We sailed Oceania's “River Routes and Channel Crossings” aboard Marina from Montreal to Southampton in May and June. In some ways we had a fine trip, but Oceania fell well short of excellence. Checking in, and departing, took only minutes. The ship is pretty from the outside and beautiful inside. Well decorated. Looks nearly brand new. The staterooms are attractive and comfortable, but are poorly designed, with cramped bathrooms and inaccessible storage space. Stewards were excellent. Food ranged from very good to excellent, sometimes superb. Lunch and dinner menus were adequately varied. The breakfast buffet didn't change much and needs enhancement. Scrambled eggs were substandard. Rolls and pastries, while good, were the same every day. Drink prices were somewhat reasonable. Restaurant service was sometimes good, sometimes slow. One evening in the main dining room we could overhear a disagreement between a waiter and a supervisor. Musical entertainment was good. The biggest problem on the cruise was poor planning and poor communication by Oceania. We arrived in one port on a local holiday, with shops and restaurants closed and few taxicabs available. Overall, the destination services desk provided little port information, couldn't answer basic questions, and once fibbed to us about the existence of a hop-on bus. Ship excursions were horribly overpriced. A television system in the staterooms often gave inaccurate information, or no information. Late in the cruise, in very legal language, we were advised that enteritis had infected some on the cruise. We were never told how many people were affected, how ill they were, what was done for them, and how the cruise would change. We noticed little impact. Crew were seen wiping chairs and the passenger laundry was closed, a great inconvenience. We were also told that because of “adverse weather” forecasts and “anticipated” winds and swells, the ports of Holyhead and Guernsey were canceled. Instead, we had a second day and evening in Dublin. Hardly a fair trade. Those two canceled ports were highlights for many passengers. We never did experience bad weather. Passengers were suspicious. Did Oceania include those ports to make the cruise more attractive, knowing that spring weather might very easily make them inaccessible? Did Oceania just want to save money by not cruising? Was Oceania overly cautious? We don't know, but we do know we did not get what we paid for. The captain could have explained things and offered everyone a couple of free drinks. But he was seldom heard from on the trip. Our main information source was a zany cruise director who offered little. She wouldn't even tell me how how many passengers were on the trip. Speculation was that 100 or more cabins were empty. In summation, while we had fun, this cruise could have been so much more. The management at Oceania is changing, and you have to wonder about the future.
Attractive, quiet, but poorly designed. Cramped bathroom, and problems getting to storage space. Door to balcony broke during cruise, and it took three calls and sharp language to convince them to fix it right away.