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5 Rome (Civitavecchia) to World Cruise Reviews

I've done three cruises with Oceania before this one and had pretty good times - in those instances there seemed to be some fun folks interested in mingling with the solo travelers and the smaller ships were more cozy and open to ... Read More
I've done three cruises with Oceania before this one and had pretty good times - in those instances there seemed to be some fun folks interested in mingling with the solo travelers and the smaller ships were more cozy and open to mixing people - there were always plenty of shared tables and lots of inclusion. For some reason, this cruise had a different vibe - perhaps because it was the time and place if nothing else. Most of the people were elderly and coupled. You had to be careful of your remarks so as not to start a row over the situation in England or the US or elsewhere. The ship's crew was OK but not as friendly as on the past few trips where I'd been - they seemed to get friendly with a few folks from previous segments and ignored the newer passengers other than to say hello. I felt that they could have done more to facilitate mixing at night by having a standing shared table with a couple of crew members or entertainers on hand to encourage participation. Instead, you had to be in with the crew to get an invite to a fun table other than two scheduled events that were pretty dull. Other cruise lines are doing a more sophisticated job of courting the next generation of traveler - but I didn't see that here. We were an afterthought. On Silversea, they have cocktails scheduled nightly for solo travelers with a couple of crew members who then offer to take them to dinner; on Seabourn they put an invitation in your door ever single night if you ask for that service and you are always at an interesting and eclectic table. The layout of my room was wasted space. The huge tub was ridiculous and while I was fine as a solo, I kept thinking this would be way better if the space was used for a walk in closet. I found the concierge staff to be well below par of the staff I'd dealt with previously - normally when they know you are solo, they work to get you in at night at a shared table - that only happened after I raised a complaint - which I hate to do. I paid twice what other folks paid and got about half the service. I've always tipped on top of the scheduled gratuities but not this time - I never had any sort of personal interaction with the crew to make it worthwhile. The atmosphere was more sterile - the upstairs coffee area is almost too big and impersonal. Also, the timing for the Internet cafe is off - if I grabbed a coffee and sat at a screen, inevitably an elderly person would approach me for help because the guy staffing it had bass akwards hours to assist people. There were a few of us who spent plenty of time assisting other passengers. I will say this - the entertainers with the ship's crew were very outstanding. Much better than any other ship and that young woman from the Netherlands was astoundingly good - but then they were focused just on entertaining at the shows - where on the smaller ships the entertainers did a lot more to intermingle with the passengers - maybe they didn't sing as well but they were more fun to be around.. So here, better entertainers but not as much fun. Here's a hint - don't just dance on the dance floor at night - look for people who need a dance partner and ask them to dance with you. Every single night. Also, I had a bizarre and nasty fitness room experience - mostly because for some reason this ship has but two regular eliptical trainers and pretty much every single person wants to use them. I had started an hour long workout in the middle of the afternoon when most people were off the ship and another gentleman was next to me doing the same thing. We were two of five people in the whole place. A woman walked up and demanded that we get off and give her our machines. She relentlessly harassed us for the next 40 minutes and then returned with a rough looking attendant who had taken her at her word that we were the wrong-doers. When I let the attendant know that I wasn't happy with the situation, she accused me of being unpleasant. The man got off his machine and the lady insisted that it was too dirty for her to use. Did the attendant step in and get someone to clean the machine? Nope - stood by hands on hips whilst the mathematics professor cleaned up the machine top to bottom. Hey - he was on vacation and paying. Finally here's a hint with outside entertainers - please ask them not to use the solo women travelers as the butt of their comedy routines - just saying. It was a bit unnerving having to sink down in my chair for fear that I would be called out. Don't get me wrong - I managed to have a good time, met some folks I'm still in touch with, and there were some good people and plenty of fun - but when I'm on vacation, I don't want to have to work for my fun. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just returned from our second cruise this year and once again we had a fantastic trip. The ship is beautiful , the crew and serving staff are all positive and helpful and eager to make your cruise special. Any issue is quickly resolved as ... Read More
Just returned from our second cruise this year and once again we had a fantastic trip. The ship is beautiful , the crew and serving staff are all positive and helpful and eager to make your cruise special. Any issue is quickly resolved as was the case in Bordeaux when we were unable to get to the city centre due to protesters on a bridge. Dining is always a highlight and again all the venues hit the mark, our only poor experience being in the Polo Grill where our fillet steaks were really poorly cooked. One of the best things about Riviera in my opinion are the fellow guests who always make a big difference in the cruising experience, the American and Australian guests were a delight to engage with. The "Grey Matter" quiz team were fantastic, thanks for your company and for providing great banter every afternoon. Two weeks of great ports, great new friends and of course great food are now a memory but we will make next years booking a priority. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was an college alumni organized cruise and I had a group of friends that went with me on a cruise of the Mediterranean (Spain, France and Italy). The ship service and food was very good. Our cabin was kept spotless. The crew was ... Read More
This was an college alumni organized cruise and I had a group of friends that went with me on a cruise of the Mediterranean (Spain, France and Italy). The ship service and food was very good. Our cabin was kept spotless. The crew was extremely well-trained and helpful. However, I was very disappointed in the shore excursions. They were very touristy, and lacking in depth. I have cruised with Seabourne, Silversea and Windstar, and their shore excursions were much more in depth and immersive--with VIP special arrangements for getting around the crowds and into the sights around all of the other tourists. The descriptions were often not in keeping with the actual excursion. Oceania also nickels and dimes for everything--beverage packages, service charges added to the fare, etc. Competitor cruises charge a higher flat fee, but then you are not charged for anything else, the fare is all-inclusive. Also, the internet service offered by the ship was low-grade, and the crew member assigned to assist with this was unhelpful. I don't think I will said with Oceania again, having had better experiences with competitors. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time ... Read More
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time at each port to explore. My only complaint is that we tendered twice, and the tender boats were very uncomfortable with no fans and very hot. We have been on four cruises, twice with the Princess, once with the Azamara and now the Oceania. In comparing the cruise lines, we found the rooms very similar. We did not have a balcony on the Oceania since the additional cost seemed very high but the porthole was a very nice size. The Princess does not charge nearly as much for a balcony. I think the bathroom/shower was best planned on the Oceania and the staff cleaned the room promptly. The Oceania advertises that they are famous for their food. I actually found the food disappointing. Buffet breakfast was fine although I did not like their orange juice. We did not have lunch since we were touring. However, based upon our room status we were only entitled to make reservations for two nights at the specialty restaurants. Red Ginger is indeed special. From the moment we were seated, we were treated royally. The menu was quite interesting, and it was truly a delightful dinner. We also enjoyed the Tuscan Grill but the overall experience was just not as special as Red Ginger. We were lucky to be seated at the front of the ship in that restaurant and had a stunning view as we left the port. My disappointment was with the main dining room. I found the portions very small, and I did not find the overall quality exceptional. Once I ordered sea bass and it was not very good. Another night I ordered steak which was not a good cut. You could order as many sides as you wanted but I would have preferred a better overall meal. On the Azamara they would serve free interesting wines with dinner and that certainly helped the overall atmosphere. I just did not find the staff all that engaging on the Oceania. The Sirena offered less entertainment than the other cruise lines. There was an evening show but the problem was it was a small stage without any slope in the theater so unless you were up front viewing was difficult. We had a singer twice(he was fine), a comedian twice(better the first night) and a mime /magician (poor). The troupe of eight also performed and they were enjoyable. The Princess being a larger boat had a much more professional theater and show. The only sports offered was one outdoor ping pong table, a shuffleboard court on a rubber surface making it unplayable, and a small putting green. There was also a small running/walking track. The pool was tiny but there were two Jacuzzis. Since every day was sunny and over 90 degrees the pool was used. The card room was very small and there were no organized games. The Sirena did have an excellent lending library. I found the gym to up to date modern equipment. Children are not encouraged on the Oceania and there were no organized activities for them. Some of the other cruise lines hire guest lecturers to talk about the upcoming ports. I think the Sirena was very weak in this area. There was trivia every afternoon and this was popular. I probably would not go on the Oceania again unless the itinerary was one I could not find elsewhere. I think other lines give you more value for less money. Finally, since I prefer modern , I found the décor of the Sirena not that attractive and tired looking. However, since I picked this line for the itinerary of the cruise I was not disappointed by the cruise since I enjoyed our ports of call. I find that part of the fun of travelling is planning the trip so I do a lot of research. I never sign up for excursions provided by the cruise line since they are over-priced. My travel agent suggested using Shore excursions but I also found this company to be too expensive. A third alternative is to use Viator which partners with local tour companies and offers more value for your dollar and more variety of tours. However, we made the decision to find private tour guides where possible. This can be expensive if it is just one couple because usually the cost of adding two more people is nominal. We mentioned our planned tours on our cruise line blog and were lucky to find another couple to join us and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed the tours. Day 1 Amalfi- I had always wanted to visit Pompeii. Unfortunately, I did not find any tours leaving from Amalfi going there. I found a company called Benvenutolimos.com that would arrange to give us a driver for eight hours who would take us to Pompeii and Positano and tour the Amalfi Coast. They arranged for a private tour guide inside Pompeii. Giovanni was an excellent driver. He first took us to the scenic town of Rafello for a short stop. His English was excellent and we learned about the Amalfi Coast and its history and culture as he made hairpin turns through breathtaking terrain. He then took us to Pompeii where we met our tour guide Salvatore. As we strolled along ancient Roman streets, Salvatore described what is was like to live in Pompeii 2000 years ago. Pompeii is amazingly preserved. After this tour, we drove to Positano to get a brief glimpse of this upscale beach town. It was a full 8 hours of touring, and I compliment Benvenuto tours for planning a very enjoyable day. Day 2-Sicily- we docked in Taormina for our tour of Sicily. We arranged to be met by Luca from info@sicilylife.com. and again our driver was very professional. We first stopped at a local honey farm, and then we drove to Mt. Etna. Cars are limited to about 7000 feet and from there you can plan hiking excursions. We took a small hike and admired the incredible landscape where gorges were cut into the mountain from lava flows. After Etna, Luca took us to a local winery where we spent a very pleasant afternoon tasting local dishes and sampling wine. We enjoyed our day with Luca and would recommend his company. Day 3-Malta- we docked in Valletta, Malta and were met by Karl from Karlito's Way, and by the end of the day we felt we had a great understanding of Malta. Karl wanted to show us traditional Malta whether it was taking us to traditional neighborhoods, restaurants, or vistas. During the course of the day we circled the entire island seeing all of its most beautiful areas while we talked politics and philosophy. By the end of the day we felt Karl had become a friend as well as a tour guide. We consider our time in Malta very special and would highly recommend using Karl. Day 4-at sea. Day 5 Argostoli-Greece-we could not find a private tour guide so opted to use Viator. Although we were in a bus and the tour was not nearly as personal, the tour was a successful. We visited a monastery, a cave which was actually used for concerts, a fishing village, and the most impressive stop was a rowboat ride in an underground lake/cave. The island was quite picturesque so this port was well worth a visit. Day 6 Durres, Albania. We used a Hong Kong company called tour HQ which has a lot of host tour guides throughout the world. Basically, HQ gives you a list of potential local guides and their biography and then you select one. Although I selected a guide months before and had the trip confirmed, he cancelled just prior to my trip. Luckily, HQ did assist in finding me a replacement guide. Durres was probably the only port we visited which was not scenic especially where we docked. Since I knew very little about Albania I was hoping to get a well planned itinerary from our guide. We went to Kruje which was an interesting medieval city. There, we visited an historical museum. We also visited a bazaar. Then, we had a terrible lunch. The countryside we saw was not that pretty and our guide Marjen was quiet so the touring was not as interesting as our other stops. After Kruja we went back to Durres to see some Roman ruins and a Venetian tower. This did not take too long to view. We ended the tour early, because there did not seem to be much to see or do. I would suggest that our guide should revise the tour to see more sights in the future. Day 7- Kotor, Montenegro. We used a company called M Tours which was highly rated on Trip Advisor. We had met another couple on the cruise who joined us so that Aleksander our tour guide led 6 of us through the enchanting countryside of Montenegro. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Montenegro history and culture. It was a full day of touring-we went to Budva, then drove to Cetinje, and then went to Njegusi village for lunch at an old, local and a tour of their smokehouse. All of these places had both religious and historical significance. I never realized what a beautiful country Montenegro is, and it certainly is a country I would love to see again. I would highly recommend using M Tours. Day 8-Split Croatia. We used Viator and were lucky because only the four of us signed up for the tour so we had a private tour. We were very happy to have Sandra as our tour guide. She was vivacious and loved showing us Trogir, a medieval city. After Trogir, Sandra led us on a walking tour of Split where we marveled at the ancient Roman Palace. Sandra made the day enjoyable and I would recommend her company Croatian Trails. Day 9 and 10-Venice. We decided to do Venice on our own. In the morning we walked the whole city until we reached St. Marks Square. We then took a water taxi to Murano to do shopping. We really enjoyed Murano since it was much less crowded and the shops had beautiful glass items perfect for gifts. We also found a terrific place for lunch called Cicchetteria Pizzeria with a large courtyard where we had a delicious pizza and prosecco. Afterwards, we returned to Venice to take a 45 minute gondola ride. If you do not mind sharing, the cost is reasonable since you are paying for the ride which seats up to six. Although touristy, we enjoyed it. All in all it was a great trip with many memories. One final note, we had arranged our transfers prior to the trip and they worked out and were much more reasonable than cruise rates. I recommend both venutoinside.com(Venice Port to airport) and civitavecchiatoroma@gmail.com(Rome airport to Port). Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As usual, we chose this Oceania cruise for the itinerary, the food, and the service and it did not disappoint. Venice is a wonderful city to explore when you get away from the crowds around San Marco square. Other highlights on this ... Read More
As usual, we chose this Oceania cruise for the itinerary, the food, and the service and it did not disappoint. Venice is a wonderful city to explore when you get away from the crowds around San Marco square. Other highlights on this itinerary included Malta, Rome and Barcelona. Although Oceania’s shore excursions are pricey and we are not fond of large group tours, we booked quite a few of their excursions for this cruise because I was too busy to research independent tours. I did not enjoy some of their excursions because none of the guides provided headsets and some did not even use a microphone, which makes it difficult to hear them unless you barge your way to the front of the group. But we really enjoyed Oceania’s culinary tours in Corfu and Barcelona with Chef Kelly, which included a walking tour with a local guide. Chef Kelly has a great personality and we liked the smaller group sizes of these excursions. The food on this cruise was also excellent, especially the fish and seafood, and the crew was very friendly and attentive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017

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