I know we took our cruise 11 months ago but I am new to Cruise Critic and figured why not write a review about this wonderful trip. It all started in New York on Aug. 10th where we flew out of JFK non-stop to Heathrow. We arrived early in the morning and took some time to see the sights of London. We then took the train to Dover followed by a cab ride to the ship. Now to the exciting stuff.
Embarkation- Embarkation was painless due to the fact that we arrived on the later side. We were the only people there at that time meaning it took about 5-10 minutes from curb to stateroom. It couldn't have been any easier.
Stateroom- We were booked in a Concierge level stateroom meaning that we had all the amenities of a regular stateroom plus some. We were allowed to make 2 reservations in each of the alternative restaurants ( as opposed to 1) along with a few other things. The room was very comfortable if a bit small, as usual. The balcony was sufficient and because our family was in a stateroom next to us we were able to take down the partition and have an extra large balcony which was very nice. After not being able to sleep for about 20 hours now we were all tired and took a nap before dinner.
Food- That night we ate in the Grand Dining Room which is very nicely decorated. It is at the back of the ship which means that there are 3 walls of windows. We were extremely impressed with both the food and waiters. Our waiter, Edwin was very friendly and we requested to sit in his section every night. The food was excellent and rivaled some of the top restaurants in New York. There were other options to the Grand Dining Room of course. First, there is the casual buffet, Tapas on the Terrace. It serves Mediterranean specialties along with what is on the menu in the dining room that evening. We never had any problem getting a table up there and the food was very good. There are also two alternative restaurants aboard, Polo Grill and Toscana. Polo Grill serves Steaks and Seafood. The food there was outstanding and we would have eaten there more if we could have. Toscana serves Italian. There are many choices on the menu from pastas to lobster. The food there was very good as well. For lunch there is also a poolside grill, Waves which serves sandwiches and hamburgers. Oceania is near the top in the food category for sure.
Entertainment- Entertainment onboard is definitely lacking but by design. At night they have one show at 9:45 in the main show lounge, the Regatta Lounge. They had a comedian one night who was very funny. Other than that it was a singer or mediocre production show. Aside from the main show there was nothing much going on except for a band playing or the Casino.
Activities- By design Oceania doesn't have very many activities. Aside from trivia, bingo, shuffleboard and ping-pong there is pretty much nothing. However that was not really a problem for us as the ship was in port all but two days. Oceania also hands out Big "O" points. When you participate in activities you receive anywhere from 1 to 3 points. These are redeemable at the end of the cruise for some OK prizes such as a T-shirt or Portfolio. If anything it just encourages people to participate.
Ports- The ports are obviously the highlight of the cruise. We visited 11 amazing countries with an overnight in Stockholm and 2 nights in St. Petersburg, the highlight of the cruise. Every city is different from one another and has so much history and character. This cruise really highlights the best cities of the Baltic. None of these cities are to be missed. I will not go in to detail about all the cities though otherwise I would be typing here for a very long time, but you get the idea.
Disembarkation- The disappointing day had arrived, the day our cruise was over. Debarkation began early in the morning and we were off the ship by 7 AM to catch our flight to Frankfurt and then New York. This is most certainly a cruise that we will never forget. I would definitely recommend Oceania to anyone interested in seeing some of the world's finest destinations on board a beautiful ship. Hopefully we will get the chance to sail on Regatta again.