15 Oceania Insignia Cuba Cruise Reviews

We are experienced cruisers on both large (Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Princess, Costa) and small (Azamara, Windstar) ships. I think our expectations were in line with the size of the ship, and of course I did quite a bit of research before ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers on both large (Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Princess, Costa) and small (Azamara, Windstar) ships. I think our expectations were in line with the size of the ship, and of course I did quite a bit of research before leaving. We knew the bathroom was going to be small- but sheesh! The shower is REALLY small. I'm a small person and it still seemed tiny- I don't know how some people even manage to fit! The cabin itself seemed smaller than what I thought was the same cabin on the Azamara Quest. (6090, Aft) The cabin seeming small was not a big deal but what we were really disappointed in was the food and some of the policies. We had a concierge class cabin so had four nights in the specialty restaurants. I was looking forward to some nice prime rib at the Polo Grill. I ordered an "end cut" and wow-- what I got was a very under cooked (almost raw...) piece of end cut. It would have been better if they just said "sorry, we don't have any available." They took it back and "grilled" it which is not prime rib. They offered to switch it for something else but at that point I just ate the baked potato and called it a night. We thought the food was better at Toscana. I guess I heard to much about how good the food is and my expectations might have been too high. We found the service on the ship to be very good. The only other thing we were disappointed in was their so-called included laundry service for concierge class. You have to allow three days turn around time which on a 10 night trip seems a bit excessive. They do say the included laundry is only "fluff and fold" and boy was that correct! I used the included pressing of four items which resolved some of the fluff and fold problem but not all of it. When we booked our trip the only thing available was concierge class-- not sure it was worth the extra cost on the smaller ships but we were okay with it as we wanted this timing and itinerary. From what I have read most seem to enjoy the concierge lounge on the larger ships. My other issue was that their policy allows scooters or wheelchairs to be in the hallway. As long as the cleaning carts can get by they let them stay there. I mentioned this to the front desk as I seem to remember that most cruise ships do not allow this. If you hit rough seas they become flying missiles that could hurt employees or passengers. She said "they don't have enough accessible cabins so this is our way around it." When someone gets hurt my guess is they will change the policy,,,,,, They brought out Christmas decorations around the 15th of December which were very nice. I thought the entertainment was good for a small ship and the cruise director, Shawn Carter, was very good. He did some entertainment one afternoon and we enjoyed that quite a bit. I also really enjoyed Constantine Dragulov, a pianist and vocalist. All in all I don't think we'd return to Oceania. Some of the employees were terrific, (such as bartender Desi and sommelier Andre) and all were at least adequate. With that said, I don't want to be the one that has a scooter come flying at me! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian bacon with freshly poached egg and topped with outstanding Hollandaise sauce. Yum! In fact all the selections in the Terrace Cafe were excellent --- spoiled by all the servers who were there to please. My husband fell in love with the extra thick chocolate shake in Waves. Grand Dining room had excellent food and service, but at times could be slow and a bit frustrating. If you needed something "out of the ordinary" it was hard to get the item. Polo and Toscano Specialty restaurants were both excellent! Entertainment was varied and good. The singers were extremely talented and the Frank Sinatra impersonator was outstanding! The Martini Bar piano player and entertainer at one of the big shows was excellent. Martinis were outstanding! The enrichment lectures could have been better --- we expected to hear more about Cuba's history and politics. The presentations were limited and bland -- that was disappointing. Excursions on Cienfuegos were the best; though the one going to Colonial Trinidad in Santiago was very interesting and good. The buffet lunch in one of the local restaurants was delicious. Time was limited in Havana ... would have been good if we'd been able to see a Tropicana Show there and had more shopping time to get cigars & local crafts.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi ... Read More
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi Fi access is free one device per cabin. The speed was very slow at times and some websites would time out before I could login. The cabin size was okay with a veranda. There was limited desk space. There were cabinets and shelves all around to store clothes and personal items. The bathroom was small with a shower and limited shelves. The lightning in the cabin was very good. There were USB ports on both sides of the bed and on the desk. There was one 220 V and 110 V outlet on the desk. There are two banks of elevators on the ship one aft and one forward. The ship was was recently remodeled. The entertainment was very good one show per night. There were activities every day, There is a full casino and bars on different decks on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is ... Read More
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is perfection. Insignia is wonderful, but perfection is unattainable for any ship. So four it must be. DW and I are veterans of more than 50 cruises, mostly on Princess, where we are elite. We have enjoyed Princess a lot, but we wanted to step up a bit and have heard great things about Oceania, mostly centering on the food. And it's all true, folks. So let's start at the beginning of our 14-night Miami-to-New York cruise. Embarkation in Miami is painless because this is a small ship. Fewer than 700 passengers, so no unbearably long lines. Also, no ship's photographers to pose you in front of some hokey background picture of the ship set against a gorgeous sunset, or whatever. That can hold up the works, too. Once aboard there was a bit of a hitch. We were allowed to board at about 11:30 a.m. (exact time escapes me), but because we had a low cabin category we couldn't get into our cabin until 1 p.m. So we had to schlepp our carry-on baggage around with us for that time. Not a big deal but, as I said, perfection is unattainable. So what's the first thing you want to do on embarkation day? Explore your ship, right? Wrong. Eat, of course! This is Oceania, after all. So off we go to the buffet, known on Oceania as the Terrace Cafe. Way more than enough to choose from here. I'll talk more about the food later. It gets its own category. OK, so now it's 1 o'clock, we get into the cabin, dump the bags and meet our cabin attendant. Her name is Khachungla. There's one problem with Khachungla: I can't take her home with me. And boy, by the end of this cruise I really wanted to. Never had a friendlier, harder-working cabin attendant, I kid you not. Time to explore Insignia. This is a 20-year-old ship, remember, so comparing it head-to-head against a newer one would be unfair. It has to be judged on its own merits. It is maintained beautifully. Insignia is scheduled for a drydock soon, and a few of our fellow passengers said they could see a need for that. But I could not. No worn-out furniture, no threadbare carpets. Nothing obvious like that. Maybe some things behind the scenes that I was unaware of, but that's speculation. The decor is what I would call English country, but I'm certainly no expert on that. Lots of heavy drapery, dark furniture and deep carpets. Not exactly my taste, but that's just one guy's opinion. Yours may differ. What's important is that the ship is spotlessly clean at all times. One problem that we noticed right away: The elevators are tiny and unventilated. I imagine Oceania can't do much about the size, but when you cram half a dozen perspiring people in there after a summertime Caribbean shore excursion, it gets real ripe real fast. Now about the food (OK, maybe that transition's not the best, but you'll get over it). Simply put, the food on Oceania was the best we've ever had at sea and, as I noted, we've been doing this a long time. Each dish was perfectly prepared and served by a thoroughly professional staff. A few small examples: DW is diabetic, so she wants to know about no-sugar-added desserts. On the mass-market lines, you likely get one selection a night, take it or leave it. On Oceania, you get a no-sugar-added dessert menu with 10 items. DW says they all were delicious, too. I tasted the mousse. Sure tasted like sugar to me. But no. As for me, I need to be careful about my salt intake. Unfortunately, I love soup, which is notoriously salty. But not on Insignia. I know there's salt in there. Has to be. But it's not obvious. I had soup every night and never detected a salty taste. These chefs know how to cook without overloading everything with sodium chloride, and that's a skill missing on other lines. Another thing: the bread. I love it, and the bread and rolls that come with lunch and dinner are to die for. Yes, that's a small thing, but isn't luxury made up of a multitude of small things? We ate in the main restaurant most nights, but also tried Polo Grill, the steakhouse; and Toscana, the Italian restaurant. The latter was my favorite. I had the lemon veal scaloppini. My mouth still waters when I think about it. On Oceania, the specialty restaurants are included in the fare. So why not indulge? Outside the main restaurant is a terrific coffee bar. Fantastic espressos, cappuccinos, etc. Pietro, a barrista there (shouldn't that be barristo? Never mind), made an Americano for me and a breve latte for DW most mornings. Let me tell you, this guy knows what he's doing (as do they all, I suspect). Really got us off on the right foot each day. Mini-croissants and other goodies are right there for the taking, again no extra charge. You get the idea. Enough about food. Let's talk about shore excursions. This cruise included a stop at Havana, Cuba. Sadly, I was unable to leave the ship because of a health problem, but that was nobody's fault. That's right -- while everybody else was exploring Cuba I spent the whole day in bed. Aarrrgghh! I like it when we visit ports I've seen before so I can stay on board and have the ship to myself, but this was ridiculous. DW did take a tour. She thought Havana was unimpressive. "The whole place looks like a bombed-out city," she says. Cigar-factory workers make 80 cents a day. She bought two cigars for me at $10 each. So the factory's product costs 10 bucks and people who produce it get next to nothing. Quite educational. Also, the tour included "art," an alleyway with murals and folk dancers, and a rum factory, both of which she found adequate. Insignia also stopped in Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada and Bermuda. We were supposed to stop at St. Lucia and Dominica, but a hurricane scuttled those plans. We dodged that storm, of course, and got a sea day in lieu of Dominica and a stop in Trinidad instead of St. Lucia. The Trinidad stop happened on a Sunday when nothing was open and the ship docked at a commercial pier, so there was little within walking distance anyway. We looked around for about an hour and returned to the ship. About that hurricane: It was actually nowhere near us, but the sea was still kind of rough anyway, about 3 meters or 10 feet, the captain said. Now, Insignia is a smallish ship, only about 30,000 tons, so, to be honest, it doesn't handle rough water all that well. If you're on one of the newer megaships, you likely wouldn't even feel waves that big. But a 30,000-tonner kind of bobs and weaves like a cork. Many people were seasick that night. Insignia is billed as "charming" and "cozy," and indeed it is, but if you're prone to seasickness, then yes, it can be a problem. But this was just one night out of 14, so factor that into your plans, too. Our last stop was Bermuda. We docked in St. George's and took a bus to Hamilton, the capital, for shopping. We were in Bermuda overnight, so on Day 2, we just explored St.George's, a small but picturesque town. Lots of brightly painted buildings. I thought it was more fun than Hamilton. After leaving Bermuda we had some rough water again, not as bad as before but bad enough to make us late getting into New York, our port of disembarkation. That meant that disembarkation didn't go all that well, and I'm sure some people missed flights home. That didn't affect us because we stayed in NY for a couple of days. Regarding entertainment: It's a smallish ship with a smallish theater, but the shows were fine. Only problem here is the flat floor. There are two levels, but neither is sloped, so sight lines are not too good. I attended one port lecture in this venue, which was excellent. I can't recall the gentleman's name, but he told us all about Bermuda before we arrived there. Regarding the spa: There's an excellent, large steam room which is hot enough to make you sweat plenty but not so hot that you'll have to flee after 30 seconds. It's complimentary. No dry sauna, though. Oceania cruises are aimed at the 50-and-older crowd. Most pax were retirees like us, and there are no facilities specifically for kids. There were a handful of youngsters on this cruise but no small children, which is how we like it. It's another reason we chose Oceania. So, in summary, we loved this ship and cruise. Except for the rough-water problem, it's hard to find any serious negatives. We fell in love with Oceania, and will try one of the larger ships next time. I welcome your comments. KK Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we ... Read More
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we wanted to take a longer cruise in the Caribbean, our favorite vacation destination, that would still jibe with Nicci’s schedule as a school nurse but also would not have many children onboard. When I did research and found the Caribbean Palette cruise on the Insignia, that was most attractive; the additional perks of “the finest cuisine at sea” and having a couple of sea days mixed in with some ports we had never been to (originally Columbia on Independence Day, which was then thankfully later substituted by Havana) also made us very excited, despite the extremely high cost of the voyage. We had some initial concerns, as conveyed to us by our booking agent at Oceania, that we were among the younger passengers aboard (in our mid-to-late forties), but as we are old souls at heart (or so we thought!), that was of little problem to us. What absolutely sealed the deal for us was being able to sail home to Manhattan, thus needing to fly only one-way down to Miami. Overall, then, we had very high expectations for this cruise. I would say that, for the most part, these expectations were met. I will summarize individual facets below, but, despite overarching concerns besides cost that will lead us not to take another Oceania cruise for quite some time, if ever, the cruise was most pleasant and relaxing. Here are our reports and thoughts on what we experienced on the Insignia during our trip: Embarkation: Smooth and easy. As we had booked a Concierge cabin, we had expected to be onboard at noon, but we were able, surprisingly, to board much earlier, at 11:15. Briefly, on the flipside, debarkation was no worse in Manhattan than previously encountered, despite a great delay coming into port. Cabin: As we are used to Carnival-sized cabins, we had little problem, as otherwise seems to be expressed quite frequently in both reviews and on the Oceania boards, with the overall size of the Concierge-level cabin. While the cabin was far from luxurious, and in need of some freshening, there was adequate storage space for both clothing, effects, and luggage, and our aft-facing balcony was also a nice size, having room for a chaise longue, two chairs, and a table. Our mini-fridge was indeed stocked with our choice of beverages (only Coke for me, as Nicci does not drink soda), and there were always at least two large bottles of water left on our vanity with ice that we requested. We found that the air conditioning and room temperature for the first week of the voyage were far too warm, despite setting the thermostat on the lowest setting, and it took us a couple of occasions mentioning this to Housekeeping finally to get Maintenance to address the issue; even then, the difference was marginal, and the only way that we derived any comfort was from an oscillating fan that Housekeeping very kindly provided us. This warmth was also reflected in the water from the tap and shower, which never seemed to fall below lukewarm also despite being turned to the coldest possible setting. The biggest problem that we had, however, which we can confirm from previous reviewers, was the size and configuration of the bathroom, and most especially the shower: these were woefully inadequate and should be addressed in any refurbishment of the ship. The good thing was that our cabin steward Renan was most efficient and pleasant, always keeping the room neat and clean, and he was exemplary of the wonderful service provided elsewhere onboard. Food: Throughout the Terrace area, Grand Dining Room, and both specialty restaurants, the food mostly lived up to Oceania’s marketing hyperbole that they have the finest cuisine at sea. Things were always very fresh and nicely presented. It did seem that there was, surprisingly, a lack of variety of choices, as many dishes were only variations on a theme of the same staple ingredient (e.g., lamb, pork, or beef prepared in slightly different ways or with different sauces). Furthermore, there were times in the specialty restaurants that things could have run more smoothly, such as when we spent nearly three hours at our first night in Toscana or when either Nicci’s steak was most undercooked or I did not receive things that I ordered in Polo Grill. Furthermore, during lunch, the pizza (which, truthfully, I saw virtually no one else order) was mediocre at best. Also, breakfast service for late risers like me is nonexistent, with ample choices ending around 9am; the few times I did partake of breakfast in the Terrace, however, I must say that the omelettes were fantastic, made with freshly-beaten eggs. While these criticisms all may seem niggling, as this food is being provided by a cruise line that seemingly bases its entire marketing strategy on a flawless dining experience, passengers should be expected to have the best of everything. Since this is naturally impossible to achieve, then, let us just say that our expectations were met, but not exceeded, when it came to non-room service food on the Insignia. Turning quickly, then, to room service, I think this was the most pleasant surprise, with ample choices and a delicious Lombardy salad that I was surprised never to see offered anywhere else. I do think that Oceania did not do enough in our cabin to apprise us of the fact that we could have ordered an enhanced breakfast menu from room service, but since we had seen many rooms on our deck with such tags, it was more our fault for not making further use of this service. Finally, even though we made it there only once, the afternoon tea was fantastic, with great savory and sweet finger foods. Activity and entertainment: Our expectations were not high, given what we have read online here, and I think they were mostly met. As befits an older crowd, there was not much to do, with exceedingly low variety, during the day, with activities that never changed from needlepoint to poorly-attended bingo to trivia that we were not interested in at all. The performances of the entertainment staff were seemingly well done, but as we shall comment later on, we were obliged due to seasickness to miss one show completely and leave at the beginning of a second show, so this is most difficult to rate. Similarly, we never attended one onboard lecture except a cooking presentation by the executive chef that was very entertaining. The visiting artists (a singer, a magician, a comedian, and a guitarist) were talented and enjoyable, nothing to rave about yet quite pleasant to watch. What was first-rate was both the onboard band and, especially, the string quartet; the quartet’s skill, despite comments on the boards, was most evident, and they contributed towards our comfort both waiting for evening shows and during the afternoon tea. The casino was incredibly small, almost never full, yet very happily was smoke-free like virtually the remainder of the ship, and we actually came out ahead in our limited play there. The cruise director was adequate at his job, and we appreciated him keeping announcements to a minimum during the day, but Nicci found him not to be warm or genuine, and I will not dispute this assertion at all. We found it curious, as did fellow passengers (as we will expand on later), that there were no movies offered to watch during the day outside one’s cabin, such as in the lounge, until the last night of the voyage; I believe that this is something that Oceania should take heed of for future entertainment. I would say, then, that while we were happy not seeing any “sexy single parties” at the pool, there needed to be much more in the way of activities and entertainment onboard than was provided. Fellow passengers: Aside from the age of our fellow passengers, we did not quite know what to expect, even after having read comments on the boards and reviews. We found everyone very pleasant and easy to converse with, definitely on the more white-collar (and indeed retired) side, and, while we should not be surprised in hindsight, definitely more cosmopolitan: there was a high number of non-Americans aboard, including Australians and New Zealanders (which only makes sense if you think about it as they were escaping their winter). There seemed to be a somewhat-even mix of returning Oceania guests as well as first-timers like us, and what was astonishing was how many of these return passengers were dissatisfied with Oceania, perhaps this cruise in particular, stating that the high level of dining, activity, and the condition of the ship were not met as on previous cruises, whether on the Insignia or another Oceania ship. We appreciated their candor, but we also appreciated that they still found ways to enjoy their vacation and did not let their disappointment affect the experience of their fellow guests. Certainly, given what we saw at the Oceania future cruise desk, people were booking their next trips at a furious clip! I guess the biggest thing that I was surprised at was how similarly everyone dressed, at all times of the day, and while everyone seemed happy, there was also a distinct lack of what I would call whimsy, with no one ever seeming to laugh heartily but instead just seeming to be there, if you can get what I am driving at. Overall, if these people are representative of the Oceania norm, there are far worse cruisers to share a ship with. Ship: This is where our biggest problems lie. We knew that this ship, at around 30K tons, would be the smallest we had ever sailed on, but its lack of size definitely contributed to a lack of stability. So much so, in fact, that the relatively rough waters that we encountered on July 4th led to two-thirds of the ship (including some crewmembers!) to be laid out with seasickness – including Nicci, whom I have never seen ill in eighteen previous cruises with her. Unfortunately, I also had a repeat performance on July 13th, so I really lost two nights out of my cruise, and since I have been in much worse weather on bigger ships with no ill effects, I do indeed directly blame this on the size of Insignia. It seemed that the doors to the decks were always closed due to the high winds, which I understand is for safety, but this made exploring the decks difficult. Furthermore, this ship is in desperate need of refurbishment: tiles from the only pool onboard were flaking off at a prodigious and unacceptable rate, so that oftentimes I would find them sticking either on Nicci or on one of our fellow users. The entire ship seemed to be kept at a higher temperature, I guess to accommodate the older passengers who like to be warmer, and although the elevators mostly were uncrowded, they also tended to run on the smaller side. The décor was quite nice, harkening back to the classic era of ocean liners, and there seemed to be a great amount of public space, from everywhere including the atrium to the well-stocked library. Again, however, this can only provide so much comfort, and I think that not feeling stable while underway is a huge factor in why I would not come back to Oceania. Intangibles: I will skip over our ports of call, except to say this: Bermuda as always is my go-to vacation port, and I am very happy that we visited Havana, but this was a very intense stop only one day after embarkation, and we do not feel the need ever to visit Cuba again. Our other stops were fine, aside from Grenada, which felt distinctly unsafe, and Trinidad, an unscheduled stop (about which more in a second) that looked so unappetizing from onboard that we did not even bother to get off at the terminal to stretch our legs. I did not appreciate for one second that, while we understandably had to deviate stops in St. Lucia and Dominica because of Hurricane Beryl, in substituting Trinidad for these ports, Oceania did not even account for, let alone reimburse for, the refund in port charges for these missed stops, nor provide even a nominal onboard credit due to the inconvenience of adding in another sea day, as we received in the past from Carnival. This left a very bad taste in my mouth. As for other intangibles, I alluded before to the lack of whimsy and similarity in dress that our fellow passengers exhibited, and I guess this is why I always felt somewhat out of place onboard – I wanted to do more than just lie down next to the pool with a book or engage in pleasant banter but instead feel like I was sharing a good time and laugh and relax with like-minded passengers. Fortunately, Nicci and I were able to find one family (from very close to where we live) that similarly sought out fun, companionship, and enjoyment, otherwise this could have easily been a very somber and unpleasant cruise. I think, then, that Nicci and I need to strike a happy medium between the immaturity of Carnival cruises and the relative stiffness of Oceania cruises...for us, this seems to be on Celebrity. Lastly, I just feel that, even with the great service and overall high quality of the food, this cruise simply did not provide us with anywhere near the value that was expected from the exorbitant cost of the voyage. I wanted to write a more detailed review because I never really found anything on this site that would provide me the same insight and information as I hope I did here. I therefore hope that you will find this as useful as I meant it to be. Thanks for reading! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We love these R class ships as they get into ports the big ships don't. Being docked overnight was a new treat, especially when you can literally walk across the street to attractions and restaurants. Fabulous staff. Ship was clean ... Read More
We love these R class ships as they get into ports the big ships don't. Being docked overnight was a new treat, especially when you can literally walk across the street to attractions and restaurants. Fabulous staff. Ship was clean and for 20 years old it was in good shape. Only a meal or two not up to par, but since I didn't have to cook, who cares! Polo grill is fantastic and preferred over Tuscana. We speculate that because it was over both Christmas and New Years, the average age was rather elderly. We are 57-58. Night life in Horizon bar was dead except for New Years eve. Nightly shows seems well attended, though we didn't see all of them. We selected this cruise 1st for the itinerary, and 2nd for the ship/cruise line. Only our 3rd time with Oceania, last in 2010. Most negative aspect of cruise wasn't about Oceania, but listening to others gripe about trivial stuff. Stuff happens, deal with it. Leave America back home and embrace new cultures and experiences. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ... Read More
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ship was well maintained and all the venues were perfect. Ships staff was friendly and helpful. The MDR. specialty restaurants and lounges were wonderful We ate at Toscana and Polo 4 out of 6 nights. The Terrace Grill was too busy for us and so we elected to eat at the MDR when it was open. The Terrace Grill food was fine but we don;t like the hub bub atmosphere. Havana was a great experience. We elected to use the ships' excursion and book the 3 hr classic car tour . Once we debarked at Havana, we were bused to the National Hotel where 15 pristine classic cars were parked . We had the choice of any of the cars and my wife snagged at red and white 55 Chevy Bel Air with a/c. The tour was a caravan, but since it was Sunday, we moved briskly through the city and saw all of the important sites. We ended back at the National Hotel and had the opportunity to tour the hotel. Since we live in Orlando, we plan to go back to Havana by air and do a more in depth visit. Cuban immigration was a breeze as was the money exchange. We have been to Cozumel many times and had nothing to do, so we went to the Chocolate Factory. Warning this is a TOURIST TRAP. but, as part of the visit. we were bused to the east side of the island and found the tour at least scenic. We found some great Xmas gifts at the huts on the east side beach. We did not have high expectations for Great Stirrup Key our expectations were met. We took the tender onshore and promptly returned on the next tender back. The ship was nearly empty and we had a delightful time. Having a upper level suite, embarkation and debarkation were non events. The new customs procedure with no forms to fill out were very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I choose this cruise because the cruise agent said it was "a step above." She was so very wrong! We booked two cabins, and the many problems we have experienced made us question our decision to sail Oceania. 1) Embarkation was a ... Read More
I choose this cruise because the cruise agent said it was "a step above." She was so very wrong! We booked two cabins, and the many problems we have experienced made us question our decision to sail Oceania. 1) Embarkation was a disaster. Upon arrival, we told cruise personal we were penthouse suite booked and were told to stand in line, which we did for a total of 2 hours, even though we arrived at noon. Unacceptable! 2) Our first and only time in the dining room saw service and food quality issues: request for lemons went unattended until second request 20 minutes later; request for coffee took 25 minutes, steak was filled with gristle and fat; food quality was truly sub par, bland and often repetitive. We are experienced travelers, and we will not travel with Oceania again. Service in our state room was very good; however, furnishings outdated, worn, old for this level penthouse booking. “This is our first cruise with Oceania, although we have cruised extensively with another cruise line, we thought and were told we were getting a step up by booking Oceania. We were so very disappointed! We booked a penthouse suite and have black mold along the base of the tub. My husband, who is 6’2”, cannot stand up in the shower but must stoop or bend over because the ceiling is so low. We discussed this with the front desk personnel, but no alternative was offered. The shower water sprays out onto the floor, because the glass panel does not cover or close. Furnishings in our suite have stains and scrapes, peeling paint is on balcony's furniture, throughout the ship wood work is marred with paint, or glossed over in many areas. For our level of booking, actually two cabins total, we expected much more than Oceania provided: outdated furnishings, sub-quality upkeep, obsolete TV Programming, and dining room issues which were brought to attention of maître D’. We could have paid half and gotten better quality food and furnishings on Holland America. When we contacted Oceania Staff regarding a concern most often they provided an excuse. For embarkation, we were told there is a lot of paperwork for this cruise. (We were slated for expedited booking) When we initially booked one of two cabins, we asked it be set up with separate beds, not one, for our son and daughter. This was not done and it took two requests to have this accomplished late in the first day on board. When we first booked through Crown Cruise Vacations, we identified this as a celebratory cruise, once in a lifetime, to enjoy my birthday and also our anniversary. Oceania did not recognize either in any way. When steak/grizzle issues were brought to the attention of the maitre D’, we were told that’s what they get from their supplier. On our final bill, we were charged an upcharge for having: “Butler Service” in our Penthouse Suite. We were never advised in advance by our travel agent of additional charges. On other cruises when a suite was booked, concierge service was never an upcharge. For these reasons, we can not recommend Oceania Cruises and as we heard several other guests comment: "We will never sail Oceania again!" We feel this cruise was a terrible value for the big bucks we paid for what we hoped would be "the trip of a lifetime." Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had been told repeatedly that I would love Oceania. My fear was that once I experienced Oceania, there would be no going back. However, although there were aspects I did love, I realized that there are tradeoffs. We were travelling ... Read More
I had been told repeatedly that I would love Oceania. My fear was that once I experienced Oceania, there would be no going back. However, although there were aspects I did love, I realized that there are tradeoffs. We were travelling with our adult daughters on a 6 day Insignia cruise out of Miami. The highlight was a stop in Havana. We had sailed on the Azamara Journey so were familiar with the smaller ship. We opted for 2 oceanview cabins on deck 4. The cabins were smaller than we were used to but had plenty of storage space and a nice large window. The bathroom was small; the toiletries were very nice. The small ship size had many advantages. I was always able to get a chaise at the pool and a table at the buffet. There was no wait at the dining room. However, there was an hour wait at embarkation which was much longer than we experienced on much larger ships. The other glitch was a crush of people converging for tenders. Dining was definitely the strong suit. We divided our time among the specialty restaurants, GDR and buffet. All were excellent. I have never been a fan of buffets on Celebrity but on Oceania the selection was amazing and the limited table service and outdoor seating made for a pleasant dining experience. Both specialty restaurants were on a par with Celebrity’s. More variety in specialty restaurants would be good for longer cruises as the larger ships offer. The dining room had good menus but at times unusually slow service. While the food lived up to our high expectations, the service did not. I have the feeling that the staff saw this short cruise as a respite before the longer cruises began. There did not appear to be pool attendants and there were small children, including a baby and unsupervised toddler in and around the hot tub. We were unable to get staff to respond. The entertainment and activities, however, exceeded my expectations. Tbe ship offered very nice Hanukkah services and the enrichment lecture we heard was interesting. The 9:30 showtime seemed late. I enjoyed the violinists and singer very much. Both cabaret style shows were well done. Tea with the string quartet or pianist was lovely. I also enjoyed the T pool at the spa and the relative quiet at the pool. There was also a nice Captain’s reception. We made our own arrangements for the ports. The info sheet on Cuba given out at embarkation was confusing and incomplete. More comprehensive info earlier would have been helpful. My daughter would have liked to jet ski on the private island but that was cancelled. The island was beautiful but not well staffed. Disembarkation went smoothly and it was nice to have the option of a full breakfast before we left. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable cruise and I would definitely cruise Oceania again ( maybe in a larger ship) if the price and itinerary were right. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed one night at the Hilton Marina hotel - very nice; best to get a room in the tower. Had a closeup view of Port Everglades. Breakfast buffet was WAY overpriced but there is a Starbucks in the lobby. ... Read More
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed one night at the Hilton Marina hotel - very nice; best to get a room in the tower. Had a closeup view of Port Everglades. Breakfast buffet was WAY overpriced but there is a Starbucks in the lobby. My favorite FLL hotel is the Lago Mar, but for just an overnight the Hilton was half the price. Took a shuttle to Miami. Embarkation line was quite long and slow, but we realized why when we got up to the desk - even though we signed and faxed the affidavit to Oceania ahead of time, they made everyone fill out another one. Then the clerk had to go file it and find our cruise card. Once on the ship we went to the Terrace Cafe (buffet) for lunch; couldn't get into our cabin until 2pm. I really prefer how Princess does it - no one gets to board until all the rooms are ready but then everyone can go there immediately. Muster drill was a surprise....not only did everyone have to drag their life jacket with them to the meeting place and put it on, but we all had to file outside and stand underneath our lifeboat! We stood there (with no announcements from overhead or the crew) for 15 minutes in the 80+ heat! Cabin - had a B1 verandah. Was much smaller than we're used to; was OK for a 7 day cruise, but we would feel too cramped on a longer cruise. Beds are fantastically comfortable! Air conditioning worked great. Loved having our favorite non-alcoholic beverages in fridge and replenished daily. The loveseat was very comfortable. TV was too small and in an bad position to see well on the loveseat. The bathroom was our major dislike - very, very small with a shower that was only 2'x3'! Had to sit sideways on the toilet or knee would be shoved into the door jam. We mostly took showers in the spa (which has 2 large, nice showers with gel, shampoo and conditioner). Room had little storage space; again, sort of doable for a 7 day cruise, but not for a long cruise. Ship decor - gorgeous in public areas! Very classic and elegant. Very small elevators (4-6 people) was a surprise. Nice to be able to walk anywhere on the ship in a very short time! Never had lines at Guest Services or Shore Excursion desks. Spa - changing room (one for men; one for women) was beautiful and had a large steam room, 2 showers, lockers, and a fridge with free Gatorade and water. Spa terrace "hot tub" was always lukewarm, though, and the bubblers were broken. Food - mostly very good. Had a well done steak (ordered medium) in Polo. Toscana was OK but not fantastic. MDR food was very good (especially breakfast) but servers seemed very stressed and overworked at dinner. We preferred eating in the buffet - same food as MDR but didn't take 2 hrs and could dress much more casually. We thought the MDR food was excellent for all meals. I know they serve the food onto your plate to avoid spreading illness, but at busy mealtimes it took SO much longer since many people were waiting to be served. No staff took my plate to the table (I had read that), but that was fine with me. Lobster tail & filet sandwich at Waves was fantastic! Breads and pastries were excellent, as were the lattes. Afternoon tea was good (no better than other ships, though), but there were not enough seats on sea days and I'm not going to show up early to stand in a line for tea. Lectures/entertainment - the Cuban lecturer (Sandy Cares, I think) was fantastic, but the venue was so crowded and we short people couldn't see well. I ended up just watching the video of her talk on our cabin tv. I don't really like evening shows, but these were really late (9:30pm). By then, I'm tired and want to just relax. Service/staff - very good service and friendly staff, but honestly they weren't better than on other ships I've been on. Cuba was AMAZING and wasn't anything like I pictured a communist country. We were able to wander around as we pleased, the people were very happy and friendly, and we went to many local places where no other tourists were. Lots of locals speak English and would approach us when they heard us speaking English. They just wanted to chat and meet an American. They all said they were happy with their way of life, but wish they could leave their country to travel. That made me sad. In Havana, we only took one ship excursion - to the Melia Cohiba hotel for the Buena Vista Social Club show....was fantastic!! The rest of the time, we wandered around on our own (went to church, a pharmacy museum, shops in homes, cafes), then took a classic car tour for an hour - he stopped at many places for us to get out and take pictures, then took us back to the ship at the end. In Cienfuegos, we hired a private classic car/driver and guide for the day. Wow....how fun! We walked around a nice neighborhood and saw the palace, visited a beautiful hotel where we had a Cuban coffee on the rooftop terrace, had our hair trimmed at a local beauty salon, ate lunch at a paladar, bought cigars/rum, and visited a park and church. Best day in Cuba!! In Santiago de Cuba, we took a private tour in a classic car. Went to a fortress, San Juan Hill, Revolution Square and Fidel Castro's grave. It was a nice tour, but took too long as many cars were traveling as a caravan. Disembarkation was a breeze. Can't wait to visit Cuba again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We specifically chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Cuba. We booked the first day it was opened for booking. We had a concierge veranda room midship. We had an odd number room. Suggest you get an even number for this ... Read More
We specifically chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Cuba. We booked the first day it was opened for booking. We had a concierge veranda room midship. We had an odd number room. Suggest you get an even number for this cruise as you get a beautiful view of the mountains and coastline of Cuba much of the trip. The lectures by Sandy were awesome. And we had two special talks about Cuban film by a William & Mary professor that was very interesting. The first two nights we had a Cuban menu in the Terrace Cafe so make sure that you don't book the specialty restaurants for one of those nights so you can enjoy the chef's rendition of classic Cuban food. The cooking demonstration was fun. Toscana was simply over the top! Polo Grill was great as well. NOTE: if you are looking for Cuban cigars, realize cigar stores are closed on Sunday so if you get into Havana on Saturday, that is when you need to get them. It seems that all the tours in Havana end at the Arts and Crafts market. Not worth the time. Do book the Tropicana. It is a great show but realize you will get back to the ship after midnight so DON'T book a Sunday excursion that leaves at 7:30am!! You will also get a cigar (men), a quart of fine Cuban rum (for 4 people) and a glass of champagne and a Cuban coke. Take the rum back to the ship and save it for home. The ship didn't seem to care that we did that. MONEY: Wait until the tour groups have left before heading to the money changer. We did that and only had 2 people in line ahead of us instead of 200 in Havana. Most places seem to be ok with US dollars but no guarentees that all will. TIPS: We generally tipped the guides $3-5 CUCs or USD if we were out of CUCs. All the guides we had were very good. PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE: On many of the tours we were provided entertainment by local artists. We had a delightful flute concert in Cienfuegos after the botanical garden tour. And at Santiago de Cuba we had a Cutumba group dancing Cuban-African music with a little Santeria mixed in. These were wonderful cultural events and memorable making our trip to Cuba even more special as we experienced the rich and varied flavor of Cuban music. If there is an opportunity tip them a few CUCs or buy their CD (10 CUC or 10 USD). Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago ... Read More
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago were all very different and and amazing places to have the opportunity to visit. The people are very friendly and great full to see American’s. Obviously we help their local economy, but most if not all of the places we went were family owned and operated, or operated by European companies. The embarkation process was a breeze. Our cabin was ready to occupy shortly after we boarded and had lunch. The ships staff are always ready to help and are very friendly. By the end of even a short seven day cruise, many of the restaurant and cruise staff warmly greeted us by our family name. A caring attitude and fantastic service. Onboard entertainment has improved since the merger. The Lounge needs an overhaul. It is set up as a cabaret but anyone sitting away from the stage on the floor, has an obstructed view of the stage. The shore excursions are work in progress and seem to be challenge. Itenary and altered scheduling including having to wait over two and a half hours to dock, because the ship at our berth was late departing, threw things off. The shore excursion representatives on the ship were very accommodating and handled the challenges presented very well. When the excursion did not include all advertised, appropriate discounts and refunds were issued. This is no fault of the cruise line or their staff. This was an issue with the Cuban tour companies. If you have an opportunity to visit Trinidad (an hour or so from Cienfuegos) go. You will step back to the early 1800’s with people who are living in the 21st Century. Truly an amazing place. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Cuba as possible so the three port stops was ideal. Havana was nice with the classic car tour. Our driver was very nice, spoke some English. The only thing was we saw ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Cuba as possible so the three port stops was ideal. Havana was nice with the classic car tour. Our driver was very nice, spoke some English. The only thing was we saw a lot of Havana but I did not get many pictures due to the fact that we only stopped at Revolutionary Square and a Hotel for a drink. Would like to have gotten some photos of the old buildings. I did enjoy the excursion and would recommend it. Cientefeugo - we opted for the excursion to Trinidad as this was highly recommended by all we read. This is the only excursion I felt as if I had wasted my money and my day. We had the worst tour guide ever. We arrived in Trinidad around 8.30 AM and walked non stop until we had lunch at 1 PM. this was on cobblestone streets (not cobblestone as we know it....simply big rocks and small rocks in the street so you had to watch every step you took) I tried looking up and taking a picture at one point and twisted my ankle. Our guide was way ahead of us so whatever he was telling us was lost as we never heard anything he said. There was no bathroom break during the entire time although several had requested one. All we got was "soon, soon". Soon came when we finally reached the hotel for lunch. We visited a museum but couldn't tell you which one as he was so far ahead no one heard anything he said. Lunch at the hotel was very nice, good food and great service. I blew the tour guides mind however when I told him the bus would have to come to me as I was refusing to walk any further on those streets. Several other guests were in total agreement. He also never once counted to make sure he had all of his people....just kept walking and expected us to keep up. Total waste of time and money. There was another Trinidad tour from the ship that day and they said they had a wonderful time. Learned a lot, saw a lot and had the best tour guide. Wish we had been on that one. Santiago- my favorite. Beautiful place. We took the El Combre excursion and I would hightly recommend this one. We saw the most beautiful basilica, listened to a live performance by a steel band which was amazing, walked up San Juan hill and then visited the square in Santiago for some free time. Best excursion ever. Loved every minute of it. Best tour guide ever too. All in all, so glad I went as I got a totally new perspective on Cuba and the people. The people could not have been more pleasant and friendly. Would recommend any one to go and see for yourself. It is a beautiful island and the people are very proud. The ship....in my opinion the food is overrated. I have had better on other cruise lines. The specialty restaurants were exceptionally good however. The entertainment was grossly lacking but didn't go for the shows anyway. No shopping on the ship to speak of but that was ok by me also. Would I travel Oceania again? Probably if they were going where I wanted to go. My trips are planned around the itinerary not the ship itself. Both embarkation disembarkation were easy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Booked this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Most of our cruises have been on bigger ships so it took some getting used to the smaller venue. After awhile, it was nice not to have to walk so far for eating etc. Only small issue was ... Read More
Booked this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Most of our cruises have been on bigger ships so it took some getting used to the smaller venue. After awhile, it was nice not to have to walk so far for eating etc. Only small issue was the space at the bottom of the bed - neither of us could walk through at the same time. Otherwise the room was adequate. Would have liked a bigger TV. Shopping was minimal with not much to buy. I needed a new tube of lipstick and the only thing they had was a package of 4 that cost way way way too much. I didn't need four and I wouldn't have used any of the other colors either. I punted with what I had. We did a Havana tour the first day and were able to see everything we thought we should see. Our guide was very accommodating and spoke very good English, I was able to take lots and lots of pictures. My first impression of the Cuban people was that they are very friendly - lots of smiles when we passed them. We were able to buy a couple bottles of rum and my husband was suppose to buy cigars for a friend. Found them in one place and after that didn't see much of either. Our tour the next day was about Ernest Hemingway. I thought that was probably the best tour of all and very very interesting. Glad to get updated on his life and to see his home (that is now a museum) on the outskirts of Havana. I wanted to read more about him after I got home. We went to one of his favorite bars - Floridita - and had his favorite daiquiris at noon - and they weren't short on alcohol. From there we walked to several places downtown and saw much of Havana downtown. It was a good day. I thought that food was suppose to be a top feature but the first meal I had included a piece of breaded chicken. I cut into it and realized it was raw. Probably had been thrown on the grill and taken off immediately. The wait person noticed I wasn't eating the meat and she asked if something was wrong. I told her the chicken was raw. She took my plate and said she would bring me back another piece. After about 10 minutes, a chef came out and apologized. It was obvious not the way to start a cruise. Only other experience I had was getting their "Grand" Salad without any dressing. Told someone who came by our table but never did have any one give me dressing. Wasn't very appetizing to have a chicken breast with the salad that had the skin on it yet. So had to take the skin off and just lay it on the side of the bowl. Otherwise the food was almost always very good. Our two meals in the special dining rooms were very tasty. It took me a while to get used to having some one ONLY give me my food in the buffets - sometimes it took much longer but not a big issue. Enjoyed our time in Cienfuegos. Thought that was a very special city - at least what we saw. Hopped on a trolley that was outside the ship area - just happened to notice it - think it cost $5.00. Drove around and saw special "hotels" at the end of the road. He dropped us off in the center of town and we walked around and visited a couple of stores. We were then picked up for the short trip back to the ship. A couple people we know walked back to the ship but they said it wasn't the easiest walk. Also enjoyed our tour of Santiago de Cuba. Again had a very good guide who spoke good English. Lots of history that needed updating. We had a stop where we saw dancers (forgot the names) that was very entertaining. Stopped downtown again and had time to look around. Port Antonio Jamaica was an added stop but not worth the time - also from the fact that it poured and poured rain. Nassau was the last stop and the town was on over load with 4 large ships along with ours filling the downtown with people. We walked around and saw a little of the flavor of Nassau and then went back to the ship. Just too many people!!! All in all it was a very special trip. Hope the political problems get solved for the Cuban people. The people we met couldn't have been more gracious. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We booked this cruise primarily because of the Cuba stops and we are very happy we did. We knew what we were getting as far as the cabin size since we had previously sailed on it's sister ship "Journey" (Azamara cruises). ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily because of the Cuba stops and we are very happy we did. We knew what we were getting as far as the cabin size since we had previously sailed on it's sister ship "Journey" (Azamara cruises). This was our first Oceania cruise. For those who prefer to do their own laundry, there are laundry rooms on certain decks however if you take advantage of the ships' laundry services be prepared to wait a full (6pm on day 3) three days to get it back. Food was very good in all venues. Perhaps the only area lacking was the entertainment both in quality and in times offered. Service was good but outstanding with our butler and suite attendant. We did not book any shore excursions with Oceania however what we heard from those who did was that most were satisfied especially if they had an English speaking guide. We opted to do our own thing. In Havana we hired a taxi driver who was very good....unless you speak the language be sure that you hire one who speaks more than 'a little bit' English. We paid $70 US for 2 hours (you can negotiate). In the next port Cienfuegos, Cuba we hired a taxi again $40 US for 2 hours and just ' a little bit' English worked out to be beach, horse, store (lesson learned). When we headed back to the ship we noticed an open air train which was doing a city tour for $5 US/person (located right off the ship). Santiago, Cuba was our last Cuban stop and perhaps our most adventurous...we hired a bicycle guide ($5/hr. for 2 hours). He narrated everything ..local.monuments, Russian, Italian, Venezuelan, Chinese contributions and even where one can purchase black market rum and cigars. San Antonio, Jamaica was our walk around town tour....very rainy but nice, small port. Nassau as usual, very crowded (4 other ships in port) and very expensive. Glad we took this cruise...one of our favorite cruises and ports. The best thing about a small ship such as the Insignia is the ability to port at small ports which are usually not crowded. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017

Top Oceania Insignia Itineraries

Insignia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 2.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.5 3.4
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates N/A N/A

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