Husband's Big 80 birthday - chose Oceania as previous experience on Riviera was very good. Love our food. Very nice itinerary, so we thought, out of Southampton finishing up in Barcelona.
Ship - very similar to Riviera. Beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. We had Penthouse Suite which was excellent. Very good design. Everything worked except WiFi which was dreadful and you could only have one device working (if it did!) at any one time. Cabin staff were excellent - always cleaned and ready for when we returned. Butler was helpful but we don't really use the Butler. Concierge was awful, rude, arrogant, ignorant both to me and about other guests.
Overall the food was good as you would expect from the Cruise line that advertises "The best food at sea..." However........service was slow and seemed disorganised in the Grand Dining Room, the buffet area you had to have everything served to you, often not what you really wanted, which slowed down the process. Often plates were taken away before you finished your last mouthful which I hate! It was over busy at times - I think because the Grand Dining Room was certainly not up to standard. When we did go to the GDR for breakfast there were issues. The worst kipper and smoked haddock I have ever seen - so awful we walked out! Speciality restaurants were good but we were not keen on the Italian Restaurant. Polo Grill, Red Ginger and the French restaurant were all good. There was little coordination between the booking systems and the actual restaurants. Wine was very expensive. The added on gratuities plus another Spanish tax made it a ridiculous price.
Entertainment was mixed - some excellent and some awful. Art loft..... well I've never seen such awful examples of a tutors work. The sessions were ok but overcrowded and chaotic. The Culinary Centre was good. Fun and informative . The Special Dining in Prive was an experience, interesting and the food delicious. There were some booking issues for other guests though - they were not happy! Gym was good, classes limited. Front Spa area not serviced, loungers uncomfortable, jacuzzi far too hot on one occasion and outside shower not working.
Ports were very interesting - we do not do Ships excursions as we prefer to be independent. Transfers to the ship however were poor in a number of the ports and trying to get accurate info difficult. This did cause us issues as often long waits for buses without any seated waiting areas - my husband cannot stand for long. Some very long unnecessary walks off the ship into the port - little consideration for anyone with any disability. Other Cruise lines seem to have far better in port service. We had a number of Public Holiday days in ports which meant access to attractions was limited and shops closed. The 2 nights in Bordeaux was not 2 nights as they moved the ship on the second day making any independent excursions very difficult especially as it was a public holiday.
We saw the Captain once during the whole cruise. He did not attend his drinks party nor did he attend the Thank you parade for the staff. Poor!
Would we travel with Oceania again?. Sadly I very much doubt it. I think if we go 6 star again we will try another company. The rudeness of the Concierge was unacceptable. Oh and they got our final account wrong... so beware - we have never had that on a cruise before they are normally spot on!
Good. I liked the Cabin. Very comfortable. No sun on balcony though as right over an overhang. Did not really bother us but some sun would have been nice.
Nice port but had to tender. Not much to do but good place to buy duty free wine if you are allowed to take on board!
Some interesting sites but a public holiday when we were there so limiting. Did some good wine tasting. Could walk in from the ship on the first day. Second day ship moved so stayed on board.
Travelled independently. Loved the town. Use the Big Bus and taxis. The Guggenheim and the old market and Old Town were great.
We walked around the town finishing up in a local restaurant for the speciality Octopus.
Hired a Tuk Tuk tour independently which was excellent. Would highly recommend. We travelled by taxi to and from ship as transfers were very poor! Fabulous town with lots of interesting shops and bars - would go back for a short break.
We've been to Lisbon before so decided this time to just do the Tile Museum which was excellent. Again used taxis.
The port of Cadiz id lovely in itself. Seville isa stunning city with beautiful places to visit. As we have already been to Seville we stayed in Cadiz which was very interesting too.
Again travelled independently and hired a guide for the day. He was fascinating, many stories of the cult era of the past. Lots of interesting buildings and history. Many shops in the bazaar with bargains. I love Morocco so whilst not clean as the Spanish towns it has loads of character, the people are very friendly and if treated well not at all pushy, just highly amusing.
We loved Malaga. I have never seen so many cafes, bars, restaurants all offering something a bit different. Beautifully kept with superb promenade by the harbour. We took a Horse and Carriage tour here which was excellent for pointing out all the places of interest and orientating ourselves to explore a bit.
This was our departure point from the ship and we flew directly home as we have been to Barcelona several times. A stunning city with so much to do and see. The Gaudi houses are amazing. Take the Big Bus Hop on Hop off - there are two routes - both are good. It helps you to see all the sites at your own pace. Picasso Museum in the town is good. Muro museum is good too but a little way out. My favourite place is the market just off the Ramblas, La Boquera it is the plan to stop for a drink, eat tapas and wonder at all the produce. Don't miss the fish market as it is also Gaudi designed too!