Regatta Cruise Review by Mike2131: Awsome First Oceania Cruise
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Awsome First Oceania Cruise
I'll start by saying this was my 15th cruise so, while not as experienced as many Member Reviewers, I think I have a pretty strong foundation from which to impartially and fairly review my cruise experiences. That said, I think the title is a good indicator that we really enjoyed our first sailing with Oceania.
Pre-Cruise: 3 nights in Seattle at the Inn at the Market. It was our initial visit to Seattle and we thoroughly enjoyed both the hotel and the city. The hotel is ideally situated at the Pike Street Market and extremely convenient to restaurants, attractions, and public transportation (the Monorail and Light Rail). I wrote a review on Trip Advisor of the hotel, Shutter Tours, restaurants, etc. I have a few more to add for attractions, but I can highly recommend the hotel. Pretty much a perfect stay and great start to our vacation.
Embarkation: Uncrowded and easy. Interestingly (although we did not know it at the time), we rode up to lunch in the elevator with More the new Captain (just joining the ship from Regent) and the Staff Captain. Both very personable. We kept bumping into the Captain - especially in elevators - and after a while it got to be pretty amusing. You have to love smaller ships.
The Ship: Absolutely gorgeous after the dry dock/refurbishment. Since it was our first cruise with Oceania, we don't know what the ship looked like previously, but we were hard pressed to believe the ship was not new. They did a great job. The public rooms were beautiful. The self-service laundry was on our deck and we used it on the first sea day. Probably the best self-serve laundry we have seen on a ship. The machines (washers and dryers) worked very well and there were 2 irons with built-in ironing boards. The hours are restricted so the neighboring cabins are not disturbed.
The Cabin: We had a stern A2 and we are very glad we chose it. The weather on the cruise was spectacular and we really enjoyed the large balcony. The 180 degree view was especially enjoyable for the scenic cruising in Tracy Arm. The bathrooms were not redone except in the suites, but the deign was efficient and perfectly adequate with enough storage. The cabin had been redone and the bed was extremely comfortable. Needless to say we slept very well. Climate control, overall layout, storage, etc. were excellent.
Food: Everyone's favorite topic. I can state that it is without a doubt the BEST food on any cruise we have been on. To call The Terrace Cafe the Buffet does not do it justice. Breakfast was outstanding - especially those items which are usually pretty bad like French Toast. At lunch they grilled shrimp, lobster tails, cooked steaks to order, etc. Everything was expertly prepared and the quality was superb. In the evening it was an informal venue option if you were back from an excursion and did not want to don Country Club casual dress for the Grand Dining Room or one of the alternative restaurants. I suggested that it be called Selective Dining instead of The Buffet. It was a true dining option, not just somewhere to eat if you were tired and hungry.
The Grand Dining Room again was unlike the usual MDR on a cruise. It was a beautiful room, there were plenty of tables for 2 (our preference) and it was not somewhere you "had" to eat if you did not have reservations in one of the alternative venues. The preliminary menus for the next luncheon and dinner for the next day were included with the ship's newspaper, Currents, at the nightly turn down service. The choices were plentiful, the dishes were delicious, and the preparation was exact. My only disappointment was that the much discussed Miso-glazed Sea Bass was not on the menu the night it was preliminarily scheduled. Oh well, something to look forward to on the next cruise (yes we book another while on-board).
We dined in Polo, the steakhouse, the first sea day. The food was what you would expect in a really nice steakhouse on-shore. We both had the filet. The meat was first-rate and both steaks were cooked to perfection - medium for me and medium-well for my girlfriend.
We dined in Toscana, the Italian restaurant, the last night (a sea day). I had the Branzino (absolutely delicious) and my girlfriend again opted for a filet. She said it was even better than the one in Polo.
Desserts deserve their own section. From home-made gelato to cakes, to fruit tarts, to creme brulee and anything in between, the quality and variety was tremendous.
This was the very first time that my girlfriend never had to go to the "Always Available" section of the menu to find something to eat. She was thrilled!
A note about wine service. We had several bottles and the wine was always at the proper temperature and paired excellently with what we were having. Partially drunk bottles were properly stored under our cabin number for enjoyment later in the cruise. By the glass prices ranged from about $9.50 to about $12.50 in most cases. Bottle prices were not inexpensive, but not outrageous. The ability to bring wine aboard was a plus, especially for dessert wines we could enjoy in the evening on the balcony. The corkage fee if you want to enjoy them in the dining room is (I believe) $25.00.
Service: Another subjective area, but we found the service to be excellent throughout the ship. There was always a smile (not obligatory or "forced") and a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening". These folks work very, very hard but seemed to universally happy. Maybe it was our imaginations at work, but that was our impression. We always enjoyed visiting with our cabin attendant, Cherry, and her assistant, Stills. From the bartenders to the sommeliers to the waiters to the Maitre d's to the Baristas - you always felt welcome.
Disembarkation: Simple and quick. Well organized and everything you could hope for when leaving a ship to head home (darn it!). Less
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Cabin review: 7121
The nuts and bolts are contained in the main review. We would highly recommend this cabin. Great views, private, and a large balcony on which to relax and enjoy sea days or a nice glass of wine in the evening.
Port and Shore Excursions
A brief canoe with a snack and short nature walk. Pretty good, but nothing special.
Khutzeymateen Reserve Bear Viewing Tour booked through the ship. Tour boat wildlife viewing tour. Humpback Whales, an Orca, numerous Brown Bears, and a spectacular Bald Eagle "show" to top the day off on the way back. 2 hours each way to and from the Reserve. A light lunch on-board is included. Wildlife viewing in comfort. Well organized and definitely recommended.