We have been on many Oceania cruises and loved them all. We selected this 33 day cruise that started in Buenos Aires and ended in Miami, primarily because my husband wanted to experience the Amazon.
The ship is almost exactly like the other three smaller Oceania ships and the staff were really attentive and friendly. I didn't feel that way with the Officers. When I completed my mid-cruise feedback form, I really expected to hear from someone as I was pretty specific with my concerns. Never heard.
My major issue with the ship...is really an Corporate/Operations Issue. They specially wrote in the cruise itinerary literature, and reconfirmed it when I called, that the itinerary would not stop in an endemic area that is experiencing Yellow Fever now. WRONG!!! According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) bulletins, we were visiting two ports that are considered Ground Zero for the recent rash of Yellow Fever in Brazil. Needless to say, based on their information, we chose not to take the vaccination and were pretty stressed when we were in these areas.
The cruise itself. Although there were some interesting ports scattered through the itinerary, most of the port calls were boring with nothing to offer. Several resulted in a very quick turnaround back to the ship as there was nothing to see or do. And safety was an issue too. Brazil is not a place where you hail a cab. And police were telling folks not to walk here and there.
There were WAY too many sea days, some scheduled, others because the ship couldn't anchor due to weather. Our 33 day cruise ended with almost 10 sea days. And Sirena does not offer any extra activities for those days. At one point we had 5 sea days in a row and everyone on board was ready to scream. Although we enjoy a quiet ship, there should be some exciting activities when having such a long stretch.
Oceania food is noteworthy. Its one of the reasons we enjoy Oceania. But I have to say that although we have traveled on Nautica and Insigna many times, we didn't feel that the Sirena reached the same bar with food. It was good, usually, but not great. Even the two specialty restaurants were just ok. An example of lack of attention to detail is the coffee bar near the grand dining room. Great afternoon coffee, but the few snacks that are available there didn't change during the 33 days we were on the cruise. Yes, we could have gone to the afternoon tea and indulged in all of those treats, but we intentionally do not. But a good tasting cookie with the coffee was not to be had. Others who did indulge also offered the same tasteless comments.
The Amazon. I guess our expectations were considerably different from the reality of our 1,000 mile cruise into and out of the Amazon. We were expecting a fairly narrow river with rainforest on either size...and monkeys and other observable wildlife with the aid of binoculars. The reality was that the river was sometimes 100 miles wide and never narrow enough so that you felt like you were in a jungle atmosphere. That required private excursions. The tiny villages we anticipated were good sized cities of up to 300,000 residents.
Had we traveled the Amazon from the Pacific side (Ecuador or Peru), rather than the Atlantic, I think our expectations would have been realized.
In summary, this is not an itinerary I will recommend to anyone! There are too many other fascinating places to see and enjoy to waste most of your time visiting insignificant ports with nothing to offer.
I hate having such a negative report, but I was not alone in my analysis of this trip. I didn't speak to one person who thought this itinerary was worth traversing.
We usually stay on Deck 6 but were upgraded by our travel agent to the Concierge level. We are very happy we didn't pay anything extra for Deck 7. Other than getting 3 free laundry washings and being able to use the spa whirlpool, there were no additional benefits to upgrading. Room size is the same. Our cabin stewards were fabulous, but we would have had that on Deck 6 too, I think.
It appears that some of the "extras" that we have experienced before are no longer there. Not sure if that is a company-wide change or just a Sirena change.
Sorry for such a negative report!
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