While we still like Oceania there were a number of areas that fell short of our expectations on this past cruise.
Food – Over all we found the food on this trip was not as good as our prior two trips on Marina and Riviera. The Bouillabaisse in Jacques was not good at all.. No mussels, no clams, no fennel (I don’t think) and no broth. It was pasty, more like a sauce that I would expect in a cioppino. They later brought a sole that was very good, and my wife ate some as well as she didn’t care much for her Lobster (sort of an au gratin in the tail shell) definitely prepared, frozen and reheated. Also the “steamed“ lobster in one of the other restaurants was poor. Also appeared reheated. I should have thought (they don’t have fresh lobster on board) so don’t order. However, I should not have to think though how they provision food. I am kind of a do it right or don't do it type guy.
Caesar salad at Jacques – Really very disappointing. They should skip the table side preparation and have someone in kitchen that knows how to make Caesar. What a waste of arm waving.
The oil and vinegar cart is a wasted effort as well. Why go through all the trouble of selecting oils and vinegars only to use it on a poor excuse for bread. I couldn’t find decent bread so basically didn’t use it. We were spoiled by three days in Copenhagen before the cruise where breads were unbelievable. Why can’t Oceania provide one or two good breads. Oh and skip the logo on the bun.
Sole in Pollo grill was very good as it was in Jacques – that is as good as the Sea Bass in Red Ginger in my opinion. If you like fish get the Sole. Second time I had mine whole (not deboned) which was even better.
The buffet is almost always great. The prime rib I had there one night was the best in my memory. Thought the German dinner fell short as did others. Sauerkraut tasted like warmed up canned sauerkraut (why bother) and the German potato salad was very weak. The sausages were OK and the pork hock was dry (best to cook with the kraut). Many of the pork dishes were dry and I couldn’t eat them. I cook a lot of pork and it need not be dry. The should skip the German dinner or improve it.
Coffee in buffet was not good. Very disappointing. We drink a lot of coffee and appreciate good coffee. This was not good. Weak but bitter. Don’t recall having problem with the coffee in the past. Did they go to lower cost bean?
I thought the evening selections in buffet were better on our past two trips and we ate there every night except for our specialty nights which is typical. The main dining room is nothing special unless you simply want someone to bring food to you.
Housekeeping – housekeeping was hit and miss. The veranda door was unlocked a couple times after they organized the deck furniture. One time they left no floor mat in bathroom. Only one bar of soap to be used for sink, shower and tub (really?). I had to keep asking for coke which is very unlike all other cruise experiences. Normally they figure it out. There were dirty coffee cups and half full dirty glasses (like maybe we wanted to drink something from yesterday?)
Music – We like to dance and there were a number of other couples who also like ballroom dancing. The music of the showband was too long for dancing (maybe 6 to 8 minutes) and much of their music was not danceable (very slow or very fast tempo). Although we were there every night for 2 hours or more, we danced much less than past Oceania cruises. The other band didn’t even seem to know what ballroom was but at least their pieces were a little shorter and if you asked them to play something, they would but not always in appropriate tempo. Past cruises the bands seem to catch on to what we like within a couple days and played great music the rest of the cruise. This time it was challenging.
Waite Staff – It seemed there was a different staff in the lounge every night and we were there from 5:00 to 7:30 pretty much every night. In the past within days staff knew us and knew what we wanted and took care of us. Cunard cruise a couple months ago they also knew who we were and the same servers were there and came to our table as we walked in. Very noticeable difference. On Marina this time it seemed very disorganized. There was also a lot of pitching of special wine and vodka and caviar sessions from the servers. Don’t recall that in the past. Felt we were being pressured to “sign up” for this or that.
Lectures by Phil Smart – The ones we were able to attend were fantastic. So informative about things that are not in the main-stream news. Good job. We would book almost any cruise just to listen to him.
Summary – The itinerary was great and fellow passengers were great but the ship experience has us thinking of giving other lines a try which we weren’t sure we would do. We really do like the size of the Marina and Riviera but right now we feel as though we are not getting what we are paying for.
The cabin is great with the shower and tub combo and plenty of drawers and room to hang clothes. No issue there but the housekeeping was not on par with our previous experience. Very hit and miss. Very personable but too many things over looked