Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise went from Papeete, Tahiti, to Lima, Peru, with stops at Bora Bora, Fakarava, Pitcairn Island and Easter Island. At Pitcairn the local inhabitants (descendants of the Bounty mutineers) come on board to sell crafts and eat ice ... Read More
This cruise went from Papeete, Tahiti, to Lima, Peru, with stops at Bora Bora, Fakarava, Pitcairn Island and Easter Island. At Pitcairn the local inhabitants (descendants of the Bounty mutineers) come on board to sell crafts and eat ice cream; one of them gave an interesting talk about life on the island. At Easter Island we were unable to land because of rough seas (apparently a fairly common occurrence). There were a lot of days at sea; two between Fakarava and Pitcairn, and four between Easter Island and Lima. There was a wonderful naturalist, Gloeta Massie, who gave brilliant and funny talks a few times, and a lecturer who talked a few times about Easter Island and Pitcairn. There were a lot of fun programs organized by the staff and the cruise director, Peter Roberts. Excellent bridge lessons and duplicate bridge, putting contests on a mini-golf course, shuffleboard, trivia quizzes and Mensa challenges, some movies. There were shows, music and karaoke that we did not attend because they were late at night. The food was excellent, with four specialty restaurants - Italian, steakhouse, French and Chinese/Asian fusion, with no extra charge. Dining was also excellent in the main dining room and the buffet restaurant. But: The prices for the excursions were exorbitant - about 4 times what is cost for locally arranged excursions - and the transfers were wildly overpriced. Oceania offered airport transfers for $359 US and a hotel transfer for $119 per person. We went online and booked a private car for two of us for $35 with Lima Limo . The driver, Geraldo, was so good that we hired him to take us around Lima that afternoon to see the Larco museum (fantastic!) and the gold museum; he charged us $90 US for 5 + hours; then he took us to the airport the next day from our hotel for $35. One trick: taxis and limos for the most part cannot come to the location of the ship at the cruise pier; you need to take the bus to the pier gate. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Embarkation was great & smooth (vs. disembarkation which was a rotten experience; later). Rio de Janeiro was interesting to see with beaches, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. The city is a typical Latin city that is overcrowded ... Read More
Embarkation was great & smooth (vs. disembarkation which was a rotten experience; later). Rio de Janeiro was interesting to see with beaches, Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf. The city is a typical Latin city that is overcrowded and dirty. Spent a lot of time in traffic. Food however was excellent; fast, tasty & uniquely served. The next port was a non+, pretty much a repeat of Rio without the great attraction. Two cities in Uruguay were like the Riviera, clean very safe. Buenos Aires was more of Rio. Walk with the penguins was good but a long drive from port & a lot more walking to the ocean. Great welcome center but the bathrooms at the park were HORRIBLE; 3 of 5 toilets were broken, stalls had no paper and toilets were barely usable with no flush water (TP was on ONE roll outside the stalls). For the money that goes into that park, they need to do a better job! Rode a great train in Ushuaia, a new, replica of a 0*1*1*0 Garratt. The first port in Chile was a nice walk in the Antarctic rain forest, along a river to a great water fall, + a wine tasting at the end. Disembarked in Chile at San Antonio and traveled to Santiago. We had to CLEAR the ship by 0900. There was one gang-way for entrance of new crew and departing passenger. There was no order and no one controlling exiting passenger; it was a group, screwed-up mess (Viet Nam vets have an expression that I cannot use here - like cluster...). Groups were called before there was room to accommodate them for disembarkation. Long walk to buses (& I mean long). We took a shore excursion since our flight did not leave until 950 PM. Drive into Santiago was nice, stopped for snack on the way a cute little restaurant. In the city, typical traffic & inability to stop to & see points of interest. One local craft market that was overpriced and then a fancy mall for lunch (on our own). We at seafood of Abalone, potato salad and greens; delicious! Then on to the airport. WE STOOD for two hours before we could even check in, THOUSANDS of disembarked ship's passengers. This was INEXCUSABLE! I will never depart from Santiago, Chile again!!! Worse than De Gaul in Paris. Overall life on ship was great, great staff, great food & VERY comfortable accommodations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
So far we have always cruised on Oceania’s Riviera but decided to “pay a visit” to her older sister, the M/S Marina. The Transatlantic Passage from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro began on November 28th and ended on December 14th. We flew ... Read More
So far we have always cruised on Oceania’s Riviera but decided to “pay a visit” to her older sister, the M/S Marina. The Transatlantic Passage from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro began on November 28th and ended on December 14th. We flew into Lisbon a day early and stayed over at a hotel close to the port. On the embarkation day the departure from the cruise terminal was very disorganized and chaotic; no special area for suites guests to wait, in fact Regent was embarking their guests in the same hall at the same time with no clear separation. As we arrived without luggage tags (not our fault), we worried for a while that our luggage may end up on the wrong ship. Eventually, we were sent off to do the registration on board but it was not clear how to get there. All of a sudden an agent showed up and indicated which door to exit to board the ship. We had to follow others hoping it was the right way. It turned out that the ship was located at about ¼ of a mile away and we all walked off into strong, cold winds. All the usual procedures (info, Credit Cards, photos, etc.) were done at the Marina’s reception desk. It was indeed, a very unusual and surprising way to embark. It is impossible not to compare the two ships; the layouts are the same, locations of restaurants, lounges, spa, exercise room, etc. are located exactly on the same decks and area. The clearest differences (for our taste) were in general, the art work; by far Riviera is much superior and Marina looks/feels older though it’s quite well maintained. The staff were as usual, excellent, coming from different parts of the world: many from Ukraine, quite a number from Honduras, Serbia, a surprisingly good number of Italians and French, from India (mainly being Butlers), etc. The food…..well, there are some issues here. I will start where we had our first meal. *The Terrace (Lunch on day of embarkation) - Choices were very good in all the categories and the servers, excellent as usual. The difference and number in choices were starting to be felt, day after day of sailing, so imagine after 16 days; happy to say that the staff kept being as friendly and helpful as from day one. A note on breads and bread sticks. All are fantastic and always fresh. Especially good were the sliced baguettes and a new bread for me called ‘Normandy’ which was perfect in sandwiches and it toasted extremely well. It can be recognized as a wider than tall domed loaf with three slots or grooves on the top border of each slice. Normandy bread was only available in The Terrace and Waves Grill. On the first night of the cruise we were able to get a table in *Toscana and we were impressed not only with the food but the spaciousness of the place and the excellent Maître d’ and servers and being able to speak Italian with the staff was another big plus. So far so good. *The Grand Restaurant - Everything clicked perfectly: choices, food temperature, taste, service (Maître’d, brothers Julio Cesar & Geovanni/Honduras) ambience, etc. This excellence didn’t change at all being dinner, lunch or breakfast, during the whole cruise. *Waves Grill– I was looking forward to have lunch there but, unfortunately it was a big disappointment; the staff were great but the quality of the food was not so good; e.g. the surf and turf was a big flop though the Kobe Burger was quite good. It is possible that the weather, very strong cold winds, played a big part in making those visits not so enjoyable. Warning: the regular coffee that is served in all the restaurants is very weak so if you like stronger coffee, ask for a cappuccino or a double espresso or simply go to Barristers, one deck up from Waves, and have some great cookies with it! *Red Ginger – We went twice and both times we were satisfied with the food (not to be missed the Miso Sea Bass or the Tuna Tataki) and the great staff (Katerina and Khrystyna/Ukraine, Maria/Serbia) but I found the place a bit narrow, with tables too close to each other and the low chairs and lighting didn’t help. *Jacques – I think that this will be the last time in Jacques regardless it was possible to speak French with a few of them. The food in general is just okay but nothing to rave about it, what I found with every one of my visits was that everybody (diners and staff) behaved in a very pretentious, affected and arrogant manner. It doesn’t make you feel at ease nor able to enjoy the special food or elegant surroundings. *Polo – All the way, another winner! Roasted beet root and goat cheese as an entrée was excellent and the 7 oz. Filet Mignon was cooked to perfection with excellent side dishes. The mashed potatoes were excellent and the string beans superbly steamed. On the last day at sea, we went again to *Toscana and if the first time was very good this one was exceptional! And the night before arriving in Rio we had dinner at *The Terrace hoping to take advantage of such a hot night to dine al fresco while sampling the so much praised lobster. Both were a disappointment; for dinner the tables are set with table clothes but that is only done inside the restaurant. We did not like the al fresco ambiance of no lighting and no table clothes so we opted to eat inside. The “famous” lobster (1/2 a tail, grilled to order) was dry and almost meatless. Regardless and thanks to a beautiful Chardonnay white and the fantastic staff we had a great and tranquil evening much needed after packing at full speed for the three hours before dinner time. Our Ratings for the various specialty restaurants: 1) Toscana 2) Polo very close 3) Ginger 4) Jacques *Entertainment – Lackluster to say the least. Too much screaming (singing??!) and their dancing moves although quite sophisticated and well performed, were the same over and over again; that’s why we went only a couple of times and just for half of the show. The real star of the cruise shows was a singer and his name is Jamie Michael Stewart; his second show titled “Sinatra and friends” was superb!! If you have him on any of your future cruises do not miss going to hear him sing!!! And about the Cruise Director, the only thing I am allowed to say about him personally is that he tried to be funny but he only accomplished being completely pathetic. Oceania management needs to realize how important the Cruise Director’s role is. First and foremost he is a host for each and every guest and considering that Oceania is an upscale cruise line, he should have more in common with the guests. That means an older and more sophisticated person than is the industry norm, i.e. young comical entertainers. **Cooking demonstrations – They were given in the Marina Lounge (Theater) by the Senior Executive Chef Laurent Trias and they were all very instructive and many times very funny. Although considering the present “# Me Too era”, this top chef was quite a bully with his underlings. On Dec. 7th, at the second Captain’s cocktail Reception I met the very curt and polite Captain Leo Strazicic and his very friendly and welcoming GM Marck Warmenhoven. Both took the time for meaningful conversations. *Canyon Ranch Terrace an excellent place to enjoy the sun, soaking yourself in the hot tub, taking a shower or simply relaxing in peace with no hoopla around you. Excellent place. *Fitness Center located close by, is ample with a lot of machines with great views thru the surrounding floor to ceiling windows. Very busy especially on sea days. This was our second long (more than 10/12 days) cruise and for sure that will never happen again; after the first one (different Cruise Line) I swore that I would not do it again but the opportunity to cruise past the Equator on board Oceania Marina, took over but it won’t happen again! Simply what goes wrong is that after a while everything starts to get too repetitious and that leads to boredom with both food and staff. *Tours – We only took one of the ship’s tours and that was in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) the rest of the ports we were on our own. Unfortunately, Viator did not have anything to offer on any of the transatlantic ports on this passage so for all the other ports we had to do it on our own. The reason we do this, is because we find the way our fellow passengers behave is completely unacceptable; e.g. waiting in the Marina Lounge for your tour number to be called and when that happens there is an stampede of “grown-ups” rushing to the exit, bumping into everybody just to be first to the bus and get the seats they want; and the same happens at every stop, they are all rushing to be the first to get off. Sorry, but for me and in the way I was educated (and have taught my children) that is not civilized and shows a complete lack of respect for your fellow travellers. At any rate that’s how we generally feel about ship sponsored tours but I am sure you won’t mind if I give some pointers on what we found and how we approached the various ports visited on this cruise. *Cadiz – Although this was our second time there we visited a different and unknown area; from the pier you have quite a long but enjoyable walk to an area where we read you could find numerous tapas bars; the weather was not good (cold, windy and little sun) and all those bars were located on shady streets so we ended up in a bar in the sunny main plaza (under construction with lots of noise); the food wasn’t what we expected, the wine was so-so but we met a beautiful girl (Vanessa) with whom we talked and laughed a lot which made up for the lack of authentic tapas. You know, you go on your own so you take your chances. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Anyway it is a beautiful city that deserves to be visited and explored on a longer stay. *Arrecife – There is nothing worthwhile to see on your own so if you don’t mind to go thru the ‘tour hassle’ I mentioned above, better to take any of the ship’s guided tours. *Tenerife – Walked to the center of town (long walk and not as nice as it was in Cadiz). We got there on a Sunday, meaning that ALL the outdoor bars and restaurants were taken over by big families with a lot of kids (running and screaming around tables). We walked around trying to find some nice and tranquil place but this was not possible so we went right back to the ship. Advice: again take a ship tour, especially if you arrive on a Sunday! *Praia (Cape Verde) – We had a tour booked but after reading info given by the ship that the busses they use are not comfortable and without A/C we cancelled it. We took the offered shuttle that leaves you not far from the main square where you can visit a very nice and simple church, visited the Market extremely busy, cramped and strong fish smell etc., back to the main plaza/park where there is a modern building with a covered bar and had a couple of local beers (good) while watching the city crew install Christmas decorations around the park. For payment they accepted US$ (paper no coins) but the change returned was in their currency and only in coins. Walked back down the hill suffering the very hot and heavy weather to take the return shuttle to the ship. As we approached the dock we saw one of the returning tour busses and we got very upset because we could see that the tour bus was a regular van, quite ample and I am sure had A/C. So now you know and we strongly recommending the ship tour instead of wandering around a quiet town with but one spot to enjoy a drink and people watching. Here is the best time to point out that the first part of the cruise the weather wasn’t good (cold, strong winds, etc.) but starting in Praia the whole thing changed completely and in a way, for the worse! Having high temperatures and exceedingly high humidity is not much fun, especially if walking around on your own! *Cruising the Equator – This was quite an experience! It happened on the third sea day’ December 8th prior to arriving in Recife. The day was perfect; very hot and humid with a soft breeze. So it was a lot of fun seeing how all the participants and onlookers were enjoying the colourful ceremony. We enjoyed all this with our ever present topped up white wine glasses in hand. Thus expectations were fully met. *Recife (Brazil) – On our own again (after yesterday’s revelation about better busses etc. we tried to book a tour but all were filled up) and taking the shuttle into town; they left us in a big building not getting any idea were to go next or what to do. Decided to take a taxi to Mercado Central located in the old part of the city. Warnings! Unless you are fluent in Portuguese DO NOT take a taxi because they will fool you as much as they can/want and second warning, DO NOT go around the Old City because it is quite depressing to see so much poverty, chaos and dirt besides trying to walk along very crowded, boisterous, treacherous streets where if you missed one step you would end up on the ground or in a gutter. Take a tour and go to the modern Recife that for the skyline we saw from the ship, at least it looks more orderly and is very expansive. In fact, on leaving Recife, the skyline continued for what seemed like 5 or ten miles, so this place is much more developed that was apparent in the old downtown quarter. *San Salvador da Bahia – Had an overnight there so the first day we left the ship early (remembering the h&h!) and walked to the two story Mercado Central that was full of souvenir shops on the ground level and a very nice restaurant with an encircling terrace on the second floor. After eating and drinking lightly, we went to the Lacerda Elevator that quickly brings you up about 200 feet to the upper part of the city were unfortunately large areas were boarded up due to repairs in progress. Advice: The price of the Elevator was 15 real p/p (coins only) each way, that’s only 3 cents US but they won’t accept any other currencies. A local food cart operator gave us the change and would not take even one US dollar, so if it had not been up to his generosity/kindness we would have missed the top of the town visit. Afterwards, we learnt that the trip was free for all over 65 years (Brazil offers many such seniors benefits). The following day we took a ship’s tour (all the same hassle as previously described); the tour guide was very knowledgeable and the highlight was walking the steep hill to the Bon Fin Church. Quite a trek but it was worth it. Great views from up there and lots of photos of the thousands and thousands of coloured ribbons tied to the metal fencing/gates all around the church. The relics/photos of all whose prayers were answered was interesting and reminded us of another such chamber at St. Joseph’s Oratory atop Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada. The Carnival in Salvador is as famous as the Rio one and our tour bus covered much of the seaside route that the procession follows every February. Also along the route are an amazing number of architectural splendors. The facades are multi-coloured and with a wide variety of design and materials. They seem to have captured the market for needle condo’s that have but one or two apartments per floor, quite amazing. *Cabo Frio – After one day at sea, we arrived at this beautiful place and after all we’ve seen so far in Brazil this is the one place I would love to come back to and spent days visiting the so many beautiful beaches full of beautiful youth. We made the effort as it was at least 1 kilometer to the main beach! But we left longing for more. Here is an opportunity for Oceania or the city of Cabo Frio to set up a shuttle service. With more time at or near the beach rather than walking, more passengers would spend on drinks, food or shopping. Arrival and Disembarkation Day Disembarkation in Rio went smoothly (amazingly no passport nor customs check nor personnel were around). And once again another very long walk from the ship to where the luggage was; once inside that area things went well. Happy to say that all this happened in the early morning before the heat and humidity took over Rio. Rio is a city that we’ve been to many times (including the crazy and amazing “Carnaval”) so we skipped and sightseeing and headed straight to the airport to catch our flight back home!! At that moment, I/we were very much looking forward to being back in our beautiful and cold Canada! All in all, it was a great trip with a lot of new experiences (one of the reasons you travel, eh?) and although this will be our last long cruise it won’t be our last; we are still in love with Oceania! We already booked our next one on Insignia, it will be the first time on the smaller ships. We are very curious to see what Insignia’s new look will be after the upcoming and soon to be finished major refurbishment. We know that the suites are much smaller than on Marina and Riviera, with 500 or so fewer passengers (and lower ceilings!) That’s a personal concern of mine as I’m 6+ feet tall so we’ll see if it fits me. I will be sure to let all of you know, okay? Till my next one and have all of you a very Happy New Year!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ... Read More
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ocean cruise. There was only one sea day, all other days being in port. The ports were great. We took only the Russian tours, which were essentially forced on us by Russia’s visa policies. We liked the food, and found that it wasn’t necessary to eat in the specialty restaurants as the same food was available elsewhere. We liked our fellow passengers, and their diverse backgrounds. There were only two, minor, complaints, one being a matter of taste. One is that the coffee on board was pretty awful, a common complaint by Australians and New Zealanders like us, no doubt. The barista in charge of the only espresso machine on board needs to visit Auckland or Melbourne to learn how to use it. We didn’t like quite a lot of the ship’s decor. In some public rooms it looked like an explosion in a self-conscious interior designer’s shop. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because of their selling the finest cuisine at sea. Embarkation was shocking, did not feel like upper premium, not even close. No welcome drink or cocktails, not even orange juice. The public ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because of their selling the finest cuisine at sea. Embarkation was shocking, did not feel like upper premium, not even close. No welcome drink or cocktails, not even orange juice. The public spaces were nice to look at but poor marks for the low ceiling, everyone looked so tall and most especially me. My head was literally touching the ceiling in all public areas and wish I was exaggerating. The food was good, I’m a lobster lover and ate it everyday but realized that unlimited lobster is not enough to make a good cruise. There was constant selling in the atrium area and tv channels was mostly about selling more cruises or focusing on spa and boutique sales. I have cruised on Viking, crystal and Silversea so I have experienced luxury and upper premium. WiFi OMG painfully slow. Really tried hard to like Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted to visit Norway again & since this cruise also had some new to us ports we booked it It was round trip Amsterdam which was also a good feature for us We took the cruise only fare & booked our own Bus class ... Read More
We wanted to visit Norway again & since this cruise also had some new to us ports we booked it It was round trip Amsterdam which was also a good feature for us We took the cruise only fare & booked our own Bus class seat on Air Canada ..wonderful lie flat seats we managed to actually sleep on the flight Embarkation: We we were in a B cabin so we arrived about 1:00pm minimal line up & we were onboard quickly went to the Terrace for a quick bite to eat amazingly it was not crowded like other embarkation days when our cabins were ready we dropped off the carry on bags then went wandering back to cabin to unpack before muster Muster was quick & painless as usual some people felt the drill was not for them after Muster we headed to Horizons after dropping off our life vests we had our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet A section was roped off with a sign for CC (Thank you Dominique) We had a good turn out I would guess about 50 + people as well as the CD Peter & GM Dominique after that dinner in the Terrace with our TA & a small group of her clients & a surprise guest Mr Bob Binder & his wife were also on the cruise The cruise was very smooth sailing we did have a issue one day one of the life boats had a leak so required us to stay later in port until it was fixed we were a little late getting into the next port but at least we made it there was some doubt the night before whether we would or just have a sea day The Oceania crew came through Food was very good with some hiccups but who is perfect all the time We ate in Red Ginger it was better than the last time we tried it but it was not that good sorry but 3 strikes we are done with Red Ginger For those that say the food there is not spicy enough should have had my Green Curry ..I had no feeling in my mouth for the duration of the meal Oh Well we prefer the GDR any way & we did not starve The scones at tea are still not like they used to be but better than our last cruise The weather was very nice then the heatwave caught up with us in some of the ports It was uncomfortable for me so we did not do too much in those ports ..some we had been to before Overall the cruise was very good & we booked another on onboard (which we rarely do) Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
This is the third time we been on a cruise with Oceania and had a mixed feelings about this cruise. When we booked the cruise, we selected the O-Life package which includes Economy Class Air, Gratuities, Internet Package, $400/person ... Read More
This is the third time we been on a cruise with Oceania and had a mixed feelings about this cruise. When we booked the cruise, we selected the O-Life package which includes Economy Class Air, Gratuities, Internet Package, $400/person excursions. Since that we each had $400 for the excursions and we found out that we cannot booked the excursions ahead of time. On the first day when we got on the ship, I immediately went to the Excursion Desk trying to book the excursions but unfortunately many of the popular excursions already were full. I have no choice but to get whatever was left over. This is one major drawback which I was not happy with their system. We only had dinner in the main dinning room for one night and kind of disappointed with the slow service and on top of that when a female drink waitress came to take order for the drinks, when we told her that we don't drink at all and she immediately was not happy at all and kind of gave us a bad look and left. That was another poor service which we were so disappointed from such a " luxury " cruise line. Almost every night we went back to have the buffet dinner which we enjoyed it very much because in that place which you can order the lobster tails and rib steaks all you want and they were so delicious. On the whole we enjoyed eating all our meals in the buffet style more that in the main dinning room. Most of the excursions which we booked were not too bad, most of the guides were very informative and pleasant. Norway was the best place to visit of all the Scandinavian countries which we visited. Especially the Fjords were spectacular and we highly recommend people to go to visit Norway and spend more time to learn about their cultures and we enjoyed visiting all the 7 Norwegian cities during our 14 days cruise. People there were very friendly and less crowded compare to Sweden, Denmark and Holland. One disappointing thing about the cruise was the Embarkation, when we arrived at the Pier for embarkation, we all have to wait in long lines and waited for close to an hour before we were being served. I think that the Oceania Cruise Line needs to come up with a more efficient way to speed up their Embarkation process for all the passengers. On the contrast, the Disembarkation was very efficient, short and quick to get off the boat. We saw three evening shows which were performed by the cruise entertainers and we thought that the dancing was great but the singing was not too professional. The most disappointing performance was the night where they try to put on a Broadway show........since this cruise has most of the seniors on this ship and they sang too many new Broadway show tunes that we are unfamiliar with and those songs were not popular at all. Most of the people we talked to after the show were v. disappointed with this Broadway show because of bad selection of songs. On top of that we don't think that the Cruise Director is not a very friendly guy to the guests. He hardly greeted any non-Caucasians on the cruise, we are thinking of not taking any more of the Marina till they have a new Cruise Director on board. On the whole the cabin attendants, the buffet dinning staffs, Reception staffs and also the Specialty Restaurant staffs were all have v. friendly to the guests which we were deeply appreciated their hard work. We thoroughly enjoyed our Ocean View cabin especially the bathroom is all made out of granite/marble. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Overall the trip was pretty wonderful. My unfortunate experience in the infirmary (see below) marred an otherwise terrific voyage. We mainly dined in the buffet area, which we found to be very good or excellent with plenty of variety, ... Read More
Overall the trip was pretty wonderful. My unfortunate experience in the infirmary (see below) marred an otherwise terrific voyage. We mainly dined in the buffet area, which we found to be very good or excellent with plenty of variety, helpful/attentive staff and the some of best desserts we've ever tasted. So a special nod of appreciation to the dessert chef(s) and helpers. The ship in general was well appointed, decorated beautifully and kept quite pristine; 'ship-shape' as they say. Our starboard room was quite nice with a comfortable mattress, very nice bathroom facilities, with a small balcony. Our helpful steward offered suggestions about the ship and shore excursions. Plentiful brochures and daily activities sheets insured you know what was happening that day. Free internet was an extra plus, though we were sometimes out of range or it was just erratic. In contrast to other cruises I've been on, the explanation of its use was very clear. We did not attend the shipboard entertainment/Activities except the "Trivia" quizzes, which we enjoyed a great deal. The excursions we took were well planned with knowledgeable guides. Our tour to the Hermitage was well done but very crowded even on Monday when only cruise ship passengers are allowed. Don't miss a trip to a separate building which houses the Impressionists. It was far less crowded and felt much less frenetic. A general tour of Berlin was another highlight with time allowed to have lunch at one of the very pleasant outdoor restaurants. My further comments will be focused on my medical care experience aboard ship. I'm a retired Internal Medicine physician and the condition for which I went to infirmary is well known to me, having treated patients with it for many years. Suffice it to say I was over-treated and forced to stay in the infirmary overnight. I was told unless I submitted to this doctor's treatment I would be thrown off the ship at Tallinn, Estonia, our next stop. I was told I would be forced to take an ambulance to Tallinn to be examined by the doctors there unless my condition (a heart rhythm disturbance) abated. Thru this entire ordeal, I emphasize to the readers of this review I was in no way acutely ill. I only required oral medication to control my heart rate which I had forgotten. Fortunately the condition abated and I was finally discharged the next morning. And given the oral medicine (Cardizem) I should have received at the outset. IMO, this doctor produced a phony-medical emergency situation, either because he did not understand the condition or because of the fees he would charge...see below. Trying to be fair, the charge for this entire episode, which involved NO: x-rays, consultations, MRI or CT scans and and only scant blood work was outlandish. There was only minimal and inexpensive IV medication, a few EKGs and overnight monitoring. The fee IMO should have been at most $1000-1500. The fee for these services was, in fact, over $8000. So draw your own conclusions as to which of the two possibilities above is more likely. My Warning is this: 1. Count on exorbitant fees for anything but the most minor medical care. 2. If you are elderly don't even think of boarding a ship without supplemental medical insurance that also covers preexisting conditions (which, of course, are the ones most likely to cause problems). 3. Consider getting the names, in advance, of doctors you can see in the various cities on your trip, should the need arise. 4. Try hard to stay out of the infirmary. 5. Double check you've not forgotten any medication you might need. P.S. We had Allianz insurance,as recommended by our very experienced travel agent, and so the costs were largely covered. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose Oceania because of its reputation, and the smaller size of ship which allowed a more port-intensive cruise (No "at-sea" days in the Baltic). We spent more money than we normally would and booked Oceania Suite 11080 - ... Read More
We chose Oceania because of its reputation, and the smaller size of ship which allowed a more port-intensive cruise (No "at-sea" days in the Baltic). We spent more money than we normally would and booked Oceania Suite 11080 - about 1,000 square feet at the back of the ship, with a wraparound balcony. It was our first Oceania cruise after 3 Celebrity cruises + 3 river cruises (2 with Viking and 1 with Scenic). The first thing that struck us was the different approaches to handling your choices for alcohol programs, specialty dining, etc. There are pros & cons to all, and maybe they equalize in that way, although I got the sense that drinks on Oceania were more expensive than other cruise companies we have experienced. Having 4 specialty restaurants to choose from at no extra cost, each either once or twice depending on your length of cruise and cabin class, was nice due to the variety. However, it does prevent the type of relationship building we experienced at Luminae on the 2 Celebrity cruises where we booked a suite. The service in all restaurants was very good, and the food was very good (except for the first night in Polo where both my wife and I had our steaks over-cooked. That did not happen again) The butler and room service was excellent!! Ports of call were good, and excursion offerings were varied and plentiful. One of the great bonuses was the ease of disembarking and embarking with this 1200-passenger ship compared to the larger Celebrity ships we have sailed on (about 2200 and 3000 passengers) LOWS: 3 free bags of laundry for suite guests was great, but the quality of how they returned the clean laundry was awful - shirts and pants folded, and folded improperly, so that some "new seams" were created!). Sadly, the other low was the extremely limited comfortable usefulness of the massive wraparound balcony: Because the railing slants inwards, it removes over 1/3 of the depth of the balcony as useful space! (I measured from the balcony door: 70 inches deep for the wooden balcony, 78 inches if you include the metal water trough, but only 45 inches from the door to the edge of the railing! There was no place where we could have our lounge chairs side-by-side). In fairness, the balcony is 8-10 inches deeper away from the door, but the furniture arrangement was still greatly constrained. Being at the back of the ship, and on deck 11, had two other disadvantages: The noise from the engines (located at the back) and the noise from table chairs scraping across the floor at the Terrace Cafe on deck 12 (This was particularly bad on the night before the end of the cruise -- the staff must have been cleaning the Terrace Cafe floor at 4:30 AM, with LOTS of chair scraping!!) We will travel with Oceania again, but will stay away from the stern cabins, especially on Deck 11. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise was listed as going from Montreal to Southampton and when we booked (end of 2016 onboard) we opted to take their air/ground package. We flew first to Brussels from Manchester and then onto Montreal. Coming home (to get back ... Read More
This cruise was listed as going from Montreal to Southampton and when we booked (end of 2016 onboard) we opted to take their air/ground package. We flew first to Brussels from Manchester and then onto Montreal. Coming home (to get back to the car) Oceania booked us a BA flight from T5. Surprisingly we were the only people on our inbound Air Canada flight although we met another passenger at Montreal from Birmingham (there was a coach load came in later in the day from LHR). It was at this point we discovered that due to the level of the St. Lawrence waterway Marina could not get under the Laviolette bridge at Trois-Rivières so the cruise would start there rather than in Montreal. We were informed that our package now covered the 2hr bus ride to the new location the next day and thus we were sent on our way to the Fairmont Chateau-Champlain for the night. [Apparently Oceania had known this since the previous Friday – this was Monday – and whilst I had received three emails saying ‘Book onboard’ from them I had heard nothing about the change in plans – either directly or via my agent. When I went online that evening the website had already been changed!]. Having arrived early in the afternoon we got out and made the most of the sun in Montreal – the same the next morning too before we had to check out. The coach transfer was interesting as we saw the flooded land all the way along the road. Trois-Rivières turned out to be a lovely town and they tried very hard to do everything for us. This was their first ever turn around and they did themselves proud. We were onboard by about 1pm and our cabin (Concierge level) was ready inside 30 minutes – just time to grab some library books and a bite to eat. With an overnight in this port we now had plenty of time and made the most of it with a walk the first afternoon to get our bearings and then a longer one the next day to Le Parc de l’île Saint-Quentin where we saw the flooding first hand and had close ups with the wildlife (woodpeckers, marmots, black squirrels, tree creepers to name a few). A lovely town and the people came down to see the ship from the promenade….. The next port was Québec. The ship parks near the centre and it is a short walk through the old port and up to round town (the only walled city north of Mexico!). We followed a tourist walk (avoiding all the road works/digging) and then did the Dufferin Terrace and the Governors Walk to the Plains of Abraham before returning to the ship through Petit-Champlain. Another lovely sunny day and lots to see, good chance to try French again….. The day after was Saguenay and what a change those miles east made. We started with snow flurries and in the wind it felt below freezing – it was a shame for the locals in that few ventured far, even in the afternoon when the sun got out (although it didn’t feel much warmer!) Still the shops sold a lot of thermal wear…. A sea day next and all the usual activities onboard a cruise ship (lectures, trivia, games) as well as Oceania’s specialities – the Cuisine Centre (fee charged) and the art classes (free). Corner Brook was our first stop in Newfoundland and again we met snow flurries but soon the sun shone and we were on the free shuttle to town where we did a small trail walk (Three Bears) with views over the city and then the Corner Brook Stream and Gorge Trail. Again it was cool and the small craft market in the local mall (Sunday) did a good line in woollen gloves/hats. The next day we were in France. St Pierre and Miquelon are a group of islands just off Newfoundland that is a self-governing overseas territory of France (spot the tricolor and EU flags). Today was sunny but with a cold wind and whilst we took a shuttle into town we walked back (Monday today and a lot of shops/services are closed). In the afternoon we climbed the hill behind the ship and did a hike to Cap a l’Aigle viewpoint and then beyond two lakes (Etang Frecker) into the country. Its quite bleak and grey beyond the treeline but the views were great. We then had to do another immigration into Canada to be able to call at St. Johns. St. John’s was much acclaimed by many onboard compared to the previous three ports (more to do, bigger place, more shops) but I’d enjoyed exploring the smaller locations and we had plenty to see and walk. We walked from the ship up Signal Hill and then round on a circular route past Ladies Lookout , Cuckold Bay – where Marconi’s message was received – and into Quidi Vidi village and harbour (very quaint) before heading back to town past the lake. We even manged to find a coffee shop for lunch with live local music – impromptu but fun. It was warmer here but strange to see so many homeless/beggars – including younger girls – they were all polite though. We left Canada at 2pm and then it was three days across the Atlantic. This was our first ocean crossing and we weren’t sure we would find enough to do (that we liked). The first full day was a bit bumpy but realistically it was a very smooth crossing – just grey and cool all the way. It was also quite windy – one day had a 30+knot wind across the deck and the upper decks were all closed for safety. This led to the walkers being inventive (indoors and out) to do their daily exercise! Finally, landfall at Cobh (for Cork). Immigration had to be completed (face to face) onboard before you could go ashore. Cobh is a lovely little place with lots to see, it was the last landfall of the Titanic of course. Cork is a train ride away (the station is next to the ship) but most people decided after their visit it wasn’t worth it – another ‘big city’. It also had a few demonstrations on – one in support of the Palestinians and then a couple both for and against the repeal of the 8th amendment. Next day (Sunday) was Dublin and a chance to see the Book of Kells. I’d booked my tickets online before we left home and it certainly jumped the queue (even at 10am) but it was so busy. Lots of tour groups of course – some of whom didn’t seem that interested… The Trinity College Library is just awesome. Monday was Holyhead (Holy Island off Anglesey) and whilst most of the tours went to North Wales we made the most of the sun and warmth and walked the Anglesey Coastal path – friends went to Treaddur Bay on the bus. The shuttle here was provided by the town and it became swamped at lunchtime (especially as it coincided with a ferry loading for Dublin – traffic jam!). Much better result for the day than we imagined. Then our final half day at sea (working our way round Wales and Cornwall to Portland) so plenty of time to be packed before our trip into Weymouth. The town put on the shuttle again which dropped us near the old port. Again, it was a bit of an issue getting back at peak time, but the sun was shining, and it could have been worse – just a shame there was no drop off near Chesil Beach for a walk. Then overnight into Southampton and the easternmost pier (splendid view of all the cars for export!) and the start of the trip home. Disembarkation was easy and efficient. This was a great itinerary (interesting ports and a mid-Atlantic crossing) spoilt by the weather. We concluded that Marina with her open deck, no covered pool and constrained inside space is not such an appropriate choice where good weather is not guaranteed. I would however love to do these ports in Canada again later in the season when everything was open and active and see the ‘real’ region. Otherwise we enjoyed the cruise and met some interesting people. There were more Brits than usual (about 200 in 1230) but we were still well outnumbered by the North Americans. Quite a few had done the previous voyage as a back to back (from Miami up the eastern seaboard) and some were carrying on for the next voyage down the coast of France and Spain. We had over 800 Oceania Club (past passengers) members onboard and the highest ranking had sailed over 900 days at sea with Oceania. The food was very good although I’m glad to report portion sizes in the speciality restaurants had reduced slightly which I was all in favour of. The Grand Dining Room continued to shine with different menus every day. Many people made use of it for breakfast and lunch too. Afternoon Tea was usually busy and now features ‘special days’ such as Cupcake Tea, Éclair Tea and Chocolate Tea. The Vegan breakfast bar (for smoothies, juices and other non-dairy options) in Waves Grill worked well and I enjoyed the variety on offer. Staff were friendly and helpful although there were one or two small language issues across counters. The Terrace Café buffet was fully served which obviously helps control health issues and food wastage. We also noted toiletries were replaced based on consumption and thus there were times when you ran quite short until the next service; another small cost cutting exercise I presume. Restocking and refuelling seem to occur in various locations throughout the voyage and this seemed to work well as the fresh fruit held to the end (even if the natural Greek yoghurt ran out with three days to go). Rather than take a drinks package we chose the 7-bottle wine package (effectively half a bottle a day) and between that, buying the odd drink and the Captains Cocktail reception (free drinks for all on one evening for a couple of hours) that was more than enough for our requirements on the 15-day sailing. WiFi is available free to all (one item per stateroom) but it was very slow at times – especially on sea days. It also restricts access to streaming and video. You can pay extra for access to such sites – but then access doesn’t guarantee bandwidth to use them! The coffee shop, Baristas, was again well used and seemed a focus of the ship at times. The main crew were Italian females who worked in the mornings (doing service in Toscana in the evening). Other bar staff took the afternoon shift. Behind this is the library and I felt disappointed that there seemed less books than previously (we were on early and went straight there and allowing for the back to backers). I didn’t see that many new books and the shelf labelled New York Times Best Sellers was used for other purposes. The Guest Exchange had also disappeared – people dropped them wherever rather than in the Games Room where the shelf was designated but poorly filled. The Concierge Lounge was nearly always busy, and its coffee machine struggled for a while before breaking down under the strain. Eventually three engineers turned up to replace it with a new one. The Spa Deck to which we have access was used sparingly due to the weather – even some sunny times were closed due to the wind. The new Concierge inclusion of up to three bags of laundry (max. of 20 items per bag) worked well for us although I still did a big self-wash/dry on the last at sea morning so I came home with almost everything clean. This bundled laundry was offered across the ship on some days at a fixed price (circa $25), the launderette is still $4 for a wash and dry. The balcony was not used as much as usual because of the weather conditions but I did use it in port on a few days. Read Less
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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