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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Sailed with a group of 8 on this cruise. While there were issues with port time changes after final payment was made, Oceania's commitment to service and excellent food remains the same. I would have given a 5 star review if there ... Read More
Sailed with a group of 8 on this cruise. While there were issues with port time changes after final payment was made, Oceania's commitment to service and excellent food remains the same. I would have given a 5 star review if there were no port time changes. We embarked in Istanbul. As usual, Oceania's boarding process was smooth and efficient. On board, our room was ready immediately (we were in an Oceania Suite). The other rooms in our group were ready exactly at the times they stated upon embarking. Being the experienced Oceania cruiser, I took my group of 8 on a tour of the ship. They were appropriately impressed with the ship. We took a tour of the Canyon Ranch Spa too and were greeted immediately by a staff person who took us on an impromptu tour of the fitness and spa facility. She was very nice and helpful! They had a special if you booked a service on the day of sailing, so, for the first time, I signed up for a massage. WOW! It was excellent. I highly recommend doing this on the first day - it really got me in the vacation mode and took out all the kinks from flying in a cramped aircraft for many hours. The food was excellent in all of the venues, but I do have to say that Toscana has slipped a bit. Food was just OK and service took a long time. Food in the Grand Dining Room was excellent but the service took forever. Red Ginger has upped their game and the sea bass was out of this world. Polo Grill and Jacques were excellent as well. The Terrace Cafe was fine as was the Waves Grill. In summary, Oceania continues to be one of the best foodie cruises in the business. I can't say enough about the staff service in all respects. Whether it was embarking and disembarking at ports each day to the reception desk, to the wait staff and housekeeping, service was the best and the staff were helpful, friendly and easy to access. Our butler, Chandu, was awesome and our housekeeper, Jai, was equally awesome. The room was cleaned constantly and we never lacked for clean towels, a stocked refrigerator, and any assistance we may have needed. Oceania Suite room was incredible! 1000 sf of pure luxury! The media room boasts every movie and song known to man. The bathroom was huge and included a large shower stall and whirlpool tub. The deck is almost 3 times the size of a penthouse suite deck and has a whirlpool tub too along with a lounge chair and deck chairs. The living room and dining room were spacious - enough room to have happy hour almost every night for 8 people. Highly recommend trying this room at least once. It was worth the upgrade! One small complaint (and I feel bad about even mentioning it), the door handles are made of heavy metal and have sharp edges. They stick out from the door and I kept bumping into them. I had bruises all over my arms from them. One night of rough seas, I fell into the door handle and bruised my chest. We had to wrap some of them in napkins to make them less painful. Really need to re-think them! Only used Oceania for one excursion in Volos. They did a great job with it and the ship waited for us when we were about a 1/2 hour late getting back. Overpriced though. For the first time, I took the artist loft classes. The artist, Graham Dennison, and his wife, Shuna, were so friendly and patient with me - a beginner. Graham was a Disney artist for 20 years. He is a very talented artist - he uses a pallette knife to paint and I can't believe the paintings he has created with that knife. He has the gift for teaching and by the end of his classes, I learned how to draw a disney character, use a pallette knife and he even helped me "try" to paint the Santorini dome church! I really enjoyed it. They also unveiled one of his paintings on board with a reception ceremony. It was a nice way to meet others on board and see Graham's latest painting. Would recommend dropping in the artist loft just to see what is going on. Attended one of the evening shows and the Pool Deck party. Both were OK but not great. This is one area Oceania could improve on. Though, I have to say, the Cruise Director, Ray Michaels, is on the friendliest and upbeat cruise directors I have ever met. He is an asset to Oceania Cruises! Kicking, screaming and crying, we disembarked in Athens. Process was smooth with no issues. As for port time changes.... This was the one issue I had with Oceania. They changed port times after final payment was made which made me scramble to rearrange private port excursions. The time changes resulted in us arriving in port later than usual - 10:00 am or Noon vs 8:00 am. Some people liked getting in later because they could sleep later but I like having the time in the afternoon more and found that I missed laying out by the pool in the later afternoon after a long day of walking. In any case, I feel that Oceania short-changed us a bit in this respect. We had at least 3 ports with time changes and I know, from the message boards, they are doing this more and more across the board. Because of this, I did not book another cruise while on board as I usually do. I will wait to see how they handle this going forward before committing to another cruise with them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great ... Read More
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great service from the very start. The ship was pretty full, with groups from Maui Jims, and four university affiliated tour groups. The cruise was shorter than our usual selection, but was destination intensive, a different port or island each day, and ending in Athens. We bought the premium liquor package, as it is a value if you are even a modest consumer of wine, and spirits. Entertainment has been vastly improved by adding the entrainment troupes from their new Norweigen cruise line partner, and we always spent time in our favorite venue, Martini's, listening to the excellent piano player. The food, service, and selection of ports was excellent, and we dined with the Captain one night, and found him to be a delightful dinner companion. We had so much fun, that we booked two more cruises while on board. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
How I would describe the whole ship is "understated elegance" including the public areas and cabins. It is a very beautiful and relaxing surrounding. Our regular concierge (A2) cabin was a generous size with appealing ... Read More
How I would describe the whole ship is "understated elegance" including the public areas and cabins. It is a very beautiful and relaxing surrounding. Our regular concierge (A2) cabin was a generous size with appealing appointments. Of note (FYI): we liked our previous A3 cabin location on level 9 better than this "upgraded' one on level 10. The concierge lounge is on 9 and the laundry room there is accesible from both sides, but only on the far side (from us) on 10. The food is excellent, especially at the Red Ginger. The service and meals that we have had there are among (if not THE) best we have ever had. I am ashamed to admit that thinking about eating at Red Ginger was one of the causes for us to return to Oceania. We enjoyed all of the dining. We found the food and the service at the Grand Dining Room excellent and better than the Polo specialty restaurant. Our room was excellently serviced. All of the staff seems to be warm and welcoming with a nice "Hello" or "Good Morning" adding to the relaxing and beautiful experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Just returned from a Med.cruise on the Riviera. The calibre of the food was a gourmet's delight. Couldn't fault it at all. Staff very friendly, state rooms more than adequate with excellent beds, shore venues well chosen. ... Read More
Just returned from a Med.cruise on the Riviera. The calibre of the food was a gourmet's delight. Couldn't fault it at all. Staff very friendly, state rooms more than adequate with excellent beds, shore venues well chosen. Entertainment programme well planned. Varied and pf a high standard except for the pianist in the Piano Bar. Compared to the standard of the rest of the musicians he was poor. A real bonus was the 'enrichment lectures' presented on various aspects of Middle East Politics. Brilliant. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We joined the ship in Istanbul. Embarkation was quick and smooth. Don't expect any kind of welcome in board; no senior staff or welcome drink. The ship is beautiful and the service and house staff really do a great job. Senior ... Read More
We joined the ship in Istanbul. Embarkation was quick and smooth. Don't expect any kind of welcome in board; no senior staff or welcome drink. The ship is beautiful and the service and house staff really do a great job. Senior staff are conspicuous by their absence. For a ship of this size you would expect them to be more visible, but they are not. The food was excellent in all venues. The entertainment was generally ok too, except the "night club". Handing round an iPad for people to choose their own music lead to a haphazard playlist that resulted in a mostly empty dance floor and club. Whilst we had a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, we did have an issue with wine availability. We took out the wine package, but from day 3 certain wines became unavailable. By day 4, they ran out of three of the wines and we struggled to get prosecco in some of the bars. This situation lasted until the penultimate day of the cruise!! We have never been on a cruise where they have run out of wine!! In addition to running out of some of the wines, they also run out of breakfast tea and some cereals?! You really do have to question their back office supply chain process. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our first Oceania cruise, having used Celebrity and Cunard in the past. We booked on the basis of the itinerary (Greek Islands) and the reputation Oceania has of being a solid notch above the mass market cruises. The cruise ... Read More
This was our first Oceania cruise, having used Celebrity and Cunard in the past. We booked on the basis of the itinerary (Greek Islands) and the reputation Oceania has of being a solid notch above the mass market cruises. The cruise originated and ended in Istanbul. Embarkation was easy with a maximum of 15 minutes to drop off the luggage and check-in. Tip - if you are looking for well known Western brand hotels close to the cruise terminal, I would recommend the Grand Hyatt or Intercontinental, both close to Taksim Square and less than 10 minutes by taxi to the ship. Our Penthouse Suite (PH2) cabin was 11005. We were very happy with all aspects of the cabin, particularly with the walk in closet and lots of storage space. Tip - deck 11 forward is a great location. It's behind the bridge so is a dead-end and therefore has no corridor noise. Also deck 12 (pool deck) is wider than 11, that gives more shade/protection to the balconies on 11. Our cabin staff (Christina, Joe and Dean the butler) were excellent, attentive and always smiling. More-over, we would say that all Oceania staff were professional and in particular seemed a very happy bunch! Food/Drink - Oceania pride themselves on cuisine, while we were not at any point dis-appointed, we did not honestly feel the food standard was exceptional. In our view Red Ginger was the best, followed by Toscana, and the Main Dining room. The terrace buffet was perfectly good, but not "sumptuous" by any standard. In our view the Polo Grille Steak/seafood) was the earliest and we did not try the French restaurant as we live in France. Tip - we did not start making reservations in the specialty restaurants until late on the first cruise day, and found difficulty in obtaining good times.....so book early. Tip - my wife does not drink so we did not go with any of the daily beverage packages. Bottled beer prices ($6.50) and good wines by the glass ($10ish) we're reasonable to me. Tip - oceania allows purchased alcohol on board (sadly I only discovered this with 3 days left), and with the mini bar stocked daily with free soft drinks, it made cocktails in the cabin very affordable! Ports of call/excursions - I never understand shore excursion pricing, and we prefer to do our own thing in anycase. All ports of call (both docked and tendered) were close enough to town to not need prior arrangements. Ship facilities/entertainment - Riviera is a well appointed mid size ship, with all the usual ship-board activities on a mid-size, but nothing revolutionary (no climbing wall, simulators etc). Late afternoons on shore excursion days and all day when sailing, the pool areas and seating areas do become busy, but I have never seen a ship where this is not the case. We were pleasantly surprised by the cabin TV movie channels, with recent run films available free of charge. Dis-embarkation - Approx 15 minutes in the passport control queue, but the luggage was waiting for us, and plentiful taxis outside. Again I don't understand the pricing on offer for ground transport by Oceania, that was almost x10 the price of taking a regular taxi? Summary - happy with Oceania, particularly with great staff and excellent cabin. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
The Riviera is truly a magnificent ship, no expense spared in the furnishings and fittings. Everywhere on the ship is excellent, with staterooms beautifully furnished with the most comfortable beds, best quality linens and soft ... Read More
The Riviera is truly a magnificent ship, no expense spared in the furnishings and fittings. Everywhere on the ship is excellent, with staterooms beautifully furnished with the most comfortable beds, best quality linens and soft furnishings. Very soft gently colour schemes, with a very large balcony and comfy chairs, plus cashmere covers for cooler sailings. Staff have been wonderful – nothing is too much to ask for and requests are dealt with promptly and with good grace. Meals have been magnificent, everyone a treat and choice has been all too much. There are 4 speciality restaurants each with their own theme and all should be tried. There is also a Grand Dining Room, beautifully appointed with a la carte meals available. Can’t complain about lobster nearly every day. Never thought I’d be guilty of looking at a menu and asking “What else is there to eat other than bloody lobster”! Breakfast in the Terrace Café is also a treat with one of the best selection of fruits, cereals, all manner of eggs breakfast meats and breads I have ever seen. Staff here are also extremely efficient and helpful. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Unless you reserve in the two highest categories, you are treated very poorly. Dinner ereservatiiobns are not a priority unless you are in the top 2 categories, embarking early reserved for special class & expensive tours. Not at all ... Read More
Unless you reserve in the two highest categories, you are treated very poorly. Dinner ereservatiiobns are not a priority unless you are in the top 2 categories, embarking early reserved for special class & expensive tours. Not at all what we expected. Middle &uppe r maNAgement very impressed with themselves and not helpful. One notable excxception is genertal manager Guiseepe. Reception & Assistant purser/concierge have no peopkle skills Service kline & assistanec after tyiou have paid is just as bad or not worse with their Miami office. Tourtes as luxury cruise, NOT Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Other than being disappointed by Oceania once again taking two ports off the cruise as we were cruising the trip was amazing! We were supposed to stop in Cyprus and one additional stop in Egypt. VERY disappointed that we didn't. The ... Read More
Other than being disappointed by Oceania once again taking two ports off the cruise as we were cruising the trip was amazing! We were supposed to stop in Cyprus and one additional stop in Egypt. VERY disappointed that we didn't. The cruise line told us it was due to weather but we know that over 30 guests missed flights and so the ship stayed another night in Istanbul to save themselves money. I'm certain that guests would have understood had they told the truth. Had I been one of the people who had our flight delayed I would have appreciated the cruise line waiting. Knowing that we were lied to put a damper on the beginning of the cruise then later when we were again told that we wouldn't stop at a port in Egypt we wondered what the real reason was. This isn't the first time Oceania has done this. Every cruise we have been on with them they have eliminated at least one port....to save money?? When you sign up with a cruise line you expect to stop at all the ports you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
CRUISE OVERVIEW:  Cabin: 11051 PH1 Penthouse on 11th floor, mid-ship  Dates: 10/22-10/29/2014 Itinerary: Istanbul, Turkey (2 days); Kavala/Philippi, Greece; Mykonos, Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; ... Read More
CRUISE OVERVIEW:  Cabin: 11051 PH1 Penthouse on 11th floor, mid-ship  Dates: 10/22-10/29/2014 Itinerary: Istanbul, Turkey (2 days); Kavala/Philippi, Greece; Mykonos, Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; Athens (Piraeus), Greece Excursions: All were private except in Kavala (Xanthi) where we booked an Oceania tour FLIGHTS: We paid the flight deviation fee as we wanted to arrive in Istanbul 2 days prior to boarding the ship. The original flights offered by Oceania were terrible -- we researched flights, asked for and received the ones that we requested at no additional charge. We flew KLM from SFO-->Amsterdam-->Istanbul. We went online on KLM after receiving our booking # from Oceania and paid to upgrade our seats. Unfortunately, KLM has a strange system where you pay for the upgrade in airfare class (we paid for economy plus) but they only "request" the seats for you. You must confirm at the airport when you check in. They gave away the three seats we requested -- the three people in our party ended up nowhere near each other. KLM's staff were horrible and misled us and I'd never fly with them again because of our experience. Return flights were with Air France and everything with them went smoothly. We flew from Athens-->Paris-->SFO. Easy check-in, comfortable seats, great free entertainment on board the flights. Our first time flying with them and I would highly recommend Air France. HOTELS: In Istanbul, we booked the Hotel Sultania on our own. Fabulous location, and wonderful boutique hotel with an old-world feeling. Loved the "family room" we booked -- staff was outstanding. Food and view from their rooftop restaurant, Olive, was excellent. Location walking distance to many tourist sites, and public transportation available one block away. Shopping nearby -- we walked to the Grand Bazar and many sites such as the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, and Hagia Sofia. Highly recommend this hotel. In Athens, we booked the Athens Gate hotel because of its location. Walking distance to many sites such as the Temple of Zeus, Acropolis, and the shopping Plaka. Metro available right in front of the hotel. Cute, modern boutique hotel. Staff was outstanding. Minor grumble about the lack of fan in the bathroom (short shower produced bathroom walls dripping with condensation & wet/slippery floors). Very small elevators (not for those that are claustrophobic). Free wi-fi (in public areas - charge applies if accessed from your room). Wi-fi was unbelievably slow! But, plenty of local restaurants and cafes that offered fast, free wi-fi. Would still recommend this hotel, and wouldn't hesitate to stay there again. PORTS: Will review separately, where available. Ports that weren't available for review below are included here. Kavala/Philipi/Xanthi - Trust me on this -- Do NOT book through Oceania. Horrible, depressing, awful experience. They shouldn't even offer this tour. Took us to a public park w/river (okay, but cold/windy). Then a bus ride through graffitti filled area to Xanthi. Took us on a very boring walking tour of Xanthi -- not the typical "history" tour we expected. Dropped us off at a tavern that didn't offer enough seating, and the included food was inedible. Gave us "free time" to walk around. No real shopping to be had. Locals were unfriendly (I don't think they are used to tourists visiting their city). Very bad tour. If I could do it over again, I'd just get off the ship and walk around the port. Those on the ship who did that seemed to enjoy themselves, so that would be my recommendation. Ephesus/Kusadasi/Sirince - We booked a totally private tour for the three of us. Included Ephesus ruins, then on to Sirince for wine tasting, shopping and an excellent lunch prepared by a local family on their farm. On the way back we requested to be taken to the leather factory where we got our own private runway show! Such fun! Would loved to have been able to afford the amazing lamb leather jackets, but settled for purses that were in our price range. Would love to go back to Ephesus and Sirince and spend more time there. EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: Embarkation: Easy -- Walked right up with no wait at all. Done in 5 mins. Debarkation: Confusing -- No instructions as to where to locate our baggage in the Athens terminal. Got wrong information from one of the employees, but eventually located our luggage despite that. Asked porter to help us with our luggage and get a cab. Was told it'd be 20-25 Euros. After cab driver took off, I confirmed the price -- he stated 28-30 Euros, but I didn't want to argue. When we arrived at hotel, I (over)paid him the 28 Euros. He started screaming at me saying that it was 38 Euros! He scared the bejeusus out of us and we paid him the extra 10 Euros. BE CAREFUL and have the porter or someone confirm the cost of the cab ride, and if there is a problem when you arrive, ASK someone, anyone, to help you. Scary and, unfortunately, made us mistrust all cabs in Athens. SUMMARY: My third cruise with Oceania. I think the specialty restaurants & food in the Terrace Cafe were not as good as on previous cruises. Menus in the specialty restaurants need to be updated. Restaurants, in order of my favorite to least favorite: Red Ginger, Toscana, Polo Grill, and Jacques (which we chose not to even eat in -- we dislike their food that much). Everything else was up to the same excellent standards that I've come to expect and enjoy from Oceania. Loved the 11th floor PH -- we had previously always stayed on the 7th floor (in aft Penthouses). My only bitch about Oceania is the fact that they charge for wi-fi. Why not just build the cost into the price of the cruise? Or, at least charge a reasonable amount. Sometimes you can get it included for free (we did on two cruises). Otherwise, it's approx. $170 for unlimited access for a week. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Personal Background Information: I've been on the S. S. France in 1969 with roomates from University, crossing the Atlantic from New York to LeHavre; and subsequently the Norwegian Prince in the middle 1970's in the Caribbean ... Read More
Personal Background Information: I've been on the S. S. France in 1969 with roomates from University, crossing the Atlantic from New York to LeHavre; and subsequently the Norwegian Prince in the middle 1970's in the Caribbean with a group of 12 on a pre-wedding trip- Bermuda and Puerto Rico; and on the Crystal Symphony as a solo traveler in 2009 in Norwegian Arctic waters. The Riviera is the most modern ship for me. This was my second solo trip. Travel to Port of Embarkation: I flew on my own on Turkish Airlines from Naples, italy to Istanbul, Turkey which is only a 2 hour flight. I spent about a week in Italy prior to flying to Istanbul to embark the ship. Hotel Info: The Ritz Carlton in Istanbul was hospitable and helpful with a swimming pool with a view and easy taxi access to the port of embarkation. Embarkation: When arranging for my transportation from the hotel to the port of embarkation, the transportation company needed to know which port in Istanbul. The cruise line provided the information about which port in Istanbul only a few days prior to sailing which I thought was odd. The embarkation itself was uneventful. The Vista Suite is allowed to board at 11:00 a.m. which allowed me to explore the ship before a large number of passengers are on board. It is a bit eery though having the ship quite empty. Stateroom: The Vista Suite is located at the bow of the ship directly underneath the Bridge where the Captain and crew are located while navigating the ship. There was no noise from them. The suite has one-half the front of the ship. It is great for taking photos when entering ports. The view of the Bosphorus at night leaving Istanbul was memorable. I booked an early dinner to be able to return to my suite to watch this great display of Turkey. Ship Info: The Riviera is a modern ship and is well designed for inland waters in terms of stabilizers and engines. It is not an ocean liner, though. Dining: I preferred having room service in my suite because of the beautiful view. I only booked two evenings in the restaurants. I have to avoid certain foods such as Asian (uses soy heavily) and where wine is used heavily in cooking. In booking the suite, I was allowed to order room service from any of the restaurants and was not restricted to just the main dining room menu. My butler served the meal at the full size dining table in my suite. Activities: I brought e books to read out on the terrace of my suite and found that delightful. I have no information for the readers about children's clubs. Staff & Service: Sometimes the staff was a bit disorganized which as the reader will see further on in my narrative might be a reflection of upper management in the cruise line. However, I do believe that they were doing their very best. Entertainment: I did not book the cruise with the intention of seeking out entertainment. I was interested in being healthy and having a good time with shore excursions. Since the Riviera did not have stellar reviews from members about its entertainment, I did not seek it out. Shore Excursions: Unfortunately, the Riviera had four changes of itinerary before leaving port. When I received an Oceania brochure in the U.S. mail describing the itinerary, the cruise line had already changed the itinerary three times but failed to reveal that fact until after I booked the cruise and paid in full for the cruise. My advice to cruisers is, prior to booking to receive a written statement from the cruise line that lists any prior changes of itinerary. It is very important in these unsettled days to look carefully at the political climate in the area and not assume that it will improve. In my case, the fourth change came after my booking and full payment. The cruise line made me wait until I boarded the vessel to find out specifically how my shore excursions would be affected by the change. Ephesus is a major world heritage site in Turkey and very important to see. Even cruises that are only 2-3 days long and start in Athens, Greece make port to see Ephesus. We were originally due to make port very close to Ephesus. Instead we were several hours away in Izmir. Since this was the last port before disembarkation from the cruise, the entire treatment of it was a disappointing and marred the end of my trip memories. Also, prior to leaving on the trip the cruise line generated a final bill that did not correctly show my ground transportation in Istanbul and Athens. When I wanted it corrected, the cruise line again insisted that I had to wait until I boarded the Riviera to get the change made. Those are the facts. The reader can judge for herself whether or not you want to book with this cruise line. Disembarkaton: I never really knew if the transportation situation in Athens was solved until we arrived in Athens. I had to hunt around for my private sedan and driver. I also wasn't told until onboard the ship which day of my stay in Athens would be the tour. Summary: Disorganization marred the trip.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from ... Read More
Our cruising days started in 1999, sailing with P & O and Princess. In the last three years we have hanged our allegiance to the luxury lines (Seabourn, Regent and Oceania to date), and are enjoying the difference!! We returned from our first Oceania cruise a couple of weeks ago. We went to the Black Sea starting from Istanbul, Turkey and ending in Athens,Greece. 22nd September to 2nd October. Unfortunately, due to the Troubles in Crimea and Ukraine the company had to cancel the ports of Yalta, Sabastopol and Odessa, ports we have visited before. We had booked this cruise after the changes were made, so no complaints there. A couple of the replacement ports were however, not the best so we stayed on board. CHECK IN… We stayed overnight in Istanbul and had a taxi to the port, arriving at about 1.00pm. We had to show our passports and tickets to a port officer, outside the port gate and it was a bit of a scrum but after depositing our luggage and going to the ship’s check in desks in the (sort of) terminal, the procedure was quick and hassle free although we did have our our passports looked at, three separate times!! THE SHIP.. Riviera is beautiful The art work throughout the ship is interesting and eclectic. The furnishings and carpets are presented in delightfully soft colours. There is plenty of space. in the public areas. She is not small, but carries only 1200 passengers. (Compared with P & Os Aurora, which is the same size, and carries 1800 passengers.) so Riviera is never crowded. We could always find a sun lounger in the right place. Never a problem getting a drink at the bars, or in Baristas coffee lounge. THE CABIN.. Ours was a balcony cabin on deck Seven Aft. Rather smaller than either Seabourn's or Regent’s equivalent cabin level, but as a bonus we had a double depth balcony. More of that later. The drawers and cupboards were plentiful but not all at a convenient height for a little short person like me! The wardrobe doors were not very easy to access. The bathroom? Small, only room for one person at a time! but well appointed and had bath with shower over, shower cabinet with glass door, one basin, good lighting, marble and mirror fittings. Super thick towels and nice toiletries. The good exceeded the not so good. DINING…. The best cuisine at sea? Probably. The Grand Dining Room is very Grand indeed decorated in gold and cream with a magnificent large crystal chandelier in the ceiling. There is no fixed time dining. The service was perfect for us, certainly not slow, but at proper dining speed. All the staff were attentive, they were well trained and charming. The restaurant Managers were on hand all the time and made sure everything ran smoothly. We are not wine connoisseurs and so had no complaints about the wine offered on the package. We were always able to have a table for two if we chose to. There is no extra charge for dining in the alternative restaurants but you must book in advance. We ate in all four having made reservations on line prior to the cruise. Toscana was my favourite, and the Polo Grill surprised me,(I thought the portions would be to big for my small appetite) Jacques was a great pleasure. We dined with lovely people at each venue. I enjoyed Red Pepper food the least, but my husband thought it was the best! The internet connection was the best we have ever had on a ship. EXTRA NOTE.. A little anecdote to illustrate the care Oceania takes …… As mentioned before, our balcony was double depth. On the Interim Questionnaire, I wrote that the balcony furniture was rather small and the chairs did not recline. I suggested that on such a large balcony, a sun lounger might be nice. The next morning, on opening the curtains, we found a sun lounger on the balcony, which must have been delivered while we were having our dinner the evening before. That’s attention to detail, and proof that the questionnaire was not only read but acted upon without delay! Thank you. The only criticism we have of Oceania Cruises, (apart from the mean balcony furniture), is the cost of the Tours. Very, very expensive. We only took one tour ( a boat trip along the Danube Delta) and it was only OK and not value for money. Even so we had an enjoyable time with our fun fellow passengers!! Did we have a good cruise? Yes. Would be go with Oceania again? Definitely.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Just back from the most amazing cruise. The embarkation in Istanbul was very smooth and the welcome aboard was great. The ship is a work of art and certainly the best looking ship I have ever seen. Then you are treated to the many pieces ... Read More
Just back from the most amazing cruise. The embarkation in Istanbul was very smooth and the welcome aboard was great. The ship is a work of art and certainly the best looking ship I have ever seen. Then you are treated to the many pieces of art aboard such as the eight Picasso's in the Casino Bar. Our stateroom was a B1 veranda and was very spacious with lots of wardrobe space and places to put everything. The bathroom was all granite and marble with a bath and shower. I was travelling with my mother so we had twin beds and they were luxurious. The food was outstanding as were all the staff who were all so friendly and remembered our names. I really can't choose a favourite restaurant as they were all fantastic and so different. I thought I would be one of the youngest on board, being 48, as I had read other reviews. I was surprised to see a lot of children on board and they were all very well behaved. There were so many different nationalities as well and everyone got on so well. The entertainment was excellent and run very well by Andy Heath our cruise director.We loved the shows starring the Jean Ann Ryan Company, especially the lead singer Elias Hendricks. Being a smoker I was pleased to see that we had two great places to smoke. One being on the pool deck and one at the entrance to Horizons which was inside but far enough away from others so it wouldn't bother them. We had tenders into Santorini and Zakynthos which were regular and we never had to queue and also shuttles into Corfu and Dubrovnik organised by the Port Authorities which were also regular and once again no queues. We had to miss one port of call,Durres in Albania due to the clearance underneath the ship on entering being only 6.5 metres and not the required 8 metres so we ran a risk of grounding. We went straight onto Kotor and nearly everyone was really happy to spend two days there as it is such a beautiful place. We loved the afternoon tea in Horizons,the captains cocktail party where the champagne flowed and my mother enjoyed the putting green and her afternoons playing bridge. Our Captain was Gunnar Romtveit and I had many a chat with him. All the officers and staff were friendly and made you feel special.Disembarkation in Venice was quick and efficient and was a very sad moment. It was awful having to say goodbye to so many many wonderful people such as W Andre Allen who was the artist from the Artist Loft who I became good friends with. Truly a fantastic experience and can't wait to Cruise on the Riviera again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our 3rd cruise with Oceania and our 2nd on the beautiful Rivera ship. We chose this cruise because of the interesting itinerary and that it was the Rivera. It was great to have 2 days in Istanbul and then 2 days in Venice. Some ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with Oceania and our 2nd on the beautiful Rivera ship. We chose this cruise because of the interesting itinerary and that it was the Rivera. It was great to have 2 days in Istanbul and then 2 days in Venice. Some highlights: the cruise into Kotor (amazing and worth getting up at 6 AM) and then the cruise into Venice on the Grand Canal. The Rivera is a beautiful ship and all the restaurants are first-rate in cuisine and decor; our personal favourite is Red Ginger (we love having the 4 speciality restaurants as their smaller ships only have 2); great to get our coffee fix at Baristas and our Concierge Lounge was also first rate service with Katja. Service from all crew was wonderful and having a self-serve laundry facility on each deck is brilliant. We opt out of the include airfare and prefer to arrange our own. Love the room service especially each morning and found all of our cruise excursions very interesting; we like ensure that some ports are just for walking around/touring at our own pace e.g. Zakynthos and Corfu as having an excursion each day can be tiring. Due to low tide/narrow channel our stop in Albania was cancelled and we stayed 2 days in Kotor (told we didn't miss much in Albania and Kotor is so lovely). Did notice more children/teens on this ship which was not the norm but no complaints. We look forward to booking another cruise with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
The ship is lovely and the employees are wonderful - we are experienced cruisers and we thought most of the staff on board the ship rated five stars plus - maybe the best we have ever enjoyed on the seas. Very professional. We loved our ... Read More
The ship is lovely and the employees are wonderful - we are experienced cruisers and we thought most of the staff on board the ship rated five stars plus - maybe the best we have ever enjoyed on the seas. Very professional. We loved our experiences with the staff in most every area of the ship - truly extraordinary! Oceania seems to have a very old clientele - average age seemed around 70 - so make note of the lack of activity on the ship. Perfect if all you want is relaxation and like to be around mostly (polite and quite interesting) seniors. Not much going on at night and ship is asleep by about 10:30 or 11:00. Food is delicious and the interior decor and maintenance of the ship are exceptional. Very clean and lots of attention to detail. Shows are good - if the leads were stronger singers, I would even say they shows were great ... especially for a smaller sized ship. Good production team and sets. As for excursions, I would say definitely plan ahead and take your own private excursions. Either from the ship concierge (more expensive) or have your credit card company or travel agent set them up ahead of time - or just grab taxis at the ports, when you land in areas more developed for tourism such as in Turkey. Do not waste the extra money and time on ship excursions - most of the passengers on our ship did not like the cost and quality of the shore excursions arranged for the groups - even though I think the staff tries very hard to make guests happy. This is a management or pre-cruise issue they need to address. We wished for a more lively and enthusiastic cruise director, but the lady in charge was certainly nice, seemed qualified, organized and professional - but perhaps a bit tired or maybe had other issues distracting her during our cruise. The front desk staff was the only weak spot - not always so friendly or helpful to us and I noticed the same with other passengers. IMPORTANT NOTE: We caught an illness - thankfully not severe - on the ship and I do not think they handled that very well for our sake or the other people on the ship - they would not give us statistical information that would have been helpful. The front desk was especially troubling in their response. I must say that the doctor and nurse were outstanding and we were so grateful to have them present to help us. Seems like the management just wants to keep quiet about illness aboard the ship. Maybe not the case, but that was my impression. Quickly went on line to review - with the slight chance that it might help someone to know to use extra precaution aboard Riviera ... particularly in common areas and with shared computers, etc. I suppose we all have to be careful aboard cruises and the ship always makes an effort to sanitize things, but the response given to us made me a little uncertain about their policies. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We are just back from a fantastic cruise on Oceania Riviera from Istanbul to Athens with stops in Nessebar (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania) for 2 days, Batumi (Georgie), Trabzon (turkey), Sinop (Turkey), Kusadasi (Turkey). Everything was ... Read More
We are just back from a fantastic cruise on Oceania Riviera from Istanbul to Athens with stops in Nessebar (Bulgaria), Constanta (Romania) for 2 days, Batumi (Georgie), Trabzon (turkey), Sinop (Turkey), Kusadasi (Turkey). Everything was perfect from food to service by all employees. Everybody was smiling, try to help in anyway they can. Everyday was sunny and hot....perfect for visiting... The ship itself is very beautiful, very clean. We had an interior room and it was perfect because we like to be around the pool, walking on the 14th deck or visiting around in all ports of call....The food was faboulous in every restaurants we tried (Main dining room, 4 speciality restaurants complimentary with no extra charge(Toscana, Red Ginger, Polo grill and Jacques) and the terrace cafe/wave grill). For the ports of call (we did many excursions with the ship and it was very well organised and the guides in every excursions were very interesting and knowledgeable): Nessebar (Bulgaria): very nice town, small and easy to walk around (no need for an excursion); Constanta (Romania): we did two excursions..one at the ancient city of Histria..it was a bit disappointing (not much to see) and we did one other excursion for a visit at two museums plus folkloric show and wine tasting (we really apreciated that tour); Batumi (Georgie): very nice town and we did an excursion for the botanical garden, a fortress, a mosquee, folkloric show with a meal and we really appreciated that tour; Trabzon (Turkey): we did a tour to the Sumela monastery, a mosquee and a beautifull house and we really enjoyed it; Sinop (Turkey): very small town and the ship docked directly in town....so we walked around and see an old prison, ethnological museum, archeological museum, we saw an old church they were excavating and while we were there they just discover an human squeletton and we were very happy to see that discovery; Kusadasi (Turkey): we did an excursion to Ephesus and we liked it a lot. The embarkation and disembarkation process was very smooth.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I sail on either Oceania or Azamara. We sailed on the Riviera last year. We noticed the staff made a concerted effort to be friendly this time. Embarkation was very easy. It would have been nice to have been welcomed on board ... Read More
My wife and I sail on either Oceania or Azamara. We sailed on the Riviera last year. We noticed the staff made a concerted effort to be friendly this time. Embarkation was very easy. It would have been nice to have been welcomed on board by a crew member and a glass of champagne but that’s a minor point. A nice feature is there are no bothersome ship photographers on board. The food is outstanding but wine should be included with dinner. Both the cabin attendants and the restaurant staff provided excellent service. Gratuities, internet and an onboard credit were part of the cruise fare promotion this year. Because of this, we didn’t feel like we were being nickeled and dimed to death like last year. The problems in the Ukraine caused the ports to change, and might have been the reason for the fare promotion as we booked the cruise after the changes were made. The main reason we took this cruise was because it spent two days in Romania. This allowed us to take an overnight tour to Transylvania. There really wasn’t much to see in the other ports with the exception of Kusadasi. The port of Sinop can be dropped as there’s nothing to see, and there’s very little shopping. On the tours we took, at best we only had a few minutes to shop for souvenirs. The Transylvania trip wasn’t well advertised. You had to look for it under Land Programs versus Shore Excursions. We met several fellow passengers who stated they would have liked to have joined the tour if they had known about it. In all, there were only twenty people on the tour. We were thankful it wasn’t cancelled for lack of participation. There are two things I don’t understand about the TVs in the staterooms. One, you can’t check your onboard account. You have to go to Reception. Second, there’s no listing of programs and movies. They should be listed in the Daily Current. Our cabin on the Concierge level was very nice though my wife did not like the lotions. The only issue we had was trying to get additional specialty restaurants reservations. Prior to the cruise we made three out of our four allotted reservations as you’re only allowed to book one per restaurant prior to the cruise. We were told we could make additional reservations the day we boarded the ship. We tried to do this on embarkation day but we were told we couldn’t for a couple more days to allow people who hadn’t made advance reservations a chance to make them. By the time we tried, there were no openings available. It’s not that big a deal though since the food in the Grand Dining Room is superb. You also get a better selection of sea food at the buffet in the Terrace Café. We don’t feel you get anything special by booking the Concierge level other than a bottle of champagne. You’re allowed the pressing of four garments but it doesn’t apply to either dry cleaning or laundry. The Concierge’s hours aren’t convenient as the desk is only manned a few hours a day. Another nice feature that Azamara does is that they have a tent set up with drinks and towels to welcome you back to the ship in the various ports. Oceania should consider doing this. We heard there were about 1000 passengers on the ship with about 330 Americans. This allowed you to meet people from other countries. All of the passengers were very nice and cordial though it was generally an older crowd. We really enjoyed ourselves and plan on cruising with Oceania again. As I mentioned, we sail on either Oceania or Azamara. Each cruise line does some things a little better than the other one but both are great.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We were two couples from Northern England seasoned cruises i must add, and chose this cruise because we had not been to the Black Sea before.Unfortunately some of the usual places they visit were changed on the itinerary because of the ... Read More
We were two couples from Northern England seasoned cruises i must add, and chose this cruise because we had not been to the Black Sea before.Unfortunately some of the usual places they visit were changed on the itinerary because of the troubles in that area.Nevertheless we still enjoyed the cruise. Embarkation went smoothly although we did have to walk the full length of one ship before boarding Riviera. Stateroom: We both had Penthouse suites on Deck 11 midship on starboard side.They were spacious and comfortable and with a butler, everything was catered for. All the public rooms lounges etc.were decorated to a high standard and were all in a pristine condition as was throughout the ship. We chose to dine for dinner in the main dining room with a good variety of menus.Service here was good although on one occasion they were under pressure one night, as everybody came at the same time due to the Captains welcome party.Also dined at 3 of the 4 speciality restaurants.Great cuisine in each of them,except Jacques the French restaurant.Two of our guests chose a lamb main course which was lamb wrapped in pistachio filling then encased in a pastry encrute.When it was sliced open the piece of lamb inside was no bigger than a postage stamp!! Come on Oceania more lamb please.We were offered another course which was declined. Entertainment of the 4 shows by the Jean Ann Ryan company were excellent.Standard of the other entertainment was good also. No tours were taken as everybody knows Oceania are rather expensive.When will they get the message! Brief description of ports visited; Nessebar,Quaint town with narrow streets/walkways with souvenir shops,restaurants and bars. Constanta,Not as bad as some blogs suggest.Have to go with open mind.Old part does have derelict buildings but there is a new pedestrian walkway through the area with cafes and bars. Betumi,Nice esplanade to walk along then head inland to come to the town with buildings of a Russian influence. Trazbon,Typical Turkish city with shops and a fortress to visit. Sinop,Nice port area and esplanade to walk along and head inland also to the town. Kusadasi,This is the port for Ephesus to visit although the town of Kusadasi is worth a visit to the shops to buy genuine fake goods and haggle for a good price. Disembarkation was a smooth transiton to Athens airport, transfers by Oceania. As we all have done Oceania cruises before, the conclusion was would we travel with them again and the answer would be a resounding yes.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Just returned from my first cruise on Oceania. I am not a huge cruise fan. I've done a few short cruises in the past (Bahamas, Mexico, etc.) and have never really been impressed. In general, I prefer independent travel. That said, I ... Read More
Just returned from my first cruise on Oceania. I am not a huge cruise fan. I've done a few short cruises in the past (Bahamas, Mexico, etc.) and have never really been impressed. In general, I prefer independent travel. That said, I really enjoyed this cruise--more than I thought I would. Embarkation: Read about long lines but honestly, we arrived at noon and were on the ship and in our cabin in about 30 minutes. I couldn't believe how easy it was. Food: Quite good in all venues with a few exceptions. I wish the menu in the Grand Dining room had more variety--it got boring. Really enjoyed both Polo and Toscana (though our second dinner in Toscana suffered from really poor service). I was eager to try one of those milkshakes that people on CC rave about. That was a huge let down. Probably the worst milkshake I've ever had. The smoothies were better. Desserts were the weak point in all venues. If you are calling something New York Cheesecake then it should be New York Cheesecake (believe me, it wasn't). At least four nights I took one bite of a dessert and pushed it away (on the plus side, I saved all those calories). Service/Staff: Overall we were impressed with the staff and the service. And every staff person we encountered was extremely friendly and gracious. High marks here. Though I'm not sure that I felt like we received any special service due to our Concierge level cabin. Pool: Way too small. More like a dunk tank. And of course, not enough chairs on the pool deck. We got lucky--got there early and stayed all day so didn't have to fight for chairs. But I did witness and nasty little argument between a chair saver and someone who got tired of seeing an empty chair sit idle for hours... Spa: Passed on booking spa appointments because they were just too expensive. If I had more OBC to burn, I might have used them. Ports of Call: We enjoyed them all except Limassol. It would have been better to have another sea day and miss this stop. Entertainment: I was surprisingly impressed by the Insignia Singers--they were very good. Their costumes need a huge makeover but their talent was real. Found the CD to be a bit dated in his humor. And, his voice reminded me of Stanley Tucci in The Hunger Games movie. I just couldn't take him seriously. Rechristening Celebrations: Nice but a little over the top corny. I mean, a portrait unveiling???? That said. the ship's Godmother and her husband were impressive in the way they seemed to go out of their way to NOT seek preferential treatment throughout the cruise. Classy folks. Shore Excursions: We didn't use the ships tours. Found great independent guides and definitely preferred to tour that way. Destination Experts: Weak marks here. They didn't strike me as "expert" at all. Other Passengers: All in all we met some really wonderful people--some who cruise a lot. Made some friends along the way. WiFi: In my opinion this was one of the weakest parts of the cruise--connectivity was next to impossible. The only saving grace was that we had free WiFi as part of a promotion. If I had been paying by the minute I would have raised Hell--five minutes to download ONE email (no attachments); web pages timing out repeatedly. If they can get wifi on a plane, there has to be a better way to get it on board a ship! Overall, a very good experience. I think I would try one of the larger O ships next time (I hear the cabins are bigger). I did enjoy the relaxed nature of the cruise--no formal nights and the ability to dine on our own schedule. I probably won't do another cruise for a few years but when I do I will definitely consider Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This was the second in a b2b, our first time on Oceania. We've been on most of the mainstream lines and decided to try something more upscale. What a wonderful experience, worth every penny. High Points: Food, Service, the Ship Food ... Read More
This was the second in a b2b, our first time on Oceania. We've been on most of the mainstream lines and decided to try something more upscale. What a wonderful experience, worth every penny. High Points: Food, Service, the Ship Food was outstanding. Ironically, the two specialty restaurants were not wonderful, but the GDR was amazing. Most lines have good food, some excellent. But Oceania was consistently out of this world. Service was excellent. Every crew member was friendly and helpful. Just outstanding. This really made our cruise memorable. The large number of staff really does make a difference. The ship itself was beautiful. I really liked how uncrowded it felt. It was a world away from the small cities at sea common to other lines. No waiting for anything. Well, once, see below. No ship photographer, art auctions or loud announcements. Our cabin (standard balcony B2) was comfortable but cramped. Low Points: A few minor glitches The DVD player in our cabin didn't work. The toilet had some problems. We were told that parts had been ordered and would be installed for the next cruise. Shore excursion staff needs training. Total chaos on arrival in Israel for local customs officials. Shore excurions themselves were good, but overpriced. Port lectures tended to be mediocre. In all, a fantastic experience. We ended up booking a Panama Canal cruise on Regatta for December.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Like all our previous cruises, we booked this only for the itinerary. Oceania was an unknown brand to us, so we were interested to see if it was true to all the raving reviews. This was Insignia’s ‘rechristening’ cruise, as ... Read More
Like all our previous cruises, we booked this only for the itinerary. Oceania was an unknown brand to us, so we were interested to see if it was true to all the raving reviews. This was Insignia’s ‘rechristening’ cruise, as apparently it had been on loan for a couple of years, and was now back in the Oceania fleet. As such, the Founding Chairman and his good lady were aboard for the duration, and although they were seen from time to time, they tended to keep a low profile. ( After the debacle of the previous week’s cruise I don’t exactly blame them!) I’m sure someone will have reviewed that cruise on here somewhere. INSIGNIA is a mid sized 35,000 tonne vessel and exuded a luxurious feel from the moment we boarded. Lots of dark wood, tasteful décor, and probably the most comfortable bed/pillows we’ve ever had on a ship. Cabin was just about large enough, but storage space was plentiful. Bathroom was quite small, but efficiently laid out. Passengers of a certain ‘size’ may well have found it difficult to manoeuver in there. Passenger mix is principally US / Canadian. If I had to to guess I’d say they made up 70%, the rest being from UK, Australia and rest of EU. It is indeed at the top end of the cruise market, and as such attracts a fairly wealthy and discerning passenger……well – it DID until we arrived! There are no formal nights and evening dress code is ‘country club casual’ attire. Unfortunately a smallish number defined this as ‘won’t-make-any-effort-at-all’ so cut off trousers and flip-flops were not an uncommon sight in the Grand Dining Room. I wore a jacket, but soon realised I was in a minority. I think that the dress code could be enforced a little more – but I accept its not easy telling someone to go back to their cabin and change. To be honest, a few people just looked downright scruffy. But it was only a few, and the majority dressed with the ‘casual but elegant’ ethos, to one degree or another. The STAFF are multi-nationality, and without exception are always smart, friendly and can’t do enough for you. Reception staff responded to a couple of small requests very efficiently, and I heard similar from other guests. They even place a man on the quayside at the bottom of the gangway whose only role is to tell you to ‘mind the step’ as you leave or board! My Dearly Beloved ( hereafter referred to as MDB) thought he was checking passports etc, and was so busy grovelling in her handbag she lost her footing and tripped up the very gangway he was there to warn us about! He’s probably been sacked now!! Oceania make a very big thing about their FOOD. Now, call us odd but personally we don’t go on cruises to indulge in constant fine 6* dining. With 2/3 of the world starving I guess we just have different priorities. Don’t get me wrong, we like and expect edible meals in nice surroundings on cruises, but providing the menu is varied, the food is cooked well, tastes how it’s supposed to taste and looks fairly appetising – then that’s really all we ask for. Meals could be taken in the Grand Dining Room, Terrace Café ( Buffet style) or in 2 ‘speciality’ restaurants – ( no extra cost, but must be pre-booked prior to the cruise). I got the impression that someone sat in an office somewhere and created very fancy names for their dishes, just to make them sound good. Early in the cruise I suffered food poisoning from a lobster soufflé, and spent 6 hours dashing into the previously mentioned bathroom while it desperately tried to leave me from one end or the other. MDB ordered a rather nice sounding finan haddock for breakfast, which was so overcooked it was inedible. She asked two slices of plain common-or-garden wholemeal bread, and got three rolls with a posh name. After that we breakfasted in the Terrace Café every day where the choice of food was excellent, and catered for all tastes and diets. Interestingly, the opposite was true in the evenings where shellfish seemed to dominate the buffet, and the Grand Dining Room was the better option. MDB had the nicest steak ever in there, and it inspired me to have my first steak for years. Tender is hardly an adequate description, but for someone who is not a big red meat eater, getting me to chomp on a steak must be Oceania’s greatest achievement for 2014. We did hear occasional grumbles about food, but catering for such varied tastes and diets is always going to be a challenge for any ship. The catering staff ( especially in the terrace café ) seem to be under threat of death if they don’t perform at 200% efficiency. As soon as you’re finished, your plate / glass / bowl is whipped away ( twice I had to stop them as I had not quite finished – just taking a brief respite between mouthfuls!) While carrying food to my table in the Terrace café I was plagued by waiters wanting to carry it for me. To me that level of attention is just suffocating –but I did notice others ( able bodied and active ) actually looking for a waiter to carry their intolerably heavy burden of a bowl of cereal and banana, - bless. I also prefer to help myself at buffets, but this didn’t seem to be allowed ( probably some hygene or health and safety thing ). Wasn’t even allowed to open my own box of cereal ! After a healthy breakfast, the next thing you want is a good day trip. We booked three ( all in Israel ) through Oceania simply because there were some doubts about dates/availability/numbers etc. So we bit the bullet and paid through the nose. However - all were well organised, well conducted, very enjoyable but hellishly overpriced. We booked an independent tour to Ephesus, and did the other destinations ourselves. (The Patmos tour via the ship cost well over 100euro, we did it for the cost of a local bus (3euro each rtn) and some footwork.) If you can’t be bothered to investigate alternatives – or love spending money unnecessarily – then the ships tours are good and used first class busses and guides. ENTERTAINMENT was variable. The resident Insignia Singers were competent and entertaining. Guest entertainers included an excellent magician/illusionist, and a rather sinister looking violinist. The Insignia dance band had the potential to be good – if they could play music that you could actually dance to! Most of it was Jazz / Soul style and while very good easy-listening, was not dance music. ( I seriously think they could be prosecuted under the UK Trades Description Act ! ) We love dancing, and were looking forward to taking to the dance floor each night. First problem for a dancer is that the dance floor is oval – not ideal for routines that rely on a more conventional oblong. Ok if you just want to hop from one foot to another while hugging your spouse, which – given the combination of music and floor – was about all you could do. We can’t be the only ones who were disappointed by this as the final night was billed as Save The Last Dance For Me. By the time they were on their third number, just 3 couples remained. Yes that’s right – 3 ! We actually requested a Waltz as they hadn’t played one any night in 9 days. It has to be said though that after the main entertainment, the ship became something of a ghost ship. Everyone just melted away. Music in the horizons bar was usually the very competent cruise director sat at the bar, sending music from his i-player to the sound system. I counted 7 people in the whole of the lounge on one of the nights we were there. Finally – remember the bad lobster and the overcooked haddock. These, and the overzealous staff were mentioned on the ‘how’s –it-going-so-far’ mid cruise survey. A senior manager actually spoke with us 2 mornings later – apologising for the very minor comment I’d made about the staff – but never even mentioned my toxic lobster or the haddock cooked in a nuclear reactor. That annoyed MDB more than the haddock itself. This seems to be in keeping with other reviews, that Oceania won’t acknowledge or react to problems. Overall – we enjoyed the cruise immensely. We would certainly go with Oceania again, if they were going to where we wanted to go, and at a time to suit our work.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We are not experienced cruisers but we loved our 12 nights aboard Insignia. Embarkation was a breeze. We turned up a little earlier than the appointed time of 12 noon and walked straight through the embarkation process within minutes. Our ... Read More
We are not experienced cruisers but we loved our 12 nights aboard Insignia. Embarkation was a breeze. We turned up a little earlier than the appointed time of 12 noon and walked straight through the embarkation process within minutes. Our only other embarkation experience had been on a Holland America ship and that we would not wanted to have repeated. We were greeted warmly once on board and informed that our cabins were not yet ready but that we may make our way to the Terrace cafe for lunch. This we did and had a very enjoyable experience and a glas of wine until an announcement was made that our cabins were ready. The cabins on deck 7 are not large. But they are comfortable and we were able to unpack all our things and get our suitcases away under the bed or in the closet. There is a comfortable sofa for two and a writing desk but no chair to sit at, just a stool which was next to useless. There were plently of clothes hangers in the large closet allowing us to unpack properly. This may be a small thing but to me it is a plus as so many hotels have an inadequate number of hangers in the room. Others have commented on the bathrooms. Overall within our expectations; not overly luxurious but acceptable. A small verandah has two chairs and a small table but the side boards separating your deck from the cabin on either side do not render any privacy. There is a small round table inside as well and it is decked out with a complementary bottle of chilled champagne (yes the real thing) for our enjoyment. We oblige!! The air conditioning is working well and the room is at a very comfortable temperature. (Outside the Turkish summer is a scorcher). Our evening dining experience is at Toscanas. We were delighted. The food was quite excellent and we especially enjoyed the thoughtful touch of the olive oil menu. We also enjoyed the company of our "shared" dinging companions who were excellent company throughout the meal. The whole experience that evening, being new to us, was perhaps one of the most memorable of the cruise. Later in the cruise we dined at Polo Grill (where i must say I ahd an excellent steak, perfectly cooked to my order and Cheryl had the lobster which was expertely de-shelled at the table by our waiter and served in true 5 star style. Our experience in the Grand Dining Room was that the place lived up to its name. The service and attention is really exceptional and the food is great. You can enjoy wine by the bottle and if you do not want to finish a whole bottle, it will be kept for you and be made available in any dining room on the ship at any time thereafter. So this leads me to offer some comments about drinks on board generally. In my opinion the drinks are not overly expensive and the drinks package does not relally represent any value as we did not deny ouselves anything, chose good wine for evening meals and ultimatley spent on drinks less that what the package would have cost the both of us. I would like to add some more detail about drinks pricing but may have to wai for another review. I agree with other reviewers that there is a feeling of a lack of crowd on the ship. We are able to wander around almost by ourselves. Many pepole seemed to gravitate to the pool deck but if that was a bit crowded that didnt bother us as we onle spent minimal time there. I was especially impressed with the well stocked and comfortable library. We choose a couple of recent best sellers for the duration and took thme down to our cabin. There are ample copies of each of a wide variety of titles. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
This is our first time on Oceania. The Insignia has been refurbished and this was her maiden cruise. The rooms are adequate. No frills, standard. The bathroom is very small and they have cleverly used a shower curtain vs a glass shower ... Read More
This is our first time on Oceania. The Insignia has been refurbished and this was her maiden cruise. The rooms are adequate. No frills, standard. The bathroom is very small and they have cleverly used a shower curtain vs a glass shower door to allow a little more space to maneuver in the shower. Ask for softer pillows. Housekeeping will bring them almost immediately The ship is very clean. The crew is courteous and does everything they can to make your trip a pleasant experience. The dining room staff in both the Grand Dining room and the more casual buffet restaurant are so efficient that as soon as your fork hits the plate…it's promptly removed. We didn't take the Oceania excursion package and opted to arrange for private tours. I think it might have been better to take the package because you are ensured that you will be with a "group" and not have to be concerned if you are late getting back. The other really big thing for us, is that using the tools of CC and the message boards I connected with some fellow passengers who were looking for an additional couple to join their private tour. I can't stress enough that if you intend to do this, make sure you engage with the other travelers PRIOR to committing to join up with them to make sure you feel a synergy. Although I attempted many times to contact them on CC, they ignored me and even when I posted to them that I had joined their tour, they did not acknowledge me. I should have realized this could be a potential issue. It was and turned out to be two very uncomfortable travel days. They were not friendly or engaging and the rides in the mini van was almost unbearable as the tours are 11-12 hours each day. Get to know who you are joining way ahead of time of alleviate and/or identify any red flags. We thought the ports were good and again the Cruise Director, Leslie kept us informed on the various activities on and off the ship. The evening entertainment was good In summary, this itinerary is very hectic...make sure you understand all the walking and climbing involved I should mention that as this was a "Rechristening Cruise for the Insignia, the founder and his wife were on board the ship. As new passengers to the Oceania line, I think it would have been good if he and his wife sought out the "new" passengers…although we saw them dining with us..they mostly kept to themselves. I would say this was an overall good experience. However, this will be our last Oceania Cruise. It is very expensive and I expected a bit more...   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
First the good: the itinerary was spectacular, and we all had the trip of a lifetime. We also liked the mid-sized ship... It had everything you needed, but was easy to get around. So... Why 3 stars? A bit of background: our group of ten ... Read More
First the good: the itinerary was spectacular, and we all had the trip of a lifetime. We also liked the mid-sized ship... It had everything you needed, but was easy to get around. So... Why 3 stars? A bit of background: our group of ten is not new to cruising. We've been (multiple times) on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America... And two of our group has been on Crystal, Azamara, and (yes) Oceania before. And so when the rest of us who had not yet done the "luxury cruise" experience came on board, we were excited to see what the difference would be. Particularly as this cruise was given great promo as the "inaugural" cruise of the newly renovated Insignia ship (the owner was even on board!). So... What's the the difference between Oceania &... let's say Royal Caribbean? What makes oceania "luxury"? Oceania gives you free soda and lattes. And you don't pay extra for the special restaurants (Toscana was by far the best). And a couple of nights they left little presents on our bed (like a small bowl of Turkish taffy). Other than that? I think we all agreed that our experience on Royal Caribbean (and Princess) was BETTER. Those in our party who had cruised with Oceania before, really felt this cruise was not up to par from past ones (I see another reviewer noting that Oceania seems to be slipping). Even though the brochures still show fresh flowers or fruit in the rooms, we had none. The food was good and plentiful, nothing to complain about...but also nothing terribly memorable (with the exception of Toscana). The newly renovated ship had all new decorations, but the beat-up woodwork in the cabin wasn't ever touched up. And they never got the air conditioning right... We were warm every night of the cruise (partially because the only bedding options were duvets). When we asked them to fix it, someone would come in with some instrument, say it was fine, and leave (we heard a lot of complaints about the lack of air conditioning). The schedule for food was that no food was available on board between tea time and dinner. I know.... You eat so much on a cruise, why should that matter? Because a lot of people are coming back on board at that time when in port. If their tour didn't include lunch, or they went out on their own they're hungry. Not having food available (and I mean NO food) during a crucial 1 1/2 hour window seemed wrong. And forget about getting a late-night snack. Everything on this ship (other than bars and casinos) closes early. The one night I went to a show, it like a decent college musical review. Fun, but nothing I needed to go to on another night. The crew? Every other ship I've been on, the crew seems to be happy to have you on board and they go out of their way to serve. Not so on this ship. We all had way too many experiences where crew seemed to be disgruntled, or seem to feel that your request (like asking about a tour at the ship excursions desk!) was too much to ask. Most of us (arriving at different times) had a less-than-stellar experience getting on board. Maybe it was this particular cruise... Perhaps with the owner on board they were all stressed. In any case... It's a cruise. You'll eat good food, have someone clean your room, and visit exotic ports. If Oceania is the only one with the itinerary you want, or if Oceania ends up being the bargain deal because of their free airfare, then by all means go! But don't expect something "above" the rest of the cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We have been loyal Oceania travellers having completed 8 cruises on their three smaller ships Oceania did not send our documents to us, when enquiries were made they said we hadn't paid in full They had been paid totally in ... Read More
We have been loyal Oceania travellers having completed 8 cruises on their three smaller ships Oceania did not send our documents to us, when enquiries were made they said we hadn't paid in full They had been paid totally in February. We could not make reservations in specialty restaurants for same mixup. Also free wifi package had to be asked for as we also we're not given this benefit although entitled. We looked forward to sailing on Insignia again especially having the new upgrade. The common areas looked refreshed, such as pool furniture, paintwork and curtains but the money must have been spent on the infrastructure and mechanics. On second last day of this cruise we found the pool emptied but full of all the furniture which had occurred during the night by crew. Arrived in Venice that morning to have huge crane and team of workers using very noisy machinery take over the ninth level. There had been no apologies or information to the passengers. The other thing we found different to previous sailings was there were quite a few families with very young children needing pushers and high hairs in the public areas. The school age children were all enjoying the pool and took over the spas, even though the signs say "no children under age " in spas. This was not enforced. Another thing not enforced, as promoted by Oceania, was the dress code. Tee shirts and shorts in MDR, Bathers with flimsy wraps in terrace cafe. The waves bar is for all casual diners! OVERALL VERY DISAPPOINTING!   Read Less
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