We are an active, retired couple who have been Viking customers for over a decade. This was our first cruise with Oceania, chosen because of the excellent itinerary from Buenos Aires to Lima.
The cruise was fabulous and we were especially impressed by four things:
The food was, without exaggeration, the best we have ever had in any restaurant, or on any ship, anywhere. Not only was it superbly cooked, with our special dietary needs taken into account, but the variety of “luxury” items was outstanding --- eg. foie gras, escargot, caviar, frog’s legs, venison, lobster, filet mignon, oysters Rockefeller, etc.
The personalized service was truly amazing. Our every request was fulfilled immediately, with a smile --- eg. switching shore excursions or dining reservations; asking for extra bedding or body lotion.
The WiFi speed was impressive considering hundreds of people were using the system. We were able to use Google Hangouts from far south of the equator to make free phone calls to family members in Canada. The WiFi was rarely unavailable because of the ship’s location in narrow fjords.
The guest lecturer, Dr. Don Kline, was fabulous. His talks were interesting and relevant to the places we visited and his Powerpoint presentations were the best we’ve ever seen.
We were disappointed with the evening entertainment. The young, on-board production crew members were enthusiastic but there were only six of them. Their strident, musical theatre style got a bit tiresome after awhile; almost everything was “belted out”, loud and brassy. When performing alone, the house band sometimes had a player or two missing, giving the group a thin sound. They were at their best accompanying guest singers.
Professional guest entertainers were brought on board throughout the cruise, so there was lots of variety. However, we evaluated their shows by asking ourselves this question: If these people entertained on a stage near our home and tickets were free, would we attend? With the exception of the tango dancers and flute player, our answer was, “Absolutely not.” That result shouldn’t be surprising to anyone; these people are “B” level entertainers. If they deserved top billing, most would be working in concert halls in America, and not on cruise ships. Another problem with the evening shows is that the ship’s theatre does not have a sloping floor so it’s hard to see what’s happening unless you can get a seat with nobody in front of you.
In concluding this review, we would like to comment on three points that other reviewers often make about Sirena, on Cruise Critic:
“The room was too small.” There are smaller rooms on the lower decks and larger rooms and suites above. On Oceania’s website, room dimensions are given for all categories of staterooms and there are photos and floor plan drawings. If people don’t do their research before booking or choose not to spend the extra money for a larger room, it hardly seems fair that they should criticize Oceania for not providing them enough space in their stateroom.
“The shower stalls are so tiny that the shower curtains touch my skin.” We are fit, normal-sized people who had no trouble bathing in the small shower. People who complain are probably giving away the fact that they are a bit lumpy around the edges. So what’s the solution to their catastrophic shower curtain dilemma? --- Eat more salad. (And remember that you're on a ship, not in a Sheraton hotel.)
“Sirena is dated and worn.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The ship has been recently refurbished throughout. Everything looks gorgeous: wall finishings, carpeting, furniture, and decorations. Moreover, crew members are constantly scrubbing and polishing the ship inside and out and doing touch-up painting.
We enjoyed this cruise immensely and are already booked on Sirena’s sister ship, Nautica, next year. Oceania is great!