Insignia Cruise Review by dmacp: They called it Black Sea Treasures, but many of the jewels were fakes
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They called it Black Sea Treasures, but many of the jewels were fakes
We selected this cruise for two reasons; to celebrate our 25th anniversary and because of the originally scheduled itinerary. Unfortunately situations in Ukraine forced the cancellation of the ports of Yalta, Sevastapol and Odessa. I am not stupid. I know this is not the fault of Oceania and this is something they had to do. The big issue was their communications on the situation (and lack thereof), their suspicious timing on cancelling these ports after the cancellation period had passed, even though they cancelled these ports on later cruises much earlier, their lack of any attempt to compensate for these changes, and their lack of imagination in revising the itinerary. Many cruisers I spoke with had experiences with other cruise lines which handled situations in much better ways, such as waiving cancellation penalties, onboard credits, free internet, future cruise discounts or applying the money to future cruises. We were offered nothing.
The ship had apparently just More emerged from dry dock and refurbishment. This was noticeable in the common areas, but in the cabin we had, there were dents in the doors, scuff marks on the hallways, and scratches in the walls, the railing in our room had faded varnish (however this was redone during a day ashore). Not terrible but pretty off putting for what is marketed as a luxury cruise experience. I found the bed way too soft. The cabin temperature wasn't very comfortable most of the time, but we never really got a good answer in response to our complaints.
The food was generally OK. The quality of steaks was not really that good, IMHO. They lacked seasoning in a lot of dishes. I don't know if that was to cater to older and duller palates or what. The salads were especially disappointing. They offered a Caesars salad, but the dressing was bland, and barely passable for calling itself a Caesars salad. Hardly a shred of parmesan cheese. But they were free with the anchovies. Apparently throwing anchovies on a pile of lettuce makes it a Caesars salad. In the specialty restaurants they offer 'table side preparation of Caesars salad". What a joke. They wheeled out a cart with lettuce, anchovies, some meager and often stale croutons, and bunch of anchovies, and a previously prepared container of the same bland dressing you get at the buffet and main dining room. The exception to this was the food in Toscano which was superb. Polo Grill didn't compare to most of the finer steak houses we dine at here in Denver.
The service was impeccable however, and I cannot criticize a single person we dealt with onboard. The cruise director Leslie John was very nice and we enjoyed his work. The entertainment offering was typical for cruises. Decent but not great singers and musicians. There was a couple of good specialty acts. A lot of the music arrangement was very odd to my ear.
Didn't like the fact that they shut off the TV sound and video during PA announcements, but the announcements didn't play over the TV, only in the common area, so we had to listen out the door in our bath robes. It seems to me the proper way to handle this would be that if I already have the TV on, play the announcement over the TV. If the TV is off, don't play it over the TV.
Overall I don't think the premium we paid over another cruise line was worth the value at all, and we won't be returning to Oceania. We did enjoy the small ship experience so we will probably look at Azamara or another of the Oceania competitors in the future.
We only did one of the Oceania provided excursions, because of the cost. This was the one in Sochi which we did because of the visa restrictions. Just OK. Too much drive-by sight seeing in my opinion. Less
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Cabin review: Insignia 7001
Selected the cabin for the view during the cruise through the Darandells and Bosporus straits. This was excellent for that purpose. We enjoyed watching the activity of arriving and departing from the docks at each port.Some noise from the Insiginia main showroom 2 decks below while the band played.Wind from the front was not that bad when underway. Motion not that bad.