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9 Oceania Cape Town Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the unique African itinerary. We have done about 20 other cruises. We are used to sailing with "older" cruisers but this was the first time we felt like we were in a retirement home. This was due ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the unique African itinerary. We have done about 20 other cruises. We are used to sailing with "older" cruisers but this was the first time we felt like we were in a retirement home. This was due to the boring "party" band. Almost everyone on board was in bed by 9pm. Maybe 10pm if you count the uninspiring guest performers shows. Luke's show was an exception, very well done. Niko is a great piano entertainer. The crew were excellent. Food in the Terrace Cafe (buffet) was amazing. This and Waves Grill were the only places we ate. The activities staff did a great job with mini golf, shuffle board, ping pong, trivia and other fun games. The itinerary was nice although we couldn't stop at Kenya for safety concerns. The South African stops are mainly safari starting points and don't offer much else to see. Madagascar, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malayasia all proved to be excellent ports of call. We can't wait to go back to Seychelles for an extended trip. Singapore is always a great place to start or end a cruise a deserves a few days stay minimum to experience everything they have to offer. Overall we felt this cruise did not offer the value per dollar that other cruise lines offer. We don't see where our extra money was spent. Plus now that the itinerary is changing there are better and more economical options. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The cruise was an amazing adventure - from the cities of Cape Town, Colombo & Singapore to island countries of Seychelles & Maldives, being able to see 4 of the Big 5 (elephant, African buffalo, rhino, lion & leopard - only one ... Read More
The cruise was an amazing adventure - from the cities of Cape Town, Colombo & Singapore to island countries of Seychelles & Maldives, being able to see 4 of the Big 5 (elephant, African buffalo, rhino, lion & leopard - only one we didn't see was the leopard). Some amazing sights in the various ports - giant turtles of the Seychelles, the submarine ride in the Maldives, Freddy Mercury's birthplace in Zanzibar, the beautiful Buddhist temple in Colombo, among others. Singapore is beautiful. But we traveled over 8000 miles on a ship that was 20 years old & had been refurbished (i.e., changed the colors of the interior) 4 times. It was small & cramped. Internet service was terrible (e.g., no internet service in any of the restaurants or the buffet; logging in all the time, as only one device per cabin could be on at one time). Embarkation was a struggle - we had taken the pre-cruise excursion to Victoria Falls & Chobe National Park (highly recommend this excursion!). However, the trip back from this excursion included 2 air flights (Vic Falls --> Johannesburg --> Cape Town) with a 2-hour layover in Johannesburg to pick up luggage. By the time we got to the ship, it was 9 pm & the crew wasn't ready for us! No food (you can order room service), a struggle to get our luggage to our cabins, and a surprised attitude from the crew. To top it off, most of us had an early morning Cape Town excursion. So, between getting settled in our cramped (~215 sq foot) cabin, the long day of travel, and the time it took to be on-boarded, we didn't get to bed until midnight. UGH! Even though it's a 30-day cruise, pack light!!! The closet space is non-existent, very little space. Laundry was on our level but was constantly busy. The machines took tokens, which were sold out (how does that work?), so toward the end of the cruise, it was a crap-shoot as to whether you can launder your clothes. Also, best to use laundry on port days - everybody used the laundry on sea days. Onboard entertainment was OK; the shows in the evening were ehhh. There were enough activities onboard to keep most people busy. I liked the 4 pm tea service - nice selection of pastries to go with the teas. Food was pretty good. We usually ate at the buffet - it had plenty of variety as well a few standards. Loved the bread selection. The specialty restaurants were good, but had a fixed menu that didn't change over the entire cruise. Service was very good - everyone was nice, considerate and willing to assist you. The shore excursions, with a couple of exceptions, were top-notch. Overall, it was an enjoyable voyage, if only because we got to share with my wife's sisters & brothers-in-law. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I had never spent this kind of money for a cruise before and was expecting that the cruise would match the dollars I had spent. It came no where near what I had paid. The cost worked out to $436 Canadian ($333 US) each a day for the ... Read More
I had never spent this kind of money for a cruise before and was expecting that the cruise would match the dollars I had spent. It came no where near what I had paid. The cost worked out to $436 Canadian ($333 US) each a day for the cruise. That is a lot of money when I started to figure out what each segment of the cruise would cost if I had arranged my own transport. So I expected top notch service. I have cruised on six other cruise lines and Oceania is only marginally better than the other cruise lines. I have complained on other cruise lines of being nickeled and dimed but Oceania hundred and fifty dollars you. They were charging $99 each to go from Capetown Airport to the cruise ship. I paid $28 for two by arranging it myself. The cost of going from the ship to Singapore Airport from Oceania was $99 each. We paid a cab picked up at the terminal $18 Singapore dollars for two. The cheapest bottle of wine was $45 for a wine we found in South Africa for $8. Now Oceania did allow us to bring all the wine we wanted on board. First time I have ever experienced that. The tours were also very expensive and could be found for much less privately. At $250 a pop for tours we arranged for $125 or less that covered twice was the Oceania tour covered. The food while other passengers raved was mediocre. It was beautifully presented but not a great flavour palette. Found out the chef on our ship didn't believe in using salt. It showed in flavour. The buffet will not allow you to serve yourself. You have to tell the server how many pieces of watermelon, orange slices etc you want. When asked why we were told it was the policy of the ship to serve clients. It took forever to get food. My biggest complaint was the ports. I hadn't done a lot of research ahead of time and the ports were minimally interesting at best. The only interesting port was Penang. We spent two days in the Maldives and I have no idea why. It is an hour tour at best. Sadly I got off the ship questioning why I cruise. I spent 76% of the cruise on the ship. If I had planned to do it all privately I would have spent more time on shore instead on a lounge chair waiting. Oceania is all hype. Yes it is a bit more higher end but does not match the price paid. I felt ripped off. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We recently returned from a 15 day round trip cruise from Cape Town, SA. The food was outstanding - the best we have ever had on 14 cruises (all on other lines). The service was mostly good, but there were a few instances of surly ... Read More
We recently returned from a 15 day round trip cruise from Cape Town, SA. The food was outstanding - the best we have ever had on 14 cruises (all on other lines). The service was mostly good, but there were a few instances of surly attitudes among the staff. I also liked not having to pay for dining in specialty restaurants, free water and soft drinks, no formal nights and no one taking your photo every time you turn around. On the other hand, there wasn't much else to rave about on this ship. Oceania markets themselves as an upscale luxury cruise line. Such is not so. They do charge premium prices, in this instance about 250% above what a similar verandah stateroom on HAL, Cunard or Princess would cost for the same room - but you don't get anything more. Our cabin was equivalent to cabins we have had on the aforementioned lines with the exception that HAL's bathrooms are larger! Particularly noteworthy bad was the Nautica's shore excursion program. It was staffed by two young relatively inexperienced people with the more experienced supervisor making himself invisible. We went on 8 excursions, four of them were relatively good and the other four were mediocre. One was advertised as a cultural tour of a Xulu tribal village, but was nothing more than a visit to a 1985 TV set with two hours of coffee and shopping time. Another tour was a desert 4x4 vehicle that broke down in the Namib desert after getting a flat, getting mired in the sand, missing three of the six stops and arriving back in port almost an hour late. Oceania did fully refund the cost of that trip but only after getting permission to do so from their home office in Miami (the shipboard staff should have had discretion to offer the full refund since it was a no-brainer). The 4x4 driver was also ill equipped to handle the breakdown. He had a tire jack that did not work, no radio or walkie-talkie for communicating with the other vehicles in the convoy and the next day he went out on the same tour without a spare tire! Does Oceania even bother to vet the companies they use for shore excursions? Oceania doesn't really appear to take their shore excursion program seriously, with most tours sold out weeks before they embark, a confusing pricing structure with three different price levels for the same tours, and a fee shore excursions program that only allows you to take excursions up to $199, but won't allow you to pay the difference if you select a pricier tour. We picked this particular cruise because of the itinerary and for the most part we enjoyed the ports, although we failed to visit Maputo, Mozambique because the captain said the weather was going to be bad (heavy rain all day, but the actual weather was 74 degrees and cloudy all day) and nothing would be open on Christmas Day - so we stayed in Richards Bay overnight (described in travel books as an industrial port with nothing much of interest; nothing was open there either, which begs the question was does Oceania schedule port visits on Christmas Day - it should be a day at sea. I believe the real reason for the port cancellation in Maputo were the rumors that 6 passengers from the Nautica on the prior cruise were robbed in town. We are not likely to take another cruise on the Nautica (a 17-year old ship), but may give Oceania another chance to prove themselves on one of there larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Previous experience with this cruise line was extremely enjoyable. We were anxious to have repeat experience. This cruise line is a bit pricier than many other choices, however, this cruise was most disappointing. The food was mediocre ... Read More
Previous experience with this cruise line was extremely enjoyable. We were anxious to have repeat experience. This cruise line is a bit pricier than many other choices, however, this cruise was most disappointing. The food was mediocre at best. Entertainment was painfully absent. I realize it is a small ship and in unusual ports, but aside from scheduled tours (of which many were cancelled) next to nothing for entertainment while on-board. Let me say, the staff was excellent (with few exceptions) and the land tour operators (Akorn Destination Management Company) were wonderful. Extremely efficient and accommodating. We had an unusual experience. One of our party was admitted to the hospital in Cape Town, for a 4 day stay, due to unexpected illness. We were unable to sail with the ship. The Hospital, Doctor's, hotel, and Akorn assisted us beyond expectations. When discharged, Oceania team offered to arrange transportation home, allowing less than two hours to pack, travel to airport and board plane to home or travel forward and pick up the ship in a port which the ship had determined unsafe to stop. (weather or political reasons unknown). Oceania advised me we would have to travel to Maupoto, Mozambique a day before the ship was to arrive and make our own arrangements to stay overnight at a hotel. They also advised we had two hours to decide as it was Dec. 23 and they intended to close the office and go home for the holidays. In the meantime, Akorn was in communication with us and had advised us the ship was not going to Mozambique. It would stay an extra night in Richard Bay. After some discussion with Oceania, they advised us to work with Akorn, as they had JUST received word of the ship's altered destinations. I was halfway around the world from home, and Oceania had no idea what was going on. This was a very scary experience. I cannot begin to consider sailing with Oceania again, anytime soon. As per ratings below: Aside from our unexpected situation, the ship is very small. The cabin, although Concierge Veranda, was extremely small, Dining in Grand Dining room was lovely and staff was very accommodating most of the time. Embarkation from all ports visited was efficient. One of very few enrichment experience offered was Cruise Director offering Photo Experience of his stops to orphanages, while traveling. Commendable but three sessions of this was a bit much. Overall Entertainment was weak. Only one show per evening. If you wished to see it, you needed to have early dining which is quite crowded and this is where we had the less than great experience. (most cruises offered two showings). The casino was not open all of the time the ship was at sea. I was shocked to have the casino manager come to me at midnight to advise the casino was closing within 5 minutes. The shops opened within 30 minutes of leaving port but not the casino. What little public space remained, aside from the pool area, should be reconfigured. Very truly yours, Scroamers Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I agree for the most part with Old Jazzer's review. This was my first cruise on Oceania. The cabin service was first rate. The social hostess Tammy was very good. The itinerary is why I took the cruise and it was more than I could ... Read More
I agree for the most part with Old Jazzer's review. This was my first cruise on Oceania. The cabin service was first rate. The social hostess Tammy was very good. The itinerary is why I took the cruise and it was more than I could have hoped for (except for the cancellation that left us in Sao Tome for 2 days - when it was my least favorite stop). I also could do without another Caribbean cruise but it was OK. The bar staff at Martinis was the most professional staff of all. From the Captain on down, the people who staffed this cruise should be evaluated as unsatisfactory. It started with the aloof captain, the gossipy GM, the arrogant cruise director (or whatever he was - Andy) and progressed on down to the service. The Grand Dining room maitre de was particularly offensive to those traveling solo. I can join Old Jazzer in that I was one of the few on this trip who did not get the "great deal". I paid full price (without discount for traveling solo) for a concierge level room. I did not get a big ship credit. Others on my floor had been upgraded with all its benefits from ocean view and inside cabin rooms for which they paid minimal amounts without any significant supplement. I don't see me traveling Oceania again (as other first time cruisers on this line told me they would not do either). But, if something were to happen where I was offered one of these "great deals" that other travelers got, I may consider it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Meals and service were very good. An over abundance of tables for two. Cabin was well maintained by friendly and helpful staff. TV and internet worked well and a DVD player in the cabin with the ships DVD library gave an alternate to the ... Read More
Meals and service were very good. An over abundance of tables for two. Cabin was well maintained by friendly and helpful staff. TV and internet worked well and a DVD player in the cabin with the ships DVD library gave an alternate to the entertainment which was sorely lacking. Room service was prompt. Staff in general very helpful and pleasant to deal with. Itinerary was good, shuttle busses were good to town. Pre cruise itinerary was good, items given free on board with the package purchased were appreciated. "Free Air" is far from free, Itinerary offered required 40 + hours of travel, we paid to get what wold have been in our minds a shorter and less expensive routing. This was our first Oceania, not really worth the extra Luxury Pricing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with ... Read More
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with balcony. This was our 11th cruise across 6 lines and our first cruise on Oceania. 1. Bad - Cancellation of Ports. We booked this cruise for the interesting ports in West Africa that were very hard to visit otherwise. We had no interest in the conventional Caribbean ports at the end of the cruise we had been to multiple times before. Overall there were 12 ports that we wanted to visit and these ports were the reason for selecting this cruise. We only got to 10 of the 12. Isla Marguerita was a port we wanted to go to that was cancelled well before departure. It was replaced with yet another day at sea. Bom Bom Island in Principe was cancelled 2 days before we were due to arrive at that port. The explanation was little short of offensive – “operational reasons” - when there was no obvious reason - the seas were calm. This meant we missed what we had expected to be a highlight of the trip. Instead we had an extra and pointless day in São Tomé. We paid US$56,000 for this cruise to go to 12 ports - missing one sixth of them was a big disappointment as was the failure to replace them with other ports of equal interest, especially in the absence of any explanation. 2. Bad - the Deal. We booked very early and paid by the due date. Later many other guests got much cheaper deals and also got internet included in their package whereas we paid about $1000 extra for internet for only one person. The ship was full of people boasting of the deals they had obtained. Overall we paid about US$8000 more than if we had waited and booked late. I would never book early again with Oceania. Oceania needs to provide a price guarantee. 3. Excellent – Wait Staff and Cabin Attendants. The wait staff, cabin attendants and crew were the most delightful of any ship we have sailed on. Preferences were noted and anticipated. We rate this aspect of the cruise very highly. 4. Variable – Food. Overall the cuisine on board was very good, through perhaps not up to the hype, and the service was generally excellent. You could eat very well on the ship once you managed to align its strengths and weaknesses to your preferences. While for us this resulted in many disappointing meals we also had some excellent dishes. As a general rule beef, lamb and lobster dishes were excellent, Indian meals excellent, pasta, chicken and fish dishes disappointing and anything described as “a taste of red ginger” was just awful with no balance of flavour and often just meat doused in soy sauce. The specialty restaurants followed this pattern too – excellent beef and lobster dishes – but were far superior to that served in the Grand Dining room. 5. Good - Cabin Servicing. Cabin attendants were efficient and delightful. There were plenty of towels and the mini bar was kept supplied with the soft drinks we requested. The staff seemed to be responsible for a lot of cabins and to work long hours but still generally endeavoured to accommodate our preferred servicing times. 6. Good - Shuttle Buses. The shuttles into town for independent visitors in African ports generally worked very well with few delays (except in Dakar and Mindelo where the first shuttles were scheduled to leave about an hour after disembarkation commenced meaning we had to walk into town in both ports). 7. Bad - The Bed. Oceania advertises its beds as very comfortable. One half of our bed was. The other half sagged and was at a level lower than the good half. Attempts to fix it failed. This meant for 35 nights we slept at different levels and one person slept on a saggy bed. This bed should not have been in service. Attempts to fix our pillows were also unsuccessful. If doing the trip again we would have purchased our own pillows in Cape Town. 8. Good - The Fitness Track. Most cruise lines advertise walking tracks that do not work because they become blocked by patrons of bars or recliners used for sunbathing. Insignia's worked because it, whilst short, did not run through other public areas. It also had a surface that gave walkers excellent grip even when wet. The provision of iced water next to the walking track was also an excellent idea. 9. Bad - Airconditioning. A long trip through the tropics meant the AC needed to work. In one cabin it did. In one cabin even on full cooling function it could not get the cabin cool enough until we reached cooler weather. 9. Good - Cleanliness. The ship was always kept impeccably clean. 10. Bad - Construction Site. For one week during the cruise there were scheduled maintenance construction works on the top deck. This was not urgent work. If you liked time by the pool or on the walking track listening to the screech of a metal grinder this was the cruise for you. If you liked the smell of oxy welding permeating lifts and public areas this was the cruise for you. 11. Good - Visas. Oceania, for a fee, arranged all the visas need for the ports visited in Africa. This service worked very well. 12. Good - Tenders. Due to Bom Bom being cancelled tenders were only required in São Tomé. On most cruise lines tenders means huge delays but Insignia launched 3 lifeboats that provided a speedy service without delays. 13. Bad - Smoking. On a regular basis cigarette smoke came through the ventilation from somewhere into our cabin even though smoking is banned in cabins and on balconies. One or two times a day we had to air our cabin to remove the smell. 14. Bad – Muzak. The dreadful muzak blaring in public areas including the pool deck made reading and relaxing difficult. Take headphones. We knew from other reviews the entertainment was not a reason to book. So it turned out but because our expectations were low some of the shows we went to were a bonus. The range of TV and movie channels to occupy time in days at sea is very limited. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We did not go on any organised excursions due to their prohibitive pricing structure but greatly enjoyed our own excursions whether or foot, by hire car or by taxi. Embarkation was quick and well handled. We had to queue for one hour in Miami to disembark inexplicably late. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This is a very personal view of the cruise based on our previous experiences. This cruise ship is very smart. Very well looked after and spotless clean. Posh. Upper class. Pretentious. It seemed to me that it was trying very hard to be ... Read More
This is a very personal view of the cruise based on our previous experiences. This cruise ship is very smart. Very well looked after and spotless clean. Posh. Upper class. Pretentious. It seemed to me that it was trying very hard to be something it is not. Everything is very, very expensive. For instance: Bus shuttle from port to airport. $109. (Taxi. $20)! Small bottle beer. 330ml. $7.5 Single spirit. $11 Small glass cheap wine. $11 (Including the 18% service charge) Etc.etc. Staff were the best I have come across. They seemed genuinely cheerfull and very helpful. Service was excellent. The food, as advertised by Oceania, is the best at sea! I agree, it is generally excellent. Particularly in the main restaurants. However the buffet I found disagreeable in its content. The breakfast was particularly poor, well, for a Brit anyway! The desserts seemed to be mushy, and very small. All food is given to you by buffet staff. You cannot help yourself! All tea, coffee and soft drinks were free. However I only saw one coffee machine on the whole ship. Also, restaurant times were quite short. The buffet servery area was poorly laid out with poor passenger flow, scrum. Often waiting for a table. How come a GPS based computer system can guide the 27000 ton ship to all of its ports automatically, yet they can't build a machine that can provide decent toast. Eggs cooked to order by a person using just two small pans. Not a griddle. 15 mins wait for an egg some mornings. The ports of call all looked fantastic on paper. In reality some of them were quite poor, almost a waste of a day! If you were to arrange tours in all these ports, particularly to the myriad of "game reserves", then ok. But the decision to explore the ports themselves sometimes led to a tedious few hours ashore. This was very evident when the shuttle buses provided by Oceania took all passengers using them to a shopping mall in most ports. These malls were mostly in urban fringe. We arranged private tours via internet in 4 of the ports and had a great time. We did not leave the ship in Maputo!! Right, now for the entertainment. Concert Flautist twice. Virtuoso Mandolin player twice. String quartet every evening and afternoon. 2 Film shows, both on port days? Comedy musician twice. Another comedy musician twice. Zzzzzzzz. Enrichment lectures. Zzzzzzzzzz. Photo show. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Pretentious. Too posh to have a good time. Everything aimed at a demographic with musical taste, fine gourmet foodies, wine buffs, and money! Almost forgot the "piped music". Very quite, everywhere, all the time. The same music tracks everyday. Zzzzzzzz. Free style jazz. Zzzzzzz. Rat pack. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Freestyle piano. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I could go on, and on. But I must learn from my experience! We did not really enjoy the experience of Oceania cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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