This was my fourth and last cruise on Oceania; although we said that after our third Oceania cruise. We are seniors and don't move quickly ourselves, but the number of people on walkers, using canes and oxygen tents and in ... Read More
This was my fourth and last cruise on Oceania; although we said that after our third Oceania cruise. We are seniors and don't move quickly ourselves, but the number of people on walkers, using canes and oxygen tents and in wheelchairs can cause frustration onboard as many don't feel the need to allow others to pass. Instead they spread out across the hallway, preventing people from passing. It is even more frustrating during shore excursions waiting for the nearly disabled to get on and off busses. Most of us will reach that point in our lives and I'm sorry to be mean, but at that point, it would be considerate to do private tours instead of group excursions. And, seriously, just like driving, if you're slow, stay to the right so others can pass you on the left.
It is generally acknowledged by repeat customers that Oceania's weakness is the shore excursion. So often, especially in poor countries, the transportation is unsatisfactory; that is, too small with filthy upholstery. Too many people with bad knees, bad backs, etc. all vying for the few comfortable seats on a bus that was built by the Japanese for Japanese, not for fat Americans or tall people. The trip to Bois Cotlette in Domica (and back) was actually painful! The bus was way too small for "gordos Americanos," not to mention the tall people. Oceania needs to check out the transportation and include these facts in their Description before people spend their money on a three-hour cruise that turned into four hours, two of which were physically painful due to the size and configuration of the bus. Oh -- have an older person review the bus, not a young, lithe, healthy 20-year-old.
The food is touted as "the finest at sea." That might be the case, the food is very good.
Prices have increased quite a bit. I paid $15 for a Wine Tasting in 2012. In 2018, we paid $75 per person. Bottles of Heineken have gone from $5 in 2011 to $7.50 today. Looking at my Scrapbooks from 2011, 2012, 2016 and now: There has been a steady decline in the quality of the Champagne that is in our suite upon arrival as well as in the number and selection of "welcome treats." From six to five to four.
This is the first time we encountered a Sommelier who kept trying to upsell us. I wanted a single glass of Reisling for a single dish. Somehow, he convinced us to buy the bottle. As a rule, neither my husband nor I like Reisling. It took us three days to finish it off, because we don't like it. At the same time, that same Sommelier convinced us to sign up for the wine tasting at $75 pp. Then, at lunch another day, I wanted a single glass of red wine to go with a steak. Same Sommelier once again tried to get me to buy a bottle. I told him "Please don't try to upsell me. I'm still trying to finish off that bottle of Reisling we didn't want."
The other Sommeliers didn't do that BUT on two or maybe even three separate occasions, the Sommeliers did forget to give my husband the 15% discount to which he was entitled. He had bought a liquor package for himself. It included certain drinks for free (but not all drinks, so beware) plus 15% off bottles of wines. On two occasions, the Sommelier forgot the discount and my husband signed without looking. I'd see the receipt the next day and then Hubby would have to go to Reception to have obtain a credit for the "forgotten" discount. Made us wonder if they haven't put the Sommeliers on commission; you know, salary + commission.
I've been to the Canyon Ranch Spa-at-Sea twice during four cruises. Had an issue the first time; don't remember what it was. But this time it was a "hair appointment gone terribly wrong." What my hairdresser does in two hours (highlights, lowlights and a cut) took three hours at Canyon Ranch!
I didn't get highlights and lowlights; I left completely blonde which is not what I had asked for when I made the appointment or when I arrived or at any time during the appointment.
The young female hairdresser wouldn't cut my hair short. "Short." "Around the ears short." Finally, "What part of short, around-the-ears-short, do you not understand?" So she whacked off a piece of what was by then dry hair and it stuck out of the side of my head! I panicked and asked for the manager who immediately handed me off to Thalmo who finished the job, and had me out of the chair in 15 minutes. Not exactly the cut I wanted, but close enough. He had to work with what the other hairdresser started.
The Spa totally overcharged me, as the Manager later admitted. I was initially charged for "roots" and "all over" color. Aren't roots part of "all over?" Especially when the hair is very short.
Here is what I later learned: At-sea spas use their at-sea spas as a training ground. So you're paying for the Canyon Ranch Spa name -- paying A LOT for that name -- BUT you're often getting a trainee and should, therefore, be paying "beauty college" prices. What a rip off!!!!
I highly recommend you stay out of the Canyon Ranch Spa which has no incentive to make things right. They have a captive audience. The Concierge for Oceania responded to our mid-cruise Survey. He addressed Oceania-related concerns and assured me that the manager from the spa would contact me my spa-related concern(s). Every time I saw him I'd say "Carlos, I haven't heard from the spa." I finally told him that she'll never call because she knows she's wrong but has no incentive to make their customers happy because Oceania has guaranteed their business survivability. Finally, the spa manager left a message telling me that I had been over-charged and she was making a partial refund. Because that appointment ran so long, we missed the Captain's Welcome Dinner. (Carlos the Concierge stayed on top of this. Kudos to Carlos.)
My husband and I enjoy a cocktail or two before dinner. We like to get dressed, go to Tea and then go to a bar and sip drinks and relax. For the first time aboard Oceania, we found it difficult to do so. We went into Martinis one evening and the Cruise Director was on a microphone calling out Trivial Pursuit questions. He invited us to play but we didn't want to play; we wanted to sit at a bar, drink, maybe chat, maybe listen to piano music. Instead, we had one bar and left.
Another bar is now being used for cornholing; or "Baggo," as they call it. Seriously, they are now using two bars for games. And there aren't that many bars on board the ship as it is. Richard Branson will be launching a new cruise line soon which boasts "over 20 eating and drinking venues." If only.
This cruise included free laundry. My black t-shirt was returned covered in blonde hairs. (The hairs might be mine, but didn't the shirt get laundered?) Hubby sent his sport coat to be pressed. It came back. When he finally opened the plastic and put the jacket on, the back was all wrinkled. Looked as if they didn't press it. Embarassing to wear it that way, it was that bad.
The dress code needs to be enforced. OMG, the number of men (both young and way old enough to know better) who wore ballcaps while sitting at a dinner table was totally unacceptable on this most recent cruise. Enforce "country club casual" at Tea. Include a reminder in brochures that men should not wear hats at tables. (How sad is that that we're no longer taught etiquette?) We've said this for awhile. Either enforce "country club casual" or give it up.
Oceania has jumped on the "no straws" kick. I went ashore, hitched a ride to a mercado and bought my own box of straws. I get the problem with plastic straws; so, use paper straws. One simply cannot drink from a Hurricane glass without a straw. I think enough people complained, they started providing straws after a few days, at least for drinks in Hurricane glasses. Common sense, folks. If you try to finish a drink that is in a Hurricane glass, and you don't have a straw, the drink is going to end up all over the drinker!
The food is excellent, the service very good. (Not perfect, but very good.) I like Oceania but next cruise will have to be on a line with a more diverse clientele; not so many old people. It's both depressing and frustrating.
The apparent lack of accountability with the Canyon Ranch Spa is an issue for me. If they are hosting newbies, prices for services provided by newbies should reflect the newbie's lack of experience. Make them "specials." Be honest; be ethical. But why would they? Unlike most businesses, Canyon Ranch Spa-at-Sea has been guaranteed survivability.
Bars need to be freed up so passengers can use the bars for drinking!
Oceania definitely needs to do a better job of describing the transportation used by the Shore Excursion companies. After all, they cater to an older clientele, so this is much more critical than it is with cruise lines that have a younger clientele. Read Less