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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My wife and I chose Oceania for the interesting itinerary - Bangkok to Athens via some exotic ports. Top on our list was Petra, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. We were on Deck 6 near the front on the Starboard side. The cabin itself ... Read More
My wife and I chose Oceania for the interesting itinerary - Bangkok to Athens via some exotic ports. Top on our list was Petra, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. We were on Deck 6 near the front on the Starboard side. The cabin itself was quite tiny and the bathroom even more starved of room. We did have a balcony so there was a little more breathing space but generally, we were surprised and disappointed with the size of the cabin. Our cabin stewards were excellent and kept the place clean and tidy. We had a fair number of sea days on this voyage and unfortunately the activities on board were sadly lacking. The two male speakers lacked academic qualifications and their talks were predictably dull, lacking an overall theme. One of these gentlemen giving a talk on the Red Sea used diagrams straight from Google and tellingly pronounced Port Said as Port Siad! Activities during the day included such things as bean bag toss, ping pong and golf putting. The library on the top floor is a nice feature - it's quiet and has a fair selection of books including a paperback exchange. There was a daily quiz and all these activities revolved around Big 'O' points awarded to winners. At the end of each cruise segment, passengers could trade their points for anything from luggage tags to an Oceania top (90 points required). Having been on less expensive cruises, I expected better and was disappointed. Food was another major disappointment. The specialty restaurants are limited but free. We tried these once and cancelled our other reservations. The Maitre d' of the Italian restaurant, Polo suggested to my wife that, "Maybe madam doesn't like Italian food". My wife being Italian told him that she did like Italian food and that was the problem. The main dining room had overall very good service but as in the specialty restaurants, the food was pretentious and lacking in flavour. The mashed potatoes were good though. Waiters still have to bother you to ask if you want ground pepper. Speaking of grinders, the buffet in the Terrace Cafe had salt grinders that would either fail to work or scatter large crunchy chunks of salt onto the food. We usually had our breakfast in the Terrace Cafe. Luckily, the passenger load was substantially down and so line-ups were rare. Even so, organizing toast eggs bacon, hash browns etc involved stations on either side of the aisle. Yoghurt was low fat only. The dining room is lovely and tables for two are by the windows so were usually able to score one of these which was nice. We liked that there were no formal nights although many passengers clearly enjoyed getting gussied up for the evening. We tried the limited room service menu a couple of times and it was promptly delivered and well presented. We didn't bother much with the entertainment on board or the TV. In summary, we paid quite a lot more than an equivalent Holland America cruise for a smaller room, poorer activities and bland food. Some individual staff members were outstanding but were let down by others. We did mention our concerns after the first segment but other than an apology, nothing changed or could change. Would we cruise with Oceania again? No. In fact this cruise will be our last for a while as this experience brought home to us what we dislike about cruising. In a way, Oceania did us a favour. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We arranged our own travel, so no input on Oceania's air scheduling. We enjoyed the ship, the size of the stateroom (Penthouse Suite) and the tub in the bath. The food was good in all venues, service was not. Red Ginger was our ... Read More
We arranged our own travel, so no input on Oceania's air scheduling. We enjoyed the ship, the size of the stateroom (Penthouse Suite) and the tub in the bath. The food was good in all venues, service was not. Red Ginger was our favorite for the service and food. The service in the buffet was always immediate. We only ate in the main dining room twice and service was repeated at a level that we never ate there again during the entire trip. It was very slow an hour wait for the first course and even after asking repeatedly for ordered side dishes, they were not delivered. Advising restaurant management did not improve the service or the receipt of the dishes, but did solicit a apologies. This was our first time with butler service and did not particularly care for it. To us, and this may be our butler, it felt intrusive. One day, in spite of noting a "do not disturb" sign being out, the butler felt it necessary to call and comment that, in spite of the sign, he had hors d'oeuvres for us. The sign was out because I was feeling seasick and wanted to rest; food was not a welcome offer. Our room steward was great and always so pleasant and efficient. We were very disappointed to not be allowed to go ashore on Easter Island, and though we understood the rough seas presenting a problem, it was frustrating to discover, post cruise that Oceania is often unable to take passengers ashore at this stop. Had there been a reference to "weather/seas permitting" we would have done more research and probably skipped this cruise altogether, as Easter Island was to be the highlight of the trip. We know there is a general caveat for all ports about potential shore excursion cancellations, but when it becomes a frequent occurrence, passengers ought to be alerted during booking or note it on the itinerary, as they did with Pitcairn. The disembarkation was very well managed and efficient, which cannot be said of the chaos at the hotel to which we were transferred, to await our transfer to the airport. The "holding area" consisted of a lobby off of the hotel's conference rooms and one conference room, with seating for initially about 40-50. Doesn't sound bad, but there were several hundred of us for 6 to 10 hours and they seemed unable to arrange for sufficient chairs. Too many seniors were having to sit on the floor. Then as the morning progressed more luggage arrived and all of it had to go into the conference room; by this time, you could barely work your way through the room. Whatever company Oceania contracted to manage the transfer services, failed miserably!! . This was our first and, for sure, last cruise on Oceania.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, ... Read More
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Devil's Island, Martinique,St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados). On the second leg, we went to Brazil (Belem, Forteleza, Recife, Natal), then transatlantic to Sao Tome, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Namibia, ending at Cape Town, South Africa. The food was very good, better quality than Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian. The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money. The evening entertainment was week, with several comedians doing ancient sexist material. (Wonder how the many gay and lesbian cruisers liked it.) The enrichment staff was good!. The geologist on the first leg was great, as was the photographer. Both were very helpful and interacted with the passengers. On the second leg, we had a former naval Commander, who lectured on naval and historical issues, then lectured on all the exotic ports of call. The astronomer was interesting and well prepared, and on nights with any kind of visibility, arranged for evening viewing, with nearly all lights on the top deck turned off. We had the same photographer on the second leg and, unfortunately, there was a lot of repetition from the first leg. All in all, the enrichment staff was helpful. All the staff on board were helpful and pleasant. Andy and Tammy Heard were wonderful, as was John, who worked for Tammy. The person in charge of the Internet was wonderful, the best I have seen on any ship. The systems were managed very well, and I am particular about network performance, having been a Computer Science department chair. (Unfortunately, In forgot her name.) Unfortunately, the shore excursion staff was not well trained and the front office staff need some work also. The problems seem worse in the headquarters in Miami. It took forever to get materials sent to us from HQ and the initial arrangements were absurd. We were met at the Miami airport and told to wait in a particular area. We waited for about two hours, with no food, and there was no food at the waiting area at the ship terminal, where we waited a considerable time. This delay can be difficult for older passengers, like many of the ones on this cruise. The entertainment in the waiting area was nice, however. There were quality issues also with the shore excursions. While we were warned in both orally and in writing that tour guides in Africa would not be certified and buses were of limited quality, we only encountered one bus without AC. In Belem, Brazil, a double-decker tour bus had only static on its speakers. No refund was given, even when I played a few minutes of static for the excursion manager. The tenders from Belem could not tie up back at the ship due to high tides on the Amazon (which I understand are typical in the area in the early afternoon). When we got back to the dock, we were asked to get on a much larger "party boat" that tried to take us back. The cheap plastic chairs kept tipping over, and I had to keep many people from falling. The "party boat" left the dock with a gunwale left wide open, and I was glad to get back uninjured. One passenger was hit in the head when a flimsy lock on a flimsier door opened and the door hit her head. She was hospitalized for several days but was able to rejoin the ship soon after. It is clear that the safety of water travel in Belem was never examined by Oceania staff when planning this itinerary. (Lots of robberies in Belem - I know three people who were pushed to the ground by muggers wanting jewelry, purses, and purses. I would never go back to Belem, although I really liked the other stops in Brazil, Fortaleza, Natal, and Recife. (In Bonaire, we encountered a bus with only jump seats available. Ridiculous, especially given the age of many on the cruise. The money for that one was refunded.) To add insult to injury, we were never able to get the advertised discount for the "Your World Collection shore excursion package." The shore excursion manager said we could only sign up for excursions on the first leg, with excursions on the second leg from Barbados to Cape Town only available during that leg. We took more than the advertised minimum of 10 excursions but their leg-by-leg policy led to us not getting the advertised reduced price. My preferred credit card, which I have used tor 30+ cruises previously was repeatedly denied because the onboard spending for gratuities et al keep getting rejected because bills came in to my bank from Ireland and several other locations that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling to. The front office staff seemed unconcerned about resubmitting charges and keeping me informed of the status of the payment. They then got nasty, treating me as a deadbeat. Finally, I used another credit card, at great inconvenience to myself. Guest Relations at Oceania did respond lamely to my written complaint. I am still waiting for a response from the cruise line president - it has only been six months. The good news is that I am getting lots of Oceania ads! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with ... Read More
We went on the Oceania Insignia 35 day cruise from Cape Town (depart 30 Nov 2015) to Miami (arrived 4 Jan 2016). Here is the list of our opinions as to what was good, below expectations and bad. We had concierge level cabins with balcony. This was our 11th cruise across 6 lines and our first cruise on Oceania. 1. Bad - Cancellation of Ports. We booked this cruise for the interesting ports in West Africa that were very hard to visit otherwise. We had no interest in the conventional Caribbean ports at the end of the cruise we had been to multiple times before. Overall there were 12 ports that we wanted to visit and these ports were the reason for selecting this cruise. We only got to 10 of the 12. Isla Marguerita was a port we wanted to go to that was cancelled well before departure. It was replaced with yet another day at sea. Bom Bom Island in Principe was cancelled 2 days before we were due to arrive at that port. The explanation was little short of offensive – “operational reasons” - when there was no obvious reason - the seas were calm. This meant we missed what we had expected to be a highlight of the trip. Instead we had an extra and pointless day in São Tomé. We paid US$56,000 for this cruise to go to 12 ports - missing one sixth of them was a big disappointment as was the failure to replace them with other ports of equal interest, especially in the absence of any explanation. 2. Bad - the Deal. We booked very early and paid by the due date. Later many other guests got much cheaper deals and also got internet included in their package whereas we paid about $1000 extra for internet for only one person. The ship was full of people boasting of the deals they had obtained. Overall we paid about US$8000 more than if we had waited and booked late. I would never book early again with Oceania. Oceania needs to provide a price guarantee. 3. Excellent – Wait Staff and Cabin Attendants. The wait staff, cabin attendants and crew were the most delightful of any ship we have sailed on. Preferences were noted and anticipated. We rate this aspect of the cruise very highly. 4. Variable – Food. Overall the cuisine on board was very good, through perhaps not up to the hype, and the service was generally excellent. You could eat very well on the ship once you managed to align its strengths and weaknesses to your preferences. While for us this resulted in many disappointing meals we also had some excellent dishes. As a general rule beef, lamb and lobster dishes were excellent, Indian meals excellent, pasta, chicken and fish dishes disappointing and anything described as “a taste of red ginger” was just awful with no balance of flavour and often just meat doused in soy sauce. The specialty restaurants followed this pattern too – excellent beef and lobster dishes – but were far superior to that served in the Grand Dining room. 5. Good - Cabin Servicing. Cabin attendants were efficient and delightful. There were plenty of towels and the mini bar was kept supplied with the soft drinks we requested. The staff seemed to be responsible for a lot of cabins and to work long hours but still generally endeavoured to accommodate our preferred servicing times. 6. Good - Shuttle Buses. The shuttles into town for independent visitors in African ports generally worked very well with few delays (except in Dakar and Mindelo where the first shuttles were scheduled to leave about an hour after disembarkation commenced meaning we had to walk into town in both ports). 7. Bad - The Bed. Oceania advertises its beds as very comfortable. One half of our bed was. The other half sagged and was at a level lower than the good half. Attempts to fix it failed. This meant for 35 nights we slept at different levels and one person slept on a saggy bed. This bed should not have been in service. Attempts to fix our pillows were also unsuccessful. If doing the trip again we would have purchased our own pillows in Cape Town. 8. Good - The Fitness Track. Most cruise lines advertise walking tracks that do not work because they become blocked by patrons of bars or recliners used for sunbathing. Insignia's worked because it, whilst short, did not run through other public areas. It also had a surface that gave walkers excellent grip even when wet. The provision of iced water next to the walking track was also an excellent idea. 9. Bad - Airconditioning. A long trip through the tropics meant the AC needed to work. In one cabin it did. In one cabin even on full cooling function it could not get the cabin cool enough until we reached cooler weather. 9. Good - Cleanliness. The ship was always kept impeccably clean. 10. Bad - Construction Site. For one week during the cruise there were scheduled maintenance construction works on the top deck. This was not urgent work. If you liked time by the pool or on the walking track listening to the screech of a metal grinder this was the cruise for you. If you liked the smell of oxy welding permeating lifts and public areas this was the cruise for you. 11. Good - Visas. Oceania, for a fee, arranged all the visas need for the ports visited in Africa. This service worked very well. 12. Good - Tenders. Due to Bom Bom being cancelled tenders were only required in São Tomé. On most cruise lines tenders means huge delays but Insignia launched 3 lifeboats that provided a speedy service without delays. 13. Bad - Smoking. On a regular basis cigarette smoke came through the ventilation from somewhere into our cabin even though smoking is banned in cabins and on balconies. One or two times a day we had to air our cabin to remove the smell. 14. Bad – Muzak. The dreadful muzak blaring in public areas including the pool deck made reading and relaxing difficult. Take headphones. We knew from other reviews the entertainment was not a reason to book. So it turned out but because our expectations were low some of the shows we went to were a bonus. The range of TV and movie channels to occupy time in days at sea is very limited. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We did not go on any organised excursions due to their prohibitive pricing structure but greatly enjoyed our own excursions whether or foot, by hire car or by taxi. Embarkation was quick and well handled. We had to queue for one hour in Miami to disembark inexplicably late. Read Less
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