My husband and I are frequent travelers who have enjoyed many experiences on cruise ships. In fact, our most recent cruise was when we cruised the Mediterranean on the Insignia. It was a wonderful experience.
So we were quite excited as we embarked upon our January 2020, 12 day Caribbean adventure on the Sirena. Unfortunately, the trip failed to meet our expectations.
Notwithstanding that we had booked this trip months ago, we were notified just weeks before embarking, that we would not be able to visit Antigua, (one of our highlights of this trip)and, instead Dominica was substituted. In view of it’s struggle to recover from hurricane Maria, we found Dominica to be a far less desirable destination.
Shortly into the trip, our boat went dead in the water. The captain announced that the ship was having mechanical difficulties. Although he announced later that the problems had been resolved, it seemed, that, following this incident, the trip never really got back on track.
To begin with, we were advised by the captain that our stop in Aruba (for us, another highlight of this trip) was canceled. Next, we arrived four hours late into Granada, and all scheduled excursions were canceled. And finally, as we headed back to Miami for the completion of our trip, we were again advised by the captain that we would be arriving another four hours late. In actuality, we arrived more than five hours late and our 8am disembarkation was delayed until 1pm, creating numerous logistical challenges for all passengers. Although the captain attributed the various delays and disruptions outlined above, to quote “headwinds and currents”, the winds and waters seemed calm and did not appear to affect the other Caribbean cruise lines, which completed a similar journey on schedule. Many speculated that the engine problem, experienced early in the cruise, was never fully resolved was the cause of the subsequent delays.
In addition to the delays and missed ports, the service provided during the cruise was well below Oceania’s high standards. Early in the cruise we were informed that many crew members had contracted the flu. Accordingly, we were cautioned to frequently wash our hands and use disinfectant. Housekeeping left spray disinfectants in our room. As a result of this outbreak, staffing was limited and service suffered. For example, service delays resulted in unduly lengthy (2 1/2 to 3 hour) dining experiences that prevented guests from timely arriving at scheduled events. Although the healthy crew members, worked diligently to overcome the staffing shortfall, it certainly had an adverse impact on the quality of the trip.
With respect to accommodations, we found our room on the concierge level to be clean and with adequate storage space. The room service provided by our attendant, Anna, was excellent. However, we found the bathroom space wholly inadequate and the tiny shower stall exceedingly uncomfortable. Further, the internet service was spotty and inadequate. Like, most of the guests, we were traveling as a couple. Yet, internet access was limited to only one person/device at a time. In order to get online, you had kick your partner off. Very frustrating. Definitely, Oceania can do better.
In sum we found the trip to be disappointing and, as previously stated not up to Oceania’s usual high standards of quality.