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9 Lima to Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise based on a recommendation from friends who had travelled the previous year. We successfully booked through our travel agent & then contacted Oceania Australia (OA) directly in regard to the La Reserve dinners ... Read More
We booked this cruise based on a recommendation from friends who had travelled the previous year. We successfully booked through our travel agent & then contacted Oceania Australia (OA) directly in regard to the La Reserve dinners & beverage package - this was when the problems started. We asked OA to make reservations for the La Reserve dinners. Even though the menus & cost of the dinners were not available until we were onboard, OA made reservations & then without our approval, charged our credit card an additional AUD520. It took them over a month for this amount to be refunded. At the same time, we purchased the "Prestige Select Beverage" package from OA at an additional cost of AUD2558 (for 2). Oceania described this package as "unlimited premium spirits, champagne, wine and beer” & we queried & received prior confirmation from OA that "the wine sampling onboard will be complimentary with the Prestige beverage package”. Once onboard however, we were advised that the package did not cover the wine, whiskey or sake tastings. Further, the use of the word “premium” is misleading as the package is limited to a only subset of the wine selections available on board. Oceania International (OI) then misrepresented the situation by claiming that our travel agent (who was not involved in this matter) had not understood that the on board tastings were at an additional cost to the package. Even though a representative from OA attempted to resolve the matter for us, she was unsuccessful & we are very disappointed at the attitude, timeliness & disingenuous responses from OI. In regard to the voyage itself, embarkation was a nightmare in Lima & the crew were not interested in helping guests until they were on board. During the voyage, it was not possible to actively participate in the daily on-board activities as they coincided with the various shore excursions. In summary, the Lima to NY trip through the Panama Canal was very good with plenty of interesting stops. The Marina is a good sized, comfortable ship & most of the cabin, restaurant & bar staff were friendly & helpful. We were unlucky to have the above experiences & a useless "butler" who was both annoying & a waste of time. As a result, we will not travel with or recommend Oceania Cruises based on this experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our 3rd cruise aboard Marina. A beautifully decorated ship. Our penthouse suite 10039 was nicely appointed with more than enough storage (including walk in closet), large bathroom, writing desk and vanity. Thankfully I had my plug adapters ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise aboard Marina. A beautifully decorated ship. Our penthouse suite 10039 was nicely appointed with more than enough storage (including walk in closet), large bathroom, writing desk and vanity. Thankfully I had my plug adapters with me so I could use both the North American and European style plug outlets (I travel with dual voltage curling irons, computers etc). The cruise had a nice balance between ports of call and sea days. Although the crew were hard working and provided good service it was my impression the crew:passenger ratio had decreased and each crew member was serving more people. As a result we often had to wait longer during meal service in the dining rooms and often we would return to our suite and it would not have been made up. Service was good but certainly not over the top as we have been accustomed to on our 7 previous cruises with Oceania. We pay a premium for this service on O and this time not certain if we got that value. This was the longest cruise we have taken but the cruise where we ate the least number of times in a specialty restaurant. Made my bookings the morning the reservations opened and even then unable to get my preferred dates and time. When on board even the butler unable to get us reservations! Mind you at least half the tables were empty whenever in the restaurants. Food was good but not as outstanding as on previous cruises. Although I did not use the fitness center, my husband raved about the Finnish trainer and all the remarks I heard about her from others were superlative. Enrichment speaker was excellent. Entertainment not great but certainly improving. The comedians were amusing. Cruise Director not my favourite and she really shouldn't have been interacting with guests while she was still hacking away (even though must have been cleared by the doctor). I had onboard credits to use up and disappointed shops had almost nothing in my size - only teeny & huge and was virtually no restocking during entire cruise. Never use Destination Services - tours are a rip off. e.g. 1 tour was priced at 129/pp, I walked 2 blocks and got same tour for $25/pp - need I say any more. For most of the cruise the ship was operating under Code Red as over 2% aboard were suffering with gastro intestinal problems (Executive Lounge food removed, passenger laundries closed, certain items removed from menus etc). Although we were not sick it did impact some of our enjoyment as we were taking precautions, being less social and not interacting with others, removal of certain services, disembarkation delays, worry, etc. With exception of the obligatory onboard announcements, Oceania has not contacted passengers to offer any thanks or form of compensation for their cooperation and inconvenience. Don't know whether this degradation is a result of the NCL takeover but Oceania needs to refocus on their core repeat cruisers who are prepared to pay a premium price for that premium level of service. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We'd heard great things about the food on Oceania. Of course we'd also heard there was nothing to do on the ship(quite true). But let's get back to the selling point -- the food. Well maybe it would have been better if ... Read More
We'd heard great things about the food on Oceania. Of course we'd also heard there was nothing to do on the ship(quite true). But let's get back to the selling point -- the food. Well maybe it would have been better if they hadn't gotten to the Noro Virus, or as they preferred to describe it, a gastro-intestional virus stiking more than 2% of the passengers. Because once they got the sickness bye bye to snacks. Bye bye to carpaccio or raw fish. Bye bye to medium rare steak. But even before that, the food in the Grand Dining Room was certainly no better than the food on any other ship. And the specialty dining rooms never seemed to be available when we tried to book an additional night(you get four. Some people got another thirteen or so. We didn't). We didn't despite being in concierge and on that note, worst concierge ever. Don't spend the money for that. I found most of the crew pleasant and accommodating, but the conciergess, Tom and Javier, you know who you are, were a lot of talk and no follow-through. Also worst embarkation ever. Twenty-five minutes and the ship cards had the wrong photos on them: the credit card was wrong: the lunch arrived two hours after the ship sailed. And, oh, yes, because we were in concierge level we had priority delivery. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have sailed with Oceania once before which was great, but it was 3 years ago and on Regatta before they were taken over by NCCL and what a difference. Marina is a beautiful ship, the cabins10062 was fine, bathroom excellent. ... Read More
We have sailed with Oceania once before which was great, but it was 3 years ago and on Regatta before they were taken over by NCCL and what a difference. Marina is a beautiful ship, the cabins10062 was fine, bathroom excellent. Originally we were in cabin 9012 . On arrival the toilet was full of sewage which we flushed and didn't think too much about. However for the next four days we had sewage coming up in the toilet! We complained on the second day and were sent the plumber who was from Eastern Europe. He proceeded to tell my husband that he did not know how to flush the toilet and proceeded to give him a lesson. We were furious. We then complained to reception who put us in touch with Javier Cortes who made all the right noises and eventually moved us to another cabin. Quite a horrible first few days. Other than that we were not offered any other kind of compensation. The ship also had Noro virus on board which completely altered everything. The concierge lounge didn't have anything to eat in it, only paper cups, the self service laundry was closed, various food was not available. The concierge level is a total waste of time. We did not get any benefit from this at all. In Lima there was no priority boarding, the lounge was a room on Deck 9 too small with not much in it. The concierge sitting area in Canyon Spa a to altar waste of time, no room for everyone, no shade and really useless. Certainly not worth the extra money. The speciality restaurants are quite good but the main dining room was poor. The menu is limited, one evening there was nothing on the menu we could eat. The food was all cold, the staff were disorganised, the wine waiters fairly useless, they know nothing about the wines they were selling. There were not enough waiters especially at breakfast so there was a long wait for food. The waves terrace cafe was shambolic. They ran out of food, there was nowhere to sit quite often, the service was poor and it seemed badly run. We play bridge and there was hosted bridge on sea days . This also was shambolic, the two directors were disorganised, rather rude and really poor directors. If you are going to have bridge make sure the people running it know what they are doing, these two did not. I went to a cooking class which was excellently run and well thought out. The entertainment is very mediocre. The shows put on by a company that had two lead singers who could not sing! Pretty grim to listen to. The dancing was ok and the best show was on the last day when a singer who impersonated great singers came on. He was fabulous. There was also a female singer early on who was great. I hated the juggler, really juvenile but the comedians were also very good. The enrichment lecturer was excellent, really knowledgable and her lectures well delivered and prepared. The stops were ok, the best being Salvery Peru, Panama Canal, Miami, Port Canaveral, Charleston. We did not do ships tours but those who did complained how expensive they were. We had a nice holiday but not our best and we don't think we would go on Oceania again as it just isn't good enough for us. We like 5 star and this definitely like isn't that any longer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring ... Read More
Lima up the western coast of South America, through the Panama, up the Hudson River (New York City) at sunrise. Just doesn't get much better than that. Came early and spent 2 nights in Lima, wish I had made more time for exploring the area. This is my first time on a 5+* ship. Have lots of cruises under my keel in 3 - 4 star lines. Food, staff, and most of all fellow passengers on Oceana all outstanding. One of the things I love most about sailing is meeting some many people with interesting backgrounds. Arranged all my shore excursions off the ship, either beforehand with Roll Call and Mix n Mingle on Cruise Critic or fellow passengers whom I met on board. Additionally, did research on Trip Advisor. They all worked out very well, but you must be flexible. I believe "O" shore excursions are a bit too pricey. Gym was clean and equipment kept in top shape. I usually went for early morning coffee in the quiet of the observation deck. One drawback, being a recently retired single male.... just did not find many single woman to meet and mingle with. Would I go again.... you betcha! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Upon trying to speak to representatives of the cruise line about the situation, first they ignored my calls, then they said that they were never contacted by me or anyone else on the cruise. Then, when I contacted the credit card company, ... Read More
Upon trying to speak to representatives of the cruise line about the situation, first they ignored my calls, then they said that they were never contacted by me or anyone else on the cruise. Then, when I contacted the credit card company, someone emailed me to say that they don't make any decisions, but they see that a cruise credit was offered for a future cruise to a list of passengers, including me. They just continue to give the run around and have not yet attempted to make this right. This cruise was so much worse than even the cruises I took when I was in college. The issues began right from the very beginning. We were told to get out of the Westin hotel vehicle and walk with all our large suitcases and kids for about 60 ft on rocky ground, with absolutely no staff from the cruise line to help or guide us. The only way to get to the ship was by the shuttle that was standing there. We loaded all of the suitcases and got in the shuttle, whose engine was off and no air conditioning in 90+ degree weather. After we had about 20 people on the shuttle and had been baking there, I started getting a headache and asked if we could be taken to the ship. They would not. We remained there for another 20-30 minutes until I almost passed out. When we finally arrived at the ship, the crew just said that they were getting a lot of complaints same without any attempt to improve the situation. The next day, I remained so sick with such a severe headache, I even went to the ship medical office. It took me two full days to feel better after that. Obviously it must have been overheating to embark on the cruise. After the first excursion we took, we were all starving and excited to get back on the ship to enjoy some food. We were a big group and were told that the only place on the ship we could get food at the time was in our room. Being a large group we obviously wanted to dine together and discuss what we had seen over the day. There weren't even any appetizers we could munch on with waiting for dinner. It was exceptionally unpleasant to all split apart and go to our own rooms just to have a quick bite after an excursion. This occurred for every stop/excursion. The main destination that we were excited to see on this voyage was Costa Rica. Not only did we book an excursion through this ship, but we also booked a private tour, which we paid for, because there are so many animal activities available there that we researched prior to the cruise. Unfortunately the weather did not allow us to stop at the port. But instead of accommodating the passengers with something in its place or additional activities of some sort, we were just stuck on the ship for all the additional days, unable to get off. During that time, the ship ran out of virtually all the fruit that we were eating including mango, papaya, berries, bananas, etc. As the days went on, they continued to run out of food In terms of food, although the staff in the main dining room were very accommodating since my husband has a very serious food allergy, the rest of the ship was not as careful. In fact, he became very ill on 3 different occasions after eating at some of the other food places. As far as service, again you had a number of individuals who were excellent and provided excellent service, notably George and dinner staff in the main dining room and the Sommelier. But other areas were really lacking. Virtually every morning that we ate breakfast, not in the main dining room, we received the cappuccinos that we ordered upon arrival to the restaurant after we had already completed our breakfast. And twice we were told that they were unable to make cappuccinos, because they were testing something on the ship. During our many days at sea, when we did not have a chance to get off the ship because we had missed our main port, we wanted to be a little bit active. The swimming pool was drained out one of the days and unable to be used. And the ping-pong table which was the only other activity that was available was supposedly broken and could not be fixed, in spite of having maintenance staff. So we asked if they could at least put a board up and a net so we could play some ping-pong at least. The answer was no. Since we were at a fairly active bunch of people, these multiple unexpected days at sea were excruciating. The entertainment was really amateur compared to other ships that we have traveled on. Since our group was typically half of the people up in the disco area, by the third night of the exact same set of songs, we asked if he could play some other songs. Our kids set up a second playlist for the "Dj." So for the rest of the cruise, he would go back and forth between the two playlists. On a luxury cruise like this, any one of these issues would be unlikely, but to have all of them is really bad. All in all, this was the worst cruise we have ever taken and we have cruised multiple lines many times. Problems can happen, but the difference is how they are handled. If you have any problem, do not expect anything whatsoever in terms of service from Silversea. No one from our group will ever travel Silversea again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I sailed with the 1200 passenger Oceania Marina on their 16 day cruise from Lima, Peru to New York. We have typically traveled on smaller ships, including Sea Dream, Silversea and Seabourn, and I have to admit to having ... Read More
My wife and I sailed with the 1200 passenger Oceania Marina on their 16 day cruise from Lima, Peru to New York. We have typically traveled on smaller ships, including Sea Dream, Silversea and Seabourn, and I have to admit to having reservations about the ability of the ship to meet the service and food standards of ships half their size or less - especially since Oceania originally had only smaller ships (600+). Our experience with the other lines mentioned was that it was extremely hard for them to bring the smaller ship personalized service and dining to the larger ship. I needn't have worried - Oceania has done a masterful job, and in many categories I rate them better than the other lines on which we have traveled. That was an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. In fact, I would have to say that overall, I would now put Oceania on the top of the list of Cruise experiences. Below are some of the specifics: The Ship There was clearly much thought that went into the design of Marina. There is a vast amount of public space, and there was always space in the lounges to sit comfortable without feeling that everyone was on top of each other. The lounges are well spaced and designed, furniture comfortable and well chosen. The pool area was designed in such a way that there is a lot of space for sunning and swimming. We had 8 days at sea, and my wife and I never had trouble finding a place to sit, whether we wanted sun or shade. The spa is good sized, with a relaxation room for quiet reading if one is in the mood. There are also nice little touches. Specialty coffees were available at the Barista during the day, and I worked very hard to avoid the stand near the pool where mail shakes and frappes were made to order. Staterooms Oceania has done a very good job of space design in the staterooms. We were in room 9107, which was toward the back of the ship. I have always four it amusing that cruise lines sell the center of the ship as the place to be fro the smoothest cruising, and yet the best suites are always at the ends of the ship. Go figure! The verandahs are a bit smaller than we are used to - first time there were chairs instead of loungers on our verandah - but the truth is that unless you want to spend a lot of time in your cabin, it doesn't make a lot of difference. Plenty of room for clothes, even without a walk-in closet. Stateroom service was extremely attentive. Rooms were made up twice a day, and the few times we wanted assistance from our stewardess, she was responding within the minute. I wish the showers were a bit larger - just don't drop the soap! - but not a big deal, and the fact that there is a full size tub made my wife very happy! We were on the concierge level, which is actually the same size room as a regular verandah suite. The difference, however, is worth it if you are going to regularly use the steam and sauna and relaxation areas(free if you are on concierge level), and/or the concierge services. William was the concierge on this trip, and he could make just about anything happen. He arranged for us to get reservations on "local" excursions in two different ports, and was helpful in several other areas, including dinner reservations at the specialty restaurants. Dining I am in awe of the quality of the food on this ship. While in our experience ships like Seabourn, Silversea and Cunard seem to be using the dining room as a place to save money, Oceania seems determined to live up to its reputation as a "foodie" ship. It seems that everything is cooked to order, and they have food service and quality down. There are several dining options. The main dining room is open seating, come whenever and eat with whoever. The food was consistently creative and delicious. The room itself is nicely decorated. My only suggestion is to try to get a table away from the middle of the room - the tables there are just too close together and the maneuvering the staff has to do to get you your food is distracting. There are four other specialty dining rooms. Red Ginger (our favorite) had an oriental flare. Don't miss the glazed Sea Bass! We only went to Polo, which is their steak house, only once. It was the one meal that disappointed. I had a Strip steak that, given that it is represented as prime beef aged 30 days, came out as basically tasteless. On the other hand, had steaks in some of the other venues and they were fine, so.....? Toscana is their Italian restaurant, and there as well the food was terrific. The fourth restaurant is country french. Food was also really good, the french bread to die for! Room design....meh. One can also eat at the Terrace Cafe at night, which is buffet. We only did that once. The food was also very good, but we found that the buffet style put us in a mode that was less relaxing. Not their fault, I think for us buffets lend themselves to quick eating, and that is not what we enjoy at dinner. Service I save the best for last. The culture of service on this is really exceptional. We have cruise on ships much smaller in size, but I would have to say this was the best. I was impressed not only with the personal attention, but the genuineness with which it was delivered. Two quick stories. The first night we went to Horizons bar before dinner. A gentleman named Clifford was behind the bar where we sat, and we ordered our drinks from him and chatted a bit. 10 DAYS LATER we returned, and he remembered exactly what we had ordered that first night! If you had told me that could happen on a 1,200 passenger ship, I wouldn't have believed you. Second, a manager interrupted my steam room time to quickly enter, excuse himself, and briefly fool around with the emergency button. I figured they were having problems with it. About a minute later one of the staff entered the steam room to ask if I had pushed the emergency button. As I found out later, it was a random drill to make sure procedures for emergency assistance were followed! I have been a consultant most of my life, and know how difficult creating and maintaining a culture can be. I am awed by how well this ship does it.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We embarked Statendam following a five night land tour to Michu Picchu organised by Reader Offers Ltd. Initial impressions were not very favourable. Boarding in Lima was shambolic. There is no passenger terminal at Callao Port, it seemed ... Read More
We embarked Statendam following a five night land tour to Michu Picchu organised by Reader Offers Ltd. Initial impressions were not very favourable. Boarding in Lima was shambolic. There is no passenger terminal at Callao Port, it seemed that customs needed to inspect our baggage and we were kept standing around in the hot sun while everything was sorted out. The outside of the ship looked rather scruffy but once we got on board everything changed. Registration was quickly done and we were in our cabin within a very short time. The public areas were lovely, plenty of seating areas, bars, quiet spots, sunbathing etc. In fact we never had any problems with queuing, finding a sun bed, a seat in the bar or getting food in the buffet. Food - generally very good. There was plenty of choice. We usually had breakfast and dinner in the main dining room, service was very hit and miss. The Pinnacle was good, both food and a high standard of service. We particularly enjoyed eating in the Italian restaurant Canaletto. Again, service was excellent. The entertainment, apart from the singers and clarinetist, Pete Neighbour, was very poor. All shows had very low production values and the so called comedians were not very funny. The shore excursions in the main were not good value for money. The standard varied greatly and we made a complaint about one which did not really match up with the description given. Also there were no complimentary bottles of water which, considering the high prices of the excursions was pretty poor. We were in Cabin 101 on Deck 9. It was classed as a verandah spa cabin. We were under the (mis)apprehension that this would give us access to the spa facilities. All it meant was a couple of yoga mats and a 'table top water feature' in our cabin. The water feature sounded like a dripping tap and we switched it off. Apart from this the cabin was comfortable with a sleeping area, sitting area and balcony. The position was good, very few people walking past. Cabin service was not good. In fact three days into the cruise we complained. The cabin service manager contacted us to apologise and asked us to accept a bottle of sparkling wine by way of recompense! Room service did not improve but more of that later. I had a couple of spa treatments during the cruise which I was very pleased with. However there were complaints about the beauty salon. There was also heavy pressure to buy salon and spa products which I found off putting. This, however, was standard for the ship. No extras, just pressure to buy. Disembarkation was slow but well organised. We enjoyed our cruise in spite of the following but the Polish had definitely gone:- This is why I said 'mixed feelings' at the beginning of this review. The dreaded norovirus. What we did not know was that the virus was doing the rounds BEFORE we boarded in Lima. At this point the Statendam was halfway through a 30 night round trip from San Diego and the first indication we had that there was a problem was when the captain made an announcement about health precautions to observe when ashore in Manta, Ecuador. It appeared that there were always problems following a visit to this port. As I said we did not realise that the virus was already on board when we joined the ship and some passengers felt that the virus had been brought on board by the 180 passengers joining at Lima! However the virus spread very quickly from this point and it was a problem for the rest of our cruise. It must have been a nightmare for the captain and crew. One could hear the frustration in his voice during his daily 'Voice from the Bridge' broadcasts. There was a continuous programme of sanitisation to little effect. The measures taken included staff with hand sanitiser sprays at all entrances to food outlets and all public areas, the buffet changed from self service to full service, menus taken away and paper sheets handed out instead, no cruet on the tables, hot tubs closed, paper hand towels in public and off duty staff 'mucking in' and helping out. Nothing seemed to help. The most frustrating thing was passengers were concealing symptoms and walking around spreading the virus BEFORE they finally gave in and reported to the Medical Centre. The crew were working their socks off trying to keep the ship sanitised. Apparently some were working double shifts and off duty 'hotel' crew were volunteering to help around the ship so the regular crew could get some rest. Room service went down the tubes. When we wanted anything, ice, drinks etc we just went and got it ourselves. The service in the Rotterdam dining room also disintegrated ranging from too quick, ie next course brought to table before the previous course had been finished to painfully slow, wrong orders or orders just forgotten. This is where we experienced a dilemma. The staff were very tired trying to keep on top of a very virulent virus, we really felt for them but on the other hand we had paid a great deal of money for a holiday which did not live up to expectations. Statendam is not alone in having problems tackling norovirus. At Manta we were docked next to Celebrity Infinitely and it seemed that there were similar problems aboard her as well.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014

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