This was our 6th cruise in the last 8 years. Three cruises have been on Celebrity and 3 on Oceania. First let me say that we have had good experiences on both. However, up until this last cruise I would have put Oceania in a clear higher category of service. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.
If you had never traveled when it was the "Original" Oceania, you would probably be quite satisfied with some things still clearly superior. -Particularly the embarkation and debarkation process.- It is well organized and not the barely controlled chaos we experienced on Celebrity.
We picked this cruise primarily for the itinerary and were not disappointed. We liked the room and the size of the ship and the food was pretty much the same as always. Good, but not markedly better than Celebrity. We also liked the all inclusive program, rather than having to pull out our stateroom card every time we wanted a soft drink, etc.
But....and here's the "but", the feel of the experience has changed. They have gone from a start up business where it seemed everybody was doing their best to make it "the best" to a business that is a line on a corperate spread sheet.
Before the service was extraordinary. Now the service is adequate. Before the crew seemed happy. Now, not so much. Our butler did the bare minimum. He brought in breakfast three mornings and would hardly engage in conversation and when we called him to see if we could change a restaurant reservation time, he didn't even return the call. I asked if I could get more hangers and he told me to ask the maid.....you get the idea...
On this cruise we never saw the Captain ....although, I am fairly sure we had one....and we only saw the cruise director in passing. On a cruise on Marina in the summer of 2015, we saw the Captain and his family, the cruise director Dottie and her husband the comedian and they were all engaged and doing their best to make it a great experience. Our butler asked us on more than one occasion if there wasn't more he could do for us.
Passengers sat in the lounges and restaurants talking about how many Oceania cruises they had been on and how great the experience was. If I remember correctly our stateroom card had printed on it how many cruises we had been on. Back then on the final night there was a special show at the end. The Captain came on stage and regonized the crew and told who was leaving on vacation etc., and it always ended in everybody singing Auld Lang Syne and dancing in the aisles. Ok, so maybe it was a bit Hokey, but it was fun. This time they ran a movie the last night.
I almost forgot....the entertainment. I would have to say with the exception of a singer from England, I would pass entirely. I think the accountants must have really sharpened their pencils and decided that was a place money could be saved.
Look I understand, I am an accountant by trade and I realize when Norwegian bought Oceania they went through and made changes to increase profitability. That's to be expected, but you can't blame a girl for being whistful. I enjoyed the personal touchs. Would I sail on Oceania again...probably, but my choice will be driven more by itenrary than by brand loyalty.
In general it was good. However, the vanity mirror had been broken and the wires had electrical tape covering them.