We have previously cruised with Princess 31 days. We have chosen cruising over land tours due to travel traveling between destinations is done while we eat, dance, and sleep. This time I chose Oceania because of a special they were ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Princess 31 days. We have chosen cruising over land tours due to travel traveling between destinations is done while we eat, dance, and sleep. This time I chose Oceania because of a special they were running: free airfare, free unlimited Saint Petersburg excursions, free internet, free gratuities, $100 shipboard credit and more. The Saint Petersburg excursions were available on line to view. We chose our excursions; savings about $1,200. Free internet I was not of value to me, but to my wife it would save her time trying to communicate with family; leave the computer at home and enjoy yourself.
When I finally went to book, I thought I knew most of the costs or had a good idea what they were. Oceania in their flyers seemed to be upfront, but what I found were way too many hidden costs you cannot find out until after you book and then it is too late.
It took many attempts to learn the location of the port of embarkation and disembarkation. Oceania was unable to provide any details as to how one might get to or from the ports. On Princess, they always provided a map and directions.
Copenhagen identified the pier and from all indications it was within walking distance 100yds of public transportation. However, Oceania was unable to provide directions. What we found out was there was construction being done on the water front. Public transportation could get you close, but no cigar. We walked a good mile. In fact taxi cabs had difficult finding the pier. Oceania could easily have sent a map of the location and directions, but they did/would not.
Free airfare I find out is not worth it. I do not live near a gateway city and therefor, I have to drive or fly. We decided if we flew we could leave a day earlier and spend a day in Copenhagen. This meant we could spend three days in Stockholm after the cruise. We called our travel agent, presented our dates and then waited for Oceania to give us their free flight info. By the time we got it, our air fair had gone up $46 each. Ok, not to bad, so I ok'd the flights. What we learned after landing in Copenhagen was that our bags never made it out of Chicago. We did not have seamless airline reservations, but a stinking voucher from Chicago to Amesterdam then to Copenhagen. We were not alone, there were well over 40 bags that did not reach the ship. $0 were delivered in Helsinki, day four and our two bags arrived in Tallinn as we were leaving port, our last day.
In the end I could have purchased round trip tickets for two for $100 less than the cost of the Free Airfare from Oceania, plus $$175 air deviation fee each, plus $100 air increase fair each, plus $50 times two for bags plus the $296 round trip air to Chicago each. In simple terms if our not a gateway city, the free air fare most likely will not save you any money. To us it is worthless.
We tried to buy clothes in the botique, but it was too small and as I guy I have more selection than they did. With so many missing bags, there were not enough clothes. Only one pair of pant's, $125 and it would need to be hemmed. Shirts started at $125.
As for the food, Red Ginger did not go ever well at all. McDonald's would have been much better. As for the other three dinning venues, they were ok, but no better than we were experienced with on Princess. Breakfast was better on Oceania, only because they serve you, instead of people trying to serve themselves. You stand in a line, order what you want, it is cooked, served to you standing there. the Terrace Cafe was good. they served to order grill food fast. We had a problem with our wine. An unfinished bottled went missing, but they provided another bottle, though less full than what we had left the evening before. This is the first time a bottle on any cruise had gone missing.
I had reserved our four nights at the "best" venues "Polo", "Jacques", "Red Ginger" and "Tuscana" online We like to share a table, but the online reservation would not allow me to select sharing without having the names/booking of those we wished to share with. One of the pleasures of dining on a cruise ship is meeting others from around the world. We found out upon boarding the ship we were setup not to share. It was too late to change our first venue, but the other three we were able to change to sharing.
We found the veranda stateroom nice, same quality as on Princess. The tub was a nice touch.
We found that we could never go to the shows because of meal times. On Oceania they begin a 9PM. They really need to start later at 9:30 o 9:45 so that those who eat, can go.
I found a smaller ship was nice, not as much walking, but this small convenience was not worth the cost.
We found the excursions nice, but very pricey. On Princess they always had maps of where the ship would be and a map of the surrounding area. Oceania only did this once and provided as we were going ashore. I booked all our excursions online. When I tried to make changes, the online website went down. On line there was a notices stating that Saint Petersburg Free Excursions would be adjusted for after final submission. A month after booking our excursions I got a bill for over $1,000 for Saint Petersburg Excursions that I thought were supposed to be free an unlimited.
Free soda and water is not a selling point. I liked to have a coke when I came back, but there would only be one in the frig. I do not know why they could not have had four or even more.
At disembarkation, we left from deck five. This required we walk down steps with luggage. Deck four had a ramp which would have made getting off the ship easier, safer and faster.
In Summary, Oceania is 50% more expensive. The free airfare turned out to be a nightmare. Food was not nearly as good as I was expecting. I wasted my wife's seven vacation days. Read Less