Background information: We are veteran cruisers with many years of cruising in different parts of the world on different cruise lines (includes Oceania, Disney, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Cunard). This was our 30th cruise, our longest cruise to date, our eighth on Oceania and our first on Sirena. I have done several other cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.
This cruise was entitled “Voyage of Discovery” and was 28 days long, with embarkation in Athens, Greece and disembarkation in Miami, Florida. We booked this as a single Grand Voyage and not as two separate back-to-back Cruises. Sirena is one of the four R-ships currently owned by Oceania Cruises (along with 2 larger, newer O-class ships) and it has passenger capacity of 650-700 passengers and an international crew of nearly 400. The R-ships are scheduled for major renovations over the next few years. Oceania is a cruise company under NCL Holdings.
Our trip began with flights on Delta Airlines from our home city through JFK to Athens, Greece. We purchased our own air. We also purchased transfers and a three-night Athens hotel package from Oceania. The hotel selected by Oceania was the Grande Bretagne, a beautiful five-star Marriott/SPG property located on Syntagma Square in the heart of the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the service and amenities at this hotel and its wonderful rooftop bar and restaurant with views of the Acropolis and other sites in Athens. Our pre-cruise activities in the city included visits to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum and to the expansive Christian and Byzantine Museum, and we had a very enjoyable Greek cooking class in a Taverna, which we booked in advance through Trip Advisor/Viator. This was our first time staying in Athens and our second visit to the city.
Our cabin was quiet, cozy and very well-maintained. Our room stewardess and her assistant did an excellent job keeping it very clean and well-stocked. We had a very comfortable bed and nice veranda and adequate storage space.
We did a great ship excursion with an excellent guide that included visits to the church in St. John's cave (where he wrote the book of Revelation), a visit to a local home and time at the St. John Monastery. We also had a lovely mezes (small dish) lunch with wine and greek dancing at a local restaurant.
Excursions were canceled in Rhodes due to a bus strike, so we spent time walking around the medieval city and enjoying some sidewalk cafes.
We did a ship excursion that visited a nearby horse ranch where purebred Spanish horses are kept and trained. This lovely location included some great demonstrations of the horse's skills and we had some delicious tapas and wine. One of our favorite experiences!