13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
A few weeks ago, we cruised aboard MS Insignia. It has been several years since we have been on Oceania (due to retirement plans). We were looking forward to two things: The voyage to Cuba and how the line has fared in the years since ... Read More
A few weeks ago, we cruised aboard MS Insignia. It has been several years since we have been on Oceania (due to retirement plans). We were looking forward to two things: The voyage to Cuba and how the line has fared in the years since we last travelled with them. First things first, the trip to Cuba was cancelled. Not Oceania’s fault, as it hit all the cruise lines hard. We had originally booked a low deck porthole cabin for this trip. Once the Cuba trip was cancelled, Oceania came back to us with a very nice package of monies returned AND possible upgrades. We chose an upgrade (which we paid for), to Concierge level. We spent a few days in South Beach, pre cruise, and then boarded Insignia. We were very pleased with the refurb that the ship had just finished. Beautiful and elegant in all aspects of this small ship. This was our 65th cruise and have been on many lines, but must say that the small ship feel was really nice. Our cabin was a nice size with lots of storage space, very nice balcony and great amenities. We spent more time on this balcony than many other ships from our past. The bathrooms are very small; particularly the shower, but we are not large people, so it did not affect us. Our cabin stewards were excellent, exceeding our expectations. Bottled water was placed in our cabin each day and always kept full. Bottled water is filtered aboard ship and replaced each day in your cabin (included). You can walk the entire length of this ship within two-three minutes. We were on Deck seven, so we were always two decks up to the Terrace Café and Pool, or two decks down to the Main Dining Room. There are two shops, a very tiny lobby and several areas to enjoy drinks or relaxation. The library on Deck 10 was a beautiful place to relax and read. The days of libraries like this on most ships are gone. The Show room area was very spacious and was used for several different events during the voyage. This ship has very limited entertainment. A pianist in the evening, along with a quintet of strings. The main show was always at 9:45 p.m., when most of the ship had gone to bed. The entertainment was okay, but we did not go to more than one show. There is also a stunning view lounge on the upper decks with wonderful views of the ocean. The times we went there to enjoy an after dinner drink, it was usually empty! The FOOD is what we were most anxious to try as we had remembered it being outstanding from a previous cruise. We were not disappointed in any of the venues on board. The two specialty restaurants are included in the price, but you only get one shot at each of them (unless you are a Suite guest). Both Toscana and the Polo Grill were outstanding, each in their own way. The quality of the food, presentation and service were all excellent. The Main Dining Room was excellent too, with a wonderfully diverse menu each evening and great service. Very nice wine lists in all outlets also helped. We enjoyed breakfast in the MDR several times, and again, was top notch. The Terrace Café is the buffet. It is not very big, nor is there a large selection. We did feel, however, that the food offered was very nice quality and we enjoyed it. We especially enjoyed the great cheeses each day (which were not the processed goo that you get on most ships). Sitting outside on the ship’s fantail, was really nice, especially in the Caribbean setting. The pool restaurant served very nice sandwiches and grilled items cooked to order. Also, it had a daily fruit and salad bar, along with some of the best ice cream and shakes at sea. Our ports of call were not the reason we stayed with this cruise after Cuba was cancelled. Key West, Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya (which had to be skipped due to high winds) were all okay. We had been to most of them, so we didn’t do any excursions. I could write many pages about this ship, but need to conclude by saying we look forward to travelling with Oceania again in our cruising future. IF you like the small ship experience, you will love this ship!! Thanks again to all members of the crew that made our week go by way too fast! Read Less
54 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
NEVER AGAIN!! Completed a segment of the Oceania Around the World 2019 cruise. Treated like a second class citizen by ATW Travelers who were given special privileges while the rest of us treated as if we did not belong despite the ... Read More
NEVER AGAIN!! Completed a segment of the Oceania Around the World 2019 cruise. Treated like a second class citizen by ATW Travelers who were given special privileges while the rest of us treated as if we did not belong despite the dollars paid being very high.(The ATW cruisers made up nearly 3/4 of the cruisers onboard) . Atmosphere onboard - us and them - it was dreadful. Crew extremely nervous of upsetting any ATW cruisers. Specialty restaurants completely empty by 9pm - no atmosphere with most ATW cruisers in bed by this time. Menus at Oceania Toscana restaurant not overhauled in 14 years. Food offering very “yesterday” very heavy. ATW given priority for all sittings at specialty restaurants before 8pm. Constantly asked by other cruisers and crew if we were “Seggies” the name given by ATW cruisers to the perceived “second class” i.e.those who were NOT on the ATW Cruise. Made very clear we should - stick together and not bother the ATW’s. At least there were many wonderful “Seggies” but all of us felt we were treated - differently -in all aspects of the day to day cruise life compared to our past crushing experiences. Shore excursions were outrageously overpriced and slow. Those with permanent injury and unable to walk unaided, taking excursions they could not complete without assistance. Ship encouraged it -simply money making. Entertainment onboard was very ordinary and if there were acts that invoked fun they were quickly told off by the ATW travelers via the Crusie Director making most entertainment bland and boring compared to other luxury cruises we have experienced. MOST DISGUSTING OF ALL was witnessing the BAD BEHAVIORS of grown Women to each other and the crew over OF ALL THINGS - NEEDLEPOINT. Crowd control became necessary after physical fighting and crying broke out over not getting their desired Needlepoint pattern. Ship made daily announcements about the need to obey security at the morning Needlepoint distribution. Very large groups of ATW women joining together- physically fighting, lying, pushing and shoving to gain advantage over others. Ongoing ridiculous abhorrent behavior that would seem funny BUT it was ugly to watch and unfortunately very TRUE!!! We also sadly paid handsomely for the privilege to witness this - ship could not control them. Clothes were stolen out of ships dryers and worn by other ATW passengers and when challenged they answered “ prove it’s yours “. ATW cruisers organized their own exclusive sessions onboard for various things taking over the use of public space and telling Seggies they must leave the area. Crew would tell us to move or the ATW people would make their lives hard. Yoga sessions were conducted by a passenger who was NOT a trained, sanctioned employee of Oceania. She and her ATW students demanded and were given exclusive use of the gym while not allowing Seggies to attend their sessions or access portion of the gyms common area during her sessions. Again we were told not to question it - they had priority. The list goes on -It was absolutely horrible !! More like traveling with a very self indulged group of Aged Care Retirement people. Never again!!. This was NOT - repeat NOT - a Luxury Cruise it was the Cruise from HELL! Travel on a segment of any ATW cruise with Oceania at your own risk. If you still have life in you and you wish to enjoy your hard earned vacation dollars in a good environment explore other cruise options. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Just returned from the Tokyo to Singapore (25day)segment of the World Cruise on Insignia. (We were not advised at time of booking with Oceania that we were joining a world cruise)Spent a lot of money on this trip and have never had such a ... Read More
Just returned from the Tokyo to Singapore (25day)segment of the World Cruise on Insignia. (We were not advised at time of booking with Oceania that we were joining a world cruise)Spent a lot of money on this trip and have never had such a bad experience on Oceania. We were not aware we were joining aprox 360 world cruisers (w.c’s.) but found out right away that cliques had already been established and it was almost impossible to penetrate the barrier between the segment guests and the w.c’s. Getting a large table for dinner was near impossible (never experienced that). Several events were organized for the w.c’s (special events and private parties)while the rest of the segment guests were left behind with little and sometimes no entertainment at all. We also realized the segment guests were paying US$100 pp.pd more than the wc’s we assume to subsidize the world cruise. Never been on an Oceania Cruise where there were NO extra activities. Especially on sea days. It was the usual bag o beans, trivia, mini putt and table tennis. It was sooo... boring. We made our displeasure known to the concierge on two occasions and promises were made that our concerns would be escalated but of course we heard nothing. We have sailed many times with Oceania but won’t will be sailing with them again. Perhaps the new owners (NCL) are making their presence known. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the outstanding cabin! Renovations are outstanding! Service and food the entire cruise was excellent --- no matter where we ate. The eggs benedict was outstanding at the Terrace Cafe! Fresh muffin, Canadian bacon with freshly poached egg and topped with outstanding Hollandaise sauce. Yum! In fact all the selections in the Terrace Cafe were excellent --- spoiled by all the servers who were there to please. My husband fell in love with the extra thick chocolate shake in Waves. Grand Dining room had excellent food and service, but at times could be slow and a bit frustrating. If you needed something "out of the ordinary" it was hard to get the item. Polo and Toscano Specialty restaurants were both excellent! Entertainment was varied and good. The singers were extremely talented and the Frank Sinatra impersonator was outstanding! The Martini Bar piano player and entertainer at one of the big shows was excellent. Martinis were outstanding! The enrichment lectures could have been better --- we expected to hear more about Cuba's history and politics. The presentations were limited and bland -- that was disappointing. Excursions on Cienfuegos were the best; though the one going to Colonial Trinidad in Santiago was very interesting and good. The buffet lunch in one of the local restaurants was delicious. Time was limited in Havana ... would have been good if we'd been able to see a Tropicana Show there and had more shopping time to get cigars & local crafts.. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi ... Read More
We previously sailed on the Insignia. We have never been to Cuba before and the cruise stopped at three ports in Cuba. The embarkation was a little slow for a smaller ship. The dining was very good in all the restaurants on board. The Wi Fi access is free one device per cabin. The speed was very slow at times and some websites would time out before I could login. The cabin size was okay with a veranda. There was limited desk space. There were cabinets and shelves all around to store clothes and personal items. The bathroom was small with a shower and limited shelves. The lightning in the cabin was very good. There were USB ports on both sides of the bed and on the desk. There was one 220 V and 110 V outlet on the desk. There are two banks of elevators on the ship one aft and one forward. The ship was was recently remodeled. The entertainment was very good one show per night. There were activities every day, There is a full casino and bars on different decks on the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Travelling alone for the first time I found the staff very helpful,friendly and accomodating. The choice of meals in the Main Dining Room was very limited and was very salty overall including the Terrace Grill.Overall I enjoyed it. The ... Read More
Travelling alone for the first time I found the staff very helpful,friendly and accomodating. The choice of meals in the Main Dining Room was very limited and was very salty overall including the Terrace Grill.Overall I enjoyed it. The Ship was on it's last voyage before dry dock where it was getting a complete overall,so a lot of the other things will not apply. I loved the itinerary of this cruise because it was one of the few that included Bermuda, but because of the time of year we encountered some bad weather and could not get into one Port but nonetheless I still enjoyed the Cruise. The entertainment at night was varied,but wasn't of the caliber of some of the other cruise lines. The Dining Room staff were accomodating in trying to seat me with another couple most of the time. I met a lot of many wonderful people on the cruise which is why I love travelling on a smaller ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 7 time with Oceania.. Anyone planning on taking a cruise with Oceania Cruise line please read this, what I affectionately call my CRUISE FROM HELL. I have never done this before but we have been treated so badly by this ... Read More
This was our 7 time with Oceania.. Anyone planning on taking a cruise with Oceania Cruise line please read this, what I affectionately call my CRUISE FROM HELL. I have never done this before but we have been treated so badly by this cruise line others should know what happened. Please, Please Share, People need to be warned. My husband and I took the Fall Splendor Cruise from New York to Montreal, leaving on Tuesday, October 23rd for 10 nights. It started in NYC and we immediately noticed a drop in temperature. Boarding the ship was easy and our cabin, Vista suite was ready early. Our first night on the ship and our cabin was very cold. By the time we reached Boston it was unbearable, so we called down and a repair person was sent up. The blowers weren't working right was the first of many diagnosis's. The one door to the outside was bleeding air very badly so someone else would come up to fix that. The blowers were adjusted and the doors were sealed better. Once we docked in Boston, our first port of call, we got off the ship for a little while and took the provided shuttle to Quincy Market. We were bundled but it still was very cold. We were notified that our intended stop in Sanguenney was cancelled because the authorities had closed the park there because of cold weather. It was too cold even for Canada. That night our room was again very cold. We called again and this time the thermostat wasn't working right so that was replaced but our door still kept whistling. They would work on that too. While in Newport, RI, we heard that there was a "Nort easter" coming. We became concerned but was told the ship wouldn't put us in danger. We skipped Bar Harbor, the highlight of the cruise for us, as it wasn't safe to dock.The second trip change On the way to Halifax the seas were so rough, too rough for any ship to be out and I spent the night in agony, throwing up all night and moaning. I couldn't pick my head off the pillow without throwing up. I prayed for daylight and hoping to be on Terra firma by 7 Am at the latest, but the announcements kept coming all day long that the port was closed Finally I called the infirmary and spoke to the Nurse. It was Sunday and they were not on duty, so I paid whatever I couldn't take it any more. I received two shots. I couldn't stay in 7005 as the nurse told me that is the worse place to be with the night we just had. There was no promise of the next night being any better. Finally at 8:30 PM we did dock at Halifax as the ship had to refuel. They stopped for 3 hours in Halifax, which was not much of a stop. We were then advised that we’d be skipping the intended stop in Sydney, change number 3. Would be leaving Halifax at 0200 and sail “forever” in whatever seas there were to Quebec City. We decided “enough was enough” and got off by 9:30 PM luggage and all. A taxi driver, Rex, a native of Halifax told us that no ships should have been out on a night like the one that just passed. My husband and I agreed with him. It felt so wonderful to be on solid ground. This was our 7th cruise with Oceania and we trusted the cruise line. You had many films on the TV about their plans to refurbish the Insignia. I think they waited too long. The ship was not in great shape and that door never stopped leaking. The cabin did warm up after they changed the thermostat, and we spent 3 of the 5 nights on the ship freezing. This cruise should either not been scheduled at all or have been cancelled as soon as they saw the temperature dropping and that a storm was coming in, that is why all those ports were cancelled. This was too late in the season for Oceania to have a cruise to Montreal. They did put us in danger so Please do not take a cruise on Oceania, because I care about your safety and comfort, Oceania does not. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have just returned from the worst cruise experience ever. The atmosphere on board when the ship docked at Halifax was close to a mutiny. The Captain was being asked to explain why we had endured four days out of ten on the sea instead ... Read More
We have just returned from the worst cruise experience ever. The atmosphere on board when the ship docked at Halifax was close to a mutiny. The Captain was being asked to explain why we had endured four days out of ten on the sea instead of one. Why the ship had arrived at Halifax at 22-00 ? My wife had to spend the day in the cabin due to the ship circling for most of the day feeling sick and giddy. Then to add insult to injury a bill was received from the Doctor for $445 for my wife’s treatment for sea sickness---a more appropriate action would have been a note and some flowers to say sorry. It is outrageous to charge a single dime for her treatment caused by the ineptness of the ship . One of your ship staff admitted that out of the last seven scheduled stops at Sydney only once did the ship dock There were many guests calling for an explanation from the Captain and were given the lame excuse that he was asleep. There was not any explanation given for the delayed arrival at Halifax. The General Manager was given an extensive list of cabin numbers so that he could offer an explanation for the delays but he did not have the courtesy to reply. There were free drinks offered to say sorry but these are of no value if you are teetotal Additionally I had requested an anniversary cake and it took three reminders before the “surprise” arrived. The helpful waiter offered to deliver it to our cabin and we are still waiting for its arrival……. I complained about the portion size of the fish at the Toscana restaurant and did not get a proper explanation, only an ansafone message saying that the Restaurant manager will call back. I am still waiting….. The attraction to the cruise was New England in the Fall and the attractive eight places to visit. In the event there were only four Can’t help feeling that the Cruise was for the benefit of Oceania and not its passengers so that passengers could spend more while the ship sailed the Ocean. How wise was it for this voyage to have taken place given the weather conditions in the Atlantic at this time of the year I would like to say that the staff in the dining room and cabins went out of their way to be helpful. The ship was tastefully fitted out but I felt that the entertainment was under par Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We were attracted by the itinerary as it visited some places to which we had not been before and we were swayed by the marketing that promised so much but as we discovered actually delivered well below our reasonable expectations. The ... Read More
We were attracted by the itinerary as it visited some places to which we had not been before and we were swayed by the marketing that promised so much but as we discovered actually delivered well below our reasonable expectations. The food arrived invariably tepid or cold and was sent back. The tables were being cleared before all the table had finished eating. The drink prices can only be described as a rip off!!! A run of the mill wine we buy for £7 is marked up at $45 plus 18% service charge. The shower was cold for the early part of the cruise as was the cabin for the whole trip despite our represenations. The wind was lifting the curtains in our cabin and the noise of it could be heard by reception!!! Gaffa tape was provided as a short term measure but it was never fully weathertight. The entertainment was mostly disappointing apart from the pianist. We have enjoyed a number of other cruises but we would not sail with this Company again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary from Montreal to New York. We chose Oceania because of it's food and luxury. The itinerary was great even though the weather has not been too good. The cabin was comfortable ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary from Montreal to New York. We chose Oceania because of it's food and luxury. The itinerary was great even though the weather has not been too good. The cabin was comfortable enough but too small compared to equivalent luxury small ships. It was also dated, main problem was the old, small plastic shower room, and the storage was about enough for 2 weeks, any longer and there's not enough storage. Other reviews say the same thing. We are in cabin 7088 which suffers a lot from engine noise, again a sign of poor design and age. The noise was very disappointing so keep away from 7088 if you can. Because the weather wasn't great and fairly cold the outside spaces and dining was not being used. This made the ship seem absolutely packed. I think this is because the cabins are small so there are too many passengers for the ship facilities if the outside spaces can't be used. Getting a seat for afternoon tea is impossible if you're late. We had a problem on the first night where we had to wait for 50 minutes for a table for the grand dining room, we were eventually the last in. We found that when we got in there were plenty of empty tables which hadn't been reset. We were told it was because people weren't using the other facilities. We did get a good outcome as we got extra bookings in the speciality restaurants as a result and everyone was apologetic. I just think there are not enough indoor facilities if people can't go outside. This is possibly caused by the small cabins allowing more passengers than the facilities can really support on a small ship. Having said all that we are enjoying ourselves, the food is generally very good and the staff and friendly and helpful. If you drink I would strongly suggest you get the drinks package.as drinks are expensive on board. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, in particular the visit to Bermuda. Unfortunately, the Bermuda sojourn was cancelled due to hurricane Florence but was substituted with visits to Portland Maine and St John's New Brunswick. The ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, in particular the visit to Bermuda. Unfortunately, the Bermuda sojourn was cancelled due to hurricane Florence but was substituted with visits to Portland Maine and St John's New Brunswick. The ship with 645 guests was the smallest we have cruised on by far but worries about space and amenities ranges were quickly dismissed.. Public spaces, gym, pool area etc were all sufficiently spacious for demand and the ship felt "spacious" throughout. Embarkation and disembarkation were efficient, stress free and speedy which was very different to most previous cruises we have taken. Additionally, two tendering days were handled efficiently by the crew to provide a faultless, efficient and comfortable service. Levels of service in every respect were exemplary from an excellent crew - it was very obvious that the ship had an excellent crew to guest ratio. Guest services was manned by highly efficient, capable and courteous staff 24 hours a day and on each of several visits made there were no queues whatsoever - never had this before on 23 previous cruises! Questions and queries were always dealt with reassuring words of advice and information which certainly left one feeling satisfied with the service received. The gym was very well furnished with an excellent range of technogym equipment which allowed us to train all body parts effectively. Additionally, treadmill and stepping equipment was always available with no waiting on all of our numerous visits although the fairly high age profile of guests on board might be a factor here! Gym staff were excellent in terms of support and advice and was the best experience we have received in a gym to date. Staterooms were very spacious and well appointed with high quality bathroom toiletries provided alongside bathrobes and slippers.The stateroom was kept immaculately clean and tidy by our steward for which we were very grateful. The only slight negative with stateroom space was that we could not store our luggage under the bed or elsewhere effectively so limiting our stateroom space. This being said, we know that other guests managed to store their luggage under beds so maybe our luggage was too large! The food in all venues visited was absolutely superb and Oceania's claim to providing the best food at sea was well substantiated in our opinion. We did not use the Grand Dining Room for either breakfast or lunch preferring the buffet at the Terrace Cafe for both. However, this was by no means 2nd best with both the service, range and quality of food available being magnificent. Guests were served at each station efficiently and with a courteous manner, hot and cold beverages were served by very attentive waiters throughout who were always available to lend a hand or find a table in your chosen location. Evening dining was open sitting which worked brilliantly and we only had to wait for a few minutes on the first cruise night which was expected. Again, service was exemplary in all respects and food options and quality superb. Our visits to both Polo Grill and Toscana were memorable with unrivaled menu choices and really special service levels although we agree that the Grand Dining Room experience daily was in itself very special day in and day out! Entertainment provided on board was the weakest area as the on board singers and dancers were few in number and performing in a small show lounge with unsuitable seating for show viewing and with poor sight lines for all further back than the first few rows.Seating was on a level with the very small stage which limited what performers could provide. All of the entertainment team worked incredibly hard but entertainment is not Oceania's main focus and in no way detracts from the overall experience as numerous other factors combine to provide an overall brilliant cruise. The pool area was very well managed with very comfortable sun loungers provided as well as blankets on a couple of breezy mornings.We always found available sun loungers where we wanted and we were very frequent daily visitors to the pool deck. Additionally, the running, walking track was a real bonus providing an unimpeded resource which was well used throughout the day. Altogether a memorable cruise and our best cruising experience to date fulfilling all of our high expectations of the cruise itself and oceania in general. The gratuities payable each day by guests were richly deserved by all of the crew in our opinion and we thank everyone on board for looking after us so well throughout the cruise Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose a Penthouse Suite because it is one of the few class cabins that has a tub in the bath. Expensive but it gives you a nice size cabin and extra service and amenities. The crew was the very best and the cruise was as good as it ... Read More
I chose a Penthouse Suite because it is one of the few class cabins that has a tub in the bath. Expensive but it gives you a nice size cabin and extra service and amenities. The crew was the very best and the cruise was as good as it could be. The remnants of hurricane Florence hit us during the sixth day but the ship rocked a little but it weathered the rough seas well. The deck and security crew were the best in the attention they paid to the guests. The skies cleared for our dock in Quebec and we had a wonderful tour of the city. The destination services crew did an outstanding job in handling the refunds of the excursions that had to be cancelled due to weather. I must give an outstanding rating overall to this cruise. It was exactly what we wanted. Food was excellent the activities were to our taste and the crew were the best. Again, the employees made the cruise outstanding. We really felt that they cared for our experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the time of year and because we wanted to see Bermuda. Paying a six star price for this supposedly six star cruise, we were so shocked when we walked into the cabin that if it had been a hotel, we would ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the time of year and because we wanted to see Bermuda. Paying a six star price for this supposedly six star cruise, we were so shocked when we walked into the cabin that if it had been a hotel, we would have walked out. You could stand in the bathroom and touch all four walls from the middle, and I am only 5ft tall! Overall the ship was very dated and shabby and the food distinctly average. I fully concur with the other reviews on this ship and would never travel with this line again, and shame on the six star booking company for not being honest about the state of this ship too. Did not get to Bermuda as we were scuppered by Hurricane Florence and spent 3 days parked in a dreary port near Canada. Although we were disappointed not to reach Bermuda, this review is not based on this fact. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We like smaller ships and we like the elements of luxury that Oceania provides. However, and it's a big however, we will not sail on Oceania's (or Princess's) small "R" ships again. They are simply too old. ... Read More
We like smaller ships and we like the elements of luxury that Oceania provides. However, and it's a big however, we will not sail on Oceania's (or Princess's) small "R" ships again. They are simply too old. Signs of age were everywhere - salt corrosion around window frame bolts in the public areas, rust peeking through in numerous places in the overhead, major signs of wear and tear in the tenders, and a feeling of genteel shabbiness all through the ship. The cabin (we were in a concierge verandah cabin, 8023), had a small old flat screen TV that couldn't be viewed from the bed. The ship intercom worked only part of the time. The distance between the floor of the bathtub/shower and the overhead is about 71", so if you are taller than that you shower with your head at a cocked angle. We read about major overhauls coming. When have we heard that before? At this point it's like the proverbial putting lipstick on a pig. Having said all that, we are very fond of Oceania - the people are well-trained, the management operates by walking around, and are on top of problems as soon as they appear. The food is exceptional, in the MDR as well as the specialty restaurants. The buffet food was also excellent. The housekeeping crew was well-trained and attentive to all our request. So was the dinig room staff. No complaints at all there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because of the smaller ship experience and the claims about the food (gourmet). We have cruised back in the classic days of cruising (e.g. the 1970's on Homeline's Oceanic which was 5 star) as well as in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the smaller ship experience and the claims about the food (gourmet). We have cruised back in the classic days of cruising (e.g. the 1970's on Homeline's Oceanic which was 5 star) as well as in the late 80's on Celebrity (which was not as good as Oceanic days but pretty darn close). We have also sailed on Carnival, NCL, and MSC. Our last cruise (late last year) was on MSC and comparing MSC to Oceania Insignia is like comparing a buffet at the Golden Corral to dinner at a 5 star gourmet restaurant (Oceania Insignia being the latter). First the ship: no complaints. Classy, clean, simple to navigate, and well organized. We find the very large ships to be extremely difficult to navigate and find your way around. Insignia was perfect. You could get from your cabin to any venue within a minute or two. I liked that very much. However, be aware that with a smaller ship comes more motion during rough seas. The internet was the best I've experienced on a ship. Cabin: we had a concierge level veranda cabin in the back of the ship with a view of the ship's wake. Loved this room and balcony,. The refrigerator was refilled every day and there was no charge to drink the sodas or water in the room. Ice bucket was filled at least once a day if not twice. Carpeting, room temperature, and everything else about the room was just perfect. The cabin stewardess (Dyana) was always available, did her best to make us happy, and ALWAYS made sure to address us by our last names, a classy move. In fact, all staff on this ship were amazing. They did their best to address us by our names and ALWAYS said hello in passing with a smile and a "yes sir or madam." This ship, unlike most of the larger ships of today, was all about class, class, class. It was classy but not pretentious or snobby. The dining was simply amazing. Caviar with dinner, gourmet food at every turn, always hot food, excellent taste, helpful and extremely professional wait staff (Budi from Bali was amazing), classy tableware, etc. etc. We chose to sit at the same table every night and this was great because our waiter got to know us and our likes and dislikes. He truly seemed interested in pleasing everyone at our table and he went out of his way to make our cruise particularly special. The food in the specialty restaurants was also very good and we particularly enjoyed the steakhouse. The specialty restaurants are also included in your fare which was a particularly nice touch. The buffet was one of the best I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. It was more like being at a wedding venue in that all food is served to you from the staff. Not only was this classy but it also cuts down the chances that one might be exposed to germs or bacteria (from the utensils). The food was definitely gourmet quality. I was particularly impressed that the head chef (yes, he actually came out to socialize from time to time with the passengers as did the captain of the ship) told us he bought fresh lobster while we were docked in Maine and served it in the buffet. Entertainment and Activities were a bit minimal but we liked this as we do not like the frenetic pace of the mass cruise lines and/or ships. The comedian was very good but we did not attend any other shows. We tended to go to bed after dinner and wake up early to enjoy the ship during the day. But I did attend a lecture by the cruise historian and really enjoyed her talks on the ports we would be visiting. The service was beyond our expectations. As mentioned earlier, always a yes sir, no sir, yes madam, no madam. Every staff member greets you in passing with the above statements and a broad smile. We rarely if ever had to look for a staff member to serve us as the staff to guest ratio ensured that someone was always available or right there when needed. Oh...and there were ALWAYS seats available in the buffet or by the pool. Staff members seemed genuinely interested in making you happy. If you asked for one of something, they would give you two. If you asked for another, they would give you three. If you were seen carrying a plate of food to your table, a staff member would often offer to carry the plate for you and accompany you to your table. Simply amazing service. No nickel and diming. I particularly liked not being hounded by photographers who want to take your pictures at every turn and then sell them to you. The drinks had real liquor in them (not watered down like on mass cruise lines that offer the free drink packages). Lastly, the staff have the patience of saints. I watched waiters serve some truly rude people and still did so always with a smile. Another nice touch is this line allows you to bring on wine (and bring liquor back to your room while in port) which was a really nice (and generous) touch. I had a problem in the past doing this on an NCL cruise (and the sommelier on the ship that confronted me when I brought a tiny bottle of liquor from a port in Greece was particularly nasty and rude). This was NEVER an issue on Oceania. Ports and shore excursions were also excellent. We got to sail through the Cape Cod Canal (which I didn't even know existed) and this was a lot of fun. We enjoyed our excursion but found that finding our own entertainment or excursion was a better deal financially rather than purchasing the ones offered by the cruise line. Staying overnight in Bermuda was a great idea for the line as this made our stay in St. Georges particularly enjoyable and relaxing. We did not travel with children and particularly enjoyed the fact that there were VERY few kids on this ship. Kids, in general, will not enjoy this ship as there is really not a lot for them to do. One of the people in our party did have a young teen with her and he seemed to be bored a lot of the time (but I think he still enjoyed himself). We would DEFINITELY sail again with Oceania. In fact, we booked another cruise while we were onboard and enjoyed the discounts offered from this method of booking. I have to say that Oceania restored my faith in cruising. I had been very disappointed by the mass cruise line experiences of the past few years but Oceania was nothing like those lines. Yes, you do pay at least twice as much to be on an Oceania cruise but it it well worth the additional cost. This fact was also why the other guests on this ship were of such nice quality. There was no pushing and shoving at the buffet, people were very polite (but not snobby or stuck-up), there were no (or very few) lines or overcrowded venues, and I enjoyed conversing with many of the other passengers. The dress was always (in the dining venues) country club casual which I also enjoyed and found relaxing. You never had to wear a jacket, tie, or suit (yet it was still extremely classy or eloquent). No fake, chintzy formal nights. As long as Oceania does not change to the style of the mass cruise lines, we will ONLY sail with them. But if you like partying, loud people, buffets where your goal is to pile on as much mediocre food as possible, large crowds, chintzy formal nights and photography sessions, bling, 24 hour entertainment, lots of loud children (and lots of activities geared toward children), you won't like Oceania. Try the larger, mass cruise lines like Celebrity, NCL, MSC, etc. For us, we will stick with Oceania. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we ... Read More
My wife Nicci and I opted to move up to a luxury cruise line because we were weary of the hustle and bustle found on mass market cruises like on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. While we previously enjoyed a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda, we wanted to take a longer cruise in the Caribbean, our favorite vacation destination, that would still jibe with Nicci’s schedule as a school nurse but also would not have many children onboard. When I did research and found the Caribbean Palette cruise on the Insignia, that was most attractive; the additional perks of “the finest cuisine at sea” and having a couple of sea days mixed in with some ports we had never been to (originally Columbia on Independence Day, which was then thankfully later substituted by Havana) also made us very excited, despite the extremely high cost of the voyage. We had some initial concerns, as conveyed to us by our booking agent at Oceania, that we were among the younger passengers aboard (in our mid-to-late forties), but as we are old souls at heart (or so we thought!), that was of little problem to us. What absolutely sealed the deal for us was being able to sail home to Manhattan, thus needing to fly only one-way down to Miami. Overall, then, we had very high expectations for this cruise. I would say that, for the most part, these expectations were met. I will summarize individual facets below, but, despite overarching concerns besides cost that will lead us not to take another Oceania cruise for quite some time, if ever, the cruise was most pleasant and relaxing. Here are our reports and thoughts on what we experienced on the Insignia during our trip: Embarkation: Smooth and easy. As we had booked a Concierge cabin, we had expected to be onboard at noon, but we were able, surprisingly, to board much earlier, at 11:15. Briefly, on the flipside, debarkation was no worse in Manhattan than previously encountered, despite a great delay coming into port. Cabin: As we are used to Carnival-sized cabins, we had little problem, as otherwise seems to be expressed quite frequently in both reviews and on the Oceania boards, with the overall size of the Concierge-level cabin. While the cabin was far from luxurious, and in need of some freshening, there was adequate storage space for both clothing, effects, and luggage, and our aft-facing balcony was also a nice size, having room for a chaise longue, two chairs, and a table. Our mini-fridge was indeed stocked with our choice of beverages (only Coke for me, as Nicci does not drink soda), and there were always at least two large bottles of water left on our vanity with ice that we requested. We found that the air conditioning and room temperature for the first week of the voyage were far too warm, despite setting the thermostat on the lowest setting, and it took us a couple of occasions mentioning this to Housekeeping finally to get Maintenance to address the issue; even then, the difference was marginal, and the only way that we derived any comfort was from an oscillating fan that Housekeeping very kindly provided us. This warmth was also reflected in the water from the tap and shower, which never seemed to fall below lukewarm also despite being turned to the coldest possible setting. The biggest problem that we had, however, which we can confirm from previous reviewers, was the size and configuration of the bathroom, and most especially the shower: these were woefully inadequate and should be addressed in any refurbishment of the ship. The good thing was that our cabin steward Renan was most efficient and pleasant, always keeping the room neat and clean, and he was exemplary of the wonderful service provided elsewhere onboard. Food: Throughout the Terrace area, Grand Dining Room, and both specialty restaurants, the food mostly lived up to Oceania’s marketing hyperbole that they have the finest cuisine at sea. Things were always very fresh and nicely presented. It did seem that there was, surprisingly, a lack of variety of choices, as many dishes were only variations on a theme of the same staple ingredient (e.g., lamb, pork, or beef prepared in slightly different ways or with different sauces). Furthermore, there were times in the specialty restaurants that things could have run more smoothly, such as when we spent nearly three hours at our first night in Toscana or when either Nicci’s steak was most undercooked or I did not receive things that I ordered in Polo Grill. Furthermore, during lunch, the pizza (which, truthfully, I saw virtually no one else order) was mediocre at best. Also, breakfast service for late risers like me is nonexistent, with ample choices ending around 9am; the few times I did partake of breakfast in the Terrace, however, I must say that the omelettes were fantastic, made with freshly-beaten eggs. While these criticisms all may seem niggling, as this food is being provided by a cruise line that seemingly bases its entire marketing strategy on a flawless dining experience, passengers should be expected to have the best of everything. Since this is naturally impossible to achieve, then, let us just say that our expectations were met, but not exceeded, when it came to non-room service food on the Insignia. Turning quickly, then, to room service, I think this was the most pleasant surprise, with ample choices and a delicious Lombardy salad that I was surprised never to see offered anywhere else. I do think that Oceania did not do enough in our cabin to apprise us of the fact that we could have ordered an enhanced breakfast menu from room service, but since we had seen many rooms on our deck with such tags, it was more our fault for not making further use of this service. Finally, even though we made it there only once, the afternoon tea was fantastic, with great savory and sweet finger foods. Activity and entertainment: Our expectations were not high, given what we have read online here, and I think they were mostly met. As befits an older crowd, there was not much to do, with exceedingly low variety, during the day, with activities that never changed from needlepoint to poorly-attended bingo to trivia that we were not interested in at all. The performances of the entertainment staff were seemingly well done, but as we shall comment later on, we were obliged due to seasickness to miss one show completely and leave at the beginning of a second show, so this is most difficult to rate. Similarly, we never attended one onboard lecture except a cooking presentation by the executive chef that was very entertaining. The visiting artists (a singer, a magician, a comedian, and a guitarist) were talented and enjoyable, nothing to rave about yet quite pleasant to watch. What was first-rate was both the onboard band and, especially, the string quartet; the quartet’s skill, despite comments on the boards, was most evident, and they contributed towards our comfort both waiting for evening shows and during the afternoon tea. The casino was incredibly small, almost never full, yet very happily was smoke-free like virtually the remainder of the ship, and we actually came out ahead in our limited play there. The cruise director was adequate at his job, and we appreciated him keeping announcements to a minimum during the day, but Nicci found him not to be warm or genuine, and I will not dispute this assertion at all. We found it curious, as did fellow passengers (as we will expand on later), that there were no movies offered to watch during the day outside one’s cabin, such as in the lounge, until the last night of the voyage; I believe that this is something that Oceania should take heed of for future entertainment. I would say, then, that while we were happy not seeing any “sexy single parties” at the pool, there needed to be much more in the way of activities and entertainment onboard than was provided. Fellow passengers: Aside from the age of our fellow passengers, we did not quite know what to expect, even after having read comments on the boards and reviews. We found everyone very pleasant and easy to converse with, definitely on the more white-collar (and indeed retired) side, and, while we should not be surprised in hindsight, definitely more cosmopolitan: there was a high number of non-Americans aboard, including Australians and New Zealanders (which only makes sense if you think about it as they were escaping their winter). There seemed to be a somewhat-even mix of returning Oceania guests as well as first-timers like us, and what was astonishing was how many of these return passengers were dissatisfied with Oceania, perhaps this cruise in particular, stating that the high level of dining, activity, and the condition of the ship were not met as on previous cruises, whether on the Insignia or another Oceania ship. We appreciated their candor, but we also appreciated that they still found ways to enjoy their vacation and did not let their disappointment affect the experience of their fellow guests. Certainly, given what we saw at the Oceania future cruise desk, people were booking their next trips at a furious clip! I guess the biggest thing that I was surprised at was how similarly everyone dressed, at all times of the day, and while everyone seemed happy, there was also a distinct lack of what I would call whimsy, with no one ever seeming to laugh heartily but instead just seeming to be there, if you can get what I am driving at. Overall, if these people are representative of the Oceania norm, there are far worse cruisers to share a ship with. Ship: This is where our biggest problems lie. We knew that this ship, at around 30K tons, would be the smallest we had ever sailed on, but its lack of size definitely contributed to a lack of stability. So much so, in fact, that the relatively rough waters that we encountered on July 4th led to two-thirds of the ship (including some crewmembers!) to be laid out with seasickness – including Nicci, whom I have never seen ill in eighteen previous cruises with her. Unfortunately, I also had a repeat performance on July 13th, so I really lost two nights out of my cruise, and since I have been in much worse weather on bigger ships with no ill effects, I do indeed directly blame this on the size of Insignia. It seemed that the doors to the decks were always closed due to the high winds, which I understand is for safety, but this made exploring the decks difficult. Furthermore, this ship is in desperate need of refurbishment: tiles from the only pool onboard were flaking off at a prodigious and unacceptable rate, so that oftentimes I would find them sticking either on Nicci or on one of our fellow users. The entire ship seemed to be kept at a higher temperature, I guess to accommodate the older passengers who like to be warmer, and although the elevators mostly were uncrowded, they also tended to run on the smaller side. The décor was quite nice, harkening back to the classic era of ocean liners, and there seemed to be a great amount of public space, from everywhere including the atrium to the well-stocked library. Again, however, this can only provide so much comfort, and I think that not feeling stable while underway is a huge factor in why I would not come back to Oceania. Intangibles: I will skip over our ports of call, except to say this: Bermuda as always is my go-to vacation port, and I am very happy that we visited Havana, but this was a very intense stop only one day after embarkation, and we do not feel the need ever to visit Cuba again. Our other stops were fine, aside from Grenada, which felt distinctly unsafe, and Trinidad, an unscheduled stop (about which more in a second) that looked so unappetizing from onboard that we did not even bother to get off at the terminal to stretch our legs. I did not appreciate for one second that, while we understandably had to deviate stops in St. Lucia and Dominica because of Hurricane Beryl, in substituting Trinidad for these ports, Oceania did not even account for, let alone reimburse for, the refund in port charges for these missed stops, nor provide even a nominal onboard credit due to the inconvenience of adding in another sea day, as we received in the past from Carnival. This left a very bad taste in my mouth. As for other intangibles, I alluded before to the lack of whimsy and similarity in dress that our fellow passengers exhibited, and I guess this is why I always felt somewhat out of place onboard – I wanted to do more than just lie down next to the pool with a book or engage in pleasant banter but instead feel like I was sharing a good time and laugh and relax with like-minded passengers. Fortunately, Nicci and I were able to find one family (from very close to where we live) that similarly sought out fun, companionship, and enjoyment, otherwise this could have easily been a very somber and unpleasant cruise. I think, then, that Nicci and I need to strike a happy medium between the immaturity of Carnival cruises and the relative stiffness of Oceania cruises...for us, this seems to be on Celebrity. Lastly, I just feel that, even with the great service and overall high quality of the food, this cruise simply did not provide us with anywhere near the value that was expected from the exorbitant cost of the voyage. I wanted to write a more detailed review because I never really found anything on this site that would provide me the same insight and information as I hope I did here. I therefore hope that you will find this as useful as I meant it to be. Thanks for reading! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is ... Read More
First of all, bear this in mind: I really wanted to give Insignia a four-and-nine-tenths rating, but there's no button for that, so I settled for a four. Why not just go ahead and punch the fifth button? you ask. Well, a five is perfection. Insignia is wonderful, but perfection is unattainable for any ship. So four it must be. DW and I are veterans of more than 50 cruises, mostly on Princess, where we are elite. We have enjoyed Princess a lot, but we wanted to step up a bit and have heard great things about Oceania, mostly centering on the food. And it's all true, folks. So let's start at the beginning of our 14-night Miami-to-New York cruise. Embarkation in Miami is painless because this is a small ship. Fewer than 700 passengers, so no unbearably long lines. Also, no ship's photographers to pose you in front of some hokey background picture of the ship set against a gorgeous sunset, or whatever. That can hold up the works, too. Once aboard there was a bit of a hitch. We were allowed to board at about 11:30 a.m. (exact time escapes me), but because we had a low cabin category we couldn't get into our cabin until 1 p.m. So we had to schlepp our carry-on baggage around with us for that time. Not a big deal but, as I said, perfection is unattainable. So what's the first thing you want to do on embarkation day? Explore your ship, right? Wrong. Eat, of course! This is Oceania, after all. So off we go to the buffet, known on Oceania as the Terrace Cafe. Way more than enough to choose from here. I'll talk more about the food later. It gets its own category. OK, so now it's 1 o'clock, we get into the cabin, dump the bags and meet our cabin attendant. Her name is Khachungla. There's one problem with Khachungla: I can't take her home with me. And boy, by the end of this cruise I really wanted to. Never had a friendlier, harder-working cabin attendant, I kid you not. Time to explore Insignia. This is a 20-year-old ship, remember, so comparing it head-to-head against a newer one would be unfair. It has to be judged on its own merits. It is maintained beautifully. Insignia is scheduled for a drydock soon, and a few of our fellow passengers said they could see a need for that. But I could not. No worn-out furniture, no threadbare carpets. Nothing obvious like that. Maybe some things behind the scenes that I was unaware of, but that's speculation. The decor is what I would call English country, but I'm certainly no expert on that. Lots of heavy drapery, dark furniture and deep carpets. Not exactly my taste, but that's just one guy's opinion. Yours may differ. What's important is that the ship is spotlessly clean at all times. One problem that we noticed right away: The elevators are tiny and unventilated. I imagine Oceania can't do much about the size, but when you cram half a dozen perspiring people in there after a summertime Caribbean shore excursion, it gets real ripe real fast. Now about the food (OK, maybe that transition's not the best, but you'll get over it). Simply put, the food on Oceania was the best we've ever had at sea and, as I noted, we've been doing this a long time. Each dish was perfectly prepared and served by a thoroughly professional staff. A few small examples: DW is diabetic, so she wants to know about no-sugar-added desserts. On the mass-market lines, you likely get one selection a night, take it or leave it. On Oceania, you get a no-sugar-added dessert menu with 10 items. DW says they all were delicious, too. I tasted the mousse. Sure tasted like sugar to me. But no. As for me, I need to be careful about my salt intake. Unfortunately, I love soup, which is notoriously salty. But not on Insignia. I know there's salt in there. Has to be. But it's not obvious. I had soup every night and never detected a salty taste. These chefs know how to cook without overloading everything with sodium chloride, and that's a skill missing on other lines. Another thing: the bread. I love it, and the bread and rolls that come with lunch and dinner are to die for. Yes, that's a small thing, but isn't luxury made up of a multitude of small things? We ate in the main restaurant most nights, but also tried Polo Grill, the steakhouse; and Toscana, the Italian restaurant. The latter was my favorite. I had the lemon veal scaloppini. My mouth still waters when I think about it. On Oceania, the specialty restaurants are included in the fare. So why not indulge? Outside the main restaurant is a terrific coffee bar. Fantastic espressos, cappuccinos, etc. Pietro, a barrista there (shouldn't that be barristo? Never mind), made an Americano for me and a breve latte for DW most mornings. Let me tell you, this guy knows what he's doing (as do they all, I suspect). Really got us off on the right foot each day. Mini-croissants and other goodies are right there for the taking, again no extra charge. You get the idea. Enough about food. Let's talk about shore excursions. This cruise included a stop at Havana, Cuba. Sadly, I was unable to leave the ship because of a health problem, but that was nobody's fault. That's right -- while everybody else was exploring Cuba I spent the whole day in bed. Aarrrgghh! I like it when we visit ports I've seen before so I can stay on board and have the ship to myself, but this was ridiculous. DW did take a tour. She thought Havana was unimpressive. "The whole place looks like a bombed-out city," she says. Cigar-factory workers make 80 cents a day. She bought two cigars for me at $10 each. So the factory's product costs 10 bucks and people who produce it get next to nothing. Quite educational. Also, the tour included "art," an alleyway with murals and folk dancers, and a rum factory, both of which she found adequate. Insignia also stopped in Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada and Bermuda. We were supposed to stop at St. Lucia and Dominica, but a hurricane scuttled those plans. We dodged that storm, of course, and got a sea day in lieu of Dominica and a stop in Trinidad instead of St. Lucia. The Trinidad stop happened on a Sunday when nothing was open and the ship docked at a commercial pier, so there was little within walking distance anyway. We looked around for about an hour and returned to the ship. About that hurricane: It was actually nowhere near us, but the sea was still kind of rough anyway, about 3 meters or 10 feet, the captain said. Now, Insignia is a smallish ship, only about 30,000 tons, so, to be honest, it doesn't handle rough water all that well. If you're on one of the newer megaships, you likely wouldn't even feel waves that big. But a 30,000-tonner kind of bobs and weaves like a cork. Many people were seasick that night. Insignia is billed as "charming" and "cozy," and indeed it is, but if you're prone to seasickness, then yes, it can be a problem. But this was just one night out of 14, so factor that into your plans, too. Our last stop was Bermuda. We docked in St. George's and took a bus to Hamilton, the capital, for shopping. We were in Bermuda overnight, so on Day 2, we just explored St.George's, a small but picturesque town. Lots of brightly painted buildings. I thought it was more fun than Hamilton. After leaving Bermuda we had some rough water again, not as bad as before but bad enough to make us late getting into New York, our port of disembarkation. That meant that disembarkation didn't go all that well, and I'm sure some people missed flights home. That didn't affect us because we stayed in NY for a couple of days. Regarding entertainment: It's a smallish ship with a smallish theater, but the shows were fine. Only problem here is the flat floor. There are two levels, but neither is sloped, so sight lines are not too good. I attended one port lecture in this venue, which was excellent. I can't recall the gentleman's name, but he told us all about Bermuda before we arrived there. Regarding the spa: There's an excellent, large steam room which is hot enough to make you sweat plenty but not so hot that you'll have to flee after 30 seconds. It's complimentary. No dry sauna, though. Oceania cruises are aimed at the 50-and-older crowd. Most pax were retirees like us, and there are no facilities specifically for kids. There were a handful of youngsters on this cruise but no small children, which is how we like it. It's another reason we chose Oceania. So, in summary, we loved this ship and cruise. Except for the rough-water problem, it's hard to find any serious negatives. We fell in love with Oceania, and will try one of the larger ships next time. I welcome your comments. KK Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet I would do this again considering the very high prices they charge for wine. Food in all the restaurants and buffet was outstanding, and service was excellent, except for my cabin attendant who had to be reminded to do things. I really like the size of the old 'R ships', but the cabins, although in good repair, are way too small. While the ship had no dance or zumba lessons, the five piece band was outstanding, and there were usually five or six couples dancing each evening. Another high point was the wonderful bridge lessons taught by Harold; a very gifted teacher, and there was almost bridge play at several levels each afternoon. The internet was far-faster than any other ship we were on. There were never any lines for the restaurants or the tendering. There were some negatives besides the tiny concierge cabin. This was the last stage of the around the world cruise; avoid booking any segment of an around-the world- cruise; you'll be a second class citizen. Some of the staff seemed 'burned out' and exhausted. While the Panama Canal is excellent, the other ports are quite bad. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Getting aboard was painless. Oceanview cabin was small clean and quiet! The food was incredible, the servers were ALL polite and efficient. Could get a reservation at the specialty restaurants anytime. The food in the main dining room ... Read More
Getting aboard was painless. Oceanview cabin was small clean and quiet! The food was incredible, the servers were ALL polite and efficient. Could get a reservation at the specialty restaurants anytime. The food in the main dining room was just as good as the specialty restaurants!. Free Pop and water were filled in the fridge everyday. Specialty coffees, smoothies, milkshakes were available all day at no extra charge!! Entertainment was hit and miss....the average age on board was 70 so the shows were geared towards this generation. Went on a few shore excursions sponsored by the ship... they were good but waaaaay overpriced. Would recommend going with private tours that are everywhere as you arrive. Yes this was fairly pricey but you get what you pay for...You can pay up front or be nickel and dimmed to death. One final comment no photography or art sales were EVER mentioned. Would go again in an instant...have been on NCL and princess and this was a big step up. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We specifically chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We were expecting a wonderful experience but from the first night on board our expectations which started very high soon went downhill fast. I was in the middle of cleaning my ... Read More
We specifically chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We were expecting a wonderful experience but from the first night on board our expectations which started very high soon went downhill fast. I was in the middle of cleaning my teeth when the water went off, no prior warning, it just stopped! After about 10 minutes it eventually came back but it was not clear and looked like coffee. I left the water running but it continued to be coffee coloured so eventually gave up and used the bottled water left in the room. Now this has happened in the past on other ships but usually a notification that the water is going to be turned off at a certain time is given. Just glad I was not in the shower! I pulled the plug from the sink and the water came flooding out from the drain hole in the bathroom floor, this happened on quite a few occasions. The ship broke down twice on the voyage but we did only miss one port of call due to being unable to tender. Our cabin (or stateroom) was very comfortable and we did spend a lot of time in our cabin but the loungers on the balcony were very old and broken and not what I would have expected from this cruise line. Once you start to look around you get the impression that money is not being spent on updating certain items like the loungers on deck, these were in desperate need of replacement and what you would find in a 2* hotel in Spain not a luxury cruise line. The food in the Grand Dining room was also disappointing. The appetiser, soup and dessert usually were ok but the main course never seemed to come as you would expect and if you were vegetarian, the choice was very limited and sometimes absolutely disgraceful, even the waiter said “I would not recommend that you have the vegetarian option”! The ship never arrived in port on time which meant that time ashore was shortened and on one occasion we lost three hours from our day ashore. The shore excursions were not always that good and were very, very expensive. The entertainment is very repetitive, there were not enough guest speakers, we had two, one absolutely brilliant but the other one was a bit boring. All in all if it was not for the very friendly and helpful staff which made our experience bearable we might have jumped ship early. I could say more but I think you get the picture that we were very disappointed and I do not think we were the only ones. A comment made from a lady due to embark the ship at the last port of call was to look around the shops “if it keeps me from having to get on board that ship”! We have no intention of going with this cruise line again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We were interested in getting to some of the countries in West Africa and this cruise included three stops (Togo, Benin, Sao Tome) as well as two countries in South Africa (Namibia & South Africa). The staff were very supportive. The ... Read More
We were interested in getting to some of the countries in West Africa and this cruise included three stops (Togo, Benin, Sao Tome) as well as two countries in South Africa (Namibia & South Africa). The staff were very supportive. The Cruise Director (Leslie) was Outstanding at managing the afternoon Trivia (best we've encountered in over 30 cruises). This was important because we had nine sea days. He was helped by an amazing group of guests who supported Leslie and each of the other teams which made it fun, friendly and definitely not a "blood sport". In terms of visibility, the Executive Chef (Farid) was also Outstanding in that he "was everywhere" checking on guests and pitching in to help if his team needed assistance. When we would comment to him about his visibility and helpfulness, he would always just say that it is his team that is doing all the work. The General Manager (Damien) was also very visible and one day when we happened to be riding in the elevator with him and said we wanted to book an appointment to see him about a problem, he got off with us and gave us our cabin number because he was already aware of the problem. He continued to monitor the problem and bring the resources he could to solve it (heat in the cabin). Our only problem was the heat (or lack of cooling) in the cabin while the outside temperature was above 20 C (68 F). The first night the cabin could not drop below 27 C (80.6 F). With multiple visits from the A/C engineer and intervention by the General Manager, they got it down to 21 C (70 F) even though the A/C that was coming out of the ceiling vent was 19.5 C (67 F). For some reason, the cold air could not fall down to the bed/chair level. I believe it is a challenge of the "R Class" ships that need a revamp of their HVAC system. The other thing that was interesting was that this cruise was the second leg of an Oceania "Around The World" (ATW) cruise. Out of the 640 guests, almost 200 were on the ATW. It was very interesting dining with a variety of guests, many of whom were ATW cruisers. We very much enjoyed the food in any of the dining rooms as we had expected with Oceania. However, while the Italian Specialty restaurant was run perfectly as you would expect of a Specialty restaurant, we found the steak house, Polo Grill, to be more of "another dining room with a Specialty Dining Menu". It was the small touches that were there in Toscana that were missing in Polo. We were fortunate in that Oceania had included three Enrichment Lecturers, each was very knowledgeable and had a large number of talks so that on many of the sea days we could actually get three lectures. One was on Photography, one on Destinations and History of Atlantic exploration and the third was an extremely capable lady who had lectures ranging from Food History to Music evolution (she is a professional Violist) to evolution based on skeleton finds in Africa. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ... Read More
WE booked this 6 day cruise with a day in Havana to try out the Insignia. Our sights are set on longer 30 day cruises and we wanted to check out how we felt about the smaller R Class ships. Bottom line, we loved the experience. The ship was well maintained and all the venues were perfect. Ships staff was friendly and helpful. The MDR. specialty restaurants and lounges were wonderful We ate at Toscana and Polo 4 out of 6 nights. The Terrace Grill was too busy for us and so we elected to eat at the MDR when it was open. The Terrace Grill food was fine but we don;t like the hub bub atmosphere. Havana was a great experience. We elected to use the ships' excursion and book the 3 hr classic car tour . Once we debarked at Havana, we were bused to the National Hotel where 15 pristine classic cars were parked . We had the choice of any of the cars and my wife snagged at red and white 55 Chevy Bel Air with a/c. The tour was a caravan, but since it was Sunday, we moved briskly through the city and saw all of the important sites. We ended back at the National Hotel and had the opportunity to tour the hotel. Since we live in Orlando, we plan to go back to Havana by air and do a more in depth visit. Cuban immigration was a breeze as was the money exchange. We have been to Cozumel many times and had nothing to do, so we went to the Chocolate Factory. Warning this is a TOURIST TRAP. but, as part of the visit. we were bused to the east side of the island and found the tour at least scenic. We found some great Xmas gifts at the huts on the east side beach. We did not have high expectations for Great Stirrup Key our expectations were met. We took the tender onshore and promptly returned on the next tender back. The ship was nearly empty and we had a delightful time. Having a upper level suite, embarkation and debarkation were non events. The new customs procedure with no forms to fill out were very efficient. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Cruised on this vessel Dec 6, 2017 to Dec. 21 2017 off South Africa. 3 Ports were cancelled Service was sub par Food was sub par Maintenance was sub par Attitude of staff was sorry can,t help you We have spent over 55 ... Read More
Cruised on this vessel Dec 6, 2017 to Dec. 21 2017 off South Africa. 3 Ports were cancelled Service was sub par Food was sub par Maintenance was sub par Attitude of staff was sorry can,t help you We have spent over 55 days travelling on Insignia and Nautica and have never had Now we find that the information given to us on departure that the credit balance due to the cancellations would be applied to our credit cards was not correct after three attempts a cheque has not been issued. I would warn anyone thinking of using this firm or their parent company Norwegian to exercise great caution. Last year we took a 35 day cruise on the same ship from Hong Kong to Athens and had the finest cruise of our lives, what can possible change so drastically in an organization of this size that would lead to this kind of decline. As you can probably tell I Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago ... Read More
We have traveled with Oceania on 6 prior occasions and have completely enjoyed all of them. The Cuban trip was fascinating and very enjoyable. It was really a blast back to the past in many ways. Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago were all very different and and amazing places to have the opportunity to visit. The people are very friendly and great full to see American’s. Obviously we help their local economy, but most if not all of the places we went were family owned and operated, or operated by European companies. The embarkation process was a breeze. Our cabin was ready to occupy shortly after we boarded and had lunch. The ships staff are always ready to help and are very friendly. By the end of even a short seven day cruise, many of the restaurant and cruise staff warmly greeted us by our family name. A caring attitude and fantastic service. Onboard entertainment has improved since the merger. The Lounge needs an overhaul. It is set up as a cabaret but anyone sitting away from the stage on the floor, has an obstructed view of the stage. The shore excursions are work in progress and seem to be challenge. Itenary and altered scheduling including having to wait over two and a half hours to dock, because the ship at our berth was late departing, threw things off. The shore excursion representatives on the ship were very accommodating and handled the challenges presented very well. When the excursion did not include all advertised, appropriate discounts and refunds were issued. This is no fault of the cruise line or their staff. This was an issue with the Cuban tour companies. If you have an opportunity to visit Trinidad (an hour or so from Cienfuegos) go. You will step back to the early 1800’s with people who are living in the 21st Century. Truly an amazing place. Read Less
Insignia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.7
Family 2.5 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 N/A

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