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171 Oceania Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

I've never been on such a disappointing cruise. And the shame is that since I was in a concierge floor veranda stateroom and didn't want to share a room, I paid almost $20,000 for two weeks of over-the-top mediocrity. The best ... Read More
I've never been on such a disappointing cruise. And the shame is that since I was in a concierge floor veranda stateroom and didn't want to share a room, I paid almost $20,000 for two weeks of over-the-top mediocrity. The best things were the steward on my floor, the mostly prompt room service and the organization at meals which is a good thing because on Riviera you eat from the buffet for all meals unless you make a reservation at one of the restaurants or go to the Grand Dining Room which isn't anything to write home about. After a week the buffet food was very boring although I have to say that I don't have a very sophisticated palate and I don't like a lot of different foods so other people might have felt differently. However, I did eat an awful lot of beef on this trip. I recommend the hamburgers. Otherwise, three times a day you have to serve yourself. And on sea days if you're a little bit late to meals you might not find any place to sit. The tours were also rather disappointing. For one thing they were very crowded - usually a full busload of people. And in general there was quite a bit of disorganization. There was so much waiting around. Disembarking was sometimes a problem. One day the platform had to be transferred to the other side of the boat. On another day a few of the tenders weren't working and had to be repaired. On another day there was ice on the platform. We spent considerable amounts of time waiting in the lounge to disembark while these problems were resolved. And on top of all that I lost an expensive sweater which was not turned in to Reception. The reason I mention this is that in my opinion it reflects on the the caliber of the other passengers or on the character of the crew. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was to be the cruise of a lifetime. A chance for my wife to visit some of the many places I had visited while on business travel. Titled by Oceania “Museums to Mosaics” We called it the “Cruise from Hell” along with some ... Read More
This was to be the cruise of a lifetime. A chance for my wife to visit some of the many places I had visited while on business travel. Titled by Oceania “Museums to Mosaics” We called it the “Cruise from Hell” along with some other long time (29 Oceania cruises) cruisers. Things stated going downhill at our second port – Halifax. It was very cold and started snowing as were leaving the port. The next morning there was over a foot of snow on the swimming pool and deck. Many of the crew members had never seen snow and found it fascinating. The visit to St Johns, Newfoundland was canceled due to stormy weather. My wife had lived in Newfoundland 50 years ago and was anxious to see how it had changed over the years. All in all it was a very disappointing start to the cruise. Crossing the Atlantic in the heavy seas for five days did get many people quite queasy, which led to distributing barf bags by the elevators. It was rough enough that safety belts for the beds would have been appreciated. People had to hold on to the railings and walls to go along the corridors to keep from falling. When we arrived in Cork, Ireland the wind was very strong with sideways rain and very cold. Fortunately the Jameson Distillery tour was indoors. The visit to Dublin for the next day was canceled due to heavy seas and gale force winds so we spent the day in our cabin in Cork. The next disappointment was arriving in London/South Hampton on Good Friday. I had really wanted my wife to at least have a brief visit in London. This meant there was to be no visit after planning on it for a year and half (since we had booked the trip). We were not informed of the no London tours until I asked the Destination Services manager when we were going to be able to select them on the cruise. We had asked out travel agent prior to the trip when we were going to be able to schedule a London tour (like all the others we preselected) but were told we had to wait until we got on the ship. Then we then proceeded to visit Bordeaux on Easter Monday, which is a celebrated holiday in France, with practically everything closed. The next stop in Biarritz was canceled due to heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay (that precluded using tenders to disembark). I guess Oceania is not aware that the Bay of Biscay is notorious for rough seas. The last straw was visiting Malaga on May Day, May 1st – another holiday with the shops closed. The tour was supposed to be easy – the guide had very poor English skills and appeared to be trying out for the Olympic speed walking team. My wife had to sit down and wait for the tour to return with no available free rest rooms. To Summarize: Cruise Length 28 days Sea days 8 scheduled (11 total) Missed ports 3 total Stop not available due holiday 1 (London) Ports limited due to holiday 3 I understand that Oceania does not control the weather. However, they do control the scheduling. In previous years the “repositioning cruise” had been scheduled in May. If the cruise had been scheduled just a week later, Good Friday would have been at sea, Easter would have been in Cork and London would have been available for a visit. I had expected that Oceania would take holidays into account when scheduling trips and try to optimize passenger enjoyment. I guess I was wrong. The message this sends is that passenger satisfaction is a sorry second to revenue maximization. Oceania does many things quite well. The food is good albeit somewhat uneven in the specialty restaurants. The desserts in the Grand dining Room are superb and the crew members we interacted with were well trained, friendly and courteous. The entertainment was much better than previous cruises and the comedian (Martin Beaumont) was terrific in both his shows. We paid over $30,000 for what we consider a $15,000 cruise at best. I had hoped Oceania would have reached out to people who had done the 28 day cruise but after 2 ½ weeks we have heard nothing from Oceania. Never again do we plan cruising on Oceania or any of its’ related lines. Postscript: We did complain to Oceania thru our travel agent and received a very disappointing self serving reply offering a $600 total ship credit on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first Oceania Cruise. Past cruises with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney. I did a lot of research. We decided on the cruise because we have wanted to visit Ireland (this cruise docked on Cohn and Dublin) and the ... Read More
This was our first Oceania Cruise. Past cruises with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney. I did a lot of research. We decided on the cruise because we have wanted to visit Ireland (this cruise docked on Cohn and Dublin) and the transatlantic crossing intrigued us. We arrived early; at the dock 11:30 am. Embarkation in Manhattan was very easy, quick. We were on the ship in 10 minutes. A group of 6 adults, we headed to the Terrace Cafe for lunch which, though very crowded, fed us well. While at lunch, they announced our cabins were ready. We traveled Concierge level A3. Our cabin was spacious, spotless. Our luggage had been delivered. We quickly unpacked and set off to explore the ship. The fact that the ship was on the smaller side attracted us as well. It was easy to navigate. We saw the spa, met the artist in residence, saw the teaching kitchen. Muster drill was ...a muster drill. Dinner that night was at Toscana. While at lunch we were approached with an open reservation so we took it. It was delicious. So let’s just get the food out of the way. Dinner at all the restaurants was delicious, including the main dining room. We ate at Toscana twice, at Jacques twice, and at Pollo once. We passed on Red Ginger even though it was most highly rated, most of our group were not fond of Asian food. The rest of the cruise we ate in the Grande Dining room for dinner, many lunches and a few breakfasts. And this is Cruise was the only Cruise we actually had dinner at the buffet. And it was enjoyable. We also enjoyed the afternoon tea. Their service from stateroom attendants to all servers, bar service, every employee we had contact with, was excellent. The entertainment with 1 exception was adequate. The exception, Chuck Wagner was excellent. Now the reason for the title. Even with all the preparation and research, the weather had a severe effect on this cruise. Weather in Canadian ports was forecasted to be normally high 49s low 50s. It snowed in Halifax, so our stop in Newfoundland was cancelled. Snow accumulated on the decks and verandahs. 6 or more inches as well as deeper drifts. Access to the open decks was prohibited, though I do not know why you would want to go out anyway. Five straight sea days followed of rocking, crashing waves and rolling. We truly missed having access to an indoor pool on the ship. We grew tired of the movies. There were enrichment talks, usually 2 per day at 50 min. each, trivia but by sea day 4 we couldn’t wait for a port. Our day in Cobh, home of Blarney Castle was cold and rainy. We enjoyed our excursion but for the first 1/2 hour the windows were so steamed on our bus we could see nothing out of them. Wiping just gave us brief glimpses before they steamed up again. When we got back on board, we were informed that the weather was too bad and our Dublin stop was cancelled. We stayed in Cobh an additional night. The next day the weather was still so bad, it made walking into the small city undoable. We did enjoy the museum on Irish immigration and the Lusitania and Titanic in the welcome center 10E each and the small but well supplied shop as well. When we finally continued on our journey, the captain and crew were finally able to get us out of the rolling, rocking seas and we made the last two scheduled port stops, in Saint-Malo and Le Harve. We enjoyed the warm spring weather there and on our last sea day. We were content with our excursions. One aside, now that I’ve had the experience. We had never been to Paris and after discussion and research did decide to do the one day excursion from Le Harve into Paris through the cruise line, though it was pricey. It is 6 hours (3 to, 3 back) travel, another hour plus ride around the city to see the main sights, 1.5 hours on your own (20 min searching for a toilette) and 15 min photo op at the Effiel Tower. My opinion now...not worth it. Do something closer to Le Harve. On the whole, it was less than expected experience. Are we glad we went? Yes. We enjoyed much of the cruise. Had we been on RC or another line with a ship with more to do, the sea days would have been more easy to get through. If we were with our children and grandchildren, this is not the line we would have chosen. We knew that when we booked. On the up side, we can plan a British Isles-Ireland Cruise with the kids. Debarkation was a mess due the the face to face with British immigration and having to collect our passports before leaving the ship. We waited in lines that at times had no end. Seriously. No one knew where the end of the line was and the crew was not able to help the situation. Still they were pleasant with hundreds of seniors many of whom were acting like toddlers at Disney. We were in line with a gentleman who had an excursion at 8:30 am. It was 7:45 am. We did not get to the passport station until 9:15. I hope they held his tour. I don’t know who is to blame for that mess. We had a pleasant bus ride to the airport. All the air arrangements were made through Oceania and it was as pleasant as a day spent at Heathrow and an 8 hour transatlantic flight could be. Same movies as onboard. Some things you just can’t control. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My partner and I are frequent cruisers - 6 in 12 months including Regent (1), Celebrity (2), Viking River (2) and Oceania (1 and done!) We specifically chose the Barcelona to Miami transatlantic crossing for its more numerous stops (6) ... Read More
My partner and I are frequent cruisers - 6 in 12 months including Regent (1), Celebrity (2), Viking River (2) and Oceania (1 and done!) We specifically chose the Barcelona to Miami transatlantic crossing for its more numerous stops (6) and especially those in Canary Islands. The second night on board, we were informed by captain that due to weather system they had been monitoring for days /weeks ahead expected to hit Tenerife we would divert to Gibraltar post Malaga, Spain...implying we would stop in Gibraltar which we are NOT doing. (We were not given any advance notice of weather before embarkation although Florida head office had been monitoring with Captain for days/ weeks out...). We are now stuck on board this ship for 8 days straight and have been told there will be no accommodation financially for TWO missed ports although the cruise line is saving significantly in not making these stops! We were also told by several frequent Oceania cruisers that they have been previously accomodated for missed ports in Bermuda (for example). Why not this cruise?..... The excursions we are now out are being credited back at 2/3 value with Oceania keeping the 1/3. Because this apparently happens often, we are told this is the “policy and there is nothing anyone on board can do about it. It’s the way it is”. I suggest any future cruisers either avoid taking the “OLife 8 free excursions or go for a $400 pp shipboard credit instead. This will give most maximum hard value should “Florida” head office decide to change cruise course and not accomodate passengers. We were asked to surrender our passports last night for stamping by Spanish Officials today. When we went to retreive them this evening, we were first told after sailing we could pick up. Tonight, reception employees said they needed to keep them due to immigration law. Couldn’t tell us which country’s law required this and neither could a level up in chain of command.....Florida (head office) told them to do it. A further tip from our first Oceania experience — book your own air fare. We paid premium for business class to Barcelona and were given a three flight routing despite there being direct and single stop options out of our Charlotte, NC home city. No option to confirm or reject- this is it and there is nothing that can be s is sooo different than previous experiences with true luxury cruise lines that seek your feedback, agreement on flight selection. Lastly, when we embarked, our safe did not work - it needed new batteries. On evening two, our veranda stateroom bathroom flooded and the TV remote works if turned upside down, depressed and held for quite some time. Also needed toilet maintenance mid cruise. In terms of excursions, there have been two. The first was a half day. We arrived to Guadeleste too early before museum opening and there were no public facilities on board or in the town. The entire bus (35 persons) got to use a single toilet in a bar! We went to Ronda today. No facilities on board and we stopped at a bar after 1.5 hrs. No lunch included in full day tour from 8:30-4:30. Great guide, driver. The tour cost was $149 pp for two hours there, back and 2 hr walking tour with free time / lunch on our own. Hopefully San Juan and Nassau will go as planned. There are a number of excursion cancellations / updates made once we were on board. Some excursions cancelled or changed. There is a broad range of dining options- Terrace Cafe buffet and grill is best. Service, temperature, variety. We have not been to Grand Dining Room b/c we could not get reasonable dining time - wanted 6:30...only 8:30 available. (Shows start at 9:30; they don’t do two.) Went to specialty restaurant Red Ginger. Everything was very good, but not spicy at all. All staffers were OVERLY concerned we might find something too spicy. We had to ask for chili sauce to spice it up. Toscana, Italian themed specialty restaurant, was not up to par. Our table of six had very little positive to say - food not hot, risotto overcooked, lobster chewy, pasta warm, not hot. Polo Grill (think steakhouse) and Jacques (french) next. One thing to note on specialty restaurants - it is nearly impossible to get a table for two. You get stuck with 2-4 other guests you may or may not have anything in common with. Politics came up at our table last night....We went to reservations desk today to ask for table for two going forward. Standard response received - you can have it if you want to eat at 9 pm....see above comments on times for Grand Dining Room.... Happy hour from 5-6 pm in main lounges with BOGO drinks. We took advantage on several nights. Happy hour often seranaded by piano player with niblles served ranging from nuts, chips, pretzels to cheese cubes, sausage puffs, olives. Enrichment activities vary greatly. There is a big emphasis on bridge plus trivia, mensa, two lecturers - a “dna expert” and naval historian. There are PAID enrichment activities as well - two hour culinary institute cooking classes at $69 per class and also paid (fee unknown) art classes with resident artist ...ie painting Mediterranean landscapes, apple studies, etc.... Fitness center is large with plenty of cardio machine variety, free weights, weight machines. While a range of FREE exercise classes taught by an inflexible instructor. Specifically, he did not want to modify classes to accomodate rough seas prefering to cancel them instead. We did finally convince him and he did modify begrudgingly. Nice outdoor walking tracks...I walked thirty miles so far. The staff on board....results are mixed. Our cabin attendant and Terrace Cafe grill team, wait staff are really fantastic. The reception, excursion, concierge, reservation desks and officers are the most non customer focused lot I have ever come across. The cruise line does not empower their employees to make anything right at the time of the occurence which is really a basic customer service principle and particularly found with real luxury brands. Oceania has a long way to go to realize their aspirations to become a REAL luxury cruise line. Scotty, beam us up, please. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because we haven’t been to the Canary Is., and were looking forward to visiting. As explained earlier, we still haven’t visited them.. The Captain Did the right thing by avoiding the 70ft waves that hit Tenerife. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we haven’t been to the Canary Is., and were looking forward to visiting. As explained earlier, we still haven’t visited them.. The Captain Did the right thing by avoiding the 70ft waves that hit Tenerife. The Company did the wrong thing by not crediting our accounts or offering some compensation for the missed ports and fuel savings. it was also wrong to not totally reimburse passengers for the price of booked tours. Embarkation and disembarkation were handled efficiently. We will not let Oceania book our airfare again. this was their second chance. this time we travelled for 21 hours joining the ship in Barcelona from Phoenix. we actually enjoyed the 8 sea days with no schedules to keep or ABC tours to take. did a bus tour on our own in Malaga, a very lovely town. entertainment on board was to our liking. Yes, the production company is young. But, unlike some, the singers can indeed dance, and the dancers also can sing. a few flat notes here and there. If you want Broadway caliber, those BIG ships or Broadway are the Place for you. all on board staff, except one front desk guy seems to be happy doing their jobs and were very kind. We did meet two women who enjoyed soaking In their tubs. Most of us wish the showers had taken the place of those tubs which just took up valuable space. How small? well, If you dropped your soap you had to open the door to be able to bend down and retrieve it. Hubby says this is the best food at sea, Regent is right there in the running too.we enjoyed all the specialty restaurants. Food at Jacques, as you may guess, is very rich. the main dining room offers a fine selection each meal as well as the waves grill and the big buffet. the special brunch buffet featured all the ice carvings and specialty desserts, and beautiful fruit and.vegie displays. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose Oceania because of their heavily advertised claim that they offered some of the best food on the high seas. We chose the Riviera because the itinerary promised a trans-Atlantic crossing out of Barcelona where we wished to spend ... Read More
We chose Oceania because of their heavily advertised claim that they offered some of the best food on the high seas. We chose the Riviera because the itinerary promised a trans-Atlantic crossing out of Barcelona where we wished to spend some extra days. And the price was right for a veranda cabin. The cruise didn't wholly live up to our hopes. But it was nonetheless an enjoyable experience. The ship itself is very handsome, though suffering a few signs of damage (scratches, bumps, stains here and there). The grand dining room is particularly pleasant, colourful, open, and airy. The cabin was large and attractive, with plenty of room to store a travel wheelchair. Moving around the ship with that wheelchair was very easy because many of the doors are automatic. Staff were friendly and helpful and efficient: cabin steward, waiters, reception desk. The captain was old-style, largely absent and not very communicative. The cruise director, by contrast, was a bit too present – on the television and on the speaker, often telling us what you could read in the daily paper. We didn’t attend most of the entertainment: the dancers were energetic and skilful, the singers unfortunately loud but unimpressive, and the classical quartet unaccountably lacking harmony. Nor did we find the so-called enrichment lecture topics sufficiently interesting to warrant going. What was the idea? Lectures on forensic science on a cruise? And we avoided the few excursions as too pricey. Not a problem: we entertained ourselves on the ship and in the ports. By the way, wifi (for one device at a time) might be included in O'Life but it is terrible even when close to land or a city. Worst I’ve experienced lately. But it is free and the email eventually does come in – well, usually. One of the reasons we chose the Riviera was the fact it promised two stops in the Canaries. That didn’t happen. The prospect of bad weather led the ship authorities to cancel both. So we lost some of the Spain we were looking forward to. Reading the reviews, it seems Oceania has a bad habit of cancelling ports. Disappointing. It is possible we would have made the crossing with Azamara (going at the same time) except it had less Spanish ports in theory. Worth keeping in mind that Oceania's itinerary isn’t a solid promise. And no compensation for their failure to deliver. The cruise did offer other activities: bridge lessons, culinary classes, art classes, assorted games. None of these we sampled. There was some seriously over-priced “private dining,” that wasn’t private at all because you sat at a common table,or so it seemed. Didn’t do that either. Never tried the exercise room but my wife had success twice with the hair services at the Canyon Ranch Spa. One minor plus: a good, free dvd library (by contrast, disappeared from the Azamara Quest anyway). Now as to the food. Three of the specialty restaurants were truly excellent. Unquestionably the most outstanding was Red Ginger, the Asian restaurant: the food delicious and plentiful, novel, varied, and interestingly spiced – the duck and watermelon salad as well as the sea bass were stellar. I found Red Ginger the best specialty restaurant (compared to Azamara, Crystal, Princess, and Holland America) I’ve enjoyed in the past five years. Jacques (French) and Toscana (Italian) were almost as impressive: a fine bouillabaisse and a marvellous dover sole at the first, some superb lamb and a tasty seafood linguine at the second. The one specialty restaurant that was a bit weak (though the crab cakes were fine) was the steakhouse, Polo Grill: I’ve had far tastier ribeye on Azamara's Prime C. The food in the other venues was generally good for lunch and dinner. If the steakhouse failed, the steaks in the buffet (Terrace Café) and the dining room were tasty. The caesar salad everywhere was a pleasure. The room service menu had decent lunch offerings, especially gravlax and a fine cheese plate as well as a novelty (for me) the Lombardy salad and an excellent small steak. The Waves Grill (outside, casual) had the standard fare: burgers, hot dogs (the Mexican a standout), salad makings, etc. Some of the dishes in the buffet restaurant were very good (e.g. the Thanksgiving turkey), most were enjoyable, but there were occasional failures like the paella (bland and mushy). Strangely enough, the appetizers and the soups and the bread seemed the most exciting offerings in the main dining room. The entrees were ok but not memorable – and occasionally poor (e.g. tough lamb, bland fish). Desserts everywhere weren’t outstanding, although the assorted crème brules were very enjoyable, as was the varied cheese plate (far better than on Azamara, but best on Crystal). The weakest dining was at breakfast. The room service only offered a basic, and to my mind substandard (blah breads, fruit bits) , continental menu. The eggs prepared in the buffet and the dining room were never exciting. The bacon didn’t appeal, the sweet breads (danishes etc) were uninteresting but for one fruity semi-muffin (and only occasionally available), the flaccid bagels a shame. But I did try some breakfast fish and lamb chops in the dining room – both were very good, as was the carved ham at a brunch. Also the buffet had tasty smoked salmon and various herring dishes that were welcome. Service in the dining room at breakfast seemed slow, slower than on other occasions. Coffee was only ok. Nothing special in the restaurants. Overly mild from the coffee place Baristas (though some people might prefer such). Better in short on Azamara and Crystal. Wine could be a problem, depending on the time, place, and the wine steward. We had the House Select plan which meant wine by the glass at lunch and dinner. If you had a good wine steward, like Milos, then fine: he always watched to ensure his clients were well served. If you had a rushed or negligent wine steward, then you would go dry during the course of the meal. Oceania needs to hire more wine stewards, train them better, and find more of the quality of Milos. In any case the wine offerings were acceptable but not so good for our tastes (Chilean, Argentine, Spanish reds, German whites) as on Azamara, Princess, and Holland America, and especially on Crystal. In all the cruise was delicious. It does often offer good and varied food, and some of the dishes are just superb. But on the whole Crystal does it better, if at a much higher cost. And Azamara, the more comparable cruise line in price and service, has roughly the same ‘score,’ much good and some not, when it comes to food. However I think Azamara offers even more on ambience, service, entertainment, and excursions. We would likely take another Oceania if the price and itinerary were especially appealing. But we have no plans to do so soon. We’re off on other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this ship and company mainly on the positive reviews , recommendations, and transatlantic crossing itinerary which included stops in the Canary Islands which we had not visited before, and additional sea days which many ... Read More
We chose this ship and company mainly on the positive reviews , recommendations, and transatlantic crossing itinerary which included stops in the Canary Islands which we had not visited before, and additional sea days which many cruises don't offer. Sadly, the Canary Island stops were cancelled due to a large Atlantic storm which had positioned itself over the area during our scheduled port call. The Captain and company decided to skip this area and continue on to San Juan. This decision was a correct one but another port call in the Carribean or a longer stay in San Juan would have been nice. Instead, we were treated to a very slow 8 day crossing from Malaga Spain to Puerto Rico. We personally did not have any shore excursions for the Canaries but heard from fellow passengers that they were only partially refunded for these planned excursions. The ship itself is very nice, just the right size (medium) with an excellent ratio of passengers to crew. The public rooms were well appointed and very beautiful for the most part with one exception! The Riviera Lounge is just awful and needs a complete makeover. It is old looking with dark and depressing decor and does not compliment any other rooms or public spaces on the ship. The line is very popular with seniors ( above 70 years old) and on this particular cruise about 90 percent of the passengers fell in this category. We are a bit younger and many times felt a bit isolated especially at sharing tables in the dining venues. Otherwise, we found things to do on our own as we had little in common with most of the guests. Due to the upper age range of most of the guests, the ships public elevators were crowded, noisy and sometimes not so clean, especially during peak dining times. We mostly used the stairs. Dining was very good overall (not exceptional) and the choices of places to eat and menus were excellent. Red Ginger was by far the best with quality of food. decor and staff service 5 star all the way. The main dining room was very good too with breakfast the best, but hit and miss quality of food sometimes at dinner. Again, with sharing tables we were not always at ease with our table mates, due to large age differences or topics of discussion. Toscano specialty venue most definitely needs improving. Much better quality Italian food is available in most towns and cities across America. Terrace Cafe and Waves Grill were both excellent with good quality food and good service. The Buffet at terrace cafe was a bit chaotic at peak times with many guests running around into each other. The purchase of alcohol onboard is highly encouraged and the prices are excessive. Beware, if you are going to drink, then the alcohol package will save you some big money. The service on Riviera is exceptional and in my opinion is what it hangs its hat on! The wait staff were all so friendly and accommodating and the room stewards gave five star service each and every day. The international make up of the crew were delightful and my wife and I were able to converse with many of the staff and form short friendly relationships with them. The ships Captain did not seem too friendly to me and I did not see him interacting with other passengers during the cruise, other than a brief reception at the beginning where he introduced his staff and said a little about himself. Seems like he was disinterested overall and just wanted to finish the crossing. Maybe 50 years at sea will do this to you. His daily noontime report was just a boring weather report (nothing more) that anybody could rip and read off the wire. This same info was available on the ships TV channel all the time. The rest of the ship officers were available and friendly with ready smiles. John our cruise director was excellent and the entertainment staff was better than expected. The young production team were awesome, fun and engaging. They had a somewhat difficult task of entertaining so many upper seniors, but they did it!! The comedian acts and Trumpet player were also very good. This cruise could have been a five category but fell a little short of the mark because of the reasons explained above. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Main reason for this cruise was two fold. First was to do a Transatlantic and Second was to see the Canary Islands. My wife and I agreed that if we did not do the 3 days in Barcelona before the cruise it would have been a great ... Read More
Main reason for this cruise was two fold. First was to do a Transatlantic and Second was to see the Canary Islands. My wife and I agreed that if we did not do the 3 days in Barcelona before the cruise it would have been a great disappointment. Not going to Canary Islands seem to be a fairly constant, if so why not go farther south to another island or a port on the west coast of Africa. Eight sea days are way to many. We found out that three couples have tried this tour three times without success to seeing the Canary Islands. One couple said this was their fourth attempt. I guess they never heard of 3 strikes and your out. The staff and cabin were fantastic. The food excellent but not better then other cruise lines that we have been on. People kept asking us if the food was better on Oceania. We replied that a few dishes we had were but some dishes on other ships were better. I really hated that the staff had to put my salad together. I rather do it myself. Entertainment was average. Would not take children on this cruise because I think they would die of boredom. Found the staff very helpful even for the tours we did not take with Oceania. Debarkation was probably the best we ever had. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our 7th cruise with Oceania. They are still an excellent cruise line but we feel that the service and overall cruise experience is not as good as we have previously experienced. It was very nice to be remembered by so many of ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Oceania. They are still an excellent cruise line but we feel that the service and overall cruise experience is not as good as we have previously experienced. It was very nice to be remembered by so many of the crew when we were on board. The general manager - Dominic has been on other cruises that we've been on and he remembered us. We found the food in the speciality restaurants to be very good and actually truly memorable. The hostess in the Red Ginger is really exceptional and offered to let us taste items that we had not ordered so we would know about other options for future evenings. We also enjoyed dining at the Terrace Cafe in the evening and even although it is a buffet we found the service to be very good. The dining venue that really needs a great deal of work is the main dining room. I had made a comment about the poor service in the main dining room on my mid cruise comment card and although the staff does try very hard the service is very slow. One evening we were at the table almost 3 hours and sat with dirty dishes from our entrees in front of us for 20 minutes. 2 people left before dessert because they had other plans for the evening. The service in the specialty restaurants is far better and you can finish a nice 4 or 5 course meal in less than 2 hours without feeling rushed. The cabin stewards were also very slow. I don't know whether Oceania has cut back on the staff but our cabin was usually not serviced until close to lunch time. One evening when we had a late dinner and did not leave our cabin until 8:00 we saw our cabin steward in the hall and she said that she had left the daily currents in our mail slot. When we returned to our cabin after dinner, the bed had not been turned down and the cabin had not been serviced. It seems like the stewards have a set schedule. Other cruises that we've been on with Oceania the cabin was always serviced by 10:00 or 10:30. The cruise director was probably one of the best that I've had. He was very pro-active and sociable. You always saw him at the end of each show or productions and he would ask how the cruise was going. When I filled out the mid cruise comment card I mentioned that it would be nice to have movies in the main show room during days at sea. He called me back saying that he was trying to free up time in the lounge for movies and sure enough the next day and for the rest of the cruise there was usually a movie in the show lounge during days at sea. The entertainment was okay. There was a good trumpet player - Nicole Sassi. I didn't care for the singer or comedian that they had. A couple of the production shows they had were very good a couple were mediocre. We enjoyed the tea in the afternoon. This is a truly marvelous treat sitting in the Horizons Lounge having wonderful sandwiches, scones and clotted cream and the most wonderful eclairs served by white gloved service staff. We missed a couple of ports in the Canary Islands because of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. It would have been nice if the captain was able to provide at least 1 port to make up for those missed. 8 days at sea is really a long time. I also don't understand why there is no refund for port fees on the missed ports. Other cruise lines have refunded us the port fees when we have had to bypass a port. The connection for internet on board was very poor and we were constantly losing the signal. Oceania is a terrific cruise line be we have really noticed the attention to details and the standards for service seem to have slipped. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first cruise on Oceana and loved the ship and days on the Atlantic Ocean. Our veranda room was comfortable. The balcony was just large enough for two chairs but perfect place to be mesmerized by the waves and skies of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceana and loved the ship and days on the Atlantic Ocean. Our veranda room was comfortable. The balcony was just large enough for two chairs but perfect place to be mesmerized by the waves and skies of the Atlantic Ocean. The art aboard the ship was amazing the art classes fun and the culinary classes most informative (they filled up quickly so book as soon as you can). Entertainment was good, especially the multicast shows. The ship is beautiful, the food in the specialty dining rooms outstanding (free but limited to one visit per restaurant). The Waves café offered breakfast until 11 a.m. which included eggs to order. The Terrace Café offered steak, grilled shrimp and lamb chops daily. The dining room food was fare. The Service was outstanding throughout the ship. We were supposed to have stopped at two ports in the Canary Islands but both were cancelled due to weather forecast 60 knot winds and high waves. A smart decision since 4 people died, streets were flooded and balconies came off hotel buildings in Tenerife. While we experienced a little rockiness for an evening, it was mild and the crossing of the Atlantic was smooth as silk. There were few tours available for those with mobility issues and the one we took in Alicante was very disappointing. We hired South O'Le Spain Tours (Emily Mathews, Manager) for a private tour in Malaga which was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose it as we had never been on a small ship and wanted to see what it was all about and was recommended to Oceania so we booked a year in advance and looked forward to being blown away by the higher standard over our usual lines. ... Read More
We chose it as we had never been on a small ship and wanted to see what it was all about and was recommended to Oceania so we booked a year in advance and looked forward to being blown away by the higher standard over our usual lines. (Celebrity and Cunard) I can understand the desire to be on a 600+ passenger ship . Easy to get around and not get lost. You always recognise others ( even if they don’t recognise you). It can be a bit boring as not a lot to do during day Entertainment was surprisingly the best we have had as the cast of 6 were extremely talented. The food is very nice if you like shellfish and gourmet enthusiasts. If you like plain cooking forget it. I loved it but on many occasion my wife did not find anything that appealed to her. Don’t ask for a fresh coffee after 6.30pm as the coffee shop became a bar and did not serve it then. Fellow passengers were a mix of the friendly to the snobby and if you mentioned any other lines thought you were of little taste. Accommodation was just ok. We had a concierge cabin which was identical to a standard balcony cabin. The bathroom was tiny and storage minimal at best. Nice bed small tv. The advantages to the conciege was that you had 4 nights in the speciality restaurants as opposed to 2. And you had priority boarding. Apart from that it was very Mimas for a lot more money. Which brings me to the extra cost for Oceania as opposed to Celebrity. For the same price you could be in a suite on Celebrity with a greater choice of restaurants and nicer coffee bar. After trying 2 Oceania cruises. We will stick to our favourites and save money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Background information: We are veteran cruisers with many years of cruising in different parts of the world on different cruise lines (includes Oceania, Disney, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Cunard). This was our 30th cruise, ... Read More
Background information: We are veteran cruisers with many years of cruising in different parts of the world on different cruise lines (includes Oceania, Disney, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Cunard). This was our 30th cruise, our longest cruise to date, our eighth on Oceania and our first on Sirena. I have done several other cruise reviews on Cruise Critic. This cruise was entitled “Voyage of Discovery” and was 28 days long, with embarkation in Athens, Greece and disembarkation in Miami, Florida. We booked this as a single Grand Voyage and not as two separate back-to-back Cruises. Sirena is one of the four R-ships currently owned by Oceania Cruises (along with 2 larger, newer O-class ships) and it has passenger capacity of 650-700 passengers and an international crew of nearly 400. The R-ships are scheduled for major renovations over the next few years. Oceania is a cruise company under NCL Holdings. Our trip began with flights on Delta Airlines from our home city through JFK to Athens, Greece. We purchased our own air. We also purchased transfers and a three-night Athens hotel package from Oceania. The hotel selected by Oceania was the Grande Bretagne, a beautiful five-star Marriott/SPG property located on Syntagma Square in the heart of the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the service and amenities at this hotel and its wonderful rooftop bar and restaurant with views of the Acropolis and other sites in Athens. Our pre-cruise activities in the city included visits to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum and to the expansive Christian and Byzantine Museum, and we had a very enjoyable Greek cooking class in a Taverna, which we booked in advance through Trip Advisor/Viator. This was our first time staying in Athens and our second visit to the city. Embarkation: On the way to our ship, we selected an excursion from the Oceania representative at the hotel that included a bus trip to Cape Sounion and the Poseidon Temple, located south of Athens before heading to the port. It took mere minutes to be processed at the Piraeus cruise terminal and we were on-board Sirena having lunch. Our cabin was ready around 1:30 pm and our luggage arrived shortly after that time. Cabin: For this cruise, we selected an A3 category concierge veranda (cabin 7020, located on deck 7 forward on the port side). We are very familiar with this type of cabin, which has a total area of 216 square feet, including the veranda. The room was quiet and cozy, the bathroom is small but manageable, and the bed is heavenly (very, very comfortable). We did use our Veranda quite often on this cruise, with the hot weather. Our stateroom was maintained impeccably by our Room Stewardess and her assistant. The Concierge Veranda level comes with a new and very useful perk of three complimentary laundry services per sailing; since our cruise was composed of back-to-back sailings, we got six of these laundry services (maximum of 20 pieces per service). Public areas: The small size of Sirena limits the public spaces to a few areas - Library (popular with many folks but a complete waste of space in my opinion as I usually bring an electronic book reader), Deck 11 sports area, Pool Deck, Baristas/GDR bar (did not use), the Upper Hall (home of the string quartet concerts), Martini’s bar (strangely, a big favorite for us in the past but we only visited a couple of times on this cruise), a tiny casino, the ample Sirena Lounge (entertainment, lectures, trivia, and meeting place for excursions), and the beautiful and expansive Horizons Lounge on deck 10 forward (the Room with a View). There are two tiny boutique stores on deck 5 and a card room on deck 9. There is also a decent-sized gym/workout facility and the Canyon Ranch Spa area on deck 9 forward. The public areas are nicely decorated but the OceaniaNEXT project will certainly be welcome. Dining: Oceania is renowned for their cuisine and our experience ranged from good to excellent, with a couple of exceptions. We had most of our evening meals in the Terrace Cafe because of its convenience and outdoor seating, and the wide variety of offerings, including salads, pastas, grilled meats, specialty dishes, good side dishes, sushi, charcuterie, fresh breads, and desserts were superb. There were several special lunches or dinners in the Terrace, including Greek, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Indian cuisine. Our breakfasts were divided between the Terrace Cafe (full breakfasts and cooked to order) and Waves Grill, which offers a continental style buffet. Waves Grill is also a great place for lunch (huge cooked-to-order burgers and sandwiches) and they have a salad bar, plus delicious ice cream and milkshakes. We ate a few times in the Grand Dining Room and enjoyed the selections, but preferred the more casual ambience of the Terrace Cafe and the ability to control portion sizes. The specialty restaurants on Sirena are Red Ginger and Tuscan Steak. We ate at Red Ginger once and Tuscan Steak twice. Red Ginger, specializing in Asian fusion cuisine, is not one of our favorites, but it was good. Unfortunately, my dinner at Tuscan Steak the first time we ate there was nearly ruined by an inedible ribeye steak. The first grey, over-salted, overcooked and tasteless steak I received was whisked away and replaced by another steak almost as bad. Apparently, the filet is a more “sure” thing; being from the western US, I am more of a fan of strip and ribeye cuts, but will not try most steaks again on Oceania. Everything else at that meal was excellent. Needless to say, my second meal at Tuscan Steak concentrated on the pasta selections, which were delicious. Another miss was the horrid lobster bisque in the GDR. Many folks complained about this over-salted and very fishy (in a bad way) soup selection. The service in the dining areas ranged from good to excellent; some minor issues with lack of service (set up, clearing of dishes) at the beginning of the cruise were rectified. Bar offerings, wine selection, and service: We did not buy a beverage package on this cruise. We tried to go to happy hour every evening to help with the costs. The drinks are very expensive, especially wines by the glass, and that cost is exacerbated by an 18% service charge. The wine selections were quite good, however, and we did buy a few bottles that can be stored on-board for more than one meal. Beer selections are somewhat limited (a negative with hubby, who is a craft beer aficionado). Mixed drinks are good to excellent. Service is very good to excellent from the bar staff and sommeliers. Most of our bar service experiences were in Horizons lounge or Waves Grill/Bar. Activities and Entertainment: We do not go on Oceania for their entertainment. The small entertainment staff is young and enthusiastic and the shows are fairly short and limited to one every evening at 9:30 pm, with a few guest performers in some shows. We usually head back to cabin to relax and read after dinner so we did not see most of the productions. The Sirena Show Band on our cruise was excellent and we heard them most often in Horizons before dinner. Other entertainment and activity options included enrichment lectures (did not attend most of them), trivia, bingo, sports activity contests, cooking demonstrations, and some pool deck contests (build a ship, country fair, crew contests). Our CD was Leslie Jon, who is very personable and an excellent announcer. Service: As noted in the other paragraphs, service ranged from very good to excellent and minor concerns were corrected immediately. This cruise also featured the best and most competent Destination Services staff we have dealt with yet on Oceania, a wonderful and helpful Oceania Club Ambassador (yes, we are going again), and very friendly staff at Reception and in Security. Officers are business-like, but approachable. Captain Vitaliy Silvachynsky was very professional and trustworthy. We called him Captain “Early” because he would often leave ports ahead of the departure time if everyone was on board. He also made the right calls on avoiding Hurricane Florence and other tropical storms that were brewing in the Atlantic; our 8-day crossing was very smooth. Ports and excursions: Separate port write-ups are included. This cruise was attractive because of its ports and the transatlantic crossing. We did ship excursions in almost every port and most were good to excellent. Sadly, two premium excursions we booked prior to the cruise that included gourmet experiences were canceled due to lack of participation. Our ports of call included Patmos, Rhodes and Crete in Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa, Israel (overnight); Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sorrento and Rome (Civitavechhia), Italy; St. Tropez, France; Barcelona, Cartagena, and Malaga, Spain; Funchal, Madeira; and Nassau, Bahamas. A planned overnight in Bermuda was replaced by a day in Nassau due to Hurricane Florence. We did not have any planned activities in Civitavecchia (Rome) as there were limited excursions on this cruise transition day and our choice of excursions was canceled, unfortunately. The top ports we visited were Haifa, Israel (two amazing and unforgettable journeys to Jerusalem on the first day and to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee on the second); Patmos (beautiful island and fascinating history of St. John); Valleta, Malta (loved this unique and scenic small country); Messina, Sicily (we did a great excursion to Taormina, a lovely town south of Messina, and to a nice winery); Cartagena, Spain (a fantastic excursion to a Spanish horse ranch); and Funchal, Madeira (a gorgeous island with dramatic scenery and a fun city market). We also enjoyed all of the other ports and have good memories from each place we visited. Disembarkation: We disembarked very quickly in Miami and had a private transfer to Fort Lauderdale for our non-stop United flight home. Summary: Our overall experience on Sirena was excellent, with a few minor issues as noted in the details above. Usually, we are ready to go home, but we were reluctant to leave on our last day. We have already booked our next experience, a cruise on Nautica from Venice to Dubai in late 2019! We look forward to the renovated R-ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Perfect Domestic style itinerary. New York to Nova Scotia to Bermuda. The Insignia is one of the smaller Oceania ships but was just as pleasant as the larger Marina and Riviera class ships. 684 passengers and 400 crew members. The ship ... Read More
Perfect Domestic style itinerary. New York to Nova Scotia to Bermuda. The Insignia is one of the smaller Oceania ships but was just as pleasant as the larger Marina and Riviera class ships. 684 passengers and 400 crew members. The ship is getting a retro fit along with the other "R" class ships in December. I would love to sail on it again after the upgrade. The crew was excellent in every respect, from the Captain to the Cruise Director, Shawn Carter and especially the food and beverage crew. Our housekeeping staff Drujon and Aislyne, saw to every detail and kept our room spotless! We stayed in Cabin 7049 which is an A1 Balcony concierge class. (However, there is no concierge lounge on the smaller 'R' class ships) as there is on Marina, Riviera & Sirena, so I'm not certain what concierge is. We did receive priority boarding and disembarkation. Why Oceania? Class and Food. Dress is smart casual (what you would wear out for a nice dinner), however, many people were flaunting the dress code and entering the Main Dining Room for breakfast and lunch, as well as tea time in outfits that were more appropriate for 'Waves' grill. One negative note: Insignia currently has only two premium restaurants (Polo Grill which is American fare, think primo steak! and Toscana, which is Italian). After the retrofit, I understand Insignia will also receive a 'Red Ginger' restaurant which is fantastic Asian fare, having had this on both Marina and Riviera on prior sailings. Wish they had room for Jacques as well! The one negative note on this cruise was both on our last voyage on the Riviera (2016 Mediterranean) and on Insignia, the Toscana staff seemed befuddled, when it came to service. After being seated, we waited nearly 20 minutes before someone came to take our order. We informed the waiter that we had not even been provided menus and the sommelier had never visited. The food was also not quiet the quality it should have been. Everything was just a tad off. Polo Grill however was exceptional as always! My only regret is that we did not find out as Concierge members, that we were entitled to two nights in each venue not just one. We would have especially liked to try Toscana again to see if the problems continued. However, this was not enough for us to change our mind that Oceania remains our favorite, above the other cruise lines we have sampled including, however Holland is Very close and closing in. Their cookies and breads are better than Oceania), Celebrity, and Carnival. Believe me, you can't go wrong on any of these lines, but Oceania is worth the extra $$ Also, if you drink more than 4 glasses of beer or wine, buy the beverage package $59.95 per day. While beverage package beer and wine lists could use some updating (Oceania, please add Blue Moon to your beer package). It took me 7 days to finally find 'Pauliner' which became a substitute. Entertainment - is very limited. An orchestral quartet playing at dinner and tea time (why they play at dinner and not after is beyond me. They are fantastic but you don't get to hear them except enroute to dinner or after). Insignia had 6 singers, and a ventriloquist/comedian that put on varying variety shows. They were good but the small ensemble is underwhelming. However, no one chooses Oceania for the entertainment. Her is Advice for those booking Oceania tours, we received three free shore excursions with our booking. We chose: 'Historic Boston & Cambridge' (OK, but disappointed that no time was made to stop at the cemetery's. Just a quick stop at Old North Church and Harvard). I would recommend the Boston 'Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour'. Also, the narrator talked far too much, apparently afraid that if any silence occurred on the tour, he was not doing his job. 'Acadia National Park & Carriage Ride' - Carriage ride is a misnomer! It is a wagon ride over the Rockefeller carriage trails. OK, but we all wished we had spent the time in Bar Harbor which was the highlight stop on our cruise. We could have visited two days there! 'Historic Halifax & RMS Titanic Museum' - The museum was a let down as we had seen more Titanic artifacts on a traveling exhibit in Chicago a few years ago. The visit to the cemetery was the highlight and (don't miss) part of this excursion and the our guide was excellent at relaying the history. On our own: Newport RI - we purchased tickets through the City Visitor Center, one block from the tender dock and visited the Vanderbilt mansion (Breakers) and Marblehead mansion at our own pace. Very reasonable, I think $38 per per person. Kind of like a hop on/off bus that allowed you to go at your own pace. Worth the price and great city! Bermuda - We purchased a tour through Viator called 'Horseshoe Beach Excursion' about 1 month prior to sailing. Enroute from Halifax to Bermuda, we received a note that Viator had refunded our money, but no explanation as to why the excursion was cancelled. However, we took the bus (1.5 hours) from St. George's, where our smaller Oceania boat went through a very narrow and scenic passage into harbor, all the way across the island to Hamilton and then to Kings Wharf. Great shopping. We then took the ferry back to St. Georges (45 minutes) direct by sea. Very nice, AC was wonderful after a hot day. I would love to do this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked a concierge level stateroom with the O-Life package including 5 tours. Air arrangements made by Oceania got us into Montreal late in the day. The cruise was supposed to start in Montreal but due to high river levels making ... Read More
We booked a concierge level stateroom with the O-Life package including 5 tours. Air arrangements made by Oceania got us into Montreal late in the day. The cruise was supposed to start in Montreal but due to high river levels making passage under bridges difficult, we had to be transported to second port of call in Trois Rivieres to embark. Oceania's arrangements for transfers to the ship were abysmal. We had to wait, standing around for two hours before a bus arrived to take us to the ship and no refreshments, even water, were provided in the waiting location or on the bus. The staff handling the transfer at the airport were poorly informed regarding where buses were and what arrangements would be made for dining when we arrived at the ship after the dining venues were scheduled to close. Fortunately, buffet was kept open late to handle the many late arrivals. Our stateroom bathroom was not cleaned well when we arrived -- unclean glasses and residue on shelves in stateroom. Stateroom staff was quick to remedy problems, and were generally responsive throughout the cruise after that. The stateroom was what we expected and in good condition. Bed and linens were quite comfortable. Room was quiet. Food was, in general, quite good. Comparable or better than Crystal. We found the food and service at specialty restaurants Jacques and Red Ginger to be excellent and better than specialty restaurants on Crystal, but food and service at both Polo Grill and Toscana were major disappointments. Food at Terrace buffet and Waves grill was quite good and service and quality of coffee offerings at Baristas was great. Lectures were distinctly inferior in quality and number to Crystal offerings on the cruises we have taken with that line. Exercise classes also were more limited and the exercise instructors were a clear step below Crystal exercise classes and instructors. Most tours were excellent, although the overview tour of Dublin was uninformative and generally disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The itinerary of this Trans Atlantic (Montreal - Southampton, starting May 8) was great. The Marina and Riviera are our favorite ships. Unfortunately the embarkation was in another port than planned. The dis-organization was complete ... Read More
The itinerary of this Trans Atlantic (Montreal - Southampton, starting May 8) was great. The Marina and Riviera are our favorite ships. Unfortunately the embarkation was in another port than planned. The dis-organization was complete there. No Oceania-crew visible. Long waiting and nobody taking care at our luggage. I decided to do that job myself and at the end I personally put my luggage in the bus. The food was ok but has been better in the past. Alas too often bread is dried out, cutting the sllzes too far in advance. About 50% of the fruit at breakfast was unripe. The 'fresh' orange juice was probably never fresh. Why not admit?! At dinner not much variation on the menu and the ingredients seem to be cheaper than in the past. Some waiters are not as friendly as we were used to in the past. The Barista was excellent as always, as were the smoothies. The entertainment was as usual: not very good. Too loud screaming 'soprano's' are even more annoying when we are trying to talk during happy hour. However, we are not really cruising for the entertainment. There was a very good lecturer fro GB. The officers, even including the CD are hardly visible. I saw an other review with the following complaint about that: "Whilst we don't normally participate in trivia and other activities, we are normally on nodding terms at the very least with the Cruise Director. This is the first time that I have NEVER seen a Cruise Director around the ship..... Activities, particularly on sea days, were uninspired". I can only say that being invisible was the best this CD could do: Who would like to meet this unfriendly and rude man when enjoying your holiday? Not me. Wer still like Oceania, but we hope the down grading will stop. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The Pros....... - Consistently brilliant service and cuisine in all 4 speciality restaurants, particularly Red Ginger and Toscana....all 4 had particularly professional and hard working Maitre D's. The Malaysian lamb special was a ... Read More
The Pros....... - Consistently brilliant service and cuisine in all 4 speciality restaurants, particularly Red Ginger and Toscana....all 4 had particularly professional and hard working Maitre D's. The Malaysian lamb special was a highlight. - Service in Martinis when Karla was on duty was spectacular; she worked the room like a Maitre'D when not mixing the perfect Martini. I've met excellent bartenders in Martinis in the past, but they've always stayed behind the bar. - Our stewardesses were exceptional....lots of small touches that I've not seen before. - Our Butler, Ram, was our best so far. He was discreet, replied to his pager rapidly, and was almost disappointed not to be given any extra tasks by us. - Reception staff were particularly friendly and efficient. This department seemed to have upped their game....on our 13 O cruises prior to this Reception had been a weak link. - New internet system seems more stable and marginally faster. - A fantastic itinerary despite the change in emabarkation port from Montreal to Trois Rivieres due to water levels on the St Laurent. - The Enrichment lectures on ocean liners were brilliant, with the lecturer pitching his presentations very well. The cons...... - Handling of the embarkation port change, our travel agent only informed us of the change on the day of embarkation at 0400 with no guidance as to how to get to Trois Rivieres. This had been hampered by a holiday weekend in the UK. Oceania UK had informed agents on the Saturday, when Miami had told them of the change on Friday........to avoid this delay Oceania in Miami should have just emailed all passengers directly to avoid this game of chinese whispers. There was also no mention of the emabarkation port change once on board. - Whilst we don't normally participate in trivia and other activities, we are normally on nodding terms at the very least with the Cruise Director. This is the first time that I have NEVER seen a Cruise Director around the ship.....quite remarkable for a 15 day cruise! His announcements were dire, describing St Pierre et Miquelon as "Very small with nothing to do". Announcements and the TV show seemed to be pitched to a more mainstream cruise line level. Activities, particularly on sea days, were uninspired. - Entertainment, despite recently touted improvements, are still pretty dire. The only difference being that the company is larger. A bunch of glee club rejects acting like prima donnas. I'm glad I don't come on O for the entertaiment.... - Canyon Ranch seemed to be deserted, and no effort was made to get people in. Staff were aloof, and seemed to form 2 cliques with the Indian manager and his fellow countrymen, and those of other nationalities....didn't seem a happy department. - Up until now, I had always found Grand Dining Room service as good as the specialities, but on this occasion it was a little erratic. No major mishaps though. Things were better at lunchtime though when the Speciality Maitre D's and Head Waiters were running the show. - Whilst still maintained to a very high standard Marina seems to be ready for a dry dock/refit. Some minor details were noticed in our suite e.g. flaking varnish on railings, carpet had been patched several times with a few frayed edges. - Destinations staff unhelpful and disinterested unless you're buying a tour, the manager with a badger style haircut was particularly unhelpful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise was listed as going from Montreal to Southampton and when we booked (end of 2016 onboard) we opted to take their air/ground package. We flew first to Brussels from Manchester and then onto Montreal. Coming home (to get back ... Read More
This cruise was listed as going from Montreal to Southampton and when we booked (end of 2016 onboard) we opted to take their air/ground package. We flew first to Brussels from Manchester and then onto Montreal. Coming home (to get back to the car) Oceania booked us a BA flight from T5. Surprisingly we were the only people on our inbound Air Canada flight although we met another passenger at Montreal from Birmingham (there was a coach load came in later in the day from LHR). It was at this point we discovered that due to the level of the St. Lawrence waterway Marina could not get under the Laviolette bridge at Trois-Rivières so the cruise would start there rather than in Montreal. We were informed that our package now covered the 2hr bus ride to the new location the next day and thus we were sent on our way to the Fairmont Chateau-Champlain for the night. [Apparently Oceania had known this since the previous Friday – this was Monday – and whilst I had received three emails saying ‘Book onboard’ from them I had heard nothing about the change in plans – either directly or via my agent. When I went online that evening the website had already been changed!]. Having arrived early in the afternoon we got out and made the most of the sun in Montreal – the same the next morning too before we had to check out. The coach transfer was interesting as we saw the flooded land all the way along the road. Trois-Rivières turned out to be a lovely town and they tried very hard to do everything for us. This was their first ever turn around and they did themselves proud. We were onboard by about 1pm and our cabin (Concierge level) was ready inside 30 minutes – just time to grab some library books and a bite to eat. With an overnight in this port we now had plenty of time and made the most of it with a walk the first afternoon to get our bearings and then a longer one the next day to Le Parc de l’île Saint-Quentin where we saw the flooding first hand and had close ups with the wildlife (woodpeckers, marmots, black squirrels, tree creepers to name a few). A lovely town and the people came down to see the ship from the promenade….. The next port was Québec. The ship parks near the centre and it is a short walk through the old port and up to round town (the only walled city north of Mexico!). We followed a tourist walk (avoiding all the road works/digging) and then did the Dufferin Terrace and the Governors Walk to the Plains of Abraham before returning to the ship through Petit-Champlain. Another lovely sunny day and lots to see, good chance to try French again….. The day after was Saguenay and what a change those miles east made. We started with snow flurries and in the wind it felt below freezing – it was a shame for the locals in that few ventured far, even in the afternoon when the sun got out (although it didn’t feel much warmer!) Still the shops sold a lot of thermal wear…. A sea day next and all the usual activities onboard a cruise ship (lectures, trivia, games) as well as Oceania’s specialities – the Cuisine Centre (fee charged) and the art classes (free). Corner Brook was our first stop in Newfoundland and again we met snow flurries but soon the sun shone and we were on the free shuttle to town where we did a small trail walk (Three Bears) with views over the city and then the Corner Brook Stream and Gorge Trail. Again it was cool and the small craft market in the local mall (Sunday) did a good line in woollen gloves/hats. The next day we were in France. St Pierre and Miquelon are a group of islands just off Newfoundland that is a self-governing overseas territory of France (spot the tricolor and EU flags). Today was sunny but with a cold wind and whilst we took a shuttle into town we walked back (Monday today and a lot of shops/services are closed). In the afternoon we climbed the hill behind the ship and did a hike to Cap a l’Aigle viewpoint and then beyond two lakes (Etang Frecker) into the country. Its quite bleak and grey beyond the treeline but the views were great. We then had to do another immigration into Canada to be able to call at St. Johns. St. John’s was much acclaimed by many onboard compared to the previous three ports (more to do, bigger place, more shops) but I’d enjoyed exploring the smaller locations and we had plenty to see and walk. We walked from the ship up Signal Hill and then round on a circular route past Ladies Lookout , Cuckold Bay – where Marconi’s message was received – and into Quidi Vidi village and harbour (very quaint) before heading back to town past the lake. We even manged to find a coffee shop for lunch with live local music – impromptu but fun. It was warmer here but strange to see so many homeless/beggars – including younger girls – they were all polite though. We left Canada at 2pm and then it was three days across the Atlantic. This was our first ocean crossing and we weren’t sure we would find enough to do (that we liked). The first full day was a bit bumpy but realistically it was a very smooth crossing – just grey and cool all the way. It was also quite windy – one day had a 30+knot wind across the deck and the upper decks were all closed for safety. This led to the walkers being inventive (indoors and out) to do their daily exercise! Finally, landfall at Cobh (for Cork). Immigration had to be completed (face to face) onboard before you could go ashore. Cobh is a lovely little place with lots to see, it was the last landfall of the Titanic of course. Cork is a train ride away (the station is next to the ship) but most people decided after their visit it wasn’t worth it – another ‘big city’. It also had a few demonstrations on – one in support of the Palestinians and then a couple both for and against the repeal of the 8th amendment. Next day (Sunday) was Dublin and a chance to see the Book of Kells. I’d booked my tickets online before we left home and it certainly jumped the queue (even at 10am) but it was so busy. Lots of tour groups of course – some of whom didn’t seem that interested… The Trinity College Library is just awesome. Monday was Holyhead (Holy Island off Anglesey) and whilst most of the tours went to North Wales we made the most of the sun and warmth and walked the Anglesey Coastal path – friends went to Treaddur Bay on the bus. The shuttle here was provided by the town and it became swamped at lunchtime (especially as it coincided with a ferry loading for Dublin – traffic jam!). Much better result for the day than we imagined. Then our final half day at sea (working our way round Wales and Cornwall to Portland) so plenty of time to be packed before our trip into Weymouth. The town put on the shuttle again which dropped us near the old port. Again, it was a bit of an issue getting back at peak time, but the sun was shining, and it could have been worse – just a shame there was no drop off near Chesil Beach for a walk. Then overnight into Southampton and the easternmost pier (splendid view of all the cars for export!) and the start of the trip home. Disembarkation was easy and efficient. This was a great itinerary (interesting ports and a mid-Atlantic crossing) spoilt by the weather. We concluded that Marina with her open deck, no covered pool and constrained inside space is not such an appropriate choice where good weather is not guaranteed. I would however love to do these ports in Canada again later in the season when everything was open and active and see the ‘real’ region. Otherwise we enjoyed the cruise and met some interesting people. There were more Brits than usual (about 200 in 1230) but we were still well outnumbered by the North Americans. Quite a few had done the previous voyage as a back to back (from Miami up the eastern seaboard) and some were carrying on for the next voyage down the coast of France and Spain. We had over 800 Oceania Club (past passengers) members onboard and the highest ranking had sailed over 900 days at sea with Oceania. The food was very good although I’m glad to report portion sizes in the speciality restaurants had reduced slightly which I was all in favour of. The Grand Dining Room continued to shine with different menus every day. Many people made use of it for breakfast and lunch too. Afternoon Tea was usually busy and now features ‘special days’ such as Cupcake Tea, Éclair Tea and Chocolate Tea. The Vegan breakfast bar (for smoothies, juices and other non-dairy options) in Waves Grill worked well and I enjoyed the variety on offer. Staff were friendly and helpful although there were one or two small language issues across counters. The Terrace Café buffet was fully served which obviously helps control health issues and food wastage. We also noted toiletries were replaced based on consumption and thus there were times when you ran quite short until the next service; another small cost cutting exercise I presume. Restocking and refuelling seem to occur in various locations throughout the voyage and this seemed to work well as the fresh fruit held to the end (even if the natural Greek yoghurt ran out with three days to go). Rather than take a drinks package we chose the 7-bottle wine package (effectively half a bottle a day) and between that, buying the odd drink and the Captains Cocktail reception (free drinks for all on one evening for a couple of hours) that was more than enough for our requirements on the 15-day sailing. WiFi is available free to all (one item per stateroom) but it was very slow at times – especially on sea days. It also restricts access to streaming and video. You can pay extra for access to such sites – but then access doesn’t guarantee bandwidth to use them! The coffee shop, Baristas, was again well used and seemed a focus of the ship at times. The main crew were Italian females who worked in the mornings (doing service in Toscana in the evening). Other bar staff took the afternoon shift. Behind this is the library and I felt disappointed that there seemed less books than previously (we were on early and went straight there and allowing for the back to backers). I didn’t see that many new books and the shelf labelled New York Times Best Sellers was used for other purposes. The Guest Exchange had also disappeared – people dropped them wherever rather than in the Games Room where the shelf was designated but poorly filled. The Concierge Lounge was nearly always busy, and its coffee machine struggled for a while before breaking down under the strain. Eventually three engineers turned up to replace it with a new one. The Spa Deck to which we have access was used sparingly due to the weather – even some sunny times were closed due to the wind. The new Concierge inclusion of up to three bags of laundry (max. of 20 items per bag) worked well for us although I still did a big self-wash/dry on the last at sea morning so I came home with almost everything clean. This bundled laundry was offered across the ship on some days at a fixed price (circa $25), the launderette is still $4 for a wash and dry. The balcony was not used as much as usual because of the weather conditions but I did use it in port on a few days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise as an end of winter getaway to the lovely Caribbean. Embarkation was efficient and we were on board within minutes. Disembarkation was on time and also efficient. The ship is old but clean and well maintained. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an end of winter getaway to the lovely Caribbean. Embarkation was efficient and we were on board within minutes. Disembarkation was on time and also efficient. The ship is old but clean and well maintained. We were offered an upgrade to a higher category which we gladly accepted and paid for, however, we were in a cabin directly above the show lounge which meant no afternoon naps due to the noise of rehearsals and no bedtime prior to 10:30 pm. Although this is not very late, the entertainment is so poor one may desire an early night rather than sitting through another mundane show. This was our third time on Oceania and most likely our last, as we have missed ports on every cruise. On this cruise we had a medical emergency and diverted to the Turks and Caicos Islands which meant we were unable to make it to St. Kitts. We were also 4 hours late getting into Nassau without explanation from the Captain. As a result we had four and a half seas day, rather than the 3 we were supposed to have on the 10 day cruise. Fellow passengers were less than happy. Service on board was excellent, always pleasant and professional. The quality of food did not meet expectations. Sometimes the meat was tough, other times the food was lukewarm. The food in the Toscana and Polo Grill was not as good as on the Marina. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Several months ago, my wife and I decided to do a transatlantic crossing. Having cruised with Oceania before, we decided to book the crossing on the Riviera. Our preference is typically small to medium size ships. The Riviera (as well as ... Read More
Several months ago, my wife and I decided to do a transatlantic crossing. Having cruised with Oceania before, we decided to book the crossing on the Riviera. Our preference is typically small to medium size ships. The Riviera (as well as the Marina) are a little larger than we typically would book but for the crossing it was perfect. The booking experience as easy and convenient. Specialty restaurant reservations were easy to make on Oceania's website. Cruise documents arrived 30 days before the cruise. Checking in on embarkation day was very easy. We arrived at the Miami port at noon and were on board by 12:20 pm. Our cabin (PH 11049) was ready at exactly 1:00 pm. By 2:00 pm, we were completely unpacked and ready for our journey. Oceania made it very easy for us! Having cruise on the Oceania Marina before, the Riviera's sister ship, we did not have to spend much time getting re-acquainted with facilities and layout of the vessel. Our cabin was a Penthouse on the 11th deck - 11049. It was very comfortable, clean and well appointed. We did notice a little bit of wear and tear on the carpet and several cabinets with small scratches. The crew did a great job keeping the room nice and clean with stocked with the appropriate beverages, canapés and bathroom supplies. A word of caution is that cabin's on the 11th deck are right below the swimming pool deck and, sometimes, one can hear deck furniture being moved. This was only an annoyance in the early evening as the crew re-stacked the lounge chairs. The ship is in great condition. Oceania is clearly focusing on ensuring the vessel is well maintained. All public areas were very clean. The crew was constantly cleaning and performing maintenance. Great to see this level of care and attention. Our dining experience was very good to excellent. Prior to the cruise, we booked four dinners at the four specialty restaurants as well as one evening at La Reserve. We are "foodies" and Oceania's Riviera did not disappoint. Service and food quality in the specialty restaurants was excellent. La Reserve was a terrific 3 plus hours of good food and wine as well as the social aspect of the evening - well worth the price of admission. On two evenings we decided to just go to The Terrace for dinner and have a light buffet dinner. To our surprise, the buffet was very well done (wonderful salads, fresh sushi, lobster among other delicacies). The Grand Dining Room was very good with the exception of one evening in which the service and food quality was not as consistent. A consistent and enjoyable start of the day (everyday!) was a visit to Baristas. Lastly, during the cruise, we were able to book additional evenings at the specialty restaurants. Since our voyage required a lot of sea days, the crew of the Riviera had to plan and execute a lot of activities during the day. Since this was our first transatlantic crossing, we were concerned about this cruise being too slow. Well, this concern was not an issue. Corey Powell (Cruise Director) and his team worked tirelessly to keep everyone engaged. One of our favorite activities was to attend the chats with Sandy Cares - a terrific speaker. We also attended several Wine Tastings and cooking class - both always fun! In terms of wellness, we used the health and fitness center almost daily, it has excellent equipment, never overly crowded and very clean. We also enjoyed the Canyon Ranch Spa - a bit pricey but the massage and facial services were excellent. Regarding, entertainment, it was better than we expected. It is clear that Oceania has been listening to passenger and reviewer feedback. Among our favorites was the string quartet. Also, the Riviera band played some nice Jazz. The Riviera singers and dances are very talented and did a nice job to keep everyone entertained. Oceania also brought in a several guest stars for entertainment that we would rate from fair to very good (magician (fair), violinist (very good), pianist/singer (good) and comedian (fair) . In terms of ports, our scheduled stops were Bermuda, Ponta Delgado (Azores), Tangier, Mallorca and Barcelona. We typically prefer private or semi private tours since we like to have the flexibility to move quickly and adjust the day as we go; however, for this trip, we decided to take three Oceania offered tours. In Bermuda, we joined a small group totally 16 on a small bus in which we visited Hamilton and St. George. Unfortunately, due to bad weather, we were not able to dock in Ponta Delgada. As for Tangier, our group was a bit larger (20 or so) but the 4 1/2 hour excursion was well done. Mallorca and Barcelona we did on our own. Overall, we were pleased with the Oceania tours we joined. The disembarkation process in Barcelona was a breeze. We were scheduled to disembark at 7:45 am but were able to do so at 7:40 am. We were on a taxi to our hotel by 7:50 am! Lastly, we want to recognize the Riviera's leadership staff. The Captain and his Officers were very visible and approachable. Furthermore, we really enjoyed how they recognized members of the crew with 5 Year Service Anniversaries. And, a night of celebration in which over 300 crew members were brought into the Riviera lounge to celebrate to appreciate the passengers. What's interesting is that it was the passengers that celebrated the crew for excellent service. These actions speak volumes of the culture of the company and leadership. After all, cruising is about people! We will certainly continue to cruise and plan to be back with Oceania in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My husband has always wanted to do a transatlantic crossing and the timing of the Oceania cruise was right. We both love food and wine and that was definitely a selling point to sail with Oceania, as was the relatively smaller ship size. ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to do a transatlantic crossing and the timing of the Oceania cruise was right. We both love food and wine and that was definitely a selling point to sail with Oceania, as was the relatively smaller ship size. We had a fun couple of days in Miami before leaving; no problems getting to the terminal or our cabin once on board. We found everyone on the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly. I work in the hospitality/events business so that means a lot to me. It was our first cruise and I didn't really know what to expect; I just definitely knew that I didn't want to be on a cruise where we had to spend a lot of time being sociable with strangers (get enough of that at work!) or deal with over-the-top food buffets or formal nights. We especially liked the library and the opportunities to hang out in quiet spots, including our veranda. I enjoyed the access to the spa deck and using the spa services. The pool deck was nice and I loved lounging around watching the waves with a book in my hand and a glass of bubbly or one of the frozen coffee drinks from the espresso bar. I have to say that there are worse things to do than spend three weeks reading, eating and drinking in the middle of the Atlantic. We both liked the specialty restaurants very much, especially Red Ginger. We usually had breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe, which was fine, and dinner in the Grand Reserve, which was very good. I say this as someone who's managed a fine-dining restaurant for the last 15 years. I did find it a little odd that it was hard to get wine service before placing a dinner order and I finally learned how to out-smart the wine stewards by insisting on ordering my wine before food. I was a little concerned about not having a drinks package but felt the wine prices were very reasonable and liked that we didn't have to finish a bottle but could take it back to our cabin or have it stored for another night, even in another dining venue. Our cabin was fine and our cabin attendants extremely helpful and friendly. I don't remember the cabin number but we upgraded to the Concierge level, which scored a bottle of champagne for me and free laundry service for my husband. It did seem as though the carpets got rolled up pretty early every night, especially on deck. As others have mentioned, it would have been nice to be able to hang out after dark and enjoy a drink or cup or coffee or tea. And many days the Terrace Cafe terrace was closed for dining; more outdoor dining and relaxation options would be a big plus. The shore excursions were okay; we missed the Azores because of rough water and high winds but that was understandable. I think we only made it to one night of entertainment; it was okay but that wasn't really a priority with us anyway. We made our own pre- and post-trip arrangements in both Miami and Barcelona, which worked out great for us. Worst part of the whole trip was getting home from Barcelona, due to issues with American Airlines and late/canceled flights. But that's not an Oceania issue and we got there eventually. Overall, it was a great experience and I'd recommend Oceania to others. Don't know if we'll ever cruise again but if we do, we'd definitely consider Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
A transatlantic crossing has been on my bucket list for five tpyears but something always got in the way. When my wife and I made the decision to do it this spring we decided to go upscale since we would be on for two weeks with minimal ... Read More
A transatlantic crossing has been on my bucket list for five tpyears but something always got in the way. When my wife and I made the decision to do it this spring we decided to go upscale since we would be on for two weeks with minimal port calls...thus we picked Oceana. We had a standard veranda cabin and the size and appointments were more than fine. Of special note...the staff to a person were exceptional and helpful. Food was great and with four specialty restaurants, a main dining room, and a buffet it more than met our needs. Never thought I’d get tired of grilled lobster tails with lamb chops...but I did! Fortunately there were a myriad of other choices available. Also worth noting was the caliber of the guests on board, unlike some of the mass market cruises we’ve been on. All in all it was worth every penny we paid and would sail Oceana again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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
Sail Date December 2017
Spain and Transatlantic on Oceania Marina We are a couple in our mid 50s and mid 60s, who were looking forward to trying something new after many years of cruising with Celebrity. We were looking for higher quality food and service than ... Read More
Spain and Transatlantic on Oceania Marina We are a couple in our mid 50s and mid 60s, who were looking forward to trying something new after many years of cruising with Celebrity. We were looking for higher quality food and service than Celebrity now offers, but also good entertainment, and some “new to us” ports, and this cruise with its Spain and Canary Island itinerary, plus a relaxing few days crossing the Atlantic sounded perfect to us. We spent four days pre-cruise in Barcelona at the Hotel 1898 which was excellent. Barcelona was uncrowded as we were out of season, so it was perfect for sightseeing. The Gaudi houses are a must-see and so is Sagrada Familia, which is a little closer to being finished than last time we saw it. We also took a private Montserrat and Cava tour with Barcelona Day Tours. There wasn’t a lot to see at Montserrat as the funicular was closed for renovation, and as it was bitterly cold we didn’t fancy any of the hikes. We did get to enjoy listening to the boys choir in the church there, and we did buy some excellent local cheese! Cava tasting at Art Cava was fun. On then to the cruise portion of our trip. We were in Concierge Class Verandah 10067, and had the O Life features of unlimited wifi, wine with lunch and dinner, and gratuities included. We are new to Oceania and had a wonderful first impression of the cruise line and the ship Marina. Check in was very quick and easy and we notice that no one was trying to sell us packages for drinks or specialty restaurants or even stopping us to take our photo. We were directed up to the buffet, which from past experience on other cruise lines has been a nightmare. Marina was much more civilised with staff serving the food for you and waiters carrying your food to the table for you. We actually enjoyed embarkation lunch this time! Marina is a smaller ship that we have been sailing on recently, but she is beautifully decorated and furnished, and spotlessly clean. We had a concierge level cabin and were very impressed with the layout, especially the marble bathroom, which had a proper bathtub with shower, as well as a separate shower cubicle. We liked the selection of Bulgari toiletries and the bath salts, and loved the abundance of soft towels that were provided. I had requested hypoallergenic bedding through my travel agent as I am allergic to feathers. Unfortunately there were feather pillows and bedding in the room, so the request had not reached Oceania. Our cabin attendant was very apologetic and said that she would make sure everything was changed during evening turndown service, and she did. We had very positive experiences with the food on Marina. I am not a person who likes to eat with strangers, so it was nice to have no problem getting a table for two. We typically ate breakfast at the buffet on sea days, and ordered room service on port days. Every time our room service order was exactly right, nothing was ever missing, which makes a pleasant change from other cruiselines we have sailed on! We ate lunch and dinner in the main dining room most days and the food was consistently good and the service was excellent. We had wines with meals included in our fare and found there was a good selection to choose from, although by about day five they were out of the french rose. Specialty restaurants on Oceania are included, and I easily made my reservations online before we sailed. In the end we ate twice at Red Ginger, once at Jacques and once at Polo Grill. The food was outstanding in all three. We had to cancel our Toscana reservation and never got round to rebooking as we enjoyed the main dining room so much. Afternoon tea was a wonderful experience, and the scones were delicious! We bought a package of assorted spa treatments, and had two couples massages, and two solo massages. They were pricy but enjoyable. The pool area was uncrowded and we had no trouble getting a sunbed, or ten! It really was deserted. Entertainment is where I felt things went a little awry. The singers and dancers were very talented, as were the live musicians, but, and it’s a big BUT, the music was not geared to my age group at all, it was aimed at much older demographic who like music from the 40’s, 50s and 60s and want to ballroom dance. Whether it was the production show “Songs of Peggy Lee” or “Music From The Brill Building” it was music from the same era. Only the “Dancing Fool” show gave a brief nod to the 1970’s. The Orchestra, The Party Band and Claude at the Piano all seemed to have the same repertoire. How many times can you hear Moon River, Route 66, Hit The Road Jack and Fever before you want to curl up and die? The string quartet were excellent and they, fortunately were allowed to play classical music, which made a welcome change. After a few nights we gave up trying to stay up for the late night happy hour at 10:30pm so maybe we missed out on more up to date music then, I don’t know. Daytime entertainment was very low key, with trivia, needlepoint and coffee, spa lectures and a guest speaker. We have done Transatlantic crossings before so were prepared and amused ourselves with books and puzzles we had brought with us. I also spent many an hour soaking in the bathtub, reading! I have to say I was a bit dubious about how good the wi-fi would be, especially if a large number of passengers had unlimited wifi included with O Life, and also because we were crossing the Atlantic. It was in fact really good. I was even able to download ebooks from my local library in the USA when we were half way across the Atlantic! Our itinerary had three ports in mainland Spain and two in the Canary Islands. We looked at ship tours but they didn’t really have anything that looked interesting to us and very few tours under $300 per person, so we booked small group semi-private tours through Spain Day Tours instead, for around $100 per person. From Alicante we visited Guadalest, from Malaga the Alhambra in Granada, and from Cadiz the Alcazar in Seville. We travelled on comfortable new coaches and had really good english speaking guides. In Tenerife we took a tour up to the top of the volcano and it was really interesting seeing the difference between the beach level, the forest area and the lava fields. Again this was organised through Spain Day Tours, and again the guide was good but this bus wasn’t as nice as the others. Our final tour was a ship tour on the island of La Palma. It was a bit disappointing. We did a short hike around the caldera, then visited an old house with wine and tapas to taste and then a church. It was low key and a bit boring compared to our other tours. At the end of the cruise it was refreshing to not experience waiters and cabin attendants grovelling and guilting you into ranking them a 10 whether or not you felt their service deserved it. Perhaps the Marina staff knew they would be getting 10s anyway because they really had provided exceptional service. Disembarkation was really easy. We were among the last groups called and were off the ship very quickly. In conclusion, the cruise was very nice, but we were really looking forward to getting off in Miami. Marina is a lovely ship, the food is outstanding, and the crew really go out of their way to please you, but I don’t think I have found my new cruise home yet. It’s a trade off and at this point I don’t think I am ready to give up livelier entertainment and more modern music in favour of a quiet more sedate experience with better food. Perhaps in 20 years time when people my age might be their target market, I’ll try Oceania again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I love the Marina due to its comfort level in all aspects--stateroom, dining venues, crew and staff. I was on the inaugural sailing, and the Marina remains the same outstanding ship. I have done multiple transatlantics, but knowing ... Read More
I love the Marina due to its comfort level in all aspects--stateroom, dining venues, crew and staff. I was on the inaugural sailing, and the Marina remains the same outstanding ship. I have done multiple transatlantics, but knowing this ship and very much needing a nice relaxing trip, I chose the Marina. You cannot beat the crew and staff. They are there for every part of your trip. Boris, Restaurant Manager, runs a near perfect department as does our General Manager. The Concierge Lounge is a lovely feature, and I take advantage of having the internet available there, coffee, late afternoon snacks if you miss lunch, newspapers, and port maps. I think this Destination staff were excellent, and their program seemed to be much smoother than some in the past. I like the free laundry as this is a new feature. I bought my laundry coins when I boarded and nothing was said about having the free laundry. They did; however, refund my coins, but it would have been nice to know about In advance. Guess I don't read things carefully. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
If you are a foodie, or you just like to eat, then Oceania is the cruise line for you. We've taken 26 cruises on 11 different lines, and this was by far the best food we've ever had. Even at the buffets, the quality and variety ... Read More
If you are a foodie, or you just like to eat, then Oceania is the cruise line for you. We've taken 26 cruises on 11 different lines, and this was by far the best food we've ever had. Even at the buffets, the quality and variety were superior to other lines, including luxury lines. Four speciality restaurants, all free, all with large varied menus, all lovely inviting spaces. A different menu each evening in the Main Dining Room. And the poolside grill had the best burgers and hot dogs we've ever had on sea. All food experiences were comparable to good dining on land, sometimes comparable to highly-rated on land restaurants. Come hungry and leave satisfied. The features of the cruising experience worked well: Smooth and quick embarkation and disembarkation; easy exits at ports with free shuttles into town; very good to excellent service, especially from the bar staff; the best fitness center I've ever used at sea. The Marina is an attractive ship, in very good condition, with lots of uncrowded public spaces inside and out. The ship is loaded with valuable art and at times felt like traveling in a carefully-planned gallery. We slept in a Penthouse stateroom, so we had plenty of space with the walk-in closet, full bathroom, and comfortable seating and eating areas. Stateroom service was good. Entertainment was similar to most cruise ships: Small production shows featuring pop songs and a few featured performers. Some shows were entertaining, some not so much. Your basic cruise ship fare. My only complaint has to do with the lack of activities on board. There were the usual trivia and ping pong contests, one guest lecturer, a clever country fair one day, but mostly we were left to our own devices to entertain ourselves. I expected this, after reading CC reviews, and we filled our days with reading, painting, and exercise. Oh, and I should mention that this is not a ship for those who love night life. Most guests retired early, after an early dinner, and definitely after the show. By 11:00 PM you could find only a dozen or so about. We mostly take crossings, and this was a repositioning, so it fit our needs. We made an open deposit for a future cruise and will return when we find the right itinerary, probably for a crossing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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