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:
We found the cooking lesson in The Culinary Center quite fun, though our excellent instructor struggled a bit dealing with two late comers who seemed to have had a bit too much to drink prior to class. The "Greek Cuisine" menu was inspired by our Mediterranean itinerary and included items sourced on the cruise like local olive oil from Sicily, Feta from Corfu, etc. It was definitely worth the time and money.
Dinner at La Reserve with the "Connoisseur Menu w/ Wine Pairings" was an additional $389.40 for two of us. The food, wine, presentation, and dining company made for an excellent evening. This is not for everyone: picky eaters, light drinkers, and those who like to dine at a table of two should probably steer clear.
Red Ginger lived up to its reputation as one of the best specialty dining options at sea with decor and service to match the excellent food. As many others have noted, Jacques just didn't wow us. Everything was well prepared, if a bit bland.
With a stop every day and generally an early tour we didn't go to any shows nor did we miss them.
Our cabin attendant and butler were both wonderful and kept our room clutter free and sparkling from start to finish.
We hadn't anticipated using the Executive Lounge much, but found it to be a convenient place to grab a self-serve espresso in the afternoons rather than heading to the sometimes busy Barristas on Deck 14 and even used an attendant to print a few items for our trip back home.
One special note is that I'm Gluten Free which is one reason why I love cruising. Oceania does an excellent job accommodating dietary requirements and provides menus for your restaurant for the following evening each day for you note what you would like and then drop it off at the MDR each morning. The system works beautifully and my wife likes getting a sneak peak at what's for dinner the next day.
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.
Small group (4 + guide) bike tour of Koper and Izola a small fishing village just down the coast. The ride was a bit harrowing at times, but worth it with an interesting tour, wine tasting, impromptu visit to the annual chili festival, and great views.View All undefined undefined Reviews
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!
Tour included a walking tour of Pag, a small desolate island where sheep outnumber people except in the middle of summer when the tourists come in droves. Tour included a tour and tasting at a cheese factory. Fascinating and tasty, this was an unexpected highlight of the trip.View All undefined undefined Reviews
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.
Corfu, compared to our other destinations, was dirty and lacking in charm. The villages and traditions were a bust. The wine tasting amid the vines was enjoyable as were the accompanying bites. I'd skip this tour next time and do a walking tour of the old town instead.View All undefined undefined Reviews
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.
We were booked to go on the Mt Vesuvious National Park by 4X4, Hike, and Wine Tasting. It was cancelled because of damage to the road from Naples. Oceania re-booked us (without notice) on a boat trip to Capri with a walking tour. This would have been fine were it not for the gale force winds that made the boat ride stomach churning, stopped the gondola from running, and nearly blew down a few from our group. Capri was stunning and we'll certainly give it a go again.View All undefined undefined Reviews
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.