We are a “retired” couple in our late 60s (most passengers were in their 60s/70s) with more than 30 cruises with different lines (Windstar, Azamara, Celebrity, Princess, Star Clippers, Norwegian, and a couple more) ; however, this was our first on Oceania. Of note, there were more than a handful of children but no children’s programs. We don’t imbibe much and don’t purchase drink packages, nor do we drink wine. These would be extra charges without the O’Life package which we did not choose (booked cruise only). We upgraded to a concierge level stateroom 10 days before sailing but failed to utilize the amenities included at that level much. The sailing’s 15-day itinerary was Barcelona (overnight), Valencia, Palma de Majorca, and Palamos (Spain), Toulon (France), Monaco (overnight); Antibes (France), La Spezia (for Cinque Terre Italy), Ajaccio (Corsica), Livorrno (for Florence/Tuscany), Sorrento/Capri, Amalfi/Positano, and disembarkation at Civitavecchia (for Rome), Italy. It did not have, any sea days We booked our own air and the cruise line’s transfer from the airport (would recommend finding other transfer or a taxi as it would have been about half-price). Booked a shared van transfer for disembarkation to the airport.
We arrived before 9 am, but needed to wait for other flight arrivals before being transferred to the ship. Embarkation was not available until noon ; however, concierge level access to stateroom was at 1 pm. Embarkation was smooth except for the carryon items being scanned through security taking awhile due to the quantity of new passengers arriving about the same time. Buffet lunch was available immediately. Oceania’s policy in the Terrace Café (buffet) for breakfast and lunch is that all food is served by their staff. You cannot serve yourself even a roll. There is outdoor seating there. While dinner is also available there, we eat in the dining room or at a specialty restaurant for all dinners. Specialty restaurants are by reservation only and the main dining room is available 6:30-9:30 (anytime dining). There are four specialty restaurants where only one reservation per is available to book online prior to sailing. Additional dinners in these specialty dining rooms are available to book the day of your choice of additional dining there. Early times were hard to come by; the menu was always the same in each restaurant , but the menu options varied greatly in each. Jacques served French food, Red Ginger Asian, Tuscana Italian, and Polo Grill was a Steakhouse mainly. Food was good in all; however, we felt for a luxury line touted as a superb culinary experience, it wasn’t much above average to the lines we sailed, and not superb. The Grand Dining Room did offer more of a variety than most lines’ MDR.
Stateroom – Concierge room was the same as a regular veranda with a king bed (282 sq. ft including balcony), loveseat and table, desk area, and plenty of closet space and drawers The marble bathroom with plenty of storage around the sink area (plus two shelves next to the toilet) was slightly larger than most premium/luxury lines as it had a separate tub with shower head and a regular shower with glass door (albeit small). The mini-bar with soda, bottled sparkling water, and other mixers is restocked daily if you ask the room steward to keep your favorites in there, You can remove those furnished that you don’t use. The line has converted to a glass container of water which is refilled as needed. When going ashore, bottled water in plastic containers is available when disembarking. Concierge class has a key-entry lounge available 24/7 with snacks, coffee and other beverages. We had room service for breakfast twice when we had early tours which came with a tablecloth en suite. Four suite categories are available with butlers.
Public rooms – Public rooms were a generous size and furnished nicely as expected on a luxury line. The ship’s singers/dancers were excellent , the caliber of a Broadway show in NYC. Some of the other entertainment was not as good, especially the magicians. The pool deck was of sufficient size with padded lounge chairs and cotton coverings. Horizons Bar at the top of the ship had good entertainment by a trio who sang a variety of musical genre; and a string quartet who played nightly in another lounge area outside the Grand Dining Room. There was table-tennis and shuffleboard, as well as putt-putt golf. The spa and fitness center were large and my massage was very good. The Sanctuary area was available to Concierge level and above guests. Casino was small and on board shopping was as expected for a luxury line.
Shore Excursions – Since my husband is lacking in physical mobility (not good on hills or uneven pavement and unable to stand or walk for extended time periods), we elected to purchase 7 ship excursions in advance as there was a special 20% discount for that quantity. Overall we were disappointed in those; although they were rated correctly for difficulty, IMHO they lacked good content. This is a very subjective topic, so maybe others enjoyed them We also took a few independent excursions arranged by cruise critic roll call members and as one would expect, they were better.
Service – We found the service to be good, but no staff went above and beyond IMO and the room steward was lacking a bit, in our opinion.
Ports of call – We were disappointed with a few, but it may have been we were unhappy with the excursion which tainted our opinion. Much of Italy we had previously visited and were excited to return to, as well as Monaco which we felt didn’t need the overnight, although one could take an excursion out of town to utilize the extra time there.
Would we choose Oceania again? Probably not as we felt they didn’t meet our expectations which were high for the culinary and luxury aspects of the line.
Stateroom was as expected and advertised. Plenty of space and storage available in both room and bathroom. Nice furnishings with marble bath and full tub as well as separate shower. Veranda adequate with padded chairs.
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