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64 Oceania Cuba Cruise Reviews

This is the first time we have used Oceania. We chose this cruise because it is about the only cruise line which circum navigates Cuba. This gave us the opportunity to visit 3 ports, Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. ... Read More
This is the first time we have used Oceania. We chose this cruise because it is about the only cruise line which circum navigates Cuba. This gave us the opportunity to visit 3 ports, Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We also chose Oceania because we have friends who rave about Oceania service and the food. We boarded the ship with very high expectations. Firstly, let me say the staff on Oceania are second to none. They are friendly, helpful and hospitable. Our steward did a remarkable job keeping our cabin up to the mark. The food presentation is remarkable, all food including the buffet presented beautifully. However, the ship itself is old and tired. And it shows. We were told that 4 of Oceania ships are getting a $100 Million refurbish in the future, which will make a big difference. We bought the premium drinks package, and they do serve premium brands. At happy hour there was such a rush on drinks, we were able to wait until the bars had cleared and there was seating in the lounges because of the package. Otherwise there was always a queue of people waiting for drinks. The staff at these times are flat out, but other staff were not recruited to help out. The food itself was disappointing at times. Breakfast in the Terrace Cafe (buffet) was very good, and food was served by staff rather than helping ourselves (possibly because of contamination). Meals at Lunch also very good, both in the Terrace Cafe and the Main Dining Room. In the Terrace Cafe, at the salad bar, the same dressing was served every day when we ate there, no other choices offered. Service was always very good in these venues. Dinner at Red Ginger and the Steakhouse excellent. Dinner in the Main Dining Room in the evenings was a bit hit and miss. Two of my meals, the Osso Bucco and the Roast Lamb were practically inedible. The Osso Bucco was dry and stringy and the Roast Lamb, although rolled, was tough and dry. My husband also had Roast Lamb, his was much better, so we shared it. Mint sauce was not offered and when we requested it, never arrived. We liked the small ship concept of Oceania. However, the age of the ship did not appeal to us. Would we go on Oceania again? Possibly, if the itinerary was something that appealed. However, we went to the Future Cruises Talk and there is nothing new for us for the next couple of years. The one cruise we would have considered, from Santiago to Auckland NZ is available for 2019, but not 2020 when we would like to do it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We went with our Alumni association, which was great fun to have something in common with fellow travelers. We also chose this because of the itinerary "timeless Cuba" which gave us a chance to see three different cities in ... Read More
We went with our Alumni association, which was great fun to have something in common with fellow travelers. We also chose this because of the itinerary "timeless Cuba" which gave us a chance to see three different cities in Cuba. Embarkation and Disembarkation went very smoothly. The ship only has 690 passengers which make things so much easier. Dining, getting around the ship and even getting deck chairs was easy. the ship was beautiful and our cabin was a outside stateroom and very clean and roomy. Dining was freestyle and we also could eat at two different specialty restaurants at no additional charge. The first thing we noticed at boarding was no photographers! It was so nice not to be bugged all the time for photos. The passengers were an older group and we enjoyed having no loud music at the pool. In the evening the lounges has nice music and dancing upstairs in the lounge. The entertainment was low key but very good singers and dancers and a comedian. Ports were very interesting, Cuba itself was interesting and the excursions were very good. Moreover , the service and staff were outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red ... Read More
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red Ginger's food is as good as it gets The cabin service was great also. The excursions were just OK. Routine cruise eexcursions. Lots of them were cancelled for unclear reasons. The downside was their bar and wine staff focus on money. If we ordered water or a Coke, often they were a bit put out or simply forgot to deliver it. We were charged $50 corking fees. At the table we were told they would credit it. It was on the bill. When I asked about it, they challenged me, saying that is not true. I felt they were calling me a liar. Dumb dumb. Overall, I'm glad we saw Cuva but won't cruise again on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We selected Sirena and Oceania because the schedule was good for us and the itinerary just what we wanted. Sirena is a smaller cruise ship than previously booked and we wanted to see if size and quality of ship, as advertised, were ... Read More
We selected Sirena and Oceania because the schedule was good for us and the itinerary just what we wanted. Sirena is a smaller cruise ship than previously booked and we wanted to see if size and quality of ship, as advertised, were true. Sirena did not disappoint on either account. With only some 680 passengers the ship was well proportioned for this capacity and certainly there was never an issue with numbers or access to restaurants or facilities. We booked a Concierge Stateroom which was certainly big enough for us although the ensuite was compact, This is an older ship that doesn’t show its age yet has all the features of a stately ship. The ship was immaculately clean and the internal passageways and staircases were equally fastidiously maintained. Ship’s staff were excellent, attentive and ever-present to meet your every need. Food standards were exceptional! Day to day organisation was discrete-with brief rundown of events/activities broadcast once and then you went and did your thing. Everything was included in the cost except alcohol and shore excursions. There was no hassle Re photos or any other big ship pressures eg art sales etc. Perhaps the only - and often mentioned criticism- was the cost of shore tours. They were very expensive. We did our own research and booked tours independently ourselves. We selected the OLife option when booking to cover off internet and gratuities. All in all a very well presented ship with outstanding staff and exquisite food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
. We have previously sailed on Oceania Sirena twice and we loved both cruises so much we couldn’t wait to get on board Regatta, what a disaster this turned out to be. During the mandatory life boat drill in San Francisco all the ... Read More
. We have previously sailed on Oceania Sirena twice and we loved both cruises so much we couldn’t wait to get on board Regatta, what a disaster this turned out to be. During the mandatory life boat drill in San Francisco all the passengers, mostly quite elderly were made to stand around in the sun while a long and totally unintelligent broadcast was made about regulations regarding Cuba, which was sixteen days distant, totally unnecessary. We choose this cruise in particular for the ports of call but before we even sailed we were told that three of the destinations we most wanted to see had been cancelled because of a hurricane that was moving up the Mexican coast, as it turned out by the time we should have got to Cabo San Lucas the hurricane had already passed through, we visited Acapulco and then sailed straight to Costa Rica and despite spending four days at sea we arrived five hours late, all the tours bar two were cancelled and the tour we went on was supposed to be a scenic tour consisted of a three hour drive in the dark with a ten minute stop to watch some dancers, it was cold dark and treacherous, with most of us finding nowhere to sit. Disembarkation was a nightmare as it ran over an hour late, and some passengers missed their flights. The food on the whole was very disappointing, if you didn’t like Mexican food - tough ! Our cabin was poorly laid out, there was nowhere to sit apart from on the bed, but it did have a round glass table which just got in the way, with no chairs, what’s the point! Most of the entertainment, with three exceptions was pretty poor, and the worst Cruise Director we have ever sailed with, brash and boring! All the other passengers I spoke to were similarly diasenchanted with the total misinformation from the bridge, no one believed a word of what was said, and no mention of recompense for such a dreadful cruise, our worst ever!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
3rd Oceania cruise, 2 on the Marina. this is a smaller ship that the Marina, so it had fewer specialty restaurants but this didn't matter that much. What it did lack was any WOW factor. I hope this will improve when the ships are ... Read More
3rd Oceania cruise, 2 on the Marina. this is a smaller ship that the Marina, so it had fewer specialty restaurants but this didn't matter that much. What it did lack was any WOW factor. I hope this will improve when the ships are redone. EMBARKATION: arrived at port around 1:00 and probably was on ship by 1:20. We went to lunch which was fine. Rooms weren't ready until after 3 for us, because of an "inspection" of the ship. CABIN: We were in an inside cabin, which was small and the bathroom was tiny. DINING: we ate in both specialty restaurants, red ginger twice and tuscan steak houseonce. Food was excellent, service not so much. 20 minutes to get a soda. Dinner at steak house took more than 2 hours, causing us to miss 9:30 show. Staff in main diningroom at times seemed overwhelmed. Food was ok. As far as the buffet, eggs at breakfast were some type of liquid that was not very good. food at buffet was just fair. Even the Surf and turf sandwich at the grill were mediocre . (on marina, they were great) ENTERTAINMENT; surprisingly excellent. For a small ship, we were not expecting muchand we were pleasantly surprised. Also the enrichment program was terrific. Sandra Cares was beyond exceptional in her presentations. We appreciate that these were televised at a later time on the TV. The gym classes were also very good. I took spin, stretch, yoga and pilates. the room was small, so sign up early. I was closed out of a spin class. SERVICE: oUR housekeepers were great, and all staff were friendly and made you feelat "home" rather than needing to sell you something as on other cruise lines. PORTS; We took private tours and I was not impressed by our tour guide, althoughit was much cheaper than Oceania excursion. We went to Havana which was disappointing in that many places were so run down and frozen in time (and not in a good way) We also went to Cienfuegos, and took an hour fifteen drive to the city of Trinidad that I didnt think was worthwhile, but others in our group liked. Santiago wasour last stop, we did this on our own. Walked a 1/4 mile uphill to a main square wherethere was a church, a building that Castro gave his famous speech, and museum calledthe "old house" which was interesting and worthwhile. disembarkation: we walked off and it was quite easy Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first cruise on Oceania and had chosen to give them a try when we first saw their published itineraries for Cuba. We visited Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on this 7 night cruise from Miami. We really ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania and had chosen to give them a try when we first saw their published itineraries for Cuba. We visited Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on this 7 night cruise from Miami. We really enjoyed being on a small ship and never had any major issues getting seats for meals or lounges on the pool deck. The food was very good. We were very impressed with the Terrace Cafe which is the buffet and offered the same items as served in the Grand Dining Room plus had lobster tails and grilled shrimp every night. There are outside tables where you can dine and also inside tables all with white tablecloths which made dining very pleasant and much quicker than spending two hours in the Grand Dining Room. We ate at Red Ginger one night and was disappointed in the preparation of our entrees. Both were greasy and appeared to have sat for a while before being served. The lobster on my :Lobster Pad Thai was delicious but the noodles were tasty but too oily to eat. The server never came back to check on our dishes so after eating some of each entree, we left with no one even asking if there was a problem. We went to the Terrace Cafe and had dessert. The Tuscan Steak House was very nice with great service and delicious food. Hubby and the Surf & Turf which was prepared perfectly and I had the Veal Shank which was delicious but a very large serving. Waves was a nice place for lunch a few times with the surf & turf sandwhich (sliced filet mignon & lobster) was a real winner. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment by the 8 person entertainment group, the ventriloquist and a female who sang & played the trumpet. The demographic of this cruise was definitely 50+ but very active, seasoned cruisers. This is definitely a cruise line that has worked hard to provide very well trained crewmembers all of whom were very polite. We liked the buffet not being self-service and a chef appearing as soon as I asked about anything special we needed. We were not impressed by the two excursions by Oceania that we took in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We had a private guide from ToursbyLocals for a group of 8 for the 2 full days we had in Havana. This was a great way to see Havana and also enjoy the Tropicana nightclub the night we were in port. Our guide assured that we had a wonderful tour of the four squares in colonial Havana, a tour in the classic cars, lunch at a lovely paladar specializing in tapas & Spanish food, a night at the Tropicana, and on the second day a farm to table experience in Cojima that was very enjoyable and time to shop at the San Jose Market. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th ... Read More
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th Oceania cruise; and the second on Sirena. It would be for only 7 days with two days in Havana, one in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba so it seemed like a good idea- which proved to be true. The ship Sirena is the most recently acquired of four identical former Renaissance ships owned by Oceania. It is small, 684 passengers, but reasonably spacious at 30,277 tons for an above average passenger space ratio of 44. It was completely re-done after Oceania acquired it in 2016, so it has a new appearance. There is a lot of dark wood, and varied furniture looking like the 1940s. There are two elevator banks of 2 elevators each; but they seemed to do the job well. The basic plan is to have entertainment forward and food aft, with the center used for management, shops, the casino, library, pool deck and lounging areas. Decks 6, 7 and 8 are all for staterooms; with about half of Deck 5 and a small portion of Deck 4 for passenger cabins also. Deck 5 forward has the show lounge; Deck 9 the Canyon Ranch Spa, and Deck 10 the Horizon Lounge. The main dining room is on Deck 5, the Terrace Buffet on 9, and Deck 10 has the 2 specialty restaurants, Red Ginger and the Tuscan Steak Grill. All in all, Sirena is a well designed ship; easy to navigate, and very attractive in its appearance. Living Aboard Our stateroom was 8046. The prime motif was dark wood, with light grey textured walls, a large mirror on one wall, and a nice, modern painting above the sofa. The desk arrangement was convenient, and next to it was the decent sized sofa. There were two arm chairs and a small table, probably adequate for room service (which we never use on any cruise). The verandah was good sized with two adjustable cane arm chairs that could be fitted with a padded seat and back cushion. There was a small table and a faux teak deck. The bed had two gooseneck directed focused reading lamps as well as normal wall lamps. These focused lamps made reading in bed very easy. We also enjoyed the full glass wall with the door leading out to the verandah, as it provided nice light all day. The bathroom had a full sized, obviously new shower, with both a rain shower head, a hand held spray head and a towel rack holding huge bath towels in addition to the normal sized bath towels and other towels on racks in the bathroom. There was a single sink, but cabinets and drawers on both sides providing all the room needed for toiletries. The closet was good sized with an easily sufficient number of nice quality clothes hangers provided. As usual on board ship, there was more than enough drawer space for all we brought aboard This was a Penthouse Suite. It is about 304 square feet compared to the somewhat small “normal” Verandah Suite; which we had experienced on other Oceania small ships. We have used the Penthouse Suite on most of our cruises for the ease of use and room. It also offers faster embarkation, free internet, free laundry service and a butler who was very nice, but not used at all. We had enough food without afternoon canapes, thank you. Dining Oceania is a fine dining cruise line. Their larger two ships have 4 specialty restaurants, but the four smaller ones do very well with the 2 noted above. There is no charge for using any of these specialty venues. Overall, with 42 cruises to date on 13 cruise lines; 10 ocean and 3 river cruises; we would rate Oceania’s dining performance as superior to all cruise lines except Crystal cruises; and it is quite close to that line’s marvelous ships. The main dining room is traditional, with excellent service, open dining and a fine selection. Red Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants. Reservations are required, but we were entitled to two, which we took advantage of. We are not steak people (Edith is a vegetarian) so we skipped the Tuscan Steak Grill. The Terrace Buffet has a wide selection and offered some special daily choices by way of Cuban and Italian food. It can get a little crowded for breakfast, but we always found seats. The service is fine. There is a “Barista” café outside the main dining room which offers a free selection of various coffee treats; and a “Waves” sandwich, ice cream and hamburger bar near the pool outside the Terrace Café. Entertainment As a small ship, with limited options, Sirena was constrained in its offerings. There was a small “show” group with 5 singers and 2 dancers, a lady who played the trumpet and a ventriloquist. We only went to one of the “production” nights, and it was okay. The most attractive entertainment offering was Sandy Cares, the Enrichment speaker. We had seen her on an earlier Oceania cruise, and very much enjoyed her well informed and lively presentations on this cruise as well. Oceania is well served by her. There was a very nice string quartet composed of young ladies from the Ukraine, who played every afternoon at tea in the Horizon Room, and several sessions on Deck 5 as well. Unfortunately, these sessions often conflicted with other events as well such as dinner and some special meetings for frequent Oceania passengers. Extending their presentation until later in the evening would be a good idea. The Crew There are 400 crew members on this ship. With a passenger total of 684, the ratio is 1.71 passengers for each crew member. This is a very great ratio, exceeded only by a few of the small, super luxury cruise lines. The ratio on the large ships is more like 2.5 to 3.8. This means that the cabins are promptly and well cared for, the wait staff in all restaurants and the buffet are easily sufficient for fast and friendly service, and the entire operation of the vessel is smooth and pleasant. Embarkation and Debarkation As noted above, our Penthouse status gave us priority in boarding. The Miami cruise terminal set up has a fairly large waiting area. We got there about 10:30, and were among the first on board at 11:00 where, as usual, we had to wait until 1:00 to go to our stateroom. When we checked in we were provided with Cuban visas as promised (for $75.00 each). Of course this allowed us to have lunch in the buffet and to check out some books in the delightful library. Our luggage was at the room when we went there. Debarkation went pretty quickly also, although there is a lot of walking through the terminal involved. We were not required to fill out a customs form and easily got through the customs and border check. In Cuba We sailed away at 5:00 and arrived in Havana at about 8:00 the following morning. We seldom, if ever, use Oceania’s excursions due to their limited nature and very high cost. We had made e-mail contact earlier with a private tour guide, Yuri, whose e-mail is: yuri,arcayaborrego@nauta.cu. Using CruiseCritic we made contact with several people, and some others had made contact with Yuri also, so our group numbered 14. There was much discussion about how to pay for the services. Yuri said that his tour would be both days in Havana, then in Cienfuegos, and then in Santiago. His charges would be 350 cuc (Cuban money) per person for all four tours. Cucs are only available in Cuba. While the “formal” exchange rate is 1 cuc per 1 U.S. dollar, the exchange charges made the actual rate about 0.87 to 1; so 350 cucs would be about $402.00. However Euros had no such exchange premium; so 350 cucs were about 311 Euros. We already had about 280 Euros from prior trips, so we bought 550 more from our bank, and were on our way. We checked in through Cuban customs, showed our visas and were photographed. We then exchanged some Euros for cucs and met Yuri outside the port building. We had noticed on the way in that many port buildings were in very bad shape. This turned out to be true of many places in Cuba. It is a very poor country, with no solid economic base. We all had heard about the pre-Castro American cars preserved by the Cubans, and we saw a number of them, all in very good shape. Of course most of the motor transportation is vis European or Asian vehicles. and I was fortunate to get a new MG taxi with a working ac unit to fight the 87 degree heat. We saw a lot of Havana, including a stop for a very inexpensive lunch, and returned about 4:00 P.M. We were told that next day would be spent mostly walking, so I decided to skip it. Some people on the ship went to a night club show that night. The next day was spent in several museums. Yuri speaks very good English and made his comments enjoyable. The next day was a sea day and we then arrived in Cienfuegos at about 7:00 A.M. This tour was also a walking-museum tour which I skipped again, although it involved about an hours trip to Trinidad. The return to the ship was at about 1:00 since we sailed at 3:00 The final day was spent in Santiago de Cuba. This is a part of the country absolutely dedicated to Fidel Castro. It is where he landed to start his successful revolution, and where he chose to be buried in a rather simple grave. Since this tour also involved walking, Edith again did it alone. What was nice is that Yuri did not charge us for the three days I missed. We paid at the end of each day. As noted, Cuba is a very poor country, without many prospects for the future under its present form of government. Tourism is bringing in some money, but not much with few hotels or resorts, and a limited flow of visitors from the United States. The people are delightful, and very fond of US citizens (and, of course, our money). They make do with limited resources but have talent and energy and a “we will survive” attitude. In Phoenix, where we live we have an excellent Ballet company which has received praise in New York newspapers. 3 of the dancers, including a leading ballerina, learned their art at their home in Cuba. They evidently were allowed to leave, and at least one has returned home between seasons; so it is possible to leave. Concluding Thoughts This was a very worthwhile cruise, even though my limited walking ability severely restricted my ability to see and enjoy the country. There are supposed limits on what Americans can do in Cuba, and the ship uses a couple of the entertainers (who were the only US citizens) to act as OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control, a US agency) officers to keep people informed of the restrictions. However there was virtually no enforcement of these rules. Even the Cuban government, which was everywhere, did not man the entry point in Havana the second day, so anyone on board could simply go ashore and do whatever they wanted to do. We were supposed to go ashore in Santiago de Cuba to surrender our Cuban visas, but if someone did not, there was no follow up. So, if you want to see Cuba in comfort on a beautiful and immensely comfortable ship. Oceania Sirena is the way to go. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (20+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our third cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard and Bermuda, and India, the Middle ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (20+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our third cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard and Bermuda, and India, the Middle East and Europe . The 9-day Cuban Charisma Cruise started in Miami on September 24, 2018. We drove down from our home in The Villages through southwestern Florida and the Everglades to Miami. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6001. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Sirena Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, was available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director provided information about tours and basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The ship had a cast of great entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided a speaker, Sandy Cares, who covered a wide range of interesting topics on Cuba and also, bananas. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 200 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. KEY WEST – Living in Florida, we have been to Key West many times. It's a fun little city. We took the President Truman's Key West tour. Truman's Key West home was something we had not seen before. It was very interesting and worth the time ... a nice history lesson. We also spent time at a free museum, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; interesting place. More importantly, we enjoyed a frozen chocolate covered Key Lime pie on a stick prior to walking back to the ship. . HAVANA – We took the Old Colonial Havana tour; this was a walking tour that included, to our surprise, a bus tour too. This tour lasted almost two hours longer than scheduled which caused us to miss our next tour. But, that was all right, by then, we really didn't need another tour of Havana. Our guide was a well educated engineer who spoke good English and was very pro Cuba. The walking tour was easy and slow. The bus tour covered much of the city missed on the walking tour including a “5-Star” hotel stop to buy cigars, rum and coffee. We also stopped at a large market near the ship in case you needed to buy more Cuban stuff. We also took the Legendary Tropicana Cabaret tour. This is worth the trip to Havana! The show was fantastic. It started around 9:30 pm and lasted until about 11:15. It was the highlight of Havana. We had very good seats to watch the over 100 performers. It included a complimentary cigar, peanuts, a glass of Champagne and a bottle of rum to share among four people. The rum wasn't the best rum we tasted in Cuba (personal opinion). CIENFUEGOS – On the first day in port, we took the Colonial Trinidad tour. The bus ride to Trinidad was the highlight of the trip. We passed many horse pulled wagons, fields of sugar cane, bananas and various fruits and vegetables. Trinidad is an old city that shows its age. We stopped at La Canchanchara to enjoy a cocktail made from rum, sugar and limes and listened to a local band under a cooling fan. We also stopped at pottery shops located behind a few homes. Lunch at a local hotel was a large buffet including a beer. The lunch was good. This was a nice tour. On the second day, we took the Cienfuegos Dolphins show. This was a bus trip that included a 40-minute dolphin show with many locals in attendance and also, a great flute concert by 10 local young women. This was also a nice tour. SANTIAGO DE CUBA – On the first day in Santiago, we took the Colonial Santiago tour. This was a tour that included a great Spanish fort on the coast, San Juan Hill and the city's main square. Great photo opportunities. This was really the first time we encountered beggars. They were a bit of a problem. We also learned a lot about the history of Cuba and the Triumph of the Revolution. The history of the battle at San Juan Hill and the Spanish Cuban American War was an interesting portion of the tour. We attended the Tropicana Santiago Show. This was very different from the Havana show. It was more African dancing in nature but include one bottle of rum per person, cheese, meats and olives to munch on during the show. The Havana show was much better but the rum in Santiago was better than in Havana. The Havana show was more Las Vegas like while the Santiago show was more Cuban history with a little pop. The music was very, very loud …. too loud. On the second day, we took the Birthplace of the Revolution tour. This tour duplicated the prior days tour at times, but that was fine. It was very informative about the Revolution … the Triumph of the Revolution, as the locals would say it. One of the highlights of the tour was visiting the Santa Ifigenia cemetery. The cemetery includes the body of Fidel Castro and also, the hero of the country, Jose Marti. You will hear about Jose Marti throughout your time in Cuba. The cemetery was the only place in Cuba that was is perfect physical condition. Don't miss the changing of the guard every 30 minutes. TWO DAYS AT SEA – The cruise included two days a sea … a great time to relax and earn Big O points to cash in for Oceania merchandise. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. On this cruise, you will learn a lot about Cuba, their free healthcare, free education, guaranteed jobs, low state wages … do your own research. You will see a lot of horse transportation, motor bikes, old American cars, clean streets (at least where you are taken), lots of people just sitting around, structures in need of paint, pot holes, well educated tour guides and generally, very friendly people. You will hear, at least while on the ship, a lot about OFAC. While in Cuba, all you need is US dollars; most stores will take them. The official story is that you will need to convert them into CUCs (Cuban Convertible Peso). The cost is around 85 to 90 CUCs per $100. They are suppose to be a 1 and 1 conversion but if you are from the US, they change a 10% to 15% fee. The CUCs are only for tourists, the locals use Pesos (around 25 Pesos per CUC). The locals like CUCs and US dollars. Cuba is a reflection of what it was, and what it might be in the future. Overall, the cruise was great. You will see many cannons buried in the clean streets, many old American cars and you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this cruise for a convenient way to travel home from Rome after attending a wedding in Malta. Past Transatlantic experiences have been exemplary on Cunard. We cruised on the Marina last year and ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this cruise for a convenient way to travel home from Rome after attending a wedding in Malta. Past Transatlantic experiences have been exemplary on Cunard. We cruised on the Marina last year and anticipated a similar positive experience on the Sirena. The ship is tired at best and in need of updates. Tiles surrounding the pool were missing and cracked. Oceania makes a very bold claim to have the finest cuisine at sea. Only Red Ginger was able to live up to that expectation. The other venues were just average at best with most food too salty. Booked a Concierge level room with no advantage over a standard room except for the laundry service. There was significant vibration at the rear of the ship. There seemed to be no plan for a change in itinerary due to hurricane Florence and 8 straight days at sea. The layout of the theater means that only the front row gets a clear view of the stage. All other seating is obscured. The Horizons lounge offered afternoon tea, and karoke and dancing later in the evening. It is unlikely I would cruise Oceania again. I'll continue cruising Transatlantic itineraries on Cunard and favor other premium cruise lines for other cruise vacations. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we ... Read More
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we wanted to take a longer cruise in the Caribbean, our favorite vacation destination, that would still jibe with Nicci’s schedule as a school nurse but also would not have many children onboard. When I did research and found the Caribbean Palette cruise on the Insignia, that was most attractive; the additional perks of “the finest cuisine at sea” and having a couple of sea days mixed in with some ports we had never been to (originally Columbia on Independence Day, which was then thankfully later substituted by Havana) also made us very excited, despite the extremely high cost of the voyage. We had some initial concerns, as conveyed to us by our booking agent at Oceania, that we were among the younger passengers aboard (in our mid-to-late forties), but as we are old souls at heart (or so we thought!), that was of little problem to us. What absolutely sealed the deal for us was being able to sail home to Manhattan, thus needing to fly only one-way down to Miami. Overall, then, we had very high expectations for this cruise. I would say that, for the most part, these expectations were met. I will summarize individual facets below, but, despite overarching concerns besides cost that will lead us not to take another Oceania cruise for quite some time, if ever, the cruise was most pleasant and relaxing. Here are our reports and thoughts on what we experienced on the Insignia during our trip: Embarkation: Smooth and easy. As we had booked a Concierge cabin, we had expected to be onboard at noon, but we were able, surprisingly, to board much earlier, at 11:15. Briefly, on the flipside, debarkation was no worse in Manhattan than previously encountered, despite a great delay coming into port. Cabin: As we are used to Carnival-sized cabins, we had little problem, as otherwise seems to be expressed quite frequently in both reviews and on the Oceania boards, with the overall size of the Concierge-level cabin. While the cabin was far from luxurious, and in need of some freshening, there was adequate storage space for both clothing, effects, and luggage, and our aft-facing balcony was also a nice size, having room for a chaise longue, two chairs, and a table. Our mini-fridge was indeed stocked with our choice of beverages (only Coke for me, as Nicci does not drink soda), and there were always at least two large bottles of water left on our vanity with ice that we requested. We found that the air conditioning and room temperature for the first week of the voyage were far too warm, despite setting the thermostat on the lowest setting, and it took us a couple of occasions mentioning this to Housekeeping finally to get Maintenance to address the issue; even then, the difference was marginal, and the only way that we derived any comfort was from an oscillating fan that Housekeeping very kindly provided us. This warmth was also reflected in the water from the tap and shower, which never seemed to fall below lukewarm also despite being turned to the coldest possible setting. The biggest problem that we had, however, which we can confirm from previous reviewers, was the size and configuration of the bathroom, and most especially the shower: these were woefully inadequate and should be addressed in any refurbishment of the ship. The good thing was that our cabin steward Renan was most efficient and pleasant, always keeping the room neat and clean, and he was exemplary of the wonderful service provided elsewhere onboard. Food: Throughout the Terrace area, Grand Dining Room, and both specialty restaurants, the food mostly lived up to Oceania’s marketing hyperbole that they have the finest cuisine at sea. Things were always very fresh and nicely presented. It did seem that there was, surprisingly, a lack of variety of choices, as many dishes were only variations on a theme of the same staple ingredient (e.g., lamb, pork, or beef prepared in slightly different ways or with different sauces). Furthermore, there were times in the specialty restaurants that things could have run more smoothly, such as when we spent nearly three hours at our first night in Toscana or when either Nicci’s steak was most undercooked or I did not receive things that I ordered in Polo Grill. Furthermore, during lunch, the pizza (which, truthfully, I saw virtually no one else order) was mediocre at best. Also, breakfast service for late risers like me is nonexistent, with ample choices ending around 9am; the few times I did partake of breakfast in the Terrace, however, I must say that the omelettes were fantastic, made with freshly-beaten eggs. While these criticisms all may seem niggling, as this food is being provided by a cruise line that seemingly bases its entire marketing strategy on a flawless dining experience, passengers should be expected to have the best of everything. Since this is naturally impossible to achieve, then, let us just say that our expectations were met, but not exceeded, when it came to non-room service food on the Insignia. Turning quickly, then, to room service, I think this was the most pleasant surprise, with ample choices and a delicious Lombardy salad that I was surprised never to see offered anywhere else. I do think that Oceania did not do enough in our cabin to apprise us of the fact that we could have ordered an enhanced breakfast menu from room service, but since we had seen many rooms on our deck with such tags, it was more our fault for not making further use of this service. Finally, even though we made it there only once, the afternoon tea was fantastic, with great savory and sweet finger foods. Activity and entertainment: Our expectations were not high, given what we have read online here, and I think they were mostly met. As befits an older crowd, there was not much to do, with exceedingly low variety, during the day, with activities that never changed from needlepoint to poorly-attended bingo to trivia that we were not interested in at all. The performances of the entertainment staff were seemingly well done, but as we shall comment later on, we were obliged due to seasickness to miss one show completely and leave at the beginning of a second show, so this is most difficult to rate. Similarly, we never attended one onboard lecture except a cooking presentation by the executive chef that was very entertaining. The visiting artists (a singer, a magician, a comedian, and a guitarist) were talented and enjoyable, nothing to rave about yet quite pleasant to watch. What was first-rate was both the onboard band and, especially, the string quartet; the quartet’s skill, despite comments on the boards, was most evident, and they contributed towards our comfort both waiting for evening shows and during the afternoon tea. The casino was incredibly small, almost never full, yet very happily was smoke-free like virtually the remainder of the ship, and we actually came out ahead in our limited play there. The cruise director was adequate at his job, and we appreciated him keeping announcements to a minimum during the day, but Nicci found him not to be warm or genuine, and I will not dispute this assertion at all. We found it curious, as did fellow passengers (as we will expand on later), that there were no movies offered to watch during the day outside one’s cabin, such as in the lounge, until the last night of the voyage; I believe that this is something that Oceania should take heed of for future entertainment. I would say, then, that while we were happy not seeing any “sexy single parties” at the pool, there needed to be much more in the way of activities and entertainment onboard than was provided. Fellow passengers: Aside from the age of our fellow passengers, we did not quite know what to expect, even after having read comments on the boards and reviews. We found everyone very pleasant and easy to converse with, definitely on the more white-collar (and indeed retired) side, and, while we should not be surprised in hindsight, definitely more cosmopolitan: there was a high number of non-Americans aboard, including Australians and New Zealanders (which only makes sense if you think about it as they were escaping their winter). There seemed to be a somewhat-even mix of returning Oceania guests as well as first-timers like us, and what was astonishing was how many of these return passengers were dissatisfied with Oceania, perhaps this cruise in particular, stating that the high level of dining, activity, and the condition of the ship were not met as on previous cruises, whether on the Insignia or another Oceania ship. We appreciated their candor, but we also appreciated that they still found ways to enjoy their vacation and did not let their disappointment affect the experience of their fellow guests. Certainly, given what we saw at the Oceania future cruise desk, people were booking their next trips at a furious clip! I guess the biggest thing that I was surprised at was how similarly everyone dressed, at all times of the day, and while everyone seemed happy, there was also a distinct lack of what I would call whimsy, with no one ever seeming to laugh heartily but instead just seeming to be there, if you can get what I am driving at. Overall, if these people are representative of the Oceania norm, there are far worse cruisers to share a ship with. Ship: This is where our biggest problems lie. We knew that this ship, at around 30K tons, would be the smallest we had ever sailed on, but its lack of size definitely contributed to a lack of stability. So much so, in fact, that the relatively rough waters that we encountered on July 4th led to two-thirds of the ship (including some crewmembers!) to be laid out with seasickness – including Nicci, whom I have never seen ill in eighteen previous cruises with her. Unfortunately, I also had a repeat performance on July 13th, so I really lost two nights out of my cruise, and since I have been in much worse weather on bigger ships with no ill effects, I do indeed directly blame this on the size of Insignia. It seemed that the doors to the decks were always closed due to the high winds, which I understand is for safety, but this made exploring the decks difficult. Furthermore, this ship is in desperate need of refurbishment: tiles from the only pool onboard were flaking off at a prodigious and unacceptable rate, so that oftentimes I would find them sticking either on Nicci or on one of our fellow users. The entire ship seemed to be kept at a higher temperature, I guess to accommodate the older passengers who like to be warmer, and although the elevators mostly were uncrowded, they also tended to run on the smaller side. The décor was quite nice, harkening back to the classic era of ocean liners, and there seemed to be a great amount of public space, from everywhere including the atrium to the well-stocked library. Again, however, this can only provide so much comfort, and I think that not feeling stable while underway is a huge factor in why I would not come back to Oceania. Intangibles: I will skip over our ports of call, except to say this: Bermuda as always is my go-to vacation port, and I am very happy that we visited Havana, but this was a very intense stop only one day after embarkation, and we do not feel the need ever to visit Cuba again. Our other stops were fine, aside from Grenada, which felt distinctly unsafe, and Trinidad, an unscheduled stop (about which more in a second) that looked so unappetizing from onboard that we did not even bother to get off at the terminal to stretch our legs. I did not appreciate for one second that, while we understandably had to deviate stops in St. Lucia and Dominica because of Hurricane Beryl, in substituting Trinidad for these ports, Oceania did not even account for, let alone reimburse for, the refund in port charges for these missed stops, nor provide even a nominal onboard credit due to the inconvenience of adding in another sea day, as we received in the past from Carnival. This left a very bad taste in my mouth. As for other intangibles, I alluded before to the lack of whimsy and similarity in dress that our fellow passengers exhibited, and I guess this is why I always felt somewhat out of place onboard – I wanted to do more than just lie down next to the pool with a book or engage in pleasant banter but instead feel like I was sharing a good time and laugh and relax with like-minded passengers. Fortunately, Nicci and I were able to find one family (from very close to where we live) that similarly sought out fun, companionship, and enjoyment, otherwise this could have easily been a very somber and unpleasant cruise. I think, then, that Nicci and I need to strike a happy medium between the immaturity of Carnival cruises and the relative stiffness of Oceania cruises...for us, this seems to be on Celebrity. Lastly, I just feel that, even with the great service and overall high quality of the food, this cruise simply did not provide us with anywhere near the value that was expected from the exorbitant cost of the voyage. I wanted to write a more detailed review because I never really found anything on this site that would provide me the same insight and information as I hope I did here. I therefore hope that you will find this as useful as I meant it to be. Thanks for reading! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is ... Read More
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is perfection. Insignia is wonderful, but perfection is unattainable for any ship. So four it must be. DW and I are veterans of more than 50 cruises, mostly on Princess, where we are elite. We have enjoyed Princess a lot, but we wanted to step up a bit and have heard great things about Oceania, mostly centering on the food. And it's all true, folks. So let's start at the beginning of our 14-night Miami-to-New York cruise. Embarkation in Miami is painless because this is a small ship. Fewer than 700 passengers, so no unbearably long lines. Also, no ship's photographers to pose you in front of some hokey background picture of the ship set against a gorgeous sunset, or whatever. That can hold up the works, too. Once aboard there was a bit of a hitch. We were allowed to board at about 11:30 a.m. (exact time escapes me), but because we had a low cabin category we couldn't get into our cabin until 1 p.m. So we had to schlepp our carry-on baggage around with us for that time. Not a big deal but, as I said, perfection is unattainable. So what's the first thing you want to do on embarkation day? Explore your ship, right? Wrong. Eat, of course! This is Oceania, after all. So off we go to the buffet, known on Oceania as the Terrace Cafe. Way more than enough to choose from here. I'll talk more about the food later. It gets its own category. OK, so now it's 1 o'clock, we get into the cabin, dump the bags and meet our cabin attendant. Her name is Khachungla. There's one problem with Khachungla: I can't take her home with me. And boy, by the end of this cruise I really wanted to. Never had a friendlier, harder-working cabin attendant, I kid you not. Time to explore Insignia. This is a 20-year-old ship, remember, so comparing it head-to-head against a newer one would be unfair. It has to be judged on its own merits. It is maintained beautifully. Insignia is scheduled for a drydock soon, and a few of our fellow passengers said they could see a need for that. But I could not. No worn-out furniture, no threadbare carpets. Nothing obvious like that. Maybe some things behind the scenes that I was unaware of, but that's speculation. The decor is what I would call English country, but I'm certainly no expert on that. Lots of heavy drapery, dark furniture and deep carpets. Not exactly my taste, but that's just one guy's opinion. Yours may differ. What's important is that the ship is spotlessly clean at all times. One problem that we noticed right away: The elevators are tiny and unventilated. I imagine Oceania can't do much about the size, but when you cram half a dozen perspiring people in there after a summertime Caribbean shore excursion, it gets real ripe real fast. Now about the food (OK, maybe that transition's not the best, but you'll get over it). Simply put, the food on Oceania was the best we've ever had at sea and, as I noted, we've been doing this a long time. Each dish was perfectly prepared and served by a thoroughly professional staff. A few small examples: DW is diabetic, so she wants to know about no-sugar-added desserts. On the mass-market lines, you likely get one selection a night, take it or leave it. On Oceania, you get a no-sugar-added dessert menu with 10 items. DW says they all were delicious, too. I tasted the mousse. Sure tasted like sugar to me. But no. As for me, I need to be careful about my salt intake. Unfortunately, I love soup, which is notoriously salty. But not on Insignia. I know there's salt in there. Has to be. But it's not obvious. I had soup every night and never detected a salty taste. These chefs know how to cook without overloading everything with sodium chloride, and that's a skill missing on other lines. Another thing: the bread. I love it, and the bread and rolls that come with lunch and dinner are to die for. Yes, that's a small thing, but isn't luxury made up of a multitude of small things? We ate in the main restaurant most nights, but also tried Polo Grill, the steakhouse; and Toscana, the Italian restaurant. The latter was my favorite. I had the lemon veal scaloppini. My mouth still waters when I think about it. On Oceania, the specialty restaurants are included in the fare. So why not indulge? Outside the main restaurant is a terrific coffee bar. Fantastic espressos, cappuccinos, etc. Pietro, a barrista there (shouldn't that be barristo? Never mind), made an Americano for me and a breve latte for DW most mornings. Let me tell you, this guy knows what he's doing (as do they all, I suspect). Really got us off on the right foot each day. Mini-croissants and other goodies are right there for the taking, again no extra charge. You get the idea. Enough about food. Let's talk about shore excursions. This cruise included a stop at Havana, Cuba. Sadly, I was unable to leave the ship because of a health problem, but that was nobody's fault. That's right -- while everybody else was exploring Cuba I spent the whole day in bed. Aarrrgghh! I like it when we visit ports I've seen before so I can stay on board and have the ship to myself, but this was ridiculous. DW did take a tour. She thought Havana was unimpressive. "The whole place looks like a bombed-out city," she says. Cigar-factory workers make 80 cents a day. She bought two cigars for me at $10 each. So the factory's product costs 10 bucks and people who produce it get next to nothing. Quite educational. Also, the tour included "art," an alleyway with murals and folk dancers, and a rum factory, both of which she found adequate. Insignia also stopped in Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada and Bermuda. We were supposed to stop at St. Lucia and Dominica, but a hurricane scuttled those plans. We dodged that storm, of course, and got a sea day in lieu of Dominica and a stop in Trinidad instead of St. Lucia. The Trinidad stop happened on a Sunday when nothing was open and the ship docked at a commercial pier, so there was little within walking distance anyway. We looked around for about an hour and returned to the ship. About that hurricane: It was actually nowhere near us, but the sea was still kind of rough anyway, about 3 meters or 10 feet, the captain said. Now, Insignia is a smallish ship, only about 30,000 tons, so, to be honest, it doesn't handle rough water all that well. If you're on one of the newer megaships, you likely wouldn't even feel waves that big. But a 30,000-tonner kind of bobs and weaves like a cork. Many people were seasick that night. Insignia is billed as "charming" and "cozy," and indeed it is, but if you're prone to seasickness, then yes, it can be a problem. But this was just one night out of 14, so factor that into your plans, too. Our last stop was Bermuda. We docked in St. George's and took a bus to Hamilton, the capital, for shopping. We were in Bermuda overnight, so on Day 2, we just explored St.George's, a small but picturesque town. Lots of brightly painted buildings. I thought it was more fun than Hamilton. After leaving Bermuda we had some rough water again, not as bad as before but bad enough to make us late getting into New York, our port of disembarkation. That meant that disembarkation didn't go all that well, and I'm sure some people missed flights home. That didn't affect us because we stayed in NY for a couple of days. Regarding entertainment: It's a smallish ship with a smallish theater, but the shows were fine. Only problem here is the flat floor. There are two levels, but neither is sloped, so sight lines are not too good. I attended one port lecture in this venue, which was excellent. I can't recall the gentleman's name, but he told us all about Bermuda before we arrived there. Regarding the spa: There's an excellent, large steam room which is hot enough to make you sweat plenty but not so hot that you'll have to flee after 30 seconds. It's complimentary. No dry sauna, though. Oceania cruises are aimed at the 50-and-older crowd. Most pax were retirees like us, and there are no facilities specifically for kids. There were a handful of youngsters on this cruise but no small children, which is how we like it. It's another reason we chose Oceania. So, in summary, we loved this ship and cruise. Except for the rough-water problem, it's hard to find any serious negatives. We fell in love with Oceania, and will try one of the larger ships next time. I welcome your comments. KK Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Decided to take a cruise on Oceania Sirena due to the itinerary to Cuba. It was suppose to make three stops but due to water conditions one stop was removed. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to have a nice room ... Read More
Decided to take a cruise on Oceania Sirena due to the itinerary to Cuba. It was suppose to make three stops but due to water conditions one stop was removed. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to have a nice room - rented Owners suite #7114 and #7117 for my daughter. Our room was a great size, but on most nights we could not sleep in the room. When the captain had the boat at full throttle our room vibrated so badly that the bed shook excessively, lamps shook even though glued down, glassware in cabin rattled, closet doors rattled, etc. The noise was overwhelming day and night. The vibration in the bed was awful. It caused one to feel sick and overwhelmed. My husband had to leave the room and he slept on a chair on pool deck. Then after stating the issue, our butler was given permission for us to sleep in a standard cabin that was available. The other room was #7030. There was no vibration in that room. So we used our OWNERS SUITE for storing our luggage and showering and slept in a tiny space just to get some rest. This was ridiculous. I am pointing this out to those thinking of renting this suite - don't waste your money. Oceania should make it clear to those looking to rent the Owners Suite that it will have excessive vibration when at full throttle and cruising at night. FYI: we met another guest on the floor below us and he had the same issue. We have cruised on may types of ships - private and larger. We have never experienced this issue. Also, the destination dept. needs to spend some time investigating the excursions they promote. We went on a seven hour trip - The Vinales Valley. Oh my, the Guayabita del Pinar rum Factory (part of trip) was about the size of a store front and wasn't opened when we arrived. Not sure it was a factory - just a place to bottle and sell rum.Then we continued on to learn about the production of cigars. That took place in a cigar drying hut. The owners son rolled some cigars, gave them to a few guys to smoke then did a sales pitch. We stopped at two other sites for 15 minutes and had lunch at one. The trip was not well organized and we really did not see much - just sat on the bus for way to many hours. We then took excursion in Santiago Cuba. Colonial Santiago - well another bus ride to no where. The tour director dropped us off in a square. The church to visit was closed, the hotel there would not let you in unless you paid for drinks (and we did not have time). Tour guide then proceeded to have us walk up a hill to a bar. There was some music and a chance to have a beer. The beer was to be included, but the waitress harassed everyone to pay. The whole thing was a mess. Lastly, I tried to get my nails done at the Canyon Ranch Spa on board. Well they over booked me! What else could have gone wrong. Mainly - I just wanted to alert passengers to the room situation. Spending the money wasn't the issue - it was about getting what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Don't listen to any hype on this line. Food is horrible, way too salty. Boat is falling apart, broken drawers, no remote control worked, pool rusty and tiles falling out. NOTHING to do...all guest under the age of 80 hated it and ... Read More
Don't listen to any hype on this line. Food is horrible, way too salty. Boat is falling apart, broken drawers, no remote control worked, pool rusty and tiles falling out. NOTHING to do...all guest under the age of 80 hated it and couldn't wait to get off. Sub par shows where entertainers went through the motions. Most staff were good...2 stated to us the were board. No music, no life, no fun...they actually advertised being cheaper than a convalescent home....seriously. it was a convalescent home, who are they kidding. Cooking demonstration was a comedic act of buffoonery and a total insult. Wine tasting is 100.00, manicure is 100.00 get over yourself Oceania. Noon on sea day and the casino was closed because no one was playing. Snore fest on a dilapidated ghost ship with gross food. Excursions not at all what was advertised and many closed venues. They tried to have us snorkel in contaminated brackish water where dead fish floated on top and it smelled so bad it made me sick. Those who went in were surely ill. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Overall, a tight ship with nice amenities and pleasant servers, but disappointing in some respects; and not particularly good value for the money. Our cabin, dubbed a “Penthouse Suite,” was certainly nice and roomy, but it was ... Read More
Overall, a tight ship with nice amenities and pleasant servers, but disappointing in some respects; and not particularly good value for the money. Our cabin, dubbed a “Penthouse Suite,” was certainly nice and roomy, but it was neither a penthouse nor a suite. The butler service was nice, but the butler himself gave a rather grumpy reception to all but the most basic requests. Excursions were expensive, lackluster and uninspired. Far too much time was spent boarding, driving, shopping, etc., and there was far too little time on the ground with the sights and activities. The excursion to San Juan Hill, Santiago, for example, was a waste of time. Nothing much to see, and not much for the guide to say either, but it took nearly an hour getting there and back and walking around aimlessly. Similarly, the long drive to the Havana Cemetery was a bust. The time could have been much better spent walking through neighborhoods, driving by Havana’s unique, crumbling edifices, or just listening to live music in a cafe. Red Ginger restaurant is widely touted. However, for me it was a flop, plain and simple: Bland, watered-down quasi-Asian concoctions, some a bit too clever for their own good. I complained about bland food and was given a tray with a couple of bottled sauces. This is not five-star dining. In addition, service at Red Ginger was slow and clunky compared to the other restaurants. The Tuscan Steakhouse, on the other hand was really superb in form, food and function. See, I’m not that hard to please. Recognizing that U.S. equal opportunity employment laws have no apparent application at sea (and aboard a Micronesian-registered vessel), it was nevertheless startling that management staff introduced during the welcoming ceremony were almost exclusively Caucasian while their subordinates were a rainbow of diversity. On a similar note, for a cruise destined for Cuba –a musical treasure--one might have expected a band or a show on board with a little bit of a Latin flair or flavor. Not so. The music shows and performers were generic “plain vanilla” down the line, in more ways than one. The “Broadway” show was a real snoozer—literally, I fell asleep. I didn’t go to Cuba to hear well-worn American show tunes. The classical string quartet was nice, but a Latin guitar group with a little percussion would be been more apropos. A disappointment, and a lost opportunity to turn a rather standard, cookie-cutter cruise into a destination-tailored travel experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We took cruise since it was only one just going to Cuba on a 7 day cruise; Cuba was fantastic and would visit again; sirena and oceania probably not ; ship was weak in activities unless u like bean bag toss and a FEW other activities ; ... Read More
We took cruise since it was only one just going to Cuba on a 7 day cruise; Cuba was fantastic and would visit again; sirena and oceania probably not ; ship was weak in activities unless u like bean bag toss and a FEW other activities ; food was good to excellent ; everything seemed in slow motion on cruise ; we are seniors but still like many activities even though we don’t often participate in them ;ship was clean; small but just lacked something that we were used to on other bigger ships ; we went for Cuba and not the ship however; rooms were clean but housekeeping supplies were always stored by our room; they told us they had to store them by our room ; anyway Cuba is a must see and glad we took this cruise there; but felt that oceania is well overpriced for their return; Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted to see Cuba before it changed. The June time frame fit in with our schedule, but we didnʻt realize how hot and humid it would be. Going to Cuba is a challenge: things go wrong all the time, such as pollution preventing us ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba before it changed. The June time frame fit in with our schedule, but we didnʻt realize how hot and humid it would be. Going to Cuba is a challenge: things go wrong all the time, such as pollution preventing us getting into Cienfuegos and power failure in the cruise terminal in Havana. We were also warned continuously of drinking only safe bottled drinks with NO ice. And the on board staff were very concerned about making sure we did not go against any of the new rules for Americans visiting Cuba. This went in their favor since they therefore discouraged anyone from doing anything other than ship shore tours. With two days in Havana, people, by the second day, realised that no-one was actually watching us, and, contrary to public opinion, the US $ was accepted by many people and places. Havana was an interesting place to visit and worth the effort. Two days in Santiago de Cuba was not. Despite being the second largest city, there were few redeeming features. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Repeat Oceania customer. Spend the money on upscale so that getting left at the airport without transportation to the hotel doesn't happen. Spend the money so that the pre cruise hotel is not convenient, comfortable or helpful. ... Read More
Repeat Oceania customer. Spend the money on upscale so that getting left at the airport without transportation to the hotel doesn't happen. Spend the money so that the pre cruise hotel is not convenient, comfortable or helpful. Spend the money on an upscale cruise so that we are guaranteed a comfortable experience pre cruise without the bed on the floor and 1000's of revelers jamming the hotel, pool and restaurants. Spend the money and call the hotel a month in advance to ensure we had 2 beds. We did not. Spend the money on upscale cruise so that our concierge cabin has working air conditioning-a must when in the ovens of Guatemala, Belize and Cuba. A/C malfunctioned daily and nightly leaving us sweating and uncomfortable. Spent the money so that the cruise line does not lie to you about whether you can get off the ship while NOT on one of their excursions. (Yes you can). Spend the money so that the ship is accurate about the availability of internet in Cuba (yes) using dollars in Cuba (yes, they love dollars) and many other annoying issues. If not for a Chauffeur whose passengers did not show up in Miami, we would have had to cab it at our expense. Calling Oceania (also located in Miami) revealed that they did not give a damn about us being left with no transportation in Miami. The brochure stated there was a concierge desk at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel specifically for Oceania., There was not. I also have had no responses from e mails sent to the corporate officers. I guess being owned by Norwegian makes the adage you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear true. The cruise was taken at the wrong time of year when the weather was stifling and the humidity 100%. The ports were OK but quite commercial and uninteresting except for Havana which we toured with a Cuban guide. I don't know what more I can say about this experience except I would not want to repeat it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Last week I traveled on the Oceania Sirena to Cuba out of Miami. This was my fourth Oceania cruise but the first in about ten years ago. I stopped cruising on Oceania for one simple reason, Destination Services. This is the part of the ... Read More
Last week I traveled on the Oceania Sirena to Cuba out of Miami. This was my fourth Oceania cruise but the first in about ten years ago. I stopped cruising on Oceania for one simple reason, Destination Services. This is the part of the company that handles the excursions for Oceania. Ten years ago Destination Services blatantly lied to me about an excursion and after explaining to them how this excursion was totally misrepresented they still would not refund my money. Now, fast forward ten years, and I find out nothing has changed with Destination Services. First, I purchased for almost $1700 the unlimited excursion package for my wife and I. First mistake! On day one I learn that morning while getting my bus ticket the most important feature of an all day excursion has be eliminated. Then I find out on the bus the second most important feature of this excursion had also been cancelled. In the end we spent 10 hours on a bus and really only spent 15 minutes viewing a pretty valley. Oceania spent this full day wasting 35 peoples time and not giving us the experience we all paid for ($558 per couple). Second mistake! The next day we had a morning and afternoon excursion booked. I find out by accident the day before the afternoon excursion has been cancelled and we can only take one excursion because of scheduling issues. Third mistake! On the 7th day we find out after getting off the ship and tendering to an island ALL excursions had been cancelled because of anticipated storms. What a surprise, the storms didn't arrive until 9 hours later all the excursions could have taken place. Fourth mistake! In the end I was charged $606 for excursion experiences which I not not receive. BUYER BEWARE! If everybody had my same experience you can multiply my loss by over 650 people on the ship and you have a pretty good scam going. From my point of view and many others I talked to on the ship Destination Services lacks credibility and I can not recommend Oceania as a luxury cruise line. They are a wanna be luxury cruise line and because they still nickel and dime on expenses, make you pay separate for premium liquor, excursions and gratuities they will never be in the same class as Crystal, Seabourn, Silver Seas and Regent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our 16 day cruise from Miami to San Francisco spent 88% of the time at sea, not at the destinations Spending $800+ per day on fine dining is not my idea of an enjoyable cruise. Destination Services were overpriced, poorly conceived and ... Read More
Our 16 day cruise from Miami to San Francisco spent 88% of the time at sea, not at the destinations Spending $800+ per day on fine dining is not my idea of an enjoyable cruise. Destination Services were overpriced, poorly conceived and poorly organized. Cuisine was excellent and service impeccable. Cabins were small 216 sf and tight Bathrooms even tighter. We were aboard Regatta, a 20 year old ship past her prime. We lost one of the 4 engines 3 hours out of Miami and could not make Cartegena on time, so didn't stop there. 63 students were killed by the military the night before we were to land in Nicaragua, so we skipped that. (Shouldn't Management in Miami have foreseen this and made alternative plans?) Our room air conditioning did not work properly even after being repaired, the woodwork needed refurbishing- looked 'dirty' and the cabin carpet could have been replaced. We were 7 hours late docking in San Francisco and then we were next to last to get off after asking for priority disembarkation so we wouldn't miss our plane. Took 2 hours to get off the ship and we missed 2 flights. To cap it all off, Oceania added $32/day or $512 to our bill at the end of the cruise for 'housekeeping gratuities'. And this on a $16,000 cruise! ONCE OCEANIA GETS YOUR MONEY, THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU AS A PERSON. WE WERE HERDED LIKE CATTLE AND WE FELT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST... NEVER AGAIN ON OCEANIA Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and chose this cruise as an alternative to the all inclusive lines where we always are charged for something we don't take part in. We also used this cruise to determine if we wanted to hold or ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers and chose this cruise as an alternative to the all inclusive lines where we always are charged for something we don't take part in. We also used this cruise to determine if we wanted to hold or cancel a 45 day trip on this ship next year out of New Zealand & the South Pacific. Our embarkation in Miami was swift and without incident. Our first port out of Miami was Havana which was absolutely wonderful. Then things started to go downhill, as we did not touch land for the next 5 days. My number one complaint with Regatta was that the ship has trouble maintaining its published schedule. On the previous cruise the ship missed at least one port and was 3 to 4 hours late into Nassau. On leaving Havana we were told that we would be several hours late into our next port, Cartagena, Columbia due to "minor technical difficulties" (a good friend says this is code for "we are now going to lie to you"). We did not have a long scheduled call in Cartagena and sure enough we arrived just after lunch and departed almost an hour later, without ever going to a dock or even dropping the anchor. You could see it but not touch it. The canal was fantastic as always, but the next port was Costa Rica, a much appreciated stop. The following port in Nicaragua was missed account political unrest, code for rioting. Oceania must get a pass as it is out of their control. Subsequent stops were in Acapulco and Cabo. Low and behold, we were about 45 minutes late into Cabo. A trend is developing .... On leaving Cabo San Lucas it quickly became apparent that we would not be on time into San Francisco. The ship provides basic navigation data (Chanel 3 on the room TV) and it was not too hard to do a speed and distance calculation on the number of hours needed to travel the remaining distance. 36 hours later the ship admitted what I already knew and then the natives became very restless when it was obvious that they would miss flights in San Fran (my wife and I were continuing on to Alaska). Off of LA the ship diverted around military maneuvers making the late train later. Any ship making a passenger change out needs to arrive around 6 AM to have max time to swap, clean and provision. Our San Fran arrival was at 2:30 PM, and it was a disaster. After arrival we were told to sit in the show lounge to await clearance. This took about 1.5 to 2 hours during which almost no announcements were made. We later learned that US Customs was to blame, but no one came on to blame them and comfort the rapidly rising blood pressures. We later learned that those getting on were equally frustrated and I'll bet that there is a review out there from one of those folks. When we finally got off, we (through passengers - there were about 40) were given a much shortened bus tour of San Francisco. On returning we were greeted by a mob scene of new passengers trying to board. We reboarded, cleaned up and went to the city for dinner rather than face those mad folks, some of whom never got the word that the ship would be late. Later we learned that we would spend the night in San Francisco and leave at 10 am and would, again, miss another port - Astoria, Oregon, one which we had greatly looked forward to. After missing that port, things got back on schedule. On the last port we did leave 2 hours early to make our last port of Vancouver, on time. In all we missed 25% of our scheduled ports. We had planned on a full day in San Fran, instead we got off close to 5 PM and had to be on board the next morning at 9 AM. I spoke with ships management about the delays, as many others did as well. The delays were blamed on weather. Yes, we had headwinds, but as I pointed out, any ship should have head winds 50% of the time. I refused the excuse and using facts about missed ports simply explained that that many missed ports (search other reviews on this site as well) indicates a problem. One of two statements is true: The ship cannot maintain tight schedules account mechanical issues OR the team responsible for planning and scheduling has made grave errors and not allowed for any "wiggle room" on longer segments. Overall, the missed ports and lateness really ruined the cruise for us. We have been on crossings (Atlantic) with fewer sea days. On board though the rest of the cruise was very good to excellent. On board service was excellent. We never had an issue. The service staff, largely Filipino and Indonesian was better than many of the ultra luxury lines. This great service was in bars, restaurants, cabin service etc. The quality of the food in the specialty restaurants was excellent. 5 stars for both. The buffets and main restaurants had a few issues. I would rate these at about 4 stars. The only bad item encountered was pizza which looked like the stuff you buy in an American convenience store. Related to the food is a problem that can't be solved. Both segments were full. On arrival at the Veranda buffet, you knew it. There wasn't a table to be found unless you hovered waiting for someone to get up or eat at an odd time. This held true for breakfast and lunch and I'm not sure about dinner as we are not buffet eaters at dinner. Yes, we could storm the door upon opening but that is not our style. When you did get a table you faced a mass of people at the food stations and there wasn't much room to move. My wife and I purchased a beverage package. Having sailed on all inclusive lines, we didn't want to worry about every drink. If we want only an additional 1/2 glass of wine, at the end of dinner then no problem. The problem occurs that having paid for the beverage package, you still had to present your room card. We were told that this was for accounting and inventory control. After several days the crew knew we had the package, yet we had to always present at least one card, a real pain when you are trying to get up and go. Approaching San Francisco I tried to get a beer with lunch. Oh no - it didn't happen. Despite having paid for it the system closed to the old passengers as they prepared for the new. Real reason - once they closed out the old they couldn't charge them anymore. There was zero accommodation for those of us going through. Luckily, I bought a bottle of rum in Havana, so we retreated to the room and opened it! Overall the ship is showing its 20 years of age, though Oceania works to keep it up. The interior is beautiful with fine woodwork and paintings. Carpets have an Oriental theme, public chairs are plush though some areas show signs of aging, with torn lamp shades and other minor things. Outside, you won't find much rust, though you will find many layers of paint which indicate repeated paintings. The pool had 1 inch square tiles which were falling off in mass. The crew was gluing back plastic replacements, which were again falling off. Our travel agent warned us not to expect much for entertainment. We found that she was wrong as we enjoyed almost all of the entertainment, including the ships shows (we saw them all twice). However, like the Veranda, if there was a popular show you better arrive early as the lounge did not accommodate everyone. On at least 2 nights we left because there were no seats available. Another note needs to be addressed that was a negative, though possibly unavoidable incident. The ship underwent a GI "protocol". Yes - the Norovirus appeared. We knew something was up leaving Acapulco when the cruise director came on the noon updated suggesting that anyone with stomach issues report to the doctor for a free consultation. Given a previous Oceania experience (see my January review on the Riviera) the treatment would not be free. Within 24 hours, full protocol was in effect. The ship took away things that multiple folks would touch. Not nuts trays or appetizers with cocktails. No cream, sugar, salt pepper or bread trays. No water set out for anyone to take. No menus in leather holders. On arrival, tables were bare and staff brought everything, but left nothing. Through it all both the fitness center and casino remained open, which I found interesting. The protocol or reactive management is set by CDC. However, reviews on this site indicate that this is not a first for Regatta. Passengers who showed symptoms were quarantined for 48 hours. In one case they escaped and security had to run them down. The protocol went until 2 days north of San Francisco when things gradually returned to normal. In total we had 5 days of limited service. The protocal also called for extra cleaning in San Francisco which further added to the woes of being late with new passengers arriving. We also found that the dress code on Oceania left something to be desired. The line allows shorts after 6 anywhere except the dining room(s). You can also wear baseball caps. Most dressed nicely, but there are always a few who have to take full advantage. Many dressed nicely for the specialty restaurants, but it was not enjoyable to be in the bar with a coat and tie on sitting next to an individual in a jogging suit with his hat on backwards. We enjoyed a penthouse with butler service. The room was wider which made a big difference. See the review below. In conclusion, this may not be the line for us. We have many nights on Seabourn, Crystal and Regent. All are all inclusive though all have been taking big price increases. I suspect that we will be back at some point though it will be in a Penthouse or Oceania Suite on one of the 2 larger ships. And, it won't likely be a long voyage. If you are moving up from Celebrity, Holland America, RCL or NCL, you will most likely love Oceania. Due to the feeling of being cramped at public venues, (plus the other listed issues) we just don't like it. Oceania puts almost 700 people into a 30,000 ton vessel while Seabourn has less than 500 in the same tonnage ship. New Zealand trip canceled. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
To start with, other people may feel very different about this cruise line. It really depends what you are looking for in a cruise. For us, it was just not a match. We did not like it as much as other cruises we have taken. The buffet ... Read More
To start with, other people may feel very different about this cruise line. It really depends what you are looking for in a cruise. For us, it was just not a match. We did not like it as much as other cruises we have taken. The buffet was much smaller then what we were use to (should be expected on a smaller ship) and the servers actually put the food on your plate so it's more like a cafeteria line or soup kitchen line then a buffet, again some people may like this, but not us. My wife is a vegetarian and the options for her were extremely limited. The servers and wait staff actually "reuse" food and drink which is just crazy. I saw our waiter pouring what was left of and old glass of orange juice into one of our glasses to "top it off" before he brought it to the table for breakfast, the same night I ordered pasta with red sauce at the "buffet" which they cook in front of you, and after they heated the sauce, and put the noodles in, they served the noodles to me in a small bowl, then put the remaining sauce back in the metal bin with the original cold sauce. Strange. So some things you may or may not like are that this ship has no photo staff. No pictures of any type are taken to sell by the cruise ship. No dinner photos, no port photos, nothing. There are no waiters walking around to sell you drinks on deck, the bars are very accessible so drinks are easy to get, but no one walking around asking "drinks?" The staff is very friendly, very helpful. The excursions were a complete mess. The times changed multiple times, the descriptions were not always 100% accurate of the places we visited, not to mention Oceania's excursions are priced insanely high. For example, private 8 hour all day tour through a local island company (included 3.5 hour walking tour, 3 hour car tour, lunch, drinks, etc) is $100.00 per person as a group tour or $130.00 per person as a private tour. Oceania charges $479.00 just for the 3 hour car ride portion (this is per car, not per person), another $89.00 per person for the 3 hour walking tour. By time you add lunch, it would cost about 4 times as much to book through Oceania. Unless you pay for the $439.00 per person to get the passport excursion collection, then you only pay $299.00 for the 3 hour car ride (still more then the entire day trip from the local company). I understand they need to make a profit, but sometimes it is just obscene. All the excursions meet on the ship, so our morning excursion ran longer than expected (even though we missed one of the advertised stops), we got off the bus and had to get back on the ship (through the metal detectors, etc) and get to the lounge to exchange our evening shore excursion tickets for bus numbers so we could go right back to the area we just left to get the bus for our evening excursion. The beds are comfortable and soda is included in the regular fare, which is nice. We did not like the shows, but we are not into singing and dancing type of shows. If you are ,you may like them. We prefer comedy, magic, etc. The decor on the ship did not match our taste. I didn't mind it much, but my wife said she just kept thinking it was decorated like the titanic. The pool is very small (only has one), but there is no issue at all finding chairs around the pool. It is nothing like other larger ships, there were always chairs available. One great thing that they had that other ships are lacking is a TV channel guide. Seems like this would be so easy to print out for guests, but this was cruise # 11 and the first one that has had it. They also had a guide that had what movies were playing on the three in room movie channels for the duration of the cruise. As I said, it was an OK cruise, but I don't think we will be going on Oceania again, at least not anytime in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our mom treated us to this cruise.. We have been on many cruises almost every liner.. This was our favorite out of all of them.. The captain and co captain were the best especially going through the bermuda triangle.. It was ... Read More
Our mom treated us to this cruise.. We have been on many cruises almost every liner.. This was our favorite out of all of them.. The captain and co captain were the best especially going through the bermuda triangle.. It was smooth sailing all the way.. Best crew.. Our butler bento was the best i ever had.. He gave so much of himself to make sure we had what we wanted and plus so much more.. Our housekeeper a blessing.. I have a trendancy to scatter a few things around and she was amazing with what she did with the room.. Loved all the entertainers.. They were beyond talented.. Partied,hung out and danced with them after hours.. They were so much fun.. Each one wiere special in their own way.. They will be remembered for a lifetime.. All the wait staff were amazing in all the dining restaurants.. Great spa facilities.. Very talented staff.. Thank god for the fitness center & running track.. Everyone on this Ship were beyond Friendly, All in all the accommodations were the best.. Big rooms , sheets & comforter made for a cozy night’s sleep.. Everyone on the ship were so accomadating and we felt like celebrities.. I can’t say enough about this ship except how much i loved it.. My Name is Jillian D’Angelo I want them all to remember me as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and our previous experience on Oceania. However, our cruise on the Regatta left much to be desired. We found the service in the Main Dining Room to be extremely slow. The General Manager aboard ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and our previous experience on Oceania. However, our cruise on the Regatta left much to be desired. We found the service in the Main Dining Room to be extremely slow. The General Manager aboard indicated that their goal is 1-3/4 hours to 2 hours per table for dinner. We had 2 dinners where it took over 2-1/2 hours to finish. I attribute this to a lack of staff as while the dining room staff were enthusiastic and personable they were running around trying to service their tables. The staff in Polo also seemed to be under staffed and the servers were slow in responding and mixed the orders on more than one occasion. Overall, the quality of the food was very good, however, several times the meats were overcooked and dry. We had the unfortunate experience on an onboard medical emergency that required the ship to turn around and head back to the Hawaiian islands to rendezvous with a helicopter to medevac the patient. This caused the ship to lose about 25 hours and as a result Oceania decided to drop 2 ports of call: Cabo San Lucas and Guatemala. Interestingly enough the Oceania Marina had the same itinerary as the Regatta from San Diego through the Panama Canal, but they stopped at every port that we were scheduled to stop at and even had more port time than we were to have. Many passengers felt that Regatta could have made up the requisite time and only dropped one port, not two. The communications between the Captain and the passengers left much to be desired. It started when everyone came aboard and found that the ship was being sanitized from an apparent Noro Virus that developed on the previous segment. There was no official explanation of the problem and no continuing updates as to the progress in rectifying the problem. The shore excursions were, for the most part, only fair. In many ports they were shortened even though there was more time in port. It seemed that the ship wanted to leave port as soon as possible. In some ports the tours were not as described in the brochures. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Long Review We were apprehensive to try our first step up from mainstream cruising. Oceania came highly recommended by some friends of ours who share our taste in food, service and fellow travelers. Despite a rocky start, this was ... Read More
Long Review We were apprehensive to try our first step up from mainstream cruising. Oceania came highly recommended by some friends of ours who share our taste in food, service and fellow travelers. Despite a rocky start, this was the best cruise we have ever taken. Due to a norovirus outbreak on the previous segment we boarded a little late and spent several days under strict CDC sanitation guidelines (we have experienced this before). Also our itinerary was upset and we missed a few ports due to a need to turn the ship back to Hawaii in order to medivac a passenger who became ill. We lost about 26 hours, spending an extra sea day in the Pacific and we had to forego Cabo San Lucas and Guatemala from our itinerary. Honestly - we understood and while it’s disappointing and inconvenient - it did not impact our enjoyment of the trip at all. Embarkation: We were notified by email early that day of the delay in boarding and boarded late about 2:00 pm and had to wait to enter our cabin for a couple of hours. While waiting we met the first of many amazing staff, Todor from Bulgaria who was a bartender/barista. Our cabin 7099 was aft and starboard. The cabin was small but adequate. More of a matter of laughter than complaint .. I think the shower in our travel trailer is bigger. We had a *Concierge Level cabin. The bed is VERY COMFORTABLE. The ships is old but really elegant and homey. Built in 1998 but maintained pretty well considering its age. Holding only 680 passengers it’s quite a bit smaller than what we are used to. AND WE LOVED IT. Lots of dark wood and comfortable furniture all over the ship, reminiscent of a European parlour. There are so many things about Oceania that set them apart from the mainstream cruise lines. Here are some of the things we personally loved that they did NOT HAVE and some thoughts: 1) No photographers or photo galleries 2) No towel animals on the bed 3) No loud music or silly games at the pool 4) No dancing or singing waiters (except a very few Happy Birthdays) 5) No up charges for specialty dining, coffees or bottled water 6) No excessive announcements in cabin from the cruise director 7) No formal night and most everyone looked very sharp in “country club casual” 8) No kids (they are allowed but there are no amenities specifically for them) 9) No hard sell of tours, unwanted cocktails, merchandise (but all available) 10) No reservations needed for dinner in the main dining room Here’s the short list of all the things Oceania HAS that we really loved and some thoughts: 1) Every single crew member from a maintenance worker to maitre’d was cordial and friendly beyond belief. Many of whom know your name by day 2 and are always smiling. 2) Food quality was superb. Portions were perfect. Truly the best cuisine at sea we have ever experienced. One night we had calm seas and had room service dinner on our balcony ... the filet mignon was cooked to perfection.* *Concierge level cabins may order room service from the main dining room menu as well as the regular room service menu. 3) Specialty restaurants by reservation and after that you can make a last minute reservation if they have space. Both are adventures in slow eating ..... and I mean that in a good way. A really good meal should never be rushed. Most nights we went to Polo or Toscana we spent 2 hours over dinner with cocktails, 4 course meals and desserts. 4) Beverage package + $20 per day per person upgrade. Cocktails with top shelf brands and really wonderful wines by the glass making it unnecessary to buy wine by the bottle. We did pay corkage for an exquisite bottle we brought onboard for one evening ($25 corkage fee including decanting and a very slow pace of consumption ...the sommeliers did not rush our pours and helped us enjoy the bottle of wine our way. Our favorite bartender Anna from Ukraine can make you the best Singapore Sling. 5) Cabin stewards unlike any we have encountered. Friendly, non intrusive, happy to do anything for you. Our cabin was kept impeccable and they were always on top of any little maintenance issues we told them of. (Older ship.. some hinges were loose, a shower head needed replacing and the heat wasn’t working properly one day... all RESOLVED immediately by Desy and Nilesh. 6) Bridge lessons and duplicate bridge as well as rubber (party) bridge on every sea day .. even on the Panama Canal day (extra bonus) ... our bridge instructors Kay and Darwin Afdahl were so accommodating and such good instructors. We are beginners but they made us feel so welcome and we learned so much. I hope they continue to offer bridge on many more sailings. 7) Did I mention the FOOD? 8) The gym is excellent too. State of the art equipment - sufficient variety of machines and weights and floor space for the size of the ship. Morning stretch classes were frequented by many and the locker rooms and steam room is heaven. 9) Thassotherapy pool forward of the spa for *Concierge level and up was very relaxing yet NOT HOT ENOUGH 10) Two hot tubs (with no kids) were also very relaxing but NOT HOT ENOUGH .... that was our one complaint. We were told max was 104 but they were always around 85-90 degrees. We have a hot tub at home and need that daily soak for our aches and pains so this was a disappointment. We asked a maintenance worker twice but it was never adjusted. 11) Free internet. If even for just one account. This made the trip far more enjoyable for communicating with friends and family back home and although it’s was very slow, it was very much appreciated. Excursions) We did only book one excursion via the ship in Acapulco. I have to say we were disappointed in the tour. We generally find tours are a better value on our own. Fellow Passengers) The demographic of this cruise was definatly older than most cruises we have been on - so I think the entertainment is more geared toward that. We are 58 and 66 and enjoyed most of the on board entertainment, although I think there is room for improvement considering the tariff of an Oceania sailing. Personally I would like to see the show band hire a singer and provide more opportunity to dance to the American songbook type music. A few more comments: We really loved the ambience and we met far more fellow passengers than normal due to the size of the ship and small number of passengers. On disembarkation day we were all running around the ships trying to say goodbye to new friends. The lecturers on board were drawing big crowds every day and well appreciated and if you missed the talk you could get a re-run on the cabin tv. The library was extensive and beautiful. The chairs and loungers by the pool are WONDERFUL and relaxing and comfortable. The Internet cafe seemed mostly unused now that most people have laptops and iPads The smoking section was too close to the only pool bar and the door leading in/out of the gym... terrible placement. No escaping the whiff of second hand smoke. 24 nights flew by .... we booked another voyage before we left the ship and are looking forward to our 2nd Oceania cruise to South America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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