Reviewers are 65 yrs old and married, 40+ cruises on 12 lines including 7 on Oceania.
Overview: Over the last several years under multiple owners Oceania has fallen from a premiere line to a line without identity. Under the holding company the food and service dropped to extremely low levels. The food budget has been noticeably restored by NCL, and so has the friendliness, but the service is very poor particularly in the dinning rooms where the numbers and training level is about as low as it gets in the industry right now.
Dining: See above. While the food budget is better than a year ago; however, the French Chefs are gone and there is a German cook. The drop in quality preparation from the original Oceania line could also be associated with the quality and numbers of assistant chefs remaining. Suffice to say, food is no longer the reason to take this line, and it once was the best reason.
The Ship: The so-called R-ships are some of the nicest with only 650 passengers and a beautiful design. Oceania has 3 of the 8 R-ships. The ship is well maintained and extremely enjoyable.
Entertainers: They were very good except for the comedian. The string quartet was excellent. The show performers were very talented and their shows were exceptional.
Itinerary: Very good and well managed.
Enrichment series: Unfortunately the gentleman giving these lectures was neither a gifted speaker nor an organized lecturer which was unfortunate because his knowledge of history was fairly good.
Service: The service staff was extremely limited in number in the key food service areas and their skill/training was noticeably below historic Oceania levels. Cabin staff were very good and efficient; although, you out of the room early or you room was not made up until afternoon.
Future of Oceania: They announced at the the party for loyalty members that they were delighted to have these five new Oceania ships in the NCL fleet, so I think that covers where the line is headed. NCL is the only major line we have never taken because we have always been discouraged to do so by virtually everyone who has taken it. When Carnival buys a line like Seabourn or Cunard it tries to keep that fact as unapparent as possible and maintain some pretense of a quality line while reducing service to increase it shareholders demands for more profits. NCL is hiding nothing.
Value: To be fair, I booked this near the sailing with heavy discounts and then took the offered options the day before sailing to get a balcony upgrade. I paid no more for the balcony stateroom for 12 days than I would have paid on a mass market line, so the value for me was very good; however, if you want to book a balcony or suite at regular rates, Seabourn, Silver seas, and other premium lines would be cheaper and definitely better in my opinion.
Shore excusions: This is always a large profit item for the line and I am happy so many people supply that profit, but some the excursions was unbelievably expensive. We rented a car with another couple and did the exact same Plantation Tour in Charleston that the ship offered. We paid an average of $38 per person and the ship tour was $180 per person and of course took an extra 1.5 hours because of organizing the group and getting everyone on and off buses.
All balcony rooms are the same floor plan regardless of level. This one is unique because it looks straight forward which interesting, but more sound coming into ports getting lines out. This far forward can be very rough in even modest seas. We like that but this was a bit much.