Just 7 months ago I was on the Riviera and had noticed Oceania had slipped in almost every area since the 4 cruises I had previously with them. But now the Riviera has slipped out of "luxury cruises" into the mainstream. For the same money, I have been far happier in a full suite on Princess.
We embarked in Barcelona easily and our concierge level room on deck # 10 was clean all week because of an excellent room steward. However the extra square footage seems wasted. It didn't seem any larger than a regular room on another line.
Dining has suffered in the last year. Three specialty restaurants were excellent (Toscana the best) accounting for 4 of our meals but the wife was sick from something she had at Red Ginger during our last day in Santorini. The MDR was pathetic. Poor service and a ordinary selection of firsts, entrees and desserts continue to defy the talk of this being a "foodie cruise" The buffet has the same breakfast for 10 days straight. The breakfast in your cabin for Concierge people was actually quite good. Lunch and dinner up there was OK but the Terrace Cafe has the world's worst coffee. Even the lattes were cold or weak. The only alternative was to hike up to the barista on the 14th floor.
Entertainment? Activities? While I did enjoy the $69 cooking course on last cruise, this had only 1 sea day. There was no activities. The casino was empty all the time.
The entertainment is truly awful. The comedian was so bad the 1st night, I didn't meet a single person who saw him the 2nd. A small troupe of singers and dancers tried but its clear this is not an Oceania priority.
Shore excursions are always a thorn in the side of an Oceania guest. Wanting to spend the OBC I thought I had, I signed up for a visit to 3 medieval villages and a tour in Santorini labelled Windmills and Akritori. The 1st did 2 villages then we were left in a run down area of some city to look at cheap ceramics for way too long. The 2nd was a nice tour of an ancient Minoan town but as to the windmills, the guide pointed to 1 about 800 yards away and that was it. They dumped us of at the bottom of a very steep hill, gave us a ticket to get down on a gondola and said goodbye. After a very steep climb we were confronted with a 2 hour wait to get off the cliff. I should mention that Oceania charges 50% than other lines for the same excursions. Most passengers I talked too were not happy with their excursions either.
More hidden funnies. All items in the shops had a 20% tax added on. Similarly so did drinks and wine. Example. A $10 bottle at home would be about $50 on board. The and 18% for tip and 20% for Spain--for the entire cruise! There was no warning about this at all. That is an extra $19 a bottle! My suggestion is that when you go to France or Italy, buy a great bottle on shore and pay the $25 corkage at dinner or just savor the wine in the room and take a glass with you without the charge.
More funnies. I bought the cruise with the O-Life option which included $600 of OBC and free internet, a $279 value. After coming back from my 1st shore excursion and trying to get online, I was told I had neither. After producing the papers to prove otherwise over and over. I was told they had to e-mail Miami head office. 4 times I tried, 4 times the head office denied the obvious. The purser is not allowed to phone head office. (or think for herself). With only 48 hours left in the cruise, I found a small card on my bed after dinner that I had $600. No call, no explanation. And little to spend it on. Champagne for the house? Back down to see the nodding fools and I was told still no internet and a credit of any sort is out of the question.
I cannot tell if the takeover by NCL has anything to do with this but the bean counters have been busy and it is not good. Sadly, this was my 6th and probably last cruise with Oceania.