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2 Antigua to Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

This was our second Oceania Cruise, our second cruise ever, the first one being a Mediterranean Cruise in 2013 with Oceania also. We had such a good experience we wanted to do another cruise with Oceania and compare. We wanted easy travel ... Read More
This was our second Oceania Cruise, our second cruise ever, the first one being a Mediterranean Cruise in 2013 with Oceania also. We had such a good experience we wanted to do another cruise with Oceania and compare. We wanted easy travel and relaxation. We absolutely loved our cruise. This was a 10 day voyage leaving from Miami on Feb 12, 2014 and called Caribbean Hideaways. We started with 2 days of sailing The Atlantic Ocean to get to our first port of the trip. They were 1. Tortola, British Virgin Islands. 2. St John's, Antigua. 3. Bridgetown, Barbados 4. Castries, St Lucia. 5. Gustavia, St Barts. Then there was 2 days sailing back to Miami. We did not use Oceania's air arrangements. We made our own arrangements and arrived a day early to avoid any possible problems with weather or mechanical delays. We stayed the night at the Marriott Stanton South Beach Hotel which was a short taxi drive to the cruise port terminal. We arrived at the cruise terminal and they started the embarkation process around 11:00 am. Our cabin was on the Concierge Level, room 10075. It was a very easy and quick process. We boarded the ship and they directed us to lunch at the Terrace Cafe. The lunch buffet was beautifully presented and delicious with many options to choose from. We sat outside and enjoyed our view of the Miami skyline. We then went to the pool area until our bags arrived at our room which was around 3:00 pm. We enjoyed all of the Specialty Restaurants and shared our table with others as a way to meet people. We also enjoyed our breakfast at the Terrace Cafe every morning, and a couple of times for dinner. great food and sitting outside is lovely in the morning. The staff at the Barista Coffee Bar were terrific and made great coffee's. We also enjoyed the Main Dining Room for dinner several times. Always good food and service seemed slow in the morning. We had lunch several times at the Wave's Cafe, usually a smaller selection of food but good and friendly staff. We did the La Reserve Dinner on Valentine's Night. It was fun and people were more dressed up for the night. We did the Exploration Menu and the food was delicious and there was plenty of wine. The staff looked like they were having fun also, very friendly and informative. The only shore excursion we did thru Oceania was the Tortula, British Virgin Island Bath Excursion. Usually we book our own excursions but the times with the ferry to the Bath's didn't work out so we went with the ship excursion. It was well organized, crowded on the ferry but plenty of free time to enjoy the water and beach. The Rum punch at the end was not very good, tasted like watered down Kool-Aid. The rest of the excursions we booked on our own or did taxi tours on the island. There was a meet and greet that was arranged by a couple on cruise critic that was held the first sea day in The Horizons Lounge at 3:00 pm. We met several other people at that and saw them several times throughout our cruise. We did several nights of the entertainment that started at 9:45. It was a musical theme show and was pretty good. The staff everywhere was friendly and willing to help in anyway. We also got he unlimited internet service. I don't know if this is common but it seems very expensive and very slow. I really think this is an issue that Oceania needs to address. My husband was trying to do some work daily and the slowness was a real problem. I also hear other passengers in the Business Center complaining about it as they were trying to work also. I also went to a Italian cooking demonstration one day that was very good. The Cruise Director was around greeting and talking with people thru out the day. We also enjoyed the bar but he pool or Martini Lounge for a before dinner drink. We did not buy the drink package, it seemed expensive and we chose to purchase our drinks or bottle of wine at the time of dinner. Another problem was the lack of chairs at the pool, I know that is to be expected but it was a problem because if you went to attend a ship program and came back, your chair was taken and it was hard or impossible to get another. We did not use the Concierge Lounge very much. We had a fantastic time and did book another cruise for next February, the Radiant Rhythms itinerary. Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro. They offer a nice early booking discount and you can cancel within a reasonable time frame before. We highly recommend cruising with Oceania the minor problems were nothing big and look forward to several more cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
To start on the positive, the ship was spotlessly clean and the waiting and cabin staff were excellent. Unfortunately there are no more positives. We have cruised a number of times and this was our worst experience. The bad experience ... Read More
To start on the positive, the ship was spotlessly clean and the waiting and cabin staff were excellent. Unfortunately there are no more positives. We have cruised a number of times and this was our worst experience. The bad experience started with embarkation. The pickup at the airport was good and we arrived at the ship just after 4pm. This is a cruise who embarks and disembarks at nearly every port. At this point there were only four of us to embark. We sat for over 50 minutes in the taxi while someone was found to let us on the ship. Dining - every cruise we have been on late sitting is about 8pm not here, it is 9.15pm, so we had the hassle of moving to the early sitting at 7pm. Breakfast in the dining room was okay, as was lunch. Dinner, however, was a different matter. We are not big eaters but found the portions small and the food was usually lukewarm. I asked for a glass of water and was told they provided bottled water. At the end of the meal I was presented with a bill for 2.65 Euros. I have never paid for water on a cruise. We were allowed to take our own water in, so filled a bottle at the buffet were it was free. Another problem was that we were expecting to pay in dollars not euros. It is a little complicated because the MSC brochure states that cruises in the Antilles is in Euros but that the Caribbean is in dollars. However the brochure also states that they do cruises to the Antilles and Antigua. I suppose we should have double checked but who expects a cruise line to differentiate between the Antilles and the Caribbean? We were given very little information about ports of call and it was the Maitre'd who told us that in Martinque the town closed at 2pm, we only arrived at 11am. Guadaloupe was worse as it was not until we got off the ship we found out that everything is shut on a Sunday, although there was a small market on the quayside. When the ship docked at a distance from the main area you then had the joy of paying 8 Euros for the shuttle bus. We also discovered this was new winter cruise for MSC Lirica and was definitely aimed at the French and Caribbean market. The majority of guests were French, Caribbean,Spanish and Italian. So beware as we found many guests were rude, from not saying thank you to stepping in front when you had waited patiently for the lift. Our cabin was adequate but be warned although there is a lovely view from 9004 unless you like to be awake early this is not the cabin for you. It impossible to sleep through clanging machinery and the pods being switched on for early morning docking! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013

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