By the time I added the cruise cost and my final bill, I could have cruised the luxury lines for very little extra. I would have had a suite almost twice the size and and forgotten how to sign my name. Not to mention having to order doubles to taste the booze.
On the plus side, the staff was very attentive (though only one or two staff took the time to learn our names in two weeks, remember our desires (like real creamas we sat at the same tables with the same wait staff).
Destination staff was really lacking in attentiveness, responsiveness to problems with tours and general demeanor.
Polo and Toscana were saviors as the dining room was at best hit or miss. HAL and Princess do a better job at mass dining with no special orders allowed: not even shrimp cocktail when not on the menue.
Itineraries seem to be the saving grace for Oceania. They are unique compared to others and the ship size for the money (though not cheap by any means) allows docking at smaller ports.
Sea Dream II docked along side in Kusadasi. A breath of fresh air. I took some friends for a tour (having sailed SD many times, I knew the Captain, Christophe, Frank, and others). Christophe took us on the tour and while in the spa treated us to a 10 minute massage. I honkered down at the Top of the Yacht for at least one complimentary champagne (it was noon somewhere). We almost jumped ship as there were a few cabins available and they were on their day 2 of 9. Alas, the dog would not have appreciated us. SD II....now we are talking small and wonderful!!
Having done a few two week and longer curises, this was the first that I could not wait to get home. Enough was enough.
OH!! We received a gift early in our cruise on our bed one evening: a small tube of sanitizer....was that a clue or what. No other notification from the ship but several cruisers had to have IV's due to dehydration. I think the greatest profit center on our cruise was the doctors office!!
OH!! The internet computer program on Oceania "sucks". At amost a $1.00 per minute and slow as mollasses. Silversea is only 40 cents a minute and twice as fast. Oh, Well there is a Starbucks at almost every port with free WiFi.
And to my predecessor's comment about the magician, Harry Maurer and the "lovely" Carol Ann, they were delightful and entertaining. Besides, I wanted to see the 3 ring trick and the rope trick again and again. The certainly outshined the social hostess singing (good voice lousy program).
Speaking of quality, the cruise director Dotti, was always entertaining except for her growner joke about the 3 legged dog...(I gave that to her and she used it !!!) and her husband Tom, the comedian, were spectacular.
OK! That should be enough flavor for one cruise and one review.
ASHDOD AND HAIFA Israel is one of the most interesting countries I have sailed to. A full day walking tour of Jerusalem didn't even scratch the surface. When you go a local guide on a personal tour is an absolute necessity.
Haifa is the gateway to the Golan Heights. GO GO GO! We actually left the ship in Ashdod overnighted at the Crown Plaza in Haifa and rejoined the next night. The local color in Haifa and the added touring time was well worth the cost of the hotel.
Alexandria and Port Said in Egypt were overkill. They both are about 3 hours from Cairo and the National Museum (a must) and Giza to see the pyramids (once is enough and once is necessary).