Oceania is well-known as the upper premium class cruise line with excellent gourmet food. indeed, the appearance of the buffet restaurant could compete with fine dining serviced restaurants on other vessels. The food was really extremely "dangerous" with a high extra-weight-potential. You could tell just by looking at the ingedients: lemon sole, finest filet, mussels, prawns.
The passenger mix was too mono-national for me. The majority US citizens, a few Aussies, very few europeans. Since I'm in my fifties I felt way too young for this kind of ship, I estimate the average age of passengers at 73+.
The service was excellent, the cabin steward knew our complicated family name in a second and always addressed us by our name when we met her on the corridor. When you put down the cutlery in the buffet or serviced restaurant it took only seconds and the dish was taken away, just amazing! I liked the type of a smaller vessel a lot. Everything seemed to be so familiar, then I found out: have been sailing on Ocean Princess, one of the other Renaissance Class ships before!
The cabin's interior was very classic. Dark wooden furniture, surprisingly spacy, a wide gap between lower end of the beds and the couch / desk, but the bathroom was very small. A lot of passengers complain about too small bathrooms. Those with a few extra pounds might have problems to get along with this. Shower with curtain. Flat small TV with DVD player, a selection of a few hundred DVD is available for free at guest services counter. Lighting was a bit nerve wrecking, since there were 3 switches at the sides of the bed and it happened often that you switched on the general lighting instead ob bedside light. A/C worked without draft or noise. Internet wasn't available neither wire or wifi in the cabin, public spaces only, and very slow and extremely expensice - not state of the art any more: you pay by minute. Beds were comfortable. cosy mattress and duvet, maybe even a bit too "warm" (thick). Excellent cabin steward service.
The "terminal" was a tent. We arrived at the terminal by public transport, took the subway from the airport and then a bus. It was easy to get there. Surprisingly, we only needed to show our passports, no printed ticket was necessary. Cruise cards were given in the nautica lounge, photo taken - all these thing that usually take place in cruise terminals.
Helsinki port was very nice, a complimentary bus shuttle was provided.
Tallinn has an "easy"cruise port. If you don't have any walking disabilities, take a stroll from the ship to the city and Tallinn's downtown area is a gem. Fantastic architecture, hanseatic history and wonderful sights. If you're travelling during peak season and your vessel or whatever mean of transportation takes you to Tallinn early, try to get there very early, preferably before 10 a.m., afterwards, the city will be very crowded in summer. Do not miss to have a cake / pastry and some coffee at the oldest café in the city. Maiasmokk on Pikk 16 (street name), you can't miss it. These pastries are still better than what you find on Oceania's ships, promised!
A free bus shuttle was provided to Stockholm city center. At our day of visit a big bike race was held there, so many streets were not accessable for the bus, the driver was very flexible, made a few phone calls and could alter the stop / pickup location very quickly. What a fantastic and lovely city. Do not miss to take the bus/boat hop on hop off ticket and enjoy this great place. Take a stroll through Gamla Stan (Old Town), these alleys are way to small for buses and you won't see a ot from a bus. Stop at some café and enjoy excellent coffee and pastry or some hearty Smörrebröd (buttered bread with crabs or whatever you prefer)
Visby unfortunately was a veeeery short stop, all on board was 12:30 or so, and due to very rainy weather we stayed on board.
The port's name is WARNEMUNDE! Berlin is 3 hours away and does not have a sea port. Many of our fellow cruisers took the tour to Berlin, so they spent about 6 hours on the highway. Thankfully the stop was very long, arrived at early morning, departure at 9 p.m., so there was plenty of time. We took the local train to Rostock downtown. Warnemunde is part of Rostock, it's the sea port. Both Warnemunde and Rostock downtown are looovely. It you'd prefer to skip the stressful Berlin trip, then both places have plenty to offer and you can spend the entire day there. Cosy place with lots of Gemutlichkeit :-)
Kiel, the capital of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, was NOT a port of call. We were cuising the Kiel-Canal, in german named "Nord-Ostsee-Kanal" (means: North-Baltic-Sea-Canal). The weather was constantly changing: foggy, rainy, sunny, and repeating. The locks were interesting and some locals were gathering at the lock's side to watch our vessel move through.
What a city! The cruise terminal is conveniently located close to the main railway station "Centraalstation", walkable. It it's your first time in Amsterdam, try to explore the city buy boat. The "Lovers" fleet and the green boats offer hop on hop off services both. I recommend to take the red and the blue tour both, hop off at the Rijksmuseum and enjoy the world-famous pieces of art like Rembrandt's Night Watch. Marvellous Museum, recently renovated, modern, spacy, luxurious, you will enjoy that place. If exhausted, take a coffee and cheese cake at the café!
If in Brugge, you'll dock at Zeebrugge, which is Brugge's sea port. Zeebrugge is a dull and boring place, it you're going to Brugge on your own, you might have a free shuttle to Blankenberge. From there you can take a train that takes you to Brugge within a few minutes. If there's no shuttle, then take the tram at "Kerk" (church) to Blankenberge and then the train. Total travel time only 30 minutes. It's woth it. Brugge is a fantastic city. But - unfortunately, this time the weather was terrible, it was raining cats and dogs all day, and there was a stron wind, with gusts. We looked at these brave fellow travellers trying to hold umbrellas, which wasn't possible, everybody got soaked. We decided to stay on board. Since we live in Germany, all Benelux countries are just "our neighbours"...