My husband and I recently took a two week Baltic cruise on the Regatta starting June 18. This was our first cruise with Oceania and we expected treatment above that of our previous experiences with Princess and Royal Caribbean. We regret that we did not stick with Princess and Royal Caribbean. It was not worth the extra money and they failed to treat us in a first class manner.
The balcony room was a little small as was the bathroom. The stewardess was excellent. The reception staff was wonderful.
The dining room service was good and most of the time the food choices were adequate. We quickly found out that on Regatta, you cannot order anything except what you saw on the menu in front of you. Their rules make no attempt to cater to your wishes. One night none of the appetizers appealed to me. I asked for shrimp cocktail, an option that is never a problem on the other 2 less expensive cruise ships. To his credit, my waiter immediately summoned his superior, who then summoned his superior and so forth until I had serveral higher levels of dining room staff at my table. They refused to deviate from the menu. Although this item is always available in their specialty grill restaurant, I could not have it in the main dining room. I also discovered that you cannot deviate from the exact way that any item is prepared.
The entertainment is extremely inferior to the kind that I enjoyed on Princess and Royal Caribbean. One person singing or playing the violin or the clarinet provided the evening's show. The dance band was often flat and only provided dancing for 30 minutes before the "show."
The shore excursions were disappointing to say the least. Many people (ourselves included) had Oceania booked tours cancelled with less than 24 hours notice. The staff offered no alternative to the cancelled tour. The tours that did go through provided a ratio of 30 passengers to 1 guide with no microphone. I would advise others to book with independent tour companies that specialize in their ports of call. I know much more after this cruise that I wished that I had known before. It is my pleasure to offer this advice to others so they can avoid my nightmare in St. Petersburg.
We had arranged 3 days and 2 nights of touring with a driver and guide provided by Alla Tours. I knew from research on-line before we left home that some cruise lines try to interfere with those taking private tours by refusing to let then off the ship in time to meet their guide. We thought, it's a good thing that we are on an upscale line. We were very wrong. David, the cruise director did not announced that the ship was clear for us to leave. Luckily I noticed people leaving the ship around 8:15 and we went out soon after. When my husband and I walked towards the Russian passport control, we moved forward with a solid mass of people about 6 people wide and about 75 people deep. No one from Regatta was at the rear of this mass of people to direct us. After moving slowly along with no discernible lines for 20 minutes, we saw JR, the assistant cruise director, standing in front of the Russian passport control booths. There was a computer generated sign above 3 of the booths saying "Oceania Tours" and the booth on the right was labeled "Independent Tours." I now know that I could have exited through any of the booths since the Russian officials don't care whose passport they process. JR said we were in the Oceania Tours line and in a very nasty manner pointed his finger and insisted that we go to the back of the line of 400 people and move up only on the right side of the crowd. He also claimed that Javier (his boss and the concierge) was out there directing passengers where to line up. We never saw him nor did any of the other independent travelers with whom we spoke. I wish that I had just continued straight ahead instead of "cutting" in line. Now we have JR screaming at us and fellow passengers annoyed with us for "cutting" in the independent tours line. When our guide told us that JR had no right to insist we exit only through the booth on the right, I felt betrayed and abused. We paid for the same "luxury" cruise that the other passengers paid for. Why were treated like we were traveling "steerage?"
When we returned from touring on Friday, we spoke to David about our experience. He made no apology or explanation. On Monday I saw David and said that I was still waiting for an apology. He told me in a less than cordial manner that I would not be getting an apology. This added insult to the injury and affected the remainder of the rest of our time onboard.
I did write a letter to the CEO and received no reply. My travel agent sent my letter to her Oceania representative, and I have not heard from them either.
If you are tour-savy, you can cruise this line. Any others should beware. I will never cruise this line again. It is not worth the extra money.