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7 New York (Manhattan) to South America Cruise Reviews

I really didn’t want to be too effusive about this cruise but I have to admit that I just can’t help myself. Embarkation and debarkation were both efficient. We have cruised Oceania many times and have always loved the quality ... Read More
I really didn’t want to be too effusive about this cruise but I have to admit that I just can’t help myself. Embarkation and debarkation were both efficient. We have cruised Oceania many times and have always loved the quality of their cruises but this time we were treated to a ship that was not full; there were about 400 passengers for this 28-day cruise from New York to Miami via the Amazon River. This gave Oceania the chance to shine even more and it succeeded in doing so. Firstly, we picked this cruise because of its itinerary. We had not been to these ports but, more importantly, we also wanted to better understand the Amazon’s place in the world’s ecology. What we discovered is that there is no way to describe the Amazon without being there. It is more than just the largest, longest, highest volume, etc. river; it is amazing. But, don’t forget, it is on the equator. There is no easy way to describe just how hot it was there with the humidex included. Day after day of exhausting heat. Now, back to the cruise itself, I just can’t say enough because we had such a wonderful time. We felt busy every day and never felt bored. The food – well what can I say except that it was beyond spectacular, as was the service in the restaurants. Many of the other passengers that we met were ‘our crowd’ so again we just felt comfortable on this cruise. Our cabin was maintained to the highest standard. The entertainment we attended was entertaining. The lectures we attended were instructive. The martinis at happy hour were yummy. I’m sounding effusive again, sorry. If there was one thing I would change, it would be to cancel the Boca da Valeria port of call. It felt a bit exploitive. To end this, I want to say a big thank you to Yvan for his wonderful service and to his helper Aleksander (and to Spike, Yasa, Nyoman, Carlos, Cliton, Plamon and to too many others to mention but especially to the pizza chef) for making our dining experience on the ship so comfortable. Thank you to Esther and Charan (baristas) and to Igor and Angelie at Martinis. Thank you to our room attendants Alize and Aki. Thank you to the restaurant managers, Charnae, Faustin, Rinaldo, Susan, Georgio and Andrea. Thank you to Daniel in reception and to Mike in excursions. A huge thank you to Jennifer, Oceania Hostess, and to Gary for his wonderful cooking. (To all of you, I know that I have probably made a complete mess of spelling your names, please forgive me.) Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because the Amazon river was on our bucket list and because of the cuisine aboard Oceania. We were a little bit hesitant because of initial reviews of Sirena suggested that the refit from Princess left something to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the Amazon river was on our bucket list and because of the cuisine aboard Oceania. We were a little bit hesitant because of initial reviews of Sirena suggested that the refit from Princess left something to be desired. However by the time of our embarkation (oct 28th) these problems had been ironed out and the ship was in superb condition, easily as nice as the other R ships. Possibly as a result of the initial reviews and the expense of Brazilian visas (and zika virus worries) the ship was not sold out and had only 402 passengers out of a capacity of 680. As the captain pointed out there were more crew (403) than passengers. Service aboard was excellent and by the second or third day we were usually greeted by name by staff. Food aboard was possibly even better than we had previously experienced with Oceania. Our favorite was Red Ginger where the calamari, sea bass, and lobster pad thai were great. We enjoyed our 4 visits to both Red Ginger and the Tuscan steak house. As has been pointed out by previous reviewers the cabins and bathrooms are smaller than usual. This is typical of R ships and if this is a problem you should probably stick with the Marina or Riviera. Television channels are limiited (as with most ships). The one complaint I had in regard to this was the only sports channel was skysports (british). If your favorite sports are cricket and soccer you will be happy. There was no coverage of U.S. sports, despite the vast majority of passengers being from the U.S. Hello Oceania-ESPN? Entertainment aboard was typical of smaller upscale ships-no extravagant productions, singers, comedians, etc. The library was a highlight of the ship-very beautiful (in old english manor style) and had a terrific selection of recent best sellers. We had no children aboard ( a 28 day cruise during the school year so no surprise there) Average age was probably about 70. Embarkation and disembarkation were both seamless and took about 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We very much enjoyed our 28 day cruise on the Sirena. This was our 18th sea cruise and one of the best for entertainment, cuisine, enrichment and the lovely people on board. It is evident everywhere that Oceania have thoroughly refurbished ... Read More
We very much enjoyed our 28 day cruise on the Sirena. This was our 18th sea cruise and one of the best for entertainment, cuisine, enrichment and the lovely people on board. It is evident everywhere that Oceania have thoroughly refurbished the ship and it is certainly up to a 5 star rating. Our suite on the 8th deck was spacious and well maintained. Whilst the wardrobes and the dressing table had not been replaced or refurbished they were perfectly serviceable and in good working order. In the penthouse suites the bath -with a shower within it - has been replaced by a shower so large 3 people could shower together! This is a pity as the shower size does now greatly restrict movement in the bathroom. Many guests do prefer a bath and Oceania might be wise to offer passengers alternative layouts to accommodate this. The food in the restaurants was outstanding, The 2 speciality restaurants - Tuscan and Red Ginger where superb as was the Grand Dining Room. Many guests regretted the demise of Toscana the Italian restaurant which has been replaced by Red Ginger. The young entertainment team were a delight and their performances were the best we have seen on a cruise to date. The enrichment lecturers on a range of subjects from within the Caribbean and the Amazon were informative, interesting an well presented. Most days we used the facilities in the gym which were excellent and we had 3 massages in the spa. Whilst the spa is excellent the costs are very high. The thing that struck us the most was the quality and courtesy of the staff. They came from over 40 different nationalities spoke English very well and were please to help in any way. It is a credit to Oceania to train and turnout such an impressive crew from so many different parts of the world. We did have 1 or 2 niggles on board. For example the 2 hot tubs on the pool deck were so so hot very few guests used them. Despite many requests for the heat to be turned down to a sensible temperature no action was taken. Oceania need to think about the risk of elderly people going in over heated hot tubs. We were so impressed with Oceania and in particular Sirena that we are undertaking another cruise on the ship around Australia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My husband and I took the 37 day Inca Discovery cruise on the Veendam from New York to Rio from October 16 - November 22,2011.During the last 16 days of the cruise(Valparaiso to Rio)the captain announced an outbreak of GI illness and ... Read More
My husband and I took the 37 day Inca Discovery cruise on the Veendam from New York to Rio from October 16 - November 22,2011.During the last 16 days of the cruise(Valparaiso to Rio)the captain announced an outbreak of GI illness and proceeded to close swimming pools , spas, self serve laundries, library, water fountain in gym and no self service at the Lido.There were not enough servers assigned to the Lido which resulted on long lines and very upset passengers. They had hand wash machines everywhere and ordered everyone to wash their hands constantly ,however, no restrictions were placed on the casino.I have no doubt that their decision not to close the casino contributed to the delay in the containment of the contagion.These restrictions were in placed for 14 days out of the last 16 days of the cruise. At our arrival in Rio no attempts was made to disinfect the ship ,nor pillows or blankets or anything else that came in contact with the affected passengers prior to the embarkation of the new group of passengers.No alternatives were offered to the closings such as discounts on laundry fees or bottled water at the gym. Top management was basically absent during the entire voyage. Captain frank Van der Hoeven was seen at the captain cocktail hour and getting his morning cup of coffee.After the contagion you only heard him on the PA system. There was a Hotel Manager,David Wood, on board but he made himself scarce when it came to complaints. Condition of the ship- Thermostats in the rooms never worked, toilets overflowed, windows in public areas were dirty and never cleaned, and the tenders used were dirty, some seats were broken and they leaked when it rained .Embarkation and Disembarkation- The process was handled by younger staff who did not know how to time the disembarkation from the time they called the groups in the show room to the gangway, leading to long waits and a lot of frustration. Shore Excursions- A number of them had to be cancelled because of equipment malfunction. Staff did not know how to improvise when something went wrong. In Fuerte Amador passengers had to wait in line up to 3 hours to get the tender back to the boat while standing in the rain. In the meantime, staff was located around the corner ,under a tent, with water and cups, but did not bother to look around the corner and offer it to the passengers. Cruise Director- We sailed thru some beautiful locations such as the Panama Canal and the Chilean Fjords but there was no announcement either by PA system or in the daily schedule of a naturalist on board.We later came to find out that it only was filtered on the outside. This made no sense when we were sailing thru frigid temperatures near Amelia Glacier and it was pouring outside. Everyone was at the Crows Nest where it would have made sense to listen to the naturalist.Instead ,the cruise director Carlos Mendoza, had scheduled an interview with a comedian.He had to change it to another room.I found him to be totally clueless. Room Service- For breakfast we could never count on the food arriving within the time frame we had selected.On one occasion we had to leave for a shore excursion without the food arriving, and at our return we found the food had been left in the room,untouched. Sometimes the food arrived semi-warm or cold. Ports- The port of Santa Marta in Colombia is not ready for prime time . There is really nothing to see there and Cartagena would have been a better choice. The opinion of a large number of experienced passengers was that the crew,especially, servers ,attendants, kitchen crew and shore excursion personnel did not know what they were doing.This was exacerbated by the fact that top management was absent to supervise them and apparently did not care enough to make sure that passengers were receiving what what was promised to them by Holland America.We had signed up for 2 cruises on the Prinsendam for next year while were on this cruise .We have now cancelled those cruises and the reason why is because we do not know if what we experienced on the Veendam is a corporate culture that impacts all the Dam ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We arrived in New York four nights before the cruise. It had been many years since we were in the Big Apple so we wanted to have plenty of time to see the City and to relax from our long journey. The HOHO buses was a good option and we ... Read More
We arrived in New York four nights before the cruise. It had been many years since we were in the Big Apple so we wanted to have plenty of time to see the City and to relax from our long journey. The HOHO buses was a good option and we had picked up a good special on the net before we left home. On 24 October we embarked the cruise. We arrived about 11 a.m. and we were on the ship in about half an hour. Lunch was awaiting us. We did not get into our stateroom until about 2 p.m. We sailed at 4 p.m. after life drill. The following day we had our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle in the Grand Bar from 4.30 p.m. till 6 p.m. Approx 30 members really enjoyed the informal get together. I will only discuss the ports where we did private tours. HAMILTON 14 Cruise Critic Members did a tour with Grace-Ann Fox of Mini Mega Transportation Service. Grace-Ann was a great guide and made sure that we didn't leave Hamilton without seeing everything. Contact ecurtis@northrock.bm CASTRIES, ST LUCIA 10 Cruise Critic Members did a tour with Cosol Tours. Another great guide who was proud to show us as much as possible. We sampled lots of good local food and rum - the local fish cakes, johnny cakes, coconut cakes, and different local fruits from the Island. We will be having a mobile bar with rum punch, local beer, water, soda. All eats and drinks are free. A couple of highlights were the only Drive In Volcanoe in the World and the Botanical Gardens. http://www.cosol-tours.com/tours.html SANTAREM Brazil 14 Cruise Critic Members were picked up at the pier. We went on a Cage Boat and went downstream to the Meeting of the Waters. Quite a large group of PINK Dolphins put on a great display for us as we made our way downstream. We went for a walk in the 'IGAPO" Floodplain forest. It was hard going as there had been recent rain but we were rewarded for our efforts. We saw a couple of sloths in the trees. We were given a demonstration of rubber tapping and told about the various trees and inhabitants of the forest. Due to rain we had to shorten our walk. We tried our hand at Piranha Fishing but without success. There were lots of interesting birds and a few iguana on the river bank. This tour was a good introduction to the Amazon. We were given a lunch box and fruit. Contact Paulo Coelho jungle.guide@yahoo.com.br BOCA DA VALERIA, Brazil Interesting tender port. Lots of locals dressed up with their animals happy to have their photo taken for 1 USD. An easy way to get close up photos of the jungle animals. MANAUS Brazil 14 Cruise Critic did a 12 hour tour on the first day. We sailed for two hours up the river in a 20 seater speed boat to our first activity. Several of our group were able to swim with the pink dolphins and really enjoyed it. Most agreed that this was the highlight of an action packed day. These dolphins are free to come and go but obviously are happy to be around humans and enjoy the small fish they were being fed. Next we had a short stop at a local village (no shops). Followed by a buffet lunch at a private house which was plentiful and enjoyable. Then we went to an Indian village and they put on a ritual for us which was interesting. One lady did not want to stay out after dark so we dropped her off at the port on our way down river. We went to the Meeting of the Waters which is a strange phenomenon. Next we went to the Janauary Floating restaurant. Before dinner we went for a walk through the forest/jungle to the huge floating water lilys (some lilys 6 feet across). It was dark by the time we walked back to the restaurant and we could here the sounds of the night in the jungle and fireflys were everywhere. We had a buffet dinner at the restaurant which was plentiful and good. Afterwards we went searching for caiman by torchlight in a motorised canoe. The guides managed to catch a couple for us and we were told all about them and we each were able to hold one and have our photos taken before they were thrown back into the water. Then back to the ship. What an amazing 12 hour day - just incredible. The day didn't seem too long as we had plenty to keep us entertained. The longest part was the initial 2 hour ride up the river but it was worth it to see the dolphins. Then we worked our way down river from activity to activity. We had a great guide called FABIO - a young fellow but very attentive and knowledegable. As there were 14 of us it only cost us $110 each - can't beleive that we got such a great tour so cheap. Contact Daniel Barretto anavilhanas@anavilhanasturismo.com.br Make sure you ask for FABIO to be your guide. MANAUS SPECIAL CITY TOUR. The next morning we met FABIO again for a 4 1/2 hour City Tour. The tour covered all of the City highlights and was great value at USD40 for 14 pax. PARINTINS Folklore show NOT to be missed. Very lively with great costumes and props. Can only be done as a Ship Excursion. BARBADOS 12 NOV 8.00 a.m. Rental Vehicle $125 + Fuel Costs Six of us rented a vehicle. We had spent time working out where we would go. We went to the Harrison Caves. Travel through the caves is done in a train/tram with several stops with a commentary throughout. We stopped off in Speightstown Arlington House Museum, St Nicholas Abbey Cherry Tree Hill and Sunbury Plantation House. VIRGIN GORDA Four of us hired a taxi for 2 hours to take us around the island. Taxi's were more interested in taking people to the baths for a quick fare. After much perseverance we found one who would take us for $20 each. The taxi was a utility with padded seats in the back with a canopy. The driver was happy to show us all the sights and give us some commentary when we got out for photo stops. GENERAL We really enjoyed our nights in the Polo Grill and Toscana. Great Food and great Service. Grand Dining room was very slow. Unless you want to spend 2-3 hours in the restaurant I suggest that you do not elect to share a table bigger than a 6 seater. There were people on the cruise who didn't feel that they had experienced the Amazon. Private tours were certainly the best option as the ship excursions were not only expensive but seemed very limited in the activities/excursions offered. Unfortunately for the people on the overnight tour in Manuas they went through torrential rain on the way to the hostel where they stayed. Some said that their things got soaked. Others said that in some rooms there were no sheets supplied while others had sheets but no towels. From what some people said their activities were shortened/ cancelled (not sure which). We were the envy of the ship. Disembarkment in Miami was a drawn out affair due to the Customs requirement of a face to face interview with each passenger. To sum up we had a most enjoyable cruise in the company of our Cruise Critic Friends. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were on the 35day Inca Discovery cruise round S America Oct/Nov 2010. It did not start well, as they were jackhammering the poolette, due to leaks over our room on the fantail for 3 days until 7 pm every night. The air ... Read More
We were on the 35day Inca Discovery cruise round S America Oct/Nov 2010. It did not start well, as they were jackhammering the poolette, due to leaks over our room on the fantail for 3 days until 7 pm every night. The air conditioning was very cool, but we were outside on the deck alot during the warm tropical ports, not realizing it was completely uncontrollable. After many attempts to get it corrected to no avail, our lovely room was changed to a forward creaking and groaning room forward, and we had hit a bad patch of seas with only one stabilizer working. They then told us we has to go back to our original room by Valparaiso as the had fixed the problem. Ha, Ha, Ha. We has to change rooms again after it sounded like a jet engine was spewing 60 degree air into our cabin. The public areas were also very cold. Passengers getting on in Valparaiso were jealous that we all were wearing heavy Alpaca sweaters indoors that everyone purchased in Peru. The rooms for bridge were so cold the pipes froze and flooded the room so they had to close them for the second half of the trip, forcing off the bridge director and then we had to try and play on tiny tables in the cocktail lounge with polar fleece on! Port problems were numerous. They were mostly dreary industrial ports, where we had to pay HAL to get off the dock as there was little infrastructure if you were not on the ship's very overpriced excursions. The weather didn't help, as it was raining most days. We had gale for 7 winds around Cape Horn, again with only one stabilizer working. My SO is handicapped. and one day was so bad we had to have room service for all meals. There are quite a few tenders and with the strong winds, rain and even snow it was difficult so we missed a few ports We were able to catch a few local vans for $25-$30 vs $129 ships prices, but I was very disappointed I was not able to see but 1 penguin on the Falklands, as the we mating and in their burrows. A few that took the $220 4wd tour saw more on the other side of the island. Our most interesting experience was in Santa Marta, Columbia. It was a Sunday and misty, an my SO has a scooter so we ventured out on a bus to the port, then found out their pre columbian gold museum was open specially for the cruise ( Of course the port talk never mentioned it) The museum was only 4 blks away and we wanted to walk, which consternated the tourist police, so they provided us with an armed guard, which was very nice as we went all over the town and he knew the cut sidewalks and alleys that didn't have cobblestones to make it easy for us and I got to practice my Spanish, and he his English and he wouldn't even accept a tip at the end. Now the POOLS. They finally finished re-tiling the poolette, what a waste that whole ares is. While it was being worked on they put up plastic and people were smoking up a storm and it was quite smelling and the piazza oven was out of commission for a wk or more too. The regular pool, had a handicap lift, that didn't work for weeks and then it was cold and the water wasn't heated and then it was and it was warmer than the hot tubs. The just could regulate anything with temps on this ship it seemed. Then the dinning staff wrecked our scooter 1/2 the way thru and they couldn't even get us a screw driver so I could open it up and see if it could be fixed. Needless to say the whole trip was ruined. After moving 4 times, and not getting the nice room we paid for,we finally said we would not get off the ship until we got an adjustment and it was given the morning of disembarkation. What was good? The food, and we really liked the Italian restaurant and if you go after 8 pm we never needed a reservation, however the menu never changed the whole 35 days, but the best wine prices there are and they will get them for you in the regular dining room. As the cruise progressed they started running out of fresh fruit, yogurt and breakfast cereals, and didn't let you know so one morning my breakfast order for room service was not filled at all! Also, ordering a side of sauteed garlic perked up the most bland grilled foods. All in all a sad ship and a sad cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our second cruise on Silver Cloud. Boarding in New York was delayed due to the ship encountering bad weather but we were well looked after by the ground crew with drinks, nibbles and $US100 to make us feel better. The ship's ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Silver Cloud. Boarding in New York was delayed due to the ship encountering bad weather but we were well looked after by the ground crew with drinks, nibbles and $US100 to make us feel better. The ship's crew did a magnificent job of turning the ship around in a very short time and we were boarded very quickly and efficiently. Was actually a bonus as we sailed out of New York after dark and was quite splendid to see the city lit up. We had a mid Veranda cabin on deck 7, which as ever was spotlessly clean and tidy. Only complaint was that the 'double' bed did not have a double top over the two single beds and there was a ridge down the middle. The ship was in excellent condition with the staff constantly cleaning and painting. The food was as good as you could ever want and Saletta restaurant an absolute delight with the fantastic staff making it an experience to remember with the wine and food matching. The Italian restaurant was again staffed by exceptional personnel but perhaps a little more change in the menu would have been nice although the food could not be faulted and we dined there often. The main dining room was always excellent and the Maitre D was only too happy to organise any dish you had a craving for. The special Indian menus we were lucky to experience a few times, were probably the best Indian food I have ever eaten and I don't particularly like it, but it was great and the Chef, who was actually the pastry chef I understand, deserves to be cooking Indian food all the time. David the executive chef for part of our cruise really did add to our food knowledge with his sessions and ran his kitchen like a true master. He also had a great singing voice which was enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to hear him. The staff in all the restaurants were beautifully trained, attentive and very personable. Sonya the Wine specialist kept us entertained and educated with her wine tastings, we did not miss any of them, she was excellent and always recommended an extra good wine whenever we were having a special dinner. She never gave us a wine we didn't really enjoy. Sadly the quality of the wines served at meals has diminished a little, but then times are tough. Judy as ever was an excellent Cruise Director but sadly she left us after the Amazon where she did a wonderful job of commenting through the narrows, we did miss her and wondered how anyone could replace her. Glenn Younger came on board and did things quite differently and bought a new perspective to the cruise. She has such a bright bubbly personality, we all loved her too. She started a few different forms of entertainment and even gave us acting lessons which was so much fun but was sad most of our fellow passengers did not realise just how funny it was once you stopped feeling like an absolute idiot and got into her little skits, do hope she keeps this going when she is on the ships. The butler service was still getting ironed out and once the passengers can communicate directly with their butler life will go much more smoothly. Carlos the Hotel Manager did an excellent job, always there to smooth any little difficulties over and did so much to make us all comfortable and very happy. Our esteemed Captain gave us a wonderful gift of a sightsee along the beaches of Rio, a memory to treasure and he was a superb host to us all. The enrichment lectures were great, Chris the Marine Biologist gave wonderful talks on the marine life of the area and did hold us all spellbound. Wish he was with us to see the pink dolphins up the Amazon. John Harrison the Amazonian explorer had us enchanted with stories of his adventures together with his delightful wife Heather. We did not miss any of his talks and still giggle about his experiences he shared with us. Being on a small ship makes it easy to talk to these lecturers and we gained so much from a casual chat at the bar or over a meal with them. Do hope we are lucky enough to cruise with them again. Pete Neighbours the clarinetist was the very best of the entertainment a great performer and also a delightful fellow traveller. We asked him for some CD's and we do enjoy listening to his mellow music. We did three cruises back to back from New York to Bermuda, down through the Caribbean, up the Amazon and down to Rio. What a trip. Hot, yes, fascinating, yes, fun, too much of it but the staff more than anything else really made this a trip to remember, particularly the night they decorated our suite -these two oldies were on their honeymoon. We really are professional tourists and have cruised on many ships but we always come back to Silverseas as they are simply the very best. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009

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