The Oceania Insignia is well refurbished - tasteful and easy to get around on. She came back across the Atlantic through a tropical storm and our group of 8 people all felt safe. The ship was remarkably stable despite the 15 ft waves and 42 mph winds for 24 hours. Yes the cabin is smaller because its a smaller ship and the entertainment is not the same as big liners - however it is still good and fun.
So why is this not a luxury cruise. The simple answer is - it lacks the attention to detail/service that distinguishes a good cruise from a luxury cruise. Furthermore - Oceania distinguishes itself as luxury cruise line so we expected that. To be clear the crew worked tirelessly and very hard - this is more a management problem - it relates to the number of crew, training and a failure to uphold luxury standards, even basic ones we find on mass carriers relating to smiles, welcoming and the friendliness of the crew an its officers. Our experience was one where we were more tolerated than welcomed, they just did not seem to be friendly or happy to have passengers on board.
Some examples of the service items that were a pattern. Not enough provisions - the ship ran out of Ginger Beer early in the cruise never to be seen again. Notable variation in the way the same drinks were made in different bars. Not much specialty selection to choose from -you may want to save on that upgrade and just pay the difference if you find something, especially if you like wines and scotch. Venue service - head to the bar and get your drinks - the table service at the various venues is understaffed and slow. Balconies are power washed early one morning - while we were on our balconies drinking coffee in port and while folks and others were still sleeping or enjoying coffee on their balconies. No need for that. Open seating for dinner - we sat long times - up to 45 minutes after we were seated for the first course order to be taken. The sommelier service sometimes did not arrive until we were done with our appetizers- and then the bar still was slow for them.. It was rare for the wait staff to tell us their recommended specials - they were merely there to take an order. The ships ramp to disembark /embark is not a ramp it is a long stairway - anyone with a DISABILITY WILL WALK these stairs while they carry your motorized scooter or wheelchair down and back up for you - you will need to find a way to navigate this. A special thank you to the crew crew members who carried our heavy disability scooter up and down the stair ramp - you were much appreciated. One bar attendant for the entire pool area during times when it is busy was common. We gave up waiting most of the time, cleared empty glasses, went to find drinks. Crew cleared the pool deck before the performer is done - we sat and listened to the steel drum performer with crew clearing around us which really spoiled the performance from a guest steel drum player brought on board.
Hamilton is a great port to visit and see - however the Front Yard restaurant and bar across from the ship blasts extremely loud thumping music until 3:00 am 7 days a week which you will hear in your cabin at a level that a light sleeper will have difficulty sleeping with.