Booked with Oceania after our already paid cruise on a different line dropped all Middle East ports(Arab spring concerns). This itinerary was similar to our original booking but 2 days longer with more ports. We like booking way in advance, so a new search with only a few months to travel date was not what we wanted. The fact we had already purchased airfare, further complicated matters. One day I received an e-mail from our TA about a sale on Oceania. The time frame was right and required only one additional flight(much cheaper than making changes to our existing ones). We are 3 adults and were able to obtain an inside cabin that would accommodate us. The sq ft. was the smallest we had ever been in, but surprisingly the layout was great and had workable room to move about. Room stewards friendly, efficient and responsive.
From the moment we checked in, the service was outstanding. No long lines for embarking, obtaining and returning passports, disembarking, pursers desk etc. We always found available deck chairs, seats during the shows, tables for lunch and breakfast. What a great relaxing atmosphere!
The ship was not glitzy but comfortable. Great library. Pool was small but acceptable. Casino also small, but sufficient considering only 650 passengers on board. Specialty restaurants were very nice with lovely china,crystal,and real silverware,and the food was good(not phenomenal). The quality and abundance of fresh fruits and ice cream was outstanding(best raspberries!) and served stylishly (no plastic forks, spoons, glasses anywhere). The wait staff kept asking if we liked the food, how they could better serve us, and overall pampered us to no end. Texas burgers and Cuban sandwiches were awesome. When returning from an overnight tour the red carpet was out and room stewards greeted us at the gangway with "Welcome Home"!
Ship excursions were pricey so we connected with fellow cruise critic members for nice private tours. Love kids but glad there weren't any on-board. The gym was very nice and the most utilized ever. There was a never-ending supply of FREE cold bottled water in the room and upon exiting and entering the ship. Everything was immaculate and staff super attentive. Country club casual dress code is great, and though we enjoy dressing up, lugging all the extra clothes on long overseas trips is a hassle.
This was by far the most relaxing ship experience we've ever had. Oceania's rates are higher than mid range lines (Xbrity, Holland etc.)so we'll keep looking for their special sales as we would love to cruise with them again. Thanks Oceania, have more sales!