I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews about the food, plus the total O Choices package made it irresistible. The food experience was uneven. Sometimes the food was very good and sometimes it wasn't that great. For example, specialty dining venues were generally very good, although Jacques lagged the others. The Terrace buffet dining generally had better food than the main dining room, with periodic exceptions. Anything billed as "authentic" probably isn't. For example, New Orleans Style Oysters Rockefeller...... no resemblance to NOLA style anything....same went for the gumbo. If you're going to call it gumbo, please learn how to make an authentic roux. The sashimi at the buffet was always fresh and delish, but the rolls rarely met expectations. Prime rib was always good, salads were VERY good, as were desserts. We ate most of our meals in the Terrace. The Grand Dining Room was a huge disappointment for us. While I didn't get a "bad" meal, sometimes the food was cold and the menu was limited and service was inconsistent, depending on where you were seated. I've been spoiled by Crystal which has an extensive Main Dining Room menu, which is available for room service during regular dining hours.
Baristas was great! Waves was OK, except for the burgers...meat wasn't good...fries were amazing. Smoothie shop was great. We had the wine with lunch and dinner package and while I'd say the wine was drinkable, it wasn't great. Again, I prefer Crystal. I'm not a wine snob...in fact the opposite, but I had a lot of trouble finding wine I liked on Oceania.
Service was generally good, especially in the cabin. Cabin was nice but didn't like the Room Service Menu. After a strenuous day of sight seeing, we often wanted to order Room Service, but the menu was so limited, we often drug ourselves to the Terrace, so we wouldn't have to change clothes. I found this to be an unforgiveable choice. REALLY missed not being able to order a bottle of wine in the cabin to sip on our balcony.
Happy Hour was nice, as was afternoon tea, especially in Horizons. I read complaints about the drinks being weak, but I didn't find that to be the case. They are expensive outside of Happy Hour. Had the best Irish Coffee of my life.
The Library is truly a beautiful place to relax, with overstuffed chairs and little cubbies for quietly reading. It didn't hurt that it was connected to Baristas.
Everything was clean, staff was friendly, and the itinerary and price were right for us. We flew in early and transportation from the airport to our hotel was superb.
Would we choose Oceania again? While I wouldn't rule it out, given the same itinerary, I'd be willing to pay a little extra to be on Crystal for the service and the food....always terrific on both accounts. There's always a choice to make with cruising. We attended none of the shows, which is our general behavior. It's just not our thing. My husband went to the casino once. I didn't use the salon or spa, but my husband got a massage trying to get rid of pain from working out in the gym. Workout facility was fine and what you'd expect on a ship.
I LOVED that there were no formal nights and not one single photographer onboard!! I LOVED that there was outside dining every evening that weather permitted. I liked very much that overall Oceania is less formal than Crystal, although I enjoyed dressing for dinner on Crystal and eating dinner with the same people every evening. We made some good friends. As much as I enjoyed having a totally flexible dining experience, I would gladly trade for the fixed dining hours with seating assignments for the social value.
The excursions I took on Oceania were better, in general, than the excursions I took on Crystal, but that's a very individual thing. There were ports where there was nothing of interest in the port town, but excursions went to the interior and were very interesting and beautiful. Sometimes it's geography...not the cruise line's fault.
Avoid the ship doctor at all costs. People complained about a $1000 bill for a single visit to the sick bay for antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. Common complaint was $25 charge for examination gloves and exorbitant prescription drug costs. If you have trip insurance, make sure it covers doctor fees onboard. :-)
Summary: Oceania would be second choice, while Crystal would be first choice. Haven't traveled on Holland America since they were sold to Carnival. Haven't been on a Carnival Cruise in 20 years...just don't like large ships or mediocre food, at any price. Look forward to trying Paul Gauguin and Silverseas. Didn't hear anything good about Regent from other passengers on this cruise. Cruising is a personal thing....one size doesn't fit all.
Spacious, clean, attractive, comfortable. Experienced no problems sleeping, except in port in Buenos Aires overnight before we sailed. The port noise kept us awake a lot of the night. Bed VERY comfortable. Bathroom lovely and large for a ship. Closet space adequate, although the doors would slide open in rough seas and closet lights would come on....only minor annoyance. Balcony was decent size...we could both sit outside.
Great food in BA. Terrible traffic. Good public transportation, but a little scary. You need to be careful where you go and remain in safe parts of town. Very large city. Lots of green spaces and very walkable, but again, pay attention to recommendations for what to avoid.
I wasn't feeling well. Husband went ashore and enjoyed wandering the open market near the port and ended up playing guitar with some local musicians and buying them beer. He had a great time.
Amazing adventure. Exhausting, exhilarating, reasonably priced.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We enjoyed the tour, especially after exhausting previous tour. Sights were beautiful, narration was excellent and bus was comfortable. We liked Ushuaia. Thought it was a pretty place.View All 94 Tierra del Fuego National Park Reviews
We were wait listed for the Torres del Paine tour and didn't get to go. We were late getting into port because of medical emergency on board. Didn't do much here.
Reasonably priced, small group tour, narration good, included "iffy" lunch. (meat was very tough, dessert was good, lots of food to try...buffet style)View All 6 City Tour Reviews
Highlight of our trip...shopping in the markets, cooking, eating the food, getting all the recipes. I can't say enough how much fun this was. Exhausting, but fun. http://www.chileancuisine.cl/ We made salsa, cerviche, empanadas, meat soup, corn pie, flan, and Pisco Sours. There were only 7 students, plus the instructor. This was worth every penny, every pain (we walked a lot), and every calorie. It could not have been nicer. Thank you Martin and Carolina!View All undefined undefined Reviews