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First the good: the itinerary was spectacular, and we all had the trip of a lifetime. We also liked the mid-sized ship... It had everything you needed, but was easy to get around. So... Why 3 stars? A bit of background: our group of ten is not new to cruising. We've been (multiple times) on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America... And two of our group has been on Crystal, Azamara, and (yes) Oceania before. And so when the rest of us who had not yet done the "luxury cruise" experience came on board, we were excited to see what the difference would be. Particularly as this cruise was given great promo as the "inaugural" cruise of the newly renovated Insignia ship (the owner was even on board!). So... What's the the difference between Oceania &... let's say Royal Caribbean? What makes oceania "luxury"? Oceania gives you free soda and lattes. And you don't pay extra for the special restaurants (Toscana was by far the best). And a couple of nights they left little presents on our bed (like a small bowl of Turkish taffy). Other than that? I think we all agreed that our experience on Royal Caribbean (and Princess) was BETTER. Those in our party who had cruised with Oceania before, really felt this cruise was not up to par from past ones (I see another reviewer noting that Oceania seems to be slipping). Even though the brochures still show fresh flowers or fruit in the rooms, we had none. The food was good and plentiful, nothing to complain about...but also nothing terribly memorable (with the exception of Toscana). The newly renovated ship had all new decorations, but the beat-up woodwork in the cabin wasn't ever touched up. And they never got the air conditioning right... We were warm every night of the cruise (partially because the only bedding options were duvets). When we asked them to fix it, someone would come in with some instrument, say it was fine, and leave (we heard a lot of complaints about the lack of air conditioning). The schedule for food was that no food was available on board between tea time and dinner. I know.... You eat so much on a cruise, why should that matter? Because a lot of people are coming back on board at that time when in port. If their tour didn't include lunch, or they went out on their own they're hungry. Not having food available (and I mean NO food) during a crucial 1 1/2 hour window seemed wrong. And forget about getting a late-night snack. Everything on this ship (other than bars and casinos) closes early. The one night I went to a show, it like a decent college musical review. Fun, but nothing I needed to go to on another night. The crew? Every other ship I've been on, the crew seems to be happy to have you on board and they go out of their way to serve. Not so on this ship. We all had way too many experiences where crew seemed to be disgruntled, or seem to feel that your request (like asking about a tour at the ship excursions desk!) was too much to ask. Most of us (arriving at different times) had a less-than-stellar experience getting on board. Maybe it was this particular cruise... Perhaps with the owner on board they were all stressed. In any case... It's a cruise. You'll eat good food, have someone clean your room, and visit exotic ports. If Oceania is the only one with the itinerary you want, or if Oceania ends up being the bargain deal because of their free airfare, then by all means go! But don't expect something "above" the rest of the cruise lines.

Great itinerary, but average on-board experience

Insignia Cruise Review by Pickypj

Trip Details
First the good: the itinerary was spectacular, and we all had the trip of a lifetime. We also liked the mid-sized ship... It had everything you needed, but was easy to get around.
So... Why 3 stars?
A bit of background: our group of ten is not new to cruising. We've been (multiple times) on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America... And two of our group has been on Crystal, Azamara, and (yes) Oceania before. And so when the rest of us who had not yet done the "luxury cruise" experience came on board, we were excited to see what the difference would be. Particularly as this cruise was given great promo as the "inaugural" cruise of the newly renovated Insignia ship (the owner was even on board!).
So... What's the the difference between Oceania &... let's say Royal Caribbean? What makes oceania "luxury"? Oceania gives you free soda and lattes. And you don't pay extra for the special restaurants (Toscana was by far the best). And a couple of nights they left little presents on our bed (like a small bowl of Turkish taffy). Other than that? I think we all agreed that our experience on Royal Caribbean (and Princess) was BETTER.
Those in our party who had cruised with Oceania before, really felt this cruise was not up to par from past ones (I see another reviewer noting that Oceania seems to be slipping). Even though the brochures still show fresh flowers or fruit in the rooms, we had none. The food was good and plentiful, nothing to complain about...but also nothing terribly memorable (with the exception of Toscana). The newly renovated ship had all new decorations, but the beat-up woodwork in the cabin wasn't ever touched up. And they never got the air conditioning right... We were warm every night of the cruise (partially because the only bedding options were duvets). When we asked them to fix it, someone would come in with some instrument, say it was fine, and leave (we heard a lot of complaints about the lack of air conditioning). The schedule for food was that no food was available on board between tea time and dinner. I know.... You eat so much on a cruise, why should that matter? Because a lot of people are coming back on board at that time when in port. If their tour didn't include lunch, or they went out on their own they're hungry. Not having food available (and I mean NO food) during a crucial 1 1/2 hour window seemed wrong. And forget about getting a late-night snack. Everything on this ship (other than bars and casinos) closes early. The one night I went to a show, it like a decent college musical review. Fun, but nothing I needed to go to on another night. The crew? Every other ship I've been on, the crew seems to be happy to have you on board and they go out of their way to serve. Not so on this ship. We all had way too many experiences where crew seemed to be disgruntled, or seem to feel that your request (like asking about a tour at the ship excursions desk!) was too much to ask. Most of us (arriving at different times) had a less-than-stellar experience getting on board. Maybe it was this particular cruise... Perhaps with the owner on board they were all stressed.
In any case... It's a cruise. You'll eat good food, have someone clean your room, and visit exotic ports. If Oceania is the only one with the itinerary you want, or if Oceania ends up being the bargain deal because of their free airfare, then by all means go! But don't expect something "above" the rest of the cruise lines.
Pickypj’s Full Rating Summary
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