We were interested to see how Oceania compared with Azamara, who we had cruised with a couple of years ago.
On the plus side, the service on Oceania was the best I've ever had. For example, my husband takes dissolvable aspirin with his meals, and one of the wait staff in the buffet noticed, and offered to bring a glass of tepid water (they dissolve better in this).
Our cabin steward was lovely - friendly, welcoming, and always remembered our names. And we were not in top grade cabins. Even when she had to do extra cleaning because of my tummy bug, she seemed mainly concerned about how I was feeling. Very impressive!
The food was excellent. We ate mainly in the buffet, but also in the main dining room, and in a couple of the specialty restaurants. Red Ginger was my favourite. We had planned to eat at Jacques, but I went down with a tummy bug for several days (very frustrating on a ship with such lovely food!), and we had to cancel that.
The ship was unable to dock in Monte Carlo because of high winds, which disappointed a lot of the passengers. Oceania then offered everyone free drinks in all the bars for a couple of hours as recompense. Impressive - on our Azamara cruise we had to miss a couple of stop, and nothing like this was offered.
A few niggles - the cook station at the buffet always had queues, and it seemed to take forever to get your steak or lobster. The hot food in the buffet restaurant was a little disappointing, as I was not keen on many of the offerings. Being British, I expect mashed potato to be fairly solid, not a liquid puree! On balance, I think the buffet on Azamara was better. The free coffee on board was better than other ships I have travelled on.
We had booked our excursions with the ship, in advance, and when I went down with my tummy bug, we were unable to get a refund. Frustrating, as the excursions were rather expensive. To be fair, it was clear when we booked them that they did not give refunds.
We rarely bother with on-board evening entertainment, as it rarely appeals to us, and this trip was no exception. A shame, as I was hoping for maybe a jazz singer. I did enjoy the classical quartet who played in one of the bars.
One entertainment I did really enjoy was the guest lecturer - an academic from Stamford University. His talks on the political situation in the Middle East were fascinating.
Overall - happy to go on Oceania again. In fact, we booked another cruise while on board, as they were offering good incentives.