This is the first time we have used Oceania. We chose this cruise because it is about the only cruise line which circum navigates Cuba. This gave us the opportunity to visit 3 ports, Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We also chose Oceania because we have friends who rave about Oceania service and the food.
We boarded the ship with very high expectations. Firstly, let me say the staff on Oceania are second to none. They are friendly, helpful and hospitable. Our steward did a remarkable job keeping our cabin up to the mark. The food presentation is remarkable, all food including the buffet presented beautifully.
However, the ship itself is old and tired. And it shows. We were told that 4 of Oceania ships are getting a $100 Million refurbish in the future, which will make a big difference.
We bought the premium drinks package, and they do serve premium brands. At happy hour there was such a rush on drinks, we were able to wait until the bars had cleared and there was seating in the lounges because of the package. Otherwise there was always a queue of people waiting for drinks. The staff at these times are flat out, but other staff were not recruited to help out.
The food itself was disappointing at times. Breakfast in the Terrace Cafe (buffet) was very good, and food was served by staff rather than helping ourselves (possibly because of contamination).
Meals at Lunch also very good, both in the Terrace Cafe and the Main Dining Room. In the Terrace Cafe, at the salad bar, the same dressing was served every day when we ate there, no other choices offered. Service was always very good in these venues.
Dinner at Red Ginger and the Steakhouse excellent.
Dinner in the Main Dining Room in the evenings was a bit hit and miss. Two of my meals, the Osso Bucco and the Roast Lamb were practically inedible. The Osso Bucco was dry and stringy and the Roast Lamb, although rolled, was tough and dry. My husband also had Roast Lamb, his was much better, so we shared it. Mint sauce was not offered and when we requested it, never arrived.
We liked the small ship concept of Oceania. However, the age of the ship did not appeal to us. Would we go on Oceania again? Possibly, if the itinerary was something that appealed. However, we went to the Future Cruises Talk and there is nothing new for us for the next couple of years. The one cruise we would have considered, from Santiago to Auckland NZ is available for 2019, but not 2020 when we would like to do it.
We had booked a cabin which turned out to be noisy 24 hours a day. On the first night this noise kept us awake and as they could not repair it, they upgraded us to a different cabin, which was very good. We thank Oceania for doing this and we appreciated it very much.
Our cabin was kept beautifully cleaned by our steward. We did not use the balcony very often as the sun shone on it all day and the weather was very hot.
We liked the Egyptian sheets and the Bvlgari toiletries. However, these did not make up for the size of the bathroom and the shower curtain, something I have not seen in a cruise ship for the past 20 years.