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21 Oceania Cuba Cruise Reviews

This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise and second with Oceania. We were on the Riviera last year and had a wonderful time. Much to our delight this cruise was even better than the previous one. For us, as good as the ship itself was and all it had to offer, the best part of the cruise was the people. We met so many amazing people on this cruise and had a delightful time with them from the minute we boarded to the moment we left. We’ve been on the big ships in the past, but we much prefer the size of the Riviera. We find it's a little more intimate, with a sense of community when the ship is not a floating mega-city! Also, and I don’t mean to sound like a stuffy snob, but the type of people that cruise with Oceania appeal much more to our age and tastes than some of the other cruise lines. As so many others have noted, the food is outstanding from the main dining room to the specialty restaurants to the Terrace Café buffet. The buffet selection was as good as any of the other restaurants. Beyond the buffet's amazing selection, what also appealed to us about the buffet was that we don’t touch the food – it is served to us and as a result it is so much healthier. Speaking of healthy, we loved the fact that every morning we could get fresh veggie juice just like we have at home. In all the restaurants there were all sorts of healthy eating alternatives. The room was cozy but large enough. The storage space was adequate. Of course, we loved the balcony where we spent a lot of time enjoying our books and having a drink and taking in the gorgeous views. Even the bathroom was great. It was roomy and we loved having a tub. As for the entertainment, we’re not big on the song and dance shows, but we do love comedy, and on this cruise standup comedian Tom Drake was featured. He did two hysterically funny shows as well as a workshop on comedy. We were very happy with the ports we went to this year. The ports were Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Barts. The stays in the ports for the most part were all day so we never felt rushed. Most of the excursions we chose were good – some better than others. St. Kitts was probably our favourite. We loved the beach and the drive there was breathtaking at times. Beach day at Aruba was great. We visited a lovely beach with lots of shade which we appreciated, and there was very good snorkelling there. We not impressed with the Spice Beach club excursion on Bonaire. It wasn’t much of a beach, but the snorkelling was good. There was only one port we didn’t visit, St. Barts, because we would have had to tender there. We don’t like the tenders that Oceania use. They use their lifeboats, and they are just too rocky. We had a bad experience on one last year and decided to avoid it this year. We found more than enough to do on board – trivia, miniature golf, shuffleboard, cooking lessons, (okay we’re 65, what do you expect!!) The staff was top notch. Everyone from our cabin attendants to the severs in the restaurants to everyone else on board were helpful, courteous and friendly. I should also point out that on this cruise we had the best cruise director ever. Her name was Dottie and she was by far the best Cruise Director we have come across in our ten cruises. She connected with the guests so perfectly. She was always bubbly, funny and just downright nice. Embarkation and debarkation was unbelievably smooth and quick. We hope to go on another Oceania cruise next year. We understand that the Riviera is going to be getting a little refurbishing. We did see some people complaining in previous reviews that the ship looked a little worn. We thought the ship was totally charming. We had no complaints about the appearance or performance of the ship. Hopefully we'll see what is new next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We just returned from circumnavigating Cuba, and the cruise was fantastic It was an older crowd, with no children on board. The ship was beautiful and the food was great, as were the entertainment and staff. We had superior educational ... Read More
We just returned from circumnavigating Cuba, and the cruise was fantastic It was an older crowd, with no children on board. The ship was beautiful and the food was great, as were the entertainment and staff. We had superior educational programs arranged by the faculty of the school we were traveling with. We don't tend to spend much time in our cabins other than to sleep, so the cabins were perfect for us. The shore excursions, especially in Cienfuegos and Trinidad, were a lot of fun. The Tropicana in Havana is not to be missed. The Cienfuegos and its nature excusion was a huge hit with everyone who went into the mountains to El Nicho. We had a terrible guide in Santiago de Cuba, and that really made the trip sour on our last day in Cuba. She was constantly rushing us, oppressively so. We had no opportunity to shop, other than at the trinket stalls by the port. No opportunity to eat. My wife wanted to buy a few gifts for our adult daughters back home, and if we had known the Santiago day would go the way it did, we would have done our shopping earlier in the trip. No such issues in Havana, Cienfuegos, or Trinidad. This was not the cruise lines fault, but I do hope they make passenger concerns known to the excursion operators. Also, customs is a bit of hit or a miss. One traveler bought art and tried to bring it on the ship after exchanging all his Cuban money into US dollars. It was his last chance to do so. The Cuban customs officer demanded payment in CUC's, and the passenger had to borrow some from a stranger. Again, not the cruise lines fault and no such issues in other ports, probably because all the Cuban money had not been converted back yet. Cuba is beautiful and the people are great. It is a unique experience. Pack some patience and understanding, and you will be enthralled. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
There were several things that made this an attractive cruise: circumnavigating Cuba, sailing over New Years Eve, but being home for Christmas, and a 7 day cruise. We have sailed with Oceania a number of times, and all of their ships are ... Read More
There were several things that made this an attractive cruise: circumnavigating Cuba, sailing over New Years Eve, but being home for Christmas, and a 7 day cruise. We have sailed with Oceania a number of times, and all of their ships are excellent. They are spotlessly clean, the staff is pleasant and welcoming, and the food is excellent. This cruise was no different. We ate in all the venues, from the casual Waves, to the specialty restaurants Tuscan Grill, and Red Ginger. Each had good choices and we enjoyed them immensely. We treated ourselves to a penthouse suite, which was not extensively large, but very comfortable with good storage space, a very nice shower, and a roomy sitting area. Housekeeping and butler service were excellent. We are quite independent so did not use the butler service that much, but when we needed something, it was immediately looked after. Cuba is fascinating. There was an overnight in Havana, and we also docked in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We definitely felt we had stepped back in time. While there were some crumbling buildings, others had been restored or maintained. Hopefully with an increase in tourism, there will be more funds to look after the beautiful architecture. We saw Spanish Colonial, Art Deco, and of course Soviet style buildings. The old American cars were wonderful to see around every corner in Havana. There was a very comprehensive choice of excursions. Ours included a walking tour of old Havana, a ride in a beautifully maintained 1950 turquoise Chevy, a cabaret at the Tropicana (not to be missed!), a tour of colonial Trinidad which left from Cienfuegos, and a tour of sites in Santiago de Cuba, related to the revolution. Each was interesting and enjoyable in its own way. The tour guides were intelligent, spoke English well, and gave excellent information. We did have some difficulty hearing our guide in Cienfuegos. On board, there were informative and entertaining lectures given by Sandy Cares which, combined with the information on the tours, provided an insightful overview of the country. Local residents were all friendly, and many spoke some English. Entertainment was not our main focus but we enjoyed a hilarious comedian, and a talented string quartet. We did find some of the other clientele a bit rude and entitled, but we are able to hold our own. It may have been a function of the cruise being over New Years, and should not stop anyone from either sailing with Oceania or seeing Cuba. It is not typical of Oceania. Our only suggestions are that there should have been more done for New Years Eve, as this was a very expensive sailing, and more time and guidance could be given for shopping. Overall, an excellent cruise with a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian bacon with freshly poached egg and topped with outstanding Hollandaise sauce. Yum! In fact all the selections in the Terrace Cafe were excellent --- spoiled by all the servers who were there to please. My husband fell in love with the extra thick chocolate shake in Waves. Grand Dining room had excellent food and service, but at times could be slow and a bit frustrating. If you needed something "out of the ordinary" it was hard to get the item. Polo and Toscano Specialty restaurants were both excellent! Entertainment was varied and good. The singers were extremely talented and the Frank Sinatra impersonator was outstanding! The Martini Bar piano player and entertainer at one of the big shows was excellent. Martinis were outstanding! The enrichment lectures could have been better --- we expected to hear more about Cuba's history and politics. The presentations were limited and bland -- that was disappointing. Excursions on Cienfuegos were the best; though the one going to Colonial Trinidad in Santiago was very interesting and good. The buffet lunch in one of the local restaurants was delicious. Time was limited in Havana ... would have been good if we'd been able to see a Tropicana Show there and had more shopping time to get cigars & local crafts.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very ... Read More
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very friendly staff but not pushy. All non-alcoholic beverages are included. Food quality was great - lobster in the dining room, specialty restaurants and even a lobster sandwich by the pool grill. Small ship had a much more intimate vibe to it and nothing was crowded - no lines anywhere. There were lectures on the ports and history of Cuba every day. The lecturer was excellent. It is quite a lot more expensive than Royal or Carnival. Also, if you want glitzy shows and entertainment then it is not for you. It is laid-back and classy. Cuban people are so friendly! Recommend doing something local like the Buena Vista social club in Havana. Our private guide in Cienfuegos took us to a very good private restaurant where we had small shrimps, rice and beans and plantains. Guide (tonycubavacations@gmail.com) was very knowledgable and spoke perfect English. The cost of the all day tour was reasonable compared to the ship tours. All in all it was an excellent trip for someone who likes to explore and relax. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi ... Read More
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi Fi access is free one device per cabin. The speed was very slow at times and some websites would time out before I could login. The cabin size was okay with a veranda. There was limited desk space. There were cabinets and shelves all around to store clothes and personal items. The bathroom was small with a shower and limited shelves. The lightning in the cabin was very good. There were USB ports on both sides of the bed and on the desk. There was one 220 V and 110 V outlet on the desk. There are two banks of elevators on the ship one aft and one forward. The ship was was recently remodeled. The entertainment was very good one show per night. There were activities every day, There is a full casino and bars on different decks on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ... Read More
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ashore than would have been possible with other lines that only spend a few hours in the port. Then, getting to experience two cities on the south side of the island provided a unique contrast. While the onboard crowd was a tad bit 'older' than we prefer, the ship's activities fit the bill. And the entertainment was the BEST we've ever experienced on a ship!! The cast worked so well together, have fantastic vocal harmony, and made excellent choices when it came to musical numbers. The couple that provided dance numbers were also soooo good. Then we had sessions where that couple taught us several ballroom dances (now I just need to practice!). Oceania also provided excellent Enrichment talks about Cuba and the history of the area! We highly recommend not only this cruise line, but this itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, ... Read More
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, and for the most part I would say that they delivered. The dinners that we had in specialty restaurants Red Ginger, and Tuscan Steak were outstanding (5 star). The Grand dining room was excellent too, but just not quite on the same level as the specialty rooms. The only complaint my wife had was about the "lobster bisque" which she ordered both in the Tuscan Steak, and in the main dining room. She said it tasted like fish soup, not lobster bisque. Now I know I'm being a bit picky here, and if this was our only complaint, well then things weren't so bad. The stateroom was adequate, with the bathroom being very small. I was prepared for this though, as I had previously read comments online regarding this. Decor on the ship itself was very elegant, but unfortunately Oceania is intent on mucking this up next year by refurbishing their ships using some sort of boring, modern, monochromatic gray color scheme that came from a Marriott hotel somewhere in Newark, NJ. Too bad that they are going to do away with the elegance of this ship. But for me the best part of the cruise was the 4 o'clock High Tea in Horizons. Just a surreal experience looking out at the ocean while the string quartet was playing, eating finger sandwiches and miniature tarts. Just grand. Would I cruise on Oceania again? You bet I would, but this time probably with a European, or Asian itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a couple in our mid-50s. The demographics on this cruise, and likely most Oceania cruises, are a small number in their 50s or younger, with the majority who are retirees in their 60s and 70s, and likely a few in their 80s or older. ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid-50s. The demographics on this cruise, and likely most Oceania cruises, are a small number in their 50s or younger, with the majority who are retirees in their 60s and 70s, and likely a few in their 80s or older. We saw a lot of walking canes, one oxygen cart, handful of wheelchairs, and that's OK - live life to the fullest and don't let anything hold you back. We like Holland America and have cruised a number of times as a couple with them but also with our children when they were young and then as teenagers. The comedian made a joke about the geriatric crowd on Holland America but seriously, the demographics on this were not much different. To put our comments into perspective, we are experienced cruises on our 43rd cruise, having sailed previously with Cunard (Platinum), Princess (Platinum), Holland America (3-star Mariner), Disney (Gold Castaway) and 4 cruises with Celebrity (Classic level, I think), two with Royal Caribbean and a river cruise with Vantage. We have some older neighbours (in their early 70s) who have been regulars with Oceania and were disappointed at how the standards have gone down over the years and have now moved on to Crystal. We therefore went into this with low expectations but we must say that this cruise greatly exceeded our expectations and we had a wonderful time. We know that there are many who are loyal to Oceania and for them, there is just no other line to travel with. Our experiences with a vast variety of cruise lines have allowed us to see that each has its strength and weaknesses, and that remains the case here with Oceania. First, the strengths. The slogan “Finest Cuisine at Sea” was accurate as far as our experiences were concerned. Of the 6 lines we have cruised with, we would definitely rate this #1 for cuisine. Celebrity (Solstice class) and Disney come next, followed by Princess, HAL and Cunard in the third tier and Royal Caribbean at the bottom. The Main Dining Room with unique such as Jacques Bistro and the Taste of the World sampler plate at lunch, with unique offerings from dinner, including items from Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger was thoroughly enjoyable. We also enjoyed the few times we ate at the buffet at dinner time to take advantage of the cooked-to-order fish, steak, lamb chops and lobster tails. The library, the unlimited sodas, smoothies, specialty coffees was especially nice treat. We dined once at Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger. Both are great atmospheres although the ribeye was tougher than I expected. The weaknesses are not a big issue. We really like the entertainment on large ships with huge productions but the one show each night at 9:30 pm is good for the size of ship. Great vocals overall, one dancing couple, great music from the ship`s 5 piece band, supplemented with the string quartet at times. We were in a C2 category Deluxe Oceanview in stateroom 4000. While the rooms are on the small size at about 165 sq ft., these bathrooms are the smallest we have ever experienced, not just the shower but the entire layout was very unfriendly. We went to Great Stirrup Cay, nice and compares ok with other ship private islands but nothing close to meeting the standard at Disney's Castaway Cay. Cuba was interesting. The $479 (for two) cost of the "Modern Havana in an American Classic" which included a 90 minute classic car ride as part of a 3.5 hour tour was outrageously costly. Depends on how important it was to do this excursion. Overall, a very nice cruise and a pleasant way to see Cuba. 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 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
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
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
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
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + ... Read More
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + other cruises was the ship. It was small but never boring and the cruise director, Dottie, was a pro. Because of the smaller amount of passangers,600, you never wait anywhere, there is always room by the pool, at the show , at the dining room. No crowds ever which is a nice change. However the shows are not as spectacular and the pool is very small. The grand dining room is outstanding, the food and the service were unbelievable, the specialty restaurant Red Ginger is outstanding and full of nice surprises, however the other one, Tuscan Steak fails miserably both with food and service.... The free shuttle to town could improve as well, not enough and does not always go to the right area, I guess they want to push their expensive excursions. The décor is a bit old fashioned but very tasteful, brings us back to an era that promoted elegance. We also appreciated the inclusion of soft drinks, specialty coffees and specialty restaurants, all things taken into account it was not much more expensive than the big ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ... Read More
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ship was well maintained and all the venues were perfect. Ships staff was friendly and helpful. The MDR. specialty restaurants and lounges were wonderful We ate at Toscana and Polo 4 out of 6 nights. The Terrace Grill was too busy for us and so we elected to eat at the MDR when it was open. The Terrace Grill food was fine but we don;t like the hub bub atmosphere. Havana was a great experience. We elected to use the ships' excursion and book the 3 hr classic car tour . Once we debarked at Havana, we were bused to the National Hotel where 15 pristine classic cars were parked . We had the choice of any of the cars and my wife snagged at red and white 55 Chevy Bel Air with a/c. The tour was a caravan, but since it was Sunday, we moved briskly through the city and saw all of the important sites. We ended back at the National Hotel and had the opportunity to tour the hotel. Since we live in Orlando, we plan to go back to Havana by air and do a more in depth visit. Cuban immigration was a breeze as was the money exchange. We have been to Cozumel many times and had nothing to do, so we went to the Chocolate Factory. Warning this is a TOURIST TRAP. but, as part of the visit. we were bused to the east side of the island and found the tour at least scenic. We found some great Xmas gifts at the huts on the east side beach. We did not have high expectations for Great Stirrup Key our expectations were met. We took the tender onshore and promptly returned on the next tender back. The ship was nearly empty and we had a delightful time. Having a upper level suite, embarkation and debarkation were non events. The new customs procedure with no forms to fill out were very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed one night at the Hilton Marina hotel - very nice; best to get a room in the tower. Had a closeup view of Port Everglades. Breakfast buffet was WAY overpriced but there is a Starbucks in the lobby. ... Read More
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed one night at the Hilton Marina hotel - very nice; best to get a room in the tower. Had a closeup view of Port Everglades. Breakfast buffet was WAY overpriced but there is a Starbucks in the lobby. My favorite FLL hotel is the Lago Mar, but for just an overnight the Hilton was half the price. Took a shuttle to Miami. Embarkation line was quite long and slow, but we realized why when we got up to the desk - even though we signed and faxed the affidavit to Oceania ahead of time, they made everyone fill out another one. Then the clerk had to go file it and find our cruise card. Once on the ship we went to the Terrace Cafe (buffet) for lunch; couldn't get into our cabin until 2pm. I really prefer how Princess does it - no one gets to board until all the rooms are ready but then everyone can go there immediately. Muster drill was a surprise....not only did everyone have to drag their life jacket with them to the meeting place and put it on, but we all had to file outside and stand underneath our lifeboat! We stood there (with no announcements from overhead or the crew) for 15 minutes in the 80+ heat! Cabin - had a B1 verandah. Was much smaller than we're used to; was OK for a 7 day cruise, but we would feel too cramped on a longer cruise. Beds are fantastically comfortable! Air conditioning worked great. Loved having our favorite non-alcoholic beverages in fridge and replenished daily. The loveseat was very comfortable. TV was too small and in an bad position to see well on the loveseat. The bathroom was our major dislike - very, very small with a shower that was only 2'x3'! Had to sit sideways on the toilet or knee would be shoved into the door jam. We mostly took showers in the spa (which has 2 large, nice showers with gel, shampoo and conditioner). Room had little storage space; again, sort of doable for a 7 day cruise, but not for a long cruise. Ship decor - gorgeous in public areas! Very classic and elegant. Very small elevators (4-6 people) was a surprise. Nice to be able to walk anywhere on the ship in a very short time! Never had lines at Guest Services or Shore Excursion desks. Spa - changing room (one for men; one for women) was beautiful and had a large steam room, 2 showers, lockers, and a fridge with free Gatorade and water. Spa terrace "hot tub" was always lukewarm, though, and the bubblers were broken. Food - mostly very good. Had a well done steak (ordered medium) in Polo. Toscana was OK but not fantastic. MDR food was very good (especially breakfast) but servers seemed very stressed and overworked at dinner. We preferred eating in the buffet - same food as MDR but didn't take 2 hrs and could dress much more casually. We thought the MDR food was excellent for all meals. I know they serve the food onto your plate to avoid spreading illness, but at busy mealtimes it took SO much longer since many people were waiting to be served. No staff took my plate to the table (I had read that), but that was fine with me. Lobster tail & filet sandwich at Waves was fantastic! Breads and pastries were excellent, as were the lattes. Afternoon tea was good (no better than other ships, though), but there were not enough seats on sea days and I'm not going to show up early to stand in a line for tea. Lectures/entertainment - the Cuban lecturer (Sandy Cares, I think) was fantastic, but the venue was so crowded and we short people couldn't see well. I ended up just watching the video of her talk on our cabin tv. I don't really like evening shows, but these were really late (9:30pm). By then, I'm tired and want to just relax. Service/staff - very good service and friendly staff, but honestly they weren't better than on other ships I've been on. Cuba was AMAZING and wasn't anything like I pictured a communist country. We were able to wander around as we pleased, the people were very happy and friendly, and we went to many local places where no other tourists were. Lots of locals speak English and would approach us when they heard us speaking English. They just wanted to chat and meet an American. They all said they were happy with their way of life, but wish they could leave their country to travel. That made me sad. In Havana, we only took one ship excursion - to the Melia Cohiba hotel for the Buena Vista Social Club show....was fantastic!! The rest of the time, we wandered around on our own (went to church, a pharmacy museum, shops in homes, cafes), then took a classic car tour for an hour - he stopped at many places for us to get out and take pictures, then took us back to the ship at the end. In Cienfuegos, we hired a private classic car/driver and guide for the day. Wow....how fun! We walked around a nice neighborhood and saw the palace, visited a beautiful hotel where we had a Cuban coffee on the rooftop terrace, had our hair trimmed at a local beauty salon, ate lunch at a paladar, bought cigars/rum, and visited a park and church. Best day in Cuba!! In Santiago de Cuba, we took a private tour in a classic car. Went to a fortress, San Juan Hill, Revolution Square and Fidel Castro's grave. It was a nice tour, but took too long as many cars were traveling as a caravan. Disembarkation was a breeze. Can't wait to visit Cuba again!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We specifically chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Cuba. We booked the first day it was opened for booking. We had a concierge veranda room midship. We had an odd number room. Suggest you get an even number for this ... Read More
We specifically chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Cuba. We booked the first day it was opened for booking. We had a concierge veranda room midship. We had an odd number room. Suggest you get an even number for this cruise as you get a beautiful view of the mountains and coastline of Cuba much of the trip. The lectures by Sandy were awesome. And we had two special talks about Cuban film by a William & Mary professor that was very interesting. The first two nights we had a Cuban menu in the Terrace Cafe so make sure that you don't book the specialty restaurants for one of those nights so you can enjoy the chef's rendition of classic Cuban food. The cooking demonstration was fun. Toscana was simply over the top! Polo Grill was great as well. NOTE: if you are looking for Cuban cigars, realize cigar stores are closed on Sunday so if you get into Havana on Saturday, that is when you need to get them. It seems that all the tours in Havana end at the Arts and Crafts market. Not worth the time. Do book the Tropicana. It is a great show but realize you will get back to the ship after midnight so DON'T book a Sunday excursion that leaves at 7:30am!! You will also get a cigar (men), a quart of fine Cuban rum (for 4 people) and a glass of champagne and a Cuban coke. Take the rum back to the ship and save it for home. The ship didn't seem to care that we did that. MONEY: Wait until the tour groups have left before heading to the money changer. We did that and only had 2 people in line ahead of us instead of 200 in Havana. Most places seem to be ok with US dollars but no guarentees that all will. TIPS: We generally tipped the guides $3-5 CUCs or USD if we were out of CUCs. All the guides we had were very good. PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE: On many of the tours we were provided entertainment by local artists. We had a delightful flute concert in Cienfuegos after the botanical garden tour. And at Santiago de Cuba we had a Cutumba group dancing Cuban-African music with a little Santeria mixed in. These were wonderful cultural events and memorable making our trip to Cuba even more special as we experienced the rich and varied flavor of Cuban music. If there is an opportunity tip them a few CUCs or buy their CD (10 CUC or 10 USD). Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Very organized, no waiting, cabin was ready (Penthouse 2) 11072 Arun, our butler was THE best. Met wonderful cruise passengers. Quiet, no kids running around. Cuba was amazing. Loved every minute of it.......... ... Read More
Very organized, no waiting, cabin was ready (Penthouse 2) 11072 Arun, our butler was THE best. Met wonderful cruise passengers. Quiet, no kids running around. Cuba was amazing. Loved every minute of it.......... Complaint My husband fell off a defective chair in our stateroom; the leg came out of the underside of the chair and sent him flying. He sprained his arm/hand according to the ships doctor. The nurse told us we had to pay. We said this was not our issue, but theirs, they finally agreed. The staff was more concerned about the chair. He was made to take a breathalyzer test, which was announced to the waiting room in the medical center (HIPAA??). Detectives came and then went into our stateroom, without us to photograph the "scene". We were told there would be follow-up and we have never heard a thing from anyone at Oceania. That we find is poor customer service. We have booked our next cruise already, but if we do not hear back, we may change our minds. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
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