As first time cruisers, this trip was a huge disappointment. We paid for a concierge level 2 category which included our flights. When we arrived on board ship, we were left to find our own way on a very unfamiliar ship. A little personal welcome and guidance to make our way to our stateroom would have been greatly appreciated.
Once in our stateroom, we became aware that we had missed the welcome lunch as well as an introduction to our stateroom steward (as we had no idea of the service(s) that he/she could provide until much later when speaking with other guests). Our flight timing did not allow us to arrive at the boat in an appropriate time. We then decided to sit on our veranda to relax and enjoy the ‘welcome’ bottle of champagne provided; only to be informed on the intercom that we needed to get ready to participate in the obligatory safety drill (we do understand the necessity of this, of course). But, had we known that this was going to happen so soon after our arrival, we would not have indulged in our champagne until later. Slam, bang, you’re on the boat and it’s time for a safety drill!
We were also required to pay for one night’s hotel accommodation because a flight was not available on the date of disembarkation (yet our booking for this trip was made in November 2009 – one year earlier). Certainly, there should have been enough time for Oceania to be able to book us on a flight home on the same day. Eventually, they did agree to pay $100. towards this hotel stay (but we are still waiting for that credit to be reflectd on our credit card).
The stateroom was immaculate & so was the housekeeping. However, there was a badly worn area on one arm of the sofa (this reminded us of staying at a Holiday Inn).
Generally speaking, the crew on board were agreeable but we would not say that they were outstanding or ever went out of their way to assist in any regard. We had one experience with the concierge person that left a lot to be desired -most definitely not customer service oriented. We would also say that the ambiance on board ship was not of a warm nature; it was rather cold & unwelcoming. It was more about the business of serving but without an air of pleasure or warmth.
The food on board was very good & we have no complaints in that regard. The bartender in Martini's each night was wonderful & very accommodating. Martini's, the two specialty restaurants and the other dining venues were lovely.
Shore excursions were a disappointment. One was cancelled before the cruise began and when we approached the destinations desk about the missing vouchers, we were told that we had received notification to that effect as well as a corresponding credit. We did not receive this notification & a credit was issued but had not yet reached our account at the time of sailing. Another one was cancelled because of rough seas (not their fault) but think that a caveat in their brochure might have been appropriate to indicate that sometimes weather conditions do not permit excursions to proceed. It was the manner in which these events were communicated that left us feeling dissatisfied.
Overall, the weather was not great and 3 ports of call in succession did not have any shopping available (due to the Xmas holiday). I expected one day but not 3 in a row. The Bridgetown dock terminal did have stores open but our intent was to visit & enjoy the town - not stay at a cruise terminal. This was a 12-day cruise covering the eastern & southern Caribbean over Christmas & New Year's. In retrospect, I would not recommend a cruise at this time of year.
We did relay our concerns to the cruise line & have just recently received a response from them. It was full of excuses that did not address our concerns. We would not recommend Oceania & will not cruise with them again.