We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Alaska was on our bucket list. We had cruised with Oceania on the larger Riviera in the Med last November and wanted the same quality experience. We flew into Seattle a day early, staying at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Alaska was on our bucket list. We had cruised with Oceania on the larger Riviera in the Med last November and wanted the same quality experience. We flew into Seattle a day early, staying at the Fairmont - great downtown location. Stayed on in Vancouver for two days after disembarkation. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth as silk - definitely first class.
This ship is half the size of the Riviera; so it's much easier to negotiate = not so many long treks down the hall to elevators ,etc. With half as many passengers, you recognize faces within a couple days. Not so on the Riviera. But, we missed some things. We missed the additional specialty restaurants, Jacques and Red Ginger (especially the later). There was no culinary center, with classes to take. The Canyon Ranch Spa did not offer acupuncture.
There was noticeable crowding in the Terrace Café and the Library. On several occasions, after circulating through the Terrace twice, we gave up and went to Waves, both at breakfast and lunch. We liked the Main Dining Room better on this ship. We quickly discovered that Vijay was a terrific server and requested him each time we ate there. We found the MDR a great place for a quiet breakfast and always got a window table at that time of day. Baristas was just outside the MDR, which made it quite convenient. The cappuccino and pastries were always delicious. There was a bridge instructor on board. He knew his stuff, but was not very engaging with the few people who showed up for the first class. That, combined with rough seas and the resulting tummy upset, put me off of further classes and play.
Our butler, Rahman, was always pleasant and, once he understood our routine and preferences, anticipated our needs and took good care of us. When we were on the Riviera, in a Vista suite, we had utilized our butler a great deal. In retrospect, we should have done the same on the Regatta. It wasn't until almost the last night that we ordered room service dinner from Toscana. We did order breakfast room service twice - nice to have a hot breakfast before heading out for shore excursions.
We did not attend any of the shows, nor did we go to the casino, play Trivia, etc.
We had one rough sea day. Aside from that, aside from almost constant rain, the sail was pleasant. We didn't get to use our balcony very much, mostly at the beginning and end of our cruise.
We had arranged private excursions in most ports; but we did do Oceania's "Sea Otters, Raptors and Bears, Oh My" in Sitka. It was actually fabulous - bus driver/guide on for the first portion of the excursion was full of knowledge and enthusiasm. Alaska Raptor Center is a wonderful spot, and the show there was fascinating. Bear rescue was alright. The sea otter portion, on the water, ended up a wonderful, surprising whale watching adventure. We literally saw dozens of humpbacks, who put on quite the show for us. We did eventually see sea otters and sea lions; but they had already been upstaged by the whales.
We are happy to have done the Alaska cruise, to see the magnificent scenery and some of the wildlife. But, once is enough. Next for us, the Baltic, back on a larger Oceania ship. Read Less