We picked Oceania because friends had commented that its food was among the best of all cruise lines. That wasn't our experience, especially compared with Silver Seas.
When the ship set sail from Lima, it was already loaded with sick crew and a few sick passengers. Code Red, Level 2 CDC precautions were in place. Some public areas were closed but others weren't and that made no sense. Why weren't books available from the library, when common slot machines touched by countless were?
My husband was one who came down with Influenza A symptoms soon after boarding. I was healthy but we were both understandably quarantined - first, for 48 hrs. and then ultimately for 72 hours. No sympathy from room service, who refused us ice until I complained to the nurse and she finally called room service and authorized our getting ice. No books or magazines, until I finally insisted that the front desk "ask via e-mail to other passengers if some would be willing to part with read books or magazines that they wouldn't need to have returned." With my threatening to leave the room if the front desk didn't at least try to get me some reading material, I got four magazines. And later I was told that the front desk person who did that for me was chastised for doing so.
The nurse asked how I, the healthy one, was feeling each day she checked via phone, on my husband. I remained healthy, only to come down with his symptoms at the very end of the cruise. Upon returning to our home in the states, my own physician said they should have started me on prophylactic meds when they treated my husband. I might possibly have not gotten sick. There was no sympathy, no concern for our well-being, just lots of emphasis to not leave our room under any circumstances. And, after asking three times, my husband still couldn't get the lab work from the doctor that was performed when they examined him before our quarantine. They said it was expensive. I call that pretty stinking service. Really, the cost of photocopying existing reports?!?!?!?
The best service was from the bar staff/bartenders and the cabin cleaners. They were always pleasant and helpful. The cruise director was upbeat and fun, too. But scratch the rest of the crew. And why no onboard talks to tell us of our upcoming destinations, something of the local culture, flora, fauna, history, archaeology? Nada, except for a great onboard guide through the Panama Canal, the only real plus on the whole 16 day journey.
On one excursion the rainforest guide couldn't point out one medicinal plant or tree; he didn't bother to look for animals, either, we just walked to the pools and I might have well stayed at home and watched a Nature program, for what I got from this tour.
Harvest Caye is still under development, that is, commercial development. No real fish nor birds to see; most of the manatees, if there were any there at one time, were probably relocated or injured in the building of the man made island. It has the "Disney" feel, which is good I guess, if you want to zip line, but not for much else. Why pay extra for a private cabana with a butler in this area??? I did enjoy the placid waters and beach for bathing in the sun and swimming a bit. But there was no decent snorkeling there, a shame.
Our room never got really cool; we should have complained, but since we were "trained to not expect much" after the initial quarantined time in our cabin, we didn't say anything.
Back to food: who seriously puts corn flakes in a smoothie? And when I told the chef in the Italian restaurant that the veal piccata was a bit tough and not lemony enough, he blamed the cooking on "corporate's mandated direction." Wow, do they not have their act together.
He made me feel bad for giving feedback.
I did really like the fitness center and the spa, and when the library was open, it as well. The library was charming, cool and not crowded. The ship size was good, neither so big that I felt like a sardine stuffed in a can, nor so small that amenities weren't available. But I do wish service had been emphasized, and more care had been taken in the excursion choices and in our having an onboard lecturer to tell us what was in store. Seeing just the excursions on a poor-reception TV wasn't the way to go. And the weather forecast and the ship's location on the cabin TVs were always wrong - outdated or nonexistent.
I won't/we won't travel Oceania Cruises again. Ever.