We chose this cruise for its itinerary to sail around the coast of Spain. We wanted to try a smaller ship, as we had sailed on all big ships in the past (1900+, and mostly 3000+). I guess you would consider Oceania a hybrid luxury line, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary to sail around the coast of Spain. We wanted to try a smaller ship, as we had sailed on all big ships in the past (1900+, and mostly 3000+). I guess you would consider Oceania a hybrid luxury line, with many amenities of a luxury line, but not all inclusive. The small ship experience is a mixed bag. Obviously it is easier to get around, has a more intimate feel, and one rarely waits in line (with a few exceptions). There are fewer things going on, and the atmosphere is calm and relaxing if you like that. (The first day at sea we strolled around getting familiar with the ship and saw more people in the library than we have ever seen in a cruise ship library.) There was a lot of sitting around going on. On the up side, not once were we approached by a photographer, which was lovely. They do have a studio onboard if I remember correctly in case you would like a photo.
Oceania is known for its cuisine, which I can assure you, is excellent. Salads especially were very fresh and crisp. And fresh fruit and berries. Choices are interesting and beautifully presented. Escargots offered 3 different ways that I can remember. We prefer to eat in the dining room whenever possible, but don't miss the carving station in the Terrace Café for an occasional lunch. You will see roast suckling pig, prime rib, roast turkey, even salmon Wellington. You may have to wait at the egg station at breakfast, but getting a great lunch at the Terrace Café was usually quick and easy. Waves has great sandwiches, like Q-ban, Surf & Turf, and Reubens.
Transfers were perfectly well organized, on time, and used comfortable coaches. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Service for our room, the dining rooms, and the front desk were all fine.
Where I think there is room for improvement is the entertainment onboard and the shore excursions. The orchestra was certainly good, and the Nautica singers and dancers (only 4) were quite talented. You really can't have a big production show on a small ship, so they did a pretty good job for a small venue. The other shows were OK but nothing great, except the unique Duo Yorba show, 2 musicians playing a slew of different homemade instruments. They were very entertaining, playing music from around the world, and worked very hard to put on a good show. The performances of the string quartet and pianist who played in a couple of areas around the ship at various times were enjoyable.
The shore excursions were nothing special, most times having 36+ people. We had to wait in line on some occasions, once for 45 minutes to get into the Alcazar. Some of the radio/headphones didn't work on some of the tours. So the tours were large groups (like the big cruise ships have) unless you pay more to go in a smaller group. These smaller-group tours are available in some ports. Overall the shore excursions were pricey and pretty average.
We will probably sail with Oceania again only on one of their larger ships. The atmosphere was a little too quiet and sedentary on this cruise, although we did enjoy our cabin and the dining. Read Less