This was my first cruise on Oceania. It was a repeat of the ABC trip we took earlier n the month with Holland America. This gives me a chance to compare the two cruise lines.
Our first stop was supposed to be Aruba. The first two days were like being on a bouncy castle. We were forward and we hit every wave. We had no balcony on Deck 6. The waves did hit the porthole as we bounced along to Aruba.
The captain came onto the speaker and announced that we would miss Aruba because the ship could not travel fast enough to get to Aruba before 7pm. We then had to scramble with Viator to cancel our shore excursion with less than 24 hours notice.
I was surprised that the captain could not determine that we were going to miss the port after travelling for two sea days. The Holland America trip a few days prior to this trip had some bounciness but we never lost time. We subsequently learned that other ships in the ABC area also cancelled port visits so there was a storm.
We had a brownout on the first day. Power came back but I doubt that this caused us to miss Aruba as the ship would have 3-4 generators.
I went to the Cruise Director and asked that on the trip from Bonaire to Grenada that we be given notice about more delays. He said he would but again, we heard that we would be late to Grenada - arriving at 430pm - and we only got a few hours notice. I find it hard to believe that the captain could only figure this out when we had travelled 80% of the distance - very irresponsible.
I tried to cancel the Grenada shore excursion as we would have only 1.5 hours of daylight but the tour operator refused to do so. Viator's cancellation rules require 24 hours notice.
We were then delayed a third time as we were about 5 hours late getting back to Miami. We got a few hours notice on this delay.
I came to the conclusion that travelling on small ships like the Sirena needs to be restricted to short visits that don't involve crossing big bodies of water. The other issue is that I would only take Oceania cruises where we took the ship's shore excursions. In the case of this cruise the ship's shore excursions were very expensive and not very good compared to the private tours I booked.
The food was fabulous. Oceania has two high end restaurants. But you cannot pay to dine at them. They are really a reward for being a frequent flyer on Oceania. The Red Ginger Beef Panang was superb. They served it once in the regular dining room and it was nowhere near as good.
The breakfast and lunch food was very good. The dinners in the dining room were better than Holland America except for the salmon. The sushi was mediocre compared to Holland America. There was sorbet every day. Blood orange was the best flavor.
The big problem with Norwegian, who owns Oceania, is that this company does not believe in making reservations for dinner. You have to line up like going to MacDonald's. If you don't share a table, waiting 30 minutes is not unusual. I tried sharing and it was ok for the most part, as Oceania is a high end crowd. One evening the man sitting with us tried to pick a fight with another diner as the other diner was talking too long to the wine steward. In the other case, there were two Brits who had no manners, who just got up and left their food because of the noise in the dining room.
The ship is smaller and felt more crowded than the Holland America ship that had 4 times the number of guests.
The hot tub was cold.
The string quartet was very good.
The internet was poor but was slightly better than Holland America. The problem with both ships is that when you pay for better service, you get the same speed so there is no advantage to paying. Oceania restricts streaming if you don't pay so I had no access to my VectorVest stock service. Email was slow but it eventually came in. As an IT guy I wanted to meet with the ship IT person but he refused to meet with me....not impressed by this.
There was a guest lecturer who spoke about pirates in the Caribbean. It was not very good. There were no other port talks.
There were 8 crew members who go the flu. I learned that there were no mandatory vaccinations for crew. Given the current concerns about Coronavirus, I found this to be very strange. The ship went into an ultra cleaning mode but it was a little late for this measure.
I would not take a long trip on these small ships. I have passed on a Baltic cruise and a Panama Canal cruise for now as the stress of missing ports and losing shore excursion money is just too great.
So I am going on the Dubai cruise in 2021. There short distances between ports and in this part of the world, it makes sense to take the ship's shore excursions. It is on the Sirena so it the captain misses ports, I don't have to worry about losing money on privately booked tours.
The cabin was fine except for the shower. Any overweight person would not be able to close the shower door. The bed and pillows were fine. We had more room as we were the first cabin forward so the balcony area was part of the room.
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We had a great time on this private tour. We saw birds that we missed a week earlier. We swam with big sea turtles. The lunch at Yaachi's restaurant was good. The guide did an excellent job.View All 2 National Park Reviews
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We booked a private snorkel. Bonaire is a great place to go snorkelling. I got good pics. My partner accidently touched fire coral and is still suffering from a severe rash.View All 171 Snorkeling Reviews
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We went on an island tour organized by our travel agent. It was ok but we spent too long making a chocolate bar. This activity was boring and tedious and it took away from travelling around the island.View All 300 Island Tour Reviews
This was the only ship excursion we took. The snorkelling was in rough water so my partner only stayed in the water for a few minutes. I enjoyed it. The only disappointment was that I did not see the octopus that other people saw.View All 11 Snorkeling Reviews
The boat did not stop here. I have to put in this fake review in order to get the review published.View All undefined undefined Reviews