Oceania brands itself boldly with the claim "Finest Cuisine at Sea" but I did not feel this was the case. It's a shame, since Insignia is a beautiful ship, the crew was amazing, and there were lots of great things about this cruise. But given the premium price compared to strong brands like Holland America, Disney, Celebrity and others, it just wasn't a good value. And for dining, it was often not an enjoyable experience.
We'll start with the one big weakness. There were several misses across the board in culinary offerings on Insignia. Most often it was a simple lack of seasoning. I appreciate that for Oceania's older cruisers, salt intake can be a concern. But that's no excuse to hold back on providing sauce options that could kick up the flavor, herbs, or other spices. So many dishes were absolutely flavorless. Variety was another big challenge, with Vegetarian entrees only offered half of the time, few vegetables other than boiled brussels sprouts and broccoli/carrot/cauliflower every single night at the Terrace buffet, watery ham, eggs and other breakfast items, and some really awful soups. I eat meat, but my poor lacto-vegetarian partner had to make a meal of side dishes several nights - with several repeats of side dishes and even some mains. Overall, dining was more of a drag than a delight.
Other than that, Oceania and Insignia were terrific. It's a really small ship - 30,000 or so tons (this compares to about 90-120 for many midsized ships like HAL's fleet, and 220K+ sized "Monster-of-the-Seas" that are being launched these days). But Insignia's small size was great. Smooth riding, in-and-out of small harbors (like in Hamilton and St. George in Bermuda) that made arrivals and departures gorgeous. Interior furnishings, fixtures, artwork (Dali, Picasso and Chagall to do a little name dropping) and colors were rich, classy, and beautifully maintained for an older ship. Our Penthouse was beautiful, with great space, great bedding, and excellent amenities. Insignia is very traditional - with rich / dark wood paneling in many cases, but tons of gleaming white woodwork balanced this perfectly for a sophisticated, nautical aesthetic.
Great suite. Not big by Suite standards compared to other lines, but very well laid out, felt spacious, and impeccably maintained as well as elegantly appointed. Plenty of nice amenities, very attentive butler service, small but comfortable balcony, and compact - but again - well laid out bath.
If your arrival in Hamilton is on a Sunday - be aware that nearly all stores are closed.