The cruise was generally satisfactory. The food, with some exceptions (such as the Polo Grill steak house) was quite good. The staff throughout the ship was helpful and pleasant, and it does a good job in necessary tasks such as waiter/waitress service, housekeeping, the selection of local guides, etc. My only significant complaint, and one noted by several other passengers, is that communications are only poor to adequate, leading to passenger confusion and other problems. Here are some examples.
The Oceania information on the shore excursions frequently does not match either with other explanations or with the actual tour. For example, the program guide might state that a tour leaves at 8:30 a.m. while the ticket might state 8:45 a.m. One couple missed a tour due to the confusion on times. Nearly every tour left later than the times listed, usually by 15 to 20 minutes.
A glaring example of poor communications was on the Rome Italy day for CIV-025, Ostia Antica. The brochure description is 2 walking figures (moderate exertion on a 1 – 3 scale). The only written description is “Inside visit of the archeological area.” The tour actually involves some quite strenuous walking on very uneven paths largely unchanged in about 2,000 years, and is certainly a 3 figure effort according to nearly everyone who went.
Oceania should have provided at least one sentence explaining the tour’s requirements and suggesting that anyone with a walking difficulty may have problems on the tour. As it was, one member of our group who should have not been on the tour slipped on the stone path and could have been seriously injured. The matter was reported to the ship by the guide for possible medical attention.
Another example of poor communications was the program brochure information on the departure terminal in Barcelona, which stated that the ship was at terminal B. In fact, the ship was at terminal A, so we had to go from B to A when we arrived and discovered the error (costing an extra 6 €). An e-mail updating the actual location should have been sent.
Communications also applies to health warnings. It would be prudent to advise passengers on sun exposure and the potential for skin cancer in the 900 heat we had in Rome, Dubrovnik and Venice. It would also be useful to remind everyone to keep hydrating, particularly in that heat. Similarly, communications applies to important activities and closings in ports. As an example, several of us planned to go to the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, but no one informed us that it is closed on Tuesdays (the port day).
The Internet service was extremely slow and unreliable. Many of us need to be in occasional communications with family and/or our office, but reliable service was only available from ports (usually at 1 € for 10 minutes, somewhat less than your charge of $1 a minute). You may want to invest in more servers since you promise Internet service.
Overall, I’d give the cruise the grade of B. The brochure price is somewhat deceptive as Oceania charges a la carte for Internet access, the excursions, alcoholic drinks, spa treatments and other amenities. The cruise was certainly better than Royal Caribbean or Cunard, but is not as well managed as Disney.