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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, ... Read More
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Devil's Island, Martinique,St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados). On the second leg, we went to Brazil (Belem, Forteleza, Recife, Natal), then transatlantic to Sao Tome, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Namibia, ending at Cape Town, South Africa. The food was very good, better quality than Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian. The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money. The evening entertainment was week, with several comedians doing ancient sexist material. (Wonder how the many gay and lesbian cruisers liked it.) The enrichment staff was good!. The geologist on the first leg was great, as was the photographer. Both were very helpful and interacted with the passengers. On the second leg, we had a former naval Commander, who lectured on naval and historical issues, then lectured on all the exotic ports of call. The astronomer was interesting and well prepared, and on nights with any kind of visibility, arranged for evening viewing, with nearly all lights on the top deck turned off. We had the same photographer on the second leg and, unfortunately, there was a lot of repetition from the first leg. All in all, the enrichment staff was helpful. All the staff on board were helpful and pleasant. Andy and Tammy Heard were wonderful, as was John, who worked for Tammy. The person in charge of the Internet was wonderful, the best I have seen on any ship. The systems were managed very well, and I am particular about network performance, having been a Computer Science department chair. (Unfortunately, In forgot her name.) Unfortunately, the shore excursion staff was not well trained and the front office staff need some work also. The problems seem worse in the headquarters in Miami. It took forever to get materials sent to us from HQ and the initial arrangements were absurd. We were met at the Miami airport and told to wait in a particular area. We waited for about two hours, with no food, and there was no food at the waiting area at the ship terminal, where we waited a considerable time. This delay can be difficult for older passengers, like many of the ones on this cruise. The entertainment in the waiting area was nice, however. There were quality issues also with the shore excursions. While we were warned in both orally and in writing that tour guides in Africa would not be certified and buses were of limited quality, we only encountered one bus without AC. In Belem, Brazil, a double-decker tour bus had only static on its speakers. No refund was given, even when I played a few minutes of static for the excursion manager. The tenders from Belem could not tie up back at the ship due to high tides on the Amazon (which I understand are typical in the area in the early afternoon). When we got back to the dock, we were asked to get on a much larger "party boat" that tried to take us back. The cheap plastic chairs kept tipping over, and I had to keep many people from falling. The "party boat" left the dock with a gunwale left wide open, and I was glad to get back uninjured. One passenger was hit in the head when a flimsy lock on a flimsier door opened and the door hit her head. She was hospitalized for several days but was able to rejoin the ship soon after. It is clear that the safety of water travel in Belem was never examined by Oceania staff when planning this itinerary. (Lots of robberies in Belem - I know three people who were pushed to the ground by muggers wanting jewelry, purses, and purses. I would never go back to Belem, although I really liked the other stops in Brazil, Fortaleza, Natal, and Recife. (In Bonaire, we encountered a bus with only jump seats available. Ridiculous, especially given the age of many on the cruise. The money for that one was refunded.) To add insult to injury, we were never able to get the advertised discount for the "Your World Collection shore excursion package." The shore excursion manager said we could only sign up for excursions on the first leg, with excursions on the second leg from Barbados to Cape Town only available during that leg. We took more than the advertised minimum of 10 excursions but their leg-by-leg policy led to us not getting the advertised reduced price. My preferred credit card, which I have used tor 30+ cruises previously was repeatedly denied because the onboard spending for gratuities et al keep getting rejected because bills came in to my bank from Ireland and several other locations that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling to. The front office staff seemed unconcerned about resubmitting charges and keeping me informed of the status of the payment. They then got nasty, treating me as a deadbeat. Finally, I used another credit card, at great inconvenience to myself. Guest Relations at Oceania did respond lamely to my written complaint. I am still waiting for a response from the cruise line president - it has only been six months. The good news is that I am getting lots of Oceania ads! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. ... Read More
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. Embarkment was fast and easy. Buffet luncheon was exceptional and we then toured the ship on our own. Public rooms are all well appointed and much polished wood and brass. The decor is Edwardian/Traditional and very appealing. 2. Stateroom - We were in Concierge level but rooms were the same as the Veranda and much smaller then Regent Seven Seas. The bathroom was tiny. To be blunt, we never got used to sitting "sidesaddle" on the toilet! But again the room was appointed nicely, our stewardess, Aida was outstanding and wonderful. Everything was perfectly cleaned daily including the balcony and the windows. When we left for breakfast each morning she was in the corridor with a warm "good morning" and a smile. Our room was cleaned while we were at breakfast every day. (Oh by the way, all the staff are friendly, professional and make you feel like family. 3. Luggage - Our luggage didn't arrive till after the fire drill, about 5:30 pm. And only in the corridors. All the guests had to walk up and down the corridor looking for their luggage and lug it back to the cabin. Weird to say the least. 4. Food - With just one or two exceptions the food and menus were wonderful. We couldn't understand the Jacque Pepin thing in the dining room. Three of his dishes was posted on the menu every night, the same three. But there was such an abundance and variety on the menu why is he even listed? The head chef and all his assistants did a great job and Pepin isn't necessary at all. The main dining room is well appointed and the staff were great. We made a point of only sitting at Judaidi's work station. He and his staff are amazing and helped to make each evening wonderful. We usually had a table for two but many nights sat with friends at table for 4. Service was always great. But I do understand some reviewers that complained about bad service at large tables. 6 or more at a table and there were many complaints about long waits. The alternative venues, Polo and Toscana were small and intimate, each maitre d and his staff did a wonderful job each every night we were there. 5. Terrace Cafe - We found this daily buffet venue good but also odd. The two maitre d's from Polo and Toscana were supervising the serving in specific areas of the Cafe and service was outstanding. These two gentlemen also served and cleaning up when their areas were busy. They were hands on and you could see the staff loved these guys. But if you couldn't find a table at their stations then you had to sit with the supervisors that we dubbed: Mutt & Jeff. They constantly were yelling at each other, talking on the phone or yelling at staff. If I needed a cup of coffee I would ask one of them and they went around the room looking for someone to give it to me instead of realizing his staff were busy and just get it himself. 3, 4 or more tables would be dirty and these two would never think to clean up and set up for more guests. They yelled at staff to drop what they were doing and clean up, even if the server was getting coffee, water or assisting a guest already. For the entire 36 days these two unprofessionals got away with treating us guest shabbily and treating the staff deplorably. In the real world these two jerks would have been fired after the 1st week. 6. Entertainment - Two wonderful comedians was about it. There were several vocalists or musicians but for the life of me I can't remember their names or even anything about their performances. The Entertainment Dept. uses their own staff, one at a time, for many entertainments night. Our asst. Cruise Dir. John, was a wonderful magician and comedian.Other then that nothing memorable. And many nights just a movie in the main lounge. So Oceania is like most other companies and spend very little on entertainment. They had a great little band but only one set at noon each day at the pool. Why not several more sets, they don't show up again under after-dinner dancing. It took longer to set up the band at the pool then the actual musical set! 7. Excursions - Like most other cruise lines, the excursions are way, way overpriced for what you get. After the Caribbean ports of call (we did our own thing), all ports were new to us so we booked the ships excursions. The ports were depressing. Poverty everywhere and not many cruise ships even stop at them (as we found out later). Little to see but we sure tried to educate ourselves to these new places. We never had head sets and with large groups they were necessary so for the most part, walking tours were a waste of time unless you stood next to the guide. As we have found from other cruise companies, do you own research and do your own tours. You will save hundreds and enjoy them more. 8. Enrichment - Two lectures but we would have loved one lecturer at least to speak about the countries we were to visit. Not about the stars and celestial navigation. There was an Artist Loft and Pat was the instructor. She had standing room only for her classes. 9. Spa - Canyon Ranch is here too. Overpriced and fair service. Overall: The cruise was all new experiences for us and we met so many wonderful people on board. A friendly crowd of 600 guests. The staff went out of their way to insure us all a great cruise. Although many of the ports were depressing and poverty severe, we learned much about these developing countries and we are so thankful that we are Americans. We have booked our second cruise with Oceania for next Jan. 2017, Cape Town to Singapore and look forward to many years of enjoying cruising with them. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
SLOPPY SERVICE--meal service was slow and very poor. Christmas day dinner took nearly 3 hours to complete for eight people--only two had wine. There were only a few servers who seemed interested. On disembarcation day there were only two ... Read More
SLOPPY SERVICE--meal service was slow and very poor. Christmas day dinner took nearly 3 hours to complete for eight people--only two had wine. There were only a few servers who seemed interested. On disembarcation day there were only two servers to handle 40+ tables on our side of the Cafe! We went up the west Africa coast (banana country) yet there were only a few bananas in the Cafe. The travel and Pursers Departments were poorly run with few english speakers available. The entertainment wasn't. The string quartet sawed away--poor arrangements, poorly played. Wonder whose Daddy was in Corporate. The only excellent service was Housekeeping. The ship's nurse was also very good. Enrichment was very good. Kudos to the Operations Dept as we docked as scheduled. I wonder if the Captain retiring had to do with this horrible cruise. I can cruise on the same hull with much better service for 3/4 the price on Azamara. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with ... Read More
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with balcony. This was our 11th cruise across 6 lines and our first cruise on Oceania. 1. Bad - Cancellation of Ports. We booked this cruise for the interesting ports in West Africa that were very hard to visit otherwise. We had no interest in the conventional Caribbean ports at the end of the cruise we had been to multiple times before. Overall there were 12 ports that we wanted to visit and these ports were the reason for selecting this cruise. We only got to 10 of the 12. Isla Marguerita was a port we wanted to go to that was cancelled well before departure. It was replaced with yet another day at sea. Bom Bom Island in Principe was cancelled 2 days before we were due to arrive at that port. The explanation was little short of offensive – “operational reasons” - when there was no obvious reason - the seas were calm. This meant we missed what we had expected to be a highlight of the trip. Instead we had an extra and pointless day in São Tomé. We paid US$56,000 for this cruise to go to 12 ports - missing one sixth of them was a big disappointment as was the failure to replace them with other ports of equal interest, especially in the absence of any explanation. 2. Bad - the Deal. We booked very early and paid by the due date. Later many other guests got much cheaper deals and also got internet included in their package whereas we paid about $1000 extra for internet for only one person. The ship was full of people boasting of the deals they had obtained. Overall we paid about US$8000 more than if we had waited and booked late. I would never book early again with Oceania. Oceania needs to provide a price guarantee. 3. Excellent – Wait Staff and Cabin Attendants. The wait staff, cabin attendants and crew were the most delightful of any ship we have sailed on. Preferences were noted and anticipated. We rate this aspect of the cruise very highly. 4. Variable – Food. Overall the cuisine on board was very good, through perhaps not up to the hype, and the service was generally excellent. You could eat very well on the ship once you managed to align its strengths and weaknesses to your preferences. While for us this resulted in many disappointing meals we also had some excellent dishes. As a general rule beef, lamb and lobster dishes were excellent, Indian meals excellent, pasta, chicken and fish dishes disappointing and anything described as “a taste of red ginger” was just awful with no balance of flavour and often just meat doused in soy sauce. The specialty restaurants followed this pattern too – excellent beef and lobster dishes – but were far superior to that served in the Grand Dining room. 5. Good - Cabin Servicing. Cabin attendants were efficient and delightful. There were plenty of towels and the mini bar was kept supplied with the soft drinks we requested. The staff seemed to be responsible for a lot of cabins and to work long hours but still generally endeavoured to accommodate our preferred servicing times. 6. Good - Shuttle Buses. The shuttles into town for independent visitors in African ports generally worked very well with few delays (except in Dakar and Mindelo where the first shuttles were scheduled to leave about an hour after disembarkation commenced meaning we had to walk into town in both ports). 7. Bad - The Bed. Oceania advertises its beds as very comfortable. One half of our bed was. The other half sagged and was at a level lower than the good half. Attempts to fix it failed. This meant for 35 nights we slept at different levels and one person slept on a saggy bed. This bed should not have been in service. Attempts to fix our pillows were also unsuccessful. If doing the trip again we would have purchased our own pillows in Cape Town. 8. Good - The Fitness Track. Most cruise lines advertise walking tracks that do not work because they become blocked by patrons of bars or recliners used for sunbathing. Insignia's worked because it, whilst short, did not run through other public areas. It also had a surface that gave walkers excellent grip even when wet. The provision of iced water next to the walking track was also an excellent idea. 9. Bad - Airconditioning. A long trip through the tropics meant the AC needed to work. In one cabin it did. In one cabin even on full cooling function it could not get the cabin cool enough until we reached cooler weather. 9. Good - Cleanliness. The ship was always kept impeccably clean. 10. Bad - Construction Site. For one week during the cruise there were scheduled maintenance construction works on the top deck. This was not urgent work. If you liked time by the pool or on the walking track listening to the screech of a metal grinder this was the cruise for you. If you liked the smell of oxy welding permeating lifts and public areas this was the cruise for you. 11. Good - Visas. Oceania, for a fee, arranged all the visas need for the ports visited in Africa. This service worked very well. 12. Good - Tenders. Due to Bom Bom being cancelled tenders were only required in São Tomé. On most cruise lines tenders means huge delays but Insignia launched 3 lifeboats that provided a speedy service without delays. 13. Bad - Smoking. On a regular basis cigarette smoke came through the ventilation from somewhere into our cabin even though smoking is banned in cabins and on balconies. One or two times a day we had to air our cabin to remove the smell. 14. Bad – Muzak. The dreadful muzak blaring in public areas including the pool deck made reading and relaxing difficult. Take headphones. We knew from other reviews the entertainment was not a reason to book. So it turned out but because our expectations were low some of the shows we went to were a bonus. The range of TV and movie channels to occupy time in days at sea is very limited. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We did not go on any organised excursions due to their prohibitive pricing structure but greatly enjoyed our own excursions whether or foot, by hire car or by taxi. Embarkation was quick and well handled. We had to queue for one hour in Miami to disembark inexplicably late. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We chose this cruise called Sultans to Safaris because of the diversity of the ports and the length of the cruise. It really did sail from Borneo's home of the Sultan of Brunei to the opportunity for safaris in Africa. The cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise called Sultans to Safaris because of the diversity of the ports and the length of the cruise. It really did sail from Borneo's home of the Sultan of Brunei to the opportunity for safaris in Africa. The cruise was a portion of a world 6 month cruise on the beautiful Insignia. We came onboard in Hong Kong after a long flight and a short shore excursion to see a few sights of this gorgeous city. The embarkation was unusual because the ship was actually docked at a shopping center! Imagine our surprise when our guide drove us up to a shipping bay at a shopping center to unload us and our luggage. It was easy, breezy from there to sign in and go onboard. Then we actually went back out into the shopping to find a wine store to bring a few bottles onboard for later consumption. The first few ports were full of mosques, palaces, temples, etc. Lots to see in Manila, Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka. We had arranged for private guides in most ports but sometimes just went with taxi drivers. Lots to see and do. Starting westward we also stopped in the gorgeous Seychelles with its granite strewn beaches, and then onward to the African continent. Highlight of the cruise were the day safaris in Kenya and South Africa. We had booked these in advance, and each one was a marvel. Loved all the animals. So, the cruise was fantastic. I have to add that the food on the ship was absolutely fantastic, no matter which restaurant we chose. Insignia is one of the smaller ships (fewer than 700 passengers), so it has only 2 specialty restaurants - Italian and steakhouse at the time of our cruise. We enjoyed each of these several times, but the main dining room and buffet are fabulous, too. Room service was a bit slow but food generally very good, too. The entertainment was only nominal, but the cruise director and the social director were top notch - best we have encountered during our 39 cruises, so far. After the cruise we stayed for a 3 day Oceania stay in Cape Town, So. Africa. Enjoyed a shore excursion each day, including one to a private game preserve, and we fell in love with the city. The transfer from ship to hotel included a nice preview of the city and the beaches surrounding it. Kudos to Oceania for a fabulous cruise! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My recent cruising of the Insignia, a vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises, was quite disappointing after having enjoyed several cruising trips on various vessels belonging to their sister company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Insignia ... Read More
My recent cruising of the Insignia, a vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises, was quite disappointing after having enjoyed several cruising trips on various vessels belonging to their sister company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The Insignia is quite an old vessel completely refurbished with some sort of lavish splendor in their many sprawling, but almost always empty common areas. This is sadly and ironically paired with what was found in the living quarters, which gave the impression of being a more suitable size for the crew. I had in fact opted for a special cabin on the 8th floor, which Oceania labels a luxury suite, but this was a blatant case of misrepresentation, as for example the shower was so small that it was not even possible for me to stand completely upright. After spending over $35,000 for this cruise, from Barcelona to Dubai, I could not believe that Oceania would charge you for each time you would need to use the washer & dryer machines. The so-called suites, were also provided with in-room “free” Wi-Fi internet service. But it was so intermittent and erratic, that during the entire cruise a vast crowd of passengers would line-up daily at the ship’s communication center asking for assistance. In order to have a second internet line in our suite, the charge was $26 dollars/day. I would in no way call that a “deal.” Furthermore, Blackberry and cell phone service was disabled by the cruise scrambler and you had no choice but to use Insignia’s over-priced telephone service of at least $5/minute. Additionally, the over-priced costs continued with a simple visit to the on-board doctor for over $700. Also, after being used to free, decent wine and drinks on Regent, I was quite shocked to find out that the wine offered aboard Insignia, which would warrant a retail price of $10/bottle in U.S. or Europe, was sold aboard for over $40/bottle. During the weeks spent on-board, the Captain and other officers never arranged to join the passengers during meals, as is customary on the other cruise chips including Regent. In fact, while the general service aboard the Insignia was commendable, the management personnel in charge of the ship was not easily accessible, aloof, detached and impersonal. It was required to to make a special appointment, in order to speak with anyone of higher management or distinction on the ship. Lastly, compared with Regent Cruises, the lectures and entertainment offered on Insignia was at best modest to borderline mediocre. This was quite obvious by how many passengers would leave in the middle of the lectures. In many instances, I found out that the lecturer was highlighting the destinations where the excursions where offered, but without the lecturer having ever been there! After this very odd overall experience, where I felt that every minute I was taken for a very unpleasant ride, I doubt very much that I will ever return to the Insignia or any other vessel belonging to Oceania Cruises. Read Less
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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