This would be our fifth time we have sailed with Oceania, our other four cruises have been on Riviera, but we wanted to try the old “R” ship.
We knew before we sailed what the ship would be like in relation to the configuration as we have also sailed with Azamara.
We flew from Manchester to Malta to join the ship and had booked transfers thorough Malta Transfers, the taxi driver was waiting for us at arrivals, the only thing that went wrong was he dropped us off at the wrong place for the embarkation.
We felt that there was not enough Oceania staff around to tell you where to go for embarkation, in fact we saw one person. When we eventually got on the ship it was very easy, but there must have been about 10 check in personnel doing nothing, why were they not reemployed to show customers where to check in.
Overall we thought that Oceania had made a reasonable job of the refurbishment, we were in an obstructed view cabin on deck 6 which was convenient to most of the ship. The cabin being small, which we knew would be, but the bathroom had not been refurbished at all. The shower screen was very badly marked and there were about four or five hooks that you could not use because they had been smashed at some time. The bed was obviously new as was the carpet. We had two very good cabin stewards, a lady and a man.
The food around the ship was very good, not as good as Riviera, we thought, the only negative we could give here is that the food in all venues was not hot. Every night we asked the waiters could our main course be hot, we achieved this only once in the MDR, a great waiter called Alexander from Russia, he said yes I also like hot food. This is one failing we find with Oceania and even after asking they still cannot get this right.
Reservations in the speciality restaurants again were not what you know but who you know. We were told that they were fully booked all cruise, but the two times we got reservations there were tables that were empty all evening. Yes don’t say that they could have been booked and the people did not turn up, because they say they only hold a reservation for 15 minutes after your time.
The one night we went to Tuscon Steak the couple in front of us were greeted by the Head Waiter and his comment was, Good Evening Mr and Mrs ***** I have saved your usual table by the window?
Overall service again was much hit and miss, in fact one night we went to a bar and sat for 10 minutes and there were no waiters to order drinks from. We eventually went to the bar ordered our drinks and they sat on the bar, we went and picked them up and took them back to the table, and yes you pay 18% gratuity for the pleasure of serving yourself. We then went to the MDR and ordered a bottle of wine, and at 57.45 Euros we thought it was not cheap, the wine waiter came opened the bottle and served a little amount to us, we never saw her again all evening, if we need our glass refilled we did it ourselves, again 18% gratuity was added for the pleasure.
The shows were very good and we really like the production shows.
Unfortunately we had children onboard, now don’t get me wrong, we have grandchildren ourselves, but some of them did not know how to behave. Three boys about 8 or 9 years old ruled the pool deck most afternoons, this is where Oceania falls down, and there was no policing of the pool deck.
One afternoon we had the boys firing water cannons into the pool, another day they were jumping from the Jacuzzi into the pool, they could have easily hurt themselves.
They were even in the Jacuzzi and it clearly states that they were not allowed unless they had an adult with them, but no adults could be seen, they were just left to run riot.
Even after many passengers complained to reception, nothing was done, they need a deck officer or someone in charge to oversee what was happening.
This was a very bad reflection on Oceania, for first time cruisers, they may think that this was the norm.
Even the pool waiters were getting fed up with them, one day the staff took away the bats and balls on the ping pong table as the boys were stamping on the balls and destroying the bats.
We had changes to the ports of calls, two in fact, we were told that we could not go into Monte Carlo as it was too windy, but we also found out that on the same day the new Regent ship was being christened, now what was the truth.
I seems that my review is quite negative, but overall we had a good cruise and will cruise again with Oceania, due to the many staff that were wonderful, it is such a shame that the few staff can be so surly and not helpful and it does cloud your judgment.
Overall a very good cabin to get around the ship. Very close to stairs and elevators.