10 Oceania Regatta Repositioning Cruise Reviews

I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and ... Read More
I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and missed 5 excursions. Communication from Captain or cruise director was terrible. No explanation for any thing. Morale among the passengers was very poor. I'm sure they lost some loyal customers (including my husband and myself) The food in Grand Dining Room and The Terrace is still very good, but a step down from what we experienced on previous sailings. Toscana and Polo Grill are still wonderful. Service staff in general were lovely, but some were poorly trained with snafus on drink orders and restaurant reservations which seemed to disappear even though we had the print out summary of our reservations from the front desk. There was no explanation, no apology and we were supposed to feel grateful that they managed to "fit us in." There were power outages and some ship sections experienced non- flushing toilets at times. The ship is due for an overhaul and we got the impression it had many ongoing mechanical issues. But none of this was address by the staff. Our cabin was quite nice and kept very clean by housekeeping staff. There was good entertainment and plenty of activities like Trivia, golf putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, Bridge lessons and games, casino w slots and poker tournaments, karaoke. But we went for the port visits and excursions, not endless sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was ... Read More
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was founded, but we had not sailed with them since the ownership change. We more recently sailed with some luxury category cruise lines on ocean and river but this timing worked for us and the embarkation was perfect out of San Francisco since we also wanted to visit friends in Sacramento. Next time we will begin our Alaska journey farther north. The Regatta was late arriving to San Francisco due to problems on the previous cruise but we had gotten a phone call from Oceania informing us of this late arrival so we were able to extend our time in our airport hotel room and wait until we could board. Some passengers chose to visit San Francisco but we had been in California for a week so we were fine to just relax. Once we were onboard we were told our ship would not leave until the following morning and we would not stop in Astoria, Oregon in order to make up the lost time. Since we were celebrating our anniversary we did book a PH 1 cabin and, while the ship is an older ship, we really enjoyed our room with the wide windows letting in lots of light. Anna, Puku, and Xavier took excellent care of us and our room. As seniors, we would have enjoyed a walk-in shower but after receiving a requested tub mat we were able to make the bath/ shower combination work without any mishaps. The food is still wonderful!!! Every meal was delicious and served so beautifully. Executive Chef Gary Potiphar was delightful in his cooking demonstrations and we saw him quite often throughout the ship with a smile on his face as he stopped at many tables to introduce himself to the guests. He obviously loves what he does. The staff and crew were also excellent as they served us efficiently and warmly. A surprise for us on this small ship were the production shows. The vocals and choreography were wonderful in all 4 shows presented during this 11-day cruise. The presentations from Sandra Mowry about Alaska and, later in the cruise, about nutrition were quite good and informative. She was always prepared and her handouts were helpful. We also very much enjoyed the strings and the ship's band. I must say after reading some of the discussions about Regatta prior to the cruise I was wondering if we had chosen the right ship on the right cruise line for our special celebration, but we were quite pleased and actually booked a future cruise while onboard. We did book our own private excursions in several ports and we did not use Oceania's air since we were visiting California a week prior to the cruise. We did choose the onboard credit and I would definitely do that again if I went with "OLife choice". Next time I will give some thought to going cruise only, but it was fun to have some "spending money" while onboard. We will be on Marina for our next cruise and look forward to the bigger ship with more specialties, but Regatta and its crew and staff provided us with a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Just an OK cruise with a few disappointments . . . we have sailed on Oceania before, this cruise one of our least favorite. Panama Canal from Miami to San Francisco. We did get to Cuba which was fascinating to say the least. We arranged ... Read More
Just an OK cruise with a few disappointments . . . we have sailed on Oceania before, this cruise one of our least favorite. Panama Canal from Miami to San Francisco. We did get to Cuba which was fascinating to say the least. We arranged a private tour for the two of us all day . . . $65/pp. Museums, walks through town and ride in a 57 Chevy convertible. Great guide, provided lots of information. For reasons unknown, we did not stop in Cartagena, all sorts of excuses from the bridge which irritated the majority of passengers. Technical problems with the engines, paperwork, all sorts of reasons for arriving three hours late, dropping anchor for two hours, and then just leaving, which no one believed. Everyone had tours booked and were looking forward to Colombia. Add one sea day. Panama canal was interesting. Day long passage but the guide brought on board pointed out a lot of things along the way to include history of the canal. In Costa Rica we had another private tour to see crocs and monkeys. Excellent boat ride down a river. Like to mention that we had private guides for every port, all arranged from recommendations by Cruise critic members. Two people, private car, air-conditioned, anywhere we wanted to go for less. Nicaragua was skipped due to “civil unrest” so lost out on our second port. Guatamala was excellent . . . private tour took us to Antigua, ride on a chicken bus (highlight of our trip), chocolate factory, and macaws and toucans. Acapulco was a dive, the town and beaches are filthy, roads terrible, traffic and congestion. The cliff divers were fun, and did a little sight seeing to spots that big stars frequented. Private tour of Johnny Wieissmuller’s Casa Tarzan Room at the Los Flamingos Hotel. Cary Grant, Red Skelton, John Wayne, etc. Cabo was breathtaking but we were only there for 5 hours. Another big disappointment but the ship just had to sail to get to San Fran on time. A couple more hours in Cabo would have made a huge difference. Tenders totally disorganized and independent travelers had to fight for tender tickets, yet every tender with “priority” Oceania tours left with empty seats. Like to reiterate, tenders were a mess. Once we were finally on shore, we took a short boat ride, saw tons of pelicans, crabs, exotic fish, sea lions, and awesome scenery. One place we will have to go back to. Supposedly, a group of around 18-20 in Acapulco came down with some intestinal issues from a lunch on their Oceania tour so the whole ship was placed on strict sanitation precautions. Stories changed in talking with other passengers so not sure of the source of GI problems. Regardless, the ship responded as one would expect . . . just put a damper on the rest of the cruise. Couldn’t touch anything, some passengers quarantined in their rooms, all food cooked thoroughly and some public places even closed. So another thing to have to put up with. No compensation for inconvenience or lost ports, of course. Oh, well, checked Cuba and Canal off the bucket list. But crew was very nice. Restaurant staff very friendly. Officers kept a low profile. Room nice, mixed reviews on the food, menu for the most part hasn’t changed or been updated in years, it seemed. Wine selection not exceptional but adequate once we found something we liked. After 10 sea days, it was time to go home. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first cruise on Oceania. The itinerary hit several of our bucket list locations and we had always wanted to sail on a small ship, so booking was kind of a no-brainer. The prior cruise had been hit with the Norovirus and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania. The itinerary hit several of our bucket list locations and we had always wanted to sail on a small ship, so booking was kind of a no-brainer. The prior cruise had been hit with the Norovirus and the first 5 days the crew was working overtime on sanitation (less service for the passengers). We totally understood that and with a 24-day cruise assumed we would have exemplary service many days. Next problem - we were unable to stop at either Cabos San Lucas or Guatemala due to an emergency medical evacuation several hours out of Kauai - the right call by the captain. Unfortunately, we found the service to be lacking throughout the entire cruise. We were never able to get through dinner in less than 2 1/2 hours and twice it was over 3 as the dining room staff at all of the restaurants was exceptionally slow. The only way around this was to eat in the Terrace Cafe and we much prefer a restaurant to a buffet. The service in the pool area and other reading/conversation "nooks" was also very poor. The ship had one server for to cover very large sections. No matter how good, no server can give great service when their section is too large. That said, our stateroom steward and her assistant were absolute gems, the Terrace Cafe also had some "shining stars" and the hostesses and hosts were very good. The food was the best we have ever had aboard any ship. The library and card/game room was exceptionally well stocked. Over all, we enjoyed our cruise tremendously. However, we found the level of service no better than we can get on other lines, the entertainment in the show lounge was sub-par, and the casino was almost non-existent. We will probably never sail Oceania again. The additional cost to cruise with so few passengers is not worth the level of service we found and the lesser entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we got to the port. We were told this isn't the norm. The rest of the embarkation was good getting on the ship, but due to the CDC restrictions, we were unable to get to our cabin until 15 minutes before muster. Also I had to find and take my invoice down to guest services because they gave me a card without showing my drink package, although my cabin mates did have it. I stood in lline for over an hour while my friends were having lunch. Disembarkation was a total nightmare. Baggage tags for those who were to depart by 8:15 through 9:15. I was also told Oceania does not allow you to self depart with a large suitcase. At 7:15 people were lining up with their suitcases to self disembark. By 7:45 I got in line. At about 8:23 they started to allow the line to start disembarking. Those of us who had red and green baggage tags for an 8:15 departure were held up in the warehouse (about 20 of us), we could see our bags sitting there. We were told no one could collect their bags until every single bag was in the warehouse, meaning to wait until at lease 9. At this point they had stopped letting passengers off the ship. Many arguements were going back and forth between some of the passengers who were already in the warehouse and the dockside security. Obviously the Red and Green tags bags were within reach but no one was allowed. At about 8:45, the land side representative stepped away to take a call and the group rush to grab their bags. Many had early flights. I heard from friends still on board that it got ugly on the ship as well. The rain didn't help. While I have over 47 cruise in my history, none on Oceania and I’m a young active 64 year old). After a good two weeks, we started judging the average age of passengers was somewhere between 75-80. Though most everyone were in shape, healthy, happy and enjoying the bars though very few showed up in the dance lounge after the 9:30 nightly show. The choice of food venues was nice and overall excellent food. Deserts to die for. The Terrace buffet usually offered the same as the main dining room, but IMHO the dining room was the better option as the food was fresh, normal portion, although for me, I asked for and received 1/2 portions of most meals. In the terrace you were unable to serve yourself and the server would always just slop on a big portion and typically you just eat more than you should in the buffets. You can also get lobster for lunch and most nights. The Wave serves a surf and turf sandwich. A friend ordered lobster only each day and put it on top of her salad, also from the Waves. She managed to each lobster and/or crab twice a day. The few times I ate lobster I will say the Waves tasted the best. We had four bookings for specialites (Polo and Toscana) but easily went to the Terrace early morning and either go another reservation or wait listed for that night. You can also try showing up at whichever restaurant, but your chances are low. Drinks: We had the basic beverage package (wine with lunch and dinner). There were some decent wines, but my favorites are the ones that I brought on board myself. With the package, the waiters had no problem switching your wine glasses to go so you were able to walk out of the venues with your wine. Drinks are pricey, if not choosing drink of the day. The happy hour 2 for 1 were a big hit with us. The pool drink of the day was different, so make sure you check both. The typically advertised the drink of the day in the Currents (but not the pool drink). Cabin, we had a deluxe oceanview on Deck 4, which was easy access to most things, same level as guest services. I had to walk past the medical service most days and would hold my breathe walking past, lol. It was one busy place. The beds were separated as I was traveling with a friend. It was a pretty small cabin. We did not meet our cabin steward until late Day 2. Since the ship was under a CDC Code Red we were very delayed in getting into our stateroom and when we did we had quite the surprise in the toilet. We also needed maintenance to fix our less than cooling air conditioner. No one responded to us until Day 2 when we met our stateroom attendant and his supervisor. They basically said they were so busy sanitizing the ship they did not have the resources to go back and re-check every cabin. It seems there were a few cabins, where the pipes backed up and feces entered the toilets after the cleaning. Medical: We had about five medavacs or passengers who left the ship during the 24 nights, one which required return to Hawaiian waters so coast guard could airlift the passenger. We had been well on our way crossing the Pacific. This turn-a-round, caused us to skip two ports (we didn't have that many to begin with for a Transpacific), delayed by a day in two ports and shortened our time in those ports. This was a lesson learned for me. I've been on many cruises that had medavas and even an airlift or two, but we were always close enough to land and/or a port not to cause such a change in itinerary. Unlike other cruises I have taken where they return your port charges if skipped, Oceania does not do this. Another turn off to me, was they were not apologetic to those who had private tours booked. They would actually say, we are so sorry to those who have ship excursions and the destination desk is working to reaccomodate you. At least say your sorry to the rest of us. Those who did book ship excursions were learning quickly that although they paid up front via credit card, Oceania was putting their payment as OBC to be used before they got off, and/or charge them 5% if taken out as cash. Another note which many may be aware, one of the ladies whom we did some excursions with fainted of dehydration during the Panama canal transit (it was hot on the upper deck). She was brought to but insisted on going to the medical for IV fluids rather than drink her bottle of water which she wanted to do. $1500 later.... Also two others we spoke to with bronchitis received bills of $6,000 and $9,000. Not sure what that entailed. Two tylenol cost $37 from medical. Go buy them in the shops instead if you forget them. The ship is older, very dark wood. Horizons is the only indoor area (air conditioned or heated) with big glass windows. The other floors with windows for general seating is limited but the windows are small with heavy drapes. I did eat in the MDR each morning and requests an aft table which had a great view. Entertainment: The ship's entertainment was okay, there was one great singer, Crystal, a pretty decent singer Daniel, the Cruise Director Shawn also sang. Amy and Mervin were both sick the second half of the cruise - disappointing. We had a vegas style singer who was entertaining, an electric violin (jazz celtic fiddle), a ventriloquist, a magician, both good. The bad was a harpist and another female vegas style who I did not enjoy whatsoever. After the 9:30 show, the Regatta band would play in Horizons but most nights there were just a handful of us who showed up. There were two men who did the very informative lectures. The cruise director staff had a gaggle of games, shuffleboard, bingo, trivia, toss games, needlepoints, majong, and of course bridge. I almost forgot line dancing, my favorite. They give out O points which you redeem the day before you disembark for a range of items such a clothing, hats, luggage tags and travel accessories. Service: Once we were over the CDC restrictions, the staff was extremely helpful and went out of the way to please you. I can not say the same about the guest services or destination staff - they were of little help whatsoever. I wouldn't do another Transpacific again knowing the pitfalls to potential medavacs when so far out to sea. I have been on other ships where we have had airlifts and/or medavacs, but barely a blip in the itinerary. I've read that Oceania does drop ports very easily which was also the case with my itinerary. I'd like to give her another chance, but the communication was so bad and they just didn't seem to care to compensate whatsoever that we certainly didn't get the cruise we paid for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was an excellent cruise with many positives and very few negatives. It was in high demand and overbooked. We were astonished to hear the offers some people received to cancel and rebook a future cruise. We had a concierge level ... Read More
This was an excellent cruise with many positives and very few negatives. It was in high demand and overbooked. We were astonished to hear the offers some people received to cancel and rebook a future cruise. We had a concierge level stateroom and although it was small, it was very clean and comfortable with a balcony. The housekeeping staff is a very hard-working group of people and they made sure we always had what we needed. The condition of the ship is excellent although we did notice a couple of spots that needed a little repair. The entertainment greatly exceeded our expectations. Last time we were on the Regatta in 2008 there wasn't much in the way of entertainment after dinner. There was the orchestra and one cabaret-style singer as I recall. Now there is still the talented orchestra in addition to a very entertaining and talented young group of 6 singers and dancers. They played to standing-room-only crowds. On their off-nights there was other entertainment. Gran Volta are 2 young Russian women who gave energizing and modern violin and cello performances. Very entertaining. The piano player, Stephen Kane, was also excellent. During the cruise is was announced that the Port of Acapulco was cancelled because of recent violence so they added Zihuanatnejo, Mexico. We were slightly relieved about that. With only a couple of days notice, Oceania was able to put some shore excursions in place. This is a port that gets very few cruise ships and it was the first time the Regatta had been there. We took Oceania's shore excursions in every port except Key West. They were okay, but quite expensive. I have to admit that I was growing weary of being on a 40-passenger bus where the loading and unloading process is painfully slow. It made us reconsider how we're going to tour ports in the future. The food, of course, was outstanding. The presentation, quality and taste was truly wonderful. Some of the more memorable meals for me included the sea bass wrapped in a banana leaf with jasmine rice in the GDR and the dover sole in Toscana. The choices of olive oil in Toscana was amazing. I thought that Polo Grill didn't quite meet the same high standards. The surf and turf was the one "miss" that I experienced. The lobster was good but the steak wasn't. I ordered it medium well, which should have a little pink in the center. Instead there was no pink and it was dry. So, one not-so-great meal and many great meals. Polo Grill made up for it on a later night when my husband ordered rib-eye and it was very good. We bought the 7 bottle wine package, a variety of red and white, and each bottle was excellent. I have read on this board that the officers of Oceania do not make many appearances. I have to disagree. The Captain was visible and has a wonderful sense of humor. One day he and the General Manager did a chat with the Cruise Director in the Lounge where they talked about their careers and then did a Q & A session. Very interesting. Another day there was an Officer's Challenge where the passengers had a friendly competition over table tennis, golf putting, etc. Everyone had a lot of fun. Our cruise director was satisfactory. We heard he was new to Oceania. We felt like he was just going through the motions and was not in his element. I think he'll improve over time. Disembarkation in San Francisco was easy. Definitely an advantage of being on a smaller ship. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with many great memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our boarding experience in Istanbul was excellent, priority boarding and no delays. The penthouse cabin was clean and extremely comfortable with ample room and a well furnished balcony.Janus our butler was swiftly at our side to introduce ... Read More
Our boarding experience in Istanbul was excellent, priority boarding and no delays. The penthouse cabin was clean and extremely comfortable with ample room and a well furnished balcony.Janus our butler was swiftly at our side to introduce himself and accommodated our requests with speed and a smile. During our two back to back cruises he proved to be an exceptional butler and nothing was any trouble, with many little extra touches. The food and service was very good in the main restaurant and excellent in the specialty restaurants. The Restaurant managers deserve special mention for excellance. However, the cost of wines was outrageous. We cruise a great deal and Oceania were charging more for average wines than higher rated ships charge for their fine wines! Not acceptable. Luckily we only booked one tour with Oceania, most of which consisted of being taken to places where we could shop! Total waste of time. Many passengers stopped doing overpriced ships tours and got together and organised their own. The standard of the lecturerers was excellent and the cooking demonstrations wasworth attending. Oceania are letting themselves down in their costings and of course everything is plus eighteen percent service charge. They run a good ship but many people felt they were being overcharged for all the extras. including the internet which again was more expensive than most other lines. Will we return? No. We will return to all inclusive cruising which is not much more expensive when you take into account all the overpriced extras. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My partner and I were so happy to find a late transatlantic cruise to Europe on the Oceania Regatta. We had heard very favorable things about the line and this was supposedly the "next" level up from Celebrity (our line of ... Read More
My partner and I were so happy to find a late transatlantic cruise to Europe on the Oceania Regatta. We had heard very favorable things about the line and this was supposedly the "next" level up from Celebrity (our line of choice). This was my 23rd cruise and my Partner's 24th. When we arrived at the Port of Miami (12:30PM), embarkation was backed-up a bit and the cruise line only had five or six representatives to sign in passengers. We were instructed to wait until our group number was called and this process until completion took approximately 30 minutes. The Oceania Representatives were courteous and generally efficient. When we embarked we were told the cabins were not ready and a general announcement would be made. We were directed to have lunch in the Terrace Cafe on Deck 9. Along the way we noticed the ship was beautifully decorated in a traditional manner. The Terrace Cafe was light and bright, but our first impression led to sheer disappointment. The food service area was quite small and limited and all that was presented was turkey breast, roast beef, a few tea sandwiches, potato salad and guacamole. We were not impressed after hearing so much about the quality of Oceania's food vs. the cost of a trip on Oceania. My partner then went for dessert and came back virtually empty handed. They had a few pieces of brownies left and not much more. I asked for more and they said they would get them, so I waited, as did another fellow cruiser. About five minutes later they showed up with three one inch by one inch brownies - he took one and I took two. After that they started closing down lunch. People boarding late were out of luck. We were not impressed. We went to our cabin on Deck 3. The cabin was a spacious porthole cabin with an average size bathroom. We met our new steward, Jesse. He was wonderful throughout the entire cruise and took care of all of our requests. We then went to explore the rest of the ship, which was quite nice. Everything was decorated beautifully and had lovely artwork and tasteful furniture. After Muster Drill, we met our fellow Cruise Critic members at the Horizons Bar for a Sail Away get together. It was nice to have 40 -50 members turn out and many of the group socialized together for the entire trip. We arranged with Carlos, the concierge, for another get together and I supplied him the names and cabin numbers (4 days ahead) and he sent invitations, but did not do it until the morning of, so some people did not receive the invitation until after the fact. It would have been nice for some of the Officers to visit, but none showed. Also, the captain was the only Officer ever visible. The only other person that was always visible during the cruise and very personable was the Head Chef Alexis. We went back to our cabin and our luggage had already been delivered, so we unpacked and were set for the cruise. Over the course of the trip - we dined twice each in the Polo Grill and Tuscana. In Polo, we had the Prawns and Oysters Rockefeller and Filet and Lobster Tail which was very good. Dessert and coffee was a bit slow to the table, as dinner runs 2-3 hours. A second dinner was just as good - also don't miss the crab cake and the whole Maine lobster. Tuscana, run by Sosa, was also very nice. On our first visit, my partner had the snapper and I had the veal chop which was excellent and you can order pastas as an appetizer size, side order or main dish. We suggest appetizer size, as they are very filling and there are so many nice courses ahead. On the second visit I had the Lobster Fra Diavalo which was excellent. The Terrace buffet during the rest of the trip was very good at breakfast except always having to ask for plain croissants. Lunch was always a challenge, as it was somewhat limited with few choices. One very nice area for lunch was Waves, a covered area near the pool that had freshly grilled Mahi Mahi sandwiches, which I combined with the Panini (minus the ham) with fresh mozzarella and pesto and was fabulous. They also had Reubens and excellent quality burgers. Roger did a great job with the shakes, sundaes and ice cream. Grand Dining Room The Grand Dining room was beautifully decorated. This is totally open seating and most tables are for two or four. We did meet a lovely group from cruise critic and had dinner several times thereby needing a table for seven which was no problem. We also had several nice dinners with couples we met through cruise critic. There were times we had to wait a bit, as most diners showed at the crack of 6:30PM, so not to miss the shows. The staff in the dining room was outstanding. We found a Head Waiter Marco and two waiters under him, Isagani and Edgardo, did an excellent job. We attempted to have either one when we dined there. We felt that on many nights we did not have appetizers or soups, as they were not to our liking. Part of the issue was it was sometimes a choice between items such as octopus and ostrich and the soups included chilled tangerine or cream of sweet potato. When I asked for a shrimp cocktail - I was told it is not available in the GDR. I was stunned. After traveling on Celebrity for many years (at a much lower rate mind you) if I asked for a shrimp cocktail or escargot - it was always available and if not then - it was there the next night. Oceania has their everyday menu for main courses beside the daily menu and they should include appetizers such as shrimp cocktail or escargot on the everyday as well. The main course dinners in the dining room were generally very good and I had the lamb chops off of the everyday menu several times. Entertainment We missed the first three shows in the Regatta Lounge because the shows were at 9:30 and we were still having dinner. After that we dined earlier, so we could make the shows. The illusionist Matthew McGurk and Katia and the comedian Bruce Smirnoff were quite good. The Regatta cast consisted of two men and two women. They did five "theme" shows throughout the 14 day cruise. The Regatta band was excellent, as was the string quartet. After the show, there was not much activity. We would suggest making better use of Horizons after the show, as there was no disco in place. This would also generate additional revenue for the cruise line. We thought of innovative uses such as a 50's sock hop, 60's dance party and 70's disco party. We were not happy to go to bed at 11:30PM on a Saturday night at sea. The only place with music was the Martini Bar with pianist Pawel who was very good. Casino Manager Shawna and her staff, Alexandra, Florin, Ionut and Michal were warm and welcoming. They seemed to enjoy their work and were great with the players. Black Jack tables were busy and amounts to play were generally $5 - $10 per hand. They also had Three Card Poker, Roulette and Texas Hold'em The slots were the tightest we've ever seen anywhere. We only knew of two winners during the two weeks. They did have a very nice evening Deck Party. Also, they had a Country Fair, but it took place 10:30 - 11:30AM on a Sunday morning which we missed. We are not sure why this could not take place on an afternoon at sea. There is little to no activity at the pool - no music, etc.. most of the people are reading or napping and if you talked, it appeared to be somewhat disturbing to other passengers. Cruise Stops/Excursions Bermuda - As we have been here before, we decided to take the local bus into Hamilton and had a lovely day.. Horta, Azores - We just did our own thing. The island was very pretty. It was relatively inexpensive for Europe and we purchased a few souvenirs. Punta Del Gado, Azores - We went on a lovely ship tour. It was a bit rainy that day and the twin lakes were a bit hidden in the fog. We went to a tea plantation which was actually very interesting and then onto the Botanical Gardens which were beautiful and then onto the hot springs which were amazing. The tour and guide through the ship were excellent. Though they run a bit more in cost than many people do on their own - we decided we do not need the aggravation for a few dollars more. Grenada, Spain - The highlight of the trip was to go to Alhambra. We took the tour through the ship and it was very nice. It also included lunch which was just fine after a long tour through the gardens and palace. The tour guide Ramon did a pretty good job except for moving ahead in the city of Grenada without 10 of us as we were taking pictures. It was a good thing we were with one of the Destination Services people from the ship. It took him (with us following) about 20 minutes to find Ramon. The Destination Services fellow was not too happy - but we took it all in stride. Valencia, Spain - This stop took place on a Sunday and we arrived at 12:00 noon and were just in time for siesta. To add to the fun, it was the day of the Grand Prix which was going past the port somewhat blocking exits from the port. We actually walked from the ship to the Oceanographic Center of Valencia (45 minutes). It was wonderful. It had exhibits from all over the world with walk through underwater tunnels. It is a must see if you go to Valencia. Barcelona, Spain - Debarkation Port. We have been here before and there is so much to do and see. We stayed on for an additional 3 days. They have a great public transportation system. Taxis are fairly reasonable. We took a taxi from our hotel in Example to Airport and it ran about 40 Euros for 2 people. It takes about 30 minutes without traffic. Miscellaneous Overall we have mixed feeling about our first trip on Oceania. Also, the crowd demographic was 60's - 90's with a smattering of younger people. My partner is 70 and I am 50 and we both agreed that the crowd and environment was too old for us. We like a bit more entertainment, nightlife and excitement to our vacations. We also discussed that if Oceania is to entice retiring Baby-Boomers, such as myself to their cruise line, they are going to have to change their business plan as Baby-Boomers are far too active for this type of reflective vacation. As we stated previously, the service overall was excellent. All crew members are well trained and enjoy their jobs and do not appear to be as overworked as on other cruise lines, There were some wonderful standouts on the ship, as noted above, and they were rewarded accordingly, beyond the daily automatic tips. The entire Senior staff needs to be more visible. Final Thoughts Debarkation was smooth and we were off the ship quickly and onto our 20 minute trip to our hotel. For the difference in price, we feel that Oceania does not hold additional value for us. We will stick with Celebrity or Princess. We both agree that unless changes are in the works, we will look at Oceania again 20-30 years in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
14 Night Transatlantic Cruise on Regatta Nov 2010 Perspective: We are both 50ish ;). We have cruised 25 or so times mainly on main stream cruises, and did cruise once on Crystal. We favor value for the buck and cruising off season away ... Read More
14 Night Transatlantic Cruise on Regatta Nov 2010 Perspective: We are both 50ish ;). We have cruised 25 or so times mainly on main stream cruises, and did cruise once on Crystal. We favor value for the buck and cruising off season away from school holidays. We did a 12 night transatlantic cruise on Regatta in 2008 so many of the following observations where also made in the review for that cruise. Pre-Cruise: We used FF miles to get AA ticket that had a stop in London Heathrow. Flight delayed because of radio problem and missed connection. Two hours delay plus 6 hours in Heathrow for connection. AA/BA provided £10 each for light meal. We missed one afternoon of sightseeing in Barcelona but still had two full days. Embarkation: Our hotel had an 11:00 am checkout time. Checked out then and pulled luggage to taxi stand. Taxi was quick and easy to port. Porter met us at taxi for checked bag. We went straight in to port security which was a breeze, no mention of the bottles of wine that we had in our checked luggage. No lines anywhere. We were able to board immediately. Oceania check in was done on ship in the Regatta Lounge. Then on to the Terrace Cafe where we joined a couple in the back deck area for a sunny mellow lunch. Priority cabins were ready at 1:00 and others like ours were ready at 3:00. Cabin: We had an inside cabin. We booked a guarantee inside about 1 and half year from cruise date and were assigned an inside on deck 8. We loved deck 8 for the convenience during the morning. Easy access to the terrace cafe and the pool deck area for exercise. Very nice mattress style bed with comforter/duvet. Heard a comment or two that the mattress pad was too soft for some and the duvet a bit warm. Cabin was larger than average for an inside; bathroom (particularly the shower) is small. Cabin had loveseat, one stool, and one small table as furniture. The closet, storage area and vanity/desk were typical. Safe worked fine. Our AC dial seemed to control air flow more than temperature. We tended to need to adjust it daily to keep the room a near constant temperature. Cabin was serviced twice daily. It was very clean with very little wear noticeable. No towel animals. Our attendants were very efficient, communicated well, and friendly. Overall Service: The cruise had around 670 passengers, i.e. fairly full. There was lots of friendly staff . Lots of staff were new to the ship and were getting some training. This was not an issue anywhere except in the Main dining room, which will be detailed in the food section. Loved the small ship with no lines. The reception desk had no lines. No lines at port visits or buffet. Very nice. Food: Oceania has added "included" beverages since our previous cruise with them. We asked for sparkling water with every meal which delayed things a bit. Occasionally we would have water from the pitcher poured in our sparkling water which was always promptly and cheerily replaced. We drank mainly bottled water, Indian Tonic, and club soda in the cabin and in the lounges. No issue with getting served the included beverages. A very nice added feature. The Terrace Cafe is the buffet style restaurant. It is set up with two mirror image sides so that there are two duplicate service lines. All food is served for you. Beverages are served at the table. There is a self service beverage center that is always clean and available. It provides coffee, cappuccino, espresso, tea, water, lemonade. For Breakfast, there are omelet stations; area for hot breakfast foods, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, breakfast meats, breakfast potatoes, and hot cereal; fresh fruits; canned fruits; cold cereals; and baked goods. The fresh fruit was the best variety I have seen in many cruises - usually raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, papaya, mango, kiwi, orange, pineapple, and melon. Also the baked goods are wonderful with about 10 different ones offered. The variety and freshness of the fruit and baked goods were EXCEPTIONAL! Lunch at the Terrace Cafe was fairly typical buffet style. Salad bar, prepared salads, hot food, and desserts are available. There is a wonderful ice cream cart with about 4 kinds of home made ice cream and a sorbet available. One is sugar free. Lots of unique favors. My favorite was Cocoa Sorbet. Very rich dark chocolate sorbet. Exceptional! Tapas on the Terrace is the buffet setup for the evening. The seating area is dressed up and tables are setup nicely for dining outside under the stars. Most items from the Grand Dining Room are offered plus sushi and a few extra tapa type items that change each evening. Indoor and Outdoor seating is available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Very nice. Did notice that with an almost full ship the buffet area did get fairly crowded at prime meal times. We did opt for the dining room vs. the busy buffet a couple of times for lunch. We did order room service for one dinner. The order was taken accurately and was delivered accurately. We order soup, salad, and steak which were all perfectly prepared, plated, and served at proper temps. We called at a busy time and the delivery time was about 1 hour. The tray pick up was very prompt. No compliant at all with our experience. The Waves grill is just outside the Terrace Cafe and near the pool area. The grilled sandwiches are excellent. We had the grilled mahi-mahi and the hamburgers several times. We had the salads from the buffet , the grilled sandwich, and then the excellent ice cream for dessert. On this cruise, we rated the Waves Grill as the best tasting option for lunch, just a bit heavy for everyday. The Grand Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast portions were a bit large. Lunch had a very nice variety, several sandwiches, salads, and hot entrees to choose from. Tables for two were fairly easy to obtain at lunch. Dinner in the GDR is the usual wonderful multi course cruise dining experience. O is still a very wine-friendly line. The crystal stemware was beautiful. Nice wine list with reasonable prices, especially on the medium to higher priced wines. Or pay $20 corkage for wine brought on board. There is a wine package that provides a nice discount when you purchase 3 (mix & match) bottles from the package list, and a wine bazaar held on a couple days midway through the cruise which seemed to offer the same wines as in the package plus a few extra. Unlike many mass cruise lines, O. still has a dedicated wine staff, so your waiter doesn't double as your sommelier. The menu offers about 2 cold appetizers, 2 hot appetizers, 1 hot soup, 1 cold soup. 2 salads, entrees that always included seafood, poultry, beef, other meat than beef, vegetarian, and several always available items such as salmon, chicken, and steak. Lobster was served a couple of times and the beef served, including the always available New York strip, was of exceptional quality; in general the quality provided was very good. There is no dancing or singing by staff during the dining service. So now the negative part of the Grand Dining Room experience on this sailing. Tables in the middle section were extremely noisy and the service was slow. For anyone to be heard at the larger tables, they had to nearly shout and when the room is full of people shouting it gets very loud. Tables on the edges of the dining room were better; but were all taken at 6:30 (anyone eating at 7 or later had to sit in the middle or wait until around 8). The service was much slower at almost all diners except one where we did go at 6:30 and sat next to the window. One night we had our appetizer served fairly promptly but then it was 2 hours until the salads were served. Often condiments were never offered, even one night never got salad dressing. The wait staff appeared very busy at all times. Really could not see what the issue was probably the newness of some of the staff. Did not want to complain because without assigned seating you probably won't get the same waiter again so why get him in trouble when you don't really know what the problem is. Noted dining room service problems on the comment card. The specialty restaurants is where O shines in our opinion. There is Polo Grill, a steak house, and Toscana, Italian style restaurant. On our 14 night cruise we ate in them 6 nights (officially we were guaranteed two reservations but we waitlisted for several more). The menus are excellent with many great choices. Our favorites at Polo were the fois gras, crab cake, clam chowder, onion soup, lobster, and filet mignon. Our favorites at Toscana were the bread and olive oil to start (great selection different breads, oils, and balsamic vinegars), minestrone, pastas, and lobster. The service and menu really where Special. Entertainment: As far as the bars and lounges, we visited them several times at happy hour from 5 to 6 most evenings in Horizons and Martinis. Martinis had a piano soloist most nights. And Horizons had a dance combo most nights. This cruise had three lecturers on board. On sea days two enrichment lectures were provided. Highlight was the one lecture given by John McDaniel, famous music arranger. We attended the daily beginner's bridge lesson which was excellent and even played a few afternoons. The transatlantic was a great way to get involved with bridge. We joined a trivia team the first sea day and had such fun that we attended daily. The nightly show started at 9:30 each evening. The nightly show on this transatlantic cruise was not always polished, plus it meant eating very early since the dining room service was slow. We are very easy to please as far as entertainment goes and give O's entertainers a C this trip. We used the walking area above the pool and the gym. Nice locker room with two showers plus steam room (no charge to use). Very nice and not crowded. Did not use the spa or the spa deck area. There is one main pool with two hot tubs outside. The area is teakwood and lined with loungers. Loungers are available in the sun and shaded. Double loungers are also available. Each lounger had a pad and terry cloth cover. Did not use internet service this trip ( yeah!!!). The internet manager did help me get a boarding pass for my flight home which was greatly appreciated. The library is wonderful. Good selection of reading material including recent magazines. Comfortable seating. The Casino is next to Martinis in a walk through type arrangement. It was not very busy during our cruise. Usually about 2 tables open and maybe about 5 slot players. Nice blackjack game for a cruise ship. Six deck shoe; dealer stands on soft 17; $10 min, $5 on some afternoons. I seem to have trained myself to avoid the smoke in these areas, of course on O this area like most is non-smoking; very nice. Ports of Call: Tangier, Morocco We did not do a ship's tour. Our goal was to just walk about it a bit to have the boast of having stepped on the soil of Africa. Well, the local tour vendors are aggressive. They take forever to take No for an answer, all the while warning you how dangerous a place the Medina is and how you have no chance to walk to the Casbah without being surrounded by vendors. One followed us for about 20 minutes before accepting "No Tour" as the final word. We did link up with 4 others and were able to walk as in a convoy. However the entire experience was pretty miserable. If you must see a particular attraction, it probably is better do a tour, even though you will waste a lot of time at the required vendor stops. If you are used to the aggressive environment, more power to you and enjoy. Tangier tour vendors made the vendors in Mexico and the Caribbean seem very tame. Madeira, Portugal No ship's excursion here either. We did get good advice from the local tourist advisor that came onboard to use a taxi to get to the Museum that we wanted to see and then walk back - DOWNHILL. We enjoyed the Museu Quinta des Cruzes and two lovely parks. The tiled sidewalks are lovely but are rough on the feet. We walked back to ship and enjoyed views from the walls along the port. Hamilton, Bermuda We had an overnight call here. The weather was rainy the first day. We got the O provided umbrella out and walked up to Fort Hamilton and then browsed our way back through Hamilton to the ship. The second day was overcast with bits of sun. We took the bus to St. George. We did a guided tour which lasted one hour and was too short because the guide was excellent and the price was right - free. There was a brief play to follow but the rain convinced us to return to the ship. Weather and Seas: Weather in Barcelona pretrip was very mild, wonderful for sightseeing. We had cool temps most days at sea and in the ports of call. We had two days of rough seas, not horrible but enough that maybe half of the cruisers were affected. We had a couple of days nice enough to sunbath. Disembarkation: Oceania gets a low rating here. Not well organized with little information available besides your departure time. Everyone was waiting on deck 4 to depart which was where all previous port departures happened. The gangway was open and manned with crew. That crew and ourselves were surprised to learn that passengers would depart on deck 5. So about 100 passengers lugged their possessions up the stairs or waited for elevators to disembark on deck 5. Summary: Loved our fellow cruisers. Most cruisers were very friendly and outgoing. They usually introduced themselves and greeted you on following days. The bridge lessons and the trivia contests provided us with many friends to dine and recreate with. The fellowship was the highlight of the cruise. On this sailing the Grand Dining Room had some issues. In general O shines with the no extra charge specialty restaurants, few children, practically smoke free environment and small ship advantages such as no lines and onboard convenience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Background DH and I discovered cruising nearly 20 years ago. We've sailed HAL almost exclusively & are most familiar with their S and R class ships (1200-1400 pax) as well as the unique Prinsendam (793 pax). Oceania has been ... Read More
Background DH and I discovered cruising nearly 20 years ago. We've sailed HAL almost exclusively & are most familiar with their S and R class ships (1200-1400 pax) as well as the unique Prinsendam (793 pax). Oceania has been on our radar for a while, thanks to many positive reviews here on CC. So we decided to do a "test" cruise. Despite our preference for longer, port-intensive cruises, we chose a 14-nite westbound transAtlantic Barcelona to Miami. Even though this was a most unlikely choice for us, we figured we'd get an excellent impression of the Oceania product with so many days at sea. We booked the cruise thru our TA without the included Oceania "free" air. We took the air credit instead & made our own air arrangements. We used FF miles & flew Executive Class into Barcelona where we stayed at Hotel Jazz for 1-nite pre-cruise. Hotel Jazz is a modern boutique hotel at the top of La Rambla, between Placa Catalunya & Placa Universitat. An ideal location for exploring fabulous Barcelona. Embarkation We took a taxi to the cruise port about 1:00 pm & were processed very efficiently by shoreside staff. We didn't need any of the Oceania documents we received pre-cruise - only our passports, which were kept by the Purser for the duration of the voyage. We boarded onto the 4th floor lobby of the ship. First impressions count & Regatta scored. The lobby is beautifully appointed & inviting. We had the feeling of entering a boutique hotel rather than a cruise ship! We noticed a calm & unhurried atmosphere almost immediately & it continued throughout the entire voyage. Stateroom Our A3 Concierge room was conveniently located on the 7th floor slightly forward of the stairs & elevators. The room was bright & airy with every bit of its 165 sq ft interior well planned. There was ample closet space & drawer storage and a large floor-to-ceiling mirror reflected light & added brightness. The bed occupied most of the width of the room, so we learned to orchestrate our movements to avoid collision. The 50 sq ft verandah was large enough for only 2 deck chairs and a small table. The privacy barrier between balconies was sufficient & we really liked the metal railings rather than plexiglass for maximum sea viewing. The bathroom was tiny, but functional & spotless. The shower stall was very small but we managed fine & neither of us was attacked by the shower curtain. Fresh towels were provided twice daily (no opportunity to reuse) and soap/toiletries were replenished as we used them. Towel animals haven't found their way onto Regatta. Oceania has fabulous beds with pillow-top mattresses, 700 thread-count Egyptian cotton bedding & Italian silk-cut duvets. Without a doubt, they are the most comfortable beds we've had at sea. Dining Food is an important aspect of our overall cruise experience. Since Oceania bills itself as having the "finest cuisine at sea" we came on board with high expectations. And for the most part, Oceania delivered. We had some excellent meals and many very good meals in each dining venue. The food was indeed the best we've had at sea but we never had a "wow" moment. Terrace Cafe We ate most breakfasts in the Terrace Cafe. The fresh fruits & berries were wonderful: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango, papaya, kiwis & pineapple. There were yoghurts & cheese, hot & cold cereals, muesli and a wide selection of meats, smoked salmon & herring. Made-to-order omelettes & eggs took a while but were worth the wait. Eggs benedict were poached just right & dressed with awesome hollandaise. There was an incredible selection of baked goods made fresh several times daily. Oceania employs French bakers & uses special flour that can withstand the climate & humidity changes found at sea. The results are sensational. Even though the Terrace Cafe is buffet, it's not self-serve. Most food along the line is served. Wait staff bring hot & cold beverages. Good variety of juices but we missed the fresh-squeezed OJ that HAL provides. My DH declared that the coffee was undrinkable while I discovered that hot chocolate made with milk was divine. We ate most lunches in the Terrace Cafe. There was always a wide selection of hot & cold appetizers, salads, soup, fresh-made pasta cooked to order, a carvery station, pizza and several entrees. Interesting cheese selections and tempting desserts. Oceania also has delectable, oh-so-creamy ice cream & refreshing sorbets that are made right on board. Simply the best we've experienced on any ship. We sometimes ate at Waves, the casual grill outside Terrace Cafe. DH loved the Texan Burger while I opted for the Mahi Mahi Burger with bacon and smothered onions. Waves is also the spot for hand-dipped milkshakes, malteds & smoothies. Always a treat. Grand Dining Room The atmosphere in the GDR was elegant, calm & unhurried. It was well staffed by friendly & attentive servers. Knowledgeable sommeliers offered wines & seemed just as happy to bring a house pour as the most expensive listed vintage. We are die-hard late-seating traditional diners on HAL so this was our first experience with open seating. And it worked. We usually arrived at the GDR about 7:30 pm & even though this was peak time, we never had to wait for a table. The Maitre d' quickly learned our preference for a deuce & always seated us at a private table. Sometimes we were seated close to others & could share conversation if we wanted. Food was very good. Creative menus, wide-ranging choices, quality ingredients, distinct flavors, artful presentation, delivered at the correct temperature. The bread baskets offered at the beginning of each meal were superb. We were usually pleased with our appetizers, soups & salads but sometimes we hit a miss on the entrees. Pastas were always excellent, so much so that they rivaled those prepared in Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant. And the "always available" Jacques Pepin Signature Dishes were outstanding. The crispy, salty skin on his perfectly roasted Rotisserie Chicken was yummy. In addition to dinners, we occasionally ate breakfast & lunch in the GDR. I tried the Baby Lamb Chops for breakfast, but I must say that I don't understand what the fuss is all about. We also went to a superb Gala Brunch. I had chilled strawberry soup & fresh-made waffles while DH stuck to his stand-by of eggs benedict. Oh that hollandaise! Oceania does a great job on sauces of any kind. Gotta love those French chefs who aren't afraid of butter, butter, butter! Specialty Restaurants Our A3 room entitled us to 2 reservations at each of the 2 specialty restaurants, Polo Grill and Toscana. We made reservations on-line several weeks before we left. We booked dates early in the cruise to allow us the opportunity to try for additional reservations if possible. When we arrived on board, there was a card in our room which summarized all 4 reservations we had made on-line. Nothing lost in translation from shore to ship. Well done Oceania. Both restaurants are gorgeous. Polo Grill has a very clubby feel with dark wood-paneling, overstuffed furniture & subdued lighting. It has a predictable steak house menu with the usual cuts, sauces & sides. Unfortunately, we felt that our entrees weren't up to par on either occasion. My rack of lamb was overcooked & underseasoned while my NY strip was saved only by a huge dollop of bEarnaise. My DH struggled with an overwrought piece of grilled lobster & overcooked filet mignon. Sides were tasty but arrived lukewarm. Crème brulee and key lime pie were both winners. On balance, we were disappointed with Polo Grill. And truth be told, we think the Pinnacle Grill on HAL is every bit as good in some areas & better in others. Toscana is bright & airy, full of Tuscan colors, light woods & a charming bar specializing in Grappa & Limoncello drinks. It's a culinary adventure just reading the extensive menu! We almost hit a home run at Toscana with everything we ordered. The olive oil & balsamic tasting menu was superb (especially the spicy Holy Oil). Spinach & ricotta ravioli in sage butter was perfectly al dente and full of flavor. Veal scaloppini limon was simple but satisfying. The only notable exception was osso bucco with saffron risotto which was heavy, salty & gummy. We both loved the ricotta cream canolli dessert, so much so that we ordered it twice. We enjoyed Toscana very much, but we didn't think that either specialty restaurant was so much better than the GDR to request additional reservations. We really liked the elegant casual dress code on Oceania & didn't miss formal nites at all. We found that folks dressed very nicely for dinner in the GDR & the atmosphere was every bit as elegant as a formal nite on HAL. Very classy! Many men wore jackets (mostly without ties) in Polo Grill and Toscana. Activities This crossing had 9 sea days out of 14 days & Regatta offered the expected line-up of games & activities. Golf putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, bridge, bingo & trivia were regularly scheduled & well attended. In addition to the ever-popular games, there were watercolor classes, Spanish lessons, dance classes & enrichment lectures, cooking demos, wine bazaars, wine tasting ($), afternoon tea, coffee chats, photo workshops ($) and fitness classes. Mercifully there were no art auctions although the Park West guy did give a few presentations & was available by appointment. There were also a few "big" events. A lovely Tea Dansant was presented mid-way thru the cruise in the Regatta Lounge. This was an amped-up version of afternoon tea with impressive displays of savory & sweet temptations. It reminded us of Royal Dutch Tea on HAL. There was also a Regatta transAtlantic Upper Hall Event, billed as the social event of the season. It turned out to be a nothing but sales pitch in poor disguise. A bust. But the Country Fair was a hoot. This was originally to be staged outside but the weather was overcast & windy. So the entire 5th floor was transformed into "booths" where pax could try their luck at various games in the tradition of an old-time country fair. Dress-a-mannequin, stuff-a-pillowcase, knock-down cans & similar goofy stuff. Many events were timed & Regatta dollars were awarded depending on your speed. It was a blast. Entertainment Each evening in the Regatta Lounge there was an after-dinner show & we went to most of them. We liked the small, cozy, cabaret-styled theatre & enjoyed performances by a pianist, clarinetist, vocalists & a magician. We were very impressed that some of the Regatta entertainment staff were also polished performers who took to the stage & delivered excellent shows. As a preamble to the evening shows, there were game/trivia contests along the lines of Liars Club, Newlywed Game, Who Wants to Be an O Millionaire, Deal or No Deal. These were well attended & a ton of fun, thanks in no small measure to outstanding hosting by the Assistant CD. In various venues throughout the ship, music was provided by a string quartet, an 8-piece orchestra (expanded to 12-piece to accompany Tea Dansant) and a pianist. There was also an after-hours disco in Horizons that reportedly was poorly attended. Port Excursions There were only 3 ports on this crossing: Tangier, Morocco; Funchal, Madeira; and Hamilton, Bermuda. Thanks to CC and TripAdvisor, we researched them & made our own independent plans in advance. Shore excursions offered by the ship seemed to cover the basics but were priced quite high. We did consult Destination Services about a tour but unfortunately they gave us info that we later learned was incorrect. The shorex staff didn't seem to have good knowledge of their excursions, perhaps because they visit these ports only twice a year during repositioning. Crew & Fellow Passengers Our sailing had only 520 pax (75% capacity) with a complement of 397 crew. Quite an impressive ratio. Service was consistently excellent throughout the ship. There seemed to be a genuine team-concept on board & everybody, no matter rank or station, was there in service to the pax. We are used to HAL ships where crew are primarily from Indonesia & Philippines and officers typically from the Netherlands. It was delightful to engage with the international crew of Regatta, who hailed from places such as Greece, Austria, Thailand, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, India, Columbia, Honduras & Jamaica. We are also used to mostly male crew on board HAL. It was wonderful to see the smiling faces of young women working about the ship in many capacities. Many crew were scheduled to leave Regatta when we arrived in Miami. Some were at the end of long contracts & were understandably keen to get home again. Yet they delivered outstanding service right up to our final moment on board. Our fellow pax were a delight. Well-traveled, unpretentious, interesting & friendly. People were comfortable with themselves & it showed. Some pax were in our age group of early 50s but a majority were in their 60s, 70s & beyond. But age didn't matter. We found easy conversation & common ground with many folks. Other Observations Regatta is gorgeous. Beautiful public rooms, elegantly appointed, spotlessly clean. There is absolutely no sign of visible wear anywhere on furnishings, carpets or draperies. It's clear that somebody is paying attention to the details. While the interiors are very nice, we prefer the look of the blue-hulled exteriors of HAL ships with their more traditional sleek lines. We missed the teak wrap-around promenade deck & extensive outside public spaces. On HAL, pax can also access the bow for scenic cruising. On Regatta, there are very few front vistas available for public use. Private cabanas occupy the best forward vantage points & access is restricted. On our sailing, every cabana was marked "reserved" yet none were ever in use, even during scenic sailaways. Disembarkation Regatta was clearly in turn-around mode on disembarkation morning. Breakfast hours in all venues were shorter. Menus, including room service, were limited. We were instructed to vacate our room by 8:00 am and wait in a public lounge for our disembarkation number to be called. This was in marked contrast to HAL where all pax can remain in their rooms until they disembark & breakfast service is as usual. We arrived in Miami at 6:00 am but disembarkation was delayed until 8:30 am. There were a few announcements asking certain crew members & pax to make themselves available to US immigration, but on the whole, the process was smooth & well organized. As independent travelers, we were among the first to leave the ship. We retrieved our luggage inside the terminal & grabbed a taxi to the Miami airport. And sadly, thus ended our first Big O adventure. We are very glad we did this "test" cruise on Oceania. It was fabulous & we look forward to sailing Oceania again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Regatta Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 4.5 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.5
Rates 4.0 4.0

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