This was to be the cruise of a lifetime. A chance for my wife to visit some of the many places I had visited while on business travel. Titled by Oceania “Museums to Mosaics” We called it the “Cruise from Hell” along with some other long time (29 Oceania cruises) cruisers.
Things stated going downhill at our second port – Halifax. It was very cold and started snowing as were leaving the port. The next morning there was over a foot of snow on the swimming pool and deck. Many of the crew members had never seen snow and found it fascinating. The visit to St Johns, Newfoundland was canceled due to stormy weather. My wife had lived in Newfoundland 50 years ago and was anxious to see how it had changed over the years. All in all it was a very disappointing start to the cruise.
Crossing the Atlantic in the heavy seas for five days did get many people quite queasy, which led to distributing barf bags by the elevators. It was rough enough that safety belts for the beds would have been appreciated. People had to hold on to the railings and walls to go along the corridors to keep from falling. When we arrived in Cork, Ireland the wind was very strong with sideways rain and very cold. Fortunately the Jameson Distillery tour was indoors. The visit to Dublin for the next day was canceled due to heavy seas and gale force winds so we spent the day in our cabin in Cork.
The next disappointment was arriving in London/South Hampton on Good Friday. I had really wanted my wife to at least have a brief visit in London. This meant there was to be no visit after planning on it for a year and half (since we had booked the trip). We were not informed of the no London tours until I asked the Destination Services manager when we were going to be able to select them on the cruise. We had asked out travel agent prior to the trip when we were going to be able to schedule a London tour (like all the others we preselected) but were told we had to wait until we got on the ship. Then we then proceeded to visit Bordeaux on Easter Monday, which is a celebrated holiday in France, with practically everything closed. The next stop in Biarritz was canceled due to heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay (that precluded using tenders to disembark). I guess Oceania is not aware that the Bay of Biscay is notorious for rough seas.
The last straw was visiting Malaga on May Day, May 1st – another holiday with the shops closed. The tour was supposed to be easy – the guide had very poor English skills and appeared to be trying out for the Olympic speed walking team. My wife had to sit down and wait for the tour to return with no available free rest rooms.
Cruise Length 28 days
Sea days 8 scheduled (11 total)
Missed ports 3 total
Stop not available due holiday 1 (London)
Ports limited due to holiday 3
I understand that Oceania does not control the weather. However, they do control the scheduling. In previous years the “repositioning cruise” had been scheduled in May. If the cruise had been scheduled just a week later, Good Friday would have been at sea, Easter would have been in Cork and London would have been available for a visit. I had expected that Oceania would take holidays into account when scheduling trips and try to optimize passenger enjoyment. I guess I was wrong. The message this sends is that passenger satisfaction is a sorry second to revenue maximization.
Oceania does many things quite well. The food is good albeit somewhat uneven in the specialty restaurants. The desserts in the Grand dining Room are superb and the crew members we interacted with were well trained, friendly and courteous. The entertainment was much better than previous cruises and the comedian (Martin Beaumont) was terrific in both his shows.
We paid over $30,000 for what we consider a $15,000 cruise at best. I had hoped Oceania would have reached out to people who had done the 28 day cruise but after 2 ½ weeks we have heard nothing from Oceania. Never again do we plan cruising on Oceania or any of its’ related lines.
Postscript: We did complain to Oceania thru our travel agent and received a very disappointing self serving reply offering a $600 total ship credit on another cruise.
We have always used a suite on Oceania. We were quite happy with room attendents and our butlers. We are quite fussy about deck level and location. We were fairly close to the forward elevators but they are extremely quiet. We only choose a deck that is both above and below another cabin floor. This avoids deck noise from the swimming pool and dining rooms. At 400 ft2 the Penthouse suite is roomy enough to avoid running in to each other.
Good tour guide. Very cold weatherView All undefined undefined Reviews
Visit canceled by ship. My wife lived there for a year a long time ago.
Enjoyed tour of Jameson Distillery.
Port was canceled due to weather
Did not take any tours as there were none easy to walk.
Loved Paris and finally had good weather. Long ride to and from port.View All 112 City Tour Reviews
Interesting island.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We arrived in Bordeaux on Easter Monday and everything was closed.View All 19 Bordeaux City Tour On Your Own Reviews
Interesting bus tour. Stopped at Guggenheim Museum but tour did not include accesslView All undefined undefined Reviews
Shuttle buses were available to take us down to financial district.
Brief bus ride to downtown and visit to south bank of Douro river.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Enjoyed city tour. Did not enjoy clearing customs to get back on ship.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Tour was on Monday. Did enjoy 45 Euro carriage ride around downtown Seville.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Interesting tour around city. Enjoyed visiting marketplace. Did not like visit to carpet sales place.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Tour guide had very poor English skills. Way too much walking for handicapped people. Visit was on May Day and nearly everything was closed.View All undefined undefined Reviews