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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Reviewers are 65 yrs old and married, 40+ cruises on 12 lines including 7 on Oceania. Overview: Over the last several years under multiple owners Oceania has fallen from a premiere line to a line without identity. Under the holding ... Read More
Reviewers are 65 yrs old and married, 40+ cruises on 12 lines including 7 on Oceania. Overview: Over the last several years under multiple owners Oceania has fallen from a premiere line to a line without identity. Under the holding company the food and service dropped to extremely low levels. The food budget has been noticeably restored by NCL, and so has the friendliness, but the service is very poor particularly in the dinning rooms where the numbers and training level is about as low as it gets in the industry right now. Dining: See above. While the food budget is better than a year ago; however, the French Chefs are gone and there is a German cook. The drop in quality preparation from the original Oceania line could also be associated with the quality and numbers of assistant chefs remaining. Suffice to say, food is no longer the reason to take this line, and it once was the best reason. The Ship: The so-called R-ships are some of the nicest with only 650 passengers and a beautiful design. Oceania has 3 of the 8 R-ships. The ship is well maintained and extremely enjoyable. Entertainers: They were very good except for the comedian. The string quartet was excellent. The show performers were very talented and their shows were exceptional. Itinerary: Very good and well managed. Enrichment series: Unfortunately the gentleman giving these lectures was neither a gifted speaker nor an organized lecturer which was unfortunate because his knowledge of history was fairly good. Service: The service staff was extremely limited in number in the key food service areas and their skill/training was noticeably below historic Oceania levels. Cabin staff were very good and efficient; although, you out of the room early or you room was not made up until afternoon. Future of Oceania: They announced at the the party for loyalty members that they were delighted to have these five new Oceania ships in the NCL fleet, so I think that covers where the line is headed. NCL is the only major line we have never taken because we have always been discouraged to do so by virtually everyone who has taken it. When Carnival buys a line like Seabourn or Cunard it tries to keep that fact as unapparent as possible and maintain some pretense of a quality line while reducing service to increase it shareholders demands for more profits. NCL is hiding nothing. Value: To be fair, I booked this near the sailing with heavy discounts and then took the offered options the day before sailing to get a balcony upgrade. I paid no more for the balcony stateroom for 12 days than I would have paid on a mass market line, so the value for me was very good; however, if you want to book a balcony or suite at regular rates, Seabourn, Silver seas, and other premium lines would be cheaper and definitely better in my opinion. Shore excusions: This is always a large profit item for the line and I am happy so many people supply that profit, but some the excursions was unbelievably expensive. We rented a car with another couple and did the exact same Plantation Tour in Charleston that the ship offered. We paid an average of $38 per person and the ship tour was $180 per person and of course took an extra 1.5 hours because of organizing the group and getting everyone on and off buses. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I will start off by saying this cruise was about relaxing for us so might be boring to read my thoughts This was our 6th cruise on Regatta so it was very familiar to us We were on a B2B this was R/T Miami with port stops in ... Read More
I will start off by saying this cruise was about relaxing for us so might be boring to read my thoughts This was our 6th cruise on Regatta so it was very familiar to us We were on a B2B this was R/T Miami with port stops in Bahamas, Bermuda, Norfolk, Charleston, Port Canaveral. When I saw Bermuda with 2 days in Hamilton that was the selling point for me We spent our honeymoon there way back when After leaving Bahamas the seas were a bit bumpy & the sick bags were out It did not bother us too much we had been in worse It was very hot & humid most of the trip in April, not sure I would choose this same itinerary again Bermuda was lovely though not too hot The only port we did a private tour was Bermuda ...I pre booked David Fox & shared with 4 others from the roll call We saw a good portion of the island between the Lighthouse & St Georges We had lunch in St George's at Wahoo's as per David's recommendation He suggested the Wahoo bites ..now keep in mind DH does not eat much fish but he ordered the bites & loved them ..he did share a few pieces with me David even found the guest house we had stayed in many years ago with minimal information I would highly recommend him arriving in Hamilton late afternoon Friday we went ashore just to check out the area, next day was our tour Sunday several of us took the ferry from Hamilton over to King's Wharf to shops there We were to leave at 4pm that afternoon but due to a storm front the Captain decided to stay in Bermuda until the next afternoon Many grumbled we would miss Norfolk but I would rather that than be in a storm in the Atlantic The next day we just did a walk around Hamilton looking in the shops etc... untill the rain shower sent us into the gift shop ..how awful it did not last long and we headed back out for our walking tour We made it to Charleston & overnighted there We walked up through the market & shopped a bit It was very hot & humid so I did not fare well in thew heat so headed back to the ship & the A/C There I stayed until Miami Food It is subjective but we found it quite good as usual ..a couple of misses but nothing in life is perfect We ate dinner mostly in the GDR, Breakfast at Waves & lunch at Waves or Terrace The service was uneven & some nights it took 2-3 hrs for dinner even at a table for 4 Way too long to be sitting, not sure if it was a staff issue or what the problem was Barristas was very good & the girl there was quite pleasant & we would try to learn Italian from her The Production shows were a bit better than in the past the solo performers were hit or miss I did not go to the comedian shows ..how many bad jokes can you take in one night We had a sizable OBC so we tried some spa treatments (not something we normally do) quite enjoyable. A good way to use up the OBC if you are not a ship's excursion person or drinkers Overall the cruise was great for us but we just like the motion of the ocean We like to size of Oceania ships so all is good Life is short ..go cruising Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Judging from the reviews and boards of Cruise Critic at least, It’s not been a good year so far for Oceania with all of the norovirus on RIVIERA and continued worry or real experiences that “things aren’t the same” under new NCL ... Read More
Judging from the reviews and boards of Cruise Critic at least, It’s not been a good year so far for Oceania with all of the norovirus on RIVIERA and continued worry or real experiences that “things aren’t the same” under new NCL ownership. For us, it was returning to REGATTA for our sixth cruise in her and our first since 2011 having sailing in the meantime once in MARINA and three times in RIVIERA. My wife prefers “the big ships” (especially the cabin bathrooms with tubs!) but I still prefer “the little ships”. This cruise in REGATTA reinforced that for me and reassured me that Oceania remains largely “as is” and a superb cruise product across the board. REGATTA was just the right size for this 12-day itinerary, a new one for us, from Miami to Nassau, Bermuda (and yes with that preferred Hamilton Front Street berth), Charleston (delightful!) and Port Canaveral. Our call at Norfolk was sadly cancelled owing to bad weather in the Atlantic and the captain wisely deciding to spend an additional (and idyllic) day in Bermuda instead. April in the Atlantic is a crap-shoot weather-wise but was was pretty good with only first evening and morning out of Bermuda rough although it was quite windy and cloudy in Bermuda one day. This was our first return to REGATTA since her extensive refurbishment in 2013. Happy to see that Oceania retains the original Edwardian décor of the original “R” ships which I prefer to the flashier style of the RIVIERA/MARINA. The Grand Dining Room, Hall and staircase remain among the most handsome spaces afloat. Sadly, I think they ruined the Terrace Café, replacing the charming murals and light pastel colors with institutional fake wood laminate and plastic covered chairs right out of a nursing home. Oddly, the lovely colorful mosaics on the lido deck have also been replaced with the most harsh and dreary grey rough stone. A lot of the charm and character of these areas have been spoilt and for no good reason it seems. Essential maintenance remains excellent but high-use Martinis not tidied up anywhere near as often as before (or as necessary) and the gents dressing room in the Canyon Ranch Spa and the outside spa deck were often a mess of heaped, used towels, robes and sandals… something you’d never have seen before. Our own cabin (7074, a Concierge Veranda) was kept immaculate and the cabin stewardesses were superbly efficient, friendly and helpful. Food, food, food… Oceania has always been as obsessed about eating as its passengers. And happy to report, it remains as superb as ever. Tastes and expectations vary and you can’t get more subjective than food but I thought it was uniformly excellent in choice, presentation, quality and finished product and in every venue and every meal. If anything, our experience in Toscana and Polo were the best of our ten Oceania cruises, making the prospect of them being “combined” as Tuscan Steak all that more sad. We love the little bar in Polo on these ships. Service in the Main Dining Room can be slow, yes… the menus are simply too extensive I think for anything else… and there remain long (15-20 min) waits for tables for two even after 8.00 pm. But this is one good dining experience make no mistake. Oceania may focus too much on food but the results are very tasty indeed. The most enjoyable aspect of cruising with Oceania for us has always been the crew and we always come away having made new friends from all over the world and delighted to be reacquainted with some familiar faces from cruises past. Adrian (Mexico) the deck steward was my prize this trip serving up the best margaritas afloat and in quantity as well as a quality. Some really delightful staff (especially Oscar from Peru) in the Terrace Café and dining room and Horizons, too. Service in Martinis was frankly not very good, so poor in fact that we complained when it seemed obvious that people with the beverage package were not getting the same level of service. Our complaint was promptly handled by the bar manager and the service did get better but we preferred Horizons on this trip for service and friendliness. REGATTA, Oceania’s first ship and still the flagship of the ever expanding fleet, remains an utterly charming and delightful vessel offering exceptional standards of cuisine, service and surroundings. And most of all, some very nice people to look after you. Adrian’s margaritas already seem a distant memory. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
I could have just copied a review of this ship I found elsewhere...it was written in Nov., 2011 but just about everything that reviewer said I found applicable to our cruise to Bermuda. So when we're asked for comments at the end of ... Read More
I could have just copied a review of this ship I found elsewhere...it was written in Nov., 2011 but just about everything that reviewer said I found applicable to our cruise to Bermuda. So when we're asked for comments at the end of the cruise, what's the point? Nothing changed from Nov., 2011. Embarkation was easy peasy...Onboard at 11 or so and then a three hour lunch waiting for our veranda cabin to be be ready... The lunch in the Terrace buffett was fine...good selection, everything prepared well. The cabin was small but comfortable...the ship's easy to find one's way around. Dinner's in the grand Dinning Room were...interesting...our first night, my wife ordered a NY stripe steak...inedible...sooo much gristle...the server never asked how it was...in fact during the cruise, we only had one server who seemed to care if we enjoyed our dinner..thank you, Jorge, from Portugal. The second night, three of us sat in a row..we each ordered soup...we each took one sip and it tasted like pure salt. One would think the server might ask why three of us left our soup...he didn't. Most of the meals in the Grand Dining Room were excellent...but, really, now...just two slices of beef tenderloin and just 4 thimble sized portions of grilled tuna? By contrast, all the meals in Toscana and the Polo Grill were excellent with excellent service... Port tours offered by the ship: one hour carriage tour in Charleston=$125. Same tour bought on our own=$23.50. Ship transfer to the airport=$69. Taxi to the airport, for BOTH of us=$28 including tip. You get the idea. My big issues: We missed the private island stop because of rough seas...OK, I get that..it happens a lot. We missed the St. George stop..strong winds, BUT, the same conditions existed three years ago on our Azamara and Azamara then provided us shuttle service from Hamilton to St. George. I asked onboard if O was going to do that...I was informed they were not. The ship arrived about 3.5 hours late at our next port, Norfolk, VA. We then got in line, as we were told to do, to clear immigration. We stood in line 1.5 hrs. The ship could have called us by deck, or alpha, but didn't. The cruise director blamed immigration for the hold up and suggested maybe they reduced the number of agents in order to boost their overtime pay. I found that comment to be quite insulting. She seemed to ignore the fact that we arrived 3.5 late and work schedules are established in advance...but then, blaming the gov't for everything is fashionable. Instead of an overnight in Charleston, as advertised, the ship stayed overnight in Norfolk...that was underwhelming. Without exception, the vast majority of us wanted to stay in Charleston instead...I wonder if the docking fees are less in Norfolk than Bermuda...jus' sayin'. We missed the overnight stay in Charleston. This was a big deal for many, many of us. Passengers had relatives and friends coming in from elsewhere to overnight with...I spoke with a crew member who had a friend driving in from Alabama on April 28 to meet her. We didn't arrive until April 29. We missed a tour we had bought independently for April 28. The ship blamed the weather for missing the overnight in Charleston, which made little sense to us. We also arrived 3 hours and 35 minutes late at the next port..Port Canaveral. We intended to rent a car and drive west to visit a friend...again...we had to cancel...the car rental place's shuttle didn't run that late. Entertainment: We loved the four singer/dancers..they rocked, they rolled, they sang their hearts out. We also like Greg Moreland, Magic/Comedy.... he was awesome with his tricks and had a very gentle, sweet humor about him...in addition, he offered free magic classes so we learned some tricks...we felt we paid about $6500 to learn a few few tricks and that was magic in itself. We didn't care for Tom Drake, Comedian. I don't like humor which ridicules employees who work for the gov't or Walmart, or any other employer...I find them mean spirited. We left his show early but learned he later said he is married to our cruise director. That I did find funny. There were not too many activities to do onboard during sea days...I read about 800 pages during the cruise..a new record for me. Would I sail with O again? Probably not. The past reviews from 2011 I referred to make it clear that the line plays it loose with the itinerary...We had cruised about 30 times and never, ever had as many port deviations and changes to the intineray as we did this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was the 38th cruise for my wife and I; we are both retired Seniors living in S. Florida. We booked with a local agent of long standing and our transportation to the Port of Miami was via private car, a family member. We arrived ... Read More
This was the 38th cruise for my wife and I; we are both retired Seniors living in S. Florida. We booked with a local agent of long standing and our transportation to the Port of Miami was via private car, a family member. We arrived at the terminal (conveniently located; Oceania's berth and embarkation slots are the very first as you enter the port, just after Noon and were on the ship and at our (Inside, number 8014) cabin easily before 1:00PM. Check in (done online before boarding) was quick, easy and courteously and professionally handled. We had been told that the cabin(s) would not be ready this early,so we quickly visited ours to see if we could drop our carryons before heading to the Terrace Cafe (the buffet) for lunch. We surprised our steward Ada, who was just finishing servicing our rooms and caught an elevator to the 9th floor Terrace. This venue, where we ate breakfast often, is as usual, located at the stern, our cabin, toward the bow, which gave us a good walk to sharpen our appetites...Being as this was prime time for both lunch and boarding, we did not find seating readily available; finally a friendly couple at a larger table graciously invited us to sit with them. Note: Will comment on food later, as a separate comment section. From lunch we made a quick ship's tour to familiarize ourselves. An easy task as we had a year plus before sailed on the Azamara Journey, sister ship of the Regatta as both were originally part of the Renaissance line, spun off after financial difficulties post 9/11. An added theater has been well designed, and cabin modifications are well thought out. Again, separate category follows! The Gym/fitness center/Spa is, as usual on the same deck as the buffet but at the opposite (bow) end. The gym is well equipped for the size allotted to it, and well thought out. There are fourteen cardio/treadmill machines, six upper body machines, one stationary stand to do "dips" etc. on, and a half dozen "Spinner" bicycles. The demographic being what it was on this cruise, we saw none of the "spinners" in use at any time, though they could have been. There is on Deck 5, enroute to the Theater, a small shopping section, an all purpose outlet with mainly clothing and a few sundries which might be needed if anyone had forgotten to pack them, and on the opposite side of the walkway, a jewelry outlet. One of the frequently mentioned hallmarks of the Oceania line is its exemplary service, and with only two very disappointing exceptions (which make it even more disappointing by comparison) this was true. Front desk crew, i.e, always happy, smiling and willing to help it all possible. Try to get by any staff in the hallways without a smile and greeting; we found it impossible to do. Dining staff, very happy in demeanor and performance. Two examples: Steward Ada; with whom there was a mixup on a cabin treat, not of her making, apologized profusely and said that the wrong paperwork had been delivered due to the noted cabin class. Quite soon, a staff officer, nice young lady "Jolanta" appeared and assured us that as it was a ship's error we would receive the particular perc, and we did. Waiter Raymond, also a standout. Ex.2: Writer has a dairy allergy, which had been properly communicated and confirmed. Main dining room Ass't. Maitre' d Cora Aguisando (my spelling) arranged for the dinner menu to be delivered to our cabin early mornings, so that I might mark it with my specific requests and return it to her desk so that it would be on file in the kitchen when our order was taken. As we entered for dinner, a printout had already been prepared and was handed to the waiter so that all arrangements were handled expeditiously and correctly. We noted that there were several similar printouts at her reception desk and found this very admirable, that this level of preparation is made. Well done indeed. There are two alternative restaurants, Polo Grill, specializing in meats, and Tuscano, an Italian themed venue. Both are complimentary, as opposed to added charge on most lines, and reservations need to be made so that everyone has a fair chance. Well, that said, let's talk about food in general and start with these. We dined at each twice and in general were well pleased. In Polo I had the single best prime rib ever in my life. Offerings in both were outstanding indeed. A sight to behold was BW's (for the unitiated, Beautiful Wife's) sampler dessert plate in Polo, consisting of tastes of all desserts from the main menu. Quite a sight indeed, husband watched with considerable envy, he freely admits. Service, from entry to exit, beyond compare. May I repeat, Beyond Compare. Grand Dining Room (Yes, that is its true name) presents what has to be cuisine which is literally, as good as it gets, and is in the main, outstanding. We have not sailed on the absolutely top-rated (and accordingly priced) luxe lines, but would say the only comparable food would be on the aforementioned Azamara. Different styles, different to compare, both are outstanding. It is worthy of note that several things menu wise are beyond what could be anticipated or expected. GDR, breakfast, "Steel Cut Oatmeal" and Lamb Chops to order...two breakfast specials which were both impressive and appreciated. On two lunches, Conch fritters came as very meaty and very little breading or filler, as opposed to the opposite on most lines. A hamburger ordered at lunch was the single best ever eaten; it seemed to be the highest quality beef ground and served as a "Burger". In the latter part of the voyage, a sugar free sorbet, a welcome choice, appeared both in the GDR and the Terraces. A signature dish, broiled free range chicken, was outstanding and was so good it was ordered several times. ___ Entertainment? Now up to par with other ships of its class and size. The absolutely best BY FAR of any ship's orchestra we have ever heard. Eight pieces, all perfect and very pleasing. A good mix of music for the demographic, which was almost totally seniors. (Oceania has no facilities or entertainment for young children and does not pretend to) This band plays for dancing before evening shows and often appears elsewhere throughout the ship, though often in abbreviated (perhaps Five Piece) form. For some shows they combined with the roving String Quartet to form a full big band. This classical group plays daily at the 4:00PM tea which we did not attend, as we usually had other commitments. The talented young cast of four singers/dancers (two of each, of course) gave several varied musical presentations and were well received, often appearing through the ship assisting in other activities (Trivia, golf-putting, ping-pong competition etc) and mixing with the passengers on a good will basis. There were three solo acts which appeared twice each, a banjo player, a magician, and a comedian/guitarist. All were talented and well received. Trivia fan? One daily presentation, well attended, and an occasional evening quiz in a smaller venue. As opposed to, and pleasingly so, the usual onslaught of key chains and ballpoint pens, points are earned in all daily competitions, both trivia and skill, and larger prizes can be claimed the last sea day. Cruise Director, Nolan Dean, presented the daily Trivia, and did his job very well, personable and pleasing in all respects. Enrichment speaker, Ret. Col. Steven Bauer, gave a series of highly pleasing talks on Social Life in the White House, under various presidents. With his wife Linda, also on board, he has authored a number of books ranging from said White House duties to best selling cook books. They are the single best speakers we have ever heard and others echoed our sentiments. They combined for a joint added talk on the last sea day where they gave interesting background on both their personal lives and the authoring of their books. ___ Cabins? Our inside cabin was well laid out and had a surprising amount of available storage. Though smaller than many of its class, it was well laid out and usable. BW and I agreed that the reading lamps for bedtime reading were the best designed we had ever seen on any ship. Switches are convenient bedside and a small auxiliary gooseneck can be directed at your material, or even turned against the wall to make a convenient nightlight. We found the bathroom smaller than many, but in Oceania's ready defense, they can only present what they received as already built. Hopefully this is remedied on the two larger new-builds, Marina, already in service, and Riviera to be, in 2012, we understand. We would add one caution: we do not recommend a forward eighth floor cabin. There were early morning noises of deck chairs being set up on the pool deck directly above, and after one pool party, the chairs or tables being moved around woke me up twice. ___ As is hinted at in our preamble, when you provide, as Oceania did and does, and we are sure will continue to do, the few slipups are especially appalling, as they go so against the norm. We mention as it was so bizarre and the other as so purely and unexpectedly disappointing. The Bizarre: Having had the sugar free sorbet in the Terraces a preceding day, and also ordering it that night in the GDR, as it was available the next day in the Terrace at lunch, we asked at dinner if, though not on the dessert menu, it were still available. The waiter "advised" me: No, that was last night; we threw it out..." I replied: "Well, I just had it upstairs for lunch?" Said waiter than quickly and silently turned and hurriedly walked away...Gotcha? Advice to Oceania: Don't try to kid me, I've been kidded before and know a kidder when I see and hear one... The disappointing: As frequent cruisers know, service the last morning of a cruise can be more hurried and perhaps a bit less, well, cheerful? But let's not overdo it, please. At breakfast, the waiter was not interested in the least in any bit of cheer of any sort, simply took the order, turned on his heel without even an acknowledgment and walked away. As service had been far and above many if not most experiences, this was most disappointing, to experience the apparent viewpoint of: "Well, this bunch is headed out, tips have been written up, now let's just get this done, period, and no more." Such a dichotomy to previous experience over two weeks, this was especially disappointing, more than it ordinarily would have been. ___ In conclusions, ports and comments. First stop from Miami, Charleston S.C. A delightful experience and a port we had not been to before. We did a brief self-directed walking tour, past the Customs House, with Azaleas in full bloom, to the regional market, by far the most pleasant we have ever experienced. After leaving Charleston, the weather and seas turned bad and we were not able to dock in Yorktown, the entry port for both Williamsburg and Norfolk. The Captain proceeded on to Bermuda and the seas were so rough that even though this would have theoretically given us an extra day, we did not gain this at all. We did another brief shore walk from our dock in Hamilton, having been in Bermuda twice before. Then to San Juan, P.R. where we stayed on shipboard as it being Easter weekend, adjacent shopping areas were closed and we had been to San Juan also before and there was no tour that we chose. Dominican Republic next stop, again, no tours of interest; a nearly island that we could have tendered to, we were told, had only swimming and sunning available. We were later told by other passengers that this was incorrect, that there had been a number of local shops open with craftwork and better than usual souveniers available. At Turks and Caicos, we docked at an attractive and newly built shopping area, but again, many stores were not open. Oddly, there was no Cruise Critic meeting available to be signed up for and none found on board. We can only assume not enough people inquired? Debarkation: As Embarkation, seamless and quick..that says all that need be said! Would we do Oceania again? Probably so, all things considered and would definitely look forward to one of the two newer ships, for variety's sake. 30 Read Less
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