This is my second cruise on Oceania, the first one was on Riveira, in the Med. Marina is almost the same as Riveira,with very small differences. On both cruises we booked Penthouse 1 (PH1) cabin and have been very very satisfied. Both ... Read More
This is my second cruise on Oceania, the first one was on Riveira, in the Med. Marina is almost the same as Riveira,with very small differences. On both cruises we booked Penthouse 1 (PH1) cabin and have been very very satisfied. Both ships are in very good shape, nicely apppointed, decorated, pleasant and smart but not OTT (over the top). Everything is smart causal, including the required attire and that suits us very well. Captain, crew and staff are well trained and very nice in a relaxed way. 99% are doing their best to please the guests. Very high staff to guest ratio.
Oceania's cruises are for middle-aged and older people (though we have a few families and younger couples now) and everything is set up accordingly. There is entertainment but not around the clock. A lot of music: all afternoon, evening and up to midnight there is some music somewhere on the ship (from string quartett to rock-and-roll) but not incessantly. Various musicians move around the ship in various lounges and bars.
Wonderful band and singer every night up top on level 15 (Horizons bar and lounge) for dancing. Bound to bring even the shy to the dance floor with a superb mixture of various types of dance music for everyone.
Sound proofing is excellent, the noise never penetrates other areas, there are always plenty places to relax, read, take a nap in without much disturbance. Excellent and beautiful library with plenty books.
Every night one hour of show, nice and fun but, again, not too much.
Some very good lectures, generally two lecturers talking about the area we are in or will be in; history, geology, marine life, whatever. We had a superb lecturer, Terry Bishop, from the UK. He is just unique, professional and amazing in every way. He also entertains and his muisc and singing is absolutely worth listening to.
The other lecturer, John Freedman is also very knowledgeable but he tends to cram too much into his 45 minutes talks and as a result one can't retain anything. His talks are OTT for even academics or people with various university degrees. He wanders about in various subjects, geograhic areas and among various people in history and only he can see the connections :). The lectures can be later listened to on a TV channel.
The South Atlantic and South Pacific are not easy waters; often with a lot of wind and swell. So I recommend everybody to bring Sea Bands and sea sickness pills and not to expect a smooth ride. Also important to book an outside cabin midship and on one of the lower decks. That reduces the movement significantly. Expect more movement up top and in the bow, where Horizons is (it is easy to dance when the floor moves! :D).
It is summer in South America now but South of Puerto Madryn on the Atlantic side and Valparaiso on the Pacific side it is windy, cool and often rainy. Part of the deal.
There are small niggles like I have had lots of frustration with obtaining gluten free bread in the normal timescale of dinner and not being able to get lactose free yoghurt but the only real issue is the very poor value for money of excursions. I understand this is a problem on every cruise with every cruise liner so I don't want to make a big deal of it. Just remember not to book too many excursions via the ship but rather reserach the ports and area on the net before the cruise and make private arrangements. Often it is best just to disembark and find a taxi or van with driver/guide - they ususally queue up for your business where you go ashore. Much cheaper, much better, flexible and adaptable to your needs and wishes.
We had two excellent excursions via Oceania. One was in Puerto Arenas, the sheep farm excursion. Estanzia Fitz Roy is much more than just a sheep farm, it is quirky, wonderful collection of hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of old items and offers buildings/structures that make you smile and feel good in. it is run by an extended family, who are all happy there - and you can feel it. We also happened to have a very good guide there.
The other excellent excursion was to Santiago (from the port of Valparaiso) with a superb guide called Maximo. Very good English, lots of relevant info, good sense of humour, took wonderful care of us. Santiago is interesting and manageable in a few hours.
We are now on the second leg of our booking: a second cruise from Valaparaiso to Miami. If you book to cruises back to back it is imprtant to book very early so you can have the same cabin for both as to not have to move.
I had a nasty surprise when I had a letter in the cabin, with just 24 hours notice, that the one tour I booked and was really looking forward to, a trip from the port of Coquimbo, Chile to a world famous observatory (Tololo) was cancelled, due to lack of interest. I wanted to quickly arrange a private visit but as it was embarkation day for the second cruise for most of the day I couldn't talk to anybody at the excursions desk or to the concierge. I tried to arrange something on the net and found out that Tololo only accepts visitors on Saturdays. As the tour was planned for Friday, it would never have been possible anyway. It is a shame that Oceania staff lied rather than apologise for a mix-up.
It is a great improvement that you can now have internet on board, free if you book into a more expensive cabin or via various packages. Beware though, the band width and speed, or even availability is variable to say the least. It is hardly ever sufficient to talk on Skype or WhatsApp, often impossible to upload photos but most of the time enough for email. Easiest times to use seem to be when staff are not on it : 6-10 am and 7-11 pm.
Food is great on Oceania - too good for your waistline! I defy anybody not to find not to enjoy it. So varied, so manay different restaurants, so obliging with any special wishes (apart from good quality gluten free bread :) ) that everybody is bound to find gastronomic enjoyment.
There are many Americans on board (a bit too many for our liking,as Europeans) and lots of Canadians. There are some Europeans but not as many I would wish for. (I still count British as Europeans, Brexit hasn't happened yet :D).
It is a bit tiring when they tell me that I have a lovely English accent and I have to tell them that one can't have an English accent in English - they have an American accent :).
All in all, great experience - go for it! Read Less