Neither my wife nor I have ever tendered a review but we just completed our second cruise with Oceania, both with Owner's Suite accommodations and felt that we now had a sound footing for doing so. Our first cruise with Oceania was while cruising on Insignia around South America; the latest with Nautica on the Sydney to Auckland run.
Oceania is a stellar line and Insignia and Nautica are fine ships -- but given Oceania's advertising and market niche, one would expect no less. The things that are uniformly superb are the suite and verranda; butler service and pampering; the fitness center (given that these are small ships); the staff; and the embarkation and debarkation as well as at-sea organization.
While we have already booked another Oceania cruise for the Baltic this summer on Regatta -- again in the Owner's Suite, we think it appropriate to point out defects that we have noticed on the 2 cruises. (Since Insignia, Nautica and Regatta are carbon copies of each other we expect that we will encounter the same defects on Regatta).
First -- the internet access and service on Oceania is nothing short of abysmal. It is agonizingly slow, unreliable and very expensive. It can not continue this way without expecting to lose the loyalty of its customers. Internet access is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity, especially given that Oceania is looking to attract the 40-50 year old market who continue to work through vacations and not simply the retired. It is also surprising that there is nothing in any of the reviews that address this glaring defect. Unless Oceania gets its act together, we will not sail again on this line.
Second- the speciality dining rooms are very noisy. Each of the Oceania vessels has 2 speciality dining rooms requiring reservations for a supposedly unique dining experience. However, each is very noisy, making holding conversations difficult and not overhearing all those around you virtually impossible. Better sound proofing would increase the dining experience.
Third - the food in the grand dining room and specialty restaurants while good is not what I would consider great. In fact, we noticed no appreciable difference in quality or dining experience between the grand dining room and the specialty restaurants. There were some meals in each where the main course simply was either overcooked or what was not the highest grade meat.
Fourth - while the on-board entertainment was consistent with what one would expect (small ships are not the place for entertainment extravaganzas), the enrichment lectures were hit and miss -- listening to some of the lectures on both ships was at times actually painful.
Fifth -- some of the on-shore excursions could have been better organized in the sense that when 5 bus loads of passengers descend upon a destination, it makes each person feel like part of a high school outing-- it is simply too large a crowd. Whether it be wine tasting or a visit to a site, it seems that, with a little organization and planning, this feeing of being herded could have been avoided. For instance, buses could arrive ad seriatim rather than en masse, thus making the visit much more intimate and enjoyable for each person. (Since almost all of the excursions were only approx. 4 hrs in length, time constraints are no limitation). Again, Oceania is supposed to offer unique experiences.