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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Finally got to take another cruise from my bucket list. Sailed on Riviera and found the staff very enjoyable. Everyone were more than happy to help in anyway to make my stay with them an enjoyable one. I had dinner at Red Ginger (get ... Read More
Finally got to take another cruise from my bucket list. Sailed on Riviera and found the staff very enjoyable. Everyone were more than happy to help in anyway to make my stay with them an enjoyable one. I had dinner at Red Ginger (get the Sea Bass), Polo Grill, Toscana and the Main Dining room. All the meals were delicious and I found the wait staff very friendly. I can’t wait for my next cruise. Being a solo traveller, I decided to sign up for some of the ships tours. The kayaking experience was very interesting with our tour guide filling us in on the sea life around Great Stirrup Cay. I think the group thoroughly enjoyed his talk. Another day found me on a trolley train in St.Lucia. It was a great ride and our conductor was a very funny man. We got to see through the town of Castries, as well as a ride to a lovely beach, it was a fun day for everyone. We were never far from areas to shop at any of the islands that we visited. I did overdue it a little bit at the jewelry table on the ship, but that’s what vacations are all about. Touring by day, shopping by night! The catamaran sail at Sr. Bart’s was a wonderful way to spend time there. While many found the shopping very expensive, I found the sailing and swimming in the cove to be a wonderful way to spend the day. I would highly recommend any of these tours. Disembarkation was smooth and timely. A shout out as well to Judy for all her hard work. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was my third cruise with Oceania. Having been on the Marina my first reaction when I entered the cabin was “ it has shrunk”. The shower was tiny. As a solo traveller I have no idea how a couple would cope. The ship was tired. But ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Oceania. Having been on the Marina my first reaction when I entered the cabin was “ it has shrunk”. The shower was tiny. As a solo traveller I have no idea how a couple would cope. The ship was tired. But while on board Oceania announced their revamp. For the first time the shows actually contained some music from the 50 and 60. The last show was amazing. I was amazed to hear that a Florida had decided to can it. I hope they don’t go back to Broadway and Frank Sinantra (more my mothers era). Another positive was a focus on the solo travellers. I have asked before why Oceania don’t value their solo travellers only to be told the economic model is two people per cabin not one. This time they hosted 4 events for us and we were very grateful. John the cruise director was very friendly and efficient. Very focused on the US guests but they are the majority I suppose. Captain Max was also amazing with his talks and updates. He made us feel included and his talks were funny and educational. Great to have the free shuttles in port for those organising their own shore activities. The dress code was very casual. John kept asking people to comply with code but many ignored it. I did see a specialty restaurant turn away a guest dressed in track pants and joggers once. On the negative side, the food in the terrace cafe left a lot to be desired. Breakfast was just what one would expect. The other meal times were very ordinary. The Grand dining room was ok but after 20 days one was just eating much the same. The polo grill and Tuscany were top. The Ambassador was very abrupt. Maybe it was her culture. However previous cruise Ambassadors were more helpful. Her attitude was “ look in the books and handout and when u have decided come back. Otherwise don’t waste my time”. The internet is very poor. One connection per cabin. My travel companions had to have one person log off before the other one could use it!!! I had to keep logging off and on devices. Let’s hope this is included in Oceania Next!!! The beverage package is very expensive for what one gets. We went to a couple of wine tastings. The last one we paid $50 to drink what was included in our beverage package!!! Activities were limited but they flew in from US two bridge masters as they had about 300 people playing bridge. If u did not play trivia or bridge there was not much else to do on sea days but rest ( maybe that is an idea). Finally I must say how wonderful all the staff are. From the Captain to the dr and nurse ( very rough seas resulted in a visit to the dr) through to the cabin staff. No one said goodbye as we left the ship. Well with over 80% of return guests I guess that is not important. The trip has made me rethink if I should not explore some other lines ( have only been on Holland America) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. ... Read More
This was the longest cruise I have ever taken, and I never traveled as a solo traveler (age 52) before. From 650 guests on board, 450 knew my name during my adventure. I have met endless wonderful people who I exchanged e-mails with. Giuseppe, the general manager, solved an issue I had with my cabin and resolved this matter quickly and to my absolute satisfaction. The food was excellent, but the wine selection could use some improvement. I chose the "magic card" which allowed me to drink any alcohol beverages. Knowing that each glass of wine plus an 18% gratuity on top of it was "not knowing the price" well worth it for me. However, some wines I could not choose with my unlimited beverage card because it did not allow for bottled wines, only the ones by glass. Otherwise, I enjoyed 99% of all excursions I had chosen. The entertainment was wonderful even though I think it could improve a little. What I missed was yoga or meditation classes. I would have been perfect offering those for sunrise or sunsets. I loved this cruise so much that I booked the world cruise directly on board and I am looking forward to many more adventures. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My sister had taken a similar repositioning cruise a year ago (Lisbon to Rio) and said it was the best (out of 50 or so cruises), the food, the service, etc. We found the food exceptional, to the point that the diet began half way through ... Read More
My sister had taken a similar repositioning cruise a year ago (Lisbon to Rio) and said it was the best (out of 50 or so cruises), the food, the service, etc. We found the food exceptional, to the point that the diet began half way through the cruise, due to our weak will power in the early half. We did cheat occasionally on the crossing portion. The added-on amenities re gratuities, land-based tours, air fare, internet etc., all made it attractive. Loved the Barista coffee efforts and afternoon tea. At first we thought oceania was too secular with no Christmas/holiday decorations, then one night the staff did a fabulous job, trees, lights, wreathes, and had a big reveal of a life size gingerbread house up and running. There was a limited Sunday service on one Sunday, and a Hanukah candle lighting effort. We have travelled Holland America and know they make an effort to have a priest on board for religious services. With 1/3 or so of the ship empty, I would think that a great PR gesture would be to bump up passengers to a higher category, e.g. one or two above their booked arrangements. How to make a customer even more loyal! I challenge the entertainment people to help all with diets and discipline, e.g have a weigh in on the first and last day with simple prizes to the smallest gainers! I'm serious!!!! Accompanying that, the fitness area should have nutrition seminars, given the age demographics of the cruisers. There may have been something but I missed it and the concern that I would be hit by a big bill, e.g. my wife came back from a $200 massage that helped! I also think that in the dining rooms, it would be so simple to ask the size of the portion requested, e.g. small, medium or large, rather than waste food. I found the library weak on layout and titles, compared to the Nautica. Luckily, we both had loaded up our tablets. Given the size of the ship, on board (crossing) activities were limited, although we did enjoy 2 of the movies and the dance groups in the Marina. I regret not using the fitness area more. I appreciated the enrichment speaker, particularly her presentation on migration to America. As a semi-retired professor/teacher, I give her full marks. On a six day crossing, so much more (e.g. 2x a day) could be given on interesting topics, e.g. Christmas traditions across the world, academic opportunities to learn re other Oceania cruises to become better informed, e.g. about Britain and Brexit, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean countries, European locations re WW1 and WW2, history of early ocean/new world crossings, e.g. the Leif Erikkson and the Vikings, and the other early explorers, Vasco de Game, Magellan and the Portuguese, Captains Cook and Vancouver. I saw where the Chinese may have been to Kenya long before Europeans. Other aspects of major crossings, the slave trade, formation of hurricanes off Cape Verde, the gulf stream, pollution of the oceans with plastics. I found the early arrival costs inhibiting, e.g. the diversion fare to come a few days earlier, and the hotels that Oceania were advertising in Barcelona, e.g. $400+ per person per night as an example. Knowing that Barcelona with its recent terrorist strike, and separation referendum has plummeted tourism, it would have been a welcome move to make early travel more inviting and welcome to the Barcelona and Catalonian economy. Following the insider news on the situation, could have reassured potential passengers of the safety. Would we do Oceania again. By all means! Hopefully my thoughts are considered seriously. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We just concluded Oceania's cruise from Venice to Athens on the "Riviera". Among over 1,000 passengers were only 5-6 young ones; the rest were senior citizens in their '70s. There were no poolside (or anywhere else) ... Read More
We just concluded Oceania's cruise from Venice to Athens on the "Riviera". Among over 1,000 passengers were only 5-6 young ones; the rest were senior citizens in their '70s. There were no poolside (or anywhere else) activities, nothing happening after dinner other than listening to old folks talking about the menu or their retirement. Awfully dull. The menu at the ship's restaurants was fine if eating is a passenger's sole reason for going on a cruise. The captain's (Captain Flokos) judgment was poor; upon arrival in Mykonos where the winds were strong in the morning (a very common occurrence in Mykonos), he simply elected to skip that port altogether and, instead, forced all passengers to 24 hours of ship confinement running around the sea/ Instead, he could have: a) Waited for the wind to die down (the local summer wind, called meltemi always dies down in the evening) and let the passengers out for a pleasant evening in Mykonos), or b) Gone to another nearby port (Athens was only three hours away,. and so were mahy other Greek islands), or c) Proceeded to the next scheduled stop in Santorinini for an extra day there. d) Have made arrangements ahead of time for the ship to have landed on the pier for direct access to the island without needing boats to transport passengers between the ship and land. "Excursions" at each of the ports visited were ill-conceived because passengers were required to be back on the ship by 3-4 pm, even though the next port of call was, in most cases, only 2-3 hours away and could be easily reached during the night. There was no good reason to force passengers to leave each Greek island visited at 3pm. Instead, passengers could have had the pleasure of spending much more time to each port of call (Santorini, Dubrovnik, etc.). Oceania company deserves all the blame for such poor planning. The ship's customer service staff were uniformly aloof and rude and self-righteous, as if they were doing passengers a favor by addressing passengers' concerns. They forgot that, in the final analysis, it was the passengers who paid their salaries. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Chose for size of ship, anemities on the ship and explore all these countries without having to pack up for each country place went to. the ship is for adults only as no amenities for kids, which we like. Excursions. For us, though, ... Read More
Chose for size of ship, anemities on the ship and explore all these countries without having to pack up for each country place went to. the ship is for adults only as no amenities for kids, which we like. Excursions. For us, though, in Thailand we only went to Bangkok and missed another excursion because the ship had to leave earlier than planned due to low tide. So, Thailand was a disappointment as it is a huge, crowded city and way too much traffic.Cannot say we really saw the real Thailand. We enjoyed Vietnam. Saigon tour very good. We suggest that you pay extra or take your own tour to Hanoi in Vietnam, as it is over a 3 hour ride into Hanoi. You will be gone for 11 hours, 6 to 7 hours drive in one day. It was a really good experience as we had an excellent time visiting Hanoi. We recommend the kayaking tour in Sinahookville, Cambodia. It is a very poor place, so if you take the tuktuk or bus tour in the 90 degree heat and visit places where the poor kids are begging everywhere, it may not enjoyable. Also, if you have a choice to go on on the OE excursion even though it is more expensive, you will have only 10-16 people on your tour rather than a whole bus load. Much more personalized. Our stateroom was not very large, but it was fine with a balcony. We signed up for the Concierge level as the amenities are worth it. The bathroom is very small, and a couple of "big" men said they could not fit in the shower. We have been on 3 Oceania cruises, so we were not surprised. Dining choices are really good with 3 restaurants, 2 of which you need a reservation. The service was fabulous. Enjoyed the entertainment and activities--Many to select from. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We received a lot of press on the new Sirena. We booked a Penthouse SG2 with no specific stateroom. This was a first for us not having a Stateroom; one of their promotions. We were going to be in Europe so all seemed good; bad decision. We did not realize nor did our travel agent, that Oceania advises you of your stateroom the day before sailing. Thus you options to select another stateroom or cancel was not an option. My recommendation would be never to book a cruise without you knowing where you will be. As to the ship, the Sirena is a 17 year old ship and it still looks like it. Other than make all the staterooms smaller to gain more revenue, it is a mystery as to where the money went. The biggest shock was the size of the Penthouse. It had no closets and very limited space to put your clothes. Any cruise over 12 days would be an issue. The bathroom is a joke. You can almost take a shower, go to the toilet, and shave without moving. The width of the bathroom is so small it is hard to describe it. The shower is approx. 3’X 4’ I feel sorry for the passengers that did not have penthouses. On the positive side, the food was great. The ports we visited were great. The disappointment was their decision to stop in a great port on Sunday when 90% of the sights were closed. They stayed there the full day loading ship supplies. Making things worse, is the ship hit an underground cable due to a Pilot error. We had to stay another day in port and miss a great port that was on the itinerary. They offered everyone a $200.00 shipboard credit on a future cruise; they can keep it. I strongly recommend you stay from this ship if you want to experience a great cruise; there competitors offer such better choices Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Background We are probably amongst the youngest Oceania loyalists (25 and 34) but we just love traveling by ship and the atmosphere and food only found on Oceania Cruises. After our ‘Mayan Mystique’ cruise on ‘Riviera’ in the ... Read More
Background We are probably amongst the youngest Oceania loyalists (25 and 34) but we just love traveling by ship and the atmosphere and food only found on Oceania Cruises. After our ‘Mayan Mystique’ cruise on ‘Riviera’ in the beginning of the year we found ourselves talking about that fabulous holiday so often that we decided to book again for this summer. Booking – Pre-cruise We noticed that the ‘Ancient Empires’ cruise still had the stateroom (PH1) of our choice available so after some calculating we decided to book it. We felt great! The following morning we got a promotional email from Oceania with discounts for cruises that included free gratuities and the premium beverage package. I immediately checked and found a cruise that was eligible for that promotion and had a fairly similar itinerary and was also this summer. Since it was less than 15 hours since we confirmed our reservation I contacted our TA and asked her to switch us. After a couple of hours she reported back with a message from Oceania stating ‘At this stage if the guests want to re-book on to a different sailing, there is 100% cancellation charges and they would need to pay the full fare again on the new booking’. I understand that after a booking is made and paid that switching to ‘grab’ a better deal is problematic, but this was within 24 hours after saying yes and without having paid a single dollar or in our case a single euro. If I had been Oceania I would have given the TA either an advance notice on promotions or given us the possibility to switch cruises. Option 3 would have been to give us the same promotion for our booked cruise. Anyway it didn’t spoil the pre-fun and we soon went online on the Oceania website to book our specialty restaurants. Unfortunately the only times available to us were either at 6:30 (early for us) or at 09:00 (very late). Getting a table at 07:00, 07:30, 8:00 or 8:30 just wasn’t possible. (When we came on the ship we were able to change all bookings to our preferred dining time and nobody understood why only the very early and late options had been available) Flights When our cruise day arrived we woke up very early to catch our KLM flight to Rome. We left for the airport (Schiphol) at 05:30 and had wheels up at 07:20. KLM has the option to book economy comfort and you get a little extra legroom and are located directly behind the business class so that you’re off the plane quickly after arriving at the gate. We landed at FCO at 09:30 and had our bags in minutes. We had arranged private transportation, since Oceania Transfers are way to expensive. We paid €120 for our trip to Civitavecchia. The road to the port was very busy due to an accident but our driver took a different route that was slower but had us in the port in 1.5 hour (normally in 50 minutes). Embarkation The port for Rome isn’t the nicest to arrive but the taxi can drive right up to the ship. Our luggage was whisked away immediately. We signed the health questionnaire, gave our credit card and where on the ship in a couple of minutes. Fastest embarkation ever! Staterooms and suites weren’t ready this early but a nice lunch was provided at the Terrace Café. We enjoyed our lunch outside with a salad, fresh grilled meats and ice cream immensely. Our vacation had officially begun! After lunch we used the loungers near the pool for some relaxation until our stateroom was ready. We watched new guests arrive, marvel at the ship and enjoy lunch and the pool. Ship The Riviera still looks brand new. I don’t know what they did during the dry dock in May but everything sparkled. All public areas are beautifully decorated. We have been on this ship 3 times and really love the layout and design. It’s our favorite ship to cruise on. We also like the R-ships (Nautica, Insignia and Regatta) a lot, but enjoy the Penthouse Suites and extra restaurants on the O-ships. There are only a few things we don’t like such as smallish outdoor area at the terrace café. To small for such a (relatively) big ship, to many tables and chairs placed to close together. On some days you just couldn’t find a table there. Also the pool area can get really crowded. On sea days it can really be a mad house in those areas. On days where there are a lot of tours the ship feels more like a private yacht. So I understand the design/cost challenge for designing those outdoor paces. They could maybe do more with the almost never used deck spaces higher up on the ship. I do like the ‘Lawn Club’ on X for example. For the rest I couldn’t name a thing we don’t like about the Riviera. When you sail on this ship please take your time exploring since there are so many great spots and facilities on the ship like the Library, Baristas and the Spa Deck. We noticed a lot of familiar faces from our last cruise and they made us feel right at home. Penthouse suite PH1-7135 We booked this suite because of its larger balcony. The room itself is a lot narrower than the other Penthouse Suites, but the balcony makes up for that. The walk-in closet is much smaller. The bathroom is the same as the other Penthouses with dark marble and granite and both a separate shower and soaking tub. Very nice to have the luxury of a bath and Oceania provides two types of bath salt and a bath tea to enjoy. The location on deck 7 and at the stern of the ship isn’t the best, but the view is marvelous. You also feel the ships motion and when docking (early morning) you really feel the vibration. If you are not planning to use your balcony a lot, I would suggest taking a different suite. Also the executive lounge on deck 11 is far from this room. For us it was great as we love being outside, watch the scenery and enjoy some time together. The room does need a little TLC. There was a chair that had a big dark stain on it, the curtains have some small holes and tears in them and the verandah furniture was also serously stained. Our butler Lincoln was very good. Normally we don’t use the butler, but Lincoln made himself very useful. He wasn’t intrusive and had the gift of noticing when we needed something, without us even asking. We requested a special ice tea and it was waiting for my girlfriend when we arrived in our suite. It’s those little things that keep us returning to Oceania. We also got the opportunity to see one of the owner suites and it was jaw dropping gorgeous. It has a living room that was so tastefully decorated that I wish I could copy it for my house. The bedroom, bathrooms (2) and deck are all stunning although the outdoor area that features a lovely bath is also a little narrow. These suites are lavish and feel like an apartment at sea. If I ever win the lottery I would book one for a lengthy period of time and probably never leave the room during our stay since it’s so beautifully done. Food Since most people who cruise love food I’ll spend the most part of this review telling more about the culinary highlights on board. I dare call myself a foodie (although I hate the word). My parents have taught me how to be a decent cook and I like eating at good restaurants. Food is the main reason to sail Oceania. They have seemed to figure out a way to serve around 1200 guests almost perfect meals every evening. Of course there is always room for improvement… When you sail O it’s great to eat at the restaurant you love, but I would really like to see some small changes or daily specials. The menus in Toscana and Polo haven’t seen any real changes in years and also those of Jacques and Red Ginger serve almost the same menu as when they debuted on Oceania’s Marina many years ago. I noticed some small adjustments but nothing that amazed me. Don’t get me wrong I love the food in all restaurants, but as with any establishment things have to change over time, even when it’s just a little to keep guest surprised when they return. Jacques This is one of my favorites on board (only found on Riviera and Marina). It’s named after Oceania’s culinary adviser Jacques Pepin. The décor is French and a little kitsch but that’s exactly how it should be. This venue is bright and cozy with a great menu and well-trained staff. The maître d’ is charming and works hard to make his guests happy. The kitchen serves rich (some would even argue to rich) French comfort food like artichoke, carpaccio made of bay scallops, foie gras (I hope from an organic farm), onion soup au gratin, pumpkin soup, lobster, cote de boeuf and sole meuniere, deboned tableside. On most nights they also serve crepe suzette, a real French classic with a drop of French orange liquor. Toscana Also a great restaurant found on all Oceania’s ships. This restaurant serves Italian dishes like Carpaccio di manzo, melanzane parmigana, spaghetti with lobster, veal chops with porcini mushrooms and of course the all time favorite tiramisu. We like this restaurant a lot. It has a beautiful view, the setting gives it a very upscale feel and it has fun things like an olive oil menu and the food is just very well prepared. Also de maître d’ is very good at his job. They also have specials of the day and that makes every trip to this restaurant more than satisfying. Polo Grill This steakhouse at sea serves chops and seafood. It’s very good and immensely popular, but actually you can find many of these dishes in almost every restaurant on the ship. Although the styling is really cool this menu could benefit from a small upgrade. I hope the Oceania Chefs will look at the menu of popular steakhouse concepts like those found in New York City and Miami. Red Ginger The Asian themed restaurant on board that serves the most innovative dishes on the ship like watermelon and duck salad, chicken curry, Chilean sea bass, sushi, tempura, lobster pad thai and crispy chicken. Service is good at this restaurant. Unfortunately our dishes came out of the kitchen luke warm and I don’t like that. Also the shades are always closed and blocking out the beautiful view. Since the room and décor are all very dark and the restaurant is low on Deck 5 you feel a lot of motion and vibration. I wouldn’t mind if they would let in a little more daylight in this venue. Grand Dining Room The largest restaurant on the ship is a beautiful one. It almost feels like an elegant palace with it’s gold and white shades, gigantic chandelier (that now has a dimmer on it so it doesn’t feel like sitting in an operation room!) and good to excellent food. Service can be slightly chaotic and either very slow or super fast. The ‘sommeliers’ also tend to disappear during the evening. It happed to us twice. The menu changes daily and has something for everyone’s taste with a few always-available dishes like poached salmon, steak and rotisserie chicken. The menu also features favorites from the other restaurants on some nights. Terrace Café A real gem is the Terrace Café found on deck 12 that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has a small outside dining area that can get really crowded. The food for a buffet is really good with many choices that makes you eat way more than you should. Breakfast has eggs made to order, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, fresh fruit, cereal, oatmeal, fresh orange juice, smoked salmon and so much more. I had the impression that they switched the flower used for the croissants and some pastries. In January they were more flakey and buttery than this time around. The French baguette you find on this ship is the best in the world. During lunch hours this restaurant serves great food buffet style. Every day has a special theme like Greek, Mexican, Asian et cetera. In the evening the Terrace Café has a menu that features many dishes found in the Grand Dining room. There is also a grill station that serves great chops and seafood. The great thing about this restaurant is that you can eat at your own pace and enjoy the fresh sea air if you dine outside on the deck. It’s relaxed and service on this voyage was excellent. Waves Grill This is the most casual eatery on the ship and serves juicy burgers, hotdogs, fries and salads. I think the designers were a little out of inspiration when they were planning this venue, since it’s the least interesting of all the restaurants on board. The menu however is excellent and everything is made to order. The surf and turf burger is delicious, as is the kobe beef burger with truffle sauce. Ice cream is also fine, although I have tasted smoother and more refined ice cream at gelato shops. They also serve a simpler breakfast here if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere. Barista’s The coffee venue is great for having a latte macchiato, espresso or cappuccino. The Italian Barista’s did a great job and the Illy coffee is truly excellent. There are little snacks and pastries available that are hard to resist. You also have a great view from this little spot above the pool deck. Entertainment The entertainment on board isn’t the type we like. It’s catered to a more mature crowd (and I understand that and its fine for us). There was however a band with singers that played famous songs up in Horizons (deck 15) and we left because the singing was so off-key that it hurt. I’m fine with small entertainment but just give me one good musician and a vocalist who can dazzle me with his or her talent. We don’t expect big production shows, but if there is a band or singer on the ship it should be descent talent performing. On this trip we weren’t impressed by the entertainment in the Riviera Lounge. We skiped most of the shows and made the restaurant experience our entertainment for the evening. We like sitting on deck late at nights with a cocktail and a nice conversation. I went to 3 cooking demonstrations in the Riviera Lounge and those were very entertaining to watch. There are two chefs preparing recipes that are on the restaurants menus and they did a great job. After the demo you could taste the food and you got a small booklet with the recipes. It’s all very interesting but the operator in charge of the dome cameras couldn’t keep up with the 2 chefs so you missed a lot of what they were doing. Art We love art and this ship has a lot of it and most of it is really beautiful and tasteful. We had an artist in residence who did the art workshops. He was very friendly. He had a gigantic inflatable head with him that was set up in various locations throughout the ship and voyage. I know art is personal and if we don’t like a piece one bit other people may very well love it. In this case it was so huge that it could be missed and popped up everywhere. It became a running gag for us. The ghostly gigantic inflatable head with dark colors was placed at the pool, near the gangway, in the middle of the staircase and on the sun deck. If you didn’t like it you where out of luck since it was everyway! Library The ship has an extensive collection of books and when I finished reading the books I had taken with me I found so many interesting books in the library that I wished I hadn’t schlepped those heavy books with me. It’s also a great spot to sit and read on days with less than perfect weather. The leather chairs are very comfortable and if I did a transatlantic crossing I would sit here and imagine being on an old ocean liner. Oceania Tours When booking tours or transfers with Oceania please know that these are very expensive. You can arrange your own for a fraction of the cost. We did one O Tour and that was to Jerusalem (that was to far away from Haifa to go on our own). The guide was great but we had an unexpected and lengthy stop to do some shopping at a so-called ‘Oceania Approved Shop’. Not only was the shop selling horrible quality tourist stuff at excessive prices this cut our time in Jerusalem short with an hour. There was also a lunch stop at 4 in the afternoon planned at ‘a local hotel’. This was actually in a huge hall where up to 750 guests had been eating lunch prior to our arrival. The room was filled with filthy plates left on all tables, and even in the restroom area there were plates with food (who would take food there still puzzles me!) food was so bad that I wouldn’t have dared serving it to anybody. At these prices Oceania should offer a far better experience and it’s the main reason we don’t use Oceania Tours. Ports of Call This cruise had a lot of great stops but also some very awkward places. Great ports: Rome, Jerusalem, and Valletta Good ports: Argostoli (cute little town), Alanya (nice for fake stuff), Chania (nice town), Uninteresting ports: Trapani (nice port, but not on Sunday when everything is closed!), Cagliari! When you visit a beautiful place like Sardinia who plans to dock here! It is a big industrial port with not much to offer. Most people were back on the ship in less than an hour. Small observations • Asking a whopping $27 per day for the use of internet should result in a descent connection and a simple login procedure. In a time when people use multiple devices and at almost 30 bucks a day you should be able to use at least two devices at the same time. • Up until a couple of months ago you could switch the ‘complementary bottle of champagne’ in your suite for a bottle of white or red wine. This isn’t allowed anymore. A very unsympathetic new rule especially since this champagne isn’t anything to write home about and many people like to drink a glass of champagne but not the whole bottle. • Oceania could use some new recipes for preparing vegetables. The only option at the terrace café is the same assorted steamed vegetables that they serve everyday and have the flavor steamed out of them completely. Come on Oceania you could put some more creativity in the veggies. Look at some Ottolenghi recipes. • Oceania says it focuses on sustainability but leaving so much paperwork in every stateroom and suite on the ship each day isn’t very environmentally friendly. • According to the O website Penthouse Suites on Riviera have a TV loaded with movies. This is not the case. O should update the tv’s in all staterooms. They run pretty descent movies but the quality is pretty bad and nothing is available on demand. That’s very 1999… The channels, listings and old promotional Oceania video’s that fill up most of the channels good use a refresh! • The announcements by the captain and the cruise director aren’t broadcasted in the staterooms and suites. That’s great! But you have to switch to channel 3 to hear the message. If you’re not fast enough switching on your TV and going to channel 3 you miss this information. Would it be possible to rerun this message on that same channel a couple of times so that everyone who is interested if able to listen to it? • The signature chocolates that are left on your pillow each night leave a lot to be desired. They aren’t made out of good quality chocolate and in my opinion aren’t O worthy. • I would love to have a chat with the employee who makes the playlist for the pool. Do we really have to play the CD ‘Greatest Musical Hits played on the pan flute’ everyday? • The TV’s run old shows from Oceania’s famous Chef Jacques Pepin. These clips are so old and dated that they don’t do justice to Mr. Pepin’s great culinary achievements. As a producer of culinary television shows I know that it would not take much to get Jacques Pepin in a studio for a couple of days and record some new material. • At breakfast you can order ‘fresh squeezed’ orange juice and that’s fabulous but I would love if O would also feature some fresh healthy green juices. There are more than enough fresh veggies on the ship to make those. Recap All in all it was my 5th fabulous cruise on O. I can’t wait to be back again. The last three cruises where on the O-ships. I think I will try one of the small ships again next year just to experience the difference. Oceania has made an almost perfect product for the 1200 guests on board that all have different wishes, needs, preferences and expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I just returned from a 10 day cruise in the Caribbean on the Oceania Marina. He described the food as the best ever, and he is not a person given to superlatives. We both felt that the service was outstanding - the best ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 10 day cruise in the Caribbean on the Oceania Marina. He described the food as the best ever, and he is not a person given to superlatives. We both felt that the service was outstanding - the best we've ever had. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and seemed genuinely interested in serving us. We enjoyed all the speciality restaurants. Again, my husband, who is a meat and potatoes person, found something that he really liked at each of the restaurants. He fussed about going to all except the Polo Grill, and then enjoyed his meal at each one. We loved the Terrace Cafe for breakfast and dinner. Waves was perfect for lunch. We ate in the Grand Dining Room for one dinner and one breakfast and the service was outstanding. The food was about the same as we got at the Terrace. We liked the idea of country club casual. We appreciated that no photographers were slowing us down or insisting on taking pictures. The fact that soft drinks and bottled water were included was nice. The entertainers on the ship were talented and friendly. The one ship shore excursion that we took was good. Everything was well organized until we disembarked. That was the only snag of our trip and could have been easily avoided. We rode the elevator down in the terminal building. It was packed and we were in the front. We turned to the left as we got off and did not notice that everyone else turned to the right. There was no one from the ship and no one from security anywhere on that floor. We went outside and then realized that we had not gone through immigration and had not seen our luggage. When we tried to get back in, we were barred from doing so. I don't think the ship's person that stopped us believed that we had gotten out of the building without being stopped. He went to the door that we came out and saw that no one was there. He immediately got a security person in place. He finally found our luggage, but it delayed us about 45 minutes considering that we would have been able to get right into a taxi when we first walked out and it was 45 minutes later before we were finally able to get into one. We liked all the ports of call except for the Dominican Republic. I heard others complaining about that stop also. The concierge on Deck 9 was helpful. The cabin stewards were the best we've ever had. This was definitely an older crowd. The ship was very quiet. It was relaxing. I would love to go on Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls ... Read More
First of all, this cruise was a wonderful trip and I had hoped that previous comments given to us by others on the Marina were not so or at least the time had past for Oceania to rectify and change some situations. All the ports of calls were wonderfully selected and we had no trouble in each port to disembark and embark. The port of Cyprus was not too interesting and would have liked another day in Istanbul or Israel. The staff was always polite and obliging. The entertainment was fair to good. The cruise director Nolan Dean was funny, light and entertaining. The concierge service on the 9th left little to be desired. He never had an answer and when he did, it was incorrect. So we learned not to rely on his judgement. All services for our cabin was excellent and always met with a smile. We filled out our comment cards and hope that they will be read well and change the following: The food was not what we expected at all. The majority of cruisers were 50 plus and healthy dishes should have been available. The Terrace Cafe staff often did not know what they were serving.(ingredients). They should have been informed to properly inform the cruisers when asked. Too many pork dishes and not enough variations of soup (always creamed or consomme). On one lunch I witnessed the staff put in at least a half cup of butter in the risotto. Needless to say, we did not touch this dish. The signature dishes of Jacques Pepin in the Grand dining (salmon) was so bland and without spices that it looked liked it had been washed and dried out. Red Ginger was absolutely the best. Toscana's Italian dishes were also without spice and flavour. The chefs needed to make a few variations and make tasty food and healthy without the butter and salt. This is very possible.All in all it was a great 24 days and lots of friends made. We do have other cruises with Marina and I hope they can improve on the food. I shall look for comments from others before returning to Marina. One more comment is not to wear white and sit on the deck chairs. There is a lot of soot to be found on the deck floor and on the chairs. Attendants were often brushing off the chairs. Not sure if this can be changed or ajusted for their new ship Riviera. Read Less
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