First I must preface this by stating two facts: first, we own a business and have traveled all over the world, staying in top resorts and hotels. Secondly, we have been cruising for over 20 years. These facts are stated not to brag, just as a frame of reference when reviewing this ship. Travel agents do not seem to always be the best frame of reference, particularly within the cruise industry, since they are limited often to the only the world of cruising and aren't always in tune with the world of travelers at large.
This ten day cruise with Oceania was selected because of their reputation for fine food and also for the itinerary which had 8 days in ports and only two days at sea. The ports included St. Barts, which is a favorite.
First of all, the food. In a word: superb. When one considers the number of people who are served and the options available, Oceania, hands down, tops the food in the cruise industry when it comes to service, presentation and taste. They flawlessly deliver this experience with variety and something to please every palate. Lobster: both Florida and Maine, Foie Gras, Sushi, French bread and pastries made with French flour (interestingly, any gluten sensitivity was not an issue), fresh fruits and vegetables. The specialty restaurants were also very special with no up charge. How refreshing. The Captain's happy hour was exceptional as it included snacks and any drink you would like.
The low key atmosphere was refreshing after having been on Royal's Allure of the Seas the month before with its non stop sensory overload. Music was never over the top, always pleasant and soothing or in touch with the occasion, i.e., sail away.
Passengers with disabilities were graciously assisted. The two children on board were treated well, although it obviously was NOT a children's cruise.
Our concierge class cabin was well appointed with a very large marble bathroom (tub and rainfall shower). Bvlgari toiletries/soaps, ample towels, great lighting. The concierge club was a bit of a waste. If it had included alcoholic beverages it may have been worth the extra price of the cabin. The cashmere lap robe and logo zip top tote, full size toiletries and lounge did not make it worth it. On the other hand, the bed was the most comfortable we've ever slept in on a cruise ship (and even most hotels).
Our cabin attendants were thorough, unobtrusive and unfailingly friendly.
So what was the problem? Due to the noise that our balcony door made while cruising, we never once slept through one night of the ten nights of the cruise. (It was a knocking noise similar to the constant drip drop of a leaky roof). After the second night, we complained to our concierge. She was lovely, really, but other than making followup phone calls to see if things had gotten better, and offering a cabin one deck up (that may or may not have the same noise), she did nothing. In fact, after a few days, the inquires stopped.
There was no offer to help in other ways, maybe a spa treatment, a credit toward this cruise or a future cruise...nothing to offer. So odd. No resolution. We even explained the situation to the front desk and outlined it carefully in the questionnaire both mid cruise and post cruise. No contact.
How does this affect our cruise? Well, there was obviously a huge disconnect. Between this noise and the rockiness of the ship in general, we honestly cannot see ourselves cruising on this line in the near future. Vacation includes resting. Resting includes sleep.
If you sleep through anything and have no tendency toward seasickness; if you love great food and even greater service, cruise with Oceania. But if you have any problems, don't look for resolution. It isn't their strong suit.