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Sirena Review

This cruise was all about the itinerary

Review for Transatlantic Cruise on Sirena
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Gail MG
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Mar 2024
The formal tea time every day at 4 pm, with white-gloved waiters, scones with jam and clotted cream, and the music of a classical quartet was a high light of the cruise.
Sunrise along the Quadalquivir River.
The Oceania Sirena docked in the Seville harbor at the time of the Feria celebration.
April sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

This is a review of the two-segment, 26-day Continental Embrace cruise (Miami to Southampton) on Oceania Sirena--our first cruise after COVID and our second on Oceania.

Although, like all cruise lines after COVID, Oceania is clearly trying to recover its pandemic losses by aggressive scrimping, this cruise was highly enjoyable. The staff was exceptional--professional, cordial, kind, and helpful in every way, despite the fact that no one seemed to have a day off, only a couple of hours break in a very long day. And if the cuisine was ever "the finest at sea," it certainly isn't now, despite being quite good. The entire Grand Dining Room menu was recycled in its entirety every 8 days and the food recycled too. (I kept thinking that, never mind the Scottish executive chef, there must be a thrifty French housewife ruling the kitchen). The low points were the soups, the way we generally judge a kitchen. In 26 days, we never tasted one that we wished more than a few spoons of; they were unfailingly bland and oddly textured, especially the truly dreadful lobster bisque that appeared on nearly every menu. (I yearned for the lobster bisque from Trader Joe's or from my own kitchen). There were some high spots though--especially the delicious polenta with mascarpone side dish, the perfectly cooked Chateaubriand, and the star of the show--the flavorful and exquisitely diced fruit salad in vanilla and liquor syrups. (The anonymous sous chef with amazing knife skills who prepared those beautiful fruit salads gets my highest commendation.) Desserts were mainly classic French and very good and can there be a better ice cream on the planet than the white chocolate and lavender Humphrey Slocombe ice cream that appeared every 8 days?

Because of the small size of the ship (only 684-passenger capacity), it was easy to snag a table for two in the Grand Dining Room, where the service was excellent. The Terrace Grill, though sometimes a bit bustling and off-putting, had a wonderful array of sushi at dinner and, temperatures permitting, outside tables where we loved dining and watching the sunset. The two specialty restaurants were good, though not as good as we had expected; they were the only specialty restaurants in any cruise we remember that required reservations but no additional fee. The specialty coffee bar was also free and was highly popular. As for the other bars, it would take a serious all-day drinker indeed to find the expensive beverage package that included cocktails to be worth the price; every day there were excellent 2 for 1 cocktails from 5 to 6 p.m. and several days there were Captain's parties that included free cocktails.

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