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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us if we ... Read More
This is cruise 18 with Oceania on all ships but Serena. I am not sure if i have been unlucky but the service level was less than “normal”. For example at the Sunday brunch my wife and i finished before any staff member asked us if we wanted water, juice or anything else except cocktails. At dinner in the dining room the opposite, cant find a drink waiter and have to ask. It seems there is a staff shortage. The other annoying thing is the berths, there was a German ship “AIDA’ shadowing us and in every common port it had the in town berth when one was available and we got the container terminal. This happened even when the advertised Oceania berth was in town. Is all this Norwegian cost cutting a little at a time? I also note that the level benefits are being downgraded next year. In a way that is good news for me because the loyalty program did have me captive to an extent so I now feel less trapped. About to try Viking for the first time and maybe not the last. Have already tried Ponant and although it is a very different product being “expedition” yachts of 200 pax it has overcome finding new places to cruise given i have exhausted the Oceania network. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary (Panama Canal). We’ve heard great things about the R ships because of the size and we thought we’d do a comparison with the O ships as we have sailed with the Riviera last year. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary (Panama Canal). We’ve heard great things about the R ships because of the size and we thought we’d do a comparison with the O ships as we have sailed with the Riviera last year. Insignia is too tired and could use a lot of makeover. Paint peeling, rusting, carpets buckling, smelly, you get the picture... We chose a penthouse suite because we needed a little bit more room. The bed is very comfortable and very nice. The bathroom could use some work too. We had a bathtub/shower combo and I don’t know how a person taller than me could comfortably take a shower. I’m 5’3 and barely had the shower above my head. Bulgari amenities were nice which is the standard for the suite. Dining is of course excellent in which Oceania prides themselves. There were only two specialty restaurants (Toscana and Polo) on Insignia compared to Riviera which has four. But to be fair, the grand dining room features specialties from the Red Ginger and Jacques often enough that we didn’t miss those. Afternoon tea is always divine but watch that you don’t spoil your appetite for dinner. It’s so easy to do with those scrumptious treats! Entertainment is sorely lacking on this cruise. The guest singers were okay. The guest comedian, Fred Klett was good. The Insignia production show artists/singers were awful! One couple got up in the middle of the show and muttered “their singing is dreadful!” which I agreed. They’ve been better off having karaoke singers as they could have been better. In fairness, the Smile String Quartet and the Insignia Band were excellent. Except when they accompany the Insignia singers who drown out their music with the singers’ caterwauling. There is enough activities on board like bridge lessons and lectures which my husband enjoyed. There was a lame line dancing lesson. Trivia and bingo also. And of course, there’s a beautiful library on board that has beautiful and comfortable sofas and lounges to read and snooze and relax. Spa on board has various services offered at a very expensive premium price. It’s no wonder, they were never busy. There’s a separate steam room, showers and locker rooms for ladies and gents. It would have been nice to have a sauna. There’s also a nice fitness room with various machines and weights and have some free group exercise classes in the morning. And of course, there’s the usual up sell on personal training, coaching and nutrition training. The service on board is excellent which is expected for an upscale cruise line. Although we sometimes felt like those who were not part of the Around The World cruisers were the after thought. There were about 195 ATW cruisers on board and this ship fully catered to them. I guess, you have to follow where the $ is. We didn’t do shire excursions through Oceania as they were overpriced. My husband and I hired a van with another couple to take us around in Acapulco, Cartagena and grand Cayman and did our own thing. We spent a total of $150 for all tours which is the equivalent of one shore tour per person if we did it through Oceania. Disembarkation was a little messy for my liking compared to embarkation which was a breeze. But then again, a lot of people (ATW cruisers) were already on board and everyone had to disembark in Miami which was the end of the tour. Would I go on Insignia again? Probably not. I like the Riviera ship better because it has more to offer. Bigger staterooms, bigger hallway, bigger elevator, ones that can fit more than 4 people. But if Oceania continues to improve or maintain their cuisine and service level, we will continue to sail with them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet I would do this again considering the very high prices they charge for wine. Food in all the restaurants and buffet was outstanding, and service was excellent, except for my cabin attendant who had to be reminded to do things. I really like the size of the old 'R ships', but the cabins, although in good repair, are way too small. While the ship had no dance or zumba lessons, the five piece band was outstanding, and there were usually five or six couples dancing each evening. Another high point was the wonderful bridge lessons taught by Harold; a very gifted teacher, and there was almost bridge play at several levels each afternoon. The internet was far-faster than any other ship we were on. There were never any lines for the restaurants or the tendering. There were some negatives besides the tiny concierge cabin. This was the last stage of the around the world cruise; avoid booking any segment of an around-the world- cruise; you'll be a second class citizen. Some of the staff seemed 'burned out' and exhausted. While the Panama Canal is excellent, the other ports are quite bad. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Alumni group, canal transit, fairly good destinations. However, we purposefully left behind our personal computers and electrical outlet adaptors because the ADVERTISEMENT said 120 outlets and a personal computer would be provided, along ... Read More
Alumni group, canal transit, fairly good destinations. However, we purposefully left behind our personal computers and electrical outlet adaptors because the ADVERTISEMENT said 120 outlets and a personal computer would be provided, along with FREE internet. The actuality of the situation was that this boat was built in ITALY, and half the outlets were the standard Italian recessed oval double plug outlets!! The "free" internet service was the ABSOLUTE WORST I've ever had on a cruise, but, of course, there was an 'upgrade' provided for a cost, of course, of course, of course!! The 'provided' laptop was an old one with the speed of a 2088 operating system, and even the internet guy on board said he never advises anyone to use the provided computers!!! Although the suite was very nice, It was small compared to others I've had at the same level of service and price. Most of the staff were friendly, but some were very rude, especially those at the Waves grill taking orders!!! An occasional guest was rude, and when I reported one or two, I got nowhere with the staff. Most of the staff spoke good English, but there was the occasional staff who could basically understand nothing I asked. Overall, an OK cruise, but overstated or frankly false claims about the quality of service provided!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Positives: Beautiful, functional ship, and gorgeous suite. Outstanding dining options--6 restaurants to rotate among for dinner. Meals, with a couple notable exceptions, were excellent. Beautiful dining rooms, and very fine service from ... Read More
Positives: Beautiful, functional ship, and gorgeous suite. Outstanding dining options--6 restaurants to rotate among for dinner. Meals, with a couple notable exceptions, were excellent. Beautiful dining rooms, and very fine service from dining room staff, room stewards, butler. Wonderful guest lecturer gave 8 afternoon talks (mostly on days at sea) all related to our ports and destinations. A woman from Panama gave great narration as we traversed the canal. We liked the pool and pool area and used it often, especially on our warm and sunny sea days. Waves pool restaurant (hamburgers and sandwiches etc; also breakfast items and ice cream station) was heavily used and I believe enjoyed by everyone. Warning: in the Terrace buffet, the grilled-to-order grilled food was very good, but the buffet food was sometimes lukewarm and not appetizing. Great fresh fruit selection in the AM though! And we liked sitting outside aft when eating at the Terrace. Overall, we thought the ship ambiance was ideal. Note; we did not see guests, with very few exceptions, under age 60. Zero children. We are in our 60's so that was fine for us; but be cautious about booking if you are younger. Cons: People in destination services were not helpful, nor friendly. If you hadn't booked a ship excursion, they had no interest in helping. They had no knowledge of ports. No help at all for those who wanted to explore on our own. We were disappointed in that. Nightly entertainment: some good to excellent, some poor to mediocre. Regarding the piano bar, house band, pop band, etc., times listed in the ship newspaper were often not accurate--we showed up and they didn't. Also, events would be announced (like a band playing in the afternoon at the pool) that just did not happen, with no explanation. Whoever manages these events is evidently not detail-oriented. Another minor beef: the cookies were uniformly awful--and we spoke with other guests who agreed with us. Decent-tasting cookies are not hard to bake! There were two showers by the pool. One was scalding hot and the other freezing cold--go figure. Not adjustable. So we could not shower before/after pool use. Regarding tender ports: the ship gave priority for tenders to guests with ship-purchased excursions. Nevertheless we were granted tender access quickly each time--lucky? The tender boats themselves are awful--hot, crowded and uncomfortable. We had an embarkation problem. Our key passes were not ready for us--don't know why. We were delayed 20 minutes while a staff member went onboard to get the keycards. Then they were the wrong color (designating what type of room you have) so we had to get them redone. Minor annoyance, but not a good start. My con paragraph above is longer than my pro paragraph, but that is just because i went into more detail on the cons, to warn folks about the negatives. But the pros easily outweighed the cons; overall, we enjoyed the trip. The suite, meals, and butler service were SO good. We will sail the Marina again, and in fact already have another voyage reserved. (Roughly 5% discount by booking onboard.) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Primarily chose this cruise because we wanted the Panama Canal crossing. Food was overall good. Disappointed that French Onion soup was never served. The main dining room is also Jacques as there is insufficient space for 4 ... Read More
Primarily chose this cruise because we wanted the Panama Canal crossing. Food was overall good. Disappointed that French Onion soup was never served. The main dining room is also Jacques as there is insufficient space for 4 specialty restaurants. However, main or Grand dining room is never open when in port. C'est la vie. Service in the main dining room was erratic. Sometimes excellent; sometimes terrible. C'est la vie. Terrace Cafe was very good but a smaller selection than Marina/Riviera (crab legs are gone - C'est la vie). Red Ginger was excellent - sea bass portion was consistently smaller. Tuscan Steak House was excellent. Pretty much the same menu as Marina/Riviera. Terrace cafe seemed to have significantly less staff to help those that couldn't manage carrying their own dinner plate. Lobster tails, lamb chops, steak, etc still served at the grill. as well as make your own pasta. Cabin (balcony) was adequate - but just felt like I needed more elbow room. Entertainers were good but the main lounge doesn't really have a stage and it limits the type of production show they can perform. Also visibility is generally not good as it's not stadium type seating. Overall, we had a good time.....but I personally much preferred the Marina/Riviera. I've sailed Oceania 5 times and only once on the smaller ships. I'll only do their smaller ships if desperate. As you might expect, there's considerably less shops due to the lack of space. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose this cruise line because if it's sister company Regent who we have been with before and loved. Decided to have a change but it was a mistake. No less expensive taking everything into account that we spent and definitely a star ... Read More
Chose this cruise line because if it's sister company Regent who we have been with before and loved. Decided to have a change but it was a mistake. No less expensive taking everything into account that we spent and definitely a star grade less. Ship was full and felt very overcrowded. Also oldest age profile of pax We have ever cruised with and their lack of mobility was a factor in several things like shore excursions! Many times (at least 50%) couldn't get a table for dinner and had to wait 20/25 mins. This made us late for showtime and couldn't get a seat there either, so very disappointing. Shows better than expected. Shore excursions extremely expensive, not sure who is making the money but probably Oceania. Booking a tender berth in Cayman a disaster! Five other huge ships in that day I.e. 19,000 pax available to disembark. Overall fairly enjoyable but wouldn't go with Oceania again. Old ship and not geared up to open seating dining and showtime, you need to pick one of their newer ships. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose this cruise for itinerary + the Iowa State Alumni group. We arrived at the Los Angeles Port at 6:30 pm after a cross country flight and 1 hour 15 min transfer. It was rather dark, one man met the shuttle saying, "it's ... Read More
Chose this cruise for itinerary + the Iowa State Alumni group. We arrived at the Los Angeles Port at 6:30 pm after a cross country flight and 1 hour 15 min transfer. It was rather dark, one man met the shuttle saying, "it's late and everyone has gone home, you'll have to handle all your own luggage, no carts available" and pointed to a door. It didn't get better, no smiles or information! Fortunately from that beginning, the rest of the experience was wonderful!! We enjoyed all restaurants, had 2 reservations for Toscana and Polo Grill (outstanding service and cuisine choices), The Terrace restaurant was great for all meals plus the outside provided wonderful views. We had an issue 2 hot items that were cold the first few days, let them know via written comment, the next day it was resolved! (even a apology from the head chef!) Loved that we had NO formal nights! Entertainment was very good for the size ship, Activities plentiful. Service excellent. Ports of call mixed, shore excursions very expensive. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We had always wanted to experience the Panama Canal, and had been very satisfied with our previous cruise on the Oceania Marina. The Regatta is the smallest ship we've ever cruised, and we had an Aft Cabin (8069), so we were a little ... Read More
We had always wanted to experience the Panama Canal, and had been very satisfied with our previous cruise on the Oceania Marina. The Regatta is the smallest ship we've ever cruised, and we had an Aft Cabin (8069), so we were a little apprehensive. I didn't know what to expect in terms of embarkation, as the cruise was sold out. However, we walked directly up to the counter, did our paperwork, and were on the ship within 10 minutes. As this is a smaller ship, we expected smaller accommodations, so we weren't surprised, or disappointed. They were about what we had expected. We really enjoyed the Aft balcony, as it seems that we had a more panaramic view than normal. Cabin attendants were very friendly, and provided excellent service. As we had learned from our first Oceania cruise (2016), the food is absolutely superb! We had high expectations, and were not disappointed. The food, and staff, in the dining room, Terrace Cafe, and both specialty restaurants were exceptional. Entertainment and Activities aboard the ship were about average. We had a large contingent of Iowa State alumni on the cruise, so the daily Trivia contest was competitive (though not the "blood sport" described by our personable Cruise Director). My wife was excited to learn a couple of magic tricks from the comedian/magician. We arranged our own shore excursions, and really enjoyed touring Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, and Colombia. Guatemala and Nicaragua were not what I would consider tourist destinations, but worth the trip, and educational. Overall, this was another excellent vacation. My wife and I are experienced cruisers, and will look at Oceania itineraries first in the future. Two things that set them apart (in my opinion): the food is incredible, and the fact that I can bring beer aboard from all of the ports allows me to sample all of the local beers from the comfort of my balcony. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We travelled the pacific visiting Hawaiian & Polynesian Islands in January 2017. The communal areas of the ship are of excellent standard, most are very grand & opulent. We had a veranda cabin which was comfortable but very dark in ... Read More
We travelled the pacific visiting Hawaiian & Polynesian Islands in January 2017. The communal areas of the ship are of excellent standard, most are very grand & opulent. We had a veranda cabin which was comfortable but very dark in design and could be a bit gloomy. The Shower/bathroom was the smallest I have ever seen in my life and the fittings were of poor quality - a plastic shower curtain for goodness sake!!! Meals were usually of an excellent standard although we did have a couple of poor quality meals. The service in the Grand dining room was mostly very slow. It wasn't unusual to wait 20mins before a Sommelier took our drinks order but once food & drink were ordered, the service improved. The tours offered were expensive, so we booked 2 local tours from the UK prior to our trip & the rest we took from the many tour operators/taxis usually situated just at the docking point. The ship is quite small - only 650 passengers and we feel it was too small to cope with the rough waters of the pacific at this time of year. A great deal of passengers and crew suffered motion sickness and this didn't really improve during sailing times. Our lasting memory of this holiday wasn't the wonderful places we visited but the abysmal service we received pre and post cruise. Pre - we were provided a room at the Westin (LA) and firstly we weren't told there was a complimentary breakfast on the 1st floor and paid $50 for breakfast, then the transfers to the ship were totally dis-organised. We were told to wait in reception at 10am but didn't actually arrive on board until 3.30 pm, it was a shambles. Post - we had to disembark at 8am and our check-in luggage was sent straight to the airport. We were taken by bus with our hand luggage to City Hall where Oceania had a provided a room for us with only hard back chairs, water & soft drinks, nowhere to safely store luggage and only a toilet & hand basin. Our flight was at 10.30pm!! That's 14.5 hours without proper facilities!! Any 4 or 5 star hotel would provide a courtesy room to enable guests to shower & change before their flight. It was extremely hot & humid, we were lucky we had booked a hotel a couple of days prior so that we could at least rest, use the pool and shower before our flight. Oceania did offer us the use of a day pass at a local hotel but at the exorbitant cost of £258. We will not be using Oceania again & would not recommend. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose this particular cruise for the destination ports of call - Hawaii and the French Polynesian Islands. Trip of a lifetime and a celebration of a big birthday for my husband. * Poor entertainment considering so many days spent at ... Read More
Chose this particular cruise for the destination ports of call - Hawaii and the French Polynesian Islands. Trip of a lifetime and a celebration of a big birthday for my husband. * Poor entertainment considering so many days spent at sea * Eye wateringly expensive on shore tours * Really expensive drinks - $28 for two glasses of wine! * Complicated and frustrating wifi system - if you can access it at all! * No swimming pool - just a plunge pool * Passengers literally fighting over sunbeds. Seriously! There just weren't enough. * It took is 48 hours to travel home due to the appalling travel itinerary from Oceania - It was all about the cost with no thought whatsoever to comfort of their clients. We felt that the Sirena was too small a ship to sail the South Pacific. The weather was rough for several days, the ship tossed about quite a bit, resulting in many passengers suffering sea sickness. On the plus side the staff were fantastic and the food was excellent. Neither of these however made up for the disappointment of the overall Oceania cruise experience. We were promised a 5* cruise and were badly let down. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We sailed from Los Angeles on 2 cruises back to back to Hawaii and to the French Polynesia. This was our first cruise on Oceania and it will be the only cruise line that we will be sailing on in the future. The ship was an older ship ... Read More
We sailed from Los Angeles on 2 cruises back to back to Hawaii and to the French Polynesia. This was our first cruise on Oceania and it will be the only cruise line that we will be sailing on in the future. The ship was an older ship that was refurbished, so the bathrooms are quite small, which didn't matter to us. The bedding and linens are very comfortable and we never have slept so good. The public rooms are very grande and nicely decorated. The officer were very personable from the Master Captain down to the restaurant workers. They knew our first and last names. Even the crew members that worked in the restaurants, bars and in the cabins were very pleasant and always had a smile on their faces. The food was fabulous and delicious. I could probably count on one hand on a dish that I didn't like basically because it had bell peppers in it, which is not my preference. We ate mostly at the buffet for breakfast and dinner so I could see what I wanted to eat and we didn't need to wait for the 7 courses at the fine dining rooms. We did dine in the grande dinning room and the specialty restaurants and the food and service was impeccable. Also, the times for dining in every restaurant are posted daily in the Current Flyer so you can eat at whatever time you wanted to and with whom you wanted to dine with. If the restaurants were closed you do have 24 hour room service with no extra charges. The drinks are pricy but they do have happy hours posted each day for buy one and get one free at Martinis and the Horizons. Not having the drink package made me not drink as much. There is a small pool and 2 hot tubs. There are lounge chairs around the pool and fresh pool towels. On the sailing days, we did have trouble getting lounge chairs people would put their belongings on the lounge chairs and leave for the day, which the cruise staff asked you not to do. We enjoyed the massages on Canyan Ranch and then used the Thalasso Spa, Steam room and showers. Both Embarkation and Debarkation was a simple process. We paid for the transfer from the airport on embarkation day and we had no problems. We also paid for a day room at the Le Meridian on debarkation day, which gave us another full day in Tahiti. Our luggage was picked up outside our cabin the night before and then we claimed the luggage at the airport the next evening. Remember to pack your daily needs in your carry on bag. We are early risers and early to bed, so we did not attend any of the shows. We did not book any shore excursions, except for the transfers and day room at the end of the cruise. We are adventurous and went about on our own exploring every island. Now that we are home, we do miss being on the ship. But we do have something to look forward to is our next cruise that is already booked on the Marina. This cruise was worth every penny (thousands) we paid. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
We left LA on January 4th. I was somewhat concerned about the Sirena as many reviews were not very positive in one way or another. The ship was beautifully appointed, as was our Penthouse room. Granted smaller than the PH3 on the ... Read More
We left LA on January 4th. I was somewhat concerned about the Sirena as many reviews were not very positive in one way or another. The ship was beautifully appointed, as was our Penthouse room. Granted smaller than the PH3 on the Marina. I packed a different outfit for the 21 days including purses, shoes and jewelry. We actually had two empty drawers once we were unpacked. Shower over bath tub: I don't take a bath typically on a cruise and appreciated the larger shower. We ate in every venue. 8 specialty restaurants and room service from Red Ginger. We managed to snag a window seat for two during or meals Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the Grand Dining Room. We enjoyed Jacque's Bistro on Sea Days....loved the Salad Nicoise. We upgraded our drink package...which allowed us to pair wines and champs with our meals. Service outstanding..... in every venue. Our Butler Ashok was the best in all our voyages. Attention to detail...Elegant, thoughtful and well spoken. We ate most Breakfasts in our room. Always served on time and delivered with a smile by Ashok. I became very ill on the ship. The medical service was excellent and my Ship Dr.... arranged for me to see the neurologist in Honolulu. Ashok was aware of my issue and again very thoughtful to be sure that I had everything I needed. Caroline and Christian who assisted Ashok were all very detail oriented. Caroline always a smile and good wishes. Enrichment, I started with Bridge as a beginner. On the third day I was too ill to continue...but much to my surprise the ship offered art classes. I have enjoyed the Art Classes on every Marina voyage. My husband joined me as well. We did enjoy 5 excursions. Value based. We booked a back to back on the Marina in the summer. We love Oceania Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The length, West Coast Departure and Xmas and New Year. The public areas of the ship were nicely appointed but the showroom is a flat level and one can not see the feet of the dancers from about a few rows back. One is obliged to view the ... Read More
The length, West Coast Departure and Xmas and New Year. The public areas of the ship were nicely appointed but the showroom is a flat level and one can not see the feet of the dancers from about a few rows back. One is obliged to view the presentations on a large screen TV's that are located at the front of the showroom. Dining was very average and the menus were mostly in French and Italian. During the two weeks, we felt that the Menu except for the last night was repeated again. The two specialty restaurants were all show and fluff. The lobster portions were bit size. There was no turkey, ham and/or trimmings to be had on Xmas day.The goose served instead was not appealing or tasteful. As to entertainment, the acts were very dated. A male singer in one production show sang two complete songs off key. The hot tub was not even bath water temperature. If one wanted hot water the shower in one's cabin was the place to go. On rough sea days the very deep pool over flowed onto the decks. The water overflow was not moped up and became a hazard. The best musical group on board was a classical string quartet from Poland. The best asset of the ship is it's crew. However, many of them are originating from the former Soviet bloc countries and they have a mindset of they are right and y'all are wrong. We personally witnessed and heard waiters from the east bloc counties arguing with passengers at two separate times. One over the temperature of tea water in the Red Ginger. Our worst experience was over a Champagne bottle which upon opening exploded and spayed approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of the bottle into the air and the waiter from Serbia told me to kiss off when I asked for a replacement and then that was followed by his supervisor from Brasil when I complained to him. Weather wise fog in the first two ports of call. Cold days at sea and high waves in Cabo MX Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
To fulfill a bucket list item for me (to be on a ship during the holidays); we booked this cruise. We were also anxious, as Oceania fans, to try Sirena. The ship is wonderful; much like the other R ships. Most of the PH3 suites are on ... Read More
To fulfill a bucket list item for me (to be on a ship during the holidays); we booked this cruise. We were also anxious, as Oceania fans, to try Sirena. The ship is wonderful; much like the other R ships. Most of the PH3 suites are on the floor below Waves Grill and the Terrace Cafe. The noise (of the workers) late at night and in the wee morning hours was bothersome to us. The suite itself was lovely. The TV seems too small for the room and it has terrible sound. We found the food quite good but not quite up to what we have experienced before. We were not as impressed with Red Ginger or the new Tuscan Steak (supposedly a combination of Toscana and Polo Grill) as previously. Nice touches include a large walk-in shower; a nightlight in the bathroom; and a magnifying mirror at the vanity/desk. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our third Oceania Cruise, our previous two being on Regatta to Alaska. We chose Oceania this time due to an excellent experience on Regatta last July. I will be concise here as compared to my previous reviews. Overall I would ... Read More
This was our third Oceania Cruise, our previous two being on Regatta to Alaska. We chose Oceania this time due to an excellent experience on Regatta last July. I will be concise here as compared to my previous reviews. Overall I would rank this cruise a B+ on the school grading scale. 1) The Ship/Cabin: We never sailed the Sirena when she was a Princess ship, but the $50 million dollar upgrade looks well spent. Hard to believe it was a 17 year old ship. She is beautiful: New and better furniture, marble public Bathrooms. computer screens in the elevators. Nearly a carbon copy of Regatta, but quite a bit newer feeling. Beds and linens brand new. Still need to get used to the small cabins on R-ships, but the public areas are immaculate. 2) Dining: We may not be a good source for this. We ate exclusively @ the Terrace Cafe with a couple stops @ Waves Grill. I was told that the table service at the Grand Dining Room was quite long (slow). We typically eat dinner early (5-6 pm) so we decided not to wait. That being said, the Terrace was excellent with a great assortment of food cooked to perfection. The new Tapas selections were particularly wonderful. Waves was just okay; nothing spectacular. Reminded me of an upscale Dennys. Fries were great however. We unfortunately did not reserve any specialty restaurants, and were going to wing it on board. Very difficult to get a seating this way as both restaurants were fully booked by the 3rd day of a 10 day cruise. I am sure if we pressed, we could have gotten a seating, but my wife was satisfied with just eating at the Terrace. Frankly, I was just as happy. After 25 cruises on several lines, in our experience, nothing compares to the food quality on Oceania in terms of buffets. It is astoundingly good. Most of the dishes in the Dining Room were served here as well, but it was warm and ready to eat instantly @ 630pm when Terrace opens. Rarely a crowd here for dinner. 3) Service: As always, Oceania excels in this department. No problems whatsoever. As we do eat early, out room stewardess and steward were right on the ball making up our room spotlessly in record time. Excellent. Bar Service and Terrace service were equally excellent. 4) Ports: We have done the Mexican Riviera many times, so nothing new here, except for La Paz which was really nice. If you go, check out the Whale Museum in the heart of the Melancon. We also went to their local Anthropology Museum and had a nice guided tour. We did somewhat boring excursions in Cabo and Ensenada. Ensenada has great wines in case you did not know. 5) Entertainment: The Activities Staff did wonderful with a somewhat grouchy crowd. The String Quartet and House Band were great. We listened to the quartet extensively. They are amazing. Afternoon Tea was also excellent, with the Quartet being the centerpiece. We missed most shows as we are early crashers Casino staff were wonderful. My wife actually won. The Enrichment lecturer was quite good and very professional. Overall Expression: Sirena is not quite up to the par of Regatta, or perhaps the other O-ships. 90% excellent, but it was the little things. Something was lacking. The Cappuccino machines were sometimes malfunctioning or not being maintained. Towels were sometimes not available in the bathrooms. A public toilet or two was not flushable, as was ours once (they fixed it immediately). Water and soft drinks would be available for bingo, but no glasses (once). The bingo machine died halfway through the cruise. One of the early morning cleaning guys had significantly bad B.O. and he would clean the library while I was reading and leave a NASTY presence. I was not sure how to address that, but clearly the Hotel manager should do so or at least notice. Little things kept reminding me of a certain lack of attention to detail. Christmas cookies would be out along some displays, but the next morning empty plates and a disastrous spread of cookies was sitting there way too long. Little things like that. Even Dottie, the cruise director, wasn't as bubbly and nice as previously. Our fellow passengers consisted of a large number of whiners and complainers which sort of put a damper on our experience. The demographic on this particular cruise was a bit older than I expected. There was only one child on board. Don't get me wrong; we had a GREAT cruise, but not the best cruise. Still, we got what we wanted: a nice relaxing 10 days off to relax, to do nothing and to overeat some outstanding food. We were well pampered and well satisfied. Sirena is only 6 months into her life as an O ship. Still working out the bugs I suspect. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My mom and I were on the December 11, 10-day "Coast to Canyons" cruise on the Sirena. We traveled as part of a larger group. Other than a transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2, Oceania is the highest-end cruise line either of ... Read More
My mom and I were on the December 11, 10-day "Coast to Canyons" cruise on the Sirena. We traveled as part of a larger group. Other than a transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2, Oceania is the highest-end cruise line either of us had been on. I was a bit nervous coming into the cruise, having read some negative reviews of the ship. However, overall it was one of the best cruises I've been on, especially for the food. Embarkation and Debarkation: The Sirena was by far the smallest cruise ship I've ever been on—Holland America's Maasdam was the smallest until now. With only 599 passengers to board, and no other ship at the Port of Los Angeles on our first or last day, getting on and off the ship was incredibly easy. It took barely 20 minutes from the time our group was called on the last morning to having our luggage and waiting for the bus home. The Ship: Sirena was incredibly easy to get around. You could walk from one end of the ship to the other in just a few minutes. One night we had dinner at Tuscan Steak on the 10th deck and didn't finish until 9:20, and we were down the elevator and across to the Sirena Lounge on the 5th deck just after 9:30 and in time for the show. Our cabin, Stateroom 6017, was right above the Sirena Lounge but we never heard any noise from there, even during one of the production shows. I also didn't notice any signs of wear and tear with the furnishings. All the chairs were very comfortable, though I would suggest having chairs that are slightly less heavy in the Sirena Lounge to make it easier to arrange them for trivia. The boutiques were small but we made good use of all our shipboard credit. I was surprised that they don't sell bottles of liquor in the boutiques to take home. The Cabin: Ok, this is the one big issue I had. The cabins were just too small. I knew going in the bathroom would be tiny, and it was. And I know that Oceania couldn't do anything about the cabin size. However, it was still a huge shock to open the door and see how little room there was to move about. I lost count of how many times I walked into the beds or makeup table. We did have enough space for all our belongings, by using every drawer and hanger available to us. We also used the laundry facilities once, and they would be a must on a longer cruise. But the beds were incredibly comfortable, and our cabin attendant Zin and her assistant were fantastic. We also appreciated having a minibar. The Passengers: Befitting the higher cost compared to most ships that sail out of Southern California, the passengers on the Sirena were largely older. I'm 43 and was probably in the bottom 10 percent in terms of age. There was one little girl traveling with her grandparents, but no other children. We had a good mix of different cruising experiences, from Carnival through Seabourn. People were by and large very friendly and dressed nicely for dinner. I still can't figure out what country club casual is, though. The Food and Drink: The food on the Sirena was easily the best part of the cruise. There were a few items we didn't like as much—my mom was disappointed by her monkfish in the GDR one night, as was I with the roast chicken, and our entrees at Tuscan Steak were overdone—but those were rare missteps. It's too hard to list all the highlights, but some of the best meals and dishes we had were the miso seabass at Red Ginger, all the breakfast pastries in the GDR and Terrace Café, the ice cream at lunch and dinner, the veal Bolognese in the GDR, and the omelettes. And I must give a specific shout out to the holiday cookies they started putting out midway through the cruise. The cocktails and wine by the glass selection were also very good, though we weren't able to get Moscow Mules in the Horizons Lounge one night because they had already run out of ginger beer. My favorite drink wound up being a sparkling wine cocktail, the Hugo. The Activities and Entertainment: I do wish there had been more activities on port days, especially because these are ports that the heavily West Coast crowd had likely visited numerous times. Morning trivia would be nice, or perhaps other choices beyond putting, shuffleboard, bean bag toss, and spa seminars. I did enjoy the lectures we attended on sea days. The bright side was I got a lot of reading done on the port days where we didn't take excursions. The nighttime entertainment was very good and high quality. My mom enjoyed being able to understand the production show singers, and Dale Kristien was excellent. After a two-hour dinner and show, we were too tired to go up to the Horizon Lounge, so I can't speak to that. The Excursions: We took three excursions, one each in La Paz, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. I liked the La Paz tour, which mostly took us around the city, and the Puerto Vallarta excursion, which included a tour and tasting of a tequila factory. However, the Mazatlan excursion was disappointing. It was an hour shorter than scheduled, and the guide did not make it clear when we were in the Gold Zone. Also, both the Mazatlan and PV tours included long stops in jewelry stores. I would expect a little better from Oceania. The Service: Next to the food, this was the best part of the cruise. It helped to have 400 crew members to 599 passengers. The staff was always very helpful without ever being obtrusive. I loved not being asked over and over again if I'd like something to drink. The staff at the Terrace Café was always on top of things. I thought being served at the buffet might be inefficient but it worked great. A special nod to Valentina, who was always really kind and helpful, and very generous with desserts. The Value: I have never been on a cruise before, excluding a riverboat, where so much was included. No charge for coffee drinks, or for lobster, or for ice cream. It's hard to judge how much we saved compared to sailing on Princess or Carnival or Celebrity, because I wouldn't have indulged like this on those ships. However, given the level of service and all that's included, I think Oceania is a much better value than I anticipated. I don't know when the opportunity to sail with them again might arise but I would certainly consider it. Overall, I would give the Oceania Sirena very high marks but perhaps wouldn't mind trying an Oceania ship with larger cabins next time. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Oceania Sirena Baja California – Mexico Cruise December 11-21 2016 Why this cruise? We are experienced cruisers with 34 ocean and 3 river cruises over the past 17 years, enjoying ... Read More
Oceania Sirena Baja California – Mexico Cruise December 11-21 2016 Why this cruise? We are experienced cruisers with 34 ocean and 3 river cruises over the past 17 years, enjoying Crystal, Oceania, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Commodore, Azamara, Princess and Holland America ships, as well as Viking, Avalon and Ama Waterways river boats. We have always enjoyed the “small ship” cruises we have done on Azamara Quest as well as Oceania’s Insignia and Nautilus. We do not particularly enjoy the pre-Christmas commercial rush and noise, so this seemed like a good opportunity for a relaxing time. Getting there and Embarkation. We considered driving from our home in Phoenix to a Long Beach CA hotel and leaving our car there until our return. We did this on our first cruise with Carnival in 1999, but finally decided that since we could avoid the crowds and confusion of LAX by flying directly into the Long Beach Airport on Sunday morning, we would do that. This airport is quite small and easy to navigate, and had only one other flight on the ground; so this proved to be a good way to go. The timing was virtually perfect and we went through the embarkation process at the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal in a few minutes. While waiting for the elevator upon boarding, we were pleased to hear that our deck’s staterooms were ready and available so we dropped our carry on belongings off, went to the buffet for lunch and then proceeded to the beautiful library on deck 10 to pick up some reading material. Since Sirena has only been sailing since the spring, the book selection was very up to date. Our Stateroom. The eight identical Renaissance ships; named without much imagination as Renaissance I through Renaissance VIII; were built between 1998 and 2001. So they all suffer from the somewhat dated design ideas of 20 years ago. This means that the “standard” verandah cabin is rather small, 204 square feet including 34 square feet of verandah. The Penthouse suite has 332 square feet which includes 66 square feet of verandah. We had chosen this suite for our initial cruise from Manaus out the Amazon to Barbados on Insignia, and been upgraded by Oceania to this class on a Mediterranean cruise. Our third Oceania trip was in a standard Verandah class, but since this seemed cramped we opted for the larger suite on Azamara Quest, (an identical Renaissance ship), in 2015, and chose it again for this trip. Our stateroom was 8010. The prime motif was dark wood, with light grey textured walls, a large mirror on one wall, and a nice, modern painting above the sofa. The desk arrangement was convenient, and next to it was the decent sized sofa. There were two arm chairs and a small table, probably adequate for room service (which we never use on any cruise). The verandah was good sized with two adjustable cane arm chairs that could be fitted with a padded seat and back cushion. There was a small table and a faux teak deck. The bed had two gooseneck directed focused reading lamps as well as normal wall lamps. These focused lamps made reading in bed very easy. The desk held a good sized laptop with internet service, which due to our suite status and prior sailing record, was free. I normally used the available computers in the Oceania @Sea computer room on Deck 9, since I like a mouse. We also enjoyed the full glass wall with the door leading out to the verandah, as it provided nice light all day. The bathroom had a full sized, obviously new shower, with both a rain shower head, a hand held spray head and a towel rack holding huge bath towels in addition to the normal sized bath towels and other towels on racks in the bathroom. There was a single sink, but cabinets and drawers on both sides providing all the room needed for toiletries. The closet was good sized with an easily sufficient number of nice quality clothes hangers provided. As usual on board ship, there was more than enough drawer space for all we brought aboard. The additional room provided in a suite meant that the stateroom was easy to navigate and well designed for relaxation. We liked Oceania’s layout better than the jazzy new design for these suites that we experienced on Azamara Quest on our cruise to Norway in July 2015. We had the prototype of this suite, and this meant that it was visited by the company CEO to show to a group of travel agents on our full day in port in Edinburgh prior to sailing. But the Azamara version has an open space between the closet and the desk, which is located all the way over to the verandah wall. This means that there is no sofa. In addition, the Azamara cabin chairs were less comfortable. In short, we think Oceania’s Penthouse suite on the ships is a good idea for a more comfortable journey with some nice amenities. However, if one really wants a great ship’s cabin experience the penthouse suites on Oceania’s Marina and Riviera, with more than 400 square feet, are a most delightful way to sail away. The ship itself. Sirena was launched as Renaissance IV in 1999, purchased by Princess Cruises and sailed as Ocean Princess for that line until bought by Oceania in 2015. Its “maiden sailing” for this line was in April 2017. The refurbishing done in connection with this acquisition shows up in many ways. Virtually all the furniture is new, as are some of the bathrooms, such as ours. The carpeting is new and the art work along the corridors and stairwells also, reflecting a very nice taste in non-objective art (if you like this art, as we do). Apparently the poolside decking was replaced also, as it looked very new and attractive. There were one or two blemishes or “dings” in two of the elevator doors, but we don’t know if these occurred before or after refurbishment. The essential layout of the ship remained the same, of course with its handy concept of “eat aft” and “enjoy forward”. The one exception to this rule was that the daily tea was served in the delightful Horizon Room, forward on Deck 10. This site offers excellent views, forward, port and starboard from comfortable seats, with a small dance floor in the center. It is used for some daytime activities and ship sponsored gatherings, as well as late night music and dancing. The center section of Deck 10 is open to the pool below, with a walking deck leading aft. This is where you find the two specialty restaurants, Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger, as well as the most attractive small library at sea. Deck 9 has the buffet aft, the pool area and the Spa and Gym forward. Decks 8, 7 and 6 are all cabins, with the bridge, forward of course, on Deck 8. Deck 5 has the show lounge forward, the casino, shops, the main bar, “Martinis” an “Upper Hall” seating area and the main dining room aft. Deck 4 has cabins and the Reception Desk, Destination Services and the Concierge, as well as the Medical Center. There are a few cabins on Deck 3 as well as the tender exits. Generally speaking the ship was well taken care of, with crew members frequently in evidence maintaining furnishings and ensuring cleanliness. All in all, Sirena is a compact, nicely designed, easily navigated and attractive vessel. Dining and such. Oceania has a well deserved reputation for providing a quality dining experience. Our personal favorite remains Crystal, and to be fair, we have not sailed on Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn or Silverseas ships. But Oceania comes in as our second favorite dining cruise line. It should be noted that Marina and Riviera, with four rather than two specialty restaurants, are a cut above the other four Oceania Renaissance class dining venues. Oceania does not have any added charges for its specialty restaurants and I believe that this is true for the other three high end cruise lines referenced above. All of the other major cruise lines have a range of extra charges for food venues beyond the main dining rooms and buffets. Sirena offers 5 dining options in four locations. This arises from the creation of “Jacques’ Bistro” as a separate lunch option in the main dining room. We tried it once and it was quite nice with an orientation to French food as might be expected in a restaurant named after Oceania’s cuisine supervisor, Jacques Pepin. The buffet offered a pleasant dinner option having the tables set up with linen table cloths and nice tableware. I have mentioned the specialty restaurants on Deck 10; Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger. The menu for the latter is Asian fusion, while the former, as one might expect from the name, features beef and Italian dishes. Without going into detail about our meals, it is enough to say that we were very satisfied. If Crystal scores 97 out of 100, and Marina 95, Sirena would reach 93. The range of ships in the Celebrity line would make it a little more difficult to reach an exact rating, but we think the probable score would be around 90. Azamara would come in about the same level, although, like Celebrity, it has additional charges for its specialty restaurants. We especially loved Red Ginger, dining there three times. We did not visit Tuscan Steak since we are not into that style of food. We did hear that the service there was not that great, that they tried to sell ordinary lobster tails as “Maine Lobster” but that the small filet mignon was great according to one diner. The main dining room has one level, and is a trifle noisy. The staff worked hard and was very pleasant, with no glitches in delivery. Open seating is the rule everywhere, and we used both the option to dine by ourselves or with others with no problem. Since the dining rooms open at 6:30 each night, there were lines at that time, but the maître d’ handled the rush very well. The menu selection was good with very little duplication of choices over 10 days. As noted, we ate at Red Ginger three nights. We loved this venue on our two Marina cruises, and were not disappointed here. The hostess; Alina, I believe, was charming and efficient, and the overall service level very high. The décor is very attractive and the venue quieter than the main dining room, with just enough bustle and activity to make it a charming experience. We ate one luncheon at Jacques’ Bistro, where the menu is fashioned after a Paris bistro, and thought that this was a great idea with a small but excellent menu and equally fine service. It was not too crowded, but probably draws enough patronage to justify its continued place in the dining firmament. We ate every breakfast and most lunches at the buffet. The “small ship” limitations was evident here in that the size of the service area was limited and that limits the extent of the menu. Despite this, the food was generally extremely good, and the selection broad enough for most tastes. The selection of fruit for breakfast was as large and good as on any ship. The service here was occasionally spotty. Edith liked to order cappuccino for her breakfast coffee, and sometimes delivery was slow. It should be noted that the tableware in all venues was first class. The dining room featured Rosenthal Versace dishes, and all other venues used well designed ware from Schoenwald. This is “hotel” china, and not porcelain of course, but I used to sell fine china in a school job long ago at a classy Georgetown D.C. store, and have kept my love of good tableware ever since. The glass ware and utensils were of equal quality. One other change from our prior Oceania experiences was the switching of the small bar next to the main dining room to a Barista serving cappuccinos, lattes etc. all day long without charge. Since this location is on Deck 5, fairly close to the main bar, Martinis, it made sense to skip the duplication and provide a new and pleasant choice. Entertainment. There were four forms of entertainment aboard. A pleasant lady offered some good lectures on sea days, all connected with Mexico and our ports. Martinis has a pianist “in residence” providing appropriate cocktail lounge music. There was a string quartet from Eastern Europe playing largely classical music in the evening in the Upper Hall near the boutiques on Deck 5, and every day at 4:00 in the Horizon Lounge for afternoon tea. They were enjoyable. Then there were the main shows every evening in the Sirena Lounge on Deck 5. The problem affecting these shows is that the lounge has two levels of flat floor, so most of the seats are directly behind other seats, limiting the view somewhat. This did not make a lot of difference for the solo singer, nor I would guess, the comedian whose shows we skipped. But it did limit views of the “production shows” and I would think, the magician, who we also chose not to see. The other issue we had was the schedule. There was only on show each night, and that was at 9:30. This was simply very late for us, and we were often tired, especially after shore visits. We thought that the production shows, with three singers and three dancers were entertaining in a simplistic way; about par for the cruise ship course. The solo singer, Dale Kristien, had been the lead female singer in the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera as well as the original Los Angeles production; and performed it over 1700 times. She was very good, and had a nice selection of songs. We don’t enjoy comedians, and as noted, were simply too tired at 9:30 for the magician, despite that fact that I enjoy these acts. Overall we found the entertainment about what you expect on a small ship. Only Crystal seems to have its act entirely together as far as entertainment and enrichment go, even though their ships are not exactly huge, Crystal Symphony carrying slightly less and Crystal Serenity slightly more than 1000 passengers. The crew. By and large their performance was exemplary. Our cabin attendant, Carolina and her assistant had our cabin made up every morning by the time we returned from breakfast. Our butler, Dorian, was efficient and helpful, although we did not use him very much and could have done without the $14.00 daily gratuity. We really did not need the 5:00 P.M. daily serving of peanuts, and could have managed the reservation at Red Ginger ourselves. All the rest of the staff was usually smiling and friendly. We were told by the Captain that while there were 14 different nations represented by the 599 person passenger complement, the 400 crew members came from 46 different countries. There were a few minor language difficulties, but all needed communications were accomplished. The Itinerary. This was not the most adventuresome trip we have done, but had enough places of interest to be enjoyable. Our initial sailing was “26 Miles Across the Bay” to Santa Catalina Island, where we had never been before. We took a local bus ride with a somewhat strange driver, but still enjoyed this unique place and the cozy little town of Avalon with its plethora of four passenger golf carts. Cabo San Lucas was a partial tour failure. This was not a ships tour, and we did reach Todos Santos up the Pacific Coast for an abbreviated excursion. We received partial reimbursement. La Paz on the Sea of Cortez side was about 11 miles from where we docked, but again a free shuttle was provided. We spent an hour or so there, and the waterfront with its Malecon is attractive. Our private tour into the hills outside Matzalan was very worthwhile. This city has grown a lot, and the north waterfront area has a wide range of newer hotels, condos and apartments. The interior was more typical of rural Mexico, and we enjoyed walking in on a three baby baptismal ceremony in a local church. Since many of the relatives were using their cell phone cameras, we felt comfortable in using ours. Another church in our final destination, Copala, was built in 1565, and still dramatic. There was another tour mix-up in Puerto Vallarta. But we did arrange a short tour downtown, with a full refund of our pre-paid charge. Since it was a Sunday, many stores were closed, but once again, the stunning growth of this area in the 16 years since our first visit was remarkable. Summary. This was largely an enjoyable trip. One very pleasing facet of the small ship experience is the higher degree of contact with your fellow passengers. If you are cruising on a 5000 passenger Royal Caribbean monster, and have dinner with a nice couple, the odds that you will ever run into them again are miniscule. On a 600 passenger ship you will probably see them at the buffet, a show, or tea or in a boutique some other day. This makes for a friendly and cheerful atmosphere. We also noted that almost all our fellow passengers were very experienced cruisers. While most were from the United States, there was a contingent, as always, from Canada, and some from Australia, as well as Europe. We were mostly senior citizens, and while Oceania does not have a children’s program, there were two young – about 10-12 years old – persons aboard, and they seemed to be doing fine. We would recommend Sirena for any cruise up to 21 days. Beyond that its size limitations might make the sailing grow a little tiring and boring. But it is a first class ship and rates very highly among our cruising favorites. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Chose Oceania because of friends recommendation , in filling out registration, we made the HUGE mistake of missing part that they wouldn't accept U.S. passport card even though completely valid on this particular cruise. Sadly, travel ... Read More
Chose Oceania because of friends recommendation , in filling out registration, we made the HUGE mistake of missing part that they wouldn't accept U.S. passport card even though completely valid on this particular cruise. Sadly, travel documents to be reviewed before cruise came 3 days into cruise, sent overnight by Oceania,hmm. They wouldn't let us board ,so we had our passport books overnighted and met up with ship in Ensenada. When being turned down in LA ,the person who was rude ,indifferent ,cold, uncaring, absolutely unapologetic to our dilemma turns out was ships officer in charge of...Customer relations! When on board ,no attempt to say a "Glad you made it! " or even a welcome. The rest of cruise after that was OK at best. The crew/help seemed overworked,trying to keep a smile .The port stops were way to short,the ship was boring, too small. Oceania is trying to cram too much in a cruise to seem as good as the higher end lines, but in doing so fail to give that great cruise feeling we had from previous cruises. Lesson learned , spend the extra money and be hating to disembark instead of having a feeling you did not get what you paid for! Never say never unless you're talking about cruising on Oceania! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
I wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal so we booked the Insignia. It is an older ship but is well accommodated and refurbished recently. We enjoyed the cruise. The only negative was the internet. It was supposed to be free for the ... Read More
I wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal so we booked the Insignia. It is an older ship but is well accommodated and refurbished recently. We enjoyed the cruise. The only negative was the internet. It was supposed to be free for the concierge level but was only 500 min. and when you use it it doesn't work at all well. It takes forever to get on and then you have trouble signing off . This happened 3 times. I could not get my ipad to work without going the the internet room. I have never had this problem on my previous cruises. they need to fix their system. the Panama Canal was very interesting and there was a good speaker about it and several tv shows on the history. I would have liked more speakers about the area we were sailing in and more bridge games on sea days. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My Husband and I learned about Oceania Cruise Line last year while taken a tour of this Ship, we fell in love with it right a way. The entire ship is decorated in the old World décor, no glitter or anything supper modern. It really ... Read More
My Husband and I learned about Oceania Cruise Line last year while taken a tour of this Ship, we fell in love with it right a way. The entire ship is decorated in the old World décor, no glitter or anything supper modern. It really looks like a ship from the old days, wood paneling, even a couple of fire places(elect). This cruise was a 180 days around the World cruise, we took the last part of this cruise from LA, CA. to Miami, Fl. We booked this cruise through the Panama Canal and enjoyed every minute that we were on board. The Ships Company is doing everything to please you and they are making sure that you are happy. From the Captain to our Stateroom Attendant Victoria everyone is very friendly and go above beyond their duties to please you. Our Cabin was very comfortable and we really enjoyed sitting on the Balcony. If we wanted to we could have had breakfast, lunch or dinner out there, however we preferred to go to the fantail of the ship at the Terrace Café and have our breakfast there. With the wind and sun and seeing the scenery go by it was the best relaxing breakfast we had in a very long time. The food was excellent in all the areas where food was served including the 2 specialty restaurants, Polo Grill and Toscana Restaurant. People who had been on board for the 180 days all had nothing but praises for Ship and Crew and no one including us wanted to leave the ship and its Company. Insignia is a smaller type ship , it can go to places the larger vessels cannot go. We are looking forward to sailing again with this Ship or any of the other ships that are owned by Oceania owns. Thanks Oceania for a fantastic time keep up the good work until we meet again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete ... Read More
I would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete stop three different times and the crazy Captain that would sail through horrible storms. For 3.5 days we had 10-12 ft. seas, all people sick and one woman fell and broke her shoulder in 2 places. A gentelman had to be medevac because of his pacemaker during high seas, that was a sight to behold. The ports of call were sad, the good ones were the large towns. Oceana prides itself on using smaller ships so they can get into out of the way places, well that is not always good. We paid for 5 excursions and only one was worthwhile, the one in Cartagena, Colombia. The excursion to a nut farm in Guatemala was so terrible. We had to change busses 4 times because of flat tires. We had to walk about 500ft. in pouring rain through an uneven surface. There were hadicapped persons who got stuck in the mud of the trail. It was aweful. When we got to the building we did not see nut production we were pushed to buy Macademia oil and assorted products. This was not a free excursion, we paid to be abused. Sailing through the Panama Canal was great, but the rest of the cruise was below average. I would not do it again with this cruise line. Disembarkation was not a problem, the only problem was guests who would not follow directions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a ... Read More
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a round-the-world cruise. We heard various statistics, but it appeared that there were 40-100 more people on board than the ship was equipped to handle. One indication of this was the life-boat drill: presumably half the ship was assigned to each of two muster stations. Our station, the Insignia Lounge, was also the site of the evening entertainment and appeared to have insufficient seating for even half the passengers. I am not questioning Oceania’s commitment to safety, only their commitment to the comfort and enjoyment of their passengers. Cabin My husband and I enjoyed 8005, a PH3 Cabin, as it was convenient for him to walk up one flight to the outdoor smoking lounge. To call this a “Penthouse Suite”, however, is a misnomer, as it was neither a penthouse nor a suite, just a nice veranda cabin. The balcony was a bit small, and one of us found the bed very uncomfortable, even after the addition of a bed board (or some other form of support). The design of the bathtub-shower combination was a bit treacherous for the old(er) and clumsy and made my sister-in-law grateful for their inside cabin, with its simple shower stall. The best thing about the cabin was our butler, Mishar, who solved numerous problems and facilitated countless arrangements for us. Itinerary and Tours San Diego We are residents of San Diego County and naturally biased. The ship docks in a location convenient to shopping and sight-seeing, as well as The Midway Museum. If you’re not going further afield, to the zoo, for example, a Pedicab is highly recommended. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico We stayed on board until an evening dinner cruise (booked through a website), which started an hour after we were told to be on the pier. It was probably more fun for the 20- and 30-somethings, as they listened to loud music and downed truly atrocious Margaritas, but we did get a nice photo out of it, the four of us and the Arches. Huatulco, Mexico We’d been curious about this area for a long time, as it had the same genesis as Cancun: a computer analysis of statistics for a favorable tourist development. Huatulco, with its five bays, was geographically large enough that it was not possible to get an impression of the whole area in one partial day. It was green and scenically lovely, however, and did not appear to have suffered the same over-building and saturation of name-brand night spots as Cancun. Two of us did the ship’s scenic drive and shopping tour, as it seemed to offer the best opportunity for finding Zapotec rugs. Indeed, we were impressed with the quality and the prices and bought two! Good tour, highly recommended. Only sorry we couldn’t have worked in some snorkeling also. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Some passengers went to Antigua (three hours total on the bus), but we preferred to save this lovely city for another trip. One of us was thrilled to know that we were the same distance from Guatemala City, site of a major pre-Columbian museum. The other of us spent hours looking for a private tour company to take us there, only to find that said museum was closed on Monday, the day our ship called. There was a lovely shopping area around the port, however, complete with countless vendors of Guatemalan weavings, a jade museum and store, and a waterfront restaurant with delicious nachos and Guatemalan beer and rum. It was one of our nicer days on the cruise, and we were pleased we hadn’t succumbed to a tour, particularly as subsequent shopping opportunities were more limited than we had predicted. Porto Cortino, Nicaragua One of the ship’s tours mentioned a pre-Columbian museum, Museo Chorotega, 15 miles away in Chinandega. Knowing that my husband would want more time there than any group tour would allow, I found a private company, Julio Tours Nicaragua mailto:info@juliotoursnicaragua.com.ni. Julio’s response was immediate, and planning was easy. Our driver and guide, Miguel, could not have been better. He was informative and articulate and very pleasant company. The museum was small but a real treasure, as it contained over 1000 examples of pottery from the area, dating back to 2,000 BC. A young local man narrated each display, and Miguel translated, and my husband was delighted. He wass so pleased with the museum that he asked to make a donation. There was an elementary school next door to the museum, and Miguel arranged for my sister-in-law and me to visit two classrooms (while our husbands watched a baseball game on the playground). The kids were delightful and had a good time laughing at my poor Spanish. For us, this was a highlight of the whole cruise. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at El Convento in Leon and headed back to the ship, after a return trip to the restaurant when Miguel was notified that I’d left my credit card. In any case, we would not have had time to visit the art gallery, the third stop on our itinerary, because of time spent at the museum and school, a good trade, in my opinion. The ship’s tour had done the itinerary in reverse and never made it to the museum, let alone the school! I shudder to think what we would have missed, had we not booked a private tour with someone who respected our priorities. Nicaragua appeared to be the poorest country we visited, but it had some of the nicest people. Depending on the season, be prepared for a lot of dust. There’s no crop rotation on the peanut farms, and the air can be almost saturated with grit from the bare fields. Puntarenas, Costa Rica An enlightening but frustrating first visit to this country, which provided a stark contrast to the rest of Central America, at least the parts we saw. I was especially struck by the pristine, very modern highways, overpasses, and signage. We elected the ship’s river cruise, as our limited time in port precluded a private tour. The river was pleasant, but overall the tour was disappointing, as we were on the road too long for too little, and local shops were closed when we returned. One of my husband’s smoking buddies wondered off the ship with his family, encountered a friendly cab drive, and spent an incredible and memorable day being up close and personal with animals in the national park, for a whole $100. I had read a similar report on Cruise Critic, and I wish we’d elected that option. Cartagena, Columbia There was another pre-Columbian (Gold) Museum, so I had requested a private tour with Marelvy Peña marelvy@gmail.com. Marelvy herself was already booked, but our guide, Katty, was delightful. Her English was excellent, and we had a wonderful visit to La Popa (where we met Marelvy, herself), and the San Felipe Fortress, as well as the old city, with plenty of time to shop and ogle the gold. For my husband and me, it was probably the best day of the cruise. Some passengers had the impression that Cartagena was dangerous, and this was reinforced by the ship’s warnings regarding what not to do. I can only say that the old city reminded both of us of New Orleans, and we felt equally safe there. At our request, Katty took us to a local place for lunch (delicious). Chile was playing Argentina for the America’s Cup Championship, and the lunch crowd was equally divided between the two teams and two different T.V.’s. During our subsequent walk, Katty would continually duck into a shop or bar to report, “The score is still tied, 0-0”. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and while not usually a soccer fan, I confess to being relieved to have the outcome of the game reported on the ship (Katty was rooting for Chile, and they won). In a closet-sized hardware store, so small that Katty had never noticed it, we were able to find the duct tape our brother-in-law needed to complete “Ocean Blue”; the tape was my husband’s and my sole contribution to “our” entry in the ship’s boat building contest. Both of us agree: Cartagena is not to be missed. We also highly recommend Marelvy’s operation and our guide Katty. Key West, Florida Sadly, our final port of call was cancelled, due to weather. We had 21-foot waves the night we left Cartagena, and adverse conditions continued for much of the next two days. Miami, Florida My husband and I were faced with the prospect of nearly 12 hours between disembarkation and our flight home. Oceania had insisted that there were no arrangements for tours or transportation ending at the airport. This turned out to be false, as the agent knew, but “We don’t kow what we’ll be able to offer, and we don’t want you to count on it and be disappointed”. The existence of these arrangements was not revealed until a day or two before disembarkation. They would not have met our needs, as they appeared to involve transportation changes and handling our own luggage, but Oceania lost points for this. In any case, I discovered a company called Tours by Locals and booked a Greater Miami Tour with Steven Bridges. Steven was knowledgeable and engaging, and our time with him passed very quickly. We learned a lot we never knew about Miami and had a comfortable and enjoyable tour. Dining I was told that Oceania has the best food at sea. I would have to agree, with one caveat: It is difficult to enjoy the best food at sea if dining venues are over-crowded, noisy, and offering poor service. A word about the specialty restaurants: These are free, with dining opportunities available according to one’s cabin category. Unlike on many ships, the Italian venue, Toscana, was outstanding, with excellent food and the best service, whereas The Polo Grill steak house was somewhat disappointing. Our group concluded that we would rather be assessed a surcharge for the specialty restaurants and have more opportunities available. The Terrace was a mixed bag for me, as I hate buffets. As these go, however, the Terrace at least had excellent food, and on our last evening I managed to grab an outside table on the railing, and an agreement from my husband that it would not be too warm outside the A/C, and four of us enjoyed a lovely dinner. The Grand Dining Room – Surprisingly, the food was often as good as in the Specialty Restaurants. I had enjoyed Dover Sole twice in Toscana and ordered it out of curiosity the night it was featured in the Grand. Amazingly, it was equally good. It was here that the noise and service were really objectionable, however. There is leisurely dining, and there is just sitting around and waiting in a noisy room, and the Grand was in the latter category. Unfortunately, the same was somewhat true of the Polo Grill, though to a lesser extent in Tuscany. In none of these venues should it have taken two and one half hours to complete a meal, which was always the case. This meant that if you were at the Grand when it opened at 6:30, you did not finish in time for the evening’s one show, which usually started at 8:30. Service hours should be extended in all venues (including the bars), and consideration should be given to scheduling more than one show per evening. Entertainment Who knows? Seriously, see above. Even when we would rush to make a show, there would be no seats left. See above. I was able to hear a few minutes of the guest tenor’s program, which I enjoyed immensely. Enrichment We were blessed to have a well informed and entertaining former newsman as a lecturer. His illustrated talks on the Panama Canal and Central American politics were a highlight of the cruise for us. My sister-in-law greatly enjoyed her art classes, and there were also opportunities for photography addicts. Daily Trivia games were both entertaining and enriching and provided the opportunity to meet congenial fellow passengers. Drinking The two of us had purchased the premium liquor package, which meant we could order wine and spirits by the glass, throughout the ship. In this case, I was glad to be paying for a package, as my in-laws do not drink and would have found it very unfair to be paying for my consumption. Otherwise, I would rather pay a higher cruise fare and have cocktails and wine included. The package option undoubtedly saved us money, but it was hardly seamless, as one still had to present one’s cruise card --or rather, two cruise cards in our case, precluding the opportunity for my husband to return with drinks for both of us, spontaneously, after one of his smoking trips --, and the time needed to process the “transaction” in the Grand was overly long. As more knowledgeable cruisers might know, one doesn’t try to order cocktails at the table before dinner; otherwise you can end up with a pissy sommelier and a vodka martini that arrives after the pate and caviar appetizer is long gone. It’s better to carry your cocktail in. I also sometimes wondered if sommeliers were slow to refill my wineglass because I wasn’t paying for each pour. I don’t really believe that however. There were just too many passengers for the staff, including the sommeliers; the ship was short-handed, though personnel denied this. As to venues, The Waves Bar closed too early (6:30); Martini’s was too crowded for relaxed before-dinner cocktails, and the Grand Bar was a coffee venue until 6:30, when the dining room opened, an example of poor planning in my opinion. That left Horizon’s, which seemed too out of the way and was not my husband’s favorite smoking venue. Before closing, I must commend the bartenders for their memory and cheerfulness. One sommelier was also particularly attentive and helpful, though he was trying to serve too many people. I cannot say enough good things about our butler; the cabin attendants were cheerful and helpful for the most part but rather clueless when it came to trying to clean while we were trying to pack. Overall, neither my husband nor I were sorry we took this cruise, though he’s said it may be his last on Oceania. Interestingly, several previous Oceania passengers were complaining that Insignia is the worst Oceania ship and that this cruise was worse than others on Insignia. It was not what they had come to expect from Oceania. For a luxury cruise, I too expected a bit more. As my sister-in-law reminded me, she and my brother-in-law could have done essentially the same itinerary on another line for less than half what they paid. Personally, we might still have elected to pay more for the smaller ship size and more congenial fellow passengers, but we might also have thought twice about it. I am famous among friends for saying that the worst cruise is better than no cruise. There have been two cruises that have caused me to question the wisdom of that statement, but this was not one of them. Unlike some passengers, I was not eager to get off the ship, but I had found myself asking, “Are we having fun yet?”. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Our trip was advertised as a Daylight Transit Panama Canal trip. All was going well until Jan 1st 2015 when we were to go through the locks of the Panama Canal. We were suppose to go through the lock at 8:30 ish. Everyone was up early ... Read More
Our trip was advertised as a Daylight Transit Panama Canal trip. All was going well until Jan 1st 2015 when we were to go through the locks of the Panama Canal. We were suppose to go through the lock at 8:30 ish. Everyone was up early and ready to go through the first of the 3 locks. We waited and waited and waited and waited. Nothing happening....no announcements!! Finally we were told there was a problem and that we wouldn't be going through until several hours later. Apparently, the pilot who was suppose to be there and guide the ship through the locks did not show up. (we are guessing that he or she overslept after partying too much on New Years Eve). We lost our position for going through the locks and waited an inordinate amount of time. Then the anchor got stuck. When all was said and done, we only got to see one lock in the daytime. Disappointing?....you betcha!!! Then....we had to reroute due to bad weather. We were told a plethora of different things. We were going to skip Columbia...then we were going to Columbia for a few hours....then we were overnighting it in Columbia. The information was very sporadic and unclear. Meanwhile...the weather was atrocious and many people were sick, vomiting, unsteady etc. Instead of providing anti-nausea meds, they were selling it in the boutique. The nerve!!! (until we got back on after Columbia) We paid to see the Panama Canal during the daytime. What occured was not an act of God...it was a human error!!! When returning from our trip and dealing with customer service...their attitude was "too bad...so sad" The most they were willing to do was reimburse us a measly $400 a piece. That is hardly satisfactory due to a trip of this cost or caliper, nor does it make up for missing something that we will never ever see. The people I dealt with were nasty, attacking, uncaring and had no intention of doing anything to keep the customer satisfied. They were argumentative and disinterested in trying to appease me. And, I have found out that only the people who complained received the money. So....the cruise line was great. The staff was wonderful. The food was high quality....but the higher ups have no qualities that we would consider redeemable. They should be ashamed, embarrassed and really look into doing the right things to keep customers satisfied and returning.. Many, many people on this trip will never sail on Oceania again. Most unfortunate!! Read Less
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