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544 Transatlantic Luxury Cruise Reviews

We were nervous about first cruise on Silversea cruise because, although many positive reviews, there were many negative comments. One was the food. We loved the menu in Atlantide which changed frequently; Indochine excellent; La ... Read More
We were nervous about first cruise on Silversea cruise because, although many positive reviews, there were many negative comments. One was the food. We loved the menu in Atlantide which changed frequently; Indochine excellent; La Terrazza was good but not as excellent as main restaurants. Another was wine. Their selection of included wines was excellent and if you prefered one they would go get it. Service: unlike some comments we were served quickly and competently. The wait staff and wine stewards bent over backwards to make us happy. Maybe the Transatlantic cruise has a higher ratio of crew to passengers, but we were overwhelmed with the quality of Silversea on this cruise. Entertainment has been also been rated poorly. The Silversea Singers were 6 young and very talented singers who included opera singers and jazz singers and all could dance. They put on a charming and highly entertaining show evry night. Cruise director Moss is excellent and if he is on your cruise you will be assured of a fun time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Enjoyed the whole Silversea experience. But they MUST attend to the internet issue. Cabin was excellent so was service. Menu not changed very often which was disappointing. Ship had unexplained juddering at speeds above about 15 knots. No ... Read More
Enjoyed the whole Silversea experience. But they MUST attend to the internet issue. Cabin was excellent so was service. Menu not changed very often which was disappointing. Ship had unexplained juddering at speeds above about 15 knots. No relationship with sea conditions. Maybe caused by the recent lengthening. Was a bit unpleasant at times. Crew were almost all very obliging and cheerful. I would put our experience on Silver Spirit a little below Crystal. The entertainment was not as good as expected. The amplification of singers and instrumentalists was way over the top and spoiled the effect of good musicians. Not everyone is as deaf as the amplification suggested. These various negatives have prevented me from giving our cruise a top rating. By far the most serious matter was the appalling internet service. We hope to sail on Silversea again but would not do so unless this problem is fixed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Silversea cruises always exceeds expectations and this North Atlantic crossing was no exception. While we had done southern crossings of the Atlantic in the past, this was a new adventure - London to New York with intermediate stops in ... Read More
Silversea cruises always exceeds expectations and this North Atlantic crossing was no exception. While we had done southern crossings of the Atlantic in the past, this was a new adventure - London to New York with intermediate stops in Ireland, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Boston, and Newport. Due to storms in the Atlantic, the captain opted to take us further north, which resulted in smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the weather was not as cooperative (one of the few things Silversea does not control) and we had unusually cool, overcast days and more rain than anticipated. We previously sailed on Silver Spirit but this was the first time since the stretch. The changes we wonderful -- the Arts Cafe for coffee and light bites, the new pan-Asian restaurant, and the new main dining room. One thing we especially enjoy about Silversea ship design is the fact that one is never forced to walk through the casino to get from place A to place B and the Spirit was no exception. The public rooms sparkle after the face lift and there are numerous small group seating options. These encourage making new friends and this trip was no exception. Our fellow passengers were globally diverse -- UK, Germany, Australia, Canadian, US, etc. Our suite was an oasis. We opted for a classic veranda suite on this cruise. It was tastefully decorated with plenty of space. The bathroom features both a full size tub and a separate shower. The living area has a small sofa, separate chair, and coffee table (that rises for in-suite dining). The walk-in closet provides ample storage space and helps keep the suite free from clutter. At embarkation our butler stopped by to confirm our choice of refreshments and thereafter the fridge was stocked with our preferences. The service and cleanliness were impeccable. Silversea planned a myriad of inside activities for guests - enrichment lectures, dance classes, cooking demonstrations, informal language classes, team trivia, etc., which were especially welcome given the weather. This particular cruise also had a bridge theme as well as being an Ecole de Chef cruise. The dining was excellent. We frequently dined in La Terrazza, which specializes in Italian food, and found it excellent. At lunch, it also features a great buffet with different salads, sushi, hot foods, a carving station, a pasta station, and a stir fry station. There is a dedicated Japanese restaurant and well as a Pan Asia restaurant - both were excellent. The former main dining room is greatly improved as "Atlantide" with a smaller size, new interior design, and diverse menu. La Dame, while still excellent, seems to have slipped just a little. At dinner the ship also features "Hot Rocks" -- cooking on volcanic rocks and a new Pizza restaurant - both of which are outdoors. No matter which dining venue we opted for, the food was delicious and the service excellent. Also of note with respect to dining, notwithstanding the weather, Silversea maintained the outdoor dining options, but, always considering the guest's comfort, they erected plexiglass barriers to block the wind and turned on the overhead heaters -- resulting in a comfortable place to dine outside. Given less than ideal weather, we decided to use the cruise to recharge our batteries and it was a wonder place to do that. We find the Silversea experience to be outstanding and have two more cruises already booked -- although we have opted for warmer climates for the next two. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The disembakring experience in NYC ruined the cruise. There was no representative from Silversea to assist passnegers attempting to find the bus to LaGuardia airport. No one on the ground knew which bus was destined to this airport. We ... Read More
The disembakring experience in NYC ruined the cruise. There was no representative from Silversea to assist passnegers attempting to find the bus to LaGuardia airport. No one on the ground knew which bus was destined to this airport. We literally wandered around trying the street to find our bus - again NO ONE from Silversea was there to assist this operation. Bus driver admitted he was not familar w/ streets of NYC. He refused to take passengers to their terminal besides terminal B at LaGuardia. I was forced to gather all my luggage abd walk through the airport terminal w/ my luggage trying to find a transit bus to transport me to the Delta terminal at LaGuarda - terminal D. It was a total mess - many passengers were visibly upset. This was excusable on the part of Silversea - you had our money and now we were less than human. Someone from Silversea should be TERMINATED for this toal lack of civilty and service. Many people on the bus voiced the consensus opinion that this will be our last cruise because of the fiasco in NYC. As a trained PH.D. ethicist all the people on the bus to Laguardia should receive financial compensation for the disgraceful behavior we were treated by Silversea. We were viewed as cattle who did not to be treated as a human being.I would gladly talk to some representative, but doubt my opinion matters. You failed to make this cruise memorable by the manner you treated people disembarking the ship in NYC. Shame on Silversea!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Expensive cruise (cost me 10k with flight) staff never bothered (only waiters giving out drinks all the time) Partially disabled and ordered wheelchair to board the ship. When I arrived was told none available they had ran out but only ... Read More
Expensive cruise (cost me 10k with flight) staff never bothered (only waiters giving out drinks all the time) Partially disabled and ordered wheelchair to board the ship. When I arrived was told none available they had ran out but only a couple of yards to walk or wait 1/2 hour. I walked, Almost 100 yards. Struggled. Passengers asked if I needed help. Staff didn't bother. Lots of restaurants but charged 60 dollars extra in some. Food varied but always luke warm. Breakfast in cabin always came wrong. I complained the first time, to no avail. Even staff when standing next to doors seldom held open for you. Ignorant. The service wasn't as advertised. Packing case/unpacking. Paper on floor after cleaner had come in to clean. Was fed up with it all. The first night was asked if I wanted to sit with someone. I prefer this but was never asked again. Passengers asked me if I wanted to join them though. Found attention from passengers embarassing- but very thoughful . I'm not one to seek attention. I didn't think after compllaining to steward I wanted to complain anymore and cause to be be singled out by the staff. I decided to leave after 3 days. I wrote to Silver seas to ask for plartial refund. 500 dollar onboard credit never spent (couldn't have all been profit) but refused. The cabin was on standby and only booked a couple of weeks before. Cancellation I expect. Silver Spirit did offer 1k on future cruise. This was the last of finances and now on state pension and a bit of disability. Which I did convery to them. So impossible for me a future cruise. This was the cruise of a lifetime for me and the last one. Anyway if free wouldn't go again. Just a bog standard reply from them I expect./ They really don't care (well, they do when you book) ninutes to answer the phone. Week when you complain. Sign of the times. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Wanted a 15 day transatlantic with northern European emphasis. Never sailed Princess and probably wont be back. 2 1/2 hours to board in Southampton in a club class mini suite. Apparently mobility issues gets u on first but that was half ... Read More
Wanted a 15 day transatlantic with northern European emphasis. Never sailed Princess and probably wont be back. 2 1/2 hours to board in Southampton in a club class mini suite. Apparently mobility issues gets u on first but that was half the ship apparently. Ship was big and maximized cabin space at the expense of ship features. No where inside to escape the throngs...the Piazza reminds me of Vegas and is loud and always packed as there is nowhere else to hangout or lounge that doesnt involve eating or drinking. Overpriced tacky shops, library was a joke, cannot walk the perimeter of the ship on any lower deck, running track is on deck 18 and closed frequently due to wind and is also in the exhaust of the stacks. Elevators are slow and packed to the point we dreaded going to lower decks. Dining was hit or miss, steak house was great...most everything else average or below. Room service was always prompt but menu poor. Buffet mostly average to poor fatty high carb choices...meats dried out and self serve tongs are a health hazard. Never go to buffet at peak eating times...people are rude pushy and oblivious, no where to sit. Cabin L107 had the forward wrap around balcony and was wonderful...cabin service excellent. Disembarkation delayed and misplaced one bag...just hire a car to the airport as the bus transfer was painfully slow and people standing about blocking the unloading of bags. Overall we enjoyed the stops and room and had a good time once we learned how to avoid the throngs, bad entertainment and geriatric oriented events. Gym on this ship was remarkably good. Wont do another Princess cruise...so many better offerings. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
A crossing on the QM2 was a bucket list item and chose our 36th Anniversary as the time to take this cruise. We chose this cruise because we wanted an elegant experience that harkens back to the grand ships from 70 years ago and QM2 ... Read More
A crossing on the QM2 was a bucket list item and chose our 36th Anniversary as the time to take this cruise. We chose this cruise because we wanted an elegant experience that harkens back to the grand ships from 70 years ago and QM2 delivered. Our balcony stateroom (deck 11) afforded great views and plenty of space. The food in the Britannia dining room (breakfast & dinner) was excellent. How can you go wrong with choices like steak, fish, rack of lamb, beef Wellington, lobster, pheasant, and venison. Staff service was great including our room steward fulfilling a special request to shine my shoes for the first formal night. Special light meals and specialty coffees in the Corinthia lounge with string quartet and watching ballroom dancing at high tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones are experiences not found anywhere in Fort Lauderdale where we live. The dancers in the shows were outstanding and could perform on any network dancing show. Anyone looking to escape their work a day world and dress up at night this ship is for you. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
transatlantic cruise -from New York to Southampton, then back to New York. We were impressed with the entertainment program - Royal Cunard Theatre company - dances & singing -from North American, South American, Russia, all around ... Read More
transatlantic cruise -from New York to Southampton, then back to New York. We were impressed with the entertainment program - Royal Cunard Theatre company - dances & singing -from North American, South American, Russia, all around the world. Special guests -Laura Magnn- soprano, Gary Lovini - violinist, Lynn Trefzger -vocal Illusion, Annette Wardell - the stunning show of favorites from stage screen & opera, Roy Locke - the magic of the Musicals, Amethyst's Paul & Kathryn present "Alchemy" -a show filled with Medleys & musical mayhem, pianists Maria Garzon, Daniel Johnson. Throughout the ship there were musical programs -guitarist Paul Garthwaite ,pianist - Ferry P Bedi ,Sunrise String Quartet from Ukraine , Harpist Laura Szabo Everyday between 3.30 -4.30 pm there is tea time in the Queen's Room ,with different musical performance. Throughout the day there were different lectures - Giles Ramsay - on history & literature Jacki Hill Murphy -on traveling the length of the River Amazon & Siberia,Colin Hobbs on History & supersonic adventure, Derek Tedder on journalism, Suzannah Lipscomb on witchraft & England's Reformation. Embarkation went smoothly. Disembarkation - was a big chaos.The ship was delayed by 5 hours , due to emergency problem -a helicopter came to pick up a passenger 2 days prior to disembarkation day to a hospital in New Foundland. ports & shore excursions - well organized complain- disembarkation was delayed by 5 hours , passengers waited in different lounges from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon , without any snack or drinks , no compensation . Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
2 years ago we chose this cruise to followed the path my ancestors( Vikings) took to discover the North American continent. This cruise took us to places that most people will never visit. The cruise introduced us to a world of harsh ... Read More
2 years ago we chose this cruise to followed the path my ancestors( Vikings) took to discover the North American continent. This cruise took us to places that most people will never visit. The cruise introduced us to a world of harsh weather conditions with unique beautiful landscapes, and lots of sheep! We chose a three day extension on the front end of this cruise to explore Iceland. We were put up in an excellent hotel (Hilton) and the included tours, golden circle, blue lagoon and Reykjavík tours allowed us to see many of the top ten sights when visiting Iceland. Flights, transfers were all handled professionally. Next we flew on to Bergen, Norway, our port for embarkation. We were in Bergen two days allowing a complete tour of the local area. The included tour gave us a great view of Bergen. We signed up for an optional tour to go to the top of Mount Floien. This tour was a little disappointing as half of the tour completely overlapped the included tour. We would have better served to have just walked off the ship and to the funicular, bought a ticket and gone to Mount Floien on our own, definitely not worth the extra cost. This was our first Viking Ocean Cruise so being on their ship was a new unique experience. The ship was beautiful throughout with only 900 passengers. Our cabin, a penthouse suite, was very comfortable throughout the cruise. Our cabin staff was absolutely outstanding, we were treated great. The dining options on the ship again were fantastic. Many daily options with changing menus allowed a new dining experience at every meal and the food was fabulous. Again the waiters and waitresses were excellent. We were amazed how they all knew our names by the second day. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table both had unique menus. Manfredi’s an Italian cuisine had many terrific dishes to choose from. The Chef’s Table was a uniques dining experience with a changing menu every 3 or 4 days. This restaurant was a set five course meal. While unique and things we normally wouldn’t eat the portions were kinda tiny. During the entire cruise multiple educational seminar were offered by four different professors on a full range of Viking and Country specific topics. We found these seminars excellent and made days at sea flow quickly. In addition, the professional entertainment in the evenings far exceeded our expectations. Throughout the cruise we utilized the spa facilities to workout, utilize the saunas and cold room and the hot tubs. We found these excellent. Finally we utilized some spa services and found these enjoyable. During our cruise we found the included tours at each port to be very good. On the Shetland Islands and Faroe Islands we signed up for optional tours to try to see more of these islands while we were there. While these tours (North Shore of the Shetlands) and (The Island of Vagar) on the Faroe were interesting, both of these tours repeated the included tours taken in the morning, so in the future we will be more careful what optional tours we select. On this trip it was just myself and my spouse, no kids, in fact there were no kids on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first cruise on a Viking ocean ship after many cruises on Holland America and several on Oceana and the entire cruise was excellent. Our stateroom on deck 6 was a good size with lots of storage space. The selection of shore ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a Viking ocean ship after many cruises on Holland America and several on Oceana and the entire cruise was excellent. Our stateroom on deck 6 was a good size with lots of storage space. The selection of shore excursions was quite good and this was a big concern with us as we have been spoiled with the Holland America shore trips selections over the years. The food is very good and the service was outstanding. We like the concept of no broadway shows, no casinos, and no one under 18 years old. Overall Viking is very well organized for embarkation and extremely well organized on disembarkation. The only issue was the immigration folks in Bergen, Norway who were very slow. Viking uses Bergen as its headquarters we believe so they need to exert influence on the Norway officials. The Viking Sea is a very nice, modern ship and Viking obviously did their homework before launching it. There are lots of nice public areas. Their World Cafe is well organized with very few lines to get served. The other great point compared to other cruise lines is that they don't "nickle and dime" you to death. There is free WiFi, free water when going ashore, free wine and beer with lunch and dinner, no charge for the specialty restaurants, ability to bring a bottle of wine on board from shore trips at no charge, one included shore trip at each port, and wonderful staff. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have been sailing with Regent since the beginning, over 25 years. We can't say enough how disappointed we were with this cruise. We booked a Master Suite, the best cabin on the ship. While the cabin was spacious, the ... Read More
We have been sailing with Regent since the beginning, over 25 years. We can't say enough how disappointed we were with this cruise. We booked a Master Suite, the best cabin on the ship. While the cabin was spacious, the shower stall was so small you couldn't even bend over. Secondly we had leaks in the room for the first 5 days of the cruise. We had wet carpet every single day for the first 5 days. There was also a stain on the carpet in the living area that they never were able to get up. We think that the cabin was full of mold as both my husband's and my allergies were terrible. We did ask that they take the carpet up and put down new carpet, but they never did. We had always enjoyed the food before on Regent but this time. We went to Prime 7 several times and each time the steak (filet) was so tough you could barely chew it. I tried to order the lamb, but each time it was also so tough that you couldn't chew it. We ordered the crab legs and they literally served us a pile of crab meat, most all of it from the body of the crab!! That is not crab legs, just crab meat. They did fix this the next time, but they told us that we had to order "tubes". Not sure why when the menu says crab legs you have to order "tubes". We have never had to do that before. Omelets were horrible as the eggs were never cooked. When you tired to order fried eggs they were either over cooked, or under cooked. The food service in the restaurants was generally good, the food however, was horrible. Now, let's talk about the wine and beverage service. It appeared to us that they have really cut down the beverage staff. More than once, we had to wait over 20 minutes for a person to even take our beverage order! While we have always had to work a little to find a wine that we liked, we never did find a drinkable red wine on board this ship. We did find a few white wines that we could tolerate, ( even though we prefer red wine) but each time once we had the wine and in 2-3 days they ran out of that wine. We found the wines to be extremely cheap and not of the quality that we had come to enjoy on Regent. We also found that the bar staff couldn't make any drink that we ordered. The cosmopolitan's were undrinkable. The Lemon Drop's were undrinkable. A Vodka tonic was horrible. Finally our butler explained to us what was happening. If you didn't call a vodka name, they were pouring a super cheap polish vodka. WHAT? This is a cruise that cost us well over $2,000 a night!!! The advertising claims fine wines and spirits, not so!! We sent a bag of laundry to have it be laundered. It came back smelling worse than when we sent it in. We should have sent it back, but we just washed it ourselves. Now, let's talk about shore excursions. We booked all of our shore excursions the first day or two that they were available to book. By the time that we sailed 4 of them had been cancelled and we had to put them back on wait list. Three of them never did come through!! Now, I have no idea which passengers they decided to cancel off of a prearranged shore excursion, but you would think that the people who booked first and who were in the BEST cabin onboard the ship might have had some precedence. When I asked the shore excursion people, they claimed that they had no idea. So, the included shore excursions aren't worth much, when you can't even book them!! And, they never made any accommodations for shore excursions that they canceled. Entertainment isn't the most important item to us, but we did find that the crew shows were a disappointment. In the past we have always found the crew cast to be amazing dancers and singers. This time we found them to be very lacking. Let's talk about the Navigator a bit. Obviously it is time to retire this ship. Can't think of one thing to like about this ship, besides it's size. We will never ever go on this ship again! We had 3 additional cruises booked on Regent. We did cancel one of them and tried to cancel the one coming up in December but the cancellation penalty was $36,000. So, we are going, but not by choice. It would seem that Norwegian has finally ruined Regent. 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
I had been on QM2 before in 2004 for her maiden Caribbean trip, 18 years ago and remember the experience as exciting (especially sail-away with a band playing us away on the quayside and free bubbly!), delightful and sophisticated. Maybe ... Read More
I had been on QM2 before in 2004 for her maiden Caribbean trip, 18 years ago and remember the experience as exciting (especially sail-away with a band playing us away on the quayside and free bubbly!), delightful and sophisticated. Maybe it's because I am older now and have become more demanding as regards to the finer things of a civilised existence that I found the recent crossing to New York quite depressing. Embarkation was delayed due to computer problems, the red carpets were rolled up and we finally reached our twin porthole 'stateroom'/cabin an hour late. Have the shower cubicles always been that small and unpleasantly plastic with a plastic curtain which did not quite hang to the floor? And I am sure the complimentary toiletries were for two people previously and of a higher quality. The ship may have been re-mastered but why so gloomily in places? Just like last time it took us quite a few days to get our bearings from Deck 6 Stairway A at the front of the ship to Deck 2/3 Stairway C where most of the important things were located. I walked barefoot, carrying my high heels to the Britannia restaurant. The two waiters were lovely, the sommelier supercilious when I ordered a medium-priced $60 bottle of wine and made it last three evenings. The food was excellent. However, the starters had turned into appetisers or amuse- bouches, the mains into slightly larger starters, artistically decorated with one French bean or two spears of asparagus. The puddings were small, the 'petit fours' apologetic along the lines of marshmallows, cloying chocolate truffles and crystallised ginger. Just as well we went to King's Court for breakfast and at lunchtime to choose our own food from a vast selection of very good international cuisine. It was not always easy to find a place for 3 friends to sit down as it was crowded all the time. I can't comment on the entertainment in the evening as we had the second sitting and did not feel like staying up. Anyway I do not like shows with singing and dancing and a lot of whooping and whistling, but that was my choice. The classical concerts during the day were excellent as were the lectures by a neurosurgeon, a little bit different and thought-provoking. The high-end shops were obviously overpriced in these days of internet shopping around and the market stalls in the Grand Lobby sold tacky stuff from the Far East to which any self-respecting person would give a wide berth. (Excuse pun!) Overall impression? The once so elegant QM2 now appears downmarket, overcrowded, serving expensive alcoholic drinks mainly consisting of ice cubes, eager to make money/profit at every opportunity. No such thing as a free lunch as you would have paid dearly for it initially. One consolation: With all that walking along endless corridors to get anywhere, I did not put on weight despite eating all the fattening things I would not normally have at home. The three added on days in New York were soul-destroying, boiling hot and humid, stinking, a cacophony of noise and a relentless tide of humanity. But that's another story. Never again....... Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We had thought about a back to back cruise and this was available, 14 days of luxury with a day shopping in New York. Arrived at 12noon at the port. CPS let us unload our suitcases (5) and hand baggage, then removed the car. Portering ... Read More
We had thought about a back to back cruise and this was available, 14 days of luxury with a day shopping in New York. Arrived at 12noon at the port. CPS let us unload our suitcases (5) and hand baggage, then removed the car. Portering took the luggage and we found it outside our stateroom. Great service by all the portering staff. Delay of 1 hour in embarking, efficient processing of paperwork and photos for "shipboard card", through security and then on board. Everybody was pleasant and helpful in directing us to our stateroom. We dined in Kings Court as the variety of food was good and we could sit at our table and take our time eating each food course. There was a good choice of food for each course and the chiefs were happy to cook steaks to our specification - medium well in my case. My wife went to the watercolour art classes each sea day morning (special thanks to art tutor Chris Tatam) whilst I went to the Royal Court theatre or Illuminations for the lectures. Lectures on various aspects of World War 2, Vikings, safety at sea, Cold War, death of Princess Diana, Magna Carta, slavery and building skyscrapers in New York, very useful on the way to NY. We booked the Cunard transfer to Macys on the Friday am leaving the ship at 7-30am and being collected at 2-30pm. NY on your own is fine, with plenty to see, shop, eat and drink. We would do this cruise again as it is a delightful, relaxing holiday and NY was great. Disembarkation in Southampton was fine, off the ship after a lovely breakfast setting us up for the travel home to NE UK. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Accommodations are very nice. Rooms are well appointed with nice decor. Very comfortable beds and pillows. Our room steward Fernando was very good. The Commodore Club was our favorite bar with lovely furnishings and a great views. Also ... Read More
Accommodations are very nice. Rooms are well appointed with nice decor. Very comfortable beds and pillows. Our room steward Fernando was very good. The Commodore Club was our favorite bar with lovely furnishings and a great views. Also very nice were the Carinthia Lounge and the Chart Room. The three balls during our transatlantic were fantastic. The themes, the dancing and the music were very enjoyable in the Queen’s Room. Canyon Ranch Spa was very good. We enjoyed the three-day pass with unlimited access to the relaxation lounge, pools, sauna and steam rooms. Entertainment was very good. Guest entertainers were great. The on board cast is a great team of talented singers and dancers and the bands musicians are also wonderful. Afternoon tea in the Queens Room was lovely. Nice white glove service. Good selection of finger sandwiches and cakes. Warm scones with jam and cream are plentiful. We enjoyed out time at the library. The view is refreshing and relaxing. My biggest disappointment was the food quality, taste and presentation at the Britannia Restaurant. It is far from luxury cruise line standards. The service from the waiters and sommeliers is good. Food at the Kings Court buffet was better, not a lavish display with abundant options as in other cruise lines, it feels the stations are small with limited selections. The planetarium was a waste of time. Once you go past the first show in hopes the second will get better, you are sure to stay away for the rest of the voyage. The show is a pre-recorded, blurry projection with nothing interesting. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I wanted to be in NY-Baltimore to meet with friends and managed to get a single cabin (might have been a cancellation as none available when I first looked) on just the right date. I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2017--and this trip ... Read More
I wanted to be in NY-Baltimore to meet with friends and managed to get a single cabin (might have been a cancellation as none available when I first looked) on just the right date. I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2017--and this trip was a belated birthday present to myself. This voyage was on my bucket list and was also my first time on a liner. I enjoyed everything about it (except for the high price of wine!!) and was seated with very pleasant dinner companions. I enjoyed all the talks and shows that I saw and finished off most evenings dancing with my dinner companions in the disco. I went to the singles coffee morning most days and always found someone interesting to chat with. We went through some Force 7-9 winds in mid Atlantic and QM2 hardly moved. A highlight was coming into New York early in the morning, under the Verrazano- Narrows Bridge then seeing the Statue of Liberty as the sky lightened--magical!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We are on a cruise from New York to Iceland and we picked the cruise for its destinations. The ship is old and is poorly maintained; lots of rust,scuff marks,stained carpets,faded wood on the decks.The vibration in the cabins is ... Read More
We are on a cruise from New York to Iceland and we picked the cruise for its destinations. The ship is old and is poorly maintained; lots of rust,scuff marks,stained carpets,faded wood on the decks.The vibration in the cabins is constant and unbelievable like sleeping on top of a freight train. The food is on par with Hometown buffet.Ar breakfast the hot foods were covered in grease.No fresh yogurt or berries.There are few choices for food on the ship with restrictive hours.The room service took forever and was poor quality. For dinner you are forced to dress up and go the main dining room so you don’t starve and you see fed like warm mediocre food. Most of the senior patrons don’t seem to mind or notice.We have been on about 29 cruises and this is by far the worst. There was bad weather last night and many cabins and hallways leaked and were inundated with water.Ernember this is an old ship. There is virtually no entertainment or enrichment programs and at the moment the pool and jacuzzi ms are drained with a full day at sea.The days entertainment choice a movie in the theater? The staff are very nice and well trained for the most part but they have very little to work with. I would stick with Silversea,Viking and Seabourn if you wish to experience a luxury cruise. Give these guys a miss unless you like bad food and old ships and a vibrating cabin where you can’t sleep. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have just celebrated my Birthday on this lovely ship via Las Vegas, NYC and then cruising back to Southampton. I must admit that after reading some reviews I was beginning to worry about our trip but I cannot fault the Liner. We ... Read More
I have just celebrated my Birthday on this lovely ship via Las Vegas, NYC and then cruising back to Southampton. I must admit that after reading some reviews I was beginning to worry about our trip but I cannot fault the Liner. We were on Deck 6 and although the balcony was sheltered you do not stay out there for long as the wind is so fierce-we did wonder about the previous comments as a balcony is nice to sit on but most days it was too windy. The crossing was smooth as it is June so that was very pleasing. The Liner is great and there is so much to do with some very good speakers. We wondered what we would do at sea for 7 days but the time goes so quickly as you enjoy the surroundings and great Dining-so sad that our voyage is over' Thank you Cunard !!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
A lovely liner but it took us nearly 7 days to find our way around. Some of the public rooms are badly placed and access is not easily found. The presentations and entertainment were excellent which helped pass the time away when ... Read More
A lovely liner but it took us nearly 7 days to find our way around. Some of the public rooms are badly placed and access is not easily found. The presentations and entertainment were excellent which helped pass the time away when crossing the Atlantic. An observation also was that the public toilets were not clearly marked and hard to find. A great experience to travel on this beautiful liner. There were plenty of board games available for passengers to enjoy and if anyone is interested in learning bridge, there are great classes available. Obviously bridge has a big following as there were intermediate classes. The tables and seating in the Kings Court, where people can dine casually, are mostly hidden from view when entering the buffet area. Instead of just walking in and seeing what tables were available, a person has to walk up and down looking in the “nooks and crannies”. We much preferred the Lido on the Elizabeth and Victoria which provided clear and open views of the dining area. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
With a bit of trepidation, we boarded the QM2 in Southampton....concerned about the weather (forecast for storms), the location of our cabin in those storms (deck 12), the dress code (planned to rent a tux for DH) and the rumored ... Read More
With a bit of trepidation, we boarded the QM2 in Southampton....concerned about the weather (forecast for storms), the location of our cabin in those storms (deck 12), the dress code (planned to rent a tux for DH) and the rumored snobby-ness of crew and passengers. Our cabin (Club Balcony) was very clean, similar in size to most low end balcony cabin on Celebrity, but well laid out. The bathroom was tiny, though. Steward in our area was very friendly and paid attention to our 'style" of comings and goings. Cabin made up very quickly. The forecast storms did make the crossing bad for sunbathers for sure....decks often closed due to high wind and rain.. But for us a smooth ride with a mild rocking as the ship and huge waves passed each other. Did take meclizine to prevent any issues...but probably didn't need. Dh was unable to rent a tux...none close to his ordinary size. So he made do with his dark coat and pants, a white shirt and a black bow tie...I doubt anyone noticed. Many men were dressed in tuxes on the THREE formal nights, but many just in suits. It is actually nice to see nearly everyone dressed for dinner! Some ball gowns, some long and formal gowns..mostly cocktail dresses and the black slacks and formal top uniform. (If not your thing you are supposed to stay on deck 7..buffet, lounge and public areas....coat and tie seemed the rule there) Think like you're low end royalty and enjoy! Staff seemed busy and not able to take the time to socialize much. I would imagine those who are regulars get better service, but we had no complaints. Our waiter was very well trained and at the same time warm and friendly. Loved the set table for each meal (B-L-D) in Britannia Club...food was the same as the main dining room..although the flambes for desert may have been just in the Club. Lectures were nearly all great, shows variable but worth watching, and the music wonderful all around the ship. Did not do any classes ($35 for a watercolor kit??). But new friends seemed to enjoy. Events normally held outside had to be indoors crowding the public spaces...but weather happens. (a pool on deck 12 was covered) Cons....high cocktail prices for what you got. terrible disembarkation...little signage, no announcements in public area, staff unclear on why the delays (1.5 hours late getting off). Once off...very fast through immigration. Lots of luggage placed in wrong piles...and frantic groups searching for their bags. (amazing # of huge bags...must be using the ship to move to Florida for the summer) Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose Silver Seas because of the great service, great food and wonderful staff. Getting on board is always easy and fast, and a nice welcome from our butler. Couldn't wait to have my first glass of champagne. The staff is helpful ... Read More
I chose Silver Seas because of the great service, great food and wonderful staff. Getting on board is always easy and fast, and a nice welcome from our butler. Couldn't wait to have my first glass of champagne. The staff is helpful and friendly every day - not just the first day. We asked about a special meal for my husband (he loves escargot) , and of course - he got it! The singers are very talented, and had a nice variety of music. The Alaska ports were a bit cold for May, but the views are breathtaking. Eagles everywhere. The port of Homer had a sunny and warmer day, and the town looked like a postcard or a travel brochure. Had the best halibut fish and chips ever! Taking the train from Seward to the Anchorage airport was a highlight of the trip. That was a scenic ride thru the mountains with view of animals, glaciers and forest. It was all GREAT! Read Less
Sail Date May 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 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

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