This was our third cruise with Oceania and having experienced Riviera we were a little concerned at how we would enjoy such a long cruise on a small ship. Overall we had a great time, with the food outstanding as ever in the Grand Dining Room, Toscana, Polo Grill and the wonderful Terrace Cafe. The staff were outstanding, and they really made our trip. We loved the itinerary, too, though there were too many ports in South Africa (East London and Richards Bay should be dropped, surely only there to sell more of their second rate excursions) and I would like more ports in wonderful Madagascar to replace them. The best entertainment consisted of four culinary demonstrations led by Executive Chef Joerg Becker which were great fun.
Entertainment was otherwise mediocre, though the Nautica Singers were wonderful, not only putting on a number of live shows but also ever present throughout the ship and interested in all the passengers. The Cruise Director I felt could have been a lot more effective, he was more an organiser than a people person and was rarely seen around the ship. The "enrichment" lecturers were on board for the whole cruise and did 5 lectures each. One was on astronomy (interesting, but not what we came on a cruise to learn about) and the other on Africa in general - quite interesting but not very well delivered.
The real disappointment was the Destination Services department. Oceania excursions are extremely overpriced, and by all accounts from those that had booked a package, very mediocre in content. What was completely lacking was any information on ports for those that did not book excursions. With Princess we have always enjoyed presentation on each port a couple of days before arrival, however Oceania seem to have a policy that if you don't book with them we don't tell you anything at all. So my advice here is not to book the excursions, and to do your homework on ports in advance. Pretty well everywhere you can find a decent taxi driver on arrival to do a 4-5 hour tour for between $60 and $100 US dollars per car. Oceania excursions range typically from about $150 - $300 per person, though there are some cheaper and some more expensive.
Our (concierge veranda) cabin was well appointed but small (and the shower tiny). We were fine with it, though a few people we met did complain. The service from our room attendant was impeccable. Laundry was rather expensive for a cruise ship, though on this longer cruise they twice offered a special deal of up to 24 items washed and folded (not ironed) for $24.95 which was great value. Had we known in advance we would have avoided our first (expensive) laundry wash.
One last tip - avoid the stern when booking a cabin and also when eating in the Grand Dining Room - the ship vibrates and judders quite a lot on the lower decks when underway.
Overall - we will cruise Oceania again, but hope for better entertainment and enrichment, beware of their excursions and do our homework on ports in advance.
Nicely finished, quite cramped as these cabins are on all the R-class ships. The concierge level upgrade is not really worth it.