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230 Oceania Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

The price was good and the date fit our schedule. The cabins are in need of an update, but they are due for one shortly. The tv needs to be across from the bed, instead of at a weird angle. Our room attendant was very good, and we could ... Read More
The price was good and the date fit our schedule. The cabins are in need of an update, but they are due for one shortly. The tv needs to be across from the bed, instead of at a weird angle. Our room attendant was very good, and we could count on him to get it right. The restaurant servers were hit and miss. Some were excellent, and some clearly did not enjoy their jobs. The shows were pretty good. Not as good as our previous cruises, but smaller cast. The afternoon tea was great, but again scones were super dry and some of our waiters made sarcastic remarks about us eating too much, which was not professional. And this was asking for two items! The excursions were hit and miss. Partly, the rainy weather put a damper on our enjoyment of certain locations. I really liked Helsinki City Highlights and Bruges: A Medieval Gem. We missed out on going to RIga and Visby, because the ports were too rough to disembark. That meant an extra day in Tailynn, which wasn't that great of a location for two days. Wish we could've had 2 days in Copenhagen instead. Liked being able to do our laundry on the ship. The meals were overrated. I had to be sure to ask for the salmon to be cooked rare, or they would overcook it to the point of ruining it. I disliked all the buffet lunches, and ended up getting a salmon burger most every time. I wanted to get a massage, but I heard they charged $200, which is just excessive. And unfortunately, I got tonsilitus and had to see the ship doctor. Just to be seen, get a strep test and some antibiotics, they charged me $365! Way to take advantage of sick people. I don't know if this is the case on all cruises, but my mom had a fall on her ship and they charged her nothing. In summary, I don't think I will do Oceania again. Crystal was so much better in every way. Even Celebrity Cruises, which is comparable in price, had better service, food, and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, ... Read More
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, the maintenance of the rooms and, last but not least, the great choice of excellent food, cannot be toppled. The major experience, nevertheless, is the disponibility and the kindness of the crew, from 41 different nations! All men and women, from the Captain to the single sailor, are kind, very attentive, helpful and friendly. The standard of the rooms is superior and the available space generous. The crew shows and lives an "esprit de corps" and a "unité de service". One point has to be improved by the management: it is not acceptable, nowadays, that a couple can only dispose of one free WLAN account and has to pay (a lot of) money for further accounts. A couple, today, has two cell phones and to tablets/computers. At least three accounts have therefore to be included in the basic offer! Please adapt this NOW. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cruise and excursion GOT-004 12:30pm – 4:30pm in Gothenburg, Sweden, cost $179.00 per person was terrible. It was a total waste of our day which we cannot get back. We departed around 12:45 pm and arrived at our first stop Skarhamn at ... Read More
Cruise and excursion GOT-004 12:30pm – 4:30pm in Gothenburg, Sweden, cost $179.00 per person was terrible. It was a total waste of our day which we cannot get back. We departed around 12:45 pm and arrived at our first stop Skarhamn at 2:00 pm. We were allotted 20 minutes at this stop and used the time to wait in line for a restroom. Nothing open at this stop except the one restaurant we used for the restroom. Next stop was Kladesholmen. This is a residential resort area with nothing to see except a sea view. We walked to a church (which was not open) for a photo op. Back to the bus for the ride back to the ship. The tour guide (who made sure we all knew she hated the Norwegians) didn't even have anything of interest to point out along the highway except for 4 smoke stacks that were no longer in use and a Volvo factory. I can't believe Oceania would even have such an extremely poor excursion. The four hour excursion had approximately 45 minutes off the bus the rest of time it was mostly highway driving. Back on the ship my wife and I encountered a large group (about 20 other people) who were waiting for the Destination desk to open to complain about this terrible excursion and request a refund. We filled out a Shore Excursion Guest Tour Report. Two days later (last night of cruise) we finally heard back from the main office in Florida and were denied a refund. Other issues were staff shortages in all eating establishments. They are running around trying to keep up with everyone regardless of the venue. The food was always warm and rarely hot except for the soup which was always hot. The one person that was of great help to us was the Concierge on Marina Ray Kucharski. We can't say enough good things about him. This was our third and will be our final cruise on Oceania. We spoke to others who feel the same as it appears Oceania has gone downhill since bring purchased by Norwegian. Won't be cruising or recommending Oceania again. It is sad as it used to be exceptionally great in all areas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
While we still like Oceania there were a number of areas that fell short of our expectations on this past cruise. Food – Over all we found the food on this trip was not as good as our prior two trips on Marina and Riviera. The ... Read More
While we still like Oceania there were a number of areas that fell short of our expectations on this past cruise. Food – Over all we found the food on this trip was not as good as our prior two trips on Marina and Riviera. The Bouillabaisse in Jacques was not good at all.. No mussels, no clams, no fennel (I don’t think) and no broth. It was pasty, more like a sauce that I would expect in a cioppino. They later brought a sole that was very good, and my wife ate some as well as she didn’t care much for her Lobster (sort of an au gratin in the tail shell) definitely prepared, frozen and reheated. Also the “steamed“ lobster in one of the other restaurants was poor. Also appeared reheated. I should have thought (they don’t have fresh lobster on board) so don’t order. However, I should not have to think though how they provision food. I am kind of a do it right or don't do it type guy. Caesar salad at Jacques – Really very disappointing. They should skip the table side preparation and have someone in kitchen that knows how to make Caesar. What a waste of arm waving. The oil and vinegar cart is a wasted effort as well. Why go through all the trouble of selecting oils and vinegars only to use it on a poor excuse for bread. I couldn’t find decent bread so basically didn’t use it. We were spoiled by three days in Copenhagen before the cruise where breads were unbelievable. Why can’t Oceania provide one or two good breads. Oh and skip the logo on the bun. Sole in Pollo grill was very good as it was in Jacques – that is as good as the Sea Bass in Red Ginger in my opinion. If you like fish get the Sole. Second time I had mine whole (not deboned) which was even better. The buffet is almost always great. The prime rib I had there one night was the best in my memory. Thought the German dinner fell short as did others. Sauerkraut tasted like warmed up canned sauerkraut (why bother) and the German potato salad was very weak. The sausages were OK and the pork hock was dry (best to cook with the kraut). Many of the pork dishes were dry and I couldn’t eat them. I cook a lot of pork and it need not be dry. The should skip the German dinner or improve it. Coffee in buffet was not good. Very disappointing. We drink a lot of coffee and appreciate good coffee. This was not good. Weak but bitter. Don’t recall having problem with the coffee in the past. Did they go to lower cost bean? I thought the evening selections in buffet were better on our past two trips and we ate there every night except for our specialty nights which is typical. The main dining room is nothing special unless you simply want someone to bring food to you. Housekeeping – housekeeping was hit and miss. The veranda door was unlocked a couple times after they organized the deck furniture. One time they left no floor mat in bathroom. Only one bar of soap to be used for sink, shower and tub (really?). I had to keep asking for coke which is very unlike all other cruise experiences. Normally they figure it out. There were dirty coffee cups and half full dirty glasses (like maybe we wanted to drink something from yesterday?) Music – We like to dance and there were a number of other couples who also like ballroom dancing. The music of the showband was too long for dancing (maybe 6 to 8 minutes) and much of their music was not danceable (very slow or very fast tempo). Although we were there every night for 2 hours or more, we danced much less than past Oceania cruises. The other band didn’t even seem to know what ballroom was but at least their pieces were a little shorter and if you asked them to play something, they would but not always in appropriate tempo. Past cruises the bands seem to catch on to what we like within a couple days and played great music the rest of the cruise. This time it was challenging. Waite Staff – It seemed there was a different staff in the lounge every night and we were there from 5:00 to 7:30 pretty much every night. In the past within days staff knew us and knew what we wanted and took care of us. Cunard cruise a couple months ago they also knew who we were and the same servers were there and came to our table as we walked in. Very noticeable difference. On Marina this time it seemed very disorganized. There was also a lot of pitching of special wine and vodka and caviar sessions from the servers. Don’t recall that in the past. Felt we were being pressured to “sign up” for this or that. Lectures by Phil Smart – The ones we were able to attend were fantastic. So informative about things that are not in the main-stream news. Good job. We would book almost any cruise just to listen to him. Summary – The itinerary was great and fellow passengers were great but the ship experience has us thinking of giving other lines a try which we weren’t sure we would do. We really do like the size of the Marina and Riviera but right now we feel as though we are not getting what we are paying for. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been on Oceania twice prior and because 3 nights in St Petersburg, 14 days and the Baltic was on our bucket list. Every place we had not been to and that was really appealing. We had travelled with Oceania twice prior and ... Read More
We have been on Oceania twice prior and because 3 nights in St Petersburg, 14 days and the Baltic was on our bucket list. Every place we had not been to and that was really appealing. We had travelled with Oceania twice prior and relatively positive experiences. The staff, whether, food, drinks, entertainment or cabin staff are excellent and very accommodating. The negatives, - Showers are far too small for normal people like us. - the internet, complimentary on level 9 was pathetic. We took this cruise so we could keep in contact with Australia. Sadly to log on to pay wages, took 8- 10 times and 2 hours. if not for Concierge on 9, this critic would be very poor. he should be commended, NOTHING was too much trouble. - We didn't participate in cruise tours as we found them ridiculously over priced. we took private tours, more personal 6 people for St Petersburg, more informative and 1/3 of the price. - finally concierge level, is it value for $$, sorry we don't think so. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
REVIEW. Eleven day Baltic Cruise. Aug 24 - Sept 4 We have just returned from a Baltic cruise on Nautica. I was beginning to wonder if Oceania was the company for us as there were a few naysayers on this Forum. No smoke without ... Read More
REVIEW. Eleven day Baltic Cruise. Aug 24 - Sept 4 We have just returned from a Baltic cruise on Nautica. I was beginning to wonder if Oceania was the company for us as there were a few naysayers on this Forum. No smoke without fire I thought. Nautica does need a refit. She is a bit tired and old fashioned. However everything worked except the fridge which was replaced within hours of reporting it. GENERAL We live only two hours from Southampton. At 2.10pm we checked in at the terminal and were in our PH Stateroom 8049 by 2.45pm The bags were waiting outside the door. No complaints there. The Stewardess introduced herself soon after we arrived and I requested a foam pillow instead of a feather one. (This was on the bed when we returned from dinner) Mani, the Butler, was soon at the door and we were able to ask him to bring morning tea each day. He was charming and professional. Tea came as requested each day. Boat drill was at 4.15 . This took a slightly different form from what we remembered, as we were taken out on deck to our lifeboat. Previously we were only instructed in the muster station. It seems a good idea to show the guests exactly how the safety drill works. You are not required to take your life jacket. On returning to our stateroom, we phoned Mani and requested tea and cookies. Ten minutes later he was there with the order. Perfect. He also got us a table in the speciality restaurant when we asked him. Oh and replaced the ailing fridge within hours. and brought lunch one day. And breakfast a couple of days too. DRESS. ( I hesitate to mention this contentious issue!) My husband wore a linen jacket every night for dinner because he likes to and I wore a nice dress or smart trousers and a pretty top. Gentlemen frequently wore a jacket in the speciality restaurants and the ladies always looked good to me. We did see guests going to the Terrace who were not quite so formally attired but we did not eat there in the evening so don’t know what the general look was. FOOD AND DINING SERVICE. Waiters were attentive and the sommelier was prompt, the wine poured before any food was served and glasses topped up frequently. We had an included wine package. I am at a loss to understand the comments about slow and lax service in the GDR that some recent reviewers mentioned. We were always greeted by name and when we asked for a table for two that’s what we got. Sometimes we shared. We do feel, however, that the menu is not as extensive as on previous cruises and did not change as often. (our last cruise was two years ago on the same ship) Only one meal did not meet expectations. It was duck a l’orange. I mentioned it to the restaurant manager. He wrote it down but I did not hear any more about it. All the desserts were delicious. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS. Three meals in Polo and two in Toscana. Some on our own and some shared. I had shrimps and lamb in Polo and Dover sole in Toscana. We always enjoyed the company of our companions in fact we sat with the same people on two different occasions quite by accident! In Toscana we requested a special dessert a couple of days before we went. It was Zabaglione. This has to be made and served immediately. That is why it has to be requested. The chef came to see us at our very special forward table to make sure we enjoyed his dessert. We did. TOURS For the first time we took Oceania tours as they were included in our fare. The guides were charming and spoke good English. The tours were well organised and did what we expected. The guests were “well behaved” and always returned to the bus on time. Except once, but that was a genuine mistake by the guest and she was mortified so we forgave her!!!!!!! ENTERTAINMENT… What we went to see we enjoyed. True there are no big presentation shows. The singers were good and they also did duty as Entertainment Officers. I am really not sure what is expected from these shows that guests say they are disappointed with. Last but not least I must mention the CD. Shawn Carter. Excellent. Enthusiastic. Friendly. Kept us informed. Just right. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
: enjoyed this cruise, However, there is room for improvement; (1) Most of the excursions were low quality. Except the tour guides in St. Petersburg and in the Hermitage, modst of the other tour guides were below standard. The tourduide ... Read More
: enjoyed this cruise, However, there is room for improvement; (1) Most of the excursions were low quality. Except the tour guides in St. Petersburg and in the Hermitage, modst of the other tour guides were below standard. The tourduide in Bruge was too old and could hardly talk. It seems that physically this was too much for him. The tour guide in Stockholm was a catastrophy. He just walked us through the royal palace and had very poor knowledge of the subject. Terrible waste of time. The guide tour in Helsinki was superficial and just wanted to have it over with. There was no air condition in the bus and when the bus driver was confronted by one of the group members, she answered that this how the bus was constructed by Volvo, and did nothing to improve the situation. We were reimbursed 20% of the excursion fee, but this did not make up for the damage. When I returned from this excursion, the third one in a row, I considered to cancel all the remaining excursions. Fortunately, the tour guises in St. Petersburg and in the Hermitage were good. This was just a temporary relief, as the tour guides in Estonia and in Lithuania were bad again. The one in Lithuania was really really bad. The tour guide we had today in Gdansk was above average but stretched the time and gave a lot of free time which lowered the quality of the excursions. I complained several time to various people in the cruise about these excursions, and suggested that at the end of each excursion the members of the group will complete a questionnaire. This will help to eliminate the bad tour guides, once repeated bad reviews will prompt the cruise line to request the agency to not hire these tour guides in the future. I was always told that I will be asked to complete a review but nobody bothered to talk to me and listen to my suggestions. In the university where I taught, the students completed a questionnaire after each lecture and each clinical rotation, and if they were not happy, the teacher was removed from teaching. (2) the level of entertainment was not satisfactory. The highlight was every evening at 9:30 pm fpr 45 minutes. This is too short. Also, except Michelle and the Ukrainian dancers, the group of the young 6 permanent singers/dancers were at the amateur level only, and not good enough to be the center of the entertainment most of the evenings. The cruise ship should have more guest entertainers and for longer time, since this is the highlight of the evening. Also, variety can help: for example in another cruise I participated there were stand-up comedians and laughter always help. I suggest to add stand-up comedians and generally speaking to extend the evening entertainment to 3 hrs every evening. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I are cruise-a-holics. we have been on some 20 or more cruises and taken a variety of cruise ships. Now, we choose cruises based on the itinerary because we love to visit places we have never seen before. This cruise, however, ... Read More
My wife and I are cruise-a-holics. we have been on some 20 or more cruises and taken a variety of cruise ships. Now, we choose cruises based on the itinerary because we love to visit places we have never seen before. This cruise, however, my wife booked and informed that it will be unlike the others in that it is considered a foodie cruise and is more upscale than all the others cruises. So, I was looking forward to this like a hungry hippo. :) What I LOVED about the cruise? Being served- more hygienic; The ports of call-Germany where I had 2 AMAZING donors at the kebab shop in the middle of the town..YUM; The room, very nice with a tub and a shower; Our steward was a nice, Jamaican man, Edwin. Very nice man. Tea time (pretentious snacks, but I was hungry..I would not buy..yucky..nice environment and I enjoyed the teas); Specialty restaurants (though I had better steaks on a Carnival with a specialty restaurant, yes, a Carnival cruise! we took it many moons ago. It is the standard by which I measure all other specialty restaurant meals..but the meals were okay..nothing blew me away or came close to doing that); The weight room and exercise classes with Carlos ROCKED; The food was warm..unlike on a Norwegian cruise we took sometime ago; Easy to find a table; Not crowded; Wait staff in the dinning cafe really attentive. What I HATED about the cruise? The internet..TERRIBLE, it does not work properly. Slow as molasses, if not slower. You wont be able to keep in touch with your office via that medium. So, forget it! The band. Oh, my goodness! It was awful. I thought I was in an episode of Ground Hog Day. They played the same old, tired songs every night! I wish they had a d.j. Once, the crew in the dance club turned out the lights and stopped the music while my wife and I were in the middle of a dance on the dance floor! Very rude. It was 10:30 p.m.! Rudest and most disrespectful thing I have ever encountered on a cruise ship by Staff members in my 20 or more cruises! I guess they wanted to go party in their cabin. There were other guests present too! They never approached us or the others and apologize. I guess, they figured old folks ought to retire to bed at 10:30 pm. We are in our early 50s! After I complained the following morning, the Bar supervisor was very apologetic and said it should not have happened as the Staff were night-shifters who should have known better. he was very nice. I liked the guy. The ship goes dead as soon as the band quits. So, don't expect a nightlife on this cruise or late night snacks. Fuhgettabouit! :) I detested the fact that the folks on this cruise, the old men, kept peeing on the floor. Disgusting. They literally peed on the floor and it had to have been intentional. Never experienced that on any other cruise, though i would have expected that sort of behavior on some of the others I cruised on. When you get back tired and hungry after your tour, do NOT expect there to be food ANYWHERE, unless it is tea time and you can get some pretentious, finger snacks. Seriously, I HOARDED food in our room drawer! Yes, HOARDED food so we would have something to eat upon our return from our tours. Ugh...Made me crazy because this was supposed to be a "foodie" cruise. This cruise was not a "foodie" cruise at all. NO WAY. The shows? LAUGHABLE. They were SOOOOO BAAAAADDDDD. Honestly, the WORSE I have EVER seen on any cruise. My wife and I would go in there for a few mins to laugh as the acts were so TERRIBLE! The stores only had t-shirts for $77 or more. Yes, I understand that this cruise caters to a pretentious set (practically everything about this cruise screamed pretentious), but come on now. Ree dicku lous! This cruise was NOT worth the price. If you are young at heart with a few dollars in your pocket, this ship is not for you. If you are an old, fuddy-duddy,pretentious, ascot wearing sort with a penchant to buy overpriced goods, then this ship will be right up your alley. It sure wasn't up mine. :) Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We choose Oceania because it was supposed to be an above average cruise line. Last year we had taken a Celebrity cruise and were disappointed, so decided to spend more money for higher quality. We were traveling with my sister and her ... Read More
We choose Oceania because it was supposed to be an above average cruise line. Last year we had taken a Celebrity cruise and were disappointed, so decided to spend more money for higher quality. We were traveling with my sister and her husband. We were allowed to sign up for the "Speciality" restaurants 2 weeks before departure. The only times available were after 8:30, so the only restaurant we could try was the Italian Restaurant. It was excellent. We arrived at the ship in Stockholm and boarded at about 12:30 pm. However we could not access our room until 3:00. When we finally were able to go into our cabins, our key cards would not work and we could not open the doors. It took another 20 minutes to get that worked out. We had rooms with balconies, the bathrooms were nice and included a tub and separate shower. However the furniture was chipped, the carpet was stained and the sofa looked tired and a little dirty. Also, we found there was not enough drawer space and our larger suite case would not fit under the bed. The whole ship needs to be updated. The food in the main dining room was not good. One night they offered "short ribs" slow cooked. The mystery meat arrived sliced, no bone, and was not edible. They served lobster, and it was also tough and over-cooked. We went to one show, and did not bother to attend any others. The only positive I can say is the crew were very nice and helpful. And we loved the ports, we did the Baltic Cruise. I am not sure about the other Oceania ships, but we would not recommend the Marina at this time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our third Oceania cruise in 4 years. The first two (on Riviera and Serina) were great in terms of cuisine and service. This cruise on Marina was much less satisfactory. The cabin (PH1) was as expected - plenty of room, well ... Read More
This was our third Oceania cruise in 4 years. The first two (on Riviera and Serina) were great in terms of cuisine and service. This cruise on Marina was much less satisfactory. The cabin (PH1) was as expected - plenty of room, well serviced and well stocked. The cuisine and service were still good, but not at the same level as before. The food choices at both terrace buffet and the dining rooms were essentially the same as on our first cruise 4 years ago. This includes the specialty restaurants, where the menus looked virtually unchanged from 4 years ago. Quality was still good but, again, just seemed a little old and needs an updating. The staff service was fine -- no complaints. The overall service throughout the ship was also high quality. The one area that actually improved was the entertainment. Both the performers and the shows were much better than our first two cruises. I have no idea why, but well pleased. The most obvious failure was the wi-fi internet service was atrocious. Getting connected was a 50-50 proposition at best and once connected you'd be "kicked off" within 5-10 minutes. This was experienced by all passengers and for the entire 10 days, both at sea and in port. We were given the usual excuses of poor satellite, too far from shore, etc. It was not totally true. One crew member who I complained to "admitted" the equipment was inadequate for the size of the ship and number of guests and would be replaced/fixed at the next dry dock stop. While wi-fi is a small piece of the cruise, the terrible performance coupled with the questionable excuses leaves a very bad taste. After the cruise I complained to Oceania customer service. Their response was nothing but boilerplate. I felt like a number rather than a valued customer. Would I go again? Since they're 2 out of 3 overall, I would consider Oceania for future cruises. However, it is definitely no longer my "go to" cruise line as it was before this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my husband's and my 20th cruise. We decided to try Oceania because we heard the food and overall experience was worth the extra cost over the mainstream lines. Here are things that I think were better on Oceania:(1) the ... Read More
This was my husband's and my 20th cruise. We decided to try Oceania because we heard the food and overall experience was worth the extra cost over the mainstream lines. Here are things that I think were better on Oceania:(1) the food in general. It was served individually even at the buffet and it was warm and of higher quality than all the other cruises we have been on. One visit to each of the specialty restaurants was included and most were good, although I was disappointed with my filet mignon at Polo Grill as it lacked flavor. High tea was served every afternoon and it did not disappoint with delicious mini sandwiches and delightful sweets. (2) the room and bathroom. They were very spacious. (3) the lack of constant announcements and advertising. (4) the complimentary fitness classes. Our instructor, Carlos, was attentive and professional. Here are the things I disliked on Oceania: (1) No restaurant open 24 hours. When we returned from shore excursions in the afternoon, there was no where to eat! We had to resort to High Tea, which was good, but not a substitute for an actual meal. (2) They were so cheap with the "included" specialty coffees. The cups were so small!!! The mini cups they serve their frozen coffee in has to be a joke. Two sips and you're done. (3) The lack of a nightlife. My husband and I enjoy dancing the night away. The Marina has a cute machine called Jukester Juke Box, where you can choose your own songs to dance to. Unfortunately, they turned the lights on and the machine off at 11:20! During a song where four of us were dancing!!! This is unacceptable on a sea day eve! And so rude. We talked to management who apologized, but we obviously can't get those evenings back. We love all of our cruises, including this one. However, we won't be returning to Oceania, unless we find an itinerary that we can't find elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Oceania cruise. We took one about three years ago on the Marina in the Mediterranean. While we enjoyed Oceania the first time, we were disappointed this time. One of the main things that was bothersome was the ... Read More
This was our second Oceania cruise. We took one about three years ago on the Marina in the Mediterranean. While we enjoyed Oceania the first time, we were disappointed this time. One of the main things that was bothersome was the terrible internet service onboard. We experienced this last cruise, but thought that with time, they might improve it. Alas, they did not. Think of old school dial up. That is how bad it is to connect. And, if you are traveling with another person in the same room, you both can't use the internet at the same time. It's not like I want to surf the web all day, but we would like to stay connected with our family at home and our businesses. For this cruise, we had 2 days at sea (1 scheduled, 1 unscheduled) and just could not even get emails, text our friends or family or upload our photos. My phone got full and I was unable to take pictures the last day of the cruise! We weren't the only ones complaining, either. Almost every other passenger we talked to was irked by this issue. Also, we felt like the Marina was in dire need of a refresh. We do understand that it is coming by the end of the year, but we were shocked that the overall appearance of the ship and our room was not of the standard we have come to expect from Oceania. Third, if you are tempted to go on an Oceania cruise for the speciality restaurants, be prepared to have a hard time getting into them at a reasonable time. Within hours the reservation desk was open to reserve online (45 days prior to sail date), almost every 6:30 and 7:30pm seating was gone for 3 people. That means we ate very late in the specialty restaurants which is not desirable. Forget getting help with this onboard, either. If the computer didn't have the spot free, you were SOL. The reason, we were told, was that the reservations open to elite customers first. Hence, they take all the good spots. This is not very fair... Another pet peeve was that Oceania seems behind the times with excursions. Ex - the guides do NOT offer ear pieces. We are not hard of hearing, but it is great to have the tour guide speaking directly in your ear so that you are not on top of one another and can walk away to take pictures at your leisure. Plus, many of the guides have thick accents and it is difficult to understand them to begin with. Additionally, if you did not book an Oceania excursion, the staff is not helpful at all with information about the ports. Nobody at the excursions desk knew anything and were unwilling to give advice about the stops we were about to go to. For ex - I did my research online first, but we decided to try to lunch at one of the ports. Without internet access to vet choices, we had to rely on advice from Oceania folks. The only thing they did offer was a local person sitting at a desk near the door in the mornings after docking. But, it was so competitive to talk to these people. Many of us were in the same boat and yearning for information and maps about the port if we did not have a plan. To be fair, Oceania had a pre-recorded video on the tvs for the ports the next day, but they were so boring and not a live person to speak to, which is what would make sense. Finally, disembarking Marina at the end of the cruise was a nightmare and so competitive, many of us were stressed out. This shouldn't happen at the end of our vacation. Apparently, we got in late to port and they got behind in letting groups out. The entire lobby was filled with wayward people trying to understand what was happening, where we should go to wait and if we were going to make our scheduled pickups to the airport. My mother-in-law also is elderly and incontinent. With the delay and the crowd of people, she was unable to sit and had trouble finding a restroom... The things I will compliment Oceania about is the food and service. The main dining room was consistently good and the people who work the dining rooms and stewards who clean our rooms were also very friendly, humble and great people. We enjoyed speaking with them on a daily basis. But, it is not enough for us to overcome the other problems. We won't be sailing with Oceania again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed on sister ship Riviera in 2018 we were confident in what to expect on Marina. Excellent service, wonderful ports and great food and spirits. Marina did not disappoint. The ship is small enough that you can easily move ... Read More
Having sailed on sister ship Riviera in 2018 we were confident in what to expect on Marina. Excellent service, wonderful ports and great food and spirits. Marina did not disappoint. The ship is small enough that you can easily move around, yet large enough to have multiple entertainment and dining options. My wife likes the shows, I enjoy making an evening contribution to the casino. It is nice that they still have a craps table. Many ships have done away with them. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants and Le Reserve. The main dining room is beautiful, we really enjoyed a peaceful breakfast in the MDR. The buffet option can be crowded. We embarked in Denmark visiting; Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and disembarked in Sweden. St. Petersburg was fantastic. We hired a private guide and driver through TJ travel. Excellent choice. Slatvana Andrusheko, was encyclopedic in her knowledge of Russia. In another life she was a Russian History professor. It really made the trip extraordinary. We had her and the driver for 2 full days. It is a big plus having a driver ready to pick you up to take you on to the next site. Plus they have already acquired all entry passes to the venues you must see. She took us to local restaurants and markets. We got a real feel for St. Petersburg. Our first port, Warnemunde, Germany was a real surprise. Very nice summer vacation spot with a real small town appeal. Take the train to Rostock if you are inclined, very easy trip. We rented a car on the Island of Bornholm, Denmark. A very nice day drive. In many of the ports, we just jumped on the Hop-On - Hop Off bus for a great city tour. Helsinki was really a highlight too. Our cabin was spacious and very accommodating. No complaints about the food or drinks. We do purchase a drink package and find it to be a good value. We didn't book any of our tours with the ship, we found better value doing it privately. We are also a bit more adventurous and enjoy hunting out different sights. The only "negative" we found on the ship was my wife wanted to participate in the on-board art class, but this ship had more children on then usual and they were crowding the art class. Not a big deal. We do enjoy Oceania because it is primarily all adults. We love children, but we don't miss the screaming, crying and running. The literature and website is quite clear in this is primarily adults. No climbing walls, no slides, no big screen TV, no Mickey and Minnie. As a grandparent, we have taken our grandchildren on cruises, but more age appropriate lines. All in all, Oceania met our expectations. We put a deposit down on another cruise in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Just a quick review of the Oceania Marina Scandinavian Ballads 10 day cruise: While we have been on over 30 cruises, this was our first on Oceania. All in all, it truly exceeded our expectations due to the extraordinary food and ... Read More
Just a quick review of the Oceania Marina Scandinavian Ballads 10 day cruise: While we have been on over 30 cruises, this was our first on Oceania. All in all, it truly exceeded our expectations due to the extraordinary food and overall service. The food is by far the best we have had on a cruise and due to that fact, we will definitely cruise Oceania again. The service and attentiveness was unequalled in all the cruises we have done. We typically sail in smaller ships but we noted that even though this ship held 1,200 passengers, we never felt crowded or rushed. A couple of specifics: We stayed in Stockholm for 2 1/2 days prior to the cruise and while we truly enjoyed the Vasa Museum and Old town, it was a bit underwhelming compared to other European cities. We stayed at the Sheraton and we booked it independently from the cruise. It is a good location but be prepared for a crazy scene the morning of departure. We casually got ready anticipating an 11:00ish departure from the hotel and head to the ship. The lobby was crazy and the check-in was 10 deep(those that just departed the ship), thus not allowing you to easily check out. Tip: Use the Express Checkout and drop off your envelope and get out of the lobby!! This cruise was very port intensive and the ports were very good. We only did 1 excursion and we did it in St. Petersburg and we did it independently from the ship. We had a great tour operator, Allla Tours, and our group was limited to 16 people which made it manageable. The ships tours were much more crowded. Without going into a full review of all ports on this writing, I would tell you that most were very enjoyable and some were outstanding. The outstanding ports were: St. Petersburg, Tallin Estonia, Gdansk, Poland, and Copenhagen. The rest were very good but they did not hit the outstanding category. I will try and expand upon the cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was a 10-day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It was our 4th Oceania cruise and first on Marina. We are a couple in our mid-60's which put us in the median age range on this cruise. As many people younger than us as ... Read More
This was a 10-day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It was our 4th Oceania cruise and first on Marina. We are a couple in our mid-60's which put us in the median age range on this cruise. As many people younger than us as older. Embarkation was smooth and quick. After lunch in the Terrace Cafe, our cabin was ready at 1:00. Our steward quickly introduced himself. We had very good service from him and the cabin attendant throughout the cruise. The Marina is in very good condition and is a beautiful ship. Oceania lived up to its reputation with serving excellent food. They did not disappoint. We ate in each of the 4 specialty restaurants once, dinner in the GDR a couple of times, dinner in Terrace Cafe a couple of times. Waves for lunch was excellent. Our dinner in Red Ginger was our favorite meal on the cruise. The only little negative we experienced was service in Terrace Cafe at dinner. It can be difficult to find a wine steward. By the time you order and get your glass of wine, you're halfway through the meal. The entertainment on the ship was good and the shows were well attended. The production show of singers and dancers were talented. Some of the musical selections were a little questionable, in my opinion, as they leaned towards the older age group. But still quite good. The vocalist, Elias Hendricks, was one of the best entertainers I have seen on a cruise. The band that played in Horizons at 10:30 was very good. Their Beatlemania tribute night was attended by 200 people - the most I've seen in Horizons that late. They also did an Abba tribute that was popular as well. The cruise director, John, did a great job. He was at ease with his job and was enthusiastic without being over-the-top. We went on the ship's shore excursions and found them to be good. I know that some people prefer private tours but I really cannot complain about any of the excursions that we took on this cruise. We had exceptionally good tour guides in St. Petersburg. Very articulate, knowledgeable, professional and friendly. You have to negotiate through the crowds at The Hermitage no matter if you're on a ship's excursion or private tour. At the Faberge Museum, our group was only 16 people. Gdansk was another port where we had an excellent tour guide. One word about the wi-fi on the ship. Terrible. This is something that Oceania should improve on if they think that being competitive with other cruise line's wi-fi is important. I just wanted to check my email and use basic internet for 20 minutes a day and this was very challenging. Disembarkation in Copenhagen was smooth and on-time. One word of caution if you're trying to grab a taxi and that is to be prepared to wait in line for an hour or more. We pre-arranged a private car with our hotel and it was well worth the bit of extra cost. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Initially I chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary around the Baltic and the 3 day stay in St. Petersburg. Additionally having been on two prior cruises with Oceania I was once again attracted to the cuisine as well as the level ... Read More
Initially I chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary around the Baltic and the 3 day stay in St. Petersburg. Additionally having been on two prior cruises with Oceania I was once again attracted to the cuisine as well as the level of service offered in concierge and generally throughout the ship. I was very disappointed in the food this time ( with a couple of exceptions in the speciality restaurants) I felt the quality had declined and the menus seemed tired and needed some fresh input from a culinary standpoint. Essentially what I had on my first cruise was now the same over a 10 year period. Of note are the “scrambled eggs” they were more like scrambled soup. The bacon, ham, sausage, cold meats etc. were poor quality and the fruit was tasteless. Additionally the wait staff were poorly informed as to what some dishes actually were. I purchased the full beverage package and so did my wife, it is convenient and I like convenience, the wine by the glass is generally good so no complaints in that regard. However competing for a decent drink during the daily “Happy Hour” was virtually impossible and impossible to get a seat. The crowd takes over the Martini Lounge like a gas station running out of gas and the person who paid for a full beverage package ends up subsidizing the rest with drinks from the “well” The system of “Happy Hour” needs to be revamped to accommodate those paying full price. Many drinks were not delivered correctly and not with the liquor of my choice. The wait staff did their level best to keep up with the hoards of cheap well drinkers who ordered 2-3 drinks prior to the cutoff time and sat there for another hour. It should be noted that Oceania is registered in the Marshall Islands and that the labor law rights of those working this ship are virtually non existent (so I doubt that management gets many complaints for fear of dismissal) It has been noted by several people that the $16.00 per day per person in gratuities does not trickle down to the staff as a whole and that is just another way for Oceania to improve their bottom line at the expense of the hard working crew. I felt that many of the crew seemed to feel they were like indentured servants working for less than when gratuities were handed In cash to those deserving it. It does not make for an ideal environment for many of these hard working people who otherwise have no options from the countries they come from. Oceania is the only cruise line registered on the Marshall Islands and for good reason.They can avoid taxes, safety as well as labor regulations and justice. Think twice before you decide on this company. The third time was not a charm and the country club atmosphere has definitely disappeared in exchange for the look and feel of a Holiday Inn in need of an overhaul. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We were booked in a concierge level cabin and it was kind of a disappointment. The bathroom was quite small and was tight on storage. Our cabin steward was not the friendliest and hardly spoke to us. The only benefit we had of the ... Read More
We were booked in a concierge level cabin and it was kind of a disappointment. The bathroom was quite small and was tight on storage. Our cabin steward was not the friendliest and hardly spoke to us. The only benefit we had of the concierge level was the use of laundry facilities. Internet was sketchy much of the time and we had even purchased a $299 internet package. We found a lot of the staff to be not always considerate of the passengers - frequently we had them walk across right in front of us, without as much as an excuse me. Breakfast and lunch were like on any cruise we’ve been on and dinners were very good, especially in the speciality restaurants. The Grand dining room was also good, but some nights the menu was hard to find something appealing. We did shore excursions in every port and most were very good. A couple of them made us very aware that the guide can make or break a tour. Sometimes the departures seemed a bit unorganized. Overall the ship seemed a bit tired and could use some updating. The passengers overall weren’t as friendly as on other cruises. The alcohol packages were ridiculously expensive. A cooking class was a highlight of the cruise. Our disembarkation experience was less than stellar. We left the ship with our assigned group and when we went to get our luggage, one piece was missing. We asked for help and they didn’t seem to know what to do. After a frantic 45 minutes of looking a lady came in with the luggage that she had taken without verifying that it was hers. It seems like there could be some way to prevent this from happening. Overall, I doubt we sail with Oceania again. For the money we had a much, much better experience with Viking Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our party of four sailed on Oceania's Nautica in May 2019, leaving Barcelona onto Lisboa, with a southern dip to the Canary Islands. Spent additional four days in Lisboa and the surrounding area. The cruise itinerary was terrific, ... Read More
Our party of four sailed on Oceania's Nautica in May 2019, leaving Barcelona onto Lisboa, with a southern dip to the Canary Islands. Spent additional four days in Lisboa and the surrounding area. The cruise itinerary was terrific, the main reason we chose. Alas, the ship is a tub, well past its prime. Built in 2000, this almost two decade boat shows its age. Cabin furnishings are tattered. TV is tiny. WiFi didn't work and when it did you were limited to one device per cabin, and it was dicey to change devices without losing the WiFi. Ships colors are dull and lifeless. Casino has perhaps 10 slot machines, some out of order. Our Veranda chairs had to be replaced due to stains. Concierge class offers nothing over standard Veranda cabins (brochure highlights of Concierge benefits only apply to Oceania's larger ships...bait and switch). Food in main dining room average. For the premium price Oceania charges the experience is vastly overrated. jWE cruised on Oceania 7 years ago and found everything to be classy. Something has happened to lower their standards. To be fair, highpoints: cruise Director Carson is absolutely wonderful. Such a waste of talent to be assigned to the Nautica. Shows and fly-in talent were great. Avoid this ship till after 2020 June. If you book prior to that date Oceania should give you a big discount. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ... Read More
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ocean cruise. There was only one sea day, all other days being in port. The ports were great. We took only the Russian tours, which were essentially forced on us by Russia’s visa policies. We liked the food, and found that it wasn’t necessary to eat in the specialty restaurants as the same food was available elsewhere. We liked our fellow passengers, and their diverse backgrounds. There were only two, minor, complaints, one being a matter of taste. One is that the coffee on board was pretty awful, a common complaint by Australians and New Zealanders like us, no doubt. The barista in charge of the only espresso machine on board needs to visit Auckland or Melbourne to learn how to use it. We didn’t like quite a lot of the ship’s decor. In some public rooms it looked like an explosion in a self-conscious interior designer’s shop. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because of their selling the finest cuisine at sea. Embarkation was shocking, did not feel like upper premium, not even close. No welcome drink or cocktails, not even orange juice. The public ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because of their selling the finest cuisine at sea. Embarkation was shocking, did not feel like upper premium, not even close. No welcome drink or cocktails, not even orange juice. The public spaces were nice to look at but poor marks for the low ceiling, everyone looked so tall and most especially me. My head was literally touching the ceiling in all public areas and wish I was exaggerating. The food was good, I’m a lobster lover and ate it everyday but realized that unlimited lobster is not enough to make a good cruise. There was constant selling in the atrium area and tv channels was mostly about selling more cruises or focusing on spa and boutique sales. I have cruised on Viking, crystal and Silversea so I have experienced luxury and upper premium. WiFi OMG painfully slow. Really tried hard to like Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange tasting scrambled eggs, soggy weird tasting French fries. At lunch time the buffet was the only option The main dining room food quality lacked imagination and was of average quality at best. Little emphasis on providing regional dishes or specialities. Each of the specialty restaurants was pretentious . While having some good dishes ( veal chop in Toscana, lamb in Jacques and red ginger) the French onion soup was watery , pasta tasteless ,crepe Suzette rubbery and bitter and pastries soggy . EXTREMELY. DISAPPOINTING!! The cabins were nice with a shower and separate bath, Shore excursions were well organized and had some great guides.However several were spoilt by unfit elderly travelers ignoring fitness recommendations for the tours by selecting strenuous walking trips . Only to complain and hold up the whole group as soon as any walking was required Entertainment was on the poor side. Boarding in Stockholm was time consuming but disembarking in Copenhagen efficient Staff varied considerably in performance. Some were very friendly helpful and attentive. Others down rite rude Last Crystal cruise was superior in every aspect. I cannot imagine how Marina has a high culinary rating!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. ... Read More
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. The buffet was our least favourite dining option although food was was very good it could be a little chaotic. Dining in the Grand Dining Room or one of the specialty restaurants was extremely rewarding. We enjoyed all the specialty restaurants but Red Ginger was our favourite the food was unbelievable. I still think about the duck and watermelon salad. We found the staff very accommodating when we wanted to change reservation times in the specialty restaurants. If I had a criticism I would like to see the Grand Dining Room open every day for lunch. The staff cleaning our cabin could not of been friendlier. Our veranda cabin was very comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the ... Read More
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the personal attention. The tour days in St. Petersburg were the highlight of our trip. Our tour guide, Tatiana, knew how to avoid all the lines and get us through all the places effortlessly. She would go ahead, purchase tickets, and by the time we reached the entrance she ushered us in. She was an amazing guide and we had a very small group. Eight of us the first day, six the second and just my husband and I the third. I will never take a large group tour again after the wonderful experience we had. It is impossible to see the sights in and around St. Petersburg in a large group. We saw twice as much as many of our shipmates. An extra bonus was that booking through Guide-Guru cost less than half of what some other fellow travelers paid! We contacted them via the internet and set everything up months in advance. We were able to pay in US dollars which saved up some $$. The Marina is a wonderful ship. The crew bends over backward to make sure your needs are met. I did not see one crew member without a smile and an offer to help you in any way. The food is delicious especially in the specialty restaurants. My husband said he had never tasted such a delicious piece of roast beef as he had in "Jacques" ,and we eat at fine restaurants frequently. The ship is a perfect size, never any crowds anywhere. We booked a Concierge level room. There was a lounge and several bags of laundry were included in the price. Also, we were able to book our specialty restaurants a month before which I appreciated. I would book another cruise on this ship without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! ... Read More
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! Recommend Nautica overnights in Stockholm Amsterdam and Copenhagen and to include a port in Norway to see the fjords.. Oceania does offer best cuisine at sea. Carlos the Maitre'D from Portugal and his gracious assistant from Thailand always greeted us by name and remembered our seating preferences in the Grand Dining Room, Breakfast Buffet Service and choices were well presented and tastefully prepared. Fine dining excelled in the specialty restaurant venues although reserving a time before 8:30 was difficult. Disappointed that Polo Grill had run out of prime rib, however the ribeye steak substituted was delicious. Adolfo from Milan was charming in Toscana. Off hours we appreciated 24/hr limited room service menu and/ casual Waves. Loved the small ship, but Nautica does need a QM2 solarium/ covered outside pool . Like verandas, outdoor pool was useless for Baltic/North Seas. Nautica band, vocalists and dancers were talented. Horizon happy hours and afternoon tea were wonderful. Having customs agent for UK on board for passport control was expeditious. It was delightful not to be pursued by omnipresent ship photographers. Overall/service attentive staff were excellent, gracious and accommodating. Except for challenges convincing Lisiam to accept our time preferences. Bundled laundry service was terrible, he returned clothes dirty and wet so I ended up redoing all in Deck 7 guest laundry. Ship excursions promotions on TV were $$$$$, inferior, laden w disclaimers. Dr. Roger Cartwright's port talks were anecdotal, boring, off topic. We used local onboard agent to plan our port visits with great independent guide experiences. Shore excursion staff was helpful, but Oceanic Club Ambassador was curt. Cruise director marketed ship activities zealously. Free internet was nearly useless despite the best effort of the IT professional on staff who was often confronted by unhappy frustrated guests. Email messages could be received but not sent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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