This was my first cruise with Oceania. It did not start well. I made the reservation and was told all kinds of stuff like how they would coordinate with me on Airline reservations (more in a minute), insurance, and freebees.
They never called about the airline reservations. They booked me out of a gateway 5 hours away on a day I didn't want to travel. They had me arriving in Stockholm about 4 hours before sailing. That by itself is really stupid. You never get over the jet lag as we were in port 9 of the 10 days.
They finally rebooked my flight for 1 day earlier, not 2 that I wanted, from my home airport for only a $500.00 extra charge. I had gotten a very good hotel rate for 2 nights. And when I tried to change it to 1 night, they were going to charge me more than the 2 night rate. So I cancelled the hotel and went somewhere else. It was still more than my 2 night rate.
I found the office staff annoying and not very customer service oriented. They had some bad attitudes. It was not enjoyable dealing with them ever!
Fortunately, the shipboard experience was far better. My wife and I have sailed around 20 times each. Most were on Princess and Celebrity. On those lines, we always had our cruise cards on lanyards as you had to use them for everything under the sun. Except for a few drinks we had in the dining room, we never used them except for leaving and returning to the ship.
The on-boarding process was pretty easy. We waited in line outside for maybe 30 minutes as we moved thru security. we checked in on the ship with a lot of helpers. It took only a couple of minutes.
The food was some better than Princess and Celebrity. Dinner was anytime, anywhere (if you had a reservation). Specialty restaurants were all included ant no extra charge. The food was good. Some of the choices were strange for those of us with plebian palates. But pretty tasty.
Also included was gratuities and internet along with either shipboard credit or a number of free tours. We took the credit and used it for massages. There's not much to buy but some high end stuff of which we already have too much. The little things like free shuttles and free water, while not terribly expensive, are included. Sure you pay for it but you are not nickeled and dimed to death making it feel you're at Motel 6.
Included were the possibility of 6 free tours. These were shortish tours of perhaps 31/2 to 5 hours. Tours in the Baltics were fairly boring. The highlight was 3 days in Russia. We did a private 3 day tour -- 2 in St Petersburg and one in Moscow. The middle day in Moscow was grueling. We started at 5 am, took a high speed train to Moscow that took 4 hours. The weather was awful--cold and rainy. Not much you can do about that. Our guide was young, very smart, but didn't know how to walk and talk out of the rain. It made the day uncomfortable for sure. We barely made the train for the 4 hour journey back. Got home at 12:30.
The kicker was that we paid $650 for all 3 days. Oceania charged $1,450 for the one day in Moscow. Youch!
There weren't a lot of daily activities as we were in port every day but one.
The staff and service were something the other cruise lines need to copy. The service was nothing short of excellent and their attitudes were pretty much we're happy you are here.
Sure, they are expensive but cheaper than the highest end cruises and much more than Princess and Celebrity. But, as they say, you get what you pay for! We will more than likely do another cruise with Oceania.
Smallish by all standards. But there was plenty of storage space. Having a full size tub and separate shower was very nice. None of the bathroom was prefab. It was all nice grey tile. Very classy.
The guide was very smart but a bit boring. The one amazing thing to see was the mechanical clock in the church that is so complex and gives so much information. It was designed and constructed in the 1600s. And it still works!View All undefined undefined Reviews
Not much here. Seemed like a throw away port.
Had a good day wandering around Helsinki. Some nice architecture.
We walked around town for a few hours and had a good time. Met a bike tour guide and spent some time talking to him. Very interesting young man.