Background: We are veteran cruisers and travelers. This was our 27th cruise, our 7th cruise on Oceania and our first cruise that included ports in Brazil, including a week on the Amazon river. It was our longest cruise to date (22 days). Our primary reasons for cruising on Oceania are their unique itineraries and destinations. Our cruise was re-booked in its entirety right at final payment time to take advantage of the O-Life benefits (excursions, beverage package, internet, shipboard credit). I have some minor mobility issues but these are usually not a concern on the ship or in most of the ports we visited.
Pre-Cruise package: We arranged for our own air using miles and flew into Rio De Janeiro on United airlines, arriving November 15. We booked the pre-cruise hotel package through Oceania, which was very expensive, but probably worth the cost in this city. The hotel was the JW Marriott on Copacabana Beach, a very nice hotel with good service and views of the beach. We had two excellent half-day tours with a great guide (Licia) and enjoyed the area and restaurants around Copacabana beach. The transfers were also professionally done.
Embarkation and ship: We embarked on Insignia on November 19. The embarkation process was quick and efficient. Insignia is one of the "R" ships in the Oceania fleet and is the oldest. The ship definitely showed its age in various areas, included outdated carpeting and furnishings, barely readable elevator buttons, old signs for ship areas by and on the elevators, etc. The art is uninteresting for the most part. Although we have been on the sister ships Nautica and Regatta and also noticed some outdated and worn infrastructure, it was the most prominent on this ship. Other passengers also noted and commented on the infrastructure.
Great location, forward on the port side and not far from the forward elevators. Very quiet. Small but comfortable room. Couch does not hold two people. Bed was very comfortable and the small bathroom was usually kept clean and serviceable. Lots of storage areas. Small balcony, but nice to sit out on and watch the ocean and river.
We have been to San Juan many times and elected not to exit the ship (except for the Customs and Immigration face-to-face). Old town is quite nice.