6 Oceania Insignia Family Cruise Reviews

Worse cruise I have ever been on. Choose Insignia for the 8 day trip to Bermuda to celebrate my husband's retirement, During embarkation the ship does not except *Credit Debit*cards as form of payment for any on board charges. So ... Read More
Worse cruise I have ever been on. Choose Insignia for the 8 day trip to Bermuda to celebrate my husband's retirement, During embarkation the ship does not except *Credit Debit*cards as form of payment for any on board charges. So we had to cancel most of our shore excursions to have credit applied to our room to pay for crew tips. The casino was very small and never had enough staff to operate the roulette table. I was expecting amazing food because they promoted it so strongly. Most food was average, but a lot was so terrible and uneatable, I sent it back and went up to the buffet. The food was the worse part of the trip, but a very close second was activities on the boat. Worse cruise director that I have and anytime. Never saw him at all. No activities at all. Such an incredible boring time!! No ice carving, no fruit carving, nothing to do at all. All shows were scheduled very late, mostly 10 or 11 pm?? Can't really think of anything good about the trip. Don't waste your money for the promise of luxury and best food on the sea--because it is all a disappointment!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on. There was no problem doing anything on board that we wanted to do. Even with only four small elevators (sign said max capacity of 10...realistically more like six), there was never an ... Read More
This was the smallest ship we have ever cruised on. There was no problem doing anything on board that we wanted to do. Even with only four small elevators (sign said max capacity of 10...realistically more like six), there was never an unreasonable wait time. The dining experiences were all over the top...service was excellent...wait staff were knowledgeable, attentive, and efficient (even though Oceania said tipping was not necessary, we did tip at meals and the bars, and the service was even better the next time we were there). The afternoon tea service was a very nice touch...excellent selection of teas...excellent selection of tea sandwiches, scones, and petite sweets, and there were ample times for seconds (or thirds...) The string quartet playing during afternoon tea made it even better. Probably the only thing that could have gone better would have been the embarkation process. I would easily put the average age of the cruisers on this trip at 60+. At the pre-screening area, there were only a handful of chairs to be had (and a lot of unhappy looking older citizens standing around). As each boarding class was called, they had to negotiate their way through a large group standing around the starting que. Then through the x-ray screening and magnetometer (only one being used of the six available), then the medical paperwork, then the actual check-in where you got your room key card, then on to the ship. There were a lot, and I mean a lot of chairs between the check-in area and the boarding door where lots of people could have been comfortably sitting instead of being uncomfortable in the pre-embarkation area. One day at sea we were notified that the verandas were going to be washed...another day we were notified that the woodwork on the verandas was going to be varnished. Veranda not available for use during these times. Disembarkation was a hurry up and wait process, but, at least there seemed to be enough seats for people. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and only one sea day. The food and service in the main dining room and the speciality restaurants was the worst we have ever had on any of the 49 cruises we have done. In the Toscana restaurant I had ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary and only one sea day. The food and service in the main dining room and the speciality restaurants was the worst we have ever had on any of the 49 cruises we have done. In the Toscana restaurant I had pasta which was tasteless we waited a good ½ hour between courses. In the Polo restaurant they had on the menu Kobe steak, when I ordered it I was informed that it was a Burger which means it could be any type of meat. I chose the Rack of lamb which i could not chew it was so tough. In the main restaurant i had a stir fry which consisted of a watery curry base with slices of carrot and cabbage which i did not eat.This was the first cruise where my wife and I came home the same weight as we left. The entertainment consisted of singers and dancers and a singing ventriloquist who performed twice he was very average . There were two stops which were cancelled due to sea as it was too rough for the tenders to take us in. We were told that we would have to see the US customs on board at 8am before we got off the ship so everyone was up early when the Captain announced at 8am that we would not be stopping. This wasn't a cheap cruise so we expected a lot more for the amount we paid. Never again will we cruise with this company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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 would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete ... Read More
I would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete stop three different times and the crazy Captain that would sail through horrible storms. For 3.5 days we had 10-12 ft. seas, all people sick and one woman fell and broke her shoulder in 2 places. A gentelman had to be medevac because of his pacemaker during high seas, that was a sight to behold. The ports of call were sad, the good ones were the large towns. Oceana prides itself on using smaller ships so they can get into out of the way places, well that is not always good. We paid for 5 excursions and only one was worthwhile, the one in Cartagena, Colombia. The excursion to a nut farm in Guatemala was so terrible. We had to change busses 4 times because of flat tires. We had to walk about 500ft. in pouring rain through an uneven surface. There were hadicapped persons who got stuck in the mud of the trail. It was aweful. When we got to the building we did not see nut production we were pushed to buy Macademia oil and assorted products. This was not a free excursion, we paid to be abused. Sailing through the Panama Canal was great, but the rest of the cruise was below average. I would not do it again with this cruise line. Disembarkation was not a problem, the only problem was guests who would not follow directions. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a ... Read More
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a round-the-world cruise. We heard various statistics, but it appeared that there were 40-100 more people on board than the ship was equipped to handle. One indication of this was the life-boat drill: presumably half the ship was assigned to each of two muster stations. Our station, the Insignia Lounge, was also the site of the evening entertainment and appeared to have insufficient seating for even half the passengers. I am not questioning Oceania’s commitment to safety, only their commitment to the comfort and enjoyment of their passengers. Cabin My husband and I enjoyed 8005, a PH3 Cabin, as it was convenient for him to walk up one flight to the outdoor smoking lounge. To call this a “Penthouse Suite”, however, is a misnomer, as it was neither a penthouse nor a suite, just a nice veranda cabin. The balcony was a bit small, and one of us found the bed very uncomfortable, even after the addition of a bed board (or some other form of support). The design of the bathtub-shower combination was a bit treacherous for the old(er) and clumsy and made my sister-in-law grateful for their inside cabin, with its simple shower stall. The best thing about the cabin was our butler, Mishar, who solved numerous problems and facilitated countless arrangements for us. Itinerary and Tours San Diego We are residents of San Diego County and naturally biased. The ship docks in a location convenient to shopping and sight-seeing, as well as The Midway Museum. If you’re not going further afield, to the zoo, for example, a Pedicab is highly recommended. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico We stayed on board until an evening dinner cruise (booked through a website), which started an hour after we were told to be on the pier. It was probably more fun for the 20- and 30-somethings, as they listened to loud music and downed truly atrocious Margaritas, but we did get a nice photo out of it, the four of us and the Arches. Huatulco, Mexico We’d been curious about this area for a long time, as it had the same genesis as Cancun: a computer analysis of statistics for a favorable tourist development. Huatulco, with its five bays, was geographically large enough that it was not possible to get an impression of the whole area in one partial day. It was green and scenically lovely, however, and did not appear to have suffered the same over-building and saturation of name-brand night spots as Cancun. Two of us did the ship’s scenic drive and shopping tour, as it seemed to offer the best opportunity for finding Zapotec rugs. Indeed, we were impressed with the quality and the prices and bought two! Good tour, highly recommended. Only sorry we couldn’t have worked in some snorkeling also. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Some passengers went to Antigua (three hours total on the bus), but we preferred to save this lovely city for another trip. One of us was thrilled to know that we were the same distance from Guatemala City, site of a major pre-Columbian museum. The other of us spent hours looking for a private tour company to take us there, only to find that said museum was closed on Monday, the day our ship called. There was a lovely shopping area around the port, however, complete with countless vendors of Guatemalan weavings, a jade museum and store, and a waterfront restaurant with delicious nachos and Guatemalan beer and rum. It was one of our nicer days on the cruise, and we were pleased we hadn’t succumbed to a tour, particularly as subsequent shopping opportunities were more limited than we had predicted. Porto Cortino, Nicaragua One of the ship’s tours mentioned a pre-Columbian museum, Museo Chorotega, 15 miles away in Chinandega. Knowing that my husband would want more time there than any group tour would allow, I found a private company, Julio Tours Nicaragua mailto:info@juliotoursnicaragua.com.ni. Julio’s response was immediate, and planning was easy. Our driver and guide, Miguel, could not have been better. He was informative and articulate and very pleasant company. The museum was small but a real treasure, as it contained over 1000 examples of pottery from the area, dating back to 2,000 BC. A young local man narrated each display, and Miguel translated, and my husband was delighted. He wass so pleased with the museum that he asked to make a donation. There was an elementary school next door to the museum, and Miguel arranged for my sister-in-law and me to visit two classrooms (while our husbands watched a baseball game on the playground). The kids were delightful and had a good time laughing at my poor Spanish. For us, this was a highlight of the whole cruise. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at El Convento in Leon and headed back to the ship, after a return trip to the restaurant when Miguel was notified that I’d left my credit card. In any case, we would not have had time to visit the art gallery, the third stop on our itinerary, because of time spent at the museum and school, a good trade, in my opinion. The ship’s tour had done the itinerary in reverse and never made it to the museum, let alone the school! I shudder to think what we would have missed, had we not booked a private tour with someone who respected our priorities. Nicaragua appeared to be the poorest country we visited, but it had some of the nicest people. Depending on the season, be prepared for a lot of dust. There’s no crop rotation on the peanut farms, and the air can be almost saturated with grit from the bare fields. Puntarenas, Costa Rica An enlightening but frustrating first visit to this country, which provided a stark contrast to the rest of Central America, at least the parts we saw. I was especially struck by the pristine, very modern highways, overpasses, and signage. We elected the ship’s river cruise, as our limited time in port precluded a private tour. The river was pleasant, but overall the tour was disappointing, as we were on the road too long for too little, and local shops were closed when we returned. One of my husband’s smoking buddies wondered off the ship with his family, encountered a friendly cab drive, and spent an incredible and memorable day being up close and personal with animals in the national park, for a whole $100. I had read a similar report on Cruise Critic, and I wish we’d elected that option. Cartagena, Columbia There was another pre-Columbian (Gold) Museum, so I had requested a private tour with Marelvy Peña marelvy@gmail.com. Marelvy herself was already booked, but our guide, Katty, was delightful. Her English was excellent, and we had a wonderful visit to La Popa (where we met Marelvy, herself), and the San Felipe Fortress, as well as the old city, with plenty of time to shop and ogle the gold. For my husband and me, it was probably the best day of the cruise. Some passengers had the impression that Cartagena was dangerous, and this was reinforced by the ship’s warnings regarding what not to do. I can only say that the old city reminded both of us of New Orleans, and we felt equally safe there. At our request, Katty took us to a local place for lunch (delicious). Chile was playing Argentina for the America’s Cup Championship, and the lunch crowd was equally divided between the two teams and two different T.V.’s. During our subsequent walk, Katty would continually duck into a shop or bar to report, “The score is still tied, 0-0”. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and while not usually a soccer fan, I confess to being relieved to have the outcome of the game reported on the ship (Katty was rooting for Chile, and they won). In a closet-sized hardware store, so small that Katty had never noticed it, we were able to find the duct tape our brother-in-law needed to complete “Ocean Blue”; the tape was my husband’s and my sole contribution to “our” entry in the ship’s boat building contest. Both of us agree: Cartagena is not to be missed. We also highly recommend Marelvy’s operation and our guide Katty. Key West, Florida Sadly, our final port of call was cancelled, due to weather. We had 21-foot waves the night we left Cartagena, and adverse conditions continued for much of the next two days. Miami, Florida My husband and I were faced with the prospect of nearly 12 hours between disembarkation and our flight home. Oceania had insisted that there were no arrangements for tours or transportation ending at the airport. This turned out to be false, as the agent knew, but “We don’t kow what we’ll be able to offer, and we don’t want you to count on it and be disappointed”. The existence of these arrangements was not revealed until a day or two before disembarkation. They would not have met our needs, as they appeared to involve transportation changes and handling our own luggage, but Oceania lost points for this. In any case, I discovered a company called Tours by Locals and booked a Greater Miami Tour with Steven Bridges. Steven was knowledgeable and engaging, and our time with him passed very quickly. We learned a lot we never knew about Miami and had a comfortable and enjoyable tour. Dining I was told that Oceania has the best food at sea. I would have to agree, with one caveat: It is difficult to enjoy the best food at sea if dining venues are over-crowded, noisy, and offering poor service. A word about the specialty restaurants: These are free, with dining opportunities available according to one’s cabin category. Unlike on many ships, the Italian venue, Toscana, was outstanding, with excellent food and the best service, whereas The Polo Grill steak house was somewhat disappointing. Our group concluded that we would rather be assessed a surcharge for the specialty restaurants and have more opportunities available. The Terrace was a mixed bag for me, as I hate buffets. As these go, however, the Terrace at least had excellent food, and on our last evening I managed to grab an outside table on the railing, and an agreement from my husband that it would not be too warm outside the A/C, and four of us enjoyed a lovely dinner. The Grand Dining Room – Surprisingly, the food was often as good as in the Specialty Restaurants. I had enjoyed Dover Sole twice in Toscana and ordered it out of curiosity the night it was featured in the Grand. Amazingly, it was equally good. It was here that the noise and service were really objectionable, however. There is leisurely dining, and there is just sitting around and waiting in a noisy room, and the Grand was in the latter category. Unfortunately, the same was somewhat true of the Polo Grill, though to a lesser extent in Tuscany. In none of these venues should it have taken two and one half hours to complete a meal, which was always the case. This meant that if you were at the Grand when it opened at 6:30, you did not finish in time for the evening’s one show, which usually started at 8:30. Service hours should be extended in all venues (including the bars), and consideration should be given to scheduling more than one show per evening. Entertainment Who knows? Seriously, see above. Even when we would rush to make a show, there would be no seats left. See above. I was able to hear a few minutes of the guest tenor’s program, which I enjoyed immensely. Enrichment We were blessed to have a well informed and entertaining former newsman as a lecturer. His illustrated talks on the Panama Canal and Central American politics were a highlight of the cruise for us. My sister-in-law greatly enjoyed her art classes, and there were also opportunities for photography addicts. Daily Trivia games were both entertaining and enriching and provided the opportunity to meet congenial fellow passengers. Drinking The two of us had purchased the premium liquor package, which meant we could order wine and spirits by the glass, throughout the ship. In this case, I was glad to be paying for a package, as my in-laws do not drink and would have found it very unfair to be paying for my consumption. Otherwise, I would rather pay a higher cruise fare and have cocktails and wine included. The package option undoubtedly saved us money, but it was hardly seamless, as one still had to present one’s cruise card --or rather, two cruise cards in our case, precluding the opportunity for my husband to return with drinks for both of us, spontaneously, after one of his smoking trips --, and the time needed to process the “transaction” in the Grand was overly long. As more knowledgeable cruisers might know, one doesn’t try to order cocktails at the table before dinner; otherwise you can end up with a pissy sommelier and a vodka martini that arrives after the pate and caviar appetizer is long gone. It’s better to carry your cocktail in. I also sometimes wondered if sommeliers were slow to refill my wineglass because I wasn’t paying for each pour. I don’t really believe that however. There were just too many passengers for the staff, including the sommeliers; the ship was short-handed, though personnel denied this. As to venues, The Waves Bar closed too early (6:30); Martini’s was too crowded for relaxed before-dinner cocktails, and the Grand Bar was a coffee venue until 6:30, when the dining room opened, an example of poor planning in my opinion. That left Horizon’s, which seemed too out of the way and was not my husband’s favorite smoking venue. Before closing, I must commend the bartenders for their memory and cheerfulness. One sommelier was also particularly attentive and helpful, though he was trying to serve too many people. I cannot say enough good things about our butler; the cabin attendants were cheerful and helpful for the most part but rather clueless when it came to trying to clean while we were trying to pack. Overall, neither my husband nor I were sorry we took this cruise, though he’s said it may be his last on Oceania. Interestingly, several previous Oceania passengers were complaining that Insignia is the worst Oceania ship and that this cruise was worse than others on Insignia. It was not what they had come to expect from Oceania. For a luxury cruise, I too expected a bit more. As my sister-in-law reminded me, she and my brother-in-law could have done essentially the same itinerary on another line for less than half what they paid. Personally, we might still have elected to pay more for the smaller ship size and more congenial fellow passengers, but we might also have thought twice about it. I am famous among friends for saying that the worst cruise is better than no cruise. There have been two cruises that have caused me to question the wisdom of that statement, but this was not one of them. Unlike some passengers, I was not eager to get off the ship, but I had found myself asking, “Are we having fun yet?”. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015

Top Oceania Insignia Itineraries

Insignia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.7
Family 2.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 N/A

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