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21 Oceania Cuba Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise as it included four countries we previously hadn't visited: Cuba, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. The timing worked well to have some family join us on this 7-night cruise. I would note that we are Oceania ... Read More
We booked this cruise as it included four countries we previously hadn't visited: Cuba, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. The timing worked well to have some family join us on this 7-night cruise. I would note that we are Oceania loyalists based on the cuisine, quality of the ships and their excellent crews, as well as the vast assortment of 7-12 day cruises on offer work for our busy lifestyle (in our early 40s and both working full-time). We're always being asked about being the youngest passengers on the ship (we are both fit and look like we're in our 30s), and our response is always "what's not to like, great vacations with interesting fellow passengers". One more disclosure - I'm Gluten Free (GF) and LOVE the way that Oceania tends to my dietary restrictions. Taking the stress out of eating all over the world is a game changer for me knowing that I can always have a safe breakfast and dinner in every port. This was our second time on Riviera and we really love this ship. The size works for us with the additional restaurants, cooking school, larger Baristas with great views, and larger cabins across all categories. We've previously sailed on Insignia and enjoyed the intimacy of the smaller ship but the PH cabins on these R-class ships are the size of standard veranda cabins on Riviera/Marina. The PH cabins on Riviera are as nice as our PH on a previous Regent SS Voyager cruise. On this cruise we took a cooking class "If it Swims" and really loved the class and the instructor - Stephanie Hersh. Stephanie was the long-time assistant of Julia Child and had great stories and a depth of knowledge that was greatly appreciated by everyone on the ship who interacted with her. We enjoyed the "La Cuisine Bourgeois" in La Reserve with wine pairings. We love the La Reserve team and the effort they put into these dinners. We also stopped in for a wine flight and they had excellent nibbles to go with that made it worth the supplement. The one thing we would do differently on the next Riviera/Marina cruise would be to go back to a PH on Deck 11. Being one of only 4 PHs on Deck 7 (all aft with huge balconies which is why we chose our cabin for this warm weather cruise) we felt a bit neglected as we rarely saw our butler. We also note that while it's not a written policy, passengers in suites tend to be seated at better tables in the restaurants. We noticed that unlike our previous cruises we found ourselves with less prime tables when giving a cabin number starting with '7' than '11' at the host stands. When I read Oceania reviews it seems like a lot of folks complain about NCL's ownership economizing on-board. I would note that it does seem like there's a bit less staffing in the MDR and around the pool, but we haven't noticed any other negative changes. We haven't noticed any cost-cutting in the food or prices for the wines by the bottle which are the key for us. I do wonder if Oceania will feel the need to match the included beer/wine with meals offered by Azamara and Viking as these main competitors have Oceania beat in this category. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Caribbean snorkeling cruise. Great space in the penthouse suite. Chose for the itinerary but wish they stayed longer in Bonaire. Did not like that we had to wear a life preserver is when taking the cruises excursion to snorkel. Food was ... Read More
Caribbean snorkeling cruise. Great space in the penthouse suite. Chose for the itinerary but wish they stayed longer in Bonaire. Did not like that we had to wear a life preserver is when taking the cruises excursion to snorkel. Food was quite good but wish there was more variety as 12 days I would’ve liked to seen different choices. Overall Oceania did a great job with organization embarkation disembarkation and meeting my requests. Pre-ordered particular juices ahead of time and we did indeed get them. Privee was very good. It was our third time booking Privee and it’s a fun evening. Jaques is way too creamy and rich. How could somebody possibly ruin escargot? By smothering cheese all over it. The easiest muster we ever did...thanks for that, luggage arrived by the time we entered suite... Crew friendly and helpful. Bingo run well until too many people ....had to stand in line for 30 min to purchase cards...unacceptable...Should have had several stations or areas to purchase cards to avoid long lines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this one over one that we had booked on the MSC Seaside because it included a stop in Cuba and one other country that we had not been to before in the Western Caribbean. We (my wife and I) also had her two brothers along for a ... Read More
We chose this one over one that we had booked on the MSC Seaside because it included a stop in Cuba and one other country that we had not been to before in the Western Caribbean. We (my wife and I) also had her two brothers along for a much needed vacation and we had wanted to see if Oceania cruises would live up to all the hype especially their cuisine. The food was very good, among the best we have had on cruises. Even though the choices on the buffet were limited what they had tasted very good and the sushi for dinner was the best that I had on any cruise. For breakfast I had to see how their lox (smoked salmon) stacked up against the best that I had on a cruise (Royal Caribbean 2006) and they came in a credible second to that one. Specialty restaurants didn't disappoint although they weren't the best we have eaten at they were good. At least the lobster I had on Oceania was better than that on board a recent Regent cruise. Our excursions were all enjoyable and nicely different from the typical cruise line fare. There were a couple of ports that Oceania didn't offer much if any that were exciting or even remotely interesting so we opted to get others from outside companies. The one we got for Cozumel, the Mayan Kun Che Park, was awesome and one that I would recommend to anyone who wasn't interested in visiting the ruins. This was the first time in several cruises that we didn't get a suite and I felt the squeeze in all aspects. We had a veranda room w/concierge and walk around room was minimal - the two of us couldn't go past the bed at the same time. Speaking of the bed, it was a queen bed, had no space under it to store our large suitcases. It has been decades since we shared one that small. The bathroom was large though and that could have had the bathtub taken out to add another 30 sq.feet to the room itself. As it was the only use the tub got was as storage for our suitcases. The staff was uniformly friendly, courteous and bent over backwards to accommodate our every need except for one exception - our concierge. First of all he never bothered to introduce himself when we arrived and a day or two into our cruise I noticed that one of our excursions was different than what we had wanted so I gave him a call and asked him if he would try to get it changed - a normal enough task for a concierge. His response: "You will have to go to Destination Services and ask them yourself." We went on a NCL cruise and had a concierge then who was outstanding. If I had asked him the same thing he would have wanted to know the numbers of both excursions and then would have gotten back to me within two hours with an answer. We never bothered this so called concierge again since it was obvious to us that he didn't want to do his job. I have to say this was the easiest disembarkation that we ever had. Even though we were given a time to get off the ship once we got down to the gangway level we were told that we could just leave - no muss, no fuss, no waiting for our tag color and number to be called. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. All in all, we enjoyed the cruise and if Oceania has another itinerary that we like will consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Nice ship. Love the size. Nothing to do during the day. The food was very good. Limited selection for breakfast and lunch, but what there was - was very tasty. Balcony room is very small...Bathroom is terrible, but will be redone in ... Read More
Nice ship. Love the size. Nothing to do during the day. The food was very good. Limited selection for breakfast and lunch, but what there was - was very tasty. Balcony room is very small...Bathroom is terrible, but will be redone in the near future. TV was the size of my computer screen, but also will be replaced in dry dock. Asked to be seated at a shared table and twice was sent to a table for four, and did not share. Enjoyed meeting people; do not like getting our request for a table for four or six not honored in the main dinning room. Red Ginger was okay. Cuba was interesting, but not yet ready for Americans. They even state this in their literature. The pool is very small. Four or five people and it is crowded. A bit hard to get into and especially out of the pool. No easy steps to get out... Very few shops. They need to offer more drug store style items. Almost no way to spend our money on this ship. The drinks were very expensive ($13.00 per glass+ tip). Embarkation and disembarkation was very easy. Delayed about 30 minutes because of a rainstorm, but then went very fast. We were lucky in that the weather was wonderful the entire week. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I’m an avid cruise enthusiast and a longtime reader of Cruise Travel Magazine. In planning our travels, I do a considerable amount of online research. This was our first trip with Oceania. Our cruise on the Sirena from Miami to Cuba, ... Read More
I’m an avid cruise enthusiast and a longtime reader of Cruise Travel Magazine. In planning our travels, I do a considerable amount of online research. This was our first trip with Oceania. Our cruise on the Sirena from Miami to Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Nassau was truly one of our better cruise experiences. Oceania’s four small sister ships, originally built for defunct Renaissance Cruises, do not earn high marks for their tiny bathrooms, so-so entertainment, and a very limited variety of shipboard activities while at sea. But as described in the company’s colorful and prolific advertising, these ships are intimate and luxurious. Their guests (us included) are typically seasoned travelers enjoying their Golden Years. Anyone seeking budget prices, a party atmosphere, Las Vegas-style entertainment, and/or children and teen activities will surely be happier on a different cruise line. For the Missus and me, the promise of an immersive itinerary and a high standard of service are what brought us to Oceania. Our itinerary featured FOUR days including one overnight in Cuba. At-sea days were nicely interspersed with port days; the former were a welcome opportunity to relax and savor onboard life. Not a fan of shuffleboard, Mahjong, etc., between ports I was content to sit on deck, keep up-to-date with email, and eat myself silly. Oceania touts the “Finest Cuisine at Sea” and theirs ranks among the more extravagant chow we’ve experienced on a cruise. The food in the Terrace Café, Waves Grill, and Grand Dining Room was generally very good and of high quality. We encountered a couple subpar dishes (watery pasta and tough steak) which our servers cheerfully replaced. Bear in mind that food onboard is typically prepared in “banquet” quantities. The exception is the food in the specialty restaurants—Tuscan Steak House and Red Ginger—which, along with the service, was absolutely outstanding. All of Sirena’s staterooms and public areas were scheduled to undergo a “sweeping array of dramatic enhancements” (in one word, refurbishing) during Spring of 2019. We don’t understand why this was necessary because the Sirena underwent a major revitalization in 2016 that gave it a fresh and elegant look. Oh, alright, the Grand Staircase with its faux skylight did look a bit cheesy. We had a few other nits to pick. The Cruise Director seemed aloof and seldom mingled with guests. The ship’s two boutiques, featuring high-end jewelry and fashion, offered relatively few moderately-priced-to-inexpensive items. We disputed two bar charges to our shipboard account. One was for “half-price sail-away mojitos” that were billed at full price; ditto “2-for-1 Happy Hour” drinks. Due to protocols, it took a while for our account to be adjusted. Apart from booze plus fees for some optional activities (e.g. Bingo) and services (e.g. Canyon Ranch Spa), Oceania is a welcome respite from companies that nickel-and-dime for every little extra. There are ZERO surcharges for alternate dining, steamed lobster, cappuccino, soda pop, ice cream treats, and room service. Internet (speed improved) is free and unlimited, a vital perk that other cruise lines have been slow to offer. Oceania’s OLife option includes roundrip airfare plus a choice of free shore excursions, free beverage package, or shipboard credit. My advice? Compare airfares first. Then, if you go for the option, request the shipboard credit (you can apply this towards gratuities) and make your own port arrangements for considerably less than the cost of Oceania’s overpriced and underwhelming shore excursions and transfers. In Cuba and elsewhere, visitors are under no obligation whatsoever to purchase the cruise line’s shore excursions. I seldom use the word “fantastic,” but this adjective perfectly describes the caliber of service we received from both our stateroom attendant and the servers in the various dining venues, all of whom were extraordinarily friendly and considerate. We celebrated a birthday onboard and the staff went far beyond the call of duty to make our occasion memorable. We’re looking forward to future cruises with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
As this was our first visit to Cuba (but by far not our first cruise), we were a bit nervous about visas, licenses, etc. for US citizens. Oceania arranged for our Cuban visa, and we checked “Support for the Cuban People” on our license ... Read More
As this was our first visit to Cuba (but by far not our first cruise), we were a bit nervous about visas, licenses, etc. for US citizens. Oceania arranged for our Cuban visa, and we checked “Support for the Cuban People” on our license application. We had no trouble exiting the ship and finding our independently-arranged excursion guides. (We booked all of our tours ahead of time. Be sure to choose OFAC-compliant tours if you are a US citizen booking tours on your own rather than through the cruise line.) We were also a bit nervous about the condition of the ship, given some negative comments we’d read. We booked a concierge level veranda suite about 18 months prior to our sail date. The bathroom was remarkably small and not at all luxurious. The sleeping area is also very small, but of course, the Sirena is a relatively small ship with fewer than 700 guests. The bedding was very comfortable, especially after we requested a regular blanket. The down comforters are quite warm! Public rooms were in good condition, but we heard some complaints about missing tiles in the pool area. Don’t look for the bells and whistles of other lines. There are no photographers on board, the cabin attendants don’t create those clever towel animals, and from our perspective the activity schedule was very light. The lecturer, Sandy Cares, was phenomenal. We really appreciated that her lectures were recorded and available through the TV in the cabin. Food was a disappointment. We had high expectations, given how extensively Oceania promotes its culinary offerings. Presentation was careless, many dishes were bland, and several dishes either had extra ingredients or were missing ingredients. It was troubling to discover plates and utensils were dirty. On a luxury cruise line (on ANY cruise line, really) one shouldn’t have to send dishes back because they’re not as described or the serving ware is dirty. We’ve sailed on Regent and Silversea, and prefer their quality over Oceania. We absolutely appreciated the opportunity to visit Cuba, and the itinerary was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Three couples from their 60-80s wanted to see Cuba in luxury . This cruise overnights in Havana ( could have used another day) and had two more interesting ports. We had been on the Sirena when it was owned by Princess. We took the same ... Read More
Three couples from their 60-80s wanted to see Cuba in luxury . This cruise overnights in Havana ( could have used another day) and had two more interesting ports. We had been on the Sirena when it was owned by Princess. We took the same cabin ( now called penthouse suite) on Princess in Tahiti it was called a mini suite. It is a large lovely room with a renovated bathroom. The other two couples took A1 thinking their cabins would be like the new Marina. They spent the whole cruise complaining about the tiny shower with a flapping curtain. My cabin had a terrific walk in glass enclosed shower with great storage and wonderful bed and bedding. Towels are fluffy. Bring an electric surge protector as there are limited outlets. Balcony is skinny and the two wicker chairs have no footrests . I stuck my feet thru the railings. The food is very good, especially the two specialty restaurants Tuscan Grill and Red Ginger. The miso sea bass melts in your mouth. The main dinning room has service shortages. They are running around like chickens without heads. The buffet is ok and Waves makes a great burger at lunch. Ice cream is everywhere. Entertainment is poor. The Sinatra show the best. The young singers try hard but except for a funny ventriloquist it is pretty bad. The cruise director runs a great cut throat trivia that we found fun. The real problem are the excursions. Oceania messes up royally. We spent hours picking our tours and booked the passport collection. Very pricey as you cannot legally go off on your own. The ship gets the $75 visa for you. There are two US government officials on board watching. Some people did it anyway and took their chances. Tours were canceled the day before. Some were flipped from morning to afternoon then the morning tour came back late and you couldn’t go. No time to take a ride in the cars unless you book it as a $450 excursion. No reimbursement or apology. Told it was Cuba’s fault but I paid my money to Oceania! The best was the Tropicana nightclub . And you can take phone photos no charge. Spectacular!! The young tour guides spoke English well and just want the Embargo over. The country is very poor. Beautiful colonial buildings so shabby . The classic cars fabulous to see. A very interesting trip. Great hot room service breakfasts on port days. I would definitely go back. And a cruise makes it a comfortable way to see it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I were on Oceania Marina for the Baltic cruise a few years ago, so we expected similar experience this time even though it's a different ship. Somehow Sirena did not turn out as good as Marina. Even though Sirena was ... Read More
My husband and I were on Oceania Marina for the Baltic cruise a few years ago, so we expected similar experience this time even though it's a different ship. Somehow Sirena did not turn out as good as Marina. Even though Sirena was refurbished two years, it still shows some wear and tear. The bathroom is a bit small. But the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Food in the Grand Dining Room is not as good as Marina, so are the Specialty Restaurants. Red Ginger is a disappointment as the food is too salty. Service-wise, the crew and room attendants are very friendly but not as personable. I do not know whether it is due to a shorter cruise this time. We only joined one ship excursion in Santiago de Cuba. It is very disappointing as the guide brought us to watch a traditional Cuban performance which was not listed on the description. The time would have been better spent in the historical city center. Besides, when we were at the Morro Castle, the guide just dropped us off to wander around, without giving any information about the different areas of the castle. We chose Oceania mainly because of itinerary and the anticipated good food served on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I love the small ships and have sailed on the old Rennaisance line ships under Princess and Azamara as well as Oceania. The Regatta is scheduled for renovation, and it is sorely needed. They HAVE to do something with the ... Read More
My husband and I love the small ships and have sailed on the old Rennaisance line ships under Princess and Azamara as well as Oceania. The Regatta is scheduled for renovation, and it is sorely needed. They HAVE to do something with the main showroom but it will be a challenge. This cruise was very relaxing, from Miami through the Panama Canal to LA. And we live close to LA so disembarking in Los Angeles is one of the wonderful features of this cruise. Both the service on the ship and the food were terrific. The Entertainment staff was extremely talented and did a great job. If I had a complaint it might have been that both the speakers were covering mainly the same topic, and since there were seven sea days, a little variety would have been appreciated. Also, the ship's choice of movies was dismal, and with seven sea days, a first run movie in the afternoon would not have cost them very much but might have been quite popular. Unfortunately the Ship's personnel had to give us all the government issued warnings on our trip to Havana, such as no "person to person" contact etc. We were scared into taking a bus tour of Havana, one of the ship's excursions and we regretted the choice. It was as bland as it could be. We heard everything the young man was told to tell us, there was no music, no food, no contact with a Cuban other than the guide, no chance to view all the artwork available in the markets. It was boring. We spent over 1/2 hour at the cemetary and that was one of the highlights. Some of the passengers went off on their own and did quite well. We envied them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
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
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
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
We wanted to see Cuba, the Panama Canal and Machu Picchu and this cruise had all three. It was the first time we traveled with dietary restrictions (my wife was diagnosed as Celiac). Overall the ship did a good job of providing gluten ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba, the Panama Canal and Machu Picchu and this cruise had all three. It was the first time we traveled with dietary restrictions (my wife was diagnosed as Celiac). Overall the ship did a good job of providing gluten free food options, but it could have been better. Every single meal we had to ask the chef to point out what she could eat instead of simply putting a "GF" label on the cards describing each dish. She only was contaminated once when given inaccurate information. For the most part the servers and food preparers at the stations need additional training in preparing gluten free meals. They could also do a better job of having gluten free choices rather an a cookie at the tea or one dessert (if you were lucky) Tired of hearing fruit plate, salad and dry chicken. Now on to excursions. Oceana is gouging it's passengers with expensive, and just average tours. Don't get me wrong, some of them were great, but an equal number were under performers. We recommend you do your own research and book off the ship for half the price. We went from 90% cruise excursions to half this time and will go lower down the road. Best excursion - Machu Picchu. Drinks prices in an age where your completion offers free drinks is another gouge. (Bring some on board - they allow it) Best meal on board - red ginger. Worst meal on board - the dining room (got servered raw lobster one time and never went back) Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We love these R class ships as they get into ports the big ships don't. Being docked overnight was a new treat, especially when you can literally walk across the street to attractions and restaurants. Fabulous staff. Ship was clean ... Read More
We love these R class ships as they get into ports the big ships don't. Being docked overnight was a new treat, especially when you can literally walk across the street to attractions and restaurants. Fabulous staff. Ship was clean and for 20 years old it was in good shape. Only a meal or two not up to par, but since I didn't have to cook, who cares! Polo grill is fantastic and preferred over Tuscana. We speculate that because it was over both Christmas and New Years, the average age was rather elderly. We are 57-58. Night life in Horizon bar was dead except for New Years eve. Nightly shows seems well attended, though we didn't see all of them. We selected this cruise 1st for the itinerary, and 2nd for the ship/cruise line. Only our 3rd time with Oceania, last in 2010. Most negative aspect of cruise wasn't about Oceania, but listening to others gripe about trivial stuff. Stuff happens, deal with it. Leave America back home and embrace new cultures and experiences. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I had been told repeatedly that I would love Oceania. My fear was that once I experienced Oceania, there would be no going back. However, although there were aspects I did love, I realized that there are tradeoffs. We were travelling ... Read More
I had been told repeatedly that I would love Oceania. My fear was that once I experienced Oceania, there would be no going back. However, although there were aspects I did love, I realized that there are tradeoffs. We were travelling with our adult daughters on a 6 day Insignia cruise out of Miami. The highlight was a stop in Havana. We had sailed on the Azamara Journey so were familiar with the smaller ship. We opted for 2 oceanview cabins on deck 4. The cabins were smaller than we were used to but had plenty of storage space and a nice large window. The bathroom was small; the toiletries were very nice. The small ship size had many advantages. I was always able to get a chaise at the pool and a table at the buffet. There was no wait at the dining room. However, there was an hour wait at embarkation which was much longer than we experienced on much larger ships. The other glitch was a crush of people converging for tenders. Dining was definitely the strong suit. We divided our time among the specialty restaurants, GDR and buffet. All were excellent. I have never been a fan of buffets on Celebrity but on Oceania the selection was amazing and the limited table service and outdoor seating made for a pleasant dining experience. Both specialty restaurants were on a par with Celebrity’s. More variety in specialty restaurants would be good for longer cruises as the larger ships offer. The dining room had good menus but at times unusually slow service. While the food lived up to our high expectations, the service did not. I have the feeling that the staff saw this short cruise as a respite before the longer cruises began. There did not appear to be pool attendants and there were small children, including a baby and unsupervised toddler in and around the hot tub. We were unable to get staff to respond. The entertainment and activities, however, exceeded my expectations. Tbe ship offered very nice Hanukkah services and the enrichment lecture we heard was interesting. The 9:30 showtime seemed late. I enjoyed the violinists and singer very much. Both cabaret style shows were well done. Tea with the string quartet or pianist was lovely. I also enjoyed the T pool at the spa and the relative quiet at the pool. There was also a nice Captain’s reception. We made our own arrangements for the ports. The info sheet on Cuba given out at embarkation was confusing and incomplete. More comprehensive info earlier would have been helpful. My daughter would have liked to jet ski on the private island but that was cancelled. The island was beautiful but not well staffed. Disembarkation went smoothly and it was nice to have the option of a full breakfast before we left. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable cruise and I would definitely cruise Oceania again ( maybe in a larger ship) if the price and itinerary were right. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Cuba as possible so the three port stops was ideal. Havana was nice with the classic car tour. Our driver was very nice, spoke some English. The only thing was we saw ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Cuba as possible so the three port stops was ideal. Havana was nice with the classic car tour. Our driver was very nice, spoke some English. The only thing was we saw a lot of Havana but I did not get many pictures due to the fact that we only stopped at Revolutionary Square and a Hotel for a drink. Would like to have gotten some photos of the old buildings. I did enjoy the excursion and would recommend it. Cientefeugo - we opted for the excursion to Trinidad as this was highly recommended by all we read. This is the only excursion I felt as if I had wasted my money and my day. We had the worst tour guide ever. We arrived in Trinidad around 8.30 AM and walked non stop until we had lunch at 1 PM. this was on cobblestone streets (not cobblestone as we know it....simply big rocks and small rocks in the street so you had to watch every step you took) I tried looking up and taking a picture at one point and twisted my ankle. Our guide was way ahead of us so whatever he was telling us was lost as we never heard anything he said. There was no bathroom break during the entire time although several had requested one. All we got was "soon, soon". Soon came when we finally reached the hotel for lunch. We visited a museum but couldn't tell you which one as he was so far ahead no one heard anything he said. Lunch at the hotel was very nice, good food and great service. I blew the tour guides mind however when I told him the bus would have to come to me as I was refusing to walk any further on those streets. Several other guests were in total agreement. He also never once counted to make sure he had all of his people....just kept walking and expected us to keep up. Total waste of time and money. There was another Trinidad tour from the ship that day and they said they had a wonderful time. Learned a lot, saw a lot and had the best tour guide. Wish we had been on that one. Santiago- my favorite. Beautiful place. We took the El Combre excursion and I would hightly recommend this one. We saw the most beautiful basilica, listened to a live performance by a steel band which was amazing, walked up San Juan hill and then visited the square in Santiago for some free time. Best excursion ever. Loved every minute of it. Best tour guide ever too. All in all, so glad I went as I got a totally new perspective on Cuba and the people. The people could not have been more pleasant and friendly. Would recommend any one to go and see for yourself. It is a beautiful island and the people are very proud. The ship....in my opinion the food is overrated. I have had better on other cruise lines. The specialty restaurants were exceptionally good however. The entertainment was grossly lacking but didn't go for the shows anyway. No shopping on the ship to speak of but that was ok by me also. Would I travel Oceania again? Probably if they were going where I wanted to go. My trips are planned around the itinerary not the ship itself. Both embarkation disembarkation were easy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago ... Read More
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago were all very different and and amazing places to have the opportunity to visit. The people are very friendly and great full to see American’s. Obviously we help their local economy, but most if not all of the places we went were family owned and operated, or operated by European companies. The embarkation process was a breeze. Our cabin was ready to occupy shortly after we boarded and had lunch. The ships staff are always ready to help and are very friendly. By the end of even a short seven day cruise, many of the restaurant and cruise staff warmly greeted us by our family name. A caring attitude and fantastic service. Onboard entertainment has improved since the merger. The Lounge needs an overhaul. It is set up as a cabaret but anyone sitting away from the stage on the floor, has an obstructed view of the stage. The shore excursions are work in progress and seem to be challenge. Itenary and altered scheduling including having to wait over two and a half hours to dock, because the ship at our berth was late departing, threw things off. The shore excursion representatives on the ship were very accommodating and handled the challenges presented very well. When the excursion did not include all advertised, appropriate discounts and refunds were issued. This is no fault of the cruise line or their staff. This was an issue with the Cuban tour companies. If you have an opportunity to visit Trinidad (an hour or so from Cienfuegos) go. You will step back to the early 1800’s with people who are living in the 21st Century. Truly an amazing place. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We booked this cruise primarily because of the Cuba stops and we are very happy we did. We knew what we were getting as far as the cabin size since we had previously sailed on it's sister ship "Journey" (Azamara cruises). ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily because of the Cuba stops and we are very happy we did. We knew what we were getting as far as the cabin size since we had previously sailed on it's sister ship "Journey" (Azamara cruises). This was our first Oceania cruise. For those who prefer to do their own laundry, there are laundry rooms on certain decks however if you take advantage of the ships' laundry services be prepared to wait a full (6pm on day 3) three days to get it back. Food was very good in all venues. Perhaps the only area lacking was the entertainment both in quality and in times offered. Service was good but outstanding with our butler and suite attendant. We did not book any shore excursions with Oceania however what we heard from those who did was that most were satisfied especially if they had an English speaking guide. We opted to do our own thing. In Havana we hired a taxi driver who was very good....unless you speak the language be sure that you hire one who speaks more than 'a little bit' English. We paid $70 US for 2 hours (you can negotiate). In the next port Cienfuegos, Cuba we hired a taxi again $40 US for 2 hours and just ' a little bit' English worked out to be beach, horse, store (lesson learned). When we headed back to the ship we noticed an open air train which was doing a city tour for $5 US/person (located right off the ship). Santiago, Cuba was our last Cuban stop and perhaps our most adventurous...we hired a bicycle guide ($5/hr. for 2 hours). He narrated everything ..local.monuments, Russian, Italian, Venezuelan, Chinese contributions and even where one can purchase black market rum and cigars. San Antonio, Jamaica was our walk around town tour....very rainy but nice, small port. Nassau as usual, very crowded (4 other ships in port) and very expensive. Glad we took this cruise...one of our favorite cruises and ports. The best thing about a small ship such as the Insignia is the ability to port at small ports which are usually not crowded. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Booked this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Most of our cruises have been on bigger ships so it took some getting used to the smaller venue. After awhile, it was nice not to have to walk so far for eating etc. Only small issue was ... Read More
Booked this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Most of our cruises have been on bigger ships so it took some getting used to the smaller venue. After awhile, it was nice not to have to walk so far for eating etc. Only small issue was the space at the bottom of the bed - neither of us could walk through at the same time. Otherwise the room was adequate. Would have liked a bigger TV. Shopping was minimal with not much to buy. I needed a new tube of lipstick and the only thing they had was a package of 4 that cost way way way too much. I didn't need four and I wouldn't have used any of the other colors either. I punted with what I had. We did a Havana tour the first day and were able to see everything we thought we should see. Our guide was very accommodating and spoke very good English, I was able to take lots and lots of pictures. My first impression of the Cuban people was that they are very friendly - lots of smiles when we passed them. We were able to buy a couple bottles of rum and my husband was suppose to buy cigars for a friend. Found them in one place and after that didn't see much of either. Our tour the next day was about Ernest Hemingway. I thought that was probably the best tour of all and very very interesting. Glad to get updated on his life and to see his home (that is now a museum) on the outskirts of Havana. I wanted to read more about him after I got home. We went to one of his favorite bars - Floridita - and had his favorite daiquiris at noon - and they weren't short on alcohol. From there we walked to several places downtown and saw much of Havana downtown. It was a good day. I thought that food was suppose to be a top feature but the first meal I had included a piece of breaded chicken. I cut into it and realized it was raw. Probably had been thrown on the grill and taken off immediately. The wait person noticed I wasn't eating the meat and she asked if something was wrong. I told her the chicken was raw. She took my plate and said she would bring me back another piece. After about 10 minutes, a chef came out and apologized. It was obvious not the way to start a cruise. Only other experience I had was getting their "Grand" Salad without any dressing. Told someone who came by our table but never did have any one give me dressing. Wasn't very appetizing to have a chicken breast with the salad that had the skin on it yet. So had to take the skin off and just lay it on the side of the bowl. Otherwise the food was almost always very good. Our two meals in the special dining rooms were very tasty. It took me a while to get used to having some one ONLY give me my food in the buffets - sometimes it took much longer but not a big issue. Enjoyed our time in Cienfuegos. Thought that was a very special city - at least what we saw. Hopped on a trolley that was outside the ship area - just happened to notice it - think it cost $5.00. Drove around and saw special "hotels" at the end of the road. He dropped us off in the center of town and we walked around and visited a couple of stores. We were then picked up for the short trip back to the ship. A couple people we know walked back to the ship but they said it wasn't the easiest walk. Also enjoyed our tour of Santiago de Cuba. Again had a very good guide who spoke good English. Lots of history that needed updating. We had a stop where we saw dancers (forgot the names) that was very entertaining. Stopped downtown again and had time to look around. Port Antonio Jamaica was an added stop but not worth the time - also from the fact that it poured and poured rain. Nassau was the last stop and the town was on over load with 4 large ships along with ours filling the downtown with people. We walked around and saw a little of the flavor of Nassau and then went back to the ship. Just too many people!!! All in all it was a very special trip. Hope the political problems get solved for the Cuban people. The people we met couldn't have been more gracious. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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