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7 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise from Los Angeles

7 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise from Los Angeles

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Sirena
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Los Angeles
  • Day 2
    Santa Barbara
  • Day 3
    San Francisco
  • Day 4
    Monterey
  • Day 5
    Pacific Ocean (Cruising)
  • Day 6
    Catalina Island (California)
  • Day 7
    Ensenada
  • Day 8
    Los Angeles

Sirena

Sirena - Oceania Cruises

Pros

Cozy, small ship with excellent cuisine

Cons

Standard cabins are small; weak enrichment program

Bottom Line

Port-intensive itineraries in an upmarket setting


Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have just returned from our first, week-long Mediterranean cruise with Oceania on board the Sirena. We are quite experienced cruisers and wanted to try Oceania as an alternative to our usual shipping line and because the ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our first, week-long Mediterranean cruise with Oceania on board the Sirena. We are quite experienced cruisers and wanted to try Oceania as an alternative to our usual shipping line and because the particular itinerary was interesting. The ship is very smart and comfortable but we found ourselves most confused by the system for charging drinks etc., which we felt was far too complicated and contradictory. At the time of booking, we purchased the House Select beverage package for US $39.95 each per day which gave us free wine, champagne or beer by the glass during lunch and dinner. According to the footnote in the brochure, this also included gratuities, which I assumed were to be distributed amongst the whole crew. Elsewhere in the brochure, it was stated that optional gratuities in the sum of US $16 per guest per day would be added to our shipboard account and that an additional 18% gratuity would be added to all beverage purchases, which are quite high in the first place with two vodka and tonics costing US $20, plus a $3.60 surcharge. I firmly expected that, having purchased the beverage package, these additional charges would not be levied. Although the daily charge was not applied, the 18% surcharge was applied to all drinks consumed outside of mealtimes. We were also very confused by the charging during Happy Hours, when I would have expected drinks to be half price, but it was a two drinks for the price of one arrangement and if we didn't want a large measure or second drink, then we were charged for two anyway. We really didn't want to have to make such complicated calculations whilst on holiday and, after discussing the issue with the Reception staff, made a written complaint. I was then invited to meet with the Food and Beverage Manager who explained that the gratuities with the beverage package went mainly to the sommeliers and that the 18% surcharge on drinks went only to the bar staff themselves as they did not receive a salary. I must say that I am quite disgusted with this practice in this day and age and it certainly explained why some of the bar staff were rather pushy in wanting to serve the more expensive drinks in double measures so as to increase their income. It also explained why, as soon as the sommeliers realised that we were on the package, their level of service deteriorated drastically and it was often difficult to get a second glass of wine, particularly at dinner even when they were not particularly busy. The bar service was also quite slow most of the time. When I pointed out that gratuities were supposedly at the discretion of the guest and not a mandatory payment, the Manager offered to remove the surcharges from our account When we got home. our travel agent explained that Oceania is American owned and that gratuities are one of the problems with American owned cruise lines from a European perspective. The culture in America is one of tipping led by low base salary or even no salary at all. Given that most of the crew, including the senior officers, were either from Eastern Europe, Asia or Central America, one does start thinking about exploitation. I must say that on our previous cruises in American owned ships, we have never had any problems or queries regarding crew gratuities. Generally, the food was of good quality and Oceania pride themselves on offering high quality cuisine but we both felt that there was insufficient variety. Typically, lobster bisque was on the dinner menu in the main restaurant every evening and other items were often repeated. The two speciality restaurants, Tuscan and Red Ginger were excellent and extremely popular to the extent that it was not possible to get a second reservation in either during the course of the week. Getting ashore, particularly in tender ports was handled well and there were never any delays. The personalised World Card had a bar code which the gangway staff scanned when leaving and returning to the ship, which was most efficient. It was unfortunate that this automatic process did not extend to paying for drinks and the card had to be handed over to be manually swiped by the bar staff on every occasion. Although we enjoyed the cruise and ports of call, in the light of these experiences it is unlikely that we will cruise again with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of an itinerary that included southern Italy, Greek Islands (including Santorini and Mykonos) and Venice. After we booked, the Santorini port was changed to Gythion. This was very disappointing since we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of an itinerary that included southern Italy, Greek Islands (including Santorini and Mykonos) and Venice. After we booked, the Santorini port was changed to Gythion. This was very disappointing since we considered Santorini an iconic Greek island that we did not want to miss. As it turned out, weather prohibited us from tendering into Mykonos, so we missed both of the islands we had been excited to see. The embarkation for the Sirena was very smooth and quick, with our luggage being delivered to the room very promptly. All of the crew and port staff were friendly and made us feel quite welcome. Our stateroom was an inside stateroom. The room was about the size you would expect, and had lots of storage. One drawback is that my husband's suitcase did not fit under the bed so he eventually shoved it under the desk area to get it out of the way. Although the room size was not bad, the bathroom size was very bad. My husband and I are both on the normal to slim side, and we could barely move around in the bathroom and the shower. We had to shut off the water in the shower in order to soap up and then turn it back on to rinse off. I hit my head on the cabinet above the sink when trying to brush my teeth. While it was less than comfortable for us, I cannot imagine how it would feel for those who are not normal to slim body types. The cabin steward did an okay job, although one evening he forgot to service our room at all. That meant we did not get an itinerary for the next day. It just so happens that there was a time change that evening. Even though he put the itinerary on the door the next morning along with a reminder for a spa appointment, we did not get them until later in the morning after we returned to our room. I ended up being an hour late for the spa because we had forgotten the time change. Room service was prompt and the food was good. We ate at the Terrace Café almost every morning and most days for lunch if we were onboard. The food was good and had good variety. We ate in the Main Dining room at night or at Red Ginger or Tuscan Steak. The recommendations of the staff turned out to be very good in most cases. All of the food was delicious. The entertainment...ugh! And the reason for the title of this review. The entertainment aboard the ship is very much geared to an older clientele. My husband and I are in our mid-fifties but found the entertainment to be way beyond our years. I am not talking about current pop or rock hits necessarily, but at least something that appeals to people below the age of 70! While we appreciate a string quartet every now and then, it would also be nice to have an area that offers more contemporary music in a more robust environment. Maybe a piano player that plays some more current music, please???There was a night of rock music, so we got our hopes up a bit, but the rock was played by the string quartet. Really?!?!? We had an unscheduled day at sea (when we missed Mykonos) and the first thing that the cruise director scheduled was a meeting of the needlepoint club. The cruise director was not the high-energy type of person you normally see on other cruise ships but the older clientele seemed to appreciate that and love it. We did enjoy a nice wine tasting, although the price was a bit steep ($75pp). We booked with the OLife Choice, and chose the free shore excursions. All of the ship excursions were run well and the guides were very knowledgeable. The excursions did seem to be priced quite high, and other than the free excursions, we only booked one other ship excursion and did the rest with outside companies. Overall, the experience was quite nice, with a high level of service and good food. Oceania's clientele seems to be an older (70+), affluent crowd and they do a good job catering to that crowd. So while we ate well and were treated very well, we found the boat to be a bit staid and too geriatric for us at this point in our lives. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this as our first experience with Oceania, as it offered an itinerary to match an anniversary celebration. Travelling on a newly refurbished ship, and the marketing around service and food were deciding factors also. Up to now, ... Read More
We choose this as our first experience with Oceania, as it offered an itinerary to match an anniversary celebration. Travelling on a newly refurbished ship, and the marketing around service and food were deciding factors also. Up to now, we had only cruised Seabourn (4), Silversea (3), Crystal (1), Sea Dream (1). We enjoyed the cruise very much, but unfortunately some areas did disappoint. The marketing of this brand is excellent, but in my opinion, over promises in some areas, and under delivers in reality. THE SHIP The ship refurbishment in most areas was beautiful, but it was just a pity that they seemed to miss some areas. Specifically the Terrace restaurant which we found cramped in the buffet area, and the furniture and lighting is dated. The ambience was dreary. The serving areas very dated too. We would not sit inside, and were lucky to always find a space outside, albeit often sharing a table. All other dining venues were very pleasant on the whole, although personally we felt that the main dining room would have benefited from lighter window treatments, to make it a little more contemporary. Our penthouse suite was beautiful and I much preferred it to similar size accommodation on Seabourn/Silversea. You may have a smaller bathroom and no walk in closet, but storage was ample, and never using the bath, I appreciated the larger shower. We really enjoyed the width of the cabin and the light. All appointments were excellent. We visited a verandah concierge suite which was extremely cramped in my opinion. You have to remember that these ships are 20 years old, and even after refurbishment, they still don't come close to the modern style and layout of say the modern Seabourn and Silversea ones, with their wider spaces, light and modern stylish spaces. THE SERVICE We found the vast majority of staff to be cheerful and helpful The predominant asian waiting staff were efficient and cheerful, but sometimes things got lost in transition, and culturally it was not possible to build rapport over the week as we were able to do with the higher ratio of European staff on Seabourn/Silversea. Our butler was excellent and efficient. The cruise director - well.... he just made announcements and opened/closed the entertainment, and to be honest little else. A waste of a salary in my mind. I think that we must have been on auto pilot for much of the time also, because I have never been on a cruise with such invisible officers, if they actually existed. In fairness we did not go to the introduction evening, but usually officers interact, or are at least visible, throughout the cruise. This certainly did not happen. THE FOOD Ranged from average to excellent, but I'm sorry, Oceania most certainly does not offer the finest cuisine at sea. The Terrace restaurant was the biggest disappointment. Breakfast felt chaotic, and variety was lacking. We gave up on fresh egg orders, and those from the griddle. As with breakfast, the lunch variety was lacking. It looked good, until you realised that the buffet was a mirror image in parts with items repeated each side. I commend any attempt to reduce waste in buffet restaurants, but I also don't expect to be served basically everything and to be asked how many prunes I want, how many pieces of melon etc, not at the price we paid. This was annoying, and slowed everything down, adding to the chaos at times. Dining at the speciality restaurants was very enjoyable and we managed to change and secure extra reservations. Main dining room, was good - service extremely efficient. Waves grill was good, but again, lacked variety with the same menu board on the wall each day. Afternoon tea was excellent. In our opinion, the Terrace Restaurant should stay open 30 minutes longer for lunch and dinner. It would make a big difference to the feeling of being rushed, and having to rush in to get dishes before they closed. On the food side, I expected a lot more I'm afraid. PORTS All good and arrival/departure was handed well. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION All efficient and quick. On reflection, we would possibly choose Oceania again, but only in a penthouse suite, and with more realistic expectations around service and food. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
View All Oceania Sirena Reviews
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