions (because of additional groups added) until getting on-board and the staff was able to accommodate adding + switching some excursions. Because of the long stop in Victoria, we also took an evening, private whale watching trip through Eagle Wing Tours, just a short walk from the ship, and saw NUMEROUS Orcas.
2) The ENTERTAINERS. The Regatta singers were very good and we attended all their performances. The four singers all displayed a lot of talent and variety of style. In fact, we attended all the evening performances (a rarity for me) and stayed for all but one (the first night the ships comedian appeared, we - and a number of others - left after the first few minutes.) His act was much improved for his second appearance. The magician/comedian, Greg Moreland, was fantastic! We were amazed at his stunts, laughed throughout and are still talking about him.
3) The lack of line-ups. The only times I noticed line ups - and they were all short - were occasionally for dinner or getting off the ship when first docked. The lack of "crowds" and people trying to butt in was a pleasant change.
What didn't I enjoy? The food! Now I know it is almost a sacrilege to say this and I'm sure it is out of step with most people on board (and, yes, I got lots to eat), but I found the food on Oceania to be overrated and presentation (menu wise) to be pretentious. (Forgive me but since the ship left from Seattle, I feel it is acceptable to make references to the famous TV show Frasier. Oceania's menu was written more for Frasier and Niles' "fine palate" - not Marty or Roz.) The menu was not understandable to many (we overheard one fellow near us tell the server, "I don't have a clue what any of this stuff is") and observed numerous guests asking for menu clarification. The only place I found consistent good food (other than the day of the health inspection when there was very limited variety) was the Terrace Cafe (buffet). My halibut in one specialty restaurant was overpowered by an unpleasant sauce while my rack of lamb in the other specialty restaurant tasted bland. I experienced tougher than normal prime rib roast and strip loin in the main dining room. My wife was given wrong items and overcooked steak there. In short, I found the food in the specialty restaurants and main dining room much better and more to my liking on the Norwegian Cruise Line Baltic cruise we took in May. Frasier and Niles may have enjoyed the food and understood the menu. My take is it was not done with people who ever are at McDonald's in mind. And my experience would NOT deter me from another Oceania cruise. Unlike the overall cruise which EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS, for me (and perhaps me alone) the food did not live up to it's billing.
In addition to the weather - an uncontrollable bonus - we found the overall atmosphere on the ship very good. The crew and other passengers were friendly, interesting and helpful. There were only good memories of our many interactions. We knew no one when we boarded but felt we were among friends.
Thank you Oceania! Not perfect but very satisfied! Hope to return someday. Less
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