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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
After reading a review posted here, I want to post my own review of this same cruise. On our 8th Oceania cruise, our second on Nautica, this cruise was one of our best cruises for the total ship experience with the additional charm of the ... Read More
After reading a review posted here, I want to post my own review of this same cruise. On our 8th Oceania cruise, our second on Nautica, this cruise was one of our best cruises for the total ship experience with the additional charm of the Irish ports of call. If I get obvious out of the way, Nautica is way overdue for an interior refit. In no way did the condition of the ship detract from our onboard experience. If I compare our Nautica experience with our cruise to Cuba on Sirena, this cruise better organized, and, the crew had a better focus on the total customer experience. The food service, the quality in Polo, Toscana and the GDR was very good, at times our dishes were the best we have ever had on an Oceania cruise. It’s true that ship excursions board tenders before independent travelers. We booked all of our excursions with our Cruise Critic members on our Roll Call board. At no time did we find that this delay was a problem on this cruise. Yes, the Oceania excursion product is way overpriced. Oceania needs to do better in this regard. We prefer the Oceanis cruise product, and, we have booked another cruise for next year. I believe the Nautica is one of Oceania’s best ships for the overall management and for the total cruise experience for the passenger. Once the refit is complete, I expect the Nautica will continue as a top choice for Oceania travelers old and new. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This ship was a perfect size for us. The food was excellent. Polo Grill very good and Toscana great. I also really enjoyed the meals in the Grand Dining room. Wine can get expensive but Happy Hour is 2 for 1. Brought our wine to the ... Read More
This ship was a perfect size for us. The food was excellent. Polo Grill very good and Toscana great. I also really enjoyed the meals in the Grand Dining room. Wine can get expensive but Happy Hour is 2 for 1. Brought our wine to the dining room. Great entertainment. John's magic show during happy hour was the best. The speakers were outstanding. Enjoyed Black Jack tournaments. Some couples really wanted to play Poker but not enough players. I can't say enough about the staff. Very helpful and kind. The best. Julio at the concierge desk was so helpful with all. I mostly booked my own excursions. Love the Orkney Islands. Our favorite stop. Did a walking tour in Londonderry and that was on the spot 4 GBP so great value. Being able to get a special coffee anytime, an ice cream etc. was great. Service at the dining room was very efficient. Loved showing up and being seated so quickly. The buffet was good but often crowded as the weather did not lend itself to dining outdoors so they brought those seats in. Prefer the dining room and personalize service. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our second journey on Marina in three years. This one 12 days vs 26 days on earlier cruise. This itinerary was very port intensive with no at sea days. For a 12 day cruise it was very manageable. We missed one port due to poor tendering ... Read More
Our second journey on Marina in three years. This one 12 days vs 26 days on earlier cruise. This itinerary was very port intensive with no at sea days. For a 12 day cruise it was very manageable. We missed one port due to poor tendering weather conditions at Biarritz, so Bilbao had us for an extra day. The food and service was as good as our previous cruise. We tended to use the Terrace Restaurant a lot when you have a port intensive itinerary, due to the simplicity of having a meal done in a decent time period, versus longer serve time meal in the Grand Dining room. Personal choice only. Service in both Terrace and Grand Dining Room was at the usual high standard of Oceania. Of the 4 other restaurant venues, Toscana was our odds on favourite. Polo Grill is the "steak" place and didn't fail our expectations. The Oceania Shore excursions was a cut above our previous experiences, in terms of quality of itinerary and guides. This cruise had a large of handicap passengers, which seemed odd as the ports we visited were by no means handicap friendly. Cobble stone streets and hilly areas, did not seem ideal. Just an observation ! The stateroom service staff were very accommodating and although we had been in Concierge on our other trips, the level of service difference was negligible. Our balcony stateroom was comfortable and spacious for our clothes, baggage and purchase we made during the cruise. We attended a couple of Entertainment events and they were of very high quality, but the intensity of port excursions made for long days and early mornings, so we bypassed the late night opportunities . We had booked this cruise very late and with the almost at capacity situation, we had a very tough time getting decent dinner reservations. Somehow this didn't make sense as we noted that even at the early "fully booked" restaurant times, there were quite a few vacant tables in each restaurant as we peeked in. 12 days with no at-sea days is quite manageable, but beyond that, at least one rest day break should be in the plan. Happy Hour 2-1 Martini's seemed to be a bit misleading, as we found that the drink sizes offered were were about half the size of a normal drink, so didn't rush into getting there for the Happy Hour....not a deal at all! Heads up ......on this sailing from Amsterdam, meant we were subjected to Dutch tax rules throughout our journey. Not sure what it would have been from another port, but I heard that there is a difference. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Book your own transport. It took well over an hour AFTER we had gotten thru customs and immigration control before the bus arrived. Then the bus stopped at two other Terminals in Heathrow to pick up passengers. At $130 per person ... Read More
Book your own transport. It took well over an hour AFTER we had gotten thru customs and immigration control before the bus arrived. Then the bus stopped at two other Terminals in Heathrow to pick up passengers. At $130 per person one-way, you can arrange a private van or limo that would be more comfortable, less expensive and reliable. Believe Oceania may want to seek another transport contractor at LHR. On-board ship entertainment was sub-par, even for Oceania. Liked the 12 dancers/singers in the production shows but other entertainers were average at best. Cabin attendant (Mikolina) was excellent and arranged to provide bath towels with more nap on them. Butler gave the impression that pre-paid gratuities were not sufficient. He did provide good service. Ate in all four specialty restaurants at prearranged tables for 8 with fine experience in each one. Malbec wine that I had ordered on 5 nights was unavailable about three days prior to the cruise ending. This shouldn't happen. Packets of cocoa were unavailable on the ship (including the Executive Lounge) about half-way thru the cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
My wife and I are veteran cruisers, but this was our first cruise with Oceania. The ship was, at first glance, a bit underwhelming, especially as compared to the larger, and glitzier mass market megaships. But we quickly discovered that ... Read More
My wife and I are veteran cruisers, but this was our first cruise with Oceania. The ship was, at first glance, a bit underwhelming, especially as compared to the larger, and glitzier mass market megaships. But we quickly discovered that the Marina has a certain elegance that is not found on larger ships. And we appreciated this more with each passing day. We arrived at Southampton around 1 PM on departure day and quickly checked in and were shown to our cabin on the port side of Deck 9, Concierge Level. Our cabin attendant introduced himself as soon as we arrived, and his service, throughout the 12-day cruise was outstanding. The Concierge lounge was just down the corridor and served coffee, sodas, and snacks (small sandwiches/croissants and cookies) throughout the day. Daily newspapers from both London and the U.S.A. were available every day. Internet service, though free and unlimited for O-Life Choice guests, was often slow and sometimes not available at all. We had a number of shore excursions booked. Most were pretty good, but the exception was our trip to the Edinburgh Castle. The guide on the tour bus was not very informative, and she escorted us into the castle (thus bypassing the long queue for tickets) and basically left us there. And it was raining quite hard at the time. We really liked the port call at Kirkwall, in the Orkney islands, and the five ports in Norway, where we had unusually good weather, and spectacular scenery. However, not all was perfect. The shows were of varying quality. The casino was very small, and the craps table was often not open. Onboard activities, for which one could earn "Big O" points (redeemable for merchandise at the end of the cruise) were plentiful. We actually had a good time with Trivia contests, Name That Tune, Cornhole, and golf putting and earned enough points to get two moisture-wicking Oceania T-shirts. Food was very good, but not "fabulous," as we were lead to believe. The menus in the Grand Dining Room were varied, but there were times when I felt I had to settle for something that I might not otherwise have ordered. We dined in four of the specialty restaurants (at no extra charge) and they were all good. But Polo and Jacques were much better than Toscana and Red Ginger. The Terrace Cafe (buffet style) was great, with lots of choices. We especially liked that lobster tails were available EVERY night at the buffet, and they were delicious. Also, at the buffets, guests had to ask for everything they wanted, rather than reaching in and serving oneself. I had no problem with this as it seems the best way to avoid spreading Norovirus. Only the servers were allowed to put food on plates. Lunch at the Waves Grill was also very good--great burgers and sandwiches. Overall, we had a great time, but, considering the price difference between Oceania and other cruise lines, we're not so sure the cruise was worth that difference in cost. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Itinerary was one we hadn't done before. Had a really good time on board and in the U.K. and Ireland. The ports were very interesting and the weather was really good for northern England and Scotland. The rough seas were almost ... Read More
Itinerary was one we hadn't done before. Had a really good time on board and in the U.K. and Ireland. The ports were very interesting and the weather was really good for northern England and Scotland. The rough seas were almost un-noticable the night we had them. The ship was very comfortable through that night. The captain was among the best in keeping all well informed throughout the cruise. He was very approachable and explained everything. One day as we were disembarking we saw him leaving the ship with his bike for a ride around the port. The food on board was terrific as usual on Oceania. The food on board is the main reason we frequently look at the itineraries that Oceania offers. We always meet very interesting people on board. This trip was no exception. Exploring out of the way places in Dublin and the Beatles tour was a highlight. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
Oceania fouled up their shore operations again. Shuttles into Bilbao from ship around lunchtime were on a 40 minute to one hour schedule. We left our stateroom with sufficient time to debark, walk to the terminal and catch a shuttle. ... Read More
Oceania fouled up their shore operations again. Shuttles into Bilbao from ship around lunchtime were on a 40 minute to one hour schedule. We left our stateroom with sufficient time to debark, walk to the terminal and catch a shuttle. We were not informed that the gangway was being moved and we were held up for about ten minutes while the gangway was shifted to to tides. We missed the shuttle by 5 minutes. Next bus . . . 40 minutes later. We love the way they handle their on-ship operations but feel that they need to greatly improve everything about ground services. The food is superb. Waves grill has delicious lobster and steak surf and turf at lunchtime. the four specialty restaurants are each well worth dining at. Service for all ship based activities is top notch. Staff is as good as one could find anywhere. Oceania needs to improve the manner in which they coordinate the transition from ship to shore. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because we have had great experiences on Oceania and liked the itinerary, Stockholm to Barcelona. On this cruise, the crew from the general manager on down was terrific. Attitude was "what can we do for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have had great experiences on Oceania and liked the itinerary, Stockholm to Barcelona. On this cruise, the crew from the general manager on down was terrific. Attitude was "what can we do for you". Our cabin was perfectly maintained. Our major on board activity is dancing and there was plenty of opportunity everyday with music before and after dinner. The band in Horizons was great, played all kinds of music. No comments on shore excursions since we do independent touring but I will say Oceania is providing more and more information and assistance to independent travelers which we appreciate. Food has always been Oceania's strength. This was our 7th O. cruise and we thought the food in the main dining room was not as good or as varied as on previous cruises. It was not bad ( we are not discouraged from cruising again with O, we've signed up for 50 days in 2017) but it is not as good as it has been in the past. This was a port intensive cruise with one sea day so there were not many lectures. There was only one speaker who gave three lectures and he wasn't very good. On our previous cruises with O. the speakers were very good. Our one negative about the ship itself is about furnishings in public spaces. The tables in Horizons and the Terrace are much too close together. It is very difficlut to find a table where someone will not be bumped by servers or other guests. It is annoying. Also, the furniture in Martinis and Horizons, while looking great, is not user friendly. There is not a single chair (other than a barstool) we could sit on in Martinis. It is all low and soft. In Horizons all the window seating is big and soft. We found it uncomfortable and it also blocks the view from the more normal size chairs in the middle of the room. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Having been impressed with a lunchtime ship visit in 2015, we found a local cruise at reduced price. The ship was very spacious and clean and well kept... as was the cabin (balcony) but as usual access the storage was not ideal although ... Read More
Having been impressed with a lunchtime ship visit in 2015, we found a local cruise at reduced price. The ship was very spacious and clean and well kept... as was the cabin (balcony) but as usual access the storage was not ideal although adequate (11 nights).....door opening in front of wardrobe, some drawers high up as was the safe. One of our, not overly large, suitcases wouldn't fit under the bed. The bathroom had a tub (unused) with a shower that of course sprays on the floor. The separate shower was good size as was the water pressure. The towels were thick but small ( being larger people ). Dining was excellent for food, service and choices. We tried all the speciality restaurants and were able to try three again as we were not fussy about times and sharing. I don't know if concierge level helped here. The seven course with seven wines, for extra, was more than excellent. In the casual restaurant you were served from the available choices, then at your table for drinks. I liked this method, although some people still used their hands to pick up food. Being smaller ships, embarkation worked well at Southampton.. we live close by. After a short time queuing you were confirmed to be a passenger, then the scanning, then the booking in and then onto the ship. All that was missing was a glass of champagne as you boarded. I didn't find any of the enrichment lectures appealing so didn't go! We only managed three evening entertainments, not really our style. The music around the ship was good. Never intended to try the gym, and didn't. The spa facilities looked good. The shore excursions seemed expensive. In most ports we were visiting friends so did our own thing. Disembarkation was through the tannoy, all off by 0900 It was a gourmet, relaxing cruise. I would go again for a special occasion. I was however disappointed with fellow passengers dress. Jeans and polos for dinner!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Coming off of a RSSC cruise on Voyager, also in Scandinavia, expectations were high. Oceania, while not the same all-inclusive experience, offered better dining and an altogether better value proposition as well as a more lively crowd. ... Read More
Coming off of a RSSC cruise on Voyager, also in Scandinavia, expectations were high. Oceania, while not the same all-inclusive experience, offered better dining and an altogether better value proposition as well as a more lively crowd. Our PH1 suite, 8030, was extremely well located, quiet, clean, and well maintained though wardrobes and bathroom were a bit small, at 6'3" had to duck to use the shower. Early embarkation was a breeze and luggage delivery was less than one hour after getting access to our cabin. Specialty dining at Polo and Toscana were great and offered twice in each restaurant as suite passengers on the 10 night cruise. In MDR suite status seemed to ensure (not an advertised perk) seating at prime 2-top tables by the windows unless we requested group seating. We opted for top-flight beverage package based on number of sea days, but wouldn't opt for this again as we felt "pressure" to make the most of it. Have read other reviews that pan this ship, I understand that there was an unfortunate fire and norovirus outbreak on the ship which seem to have pushed down the overall score. Our experience was top-notch and we would have no reservations about booking on Insignia again. In fact we enjoyed the cruise so much we booked another on Riviera for next year. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Chose this cruise for the interesting itinerary. We had been to Iceland and Faroes 3 years ago and enjoyed it so much we wanted to go back, also this cruise featured 2 stops in Greenland which we wanted to see. The last time we sailed on ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the interesting itinerary. We had been to Iceland and Faroes 3 years ago and enjoyed it so much we wanted to go back, also this cruise featured 2 stops in Greenland which we wanted to see. The last time we sailed on Oceania (Regatta & Insignia) was 2005 and 2007 respectively. We were interested to see how ship experience has change in these years and the (possible) effect of the influence of the new parent company NCL has on the cruise experience. It is important to say that we went on the cruise with a very bitter taste as we had booked in October 2015 and paid in full in February 2016 at a so called special offer only to find that in May 2016 Oceania had reduced our equivalent cabin category by a whopping 48%. It took me and my travel agent nearly a month to try and resolve this situation. Oceania UK were most unhelpful in doing anything to compensate us for this. Eventually, I wrote to Frank del Rio (CEO Oceania) and Jason Montague (President NCL) and they got the UK office, Bernard Carter MD, to offer us many extra packages which we had to take instead of getting any cash refund. Because they had so many issues regarding this type of pricing offer Oceania have introduced their price promise called BPG, best price guarantee. My advice is to check that they will honour the BPG when yo book or better still wait for the price to drop nearer to sailing date and get a "last minute deal". Despite the above our cruise overall was very good. Never rate anything or anyone excellent as they have nothing left to achieve. The downside of Nautica and the other R ships in the fleet is that the bathrooms are very small. Our outside view cabin was good although the decorations are showing signs of ageing. We were on Deck 4 which is very convenient for the main dining room and Nautica Lounge. Oceania lacks a lot of daytime activities that are offered on larger ships. The entertainment team of 4 have to organise the so called "sporting" activities and also perform their evening production shows. The only lecture was fairly interesting but seemed to think that passengers (his shipmates) were only going to visit the local pubs in every port of call. Oceania is noted for it's dining (food) experience and overall this was very good. The main criticism was the limited variety of vegetarian dishes on offer. They seem to give fancy names for every menu item. The service in the Grand Dining Room was slow on a number of occasions. The Polo Grill and Toscana were very nice. If you like your food hot, as we do, be sure to ask and remind your waiter as at most meals we had to send our soup and main course back as it was only cool in temperature. The entertainment was quite good but again very limited. The Cruise Director Julie James was excellent and apologised that because the cruise was oversold there was not the availability of cabins for more entertainers. The Wi-Fi internet on the ship was very,very,very poor. Luckily we had an unlimited package because if we had to pay for it we would have needed a mortgage at their prices. The shore excursions were well organised but very poor value for money, Again we had 5 shore excursions included in our extras package so if we would have paid for them they were an expensive rip off. My advice is to book your tours independently. All the ports were very good and apart from Dublin, where only one shuttle bus ran on the hour, we enjoyed the tendering and shuttle service/ Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This is our 30th cruise on 23 different cruise lines. I am 71, my wife is 63 and we have been crusing since 1979. In our cruises and other vacations we have visited 103 countries. You could say we are well traveled. The format of this ... Read More
This is our 30th cruise on 23 different cruise lines. I am 71, my wife is 63 and we have been crusing since 1979. In our cruises and other vacations we have visited 103 countries. You could say we are well traveled. The format of this review is “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the So So.” I take the term “cruise critic” seriously so this is not a “puff piece.” The Good The layout and design of these ships based on the old Renaissance 1 & 2 originals is ideal for the traveler who prefers smaller ships (650 passengers). Years ago these were considered mid-size ships but not anymore. The insignia has a rich color scheme and pleasant dark wood in the cabins and throughout the public spaces. It has an old world elegance feel that is very pleasing. We booked this cruise because it is the size of ship we like and the unique itinerary. An itinerary that included Honfleur, Portland-Weymouth, Milford Haven, Dublin, La Coruna, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Concarneu, & St. Malo delivers. Great new ports for us which sold us on the cruise. Except for one ship excursion we went on our own as independent travelers and it was relatively easy. We used public busses, trains, and taxis and visited the same places as the ships tours for a fraction of the price and additional freedom it gave us. It is the first cruise we have been on that we did not rent a car. Check-in was a breeze with no lines as we arrived at 12:00 and walked right on. The fact that there was no ships photographer was a real plus. The Belissimo string quartet playing in the early evening were the cruise highlight. These Ukranian girls put on a serious musical show that is all music and no patter. They played in the area in the upper hall from 6:45 to 9: 15 with 15 minute breaks after a each 45 minute set. They also played during tea from 4:00 to 4:45 each day. Their performances at night were much better than at Tea everyday where the audience was not very appreciative. The final night I asked them to do what I thought were there best tunes for the big finish—Chatanoogga Choo Choo and the William Tell Overture with snippets of other popular songs woven into it. It resulted in a standing ovation from the 25 of us who enjoyed their music and attended their nightly concerts. The staff tries to please but does not always succeed. Their heart is there but they need better training. The ships singer Caileigh was a real delight in organizing games, especially the shuffleboard. The other singers did a generally good job as well organizing the games & activities. The usual acts of comedienne-magicians, guitarist, & acrobat-comedian did a decent job. Nothing memorable, but certainly competent. I popped a crown at breakfast at the Portland-Weymouth stop and the concierge was very helpful in getting the local tourist representative to set up a dentist appointment. Appointment went well and the 50 € price was reasonable. We used local busses to find the dentist who was located in the suburbs. We ate lunch in the dining room and it was a pleasant experience, much more so than dinner. The best dish I had on the cruise was a veal stew with pearl onions & mushrooms and a fine white cream sauce. Also had a terrific desert of crispy dough around a banana with chocolate sauce (not too sweet) and vanilla ice cream. The clam chowder in the Polo Grill was the best dish in that signature restaurant and the potato soup in Toscano was equally outstanding. The flank steak Korean style at lunch was had excellent flavor and was supposed to be medium rare but like almost all the red meat was overcooked. Breakfast in the Terrace Café was usually good, especially the omleatte station and the fresh fruit was varied (blackberries, papaya, figs, etc.) and top quality. Be sure to order your coffee Café American which is great quality and not let them serve you the inferior coffee from the thermos. You can also get Café American from the machine on the starboard side of the Terrace Café. After not having much success in the dining rooms we found some dishes in the Terrace Grill which were good as we ate dinner there five times. Lobster, especially the shrimp, and the pasta with a bolagnese sauce were all cooked to order and became the mainstays of my dinners. The last night the turkey was excellent, especially the dark meat. Caesar salads were good with plenty of shaved parmesan and anchovies. My wife enjoyed these as well without the anchovies. The chocolate ice cream was especially creamy and not overly sweet, the vanilla had less creaminess and taste. The best single desert was only served once and it was the black current tart at the buffet. A nice tart taste. I tried to get them to repeat it but their menu is set in advance by corporate with no deviation allowed. This seemed needlessly bueracratic. The stocked room refrigerator with complementary soft drinks and sparkling water is a real plus. No obnoxious mini-bar drinks for sale, clogging the refrigerator. The cruise director did a good job with the team trivia that was well attended. Between the shuffle board and the trivia we won enough Big O points (60) for a tote bag and a blanket—nice mementos. Service was generally good but of course nothing like the service we used to get before the automatic typing went into effect. We would cruise Oceania again if they came up with another brilliant itinerary but still rate it overall below Azamara. The Bad Oceana is in competition with Azamara for the moderately upscale small ship market and we found its product inferior to its competitor. It is hard to put your finger on but there are to many misses on the Insignia to give it a high rating. It has a loyal fan base and most of our fellow passengers had taken numerous trips on Oceana. We love to eat and are not that particular but found the dishes missing more than they hit. The biggest disappointment was the Polo Grill, the signature restaurant. Lobster was mediocre, Colorado lamb chops were overcooked and tasteless. Fresh caught bream had little flavor and only my wife’s rib-eye could be called good. In the main dining room the dishes that I usually love that were not done well were the duck, way overcooked at dried out, guinea fowl, all stuffing and no meat, and various steaks that my wife tried that were ordered medium and came back an over-cooked grey. Most of the deserts were cloyingly sweet in the dining room at dinner. Service was efficient one night and then exceedingly slow the next. After three tries we gave up on the dining room and ate in either the specialty café’s or the Terrace buffet. The thermos coffee is bad in all restaurants. Each has a machine that serves Café Americano, which is delicious. It is on the starboard side in the Terrace and you can make your own or have one of the servers get it. Be sure to specify Cafe Americano from the machine. We did not eat breakfast in the dining room until the last morning but heard stories of people waiting 25 minutes for their corn flakes. It was delightful the last morning because no one was there. Other than the omelette station (see the good) the food in the buffet was tepid as the warmers they set on did not keep it hot or even warm. Also, you could not dish it out yourself and they got testy if you tried. They would invariably choose uncrisp bacon, instead of the crisp one and you wanted would be stuck with it on your plate. If you asked for three pieces of ham you would end up with 1, 2, 4, or 5 but never three. The whole procedure of not allowing you to pick your own food items needs to be revised. Sometimes no one would be at the station and you would wait. To get them to show up all you had to do was try to serve yourself and they would immediately appear. The men’s toilette next to the Terrace Café—a prime location was usually out of order. I let them know a number of times but the suction was not adequate for the task. The fixes they tried were mere band-aides. We drink sparkling (mineral) water with ice & lemon. We had trouble getting the ice. They are not accustomed to serving it and there were no ice machines on the ship that we could find. We finally taught some of the waiters to bring us ice in a glass and we spooned it out. This worked. One of the great things on most ships is the outdoor grill. Most have hamburgers, Polish, Brats, & Italian sausages and some have pizza. On the Insignia it is a formal dining experience with lots of silverware, linen napkins, and other “frou frou” that do not fit with the grill: moreover, the bill of faire is basically hamburgers and hot dogs that are formally served to you. It is an awkward experience especially if you have just come from the adjacent pool. You cannot get your own ice tea or ice water or soft drink. They have to bring it to you and there is the issue of ice. This unnecessary formalness put us off so we did not eat at the grill except for one time. Oceania ship’s tours prices are legendary in the industry for being the highest priced. On the last day we broke down and took one as we had some ship’s credit to use up. See “the ugly” for further details about our one ship’s excursion. The ships singers seem to favor tunes from musicals that were written after 1963 (except for West Side Story) and I prefer the older musicals—Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, etc. I think the ships passengers would have preferred some of the “old tunes” instead of modern musicals like “The Wiz.” The Ugly There is not too much that was really ugly. Not allowing independent travelers to board the tenders and making us wait for the ship’s tours to board is a problem. The use of restricted tender tickets is unnecessary and slows up and clogs the boarding process. The cruise director did try to rectify this problem by allowing a few early independents to board the tenders in front of cruise tours after we staged a mini-revolt. His underlings never got the message and still insisted ship’s tours first, even if they were not ready to depart, and independent’s were. This discrimination against independents needs to be addressed by the cruise industry. The Country-Club casual dress code is more restrictive on the Insignia that other vessels who follow the same policy. Insignia requires shoes in the evening that are not sandals or athletic shoes. This requires you to pack and bring a third pair of shoes. Since I only wear Birkenstock sandalsor Tennis Shoes that third pair of shoes was very uncomfortable and unnecessary. Azamara and other similar “country club casual” lines do not require that third set of shoes. The notorious price of ship’s tours which are probably the highest in the industry is truly ugly. We only took one—to use up some shipboard credit—and it was $175 each to go to Mt. St. Michel. We could of ridden a a pebic bus and taken a taxi for about $50 for both of us and had a much freer and more flexible experience and not had to listen to the highly accented English of the tour guide which almost no one could understand. That was $375 down the drain. Some people went on these overpriced, underperformed, tours everyday. The so-called “day in Paris” was a real rip off as it consisted of one bathroom stop in Paris for 30 minutes and then returning to the ship by 4:00 when the ship did not sail until 9:00. What a waste. The insignias definition of a day is 2 hours. The servers were given too many tables in the dining room for dinner which caused interminable delays. There seemed to be plenty of help in the Terrace and some of them could have been shifted to the dining room. Very poor organization. The So-So In a number of ways the Oceania Insignia is just a “so-so” cruise ship. The food is uneven in the signature restaurants, dining room, and buffet. Much of the time the food was under-seasoned, red meat was usually cooked well-done even when you asked fot it medium rare. There were exceptions that are listed under the good. On the service the staff was pleasant and tried hard but were poorly trained and just did not know how to do things right. Sometimes they buzzed around you picking up things that you were still eating. Other times they were nowhere to be found. Their attitude was always good even when the service was not. We ate dinner in the Polo Grill twice, Toscano twice, the dining room three times, and the Terrace Grill (buffet) five times. Some good dishes, some bad, many were mediocre and overall it was just a “so so” experience. If this review sounds too negative then I am leaving the wrong impression. I tend to dwell on things that are a problem more than things that are good because I want them to improve their product. If you only rave about how great everything is you are not being a “cruise critic,” you are being a “homer.” Would I cruise with them again? Only if they came up with another great and unique itinerary and I was assured independent travelers were not discriminated against at tender anchorages.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our second cruise on Nautica and 8th cruise on Oceania so we were expecting a certain level of service and quality. Many cases these were met but there were several, cases where they were not. Obviously -- lots new staff on ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Nautica and 8th cruise on Oceania so we were expecting a certain level of service and quality. Many cases these were met but there were several, cases where they were not. Obviously -- lots new staff on board, including the GM, CD and many of the officers and staff. Putting Insignia back in service with the company going from 3 ships to 5 ships and a doubling of the capacity has put a strain on staff and management. Embarkation: Was smooth an efficient. At 1pm, we were on the ship and in our cabin in 15 minutes from reaching the port. Safety Drill: Muster stations are in the GDR and Lounge. The first drill (we had two) was total CHAOS. After the drill we complained and had a one on one with the ships safety officer. The 2nd one was better organized. Stateroom: We had a PH2 category and have had this several times. The cabin is rather small for a PH but was adequate. The new decor was definitely an improvement (lighter colors). Of course the bed and linens on Oceania are the best of any cruise line. Food: We ate at all of the venues. The GDR was good and service was acceptable. Toscana was also good. However POLO was the worse. All of the steaks we had were horrible. Tasteless lumps of meat. We complained several times and there was no improvement. The Terrace was actually the best we had on on many cruises. The addition of the Grill is a plus. We did have an issue at the beginning -- no Lamp Chops, but Head Chef Maarten quickly resolved that. The coffee in the Terrace was just plain horrible. The espresso/cappuccino machine was constantly broken. Eventually about 2/3 into the cruise they put a Barista machine and were making the espresso's manually for those that wanted them. Service: Service was spotty in the GDR. However otherwise service throughout the ship was excellent. Our housekeeper was friendly and efficient. Our Butler Janos was the best we have had! CD: As some others posted O is having issues with their CD's. Many have left and the new hires like "Bob" did not work out and was fired in mid cruise. So we were left without a CD until the end when Nolan Dean came aboard in Iceland. Nolan was first class.and we liked his English sense of humor. Tours: We only took one "O" tour as we like our private tours. The one we did take the "Titanic Trail" was poorly organized and overpriced. We had a tour scheduled at the pump house in Belfast shipyard and the guide was 45 minutes late. Baristas: The new coffee bar in former Grand Bar area was definitely a hit. The Baristas generally knew in mid cruise what we were going to order. Disembarkation: We had an early departure from Gatwick so need to get off the ship by 9AM. We did at the head of the queue to leave and was delayed until all of the luggage was unloaded. Sort of defeats the idea or need to do a n early departure with towing our own luggage. We made our flight with time to spare. Overall gave the cruise 4* --if Polo was better it would have gotten *5. Oceania needs to fix these specialty restaurant issues (We were not the only ones to complain). Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin ... Read More
We boarded Marina in Dover on the above cruise and were looking forward to sailing on this new ship after some reasonable reviews and reports from fellow sailors. Our embarkation in Dover was fabulous and we went to our cabin immediately and found it extremely nice. Unfortunately we did not meet our stewardess for a day or so and then only found her by accident. We found several faults with design and also the policy on Marina is much different to Insignia who we had sailed with a few days earlier. The bathroom is a shocker with a huge bath and the most tiny shower. I am of average build but with the massive shower head (8inches diameter) and the hand rails made it a terrible task to shower. The bathroom itself is a good size and there is no need to have such a small shower recess. The cabins are nice and the beds are very comfortable. We were very disappointed in the Staff, the cruise director was rarely heard only announcements over the ships TV and none in the cabin, the Captain came on at midday when everyone was ashore and many of the staff are poorly trained. The food was good and the specialist restaurants are quite good too. We found the French restaurant the best. The Terrace was a nightmare always full of people and the way Oceania serve their meals would suit some but not all. The Itiniery was good and very busy there wee only 2 sea days which didn't allow much shipboard time if you were going ashore each day. Oceania's dress code is good but we found that that is the reason why most cruisers on this line love the Line and do not consider the others. The prices on Marina were much more expensive than on Insignia and both ships charge a very high rate on drinks and laundry. I doubt we will cruise on Oceania again we love the Seabourn and Crystal ships for their personal rate of service and inclusions. Overall it was a good cruise but I think Oceania needs to look very closely at their staff training, they are very friendly but lack in many other ways. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. ... Read More
We took the Voyage of the Vikings that started on July 1st in Copenhagen and ended in Dover, England on July 15th. My wife and myself liked our cabin on deck nine concierge level 4. The cabin was large enough for us and had a nice balcony. My only criticism about the cabin is that the shower was a little too tight for me, I'm 6'2"; I wish that they could have eliminated the bathtub, which we didn't use, and made the shower larger. We really liked the food; the best we have experienced on a cruise ship, and we have taken 16 cruises on various lines. The specialty restaurants were excellent and the service generally very good. We found the buffet to be way above average for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining room was also excellent. The lectures we attended were well done and the photography class was excellent. The cruise itself was very good with the ports interesting and the shore excursions generally were very good. The weather improved as the cruise continued which made the short excursions more enjoyable from Iceland onwards. Some criticisms: the embarkation was disorganized and we ended up having to take our large bags into the reception area when they should have been collected before we went in. The shuttle service at two of the ports, Reykjavik and Dublin, was poor because of the long waits for the buses. Overall, a very good cruise and we plan to cruise again next year with Oceania on the twin to the Marina, the Rivera. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2010
This was our third cruise on Oceania. We have cruised Istanbul to Athens and the Baltics. This cruise, Vikings/Castles/and Kings was full of interesting ports. We had two sea days to rest up. After boarding in Dover we went to lunch. ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Oceania. We have cruised Istanbul to Athens and the Baltics. This cruise, Vikings/Castles/and Kings was full of interesting ports. We had two sea days to rest up. After boarding in Dover we went to lunch. Pizza was served that was dry and hard. We were shocked. My comment was is the "bloom off the rose at O?". Thank goodness a few days later the pizza was up to snuff as far as being moist and tender. It still was not as good as on other lines we have sailed. Dining in the specialty restaurants was a mixed bag. We had rather tough and dry lobster served two time. Fillet Mignon in Polo was indeed a great steak. We enjoyed the staff and food in the Grand Dining Room. Our B1 cabin was limited to continental breakfast - no eggs or breakfast meats. When I asked about a full breakfast I was told this was an "amenity" reserved for the higher cabins and suites. Personally I do not feel that having paid a handsome sum for a B1 veranda that I should be denied eggs and bacon on my room service tray. O can save the tablecloth and flower in a vase for the higher priced cabins and serve me some protein in the morning. Entertainment was not up to snuff. The on board entertainers - band, male and female singers were adequate. We had a magician/mentalist who was IMHO boring. The comedian was pretty good. Prom Night, the final of the World Cup soccer game and the all crew review were pretty bad offerings. One can only guess that entertainment is where O has made cuts in order to sail in the black. We loved our B1 veranda cabin and had sailed in 6065, 6067 and 6069. We don't mind that these cabins are smaller then those on HAL. We don't mind that they have a small shower vs a tub/shower on HAL. The size and layout are fine with us. This cruise O provided free water and soft drinks. We used 2 or 3 cans of soda as mixers and really appreciated the unlimited supply of water. Crew as usual was exceptional. Read Less
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