With more than 60 cruises on all levels of cruise lines (from Carnival, Celebrity to Cunard) as a guideline for this review, my husband and I are not sure we would be enticed to cruise on Oceania again when considering the price of this cruise compared to our experience while on board.
Driving over to Miami is nothing out of the ordinary for us, but pulling up to a small, unorganized porter area to drop off luggage and then a long wait in line to prepay for our garage parking was not the standard we expected from a luxury cruise port. The port employees park here as well and finding a place not under the top floor sun was difficult. Once we entered the check-in building, it was a breeze.
Ship is elegant, lovely lounges surround pool and Terrace Spa area is perfect for afternoon whirlpool and nap. But, some guests do not respect the serenity and carry on as though it's a pool party area. Gym is well equipped but noticed no hands-on staff nearby to help with equipment. More than 3 machines had TV/Radio not working and no one to notify. The sanitary wipe containers were usually empty by mid-morning.
Our penthouse suite was not ready when boarding near noon, so we went to the poolside bar to have a cocktail. Asking for Absolute for my Bloody took forever as the bar did not have it stocked. Husband asked for Bud and was told they do not carry that beer. For two days he drank Corona, at a higher price, and then saw another passenger with a Bud bottle. This was the normal level of service with the bars on board. Slow and not polished. Plus the drinks are more expensive than on other lines.
The suite was lovely. The bed and linens were exceptional. Tons of storage and probably the best layout we've had on any ship. The bathroom was wonderful, too. Problems with A/C during night continued even after reported and supposedly repaired. Always got hot during the middle of night. The veranda was very salty when we arrived. Seriously...huge pieces of dried salt were on the deck and every chair and railing had salt residue. Not a great first impression. Finally cleaned the next day.
Our butler, Gyan, was attentive without being annoying. Suite was always clean and our stewardess and assistant should be commended, too.
The steam room did not work probably during the entire cruise. Repeated reports to spa manager, guest relations and finally a mid cruise questionnaire brought attention to the engineer. We were told it was clogged and new parts needed when returning to Miami.
Food ranged from average to excellent. Polo was just OK, Ginger and Jacque's excellent. Toscana was very good, too. Grand dining room ranged from average to suburb. But, other than Ginger, all the service was slow.
Entertainment was fine. Enjoyed the string quartet prior to dinner and also the piano in the martini bar. Saw a couple of shows and they were nice. Nothing exceptional, but entertaining.
Only booked one Oceania 7 hour excursion while in St Lucia. For the high charge, all land transportation should have been Air Conditioned. When in parking lots, we noticed Royal Caribbean buses were more new, in better condition and with A/C.
We both took the Italian cooking class and it was a great experience. Lots of fun and out of the ordinary. Would highly recommend any class.
Heard lots of conversation from fellow passengers who had cruised on Oceania previous. Liquor is very expensive, food has gone downhill and service isn't what it used to be.
At times the crowding on board seemed unbearable. Ship's muster caused stairway congestion and pushing. Finding pool lounges could be tedious for those who didn't come on deck early in morning. Disembarking was not smooth either. The halls were too narrow to accompany all the wheelchair and hovercrafts trying to get to a lounge to wait to be called. Passengers were "stuck" after exiting elevators as no one could move. Cruising on the Oasis of Seas seemed less populated than the Riviera when comparing wait for elevators or entering dining room.
Think we'll continue to cruise on Celebrity or RCI where our club's level provides complimentary cocktails and will upgrade to at least a jr suite. We believe it to be a better value and equal experience.