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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
WE decided on this ship because we wanted something not too big and not too small. WE were 3 people cruising as they has the buy 2 get one child free. It was my mom and my 13 year old daughter. We chose a veranda suite concierge level. ... Read More
WE decided on this ship because we wanted something not too big and not too small. WE were 3 people cruising as they has the buy 2 get one child free. It was my mom and my 13 year old daughter. We chose a veranda suite concierge level. At first we thought the cabin was small, but grew to love it. Amenities were fine, towels and linens fabulous, and the veranda perfect. The crew was amazing! Super friendly, always smiling, tripping over themselves to help/ Our cabin steward was so attentive, always anticipating our needs. He knew our schedule and was in and out while we were gone. The food!! OMG I can't understand any bad food reviews. We are a culinary family, in the food biz. The meals were outstanding in all the restairants and the buffet was wonderful too. The Grand dining room was beautiful and the wait staff was extremely well trained and professional. They learned our names and preferences very quickly and always had smiles on their faces. They seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. One delicious, well presented meal after another. Perfectly seasoned and hot if it was supposed to be and well chilled if that was the appropriate. The entertainment was what you'd expect. Most;y, the cruise director Corey stole the show. He was so fun. My suggestion here is to lower the volume. Goodness, it was so so loud several people had their fingers in their ears. I did not understand the need for an evening dedicated to the LGBTQ community though. I don't like any groups being singled out like that. WE did not take advantage of any shore excursions as we tend to go it on our own, takinga bus or cab out of the pert to explore. But other travelers seemed thrilled with theirs. The public rooms were always near empty..giving us the feeling that we had the whole place to ourselves. We spent most of our time in Horizons, but also would sit for a cappuccino in the various other public spaces. Very elegant and beautiful. The artwork on this ship id fabulous. Whoever picked the artists to showcase did an amazing job. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the pieces. One negative for us was the cruise Ambassador..the woman helping you book future cruised. I was excited to talk to her about bookibg a trip for me and my husband this fall but she was dismissive, un-helpful and unfriendly. She pretty much just handed me a brochure and told me to look at it. Thanks a lot, there was one in my cabin already. I did not book with her. Other than that, the service was exceptional, the food divine and the crew just fantastic. Loved the cruise, can't wait to see Regatta again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
On March 21, 2012, I received the news that no person ever wants to hear . . . "You have cancer!" Thus began my journey up through today toward recover from breast cancer. And what a journey it has been! In the past six ... Read More
On March 21, 2012, I received the news that no person ever wants to hear . . . "You have cancer!" Thus began my journey up through today toward recover from breast cancer. And what a journey it has been! In the past six years, I have endured more than ten operations and procedures relating to my breast cancer plus a total knee replacement of both knees! Couple all that with my husband’s paraplegia from three spinal surgeries and you can then understand why our recent “Glistening Glaciers” cruise to Alaska aboard Oceania Cruises Regatta (September 7–17, 2018) was so special and very important to us. The cruise was a realization of a dream and the completion of a long held wanderlust. We boarded the ship in Seattle after flying in from our home in Miami, Florida. We settled into Penthouse Suite 8065 (which showed signs of wear and tear) and were soon greeted by our butler. What a delight! Throughout the voyage, our butler attended to our needs, our wishes, and our desires! Bravo and thanks to him for making the voyage extra special! The veranda afforded us stunning views and phenomenal photographic opportunities! Compliments are also extended to the entire crew for a mostly lovely experience and pleasant journey. The afternoon tea was charming and the treats delicious, the martini bar tastings were fun and laughter filled, the grand dining room staff and food was delightful though nothing truly special. The specialty restaurant menues were sumptuous but had limited options! The library was cozy and well stocked, the Illy coffee bar was amazing, and all the entertainment was energetic but a tad amaturish! The scenery was a visual and sensual delight! The air was crisp and we were continually amazed by the splendors as we effortlessly glided past! What a boon to our collective spirits! The beauty of nature was in full display and we were ecstatic! It was disappointing, however, that the closest we got to any glaciers was seven miles! I expected more than a long distance view! There were, unfortunately and disappointingly, several aspects of our cruise greatly in need of improvement or enhancement. TOURS: My husband and I each purchased the Unlimited Passport Collection at a cost of $659.00 per person. It was stated in the brochure that this would result in a savings of up to 40% off the ala carte prices. It didn’t! Why? Because many of the “tours” we selected were not worth leaving the ship to experience! I didn’t want to over tax myself or my husband with activities that were too strenuous, but riding the Hoonah tram through a “forest” was a joke! We simply rode a muddy path along the shore! The Saxman Village tour featured a 15 year old who mumbled his memorized speech and got lost when someone interrupted with a question! Most of the tour bus drives were from other states and were in Alaska for only 3-6 months. They learned their speeches from the same guide books that I had read! Not impressive aat all! The “High Tea” at The Empress Hotel was abysmal! It was a rushed affair. We were grouped with people from the ship by the hostess. We were not even given china tea pots but prefilled stainless steel tea pots! No choice of teas was offered! Not at all a high tea. Not worth $199.00 per person! When I complained, I was told that that was what our “package” consisted of! I have been to The Empress for high tea and it was never like this! These Oceania sanctioned and promoted tours were beyond disappointing! SHIP BOARD LECTURES: Who hired some of these folks? I knew more about Alaska than one young guy who struggled all through his “lecture”! He knew almost nothing! Same with the jewelry presentation, a waste of time! MEIDCAL CENTER: Surprise! Don’t ask for anything! They don’t have it or won’t give it! My wrist was hurting and we were near the medical center and stopped in to ask for an Ace bandage to wrap it up. I was told that they weren’t available to give out. So I asked for an ice pack and was told that they didn’t have any! That they just put some ice in a bag when needed! Outrageous! Also, the hours of operation were ridiculously short! SPA: This was very disappointing as I had thought to spend the majority of my free time at this location! I attended a “lecture” on reflexology but could barely understand the young man’s heavy accent. Regardless, 4 of us were crammed into a treatment room for the talk and it was quite unnerving and uncomfortable. FLIGHTS: Who was the masochist that arranged this flight schedule? We traveled for over 8 hours pre cruise as well as nearly 12 hours post cruise! Our landing and connecting gates in Houston was nearly a mile apart and due to a delay, we had only 10 minutes to get there! Were it not for a transporter that we begged for help, we would have missed our flight! Not a pleasant way to end a supposed trip of a lifetime. I realize that I am but one voice, and that my comments and opinions carry little weight. However, I felt it compelled to compliment and commend even if I also had to conversely complain and condemn. I sent these same comments to Oceania. They responded that they didn't often get complaints from passangers but wished us well and hoped to see us on a future cruise! Translation, they did not care! Go for the scenery, but don't expect too much more! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 4th cruise with OCEANIA. Both types of ships have advantages. Marina and riviera have more specialty restaurants. Regatta is more familiar, but on waves a little bit less stable as the bigger ships. Always very good service ... Read More
Our 4th cruise with OCEANIA. Both types of ships have advantages. Marina and riviera have more specialty restaurants. Regatta is more familiar, but on waves a little bit less stable as the bigger ships. Always very good service and fantastic food. The ports of call more interesting than expected ( after having done similar cruise 10 years ago with Celebrity). Itinerary overall very good. You can explore a lot of things by yourselves. The ship should undergo a refurbishment in some parts. ( will be done 2019) Rooms and bathrooms are small but ok. The new Barista coffee bar is fantastic for an espresso and small bites. The quality of the shows are a little bit better on the bigger ships, but overall very good. Comedian was useless. We did not use casino or the loudly offered bingo games. The fitness center was good equipped, but no one looked for the guests. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
First time on Oceania. Found the food to be the best I've had on non-luxury lines. Usually never eat dinner in the buffet, but they had much the same offerings as the dining room, so we found ourselves there more and more. ... Read More
First time on Oceania. Found the food to be the best I've had on non-luxury lines. Usually never eat dinner in the buffet, but they had much the same offerings as the dining room, so we found ourselves there more and more. It's a nice touch as you can try lots of things. It's pretty popular, so if you need a table for four or six, you may be hard pressed to get a table on arrival. The staff were excellent. We were frequently referred to by name and felt very well taken care of. I thought the ship was in very good shape although it is time for a decor change as will happen in 2019. Small showers, but I'll manage with that to be on a smaller ship and have a more personalized experience. We caught the first magician show and ended up leaving early. A little too hokey and underwhelming for us. Personal preference. I'm sure some people loved him. Production shows were good. All in all it was an excellent cruise and I will definitely consider Oceania for my future cruising! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because of our prior cruise to Tahiti on Marina. We wanted a smaller ship able to dock without tendering and able to navigate in to the Hubbard glacier. Alaska was on our bucket list. We also enjoy fine dining which ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our prior cruise to Tahiti on Marina. We wanted a smaller ship able to dock without tendering and able to navigate in to the Hubbard glacier. Alaska was on our bucket list. We also enjoy fine dining which Oceania is known for. We had a great trip. The excursions were all very good. However, you can book them cheaper yourself but we prefer to pay extra for the convenience and having Oceania cover any risk associated with them and be covered with the insurance. The other issue is that some of the excursions are limited and when several ships are in port, you might not get one. The excursions in Alaska were great. We expecially liked the bears of Anan, the White Pass Railway, and the Whale watching tours. Our weather could not have been better. Seeing the Hubbard glacier from the ship was magnificent. I would recommend checking trip advisor for more in depth reviews of the considerable amount of excursions, because its too much to review here. From what I researched, Oceania has the most available. The service on board was very good, and we had no issues. The entertainment was even a bit better than our previous voyage. Liked the comedians and the ventriloquist. Even played bingo for the first time. The casino was small and I think the odds are better in Atlantic city, but just a feeling, can't prove it, but people seemed to be losing money very quickly and the place was never crowded. I did miss the two specialty restaurants, Jacques and Red Ginger that are on the larger ships. We have a lot of local Italian restaurants so a French restaurant is a real treat for us, especially one inspired by Jacques Pepin. We liked Polo and Tuscan but there was limited availability, owing in part I think to the size of the ship. On Marina we were able to obtain a reservation in a specialty restaurant any time we wanted one. The only issue we had was with the food preparation. This was an initial disappointment and not up to our previous cruises on Oceania or their reputation, in my opinion. So much so that I brought it to the attetion of the food director and exec chef who took it seriously and rectified the issues, of which there were several. I was very surprised at these issues. I won't relate them all, but for example, the scrambled eggs for breakfast on the buffet were the consistency of soup and could be poured off the plate, meat cooked improperly, etc.. But to their credit, they were resolved the next day, which is why I kept my rating at excellent overall. We liked the barista and good expresso was always available without a long wait. I did like the afternoon tea when we could make it. Seating was hard to come since it was popular and limited on this smaller ship, especially on sea days. Also had to wait a bit longer for tea and pastries here. Love the string quartet, especially when they played a song by "Guns and Roses". Talented folks. One thing I learned is that you are allowed to bring wine on board, so if you are not a heavy drinker, we did that and used the credit for the occasional wine at dinner and gratuities owed at the end of the cruise. Even used the saltwater pool one warm sunny day. Fun but a cold trip back to the cabin. Great captain and crew and great interacting with them and other passengers on a smaller ship. Would go back to Alaska on Oceania. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Just finished a great family cruise on the Regatta. The service was outstanding, by the second day the staff we saw the most (bars and dinning rooms) knew our names. The food was as expected - top knotch. We ate in both of the specialty ... Read More
Just finished a great family cruise on the Regatta. The service was outstanding, by the second day the staff we saw the most (bars and dinning rooms) knew our names. The food was as expected - top knotch. We ate in both of the specialty rest (Polo Grill & Toscana) the food was fabulous and the service very attentive. Other than that we normally ate in the Terrace Cafe ( breakfast & dinner) or Waves ( lunch outside) and did not try the main dinning room and we were very happy with the quality of the food and the casualness which by the third day had folks at different tables toalking each other, it very much felt like the grill at a club.Horizons the main bar up near the bow offered great views and attentive staff. One of the things I like about Oceana is the low passenger count (640) and the high ratio of crew (400+). You always feel pampered but not smothered. The entertainment was very good the comedian and the special singing act were excellent. We only saw one of the shows by the ships troop and it was good. Sadly one of the troop got sick and they had to cancel the rest of the shows. However on the last night they put on a variety show with the show band, some of the troop, comedian, magician and speciality singer that was well accepted by the packed audience. It is true that Oceana caters to a older more well to do group of folks so they do not tend to have a lot of children on board. The other thing I enjoyed about being on a smaller ship was that we got to dock in two smaller towns Hannah and Wrangel that the large ships pass by. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we are going to book our next cruise with Oceana next summer and have been spoiled by the small ship with a large crew. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Jacques Pepin is the chef who drives the food on this cruise. Enough said, in that it was excellent! Service was almost one to one ratio, so you can imagine how that feels. In the buffet, you are served- it's not a free for all ... Read More
Jacques Pepin is the chef who drives the food on this cruise. Enough said, in that it was excellent! Service was almost one to one ratio, so you can imagine how that feels. In the buffet, you are served- it's not a free for all where everyone is grabbing stuff. We met quite a few people who were extremely happy as well. Some we met are the type that would probably find fault no matter what. I don't recommend going if you are looking for a lot of excitement. Shore excursion was cancelled in SItka due to technical issues with boat. Would have been nice if we knew that prior to getting off, but we just found other things to do. Pack for EVERY kind of weather- hot cold, rainy, windy, you name it- it will change on a dime! Having been on NCL, Royal Caribbean and Carnival- there's no comparison. Price is also higher than those above. Also, be very sure of drink package purchased- it is NOT the norm in that it only includes wine with dinner unless you upgrade. I'd do another Oceania cruise, although probably not Alaska due to the fact you only see the ports, which is an iota of the state. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We had always wanted to go to Alaska - chose 4 days pre cruise in Denali - expensivel rip off for 3 actual hours in park. They dont bother to tell you the Mtn is actually 90 miles away from park..... Restaurants so tightly packed you ... Read More
We had always wanted to go to Alaska - chose 4 days pre cruise in Denali - expensivel rip off for 3 actual hours in park. They dont bother to tell you the Mtn is actually 90 miles away from park..... Restaurants so tightly packed you can barely move......not enough staff - very haphazard service - overworked staff and not very personalized as they see you a couple of hours later and look right through you as if they have never served you.....menu looks amazing very well presented but does not taste that good - tasteless , badly cooked fish - food cooked way in advance......although some of the meals were good but not reliably so.... serve coffee with no spoon sugar and cream and have to wait 5 mins for someone to bring it in specialty restaurant...... did have 3 very nice waiters , excellent hostess in main dining room. Huge emphasis on drinking and gambling............shows mediocre and cruise director needs to retire. Cant hear any announcements from cabin. Book your own tours ridiculousy expensive - can book for ½ the amount on shore. Thing that really really pushed us over the edge was $89.00 transfer charge per person from ship to airport - transfers have always been included - very rude unhelpful destination services. Took taxi for $40 to airport for 2 people ......The service or food is NOT 5 star - have been spoilt by Viking River and Sea Cruises would not travel Oceania again. Great ports though. The first time I have not felt sad leaving. Not very personalized service like Viking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This is our third Alaska cruise on Oceania's Regatta. My husband tried for years to get me to go on a cruise, and I always refused because the thought of being on a huge ship with 3,000 people was not at all appealing to me. Then I ... Read More
This is our third Alaska cruise on Oceania's Regatta. My husband tried for years to get me to go on a cruise, and I always refused because the thought of being on a huge ship with 3,000 people was not at all appealing to me. Then I found out about Oceania, with its smaller ships (Regatta carries just 680 passengers and 400 crew), and its reputation for having some of the finest cuisine at sea and beautiful ships. We took our first Alaska cruise 3 years ago, and we both enjoyed it so much that we took another Alaska cruise last summer, and just returned 2 weeks ago from our third. We've already booked the same cruise for next summer; we may take a Mediterranean cruise the following year. There is so much we love about this cruise line and Regatta -- first, the incredible food! It's like eating in a fine restaurant at every meal; the Grand Dining Room is beautiful (Versace china is a nice detail), and the two specialty restaurants, Polo Grill and Toscana, are beautiful as well (no extra charge to eat at them). The breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets at the Terrace Grill are also excellent. And Afternoon Tea, served daily at 4 p.m. in Horizons with trolleys laden with fabulous desserts made by the French pastry chef and his team, waiters bringing china teapots to each table, and the string quartet playing classical music, is a real highlight of Oceania cruises for us. I listened to 3 of the 4 daily performances of the string quartet; all excellent musicians. We stay in the least expensive inside cabin (G class) on Oceania since we spend little time in our cabin. The rooms are small, but laid out very well with lots of storage space, and they are very comfortable. The beds and 1,000 thread count sheets are like sleeping in a cocoon (the beds and linens are so popular that you can buy them). The ship is beautiful -- from the furnishings (I was surprised to learn that an upholsterer is on each cruise in case something needs to be repaired) to the artwork to the lounge areas and the restaurants. Just class all the way. Oh, and the entertainment is also excellent -- my husband has cruised in the past on another major cruise line and said the quality of the entertainment on Oceania was far superior. There is even a naturalist on board to give presentations on the wildlife that might be seen, and he was always looking for whales, seals, orcas, etc. to point out. We saw about 50 humpback whales and many seals, dolphins and other wildlife. I wouldn't recommend Oceania to the younger crowd or couples with children; it's definitely aimed at middle-aged and older guests. Being summer, there were some grandparents with their kids and grandkids, but the overwhelming majority of guests are in their 50s and older. We don't do any excursions so I can't comment on those, but the big majority of guests did get off for excursions at the different ports and seemed to really enjoy their activities. We just like to relax and enjoy the quiet on the ship when most guests are off, or we get off and walk around the small towns on our own. I can't imagine us ever taking a cruise on any other cruise line! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and our previous experiences on the Regatta. The three star rating is an average between excellent food and dining experience, poor stateroom accommodations and very poor service with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and our previous experiences on the Regatta. The three star rating is an average between excellent food and dining experience, poor stateroom accommodations and very poor service with luggage delivery upon embarkation. One of our suitcases was not delivered because the room tag had fallen off. When we inquired about it we got excuses and downright lies, but no apology. It was a challenge to get staff to bring out undelivered luggage so that we could identify ours and get unpacked prior to sailing. The destination staff were not well informed about the shore excursions and provided poor advice for our excursion in Juneau. In general, we think we could have done better arranging our own excursions. When we last sailed on the Regatta in 2006, our experience was completely positive. We have sailed on the Regatta since it was owned by Renaissance. The food and service in the dining venues was excellent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Oceania Regatta was our choice because of the size of the ship, the itinerary, the length of the cruise, and the reputation for excellent food. The cruise delivered on all fronts. The restaurants, particularly Toscana, were excellent. I ... Read More
Oceania Regatta was our choice because of the size of the ship, the itinerary, the length of the cruise, and the reputation for excellent food. The cruise delivered on all fronts. The restaurants, particularly Toscana, were excellent. I haven't had so much foie gras in years -- always in a different preparation each night. The entertainment was very good. As good or better than Vegas cabarets. The itinerary was goof and we very much enjoyed our helicopter excursion to the top of Herbert glacier. The Whale watch at Hoonah/Icy Straits was a winner -- saw both orcas and humpbacks. Glacier Bay was amazing. And Butchart Gardens in Victoria lived up to its reviews. The ship's decor is a bit tired but everything is clean and operational. The service crew was first-class. Maybe they could use one or two more people in the Main Dining Room. We did have a couple of slow meals. The only thing that was irritating was that the people who went to Martini's, the bar on the same deck as the Main Dining Room, congregated in two large groups watching sports on laptops and hooting and cheering for their teams. Maybe it was because of the World Cup, but it made things difficult for other guests. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was wife and my first cruise on Oceania’s Regata. The entire experience was a delight. Our stateroom, a deluxe ocean view cabin, was comfortable and maintained perfectly by our cabin steward. The food was amazing—all the ... Read More
This was wife and my first cruise on Oceania’s Regata. The entire experience was a delight. Our stateroom, a deluxe ocean view cabin, was comfortable and maintained perfectly by our cabin steward. The food was amazing—all the food—in every restaurant and dining room. The Grill offered not only the usual burgers and hot dogs, but also lobster and filet mignon! The service was extraordinary, in the bars/lounges, dining room, and on deck. There wasn’t a single ship’s photographer aboard which we found refreshing after running the gauntlet of photographers on other cruise ships we’ve sailed on. The entertainment was great, especially the fantastic string quartet that performed several times each afternoon and evening. The Regatta herself was a little jewel box, with elegant/comfortable furniture, beautiful artwork, wood paneling, and soaring domes over the elegant staircases. We were hoping that we wouldn’t enjoy the cruise much more than on one of the larger ships we’ve always sailed on previously. Instead, because we enjoyed it so much, we’ve already booked another cruise on Oceania’s Insignia. If you like smaller scale cruising on an elegant ship with superb food and service, the Regatta’s your ship! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I liked the itinerary--an Alaska cruise, and Oceania has been our go-to cruise line for 10 years. While somewhat expensive, we always enjoy ourselves, given their EXCELLENT quality of food and service all the time. Shore excursions are ... Read More
I liked the itinerary--an Alaska cruise, and Oceania has been our go-to cruise line for 10 years. While somewhat expensive, we always enjoy ourselves, given their EXCELLENT quality of food and service all the time. Shore excursions are OK, but overpriced, and their wi-fi is sporadic and very much overpriced if you actually paying for it. Nightly entertainment is OK, but not great, and the entertainers double as co-ordinators of sports activities (such as shuffleboard, putting contest, bean-bag toss, etc). The ship is always kept spotless as it is always being cleaned and polished. Common-area furniture is upscale. Large wine list, but most bottles are around $50 when the 18% service charge is factored in. All soft drinks and juices are always free, as is ice cream all day if you want it. Very informal atmosphere--formal clothing is never required, but "dressy casual" is required for dinner in the restaurants, but acceptable in the buffet. I've booked two more cruises as we feel the benefits outweigh the shortcomings of Oceania. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Alaska was on our bucket list. We had cruised with Oceania on the larger Riviera in the Med last November and wanted the same quality experience. We flew into Seattle a day early, staying at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Alaska was on our bucket list. We had cruised with Oceania on the larger Riviera in the Med last November and wanted the same quality experience. We flew into Seattle a day early, staying at the Fairmont - great downtown location. Stayed on in Vancouver for two days after disembarkation. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smooth as silk - definitely first class. This ship is half the size of the Riviera; so it's much easier to negotiate = not so many long treks down the hall to elevators ,etc. With half as many passengers, you recognize faces within a couple days. Not so on the Riviera. But, we missed some things. We missed the additional specialty restaurants, Jacques and Red Ginger (especially the later). There was no culinary center, with classes to take. The Canyon Ranch Spa did not offer acupuncture. There was noticeable crowding in the Terrace Café and the Library. On several occasions, after circulating through the Terrace twice, we gave up and went to Waves, both at breakfast and lunch. We liked the Main Dining Room better on this ship. We quickly discovered that Vijay was a terrific server and requested him each time we ate there. We found the MDR a great place for a quiet breakfast and always got a window table at that time of day. Baristas was just outside the MDR, which made it quite convenient. The cappuccino and pastries were always delicious. There was a bridge instructor on board. He knew his stuff, but was not very engaging with the few people who showed up for the first class. That, combined with rough seas and the resulting tummy upset, put me off of further classes and play. Our butler, Rahman, was always pleasant and, once he understood our routine and preferences, anticipated our needs and took good care of us. When we were on the Riviera, in a Vista suite, we had utilized our butler a great deal. In retrospect, we should have done the same on the Regatta. It wasn't until almost the last night that we ordered room service dinner from Toscana. We did order breakfast room service twice - nice to have a hot breakfast before heading out for shore excursions. We did not attend any of the shows, nor did we go to the casino, play Trivia, etc. We had one rough sea day. Aside from that, aside from almost constant rain, the sail was pleasant. We didn't get to use our balcony very much, mostly at the beginning and end of our cruise. We had arranged private excursions in most ports; but we did do Oceania's "Sea Otters, Raptors and Bears, Oh My" in Sitka. It was actually fabulous - bus driver/guide on for the first portion of the excursion was full of knowledge and enthusiasm. Alaska Raptor Center is a wonderful spot, and the show there was fascinating. Bear rescue was alright. The sea otter portion, on the water, ended up a wonderful, surprising whale watching adventure. We literally saw dozens of humpbacks, who put on quite the show for us. We did eventually see sea otters and sea lions; but they had already been upstaged by the whales. We are happy to have done the Alaska cruise, to see the magnificent scenery and some of the wildlife. But, once is enough. Next for us, the Baltic, back on a larger Oceania ship. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Oceania generally offers an excellent experience. But not in the summer!! Our Alaska cruise was overrun with undisciplined kids. We could have saved packing our swimsuits, sunscreen, deck shoes and coverups, because there was no way to ... Read More
Oceania generally offers an excellent experience. But not in the summer!! Our Alaska cruise was overrun with undisciplined kids. We could have saved packing our swimsuits, sunscreen, deck shoes and coverups, because there was no way to get anywhere near the pool or jacuzzis. Since Oceania specifically discourages children on board, shame on the parents who think that they are the exceptions, and that their own children are angels? NOT SO! There were 40 (or was it 60?) kids onboard. It really doesn't matter, because when two kids get in a pool, no one else need apply. They were jumping off of handrails, running, yelling, splashing, and taking over the entire area. It's what kids do in and around pools - duh! It was very disappointing to have been denied that part of our cruise experience, which was important to us. Parents, please take your darlings on Disney Cruises, where they (and the other pax) can enjoy themselves. A note about the entertainment: There were two of the best entertainers we have seen on a cruise ship - a magician (Becker) and a comedian (Tom Blake). There were also some of the worst - a troupe of young singers and dancers who tried very hard, but would have been excellent at a high school musical. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was planned to celebrate DH's 90th birthday and was to include the entire family -- our four children, their spouses, if any, and six grandchildren. Altogether, 13 family members participated: DH and me,our four children, ... Read More
This cruise was planned to celebrate DH's 90th birthday and was to include the entire family -- our four children, their spouses, if any, and six grandchildren. Altogether, 13 family members participated: DH and me,our four children, one daughter-in-law, 5 granddaughters aged from 19 to 23, and one grandson of 15. Our son-in-law could not attend. Most of us came to the port of Seattle on Friday before a Monday cruise departure for the Awe of Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta. We really enjoyed Seattle. We stayed in the Best Western Executive Inn which was ideally located just 2 blocks from the Space Needle and walking distance for everyone but DH and me from Pike's Place and a host of other attractions. On Monday my daughter arranged with the hotel for a van to take us to the port. It was not quite big enough for all of us and our luggage -- I have a mobility scooter -- but in two minutes a limousine appeared to take DH and me -- and we all arrived at the port within a couple of minutes of each other. Boarding the ship was painless and we enjoyed lunch at the Waves Café before going to our cabins. The cabins are definitely small for concierge level accommodations and the bathrooms are really tiny. .But there was lots of storage space which swallowed up all our belongings. Two of the cabins had to accommodate three people each, but nobody complained after they put their belongings away, and everybody learned quickly how to shower in the tiny shower. The food was mainly very good. We had made advance reservations in the two special restaurants, the Polo Grill and Toscana, and everybody enjoyed the meals there. But I think everybody except DH and me preferred the meals in the Terrace Café where you could be out and done in less than two hours. We enjoyed the food in the Grand Dining Room more than the food in the Terrace Café. Our last cruises were on Seabourne and on Viking River Cruises and we felt they had more and better salads for lunch. We prefer to eat salads rather than meat for lunch. I also missed the complementary wine flowing like water on those two lines. But we used our $400 per cabin OBC to cover wine at dinner plus most of us got in some spa time. We had signed up for a bunch of shore excursions long before we sailed. In Ketchikan, our children and grandchildren loved the Neets Bay Float Plane Bear Watch trip. We took a cruise to Misty Fjords which was not misty and we saw no wild life so it was somewhat of a disappointment. One son and his family also did the Saxman Village and Lumberjack Show and enjoyed them. In Sitka most of us took the Sea Otter and Wildlife cruise and we did see sea otters, seals and sea lions, and a bear. One son, his kids and another granddaughter went hiking. In Prince Rupert that same son went hiking again while the rest of us went on a whale watch and saw lots of whales. Our 15 year old grandson could have found other male teens on board but stayed with his older cousins and made no effort to make other friends. We thought the entertainment was disappointing, but it was not great on Seabourne either. We went to two lectures and would have enjoyed a few more. Overall, everybody had a great time and it was a very good cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
I love Alaska, this was my second cruise through Alaska. Chose Oceana for food reviews. Didn’t disappoint. Excellent in dining rooms and buffets. They took great care to serve you at buffet so as not to contaminate service ware. They ... Read More
I love Alaska, this was my second cruise through Alaska. Chose Oceana for food reviews. Didn’t disappoint. Excellent in dining rooms and buffets. They took great care to serve you at buffet so as not to contaminate service ware. They have organic food which is important to my digestive system. Shows were good. Tours were fair, we enjoyed hiking the rain forest, kayaking in the rain, loved it all. I’m physically challenged, none of the tours were difficult and we chose the most athletic ones. Never needed my cane. Until the next day. LOL. Wish we had toured the college fiords. Room service was amazing. Surf n turf burgers were my favorite by the pool. Alaska never disappoints. Love the ship size, great ages. Few children. Cabins are small but adequate for two. Traveling with best friend, her first cruise. Will definitely go on Oceana again. Tried to book Nov Tahiti, ended up on Seabourne October. Excellent gluten free choices, daily homemade ice creams. You won’t be disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I have been on six Oceania cruises. The first was June 2009 Rome to Istanbul.We ate in the Grand Dining Room. It was beautiful. The service was great and the food amazing. Just like what one would expect in the finest restaurant around the ... Read More
I have been on six Oceania cruises. The first was June 2009 Rome to Istanbul.We ate in the Grand Dining Room. It was beautiful. The service was great and the food amazing. Just like what one would expect in the finest restaurant around the world. Everyone at our table was a real "foodie" and the topic of conversation fine dining. I loved it! The 2nd was 2012 and there was a big difference with the quality of the food served. Traveled with Oceania again in 2014, 2015, 2016 and in Aug 2017. I have been on Regatta 3 times and Insignia, Riviera and Sirena. The staff has always been great. Always there to help with any need (I even scattered my mothers cremains from Regatta in 2012). They always have a smile and work very hard to make your cruise the best ever. The cooks (I will not call them Chefs) are horrible!!! I've heard people say that they had better food at a Hometown Buffet. The Special Restaurants are OK but you can't eat there every night. On the last cruise we had a running joke about how many ways they would serve the same bland ground meat with a little onion in it. It was keftka, albondigas , Italian meat balls, some other meat balls, and one morning they placed a fried egg on top and gave it a French name. Even a poor cook would have added an herb or spice every now and then. They should have some of the regular staff help them out as I think they would do alot better. I don't ever want to go on another Oceania cruise again. I have stayed with them in hopes they would return to the great experience of the past. I am embarrassed that I have touted them to so many friends!! They say "you pay for what you get," NOT on Oceania anymore. If all I wanted was a way to go from here to there on a moving hotel there are other cruise lines costing much less. Have been told there are still other lines that are what Oceania once was. I'll try them next. And make sure they are not the same owners. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first cruise! We were celebrating my husband's 60th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary on August 1, 2017. We chose Oceania Regatta for it's size (684 passengers) and the itinerary. We did not want to cruise ... Read More
This was our first cruise! We were celebrating my husband's 60th birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary on August 1, 2017. We chose Oceania Regatta for it's size (684 passengers) and the itinerary. We did not want to cruise on a mega ship, it had six ports of call including Victoria, BC and we cruised Hubbard Glacier on our anniversary! We drove from our home in Northern California to the Seattle Hilton where they have a Stay and Cruise package. They let us check in early on Thursday and we spent the whole day exploring Seattle. We rode the Metro light rail downtown to Pike's Place, rode the monorail to the Spaceneedle and then both back to the hotel. We spent one night at the Hilton and then they stored our car for the 10 days we cruised providing a shuttle to and from the ship. Embarkation could not have gone smoother! We were on the ship quickly and eating lunch in the Terrace Cafe with a younger couple that let us join them. This was their 6th Oceania cruise! We quickly found that most passengers had cruised before and most with Oceania multiple times. Our cabin was ready by 2:00pm. We were in a Concierge level balcony stateroom, aft cabin. From what we had read we expected a small cabin with little storage and an even smaller bathroom. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of closet and storage space with plenty of hangers. Two of our empty suitcases fit under the bed and the third, which was too big, did fit in the closet. The bathroom was small but adequate with storage. Our only complaint with the bathroom was only one electrical plug and in an odd place. The bed was larger than an advertised queen and very comfortable. The end of the room was an entire sliding glass door to our balcony which gave us a great view of the ocean. The Regatta is beautiful! The rich decor, teakwood, and original art everywhere is gorgeous. The decor is not modern but more of ships gone by, but we loved it! We were allowed two reservations in both specialty restaurants and found them both very good to excellent. We especially enjoyed Toscana, the Italian restaurant. We ate dinner once in the MDR which was good but a little slow. We ate lunch a couple times in Waves Grill but the rest of our meals were in the Terrace Cafe, Regatta's buffet. We found it time saving with excellent food, many choices, yummy desserts and ice cream for the hubby. A highlight for us was afternoon tea held daily in the MDR at 4:00 pm with the Avista String Quartet! We loved the entertainment! The shows put on by the Regatta Production Cast were excellent! The Regatta Show Band was also very good especially the saxophonist. The two shows by comedian Tom Drake were great. We went to every 9:30 pm show but two! The activities aboard were many and varied. We had so many activities we wanted to participate in and many at the same time! My husband enjoyed the ping pong tournaments and we both played bingo and participated in some of the trivia contests. I went to two of the enrichment lectures, one on Alaskan wildlife and the other on Glaciers. My husband caught part of the presentation on earthquakes. All were good. We visited Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Straight Pt. In Hoonah, Skagway, Sitka, and Victoria, BC. We had a shore excursion in every port but Icy Straight. Highlights were the Mendenhall Glacier and gardens in Juneau, the White Mountain Pass railroad in Skagway, kayaking in Sitka and Butchart Gardens in Victoria. The service aboard the Regatta was excellent! The ship was always being cleaned! All the staff from entertainment, to waitstaff, to cabin stewards were so nice, helpful, and personable. Within a few days we were being called by name. We both used the Canyan Ranch Spa and I had the best facial I have ever had and my husband had the best therapeutic massage ever. We enjoyed interacting with other passengers. Most were in there 50's, 60's and 70's but we met younger passengers, multi-generational families and a very few children. All were nice, eager to share where they were from and previous cruise experiences. We wished we had seen more wildlife. It may have been the time of year and warmer weather. We had weather mostly in the 60's and even 70. The excursions we chose did not center on wildlife. We did see many bald eagles, fish, Sitka black tailed deer, whales spouting and my husband saw one humpback whale. I had wanted to see Orcas, brown bears and the black and white porpoises. We did hear of sightings of these. We did get a late start from Seattle. The ship was suppose to sail at 5:00pm but did not leave until 7pm. Our second evening onboard, a sea day, was quite rough with about four hours of rolling about with many reports of seasickness. The rest of the cruise was fine. Disembarking went very smoothly with no complaints from us. We hope to cruise again in the future and would definitely choose Oceania again! Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Before I begin, let me say that I had a fabulous trip a few years ago on Oceania's Riviera in the Mediterranean. It was superb in every way possible, so my view of the Regatta suffered in comparison. I realize my review will sound ... Read More
Before I begin, let me say that I had a fabulous trip a few years ago on Oceania's Riviera in the Mediterranean. It was superb in every way possible, so my view of the Regatta suffered in comparison. I realize my review will sound very negative and I am sorry, but I am just being totally honest in my comments. I will not book a cruise on the Regatta again. Overpriced across the board. First, we allowed Oceania to book our flight from South Carolina to Seattle. Big mistake! Very inconvenient times of departures and arrivals...leaving Charlotte 7 AM which required our booking a hotel for a prior night's stay because we live 2 hours from the airport...and then our return time was midnight which required our booking yet another hotel night to avoid driving home in the middle of the night. Also, we had a connecting flight coming and going with 2 hours delay each way! Next time, I will book a non-stop flight and enjoy our flight time a whole lot more and save $$ on two extra hotel bookings!! We chose Oceania's Pre-Cruise Package to spend the night before our cruise in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. It was hugely overpriced! It did include shuttle from airport to hotel and from hotel to pier which was good. Next time, I will book my own hotel near the pier and pay for a taxi. We chose an "A1 Concierge Level Veranda". Suite 7121. This level is up there right next to the Penthouse Suites so it leads you to believe they may be somewhat alike....NOT! It was totally aft and the view out from our deck was beautiful although it rained most every day or was too cold to sit outside. We had one large suitcase that would not fit under the bed so it sat next to the deck door for the journey. I had read reviews on here about how small the bathroom is, but we still were shocked!! When sitting on the toilet, your left knee is about 3-4 inches from the bathroom door. The shower is maybe 18-24 inches in front of you and you can rest your right elbow on the sink. Dim lighting and no magnifying mirror for putting on make-up or shaving. The shower is 3-4 feet square...a tight fit even for normal sized people! Total counter space is approx. 12-18 inches long and about 5 inches deep. The suite itself was VERY compact. My friend and I had twin beds that were pushed together..made up separately, thank goodness!....there was certainly not room enough to separate them. There was just enough room for one person at a time to walk between the end of the beds and the slender dresser. We met our "concierge" Jemilie" upon arrival, but only saw her during the week in the hallway as she and her helper cleaned other suites. They were friendly and our room was always made up promptly when we left it. We had room service bring us coffee each morning and barely had room to place a pot with 2 cups on the tiny table in our suite. The food was generally good. We ate at both speciality restaurants and were pleased with the service in both. The Terrace Cafe was best! The lobster tails each night were wonderful!! Entertainment, etc: We enjoyed the String Quartet at many venues during the cruise, we played a little in the (very small) casino, played bingo a couple of times, enjoyed afternoon tea in the Main Dining Room at 4, attended the comedian's show (so-so), chatted with the computer guy (Paulo) a couple of times (he was helpful and great!) . The overall look of the ship is a bit dated. I know it was refurbished in 2014, but still needs updates. The furniture in the open, gathering areas is tired. By far, a highlight of our trip was in Ketchikan...riding in the catamaran to enjoy a Crab Feast !! Never have we had Dungeness Crabs cooked to perfection and never ending!! In Sitka, we took the 3.5 hour catamaran tour to see Brown Alaskan Bear, Sea Otters and Bald Eagles. Beautiful views and knowledgeable Naturalist to explain many things. Embarkation and Disembarkation were seamless and easy. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Ultimately forgettable Regatta... EMBARKING: *We arrived by private car, so our arrival experience will be different than if you are arriving on a cruise arranged bus.* If arriving Seattle to park in a garage, drive to the baggage ... Read More
Ultimately forgettable Regatta... EMBARKING: *We arrived by private car, so our arrival experience will be different than if you are arriving on a cruise arranged bus.* If arriving Seattle to park in a garage, drive to the baggage drop area at the pier first. Porters will take your checked luggage, and you won’t have to schlep it from the parking garage, as we did. There isn’t a soul to be seen in the parking garage, so don’t believe the bit about a shuttle and service. Check in is similar to the airport. Documents at a desk, more lines, security check, and on to the ship. At t hat point you will probably be sitting in a lounge or out by the pool for two hours. Your room will be ready around 3pm, and everyone showed up at 1 on our ship. There were no announcements for the staterooms. Only the suites were called at 1 and 1:30, and then nothing. STATEROOM: Having taken other cruises with other companies, we knew we wouldn’t be in our room much, so we chose a lower level stateroom. However on Regatta the 3000’s are on the same hall with crew quarters and crew operations, so you will be dodging workmen and not just other guests in your narrow hall. The stateroom was average. Same tiny shower as all other ships, hard couch, tiny dressing table mostly taken up by an ice bucket, and tiny porthole. Closet was a reasonable size and had a generous amount of hangers, and there were two rows of small drawers flanking the refrigerator compartment. Our luggage fit under the bed, and our carry on sized bags on the window ledge. You can ask the room steward to take your luggage away to store, but I was using it to access my items in addition to the drawers. Worst part of the room: the water temperature. One minute of scalding water, adjusted to warm, then went stone cold within two mins. Men would likely be able to soap, rinse, and run- but don’t try lingering to condition your hair or shave your legs, ladies. I don’t know if this was because we were in the steerage class, but I would hope the suites had better regulation of the temp. Also the much touted Bulgari shower gel and shampoo provided ensure that you will be knocked down by the odor constantly while aboard. The crew and the guests all reeked powerfully of it. SHORE EXCURSIONS: If you are new to cruising, you may not realize the eye popping prices on the shore excursion packages. This cruise stops at Ketchikan, Sitka, and Prince Rupert. There isn’t much to do in any of those towns, so they package up sightseeing flights ($300+), salmon sportfishing ($300+), and even a zip line in Ketchikan ($200+). Even a “walking tour” is eighty dollars. This is where the cruise really makes their money on you, so choose carefully. You will be lumped in with other cruise ships coming in as well, so it is not a private tour for Oceania cruises. I cannot comment on the quality of the tours, as we did not elect to buy any of their offerings. We walked around the towns ourselves. Ketchikan is the most touristy, with all the junk shops right at the pier. Sitka is more “lived in” and smaller. Prince Rupert bordered on scary downtown. Walking uphill from the pier area quickly degenerates in to boarded up stores, government welfare offices, thrift shops, and Walmart. Sketchy looking folks lying in doorways and rude groups of teenagers had us heading back to the ship. ON BOARD SHIP DAYS: There are two “days at sea” on this cruise. One was supposed to be a tour of the glaciers, but due to large chunks in the water, the ship could not risk the props. (Another ship ahead of us had apparently become stuck while trying to navigate the narrow channel) We glimpsed a ribbon of glacier coming down a hill, and some gorgeous waterfalls and blue ice in the channel. The final day at sea, cruising back to Seattle, has no views. If you rise by 4 AM on the final day you might watch Whidbey Island passing by as you enter Admiralty Inlet. Seattle skyline views will appear around 6AM. SHIP AREAS: -LIBRARY is well stocked and very English. Deep leather chairs with ottomans were prized lingering spots. Good views out side windows. -POOL is very small, and it and the hot tub were constantly filled with children on this cruise. More on that later. Towels and blankets provided, but usually not well stocked. Lounge chairs only face in to pool, none to the view, so we had to constantly turn them out. Loud 70s music over the PA. -COMPUTER CENTER-has available terminals. We received free WiFi with our package, so we just used our tablets. -CASINO- lots of slots, and a few tables. Slot tourney most evenings, and a Bingo jackpot ongoing. Careful- using your room card on the machine carries a surcharge. -SHOPS-Two. One a standard high end jewelry store, featuring pearls and inlaid turquoise/tribal jewelry, and perfumes. And the usual gift shop with clothing and sundries. Wait for the last evening for 50% off sales on certain items in the gift shop. - Gym- standard equipment. Some classes, such as Pilates or yoga, but mostly CanyonRanch special spa services. No one using the gym most days. Kids playing on equipment on others. -CanyonRanch Spa. Can't comment on this as we declined services. DINING : -We thought the Main Dining Room would be a more laid back experience for us than other cruises because we could request a table for two, and not have to make awkward small talk with six other people. However, the dining service will take two hours, and you will be listening to the other diners at your elbow, especially the tables filled with babies and small children. The food in the main dining room has pretensions to grandeur, but falls short. Both lunch and dinner have choices from the “CanyonRanch” spa menu, and they are the least inviting. Appetizers of scallops or consommé or raw (“tartare”) salmon are offered. They also had themed lunch days, with Moroccan (eggplant, yogurt sauces, chickpeas) and Greek (tzatziki, lamb, more eggplant), and Mexican (fish ceviche, chimichangas). Dinner ranged from lobster, steak, pastas, and chicken to more exotic duck a l’orange, guinea fowl, veal sweetbread, and venison. There was always the “Chef Pepin” menu of New York strip steak, rotisserie chicken, or poached salmon as well. The portion sizes are such that you can order an appetizer, soup, salad, and entrée and still manage a dessert. The dessert are uniformly NOT sweet. Chocolate is dark to almost bitter, and cakes are dry. We began to choose the ice cream option after a few evenings. **The dining room distinguished itself on the first night by serving my husband a salad with a thick black hair in it. I put on my glasses to view the rest of my plates after that. The waiter didn’t really apologize. Just rolled his eyes and whisked the plate away. Wine pairings are offered on the menu. We do not partake so I cannot comment on the offerings. THE TERRACE CAFÉ- This is just…weird. Presented like a buffet, but it isn’t. Throngs of people mill around, pushing between two rows of service areas with no clear start or end. Servers stand behind the glass, holding plates, and waiting for you to choose your food item. They don’t speak enough English to understand any variation, so when I asked for “half tomato and half alfredo sauce” on my pasta, the poor boy was reduced to a gibbering panic. I don’t know if it is the fear of contamination and spreading illness (see constant reminds to use hand sanitizers throughout the ship) or to keep the patrons from gorging with full buffet plates. After you juggle your plates to a table, a waiter will bring beverages and specialty coffees. This “half service” benefits no one. The food is what I would call “casino standard” here. Pizza with toppings like tuna and crab, special Asian day with whole roast pig and sushi rolls, and always sandwich makings and pasta. But everything is very bland and homogenous. Desserts are a tragedy. The 4th of July cake, dutifully decorated with red/white/ blue frosting, turned out to be Italian cream cake, heaped with fruit inside. Cookies are not sweet, chocolate is dark and trending bitter, and puddings are bland and usually heaped with more fruit. We chose the daily ice cream usually, with their best offerings being a milk chocolate cappuccino and a very good sorbet offering in lemon and raspberry. We did eat breakfast in the Terrace on the final day, as we could not order room service. Eggs were tasteless and runny, with harder chunks of hard cooked parts. Toast was blackened and bacon was hard and crumbly. Husband tried to obtain cereal, but bowls and milk were kept behind the counter and he couldn’t see asking for a box of cereal to be dumped in a bowl and milked, and then try to carry it to the table. (NOTE: room service is “continental”. No eggs or hot foods, except toast or English muffins. Each day we ordered a fruit bowl of various melon chunks, cereals, coffee, and a pastry. Much more relaxing way to begin your day. Make your selections in the evening and leave the card on the door, and the phone will ring in the morning as the food is on the way.) WAVES GRILL: This poolside café offers Panini sandwiches and burgers, and a small array of changing salads and fruit. I tried an Angus burger on arrival before our room was ready. It was watery, tasteless, and gray. Husband said his chicken Panini also lacked flavor. Fries on the side were bland. Also in Waves is the milkshake station. These are thin and runny. The server takes a few scoops of ice cream and adds milk to blend. The result is flavored milk. I would only recommend Waves for children. AFTERNOON TEA: How we were looking forward to this. Alas, again something has gone wrong with service. After fighting for a seat in Horizons (one of the few good viewing spots with comfortable chairs), a server brings a pot of hot water. Another brings by a box with a selection of tea. Much later a cart is wheeled by, whereupon everyone springs from their chairs and swarms him. There are no sandwich cookies or “biscuits”. There is a cake offering, some various wilted sandwiches (shrimp salad, etc) and some attempt at petit fours that were leathery and dry inside. Another server is by the door with platters from which you may choose items, if you can’t make your way to the cart service. Why not make it a true tea? Sit at a table and be served. They could take a lesson from Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. POLO GRILL: One of our dinners was spent in the Polo Grill. This is where you will receive the most food on the cruise. Your appetizer is large, your soup bowl big, and your entrée comes with full sized sides. I chose the filet mignon, which was easily 8 ounces and not 5, as the menu said. (There is a 20 oz Porterhouse, if you want to get crazy. ) I chose the truffle mashed potatoes (interesting, but not wow) and sautéed mushrooms for sides, and the French onion soup. The meat was delicious. The service was OK, but again they lost interest in refilling our water glasses after realizing we weren’t ordering wine. You should never have an empty glass in what bills itself fine service. TOSCANA: Another dinner was at Toscana. Declining the octopus carpaccio (shudder), I instead had the mozzarella and tomatoes with olive oil. Boring. Hubby went straight for the ham and potato soup, and gnocchi in pesto sauce. Both just fine. For the entrée, I passed over veal, lamb, and sea bass and chose a ravioli, which I now realize must have been meant to be a starter. Filled with a plain meat and rosemary and tomato filling, it was sticky and chewy. Hubby chose a Dover sole, which he pronounced tasty. Hubby happened to be celebrating his birthday this evening, but I had not filled anything out on the cruise questionnaire about it, nor requested any special service. We were surprised and taken aback when the waiters crowded around the table to sing (cringe!) and deliver a chocolate mousse birthday cake. I would have expected that at Applebee’s or TGIFriday’s- not at a fine dining restaurant. The cake was divided between us, and no other dessert menu offered, so luckily we like chocolate! I guess I appreciate the effort with the cake, but perhaps it should be arranged by the spouse, and not sprung upon us as a couple. Coffee bar outside Main Dining Room: Afternoon snooze can be fought off with a cappuccino or espresso from the bar here. There is also a frozen chocolate frappuccino, given in a tiny paper cup. A small offering of cookies and tea sandwiches is available for self service, but the sandwiches look terrifyingly wilted. No one wants to eat a shrimp salad sandwich that has been sitting in the heat for an hour! The cookies are the same as the Terrace café- raisin, peanut butter, a plain cookie with some chocolate bits, and a taste free dark chocolate cookie. ENTERTAINMENT: We attended two shows of the singing/dancing - both high energy and of the “god bless ‘em, they tried” sort. Three boys and three girls shoulder the responsibility of the night’s entertainment (and they double as your muster drill attendants) and there is a live band which is very good. A string quartet floats about various areas- near the shops or at the tea service, and they are very good but given to playing arrangement of pop tunes instead of sticking to traditional classical music. We declined to see the two shows featuring a pickpocket, who apparently told jokes and lectured on how not to get robbed. Yes, that really was two shows. Also doing two shows was a comedian, working “clean”, so I am imagining some Seinfeld type humor. We did not attend. A guest lecturer showed slides and gave an 8th grade level talk on whales and fish. National Geographic, it was not. “Luigi at the piano” plays in the martini bar and can be heard howling ABBA and Elton John and Carly Simon. Yikes. Other entertainment includes mandatory cruise staples of Bingo, shuffleboard, bridge, trivia, and golf putting. DISEMBARKING: Be prepared to be out of your room by 8AM. Your “checked” bags have to be in the hallway no later than 10pm the night before, so make sure you haven’t left your passport or anything vital in them. Check your final bill carefully in the morning. (Many people were in line the next morning haggling their bill )About 7:30 your room steward will be hopping in the hallway, so you’ll go upstairs to eat in the crush at Terrace or wait in one of the lounge areas for your colored boarding pass to be called. After passing through a long line to give one last scan of your Oceania card (to make sure you actually left the ship!) you’ll proceed many football field lengths to where your checked bags wait. Gather those and haul them through Customs, and from there you either pick up your after ship tour, or bus to the airport, or proceed to the parking garage. Again, without help for your bags, so don’t plan on that. FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm sure you think I've been picky and cranky by now, if you've read this far. But we travel a lot, know good service, and expect quality for our dollar. If you’ve never been on a cruise, I suggest you pick a line with lower prices. Oceania is a standard cruise. We were convinced, looking at the literature, that it was a cruise for older adults with higher standards for cruising and entertainment, and demanding a higher standard of dress. All brochures stressed “country club casual”. Don’t believe it. Jeans appeared regularly in the dining room, and besides showing up in a swim suit, I’d be surprised if they turned away anyone. This Seattle to Seattle run was filled with parents with babies, toddlers, and school aged children. There was nothing for them to do. Other lines have babysitting services and children’s programs. On this boat the children will be everywhere their parents are, which includes in the hot tub, round the clock in the pool, playing in the elevators, and screaming in the fine restaurants when they don’t happen to like foie gras. We thought a smaller ship with only 600 guests would feel more open and relaxing than one of the huge Celebrity or Carnival ships. It turns out it just feels like a smaller ship with the same amount of people. Less amenities, less places to be alone or have quiet, and apparently attracting lesser entertainment- let Regatta be “forgotta”. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My husband and I have done roughly a dozen cruises on various luxury lines, and I have done two others on mainstream line Holland America (including in a Neptune Suite), so the review below compares the cruise on this “upper ... Read More
My husband and I have done roughly a dozen cruises on various luxury lines, and I have done two others on mainstream line Holland America (including in a Neptune Suite), so the review below compares the cruise on this “upper premium" ship with prior, different style experiences. We have not previously sailed a line labeled “upper premium” and were curious to compare with luxury lines. We were in a Penthouse Suite which was comparably sized to Seabourn, Silversea, Regent, and Hapag-Lloyd base veranda suites. It had an assigned butler/stewardess team. Overall, we were not very impressed, primarily because of the mediocre food. We had originally booked this 7-day test cruise over the 4th of July holiday based on a recommendation for Oceania’s reputation for excellent food, and after the cruise, are mystified how that reputation came about. We also could discern the difference between “upper premium” and “luxury” cruising in other areas as well. EMBARKATION Overall, no major problems. We embarked around 12:30 for the cruise, which was leaving at 5 PM. We could have embarked as early as 11AM. Lines were very short, and after surrendering our larger luggage pieces and going through security, we were on board within 30 minutes. We ate an embarkation luncheon at the Terrace Grill buffet, and indoor/outdoor venue, which was very crowded, open “seat yourself”. Food was nothing special (a lot of hard, over-cooked meats, very limited salad choices, bland desserts) and a bit on the cafeteria side of quality, with service to match. We were allowed into our cabin a little after 2. Luggage appeared one piece at a time (two were brought to the cabin by different valets, one was left in the hall, where many other pax suitcases were also lined up, as our deck included both PH and non-PH cabins). A bottle of chilled Jacquard champagne greeted us in the penthouse suite cabin, and our butler introduced himself soon thereafter. Muster was at 4, took about 45 minutes, and involved both a sit-down lecture in the main lounge venue (Regatta Lounge) then filing out to the deck to one’s muster station wearing life jackets, then standing around. At sailaway the ship’s band of five talented men played excellent bluesy music to a surprisingly small audience at the very small pool. There were no sail-away snacks or free drinks handed out. A couple waiters went around offering weak fruit/alcohol drinks, for $10 each plus 18% mandatory service charge to the few pax who were standing around (sign for the drink while standing up, after presenting your room card). DEMOGRAPHICS AND AMBIENCE. Mean age seemed around 55-60, with wide variance, which surprised us as we’d heard Oceania has many old pax. We were told almost all of the 650 or so mostly healthy-appearing pax on board held American passports, as did we, though based on the languages spoken I heard, a few of these were foreign-born. There were quite a few middle-aged people, and the younger adults (a few of whom I would call “dudes”) and 44 children on board traveling with extended family thus skewed the mean age downwards. There was a handful of mobility-impaired pax, but much less than I saw on prior Alaska cruises with Silversea and Holland America. I didn’t see any obvious solos on board (not surprising, as the prices are solo-unfriendly). Dress code: There were no formal nights or formal optional nights. During the day in all dining venues, and in the Terrace Grill at night, the designated dress code was resort casual. This meant that some people wore resort casual, some wore casual casual, and others wore hoodies and/or baseball caps set forwards or backwards. A few wore wrinkled shirts, or tops with writing on them saying important things like “be kind” or “go for it.” Sports-team related shirts and caps were also popular. In the MDR and specialty restaurants at dinner, most wore elegant casual at dinner, a few wore a jacket, usually without a tie. The CD was a friendly woman who unfortunately made announcements that were broadcast to all venues about many different things several times a day, so we dreaded when she would come on the overhead. Announcements were excessively detailed and included too much information about activities that only a minority of pax would likely be interested in (e.g., info about the “snowball jackpot bingo session”, and “name that tune”) and which we definitely did not want to hear at noon when we sat down to lunch in the MDR at noon to try and enjoy the calm venue, or during an enrichment lecture. Officers were European, crew seemed to be mostly Filipino (including a mumbling assistant sommelier who seemed to be on duty for all dining areas), Indonesian, and Indian. There were also some eastern Europeans and a smattering of others, e.g., a non-smiling South African woman at the Destinations desk. Crew wore name tags which indicated what country they were from. DECOR AND COMFORT This is a very comfortable, clean, well-maintained ship. There was comfortable, or very comfortable, furniture in all venues. There was a soft but supportive bed in our room, with an equally pleasant sofa. MDR chairs were simply heaven for my muscles and bones (I struggle with the hard chairs and sofas on Seabourn), and were plush on the bottom, top and everywhere else. The decor was a bit old-fashioned aesthetically, and tried to simulate an old European hotel, e.g., with pictures of odd Renaissance figures scattered here and there including in the public toilet areas, but also had some art which showed distorted pictures of women a la Picasso, alternating with more expected calm seascapes. None of the odd art impaired our enjoyment of the cruise. The pool was small and sometimes occupied by loud children (e.g., while we approached the Sawyer Glacier, even when overhead announcements and loud talking were banned). It was surrounded by two hot tubs, often used by larger groups. The only other hot tub in a more private area was near the spa itself and was very nice, large, sparsely used, and was accessible without cost to PH suite and above pax, and charged out at $25/person/day to others, or for use when pax had a spa appointment. DH used it a lot. CABIN Penthouse Suite, forward in the bow The PH suite was listed as having 332 square feet, had a balcony, and was as expected. It was clean and spacious with a soft but supportive comfortable queen bed, 3-seater sofa, table and 2 chairs. The suite bathroom was ok, a combination tub/shower with a retractable clothesline, one deep sink, and Bulgari toiletries. There was an immobile glass partition blocking off half of the tub, which made it awkward to put in the bathtub stopper before filling the tub (you either had to climb into the tub, and jump out before the water started, or contort your body). There were two welcome and well-positioned grab bars plus ribbing at the bottom of the tub, minimizing fall risk. It was hard to get our full-size suitcases to fit under the bed, but we managed (or could have asked the butler to help). Closet space was more than adequate for our week’s worth, or more, of stuff, though it was not a walk-in. The balcony had two cushionless adjustable chairs and a table, but no lounger. There were two oddly shaped footstools which were too low and flimsy for us to use. The balcony rail was metal with interrupted horizontal sections, so you could see the view through them when sitting down. Sound insulation was good, so we did not hear our neighbors through the walls. Though we were far up in the bow, near the bridge, we heard no noise from there, and the ride was smooth (but so were the seas). There were two thin cashmere blankets for our use. Linens and pillows were soft and luxurious. There was a small TV perched up and sidewards to the bed and sofa with basic cable channels, but you could not see your account or restaurant menus on the TV. The suite included butler service, which did not mean much for us. He brought afternoon “canapés" at 5 PM, which came from the same offered list every day, (you could pick two per couple from the list) and consisted of tiny portions of BBQ chicken wings, or tea style mini sandwiches with dried out bread, tiny celery sticks with blue cheese dip, or assorted other forgettable items like guacamole and salsa with taco shell chips that were not crispy. None of them looked like the pictures of the canapés in the catalogue. Fancier canapés were available for special order by big groups. There was a small non-fluorescent clock on the counter. Amenities of the PH suite included rights to reserve 2 nights at each of the specialty restaurants, pressing of 4 garments, butler assistance with packing, unpacking, shoe shining, booking dining reservations and excursions, rights to have hot and not just cold breakfast room service, as well as potential to have en-suite course by course dinner service. We passed on all of this, did not need a butler, just enjoyed the PH space. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: This was mostly mediocre, which was surprising, based on the internet Oceania food build-up we’d read. Perhaps the food on the Riviera and Marina are awesome, or this was an off week for the chef. But for whatever reason, on this cruise almost every meal (some exceptions) was disappointing at breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, and at en-suite canapés. Food was mostly uninteresting and not particularly innovative. Portions were large compared with luxury cruise lines, which some people might like, and generally more than we wanted, especially with the quality of the food. The two specialty, by-reservation restaurants are the Polo Grill (steak place) and Toscana (Italian). The Polo Grill, which we tried once, had good but not “oh my God” steak and prime rib, and was not as good as Seabourn’s Thomas Keller Grill. Toscana, which we also tried once, had a very large menu, and offered so-so pasta dishes (we had a trio of them as an entree and another as an appetizer), and a special was king salmon (overcooked). Especially poor was the lobster risotto style dish. The best thing about Toscana was that it had an olive oil and balsamic vinegar cart waiters wheeled around, from which you could choose which type of oils to dip your so-so bread in. The waiters also had fun Italian accents and sounded like Formula One or Moto-GP drivers doing post-race interviews. The Terrace Grill is the indoor/outdoor seat yourself buffet venue, and it has great views and comfortable chairs. Unfortunately, it also exuded a hectic atmosphere breakfast, lunch and dinner. It served “cafeteria-plus" quality food, often with meat hot dishes where the meat was overcooked. Fish was usually overcooked or forgettable, or pre-made sushi. Lamb stew in the MDR had hard, dried out meat, and a veal stew concoction at the Terrace Grill on French buffet night also had chewy hard veal. The “French” buffet night at the Terrace Grill was ridiculous: hard meats, no French-style white baguettes, they were out of creme brûlée by 8PM, cheeseless "French" onion soup tasted like Lipton's, cream puffs tasted like they had cream from a commercial squirt bottle instead of freshly whipped cream, there were only 3 cheeses and they were all Italian, and the only thing authentically French was the bad service and waiters’ annoyed attitudes. Bizarrely, the same night, there were also sushi offerings. The basic pate was ok so I filled up on that. We returned to the room feeling annoyed and discovered the butler had left us a little bowl of partially broken potato chips as an evening “treat”. What’s worse is that the chips were sadly welcome after our disappointing dinner, and DH devoured them. Coffee was drinkable or good in almost all venues. It included the option of serve-yourself coffee machines in Horizons, the equivalent of the Observation Lounge on Seabourn, where sleepy people lined up early in the morning to watch others fumble with the machines, or from Barrista the coffee bar, where people also lined up, similar to the way they do in Seabourn Square. Mixed drinks were weak and expensive and a poor value without a so-called “drinks package". One ounze of Calvados was $10 + 18% mandatory service charge, again, even if service was mediocre or poor. Wine purchased on board without a “drinks package” was heavily marked up (e.g., a $38/bottle retail wine, likely purchased for much less by the cruise line, was billed out at $90 plus mandatory 18% service charge). Soft drinks and waters, plus basic coffee and tea (in bags) and juices (from concentrate, not freshly squeezed) were included in the cruise fare. Wine service was generally cumbersome: first you had to wait for a waiter to come by and ask for the wine list, then wait to get the wine, then at the end find a waiter and wait to pay for the wine with your card. You were better off just quickly picking the one white or red wine by the 4-5 ounce glass for the day, to keep things moving. After experimenting with the Terrace Grill and two specialty venues, we gave up and took as many meals as possible in the MDR. There was a very nice red pepper soup, and an ok pasta with pancetta for lunch once in the MDR, but mostly the food was forgettable even though the views from the dining rooms were very nice, I loved the chairs, and there were many window tables for two. The best dish there was dubbed a “Taste from Red Ginger”, the Asian restaurant on the larger Oceania ships, called pork luc lac, though DH must have been allergic to an ingredient as he broke out in total body hives 2 hours later. I also enjoyed a vichyssoise appetizer soup, and the Duck L’orange was decently flavored, though it had some gristle. Lunch in the MDR often featured a special of the day “tastes of the world” with an offering of various dishes from other countries, e.g., Mexico, Greece, Morocco, India. Of those we had, they were usually ok, not stellar. An angus burger with fries was a basic burger, not gourmet. A caesar salad was a basic caeser, with nothing to distinguish it. Most soups lacked flavor. Desserts called “mousse” were mostly just puddings, ice cream was generic so I only ordered it once. A “Jacques” poached salmon with rice pilaf was a disgrace, and consisted of two slabs of deflavored overboiled salmon sitting on a plate next to a blob of rice without anything else in it that was called “rice pilaf”, and some overcooked green beans. The dish cried out for butter, tartar sauce, herbs, anything to give it taste. The uninspired presentation and bland flavors were well-suited to a nursing home. A Wienerschnitzel entree the last night, in addition to being overcooked (as usual) had a weird aftertaste resembling old cooking oil. Creme brulee was excellent. Morning small croissants were pretty good. Most of the danish and other morning pastries were not, lacking butter and/or sugar. Only one type of bread in the same daily bread basket, other than breadsticks, was not rubbery. SERVICE The cruise was not “all inclusive”, so it was made clear we would be charged $16/person/day plus $7/person/day for the butler on top of our PH suite cruise fare plus 18 percent for anything bought on board including alcohol not part of a "package". Nor was there an honor system (as is done on Hapag Lloyd) where you could just verbally give your cabin number for drinks ordered without having to pull out your room key card from its pouch and then sign. You had to sign for the drinks and wine, plus the mandatory 18% service charge. This was annoying and disruptive, e.g., if we were listening to a show, or standing up somewhere, or were in a hurry to leave after eating but needed to pay for the alcohol brought previously, or had poor service. The fact that crew would get their 18% service charge no matter what did not provide some with much incentive to do more than the minimum. We had no complaints about our PH butler, who was fine, he had previously served on luxury lines, but he did not need to do much for us. My only criticism is that one day we had the Do Not Disturb sign still out and 5 o'clock, canapé time, came up, so he called the phone in our room to check on delivery, that could have gone either way. We had brought 3 nice CA wines on board (legal, per policy) which we had served to us for a $25 surcharge at dinner. It was repeatedly a challenge to get dining room personnel to get around to opening our bottles so the wine could breathe while we waited for our food, even though personnel clearly saw the bottles on our table after we arrived. Apparently only the sommelier is allowed to open bottles brought on board. Some waiters were smart-alecky, e.g., one in the Polo Grill offered us "Crystal Geyser water, vintage 2017”, after we sat down and he saw our bottle of high end Napa cab we had put on the table. Too many personnel (usually from eastern Europe) were sullen or acted bored and overworked. Service at lunch in the MDR and dinner was on average better than at the Terrace Grill. Language barriers sometimes contributed to confusion. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Terrace Grill service was poor, to match the chaotic atmosphere and food, with either delays, mix-ups, oversights, or attitude, which created a sense of dread going there, as with a negatively conditioned Pavlovian dog. The mostly Filipino or other Asian crew who dished out the Terrace Grill food, however, (for alleged hygienic purposes, they spooned everything out for pax, with rare exceptions pax could not serve themselves), were pleasant and eager, though English communication skills were variable. On a day when we were in port, in Sitka, we went to eat lunch in the MDR, and everyone eating there got deliberately seated bunched up in one quarter of the dining room’s space, which created a louder and more crowded atmosphere, and did not utilize all the window seats. This arrangement was surely more convenient for the waiters. Unfortunately. that still did not help the waiters keep the orders straight. When we got off the ship in Ketchikan, while waiting pierside before our excursion, we watched the remaining pax attempt to disembark: they had a long wait, as there was only one crew member manning the room card clicking device and station, and he worked slowly. At 35 minutes, pax were still in line waiting to get off into port. Reception and Destination services personnel were cool and efficient in person, but there were consistently long delays in picking up the phone when we called from our suite. The dining reservations line kept ringing, without routing to an informational voicemail about hours, or another center, if you called during off hours. So if you called in the afternoon when you wanted to make a reservation for dinner, no one answered the dining line, and if you called Reception, and they finally answered, they told you to check back at dinnertime on the dining line. You also had to go to reception to have them print your account's running balance, to keep track of charges accuracy, as they were n/a on the TV. On the final bill, they also changed the format, grouping charges not by date but by location, and only added the service charges at the end of the cruise, so be careful if you are trying to use up On Board Credit and no more. Cancelled excursions that had been booked and paid for by credit card before the cruise were refunded into OBC, but you could cash out up to that amount. ENTERTAINMENT AND OTHER OFFERED ACTIVITIES Entertainment was good for such a small ship, though the floor in the Regatta Lounge, which is the main venue, is barely sloped, so it is hard to see the stage from many seats. The 5-man band was skilled, especially the sax player. The 3 women and 3 male singer/dancers did a decent job on their production numbers. There was a comedian from NJ named Tom Drake who was a bit low-brow but very funny -- even though there were hardly any people from NJ or NY on the cruise compared with Seabourn, (based on “where you from” applause). There were a few Floridians, and a lot of Californians, like us. We learned Tom Drake is married to the CD, as he made jokes about her. There was a funny magician-pickpocket, Bob Arno. A classical music string quartet played at teatime, but pax mostly just crowded into the Horizons lounge to feed on the mediocre cakes, and to loudly talk about various things like their card game hands, relatives, or food preferences, rather than to listen to the music, so the musicians were drowned out. On the first sea day, people were crowding the door to the entrance, and had difficulty finding seats where they could drink their bagged (not loose leaf) teas. Not much was done special for the 4th of July (the CD wore little wiggling flag ears on her head, and from 10:30-11:30 PM the band played some rock music, that was it). Several other late night bar and music and dancing venues were listed, we did not go there. The fitness center is large, and was crowded on sea days. Some of the equipment was at times broken and no one was around to fix it. DH, who came regularly, was sometimes able to gain access to a piece of non-functioning equipment by fixing it himself. There was a casino, shuffleboard, golf putting, trivia, ping pong, bridge, needlepoint, zumba, poker, jewelry “education”, as well as a former electrical engineer turned metals expert who gave an interesting talk about gold, both in and out of Alaska. In case you felt tempted to drink alcohol and weren’t supposed to, there was also a Friends of Bill W. get-together. I did not see a Friends of Dorothy meeting announcement. There were surprisingly very few enrichment lectures, though this was a cruise to Alaska. DVDs are available for rental at reception (a thousand). Internet worked ok for a cruise, we had opted for unlimited service, got to use one device at a time. There are also “packages” you can buy. The spa is in the bow, very pretty with views and calm music in the waiting area, though they played loud annoying overhead music in the manicure and hair service area (as they did in the restaurants), apparently that is what the often humming-along personnel like to listen to. DH had a good massage. I had a painful and mediocre manicure/pedicure with a somewhat unhappy young lady who was just going through the motions. We went to an hour long Italian wine tasting ($75 per person) where a couple dozen of us tasted just one ounze each of representative Italians wines paired with tiny bites, barely enough to taste before and with food, plus an intro glass of prosecco. The head sommelier ran the session, and did a good job. EXCURSIONS: For convenience, and because I had had success with Silversea and Holland America excursions in Alaska, we booked one ship-run excursion at each port before the cruise (there are "packages" for that too). They were expensive, relative to the cost of excursions on Silversea and Seabourn. On glacier day, the ship sailed into Tracy Arm towards the Sawyer Glacier, after an aborted sail into the Endicott area (allegedly too much ice -- the captain is a senior officer, but the CD told us this was only the second time this captain had captained this ship, and another ship had gotten stuck in the ice, so we needed to play it safe). Unfortunately we only got within 3 miles of the glacier, just close enough to see it in the distance but not close enough to hear anything. Some people gathered on the top deck to watch scenery, while others at the same time clanked away at shuffleboard on the top deck, and even more sat in the dirty-windowed Observation Lounge in the bow while drinking complimentary cocoa or ordering $10 plus 18% mandatory gratuity drinks. There is no outdoor area in front of the Observation Lounge, and the top deck has high glass surrounding it, so it was hard to find a place to get great forward-looking pictures or simulate the stretched-out arms bow scene in the movie Titanic. One pre-booked excursion (a 4x4 adventure safari out of Sitka) got cancelled, and we had to rebook short notice. We did a 5 hour catamaran explorer tour to Misty Fjiords National Monument out of Ketchikan (not exclusive to Oceania pax) which was nicely done by a local family, that was fine, but it is available for independent booking. We walked around Ketchikan, where I had been 3 times before, old Creek Street is colorful, and Alaska Fish House has great chowder and fresh seafood. In Sitka we did a rainforest hike at the Starragavan and Mosquito loop trails, which was a pleasant, easy walk for 2-3 miles on gentle terrain, a few miles outside of Sitka by minivan. We enjoyed it even though there seemed to be more standing than hiking, as the guide stopped frequently and talked way too much about plant names which no one will remember, how to use various grasses to homeopathically treat cancer (I think I'd rather go to an oncologist) and how to tell one species of slug from the next, all of which resulted in needless chatter and interrupted the flow of what could have been a serene walk. It was followed by standing around for 35 minutes in a parking lot waiting for our delayed ride back to the ship. There are many things to do in Sitka without booking an excursion. In Prince Rupert we did an overpriced excursion dubbed "jet boat adventure and walk”. This consisted of meeting at 11AM in the Regatta Lounge (along with most other pax on the ship), milling around, then getting off and milling around some more at the pier, departure close to 12 for a scenic drive on a comfortable though crowded bus with over 50 people including some “dudes”, and arrival at 1 PM in a parking lot next to a river. We were escorted by a ditzy young guide who called herself a “biologist", but who seemed to have problems communicating distance concepts to American tourists (e.g., once she described an attraction as being “far away — about 160 kilometers, so it would be about double that in miles” [sic]). On arrival at the parking lot, twelve people then suited up in vests to go jet-boating for 30 minutes, twelve did a 30-minute very slow stroll through mosquito-infested woods with the guide (bug spray available), and the remainder sat around in the sun waiting for some locals to very slowly, at their leisure, (they were just firing up the grill when we arrived) grill salmon two at a time and talk about interesting things like battles with the Canadian government to extend disability payments and their views on a certain American political figure. Groups then rotated through the activities, sitting on a few chairs either in the parking lot in the sun or under a canopy, standing, swatting bugs, waiting and waiting for salmon to get cooked, playing games with their kids, or using the stinky equally mosquito-infested outhouse or bus toilet, until 4 PM when we were bussed back. A day after this excursion, at the end of the last day of the cruise, though I had utilized the "free" bug spray, I developed itchy red welts clustered in rows all over my lower body and am still scratching as I write this (there is medical debate as to whether this was caused by mosquito bites from the excursion, or occult bed bugs on the ship). DISEMBARKATION Bags officially had to be put out by 10 the night before, (show was at 9:30) though some put them out later, with the usual color-coding disembarkation set-up. Oceania and port personnel did a good job keeping the flow of people moving well as we got off. We overpaid for a reserved communal bus trip to the Seattle airport, $85 per person for flights after 12, and were deposited in a parking lot about a 15-minute walk from the baggage check-in area for distant United Airlines ( we had to wheel our bags through a parking structure). Seattle port and airport personnel were pleasant and efficient. SUMMARY: I’m sure this is a perfectly fine line for certain demographics, but it is not for us. The ship itself is pretty and comfortable and I would love to love this ship. The key disappointment was the uninteresting and poorly prepared food and to a lesser degree, the mass market service and nickle-and-diming atmosphere. It certainly was not a good value to get a PH suite, compared with an all-inclusive base veranda cabin on Seabourn or Silversea, once we added in the cost of the alcohol and other service (or non-service) with its steep markups and 18% mandatory surcharge regardless of service quality, high excursion costs, and other extras. I actually thought the food was better and more consistent on mainstream Holland America’s Westerdam on an Alaska cruise in 2015, at least at dinner. I did not gain any weight on this cruise, very unusual and indicative of unsatisfactory food quality, as I usually gain about 3 pounds per week when I overeat goodies that are available.. And yet this ship appeared to be a good choice for some. Most people on board seemed to love their cruise including the food. Pax appeared to be for the most part down to earth, easy to please middle Americans enjoying a special, but casual, family or couples vacation, something that is a little nicer and more intimate than what mainstream lines offer. Oceania offers a smaller ship, on average cheaper and smaller entry level cabins per person per day, and seems to save by avoiding over-the-top luxury food and service. Entry level cabins on small ship lines like Seabourn and Silversea are more expensive per diem. Parents or grandparents can book themselves a nice PH suite on Oceania, and then put their young adult kids or grandkids or "dudes" into inside cabins or tiny window cabins to save some money. Then everyone can dine on the same hot dishes with overcooked meat together, and do overpriced communal excursions. Or, non-drinkers, non-gourmets, people who always do their own excursions, or people who do not need or expect individualized pampering, can enjoy the benefits of a clean, small ship with pleasant decor, comfortable seating, and a variety of entertainment options. DH and I, however, will be going back to luxury lines, where securing flavorful and interesting food, dining room service, ability to customize, and attention to detail, without outrageously priced extras, are less likely to be an issue (though even there, there is no certainty anymore, see my other reviews). We are unlikely to retry Oceania in the near future for these prices, and if we do, it would be on the newer ships Oceania and Riviera, perhaps the food is better there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Cruised with friends that picked ship and itinirary. My first cruise so nothing to compare it to. Food was OK, but not up to the lofty expectations I had coming in. Never got a good steak, even hamburger meat tasted weird. My first ... Read More
Cruised with friends that picked ship and itinirary. My first cruise so nothing to compare it to. Food was OK, but not up to the lofty expectations I had coming in. Never got a good steak, even hamburger meat tasted weird. My first breakfast was in the main dining room and I ordered Eggs Benedict - huge disappointment. Theme nights at Terrace were good, especially the seafood night. Deserts were also disappointing. Service in main dining room was always a two hour affair for dinner. Loved our waiter, but just a slow process. Wine selection by the glass were hugely disappointing. Fortunately I had brought some great Oregon wines onboard and poured them in my room and brought them to dinner avoiding a corkage fee. Cruise Director, Dottie, was great. Were fortunate to share the cruise with Big Ten alumni and they brought great speakers and athletes from the past. Vern Lundquist was a great speaker. Loved the entertainment, kids sang and danced their tails off. Ports of call were fine other than Wrangell - totally a wasted day. Highlight was the seaplane ride to Taku Lodge for salmon dinner. Amazing views of glaciers in area, just mind blowing. We had an interior room to save money and it was fine for us - great beds. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This cruise was organized by Michigan State University and Go Next travel. All big ten schools were included for this cruise. We enjoyed stops in Alaska and excursions planned by Go Next. We had sports dignitaries on board and enjoyed ... Read More
This cruise was organized by Michigan State University and Go Next travel. All big ten schools were included for this cruise. We enjoyed stops in Alaska and excursions planned by Go Next. We had sports dignitaries on board and enjoyed panel discussions. We stopped in Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, Hoonah, Skagway and Victoria. Our meals were delicious,the staff friendly and efficient and the voyage was fantastic. The atmosphere was casual but dinner required country club casual.The terrace could be crowded especially at lunch. The staff was exceptional and learned our names quickly. The spa services were very expensive and the transfer costs to the airports were very expensive. I liked the size of the ship and we are planning on another cruise in several years. I would recommend Oceana and the Regatta to friends and family. I would have enjoyed a yoga and Zumba class or other fitness activity offered onboard. Read Less
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