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The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Devil's Island, Martinique,St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados). On the second leg, we went to Brazil (Belem, Forteleza, Recife, Natal), then transatlantic to Sao Tome, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Namibia, ending at Cape Town, South Africa. The food was very good, better quality than Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian. The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money. The evening entertainment was week, with several comedians doing ancient sexist material. (Wonder how the many gay and lesbian cruisers liked it.) The enrichment staff was good!. The geologist on the first leg was great, as was the photographer. Both were very helpful and interacted with the passengers. On the second leg, we had a former naval Commander, who lectured on naval and historical issues, then lectured on all the exotic ports of call. The astronomer was interesting and well prepared, and on nights with any kind of visibility, arranged for evening viewing, with nearly all lights on the top deck turned off. We had the same photographer on the second leg and, unfortunately, there was a lot of repetition from the first leg. All in all, the enrichment staff was helpful. All the staff on board were helpful and pleasant. Andy and Tammy Heard were wonderful, as was John, who worked for Tammy. The person in charge of the Internet was wonderful, the best I have seen on any ship. The systems were managed very well, and I am particular about network performance, having been a Computer Science department chair. (Unfortunately, In forgot her name.) Unfortunately, the shore excursion staff was not well trained and the front office staff need some work also. The problems seem worse in the headquarters in Miami. It took forever to get materials sent to us from HQ and the initial arrangements were absurd. We were met at the Miami airport and told to wait in a particular area. We waited for about two hours, with no food, and there was no food at the waiting area at the ship terminal, where we waited a considerable time. This delay can be difficult for older passengers, like many of the ones on this cruise. The entertainment in the waiting area was nice, however. There were quality issues also with the shore excursions. While we were warned in both orally and in writing that tour guides in Africa would not be certified and buses were of limited quality, we only encountered one bus without AC. In Belem, Brazil, a double-decker tour bus had only static on its speakers. No refund was given, even when I played a few minutes of static for the excursion manager. The tenders from Belem could not tie up back at the ship due to high tides on the Amazon (which I understand are typical in the area in the early afternoon). When we got back to the dock, we were asked to get on a much larger "party boat" that tried to take us back. The cheap plastic chairs kept tipping over, and I had to keep many people from falling. The "party boat" left the dock with a gunwale left wide open, and I was glad to get back uninjured. One passenger was hit in the head when a flimsy lock on a flimsier door opened and the door hit her head. She was hospitalized for several days but was able to rejoin the ship soon after. It is clear that the safety of water travel in Belem was never examined by Oceania staff when planning this itinerary. (Lots of robberies in Belem - I know three people who were pushed to the ground by muggers wanting jewelry, purses, and purses. I would never go back to Belem, although I really liked the other stops in Brazil, Fortaleza, Natal, and Recife. (In Bonaire, we encountered a bus with only jump seats available. Ridiculous, especially given the age of many on the cruise. The money for that one was refunded.) To add insult to injury, we were never able to get the advertised discount for the "Your World Collection shore excursion package." The shore excursion manager said we could only sign up for excursions on the first leg, with excursions on the second leg from Barbados to Cape Town only available during that leg. We took more than the advertised minimum of 10 excursions but their leg-by-leg policy led to us not getting the advertised reduced price. My preferred credit card, which I have used tor 30+ cruises previously was repeatedly denied because the onboard spending for gratuities et al keep getting rejected because bills came in to my bank from Ireland and several other locations that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling to. The front office staff seemed unconcerned about resubmitting charges and keeping me informed of the status of the payment. They then got nasty, treating me as a deadbeat. Finally, I used another credit card, at great inconvenience to myself. Guest Relations at Oceania did respond lamely to my written complaint. I am still waiting for a response from the cruise line president - it has only been six months. The good news is that I am getting lots of Oceania ads!

Problems at HQ and Shore Excursions; Avoid Belem

Insignia Cruise Review by BRon

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2016
  • Destination: Trans-Ocean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise.

On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Devil's Island, Martinique,St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados).

On the second leg, we went to Brazil (Belem, Forteleza, Recife, Natal), then transatlantic to Sao Tome, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Namibia, ending at Cape Town, South Africa.

The food was very good, better quality than Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian.

The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money.

The evening entertainment was week, with several comedians doing ancient sexist material. (Wonder how the many gay and lesbian cruisers liked it.)

The enrichment staff was good!. The geologist on the first leg was great, as was the photographer. Both were very helpful and interacted with the passengers.

On the second leg, we had a former naval Commander, who lectured on naval and historical issues, then lectured on all the exotic ports of call. The astronomer was interesting and well prepared, and on nights with any kind of visibility, arranged for evening viewing, with nearly all lights on the top deck turned off. We had the same photographer on the second leg and, unfortunately, there was a lot of repetition from the first leg. All in all, the enrichment staff was helpful.

All the staff on board were helpful and pleasant. Andy and Tammy Heard were wonderful, as was John, who worked for Tammy. The person in charge of the Internet was wonderful, the best I have seen on any ship. The systems were managed very well, and I am particular about network performance, having been a Computer Science department chair. (Unfortunately, In forgot her name.)

Unfortunately, the shore excursion staff was not well trained and the front office staff need some work also. The problems seem worse in the headquarters in Miami.

It took forever to get materials sent to us from HQ and the initial arrangements were absurd.

We were met at the Miami airport and told to wait in a particular area. We waited for about two hours, with no food, and there was no food at the waiting area at the ship terminal, where we waited a considerable time. This delay can be difficult for older passengers, like many of the ones on this cruise. The entertainment in the waiting area was nice, however.

There were quality issues also with the shore excursions. While we were warned in both orally and in writing that tour guides in Africa would not be certified and buses were of limited quality, we only encountered one bus without AC. In Belem, Brazil, a double-decker tour bus had only static on its speakers. No refund was given, even when I played a few minutes of static for the excursion manager.

The tenders from Belem could not tie up back at the ship due to high tides on the Amazon (which I understand are typical in the area in the early afternoon). When we got back to the dock, we were asked to get on a much larger "party boat" that tried to take us back. The cheap plastic chairs kept tipping over, and I had to keep many people from falling. The "party boat" left the dock with a gunwale left wide open, and I was glad to get back uninjured. One passenger was hit in the head when a flimsy lock on a flimsier door opened and the door hit her head. She was hospitalized for several days but was able to rejoin the ship soon after. It is clear that the safety of water travel in Belem was never examined by Oceania staff when planning this itinerary. (Lots of robberies in Belem - I know three people who were pushed to the ground by muggers wanting jewelry, purses, and purses. I would never go back to Belem, although I really liked the other stops in Brazil, Fortaleza, Natal, and Recife.

(In Bonaire, we encountered a bus with only jump seats available. Ridiculous, especially given the age of many on the cruise. The money for that one was refunded.)

To add insult to injury, we were never able to get the advertised discount for the "Your World Collection shore excursion package." The shore excursion manager said we could only sign up for excursions on the first leg, with excursions on the second leg from Barbados to Cape Town only available during that leg. We took more than the advertised minimum of 10 excursions but their leg-by-leg policy led to us not getting the advertised reduced price.

My preferred credit card, which I have used tor 30+ cruises previously was repeatedly denied because the onboard spending for gratuities et al keep getting rejected because bills came in to my bank from Ireland and several other locations that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling to. The front office staff seemed unconcerned about resubmitting charges and keeping me informed of the status of the payment. They then got nasty, treating me as a deadbeat. Finally, I used another credit card, at great inconvenience to myself.

Guest Relations at Oceania did respond lamely to my written complaint. I am still waiting for a response from the cruise line president - it has only been six months.

The good news is that I am getting lots of Oceania ads!
BRon’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View
Cabin C2 3017
The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money. Using the shelf in front of the porthole was convenient. Being on a lower deck made the ship's motion easy to handle until we his a rough sea day.
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews