This was our second cruise on Oceania after sailing the much smaller Insignia a year earlier. We wanted to try out all the things that the 'O Class' Ships can offer that aren't on the more intimate 'R Class' Ships including: The Culinary Center, La Reserve by Wine Spectator, Jacques, and Red Ginger.
As with the smaller ship Embarkation (and Disembarkation) were a breeze. Only the Terrace Cafe is open on embarkation day for lunch, but with a noon boarding (PH and up) we found plenty of seating which was an improvement over the smaller Insignia experience where it was quite crowded and seemed understaffed.
So how did we find the 'O Class' only amenities:
Located on Deck 11 this Penthouse Suite is located about 3/4 of the way to the aft on the same deck as the Executive Lounge. The room was quiet and without vibration except in the early evenings and mornings when the deck crew were re-arranging deck chairs. This wasn't an issue for us given our sleep schedules but might bother others.
Arrived one day early and stayed at the Gritti Palace. World class hotel!
Took a bus to the tiny hilltop Republic of San Marino. We were there for the swearing in of a president and ended up in the middle of a parade. Worth the time on the bus!
Hiked up the castle hill on our own. Wear good shoes and take your time. Even for a couple in their late 30s we found ourselves breathing heavily. But the views over the way and our beautiful ship were worth every step.
We docked right in the heart of town. An elevator ride up to the top of the hill and the city was laid out before us. Easy to navigate on your own, Valletta's charms other than its massive church - St Johns Co-Cathedral, were getting lost down the striking streets with their unique stone facades and ornate wooden balconies.
Short walk into town then took a hop-on, hop-off bus to go along the coast to a beautiful fishing village turned beach town, then back into town for a delicious lunch (try the local cactus fruit), then more wandering before heading back to the ship.
Took the train into Rome from Civitavecchia. Easy ride in 1st class; however, getting luggage from the ship, onto a shuttle, then a city bus, then through a train station, then onto a train made me wonder if I shouldn't have booked the Oceania bus transfer into Rome.