Between me and my wife we have been on 5 ships: this cruise (the Insignia), Anthem of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, QM2 (Britannia Class), and Crown Princess. We have been in inside rooms through verandas. This review is based on both mine and my wife's opinions.
Each of the ships have their pros and minuses and each provides a different experience.
While we both enjoyed the Empress of the Seas on a Cuba cruise I will not discuss it any further since Cuba is now off limits and I am not sure the experience would be the same.
Overall the Insignia is an excellent smaller ship and provided a wonderful experience for our Bermuda cruise. If the itinerary and price was right I would definitely consider the ship for another cruise.
However, if we were traveling with children would not consider this ship. Not much for children to do and we did not see many.
Of all the ships listed the Anthem is dead last and would not travel on her unless it was practically free.
What the Insignia does better than QM2 and Princess is food. The food on Insignia was definitely better than QM2 and Princess. Especially the buffet. On most cruise lines I try very hard to avoid the buffet. The buffet on Insignia is excellent. Sometimes better than the mail dinning room. Excellent sushi most nights. Cooked to order grilled steaks, lamb and seafood (lobster and shrip) plus other options. One night they had fresh grilled tuna and mussels on the buffet. Also on Insignia no matter what stateroom you are in you get a night at each of the 2 specialty restaurants (Italian and Steakhouse). While I heard another couple complain about the food they had in the Italian restaurant I was very happy with both.
Breakfast was also amazing in the buffet for breakfast.
The other thing I like about Oceania is they do not nickel and dime you for extras. Specialty coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, etc. are included without an additional fee.
I thought the alcohol was reasonably priced and good.
Also, one night was a captain's reception with free open bar.
Service was wonderful everywhere.
Loved the string quartet that played evenings. Absolutely wonderful.
Now for some downsides that should be expected from a ship this size:
- There is more rocking than on the QM2.
- While I did enjoy the enrichment activities there are less than on a larger ship, the QM2 excels at this. The QM2 is the ONLY ship I would consider for a trans Atlantic crossing.
- While we enjoyed the one show we attended, the ship is smaller and the show area reminds me more of a nightclub than a Broadway stage.
- There was one small pool (I think it was heated) and two hot tubs that can get busy on sea days.
Embarkation is strictly by level (and annoyance). Also, a bigger annoyance is that staterooms may not be ready until 3 PM. Pack your swimming attire in a carry-on. More important on this ship than others.
Something that seems common to all ships, lounge chair hogs were ever-present.
This is a port hole cabin. The cabin is a little small but workable. Loved that there were glass shower doors. The port hole was OK.
Loved that the cabin was on a lower level so not as much rocking.
The main problems we encountered was air conditioning was not as effective in this cabin. Not sure it applied to all cabins on this level.
Other minor issue is that you can only get to these cabins from the aft elevator. Need to plan accordingly.
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