2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Three couples from their 60-80s wanted to see Cuba in luxury . This cruise overnights in Havana ( could have used another day) and had two more interesting ports. We had been on the Sirena when it was owned by Princess. We took the same ... Read More
Three couples from their 60-80s wanted to see Cuba in luxury . This cruise overnights in Havana ( could have used another day) and had two more interesting ports. We had been on the Sirena when it was owned by Princess. We took the same cabin ( now called penthouse suite) on Princess in Tahiti it was called a mini suite. It is a large lovely room with a renovated bathroom. The other two couples took A1 thinking their cabins would be like the new Marina. They spent the whole cruise complaining about the tiny shower with a flapping curtain. My cabin had a terrific walk in glass enclosed shower with great storage and wonderful bed and bedding. Towels are fluffy. Bring an electric surge protector as there are limited outlets. Balcony is skinny and the two wicker chairs have no footrests . I stuck my feet thru the railings. The food is very good, especially the two specialty restaurants Tuscan Grill and Red Ginger. The miso sea bass melts in your mouth. The main dinning room has service shortages. They are running around like chickens without heads. The buffet is ok and Waves makes a great burger at lunch. Ice cream is everywhere. Entertainment is poor. The Sinatra show the best. The young singers try hard but except for a funny ventriloquist it is pretty bad. The cruise director runs a great cut throat trivia that we found fun. The real problem are the excursions. Oceania messes up royally. We spent hours picking our tours and booked the passport collection. Very pricey as you cannot legally go off on your own. The ship gets the $75 visa for you. There are two US government officials on board watching. Some people did it anyway and took their chances. Tours were canceled the day before. Some were flipped from morning to afternoon then the morning tour came back late and you couldn’t go. No time to take a ride in the cars unless you book it as a $450 excursion. No reimbursement or apology. Told it was Cuba’s fault but I paid my money to Oceania! The best was the Tropicana nightclub . And you can take phone photos no charge. Spectacular!! The young tour guides spoke English well and just want the Embargo over. The country is very poor. Beautiful colonial buildings so shabby . The classic cars fabulous to see. A very interesting trip. Great hot room service breakfasts on port days. I would definitely go back. And a cruise makes it a comfortable way to see it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I were on Oceania Marina for the Baltic cruise a few years ago, so we expected similar experience this time even though it's a different ship. Somehow Sirena did not turn out as good as Marina. Even though Sirena was ... Read More
My husband and I were on Oceania Marina for the Baltic cruise a few years ago, so we expected similar experience this time even though it's a different ship. Somehow Sirena did not turn out as good as Marina. Even though Sirena was refurbished two years, it still shows some wear and tear. The bathroom is a bit small. But the bed and pillows are very comfortable. Food in the Grand Dining Room is not as good as Marina, so are the Specialty Restaurants. Red Ginger is a disappointment as the food is too salty. Service-wise, the crew and room attendants are very friendly but not as personable. I do not know whether it is due to a shorter cruise this time. We only joined one ship excursion in Santiago de Cuba. It is very disappointing as the guide brought us to watch a traditional Cuban performance which was not listed on the description. The time would have been better spent in the historical city center. Besides, when we were at the Morro Castle, the guide just dropped us off to wander around, without giving any information about the different areas of the castle. We chose Oceania mainly because of itinerary and the anticipated good food served on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, ... Read More
This was our first time on Oceania. We've done a bunch of Caribbean cruises over the years, and kinda got burnt out on it, but the lure of Cuba made this cruise of interest to me. I know Oceania makes a big deal about their food, and for the most part I would say that they delivered. The dinners that we had in specialty restaurants Red Ginger, and Tuscan Steak were outstanding (5 star). The Grand dining room was excellent too, but just not quite on the same level as the specialty rooms. The only complaint my wife had was about the "lobster bisque" which she ordered both in the Tuscan Steak, and in the main dining room. She said it tasted like fish soup, not lobster bisque. Now I know I'm being a bit picky here, and if this was our only complaint, well then things weren't so bad. The stateroom was adequate, with the bathroom being very small. I was prepared for this though, as I had previously read comments online regarding this. Decor on the ship itself was very elegant, but unfortunately Oceania is intent on mucking this up next year by refurbishing their ships using some sort of boring, modern, monochromatic gray color scheme that came from a Marriott hotel somewhere in Newark, NJ. Too bad that they are going to do away with the elegance of this ship. But for me the best part of the cruise was the 4 o'clock High Tea in Horizons. Just a surreal experience looking out at the ocean while the string quartet was playing, eating finger sandwiches and miniature tarts. Just grand. Would I cruise on Oceania again? You bet I would, but this time probably with a European, or Asian itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ... Read More
What a great opportunity and way to experience Cuba! We had the over-the-top comfort and dining of Oceania, and lots of time to experience this interesting country. With an overnight in Havana, we packed more excursions and time ashore than would have been possible with other lines that only spend a few hours in the port. Then, getting to experience two cities on the south side of the island provided a unique contrast. While the onboard crowd was a tad bit 'older' than we prefer, the ship's activities fit the bill. And the entertainment was the BEST we've ever experienced on a ship!! The cast worked so well together, have fantastic vocal harmony, and made excellent choices when it came to musical numbers. The couple that provided dance numbers were also soooo good. Then we had sessions where that couple taught us several ballroom dances (now I just need to practice!). Oceania also provided excellent Enrichment talks about Cuba and the history of the area! We highly recommend not only this cruise line, but this itinerary! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Chose this cruise to see the Amazon. Went 1500 km to Manaus. Was not disappointed!! Smooth getting on and off. Ports were very good. Shore excursion in St Lucia was not great due to heavy rains and the last hour and a half was in the ... Read More
Chose this cruise to see the Amazon. Went 1500 km to Manaus. Was not disappointed!! Smooth getting on and off. Ports were very good. Shore excursion in St Lucia was not great due to heavy rains and the last hour and a half was in the dark. So not researched very well. Cabin was very comfortable and clean. Dining was very good activities were a lot of fun. Entertainment was usually very good. Small ship so always lots of pool chairs and never crowded. Guest speakers were excellent. Service also very good. Transfer from Fort Lauderdale to Miami with SAS transportation was really good and very reasonable $15 pp and we used the service both going and returning to Fort Lauderdale . Cruise staff were really friendly There were no children on this cruise. Very hot and muggy in the Amazon area and length of cruise 35 days was prob why. Great overall!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are a couple in our mid-50s. The demographics on this cruise, and likely most Oceania cruises, are a small number in their 50s or younger, with the majority who are retirees in their 60s and 70s, and likely a few in their 80s or older. ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid-50s. The demographics on this cruise, and likely most Oceania cruises, are a small number in their 50s or younger, with the majority who are retirees in their 60s and 70s, and likely a few in their 80s or older. We saw a lot of walking canes, one oxygen cart, handful of wheelchairs, and that's OK - live life to the fullest and don't let anything hold you back. We like Holland America and have cruised a number of times as a couple with them but also with our children when they were young and then as teenagers. The comedian made a joke about the geriatric crowd on Holland America but seriously, the demographics on this were not much different. To put our comments into perspective, we are experienced cruises on our 43rd cruise, having sailed previously with Cunard (Platinum), Princess (Platinum), Holland America (3-star Mariner), Disney (Gold Castaway) and 4 cruises with Celebrity (Classic level, I think), two with Royal Caribbean and a river cruise with Vantage. We have some older neighbours (in their early 70s) who have been regulars with Oceania and were disappointed at how the standards have gone down over the years and have now moved on to Crystal. We therefore went into this with low expectations but we must say that this cruise greatly exceeded our expectations and we had a wonderful time. We know that there are many who are loyal to Oceania and for them, there is just no other line to travel with. Our experiences with a vast variety of cruise lines have allowed us to see that each has its strength and weaknesses, and that remains the case here with Oceania. First, the strengths. The slogan “Finest Cuisine at Sea” was accurate as far as our experiences were concerned. Of the 6 lines we have cruised with, we would definitely rate this #1 for cuisine. Celebrity (Solstice class) and Disney come next, followed by Princess, HAL and Cunard in the third tier and Royal Caribbean at the bottom. The Main Dining Room with unique such as Jacques Bistro and the Taste of the World sampler plate at lunch, with unique offerings from dinner, including items from Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger was thoroughly enjoyable. We also enjoyed the few times we ate at the buffet at dinner time to take advantage of the cooked-to-order fish, steak, lamb chops and lobster tails. The library, the unlimited sodas, smoothies, specialty coffees was especially nice treat. We dined once at Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger. Both are great atmospheres although the ribeye was tougher than I expected. The weaknesses are not a big issue. We really like the entertainment on large ships with huge productions but the one show each night at 9:30 pm is good for the size of ship. Great vocals overall, one dancing couple, great music from the ship`s 5 piece band, supplemented with the string quartet at times. We were in a C2 category Deluxe Oceanview in stateroom 4000. While the rooms are on the small size at about 165 sq ft., these bathrooms are the smallest we have ever experienced, not just the shower but the entire layout was very unfriendly. We went to Great Stirrup Cay, nice and compares ok with other ship private islands but nothing close to meeting the standard at Disney's Castaway Cay. Cuba was interesting. The $479 (for two) cost of the "Modern Havana in an American Classic" which included a 90 minute classic car ride as part of a 3.5 hour tour was outrageously costly. Depends on how important it was to do this excursion. Overall, a very nice cruise and a pleasant way to see Cuba. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The ship stayed in Cuba for the entire cruise which was great. Absolutely loved Cuba. In Havana the city tour is a must in order to learn about life there. We also did a farm to table ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The ship stayed in Cuba for the entire cruise which was great. Absolutely loved Cuba. In Havana the city tour is a must in order to learn about life there. We also did a farm to table experience which was amazing. As far as the cruise experience we were so excited to take a “luxury”cruise! However, we found ourselves wondering when the luxury was going to start. An upgrade got us a bottle of champagne nothing more (most expensive champagne ever!). Average cruise meals, average cruise wines and to our surprise the “free” drink package was a total joke. It included wine at dinner only which was a shock!! What? The entertainment was average as were the specialty restaurants. Of course we had to pay another $160 to “upgrade”. There was absolutely no difference in that cruise than any other cruise I’ve been on. In fact I think Royal Caribbean is a much better cruise experience and the cost is half of an Oceania cruise. Also, FYI the ship is OLD and needs a refurbishment, and the pool was tiny. To sum it up, loved the destination but did not understand why Oceania claims to be a luxury cruise line. Lesson learned. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is the first time we have used Oceania. We chose this cruise because it is about the only cruise line which circum navigates Cuba. This gave us the opportunity to visit 3 ports, Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. ... Read More
This is the first time we have used Oceania. We chose this cruise because it is about the only cruise line which circum navigates Cuba. This gave us the opportunity to visit 3 ports, Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We also chose Oceania because we have friends who rave about Oceania service and the food. We boarded the ship with very high expectations. Firstly, let me say the staff on Oceania are second to none. They are friendly, helpful and hospitable. Our steward did a remarkable job keeping our cabin up to the mark. The food presentation is remarkable, all food including the buffet presented beautifully. However, the ship itself is old and tired. And it shows. We were told that 4 of Oceania ships are getting a $100 Million refurbish in the future, which will make a big difference. We bought the premium drinks package, and they do serve premium brands. At happy hour there was such a rush on drinks, we were able to wait until the bars had cleared and there was seating in the lounges because of the package. Otherwise there was always a queue of people waiting for drinks. The staff at these times are flat out, but other staff were not recruited to help out. The food itself was disappointing at times. Breakfast in the Terrace Cafe (buffet) was very good, and food was served by staff rather than helping ourselves (possibly because of contamination). Meals at Lunch also very good, both in the Terrace Cafe and the Main Dining Room. In the Terrace Cafe, at the salad bar, the same dressing was served every day when we ate there, no other choices offered. Service was always very good in these venues. Dinner at Red Ginger and the Steakhouse excellent. Dinner in the Main Dining Room in the evenings was a bit hit and miss. Two of my meals, the Osso Bucco and the Roast Lamb were practically inedible. The Osso Bucco was dry and stringy and the Roast Lamb, although rolled, was tough and dry. My husband also had Roast Lamb, his was much better, so we shared it. Mint sauce was not offered and when we requested it, never arrived. We liked the small ship concept of Oceania. However, the age of the ship did not appeal to us. Would we go on Oceania again? Possibly, if the itinerary was something that appealed. However, we went to the Future Cruises Talk and there is nothing new for us for the next couple of years. The one cruise we would have considered, from Santiago to Auckland NZ is available for 2019, but not 2020 when we would like to do it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We went with our Alumni association, which was great fun to have something in common with fellow travelers. We also chose this because of the itinerary "timeless Cuba" which gave us a chance to see three different cities in ... Read More
We went with our Alumni association, which was great fun to have something in common with fellow travelers. We also chose this because of the itinerary "timeless Cuba" which gave us a chance to see three different cities in Cuba. Embarkation and Disembarkation went very smoothly. The ship only has 690 passengers which make things so much easier. Dining, getting around the ship and even getting deck chairs was easy. the ship was beautiful and our cabin was a outside stateroom and very clean and roomy. Dining was freestyle and we also could eat at two different specialty restaurants at no additional charge. The first thing we noticed at boarding was no photographers! It was so nice not to be bugged all the time for photos. The passengers were an older group and we enjoyed having no loud music at the pool. In the evening the lounges has nice music and dancing upstairs in the lounge. The entertainment was low key but very good singers and dancers and a comedian. Ports were very interesting, Cuba itself was interesting and the excursions were very good. Moreover , the service and staff were outstanding! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We selected Sirena and Oceania because the schedule was good for us and the itinerary just what we wanted. Sirena is a smaller cruise ship than previously booked and we wanted to see if size and quality of ship, as advertised, were ... Read More
We selected Sirena and Oceania because the schedule was good for us and the itinerary just what we wanted. Sirena is a smaller cruise ship than previously booked and we wanted to see if size and quality of ship, as advertised, were true. Sirena did not disappoint on either account. With only some 680 passengers the ship was well proportioned for this capacity and certainly there was never an issue with numbers or access to restaurants or facilities. We booked a Concierge Stateroom which was certainly big enough for us although the ensuite was compact, This is an older ship that doesn’t show its age yet has all the features of a stately ship. The ship was immaculately clean and the internal passageways and staircases were equally fastidiously maintained. Ship’s staff were excellent, attentive and ever-present to meet your every need. Food standards were exceptional! Day to day organisation was discrete-with brief rundown of events/activities broadcast once and then you went and did your thing. Everything was included in the cost except alcohol and shore excursions. There was no hassle Re photos or any other big ship pressures eg art sales etc. Perhaps the only - and often mentioned criticism- was the cost of shore tours. They were very expensive. We did our own research and booked tours independently ourselves. We selected the OLife option when booking to cover off internet and gratuities. All in all a very well presented ship with outstanding staff and exquisite food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red ... Read More
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red Ginger's food is as good as it gets The cabin service was great also. The excursions were just OK. Routine cruise eexcursions. Lots of them were cancelled for unclear reasons. The downside was their bar and wine staff focus on money. If we ordered water or a Coke, often they were a bit put out or simply forgot to deliver it. We were charged $50 corking fees. At the table we were told they would credit it. It was on the bill. When I asked about it, they challenged me, saying that is not true. I felt they were calling me a liar. Dumb dumb. Overall, I'm glad we saw Cuva but won't cruise again on Oceania. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first cruise on Oceania and had chosen to give them a try when we first saw their published itineraries for Cuba. We visited Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on this 7 night cruise from Miami. We really ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania and had chosen to give them a try when we first saw their published itineraries for Cuba. We visited Havana for 2 days, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba on this 7 night cruise from Miami. We really enjoyed being on a small ship and never had any major issues getting seats for meals or lounges on the pool deck. The food was very good. We were very impressed with the Terrace Cafe which is the buffet and offered the same items as served in the Grand Dining Room plus had lobster tails and grilled shrimp every night. There are outside tables where you can dine and also inside tables all with white tablecloths which made dining very pleasant and much quicker than spending two hours in the Grand Dining Room. We ate at Red Ginger one night and was disappointed in the preparation of our entrees. Both were greasy and appeared to have sat for a while before being served. The lobster on my :Lobster Pad Thai was delicious but the noodles were tasty but too oily to eat. The server never came back to check on our dishes so after eating some of each entree, we left with no one even asking if there was a problem. We went to the Terrace Cafe and had dessert. The Tuscan Steak House was very nice with great service and delicious food. Hubby and the Surf & Turf which was prepared perfectly and I had the Veal Shank which was delicious but a very large serving. Waves was a nice place for lunch a few times with the surf & turf sandwhich (sliced filet mignon & lobster) was a real winner. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment by the 8 person entertainment group, the ventriloquist and a female who sang & played the trumpet. The demographic of this cruise was definitely 50+ but very active, seasoned cruisers. This is definitely a cruise line that has worked hard to provide very well trained crewmembers all of whom were very polite. We liked the buffet not being self-service and a chef appearing as soon as I asked about anything special we needed. We were not impressed by the two excursions by Oceania that we took in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We had a private guide from ToursbyLocals for a group of 8 for the 2 full days we had in Havana. This was a great way to see Havana and also enjoy the Tropicana nightclub the night we were in port. Our guide assured that we had a wonderful tour of the four squares in colonial Havana, a tour in the classic cars, lunch at a lovely paladar specializing in tapas & Spanish food, a night at the Tropicana, and on the second day a farm to table experience in Cojima that was very enjoyable and time to shop at the San Jose Market. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th ... Read More
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th Oceania cruise; and the second on Sirena. It would be for only 7 days with two days in Havana, one in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba so it seemed like a good idea- which proved to be true. The ship Sirena is the most recently acquired of four identical former Renaissance ships owned by Oceania. It is small, 684 passengers, but reasonably spacious at 30,277 tons for an above average passenger space ratio of 44. It was completely re-done after Oceania acquired it in 2016, so it has a new appearance. There is a lot of dark wood, and varied furniture looking like the 1940s. There are two elevator banks of 2 elevators each; but they seemed to do the job well. The basic plan is to have entertainment forward and food aft, with the center used for management, shops, the casino, library, pool deck and lounging areas. Decks 6, 7 and 8 are all for staterooms; with about half of Deck 5 and a small portion of Deck 4 for passenger cabins also. Deck 5 forward has the show lounge; Deck 9 the Canyon Ranch Spa, and Deck 10 the Horizon Lounge. The main dining room is on Deck 5, the Terrace Buffet on 9, and Deck 10 has the 2 specialty restaurants, Red Ginger and the Tuscan Steak Grill. All in all, Sirena is a well designed ship; easy to navigate, and very attractive in its appearance. Living Aboard Our stateroom was 8046. The prime motif was dark wood, with light grey textured walls, a large mirror on one wall, and a nice, modern painting above the sofa. The desk arrangement was convenient, and next to it was the decent sized sofa. There were two arm chairs and a small table, probably adequate for room service (which we never use on any cruise). The verandah was good sized with two adjustable cane arm chairs that could be fitted with a padded seat and back cushion. There was a small table and a faux teak deck. The bed had two gooseneck directed focused reading lamps as well as normal wall lamps. These focused lamps made reading in bed very easy. We also enjoyed the full glass wall with the door leading out to the verandah, as it provided nice light all day. The bathroom had a full sized, obviously new shower, with both a rain shower head, a hand held spray head and a towel rack holding huge bath towels in addition to the normal sized bath towels and other towels on racks in the bathroom. There was a single sink, but cabinets and drawers on both sides providing all the room needed for toiletries. The closet was good sized with an easily sufficient number of nice quality clothes hangers provided. As usual on board ship, there was more than enough drawer space for all we brought aboard This was a Penthouse Suite. It is about 304 square feet compared to the somewhat small “normal” Verandah Suite; which we had experienced on other Oceania small ships. We have used the Penthouse Suite on most of our cruises for the ease of use and room. It also offers faster embarkation, free internet, free laundry service and a butler who was very nice, but not used at all. We had enough food without afternoon canapes, thank you. Dining Oceania is a fine dining cruise line. Their larger two ships have 4 specialty restaurants, but the four smaller ones do very well with the 2 noted above. There is no charge for using any of these specialty venues. Overall, with 42 cruises to date on 13 cruise lines; 10 ocean and 3 river cruises; we would rate Oceania’s dining performance as superior to all cruise lines except Crystal cruises; and it is quite close to that line’s marvelous ships. The main dining room is traditional, with excellent service, open dining and a fine selection. Red Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants. Reservations are required, but we were entitled to two, which we took advantage of. We are not steak people (Edith is a vegetarian) so we skipped the Tuscan Steak Grill. The Terrace Buffet has a wide selection and offered some special daily choices by way of Cuban and Italian food. It can get a little crowded for breakfast, but we always found seats. The service is fine. There is a “Barista” café outside the main dining room which offers a free selection of various coffee treats; and a “Waves” sandwich, ice cream and hamburger bar near the pool outside the Terrace Café. Entertainment As a small ship, with limited options, Sirena was constrained in its offerings. There was a small “show” group with 5 singers and 2 dancers, a lady who played the trumpet and a ventriloquist. We only went to one of the “production” nights, and it was okay. The most attractive entertainment offering was Sandy Cares, the Enrichment speaker. We had seen her on an earlier Oceania cruise, and very much enjoyed her well informed and lively presentations on this cruise as well. Oceania is well served by her. There was a very nice string quartet composed of young ladies from the Ukraine, who played every afternoon at tea in the Horizon Room, and several sessions on Deck 5 as well. Unfortunately, these sessions often conflicted with other events as well such as dinner and some special meetings for frequent Oceania passengers. Extending their presentation until later in the evening would be a good idea. The Crew There are 400 crew members on this ship. With a passenger total of 684, the ratio is 1.71 passengers for each crew member. This is a very great ratio, exceeded only by a few of the small, super luxury cruise lines. The ratio on the large ships is more like 2.5 to 3.8. This means that the cabins are promptly and well cared for, the wait staff in all restaurants and the buffet are easily sufficient for fast and friendly service, and the entire operation of the vessel is smooth and pleasant. Embarkation and Debarkation As noted above, our Penthouse status gave us priority in boarding. The Miami cruise terminal set up has a fairly large waiting area. We got there about 10:30, and were among the first on board at 11:00 where, as usual, we had to wait until 1:00 to go to our stateroom. When we checked in we were provided with Cuban visas as promised (for $75.00 each). Of course this allowed us to have lunch in the buffet and to check out some books in the delightful library. Our luggage was at the room when we went there. Debarkation went pretty quickly also, although there is a lot of walking through the terminal involved. We were not required to fill out a customs form and easily got through the customs and border check. In Cuba We sailed away at 5:00 and arrived in Havana at about 8:00 the following morning. We seldom, if ever, use Oceania’s excursions due to their limited nature and very high cost. We had made e-mail contact earlier with a private tour guide, Yuri, whose e-mail is: yuri,arcayaborrego@nauta.cu. Using CruiseCritic we made contact with several people, and some others had made contact with Yuri also, so our group numbered 14. There was much discussion about how to pay for the services. Yuri said that his tour would be both days in Havana, then in Cienfuegos, and then in Santiago. His charges would be 350 cuc (Cuban money) per person for all four tours. Cucs are only available in Cuba. While the “formal” exchange rate is 1 cuc per 1 U.S. dollar, the exchange charges made the actual rate about 0.87 to 1; so 350 cucs would be about $402.00. However Euros had no such exchange premium; so 350 cucs were about 311 Euros. We already had about 280 Euros from prior trips, so we bought 550 more from our bank, and were on our way. We checked in through Cuban customs, showed our visas and were photographed. We then exchanged some Euros for cucs and met Yuri outside the port building. We had noticed on the way in that many port buildings were in very bad shape. This turned out to be true of many places in Cuba. It is a very poor country, with no solid economic base. We all had heard about the pre-Castro American cars preserved by the Cubans, and we saw a number of them, all in very good shape. Of course most of the motor transportation is vis European or Asian vehicles. and I was fortunate to get a new MG taxi with a working ac unit to fight the 87 degree heat. We saw a lot of Havana, including a stop for a very inexpensive lunch, and returned about 4:00 P.M. We were told that next day would be spent mostly walking, so I decided to skip it. Some people on the ship went to a night club show that night. The next day was spent in several museums. Yuri speaks very good English and made his comments enjoyable. The next day was a sea day and we then arrived in Cienfuegos at about 7:00 A.M. This tour was also a walking-museum tour which I skipped again, although it involved about an hours trip to Trinidad. The return to the ship was at about 1:00 since we sailed at 3:00 The final day was spent in Santiago de Cuba. This is a part of the country absolutely dedicated to Fidel Castro. It is where he landed to start his successful revolution, and where he chose to be buried in a rather simple grave. Since this tour also involved walking, Edith again did it alone. What was nice is that Yuri did not charge us for the three days I missed. We paid at the end of each day. As noted, Cuba is a very poor country, without many prospects for the future under its present form of government. Tourism is bringing in some money, but not much with few hotels or resorts, and a limited flow of visitors from the United States. The people are delightful, and very fond of US citizens (and, of course, our money). They make do with limited resources but have talent and energy and a “we will survive” attitude. In Phoenix, where we live we have an excellent Ballet company which has received praise in New York newspapers. 3 of the dancers, including a leading ballerina, learned their art at their home in Cuba. They evidently were allowed to leave, and at least one has returned home between seasons; so it is possible to leave. Concluding Thoughts This was a very worthwhile cruise, even though my limited walking ability severely restricted my ability to see and enjoy the country. There are supposed limits on what Americans can do in Cuba, and the ship uses a couple of the entertainers (who were the only US citizens) to act as OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control, a US agency) officers to keep people informed of the restrictions. However there was virtually no enforcement of these rules. Even the Cuban government, which was everywhere, did not man the entry point in Havana the second day, so anyone on board could simply go ashore and do whatever they wanted to do. We were supposed to go ashore in Santiago de Cuba to surrender our Cuban visas, but if someone did not, there was no follow up. So, if you want to see Cuba in comfort on a beautiful and immensely comfortable ship. Oceania Sirena is the way to go. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
3rd Oceania cruise, 2 on the Marina. this is a smaller ship that the Marina, so it had fewer specialty restaurants but this didn't matter that much. What it did lack was any WOW factor. I hope this will improve when the ships are ... Read More
3rd Oceania cruise, 2 on the Marina. this is a smaller ship that the Marina, so it had fewer specialty restaurants but this didn't matter that much. What it did lack was any WOW factor. I hope this will improve when the ships are redone. EMBARKATION: arrived at port around 1:00 and probably was on ship by 1:20. We went to lunch which was fine. Rooms weren't ready until after 3 for us, because of an "inspection" of the ship. CABIN: We were in an inside cabin, which was small and the bathroom was tiny. DINING: we ate in both specialty restaurants, red ginger twice and tuscan steak houseonce. Food was excellent, service not so much. 20 minutes to get a soda. Dinner at steak house took more than 2 hours, causing us to miss 9:30 show. Staff in main diningroom at times seemed overwhelmed. Food was ok. As far as the buffet, eggs at breakfast were some type of liquid that was not very good. food at buffet was just fair. Even the Surf and turf sandwich at the grill were mediocre . (on marina, they were great) ENTERTAINMENT; surprisingly excellent. For a small ship, we were not expecting muchand we were pleasantly surprised. Also the enrichment program was terrific. Sandra Cares was beyond exceptional in her presentations. We appreciate that these were televised at a later time on the TV. The gym classes were also very good. I took spin, stretch, yoga and pilates. the room was small, so sign up early. I was closed out of a spin class. SERVICE: oUR housekeepers were great, and all staff were friendly and made you feelat "home" rather than needing to sell you something as on other cruise lines. PORTS; We took private tours and I was not impressed by our tour guide, althoughit was much cheaper than Oceania excursion. We went to Havana which was disappointing in that many places were so run down and frozen in time (and not in a good way) We also went to Cienfuegos, and took an hour fifteen drive to the city of Trinidad that I didnt think was worthwhile, but others in our group liked. Santiago wasour last stop, we did this on our own. Walked a 1/4 mile uphill to a main square wherethere was a church, a building that Castro gave his famous speech, and museum calledthe "old house" which was interesting and worthwhile. disembarkation: we walked off and it was quite easy Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the Oceania Sirena because of word of mouth how terrific the line is and this itinerary for Cuba. I need a handicap cabin, since I have walking issues and sometimes use a wheelchair. I was booked in a handicap cabin originally. ... Read More
We chose the Oceania Sirena because of word of mouth how terrific the line is and this itinerary for Cuba. I need a handicap cabin, since I have walking issues and sometimes use a wheelchair. I was booked in a handicap cabin originally. My agent was then called a month later to say the cabin would be under some kind of construction and no more where available. They then said they would upgrade me to another cabin that would be more then sufficient for my needs. I myself called the cruise line and was told by more then one res. Agent that the cabin was exactly the same, just a little smaller and I would have no issues. Once on the ship I was appalled to find they had passengers in the original cabin I had booked and the bathroom in the cabin they now assigned me had a step up, and having leg issues that made the trip more difficult for me. Because of the cabin size my wheelchair had be folded up and stuck in a corner so we could walk around in the cabin without hitting into it. Very inconvient.. We were 3 couples on the cruise together, who all booked at the same time . We all had issues in the main dining room. The food service was slow in coming and the a/c couldn’t be regulated well. One night we were so cold that they actually brought us blankets to put over ourselves . We were very disappointed that the next evening when we arrived for dinner, they wanted to put us back in the same spot . The staff never even asked us if we preffered another area, etc. The ship needs some updating, which I hear is supposed to happen soon. The ships Lecturer was fabulous and gave us a real insight into everything we would see in Cuba. The beds were the most comfortable we ever had while cruising and the staff outside of the dining room were all terrific. High tea every afternoon was done well and was delicious, as were the specialty restaurants. Getting reservations in those were difficult if you weren’t in a suite or concierge class., even though we tried months before the sailing, our availability was extremely limited. Would we travel again on Oceania, your guess is as good as mine. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (20+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our third cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard and Bermuda, and India, the Middle ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (20+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our third cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the northeastern seaboard and Bermuda, and India, the Middle East and Europe . The 9-day Cuban Charisma Cruise started in Miami on September 24, 2018. We drove down from our home in The Villages through southwestern Florida and the Everglades to Miami. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6001. This was a good location because we were near the areas of the ship we used the most. Most points of interest are on 5 (dining room at the rear) and the Sirena Lounge at the front. Deck 9 has the computer room, card room and spa. The ship was a few years old and was very nice; very clean. The staff was great and the food was excellent. Coffee, including specialty coffees, was available 24/7 on Deck 10 front and also, during select hours on Deck 5 rear. The ship provided complimentary water and soft drinks. The Program Director provided information about tours and basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The ship had a cast of great entertainers on board and also a great band. They were very professional and excellent musicians. The cruise line provided a speaker, Sandy Cares, who covered a wide range of interesting topics on Cuba and also, bananas. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the price of alcoholic beverages. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned almost 200 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. KEY WEST – Living in Florida, we have been to Key West many times. It's a fun little city. We took the President Truman's Key West tour. Truman's Key West home was something we had not seen before. It was very interesting and worth the time ... a nice history lesson. We also spent time at a free museum, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; interesting place. More importantly, we enjoyed a frozen chocolate covered Key Lime pie on a stick prior to walking back to the ship. . HAVANA – We took the Old Colonial Havana tour; this was a walking tour that included, to our surprise, a bus tour too. This tour lasted almost two hours longer than scheduled which caused us to miss our next tour. But, that was all right, by then, we really didn't need another tour of Havana. Our guide was a well educated engineer who spoke good English and was very pro Cuba. The walking tour was easy and slow. The bus tour covered much of the city missed on the walking tour including a “5-Star” hotel stop to buy cigars, rum and coffee. We also stopped at a large market near the ship in case you needed to buy more Cuban stuff. We also took the Legendary Tropicana Cabaret tour. This is worth the trip to Havana! The show was fantastic. It started around 9:30 pm and lasted until about 11:15. It was the highlight of Havana. We had very good seats to watch the over 100 performers. It included a complimentary cigar, peanuts, a glass of Champagne and a bottle of rum to share among four people. The rum wasn't the best rum we tasted in Cuba (personal opinion). CIENFUEGOS – On the first day in port, we took the Colonial Trinidad tour. The bus ride to Trinidad was the highlight of the trip. We passed many horse pulled wagons, fields of sugar cane, bananas and various fruits and vegetables. Trinidad is an old city that shows its age. We stopped at La Canchanchara to enjoy a cocktail made from rum, sugar and limes and listened to a local band under a cooling fan. We also stopped at pottery shops located behind a few homes. Lunch at a local hotel was a large buffet including a beer. The lunch was good. This was a nice tour. On the second day, we took the Cienfuegos Dolphins show. This was a bus trip that included a 40-minute dolphin show with many locals in attendance and also, a great flute concert by 10 local young women. This was also a nice tour. SANTIAGO DE CUBA – On the first day in Santiago, we took the Colonial Santiago tour. This was a tour that included a great Spanish fort on the coast, San Juan Hill and the city's main square. Great photo opportunities. This was really the first time we encountered beggars. They were a bit of a problem. We also learned a lot about the history of Cuba and the Triumph of the Revolution. The history of the battle at San Juan Hill and the Spanish Cuban American War was an interesting portion of the tour. We attended the Tropicana Santiago Show. This was very different from the Havana show. It was more African dancing in nature but include one bottle of rum per person, cheese, meats and olives to munch on during the show. The Havana show was much better but the rum in Santiago was better than in Havana. The Havana show was more Las Vegas like while the Santiago show was more Cuban history with a little pop. The music was very, very loud …. too loud. On the second day, we took the Birthplace of the Revolution tour. This tour duplicated the prior days tour at times, but that was fine. It was very informative about the Revolution … the Triumph of the Revolution, as the locals would say it. One of the highlights of the tour was visiting the Santa Ifigenia cemetery. The cemetery includes the body of Fidel Castro and also, the hero of the country, Jose Marti. You will hear about Jose Marti throughout your time in Cuba. The cemetery was the only place in Cuba that was is perfect physical condition. Don't miss the changing of the guard every 30 minutes. TWO DAYS AT SEA – The cruise included two days a sea … a great time to relax and earn Big O points to cash in for Oceania merchandise. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. On this cruise, you will learn a lot about Cuba, their free healthcare, free education, guaranteed jobs, low state wages … do your own research. You will see a lot of horse transportation, motor bikes, old American cars, clean streets (at least where you are taken), lots of people just sitting around, structures in need of paint, pot holes, well educated tour guides and generally, very friendly people. You will hear, at least while on the ship, a lot about OFAC. While in Cuba, all you need is US dollars; most stores will take them. The official story is that you will need to convert them into CUCs (Cuban Convertible Peso). The cost is around 85 to 90 CUCs per $100. They are suppose to be a 1 and 1 conversion but if you are from the US, they change a 10% to 15% fee. The CUCs are only for tourists, the locals use Pesos (around 25 Pesos per CUC). The locals like CUCs and US dollars. Cuba is a reflection of what it was, and what it might be in the future. Overall, the cruise was great. You will see many cannons buried in the clean streets, many old American cars and you will meet many very nice people on the ship and also, tour guides and locals. Oceania really took good care of us; they were always there to make sure everything was taken care of during the trip. They really seemed to care. A great trip. If they only reduced the price of alcoholic drinks. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this cruise for a convenient way to travel home from Rome after attending a wedding in Malta. Past Transatlantic experiences have been exemplary on Cunard. We cruised on the Marina last year and ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and chose this cruise for a convenient way to travel home from Rome after attending a wedding in Malta. Past Transatlantic experiences have been exemplary on Cunard. We cruised on the Marina last year and anticipated a similar positive experience on the Sirena. The ship is tired at best and in need of updates. Tiles surrounding the pool were missing and cracked. Oceania makes a very bold claim to have the finest cuisine at sea. Only Red Ginger was able to live up to that expectation. The other venues were just average at best with most food too salty. Booked a Concierge level room with no advantage over a standard room except for the laundry service. There was significant vibration at the rear of the ship. There seemed to be no plan for a change in itinerary due to hurricane Florence and 8 straight days at sea. The layout of the theater means that only the front row gets a clear view of the stage. All other seating is obscured. The Horizons lounge offered afternoon tea, and karoke and dancing later in the evening. It is unlikely I would cruise Oceania again. I'll continue cruising Transatlantic itineraries on Cunard and favor other premium cruise lines for other cruise vacations. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Oceania is a fantastic cruise line, up there with the best. The crew were second to none and the food is of course exemplary. We never had a problem finding sun loungers (despite many shaded sunloungers being reserved every day) and there ... Read More
Oceania is a fantastic cruise line, up there with the best. The crew were second to none and the food is of course exemplary. We never had a problem finding sun loungers (despite many shaded sunloungers being reserved every day) and there were many day beds available at all times too. The show lounge is called the Sirena lounge and it is more akin to a bar/lounge rather than the more typical double height theatre that you get on slightly bigger ships than Sirena. My comments on the cabin are below. We travelled as a family with four daughters and we were made especially welcome, particularly by the entertainment team who appreciated guests who were more similar aged to themselves! The ship was run extremely well and everything went smoothly. From the reception staff, the restaurant waiters to the room attendants, everyone made sure that we never queued for anything and it helped make our holiday superb. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We chose it because of the food. While others may have had a different experience, on both of the Oceania cruises we took, the food was superior to Crystal and Silverseas. I have nothing against ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Oceania. We chose it because of the food. While others may have had a different experience, on both of the Oceania cruises we took, the food was superior to Crystal and Silverseas. I have nothing against either of these cruise lines and in some respects, they are superior to Oceania, but not when it comes to food. So, let me start with the food. There is an abundance of lobster, steaks, sushi, lamb chops, shrimp and tuna on Oceania. I found these expensive items lacking on Silverseas and Crystal. Every night you can order these items, in addition to a choice of dinner at a restaurant, buffet (where these items are cooked), and two other specialty restaurants. Similarly, the daily 4 pm High Tea has a selection of sweets and desserts not found on the other two cruise lines that I mentioned. Let me talk about where Oceania could improve. And other guests also felt the same about the following: 1. When we boarded the ship no one greeted us. The staff was very helpful in telling us what venues were available, but no official “ Welcome,” or glass of champagne—this seemed odd for such a high end cruiseline. There was a bottle in the room, however. 2. No choice of pillows. I’m sure this was available on request, but on Silverseas it was part of the registration process. 3. And this is the main (and only real, in my eyes) criticism of Oceania: a lack of activities onboard. Aside from Trivia at 5 pm, and of course the nightly shows, no cooking lessons, computer lessons, etc., during the day. Very disappointing. We found more to do onboard Seabourne. 4. Internet. It was hit or miss. For an extra fee, you can access YouTube and Netflix, but this does not increase the speed of other websites. I paid for high speed internet on Royal Caribbean and it was like being at home. Certainly a luxury cruiseline such as Oceania can offer the same thing, and the guests can easily afford it. 5. Swimming pool on this ship was comically small. Crowded if more than 12 people in the pool—seriously. 6. No real “ sail away “ parties. There was one, but they only cooked two dishes! I remember on Silverseas and Seabourne, the sail away parties were huge. 7. Very small shower—many guests commented on this— and TV. The TV in our room was maybe 20” diagonally . And a lack of movies to watch. I do think that DVD’s were available, however. 8. We never met the “ concierge” that we paid for. We don’t even know why we paid for this service and what we SHOULD have gotten. Another guest had the same experience and was told that many of what they were promised did not apply to this ship. This guest did meet their concierge but was not happy with the service that was provided. I admit that we should have followed up on this with the staff, but the fact that we had to, and that they did not offer the service we paid for was inexcusable and surprising. Bear in mind that Oceania does cater to an older clientele. We did not pay for any excursions this time, so I can’t comment on them. The entertainment did include a magician and comedian in addition to the standard musical productions found on all cruise lines. This was a nice change from other cruises which only featured musical productions. Staff is genuinely friendly and helpful. Very well equipped gym including spinning bikes and a variety of weight lifting machines. I think the ship was refurbished in 2016 and no complaints about the condition of our room, carpets, etc. Hope this review helps you. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time ... Read More
We recently returned from an eleven day cruise from Rome to Venice on the Oceania's Sirena. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. The Oceania did an excellent job of getting to every port as scheduled so we had ample time at each port to explore. My only complaint is that we tendered twice, and the tender boats were very uncomfortable with no fans and very hot. We have been on four cruises, twice with the Princess, once with the Azamara and now the Oceania. In comparing the cruise lines, we found the rooms very similar. We did not have a balcony on the Oceania since the additional cost seemed very high but the porthole was a very nice size. The Princess does not charge nearly as much for a balcony. I think the bathroom/shower was best planned on the Oceania and the staff cleaned the room promptly. The Oceania advertises that they are famous for their food. I actually found the food disappointing. Buffet breakfast was fine although I did not like their orange juice. We did not have lunch since we were touring. However, based upon our room status we were only entitled to make reservations for two nights at the specialty restaurants. Red Ginger is indeed special. From the moment we were seated, we were treated royally. The menu was quite interesting, and it was truly a delightful dinner. We also enjoyed the Tuscan Grill but the overall experience was just not as special as Red Ginger. We were lucky to be seated at the front of the ship in that restaurant and had a stunning view as we left the port. My disappointment was with the main dining room. I found the portions very small, and I did not find the overall quality exceptional. Once I ordered sea bass and it was not very good. Another night I ordered steak which was not a good cut. You could order as many sides as you wanted but I would have preferred a better overall meal. On the Azamara they would serve free interesting wines with dinner and that certainly helped the overall atmosphere. I just did not find the staff all that engaging on the Oceania. The Sirena offered less entertainment than the other cruise lines. There was an evening show but the problem was it was a small stage without any slope in the theater so unless you were up front viewing was difficult. We had a singer twice(he was fine), a comedian twice(better the first night) and a mime /magician (poor). The troupe of eight also performed and they were enjoyable. The Princess being a larger boat had a much more professional theater and show. The only sports offered was one outdoor ping pong table, a shuffleboard court on a rubber surface making it unplayable, and a small putting green. There was also a small running/walking track. The pool was tiny but there were two Jacuzzis. Since every day was sunny and over 90 degrees the pool was used. The card room was very small and there were no organized games. The Sirena did have an excellent lending library. I found the gym to up to date modern equipment. Children are not encouraged on the Oceania and there were no organized activities for them. Some of the other cruise lines hire guest lecturers to talk about the upcoming ports. I think the Sirena was very weak in this area. There was trivia every afternoon and this was popular. I probably would not go on the Oceania again unless the itinerary was one I could not find elsewhere. I think other lines give you more value for less money. Finally, since I prefer modern , I found the décor of the Sirena not that attractive and tired looking. However, since I picked this line for the itinerary of the cruise I was not disappointed by the cruise since I enjoyed our ports of call. I find that part of the fun of travelling is planning the trip so I do a lot of research. I never sign up for excursions provided by the cruise line since they are over-priced. My travel agent suggested using Shore excursions but I also found this company to be too expensive. A third alternative is to use Viator which partners with local tour companies and offers more value for your dollar and more variety of tours. However, we made the decision to find private tour guides where possible. This can be expensive if it is just one couple because usually the cost of adding two more people is nominal. We mentioned our planned tours on our cruise line blog and were lucky to find another couple to join us and the four of us thoroughly enjoyed the tours. Day 1 Amalfi- I had always wanted to visit Pompeii. Unfortunately, I did not find any tours leaving from Amalfi going there. I found a company called Benvenutolimos.com that would arrange to give us a driver for eight hours who would take us to Pompeii and Positano and tour the Amalfi Coast. They arranged for a private tour guide inside Pompeii. Giovanni was an excellent driver. He first took us to the scenic town of Rafello for a short stop. His English was excellent and we learned about the Amalfi Coast and its history and culture as he made hairpin turns through breathtaking terrain. He then took us to Pompeii where we met our tour guide Salvatore. As we strolled along ancient Roman streets, Salvatore described what is was like to live in Pompeii 2000 years ago. Pompeii is amazingly preserved. After this tour, we drove to Positano to get a brief glimpse of this upscale beach town. It was a full 8 hours of touring, and I compliment Benvenuto tours for planning a very enjoyable day. Day 2-Sicily- we docked in Taormina for our tour of Sicily. We arranged to be met by Luca from info@sicilylife.com. and again our driver was very professional. We first stopped at a local honey farm, and then we drove to Mt. Etna. Cars are limited to about 7000 feet and from there you can plan hiking excursions. We took a small hike and admired the incredible landscape where gorges were cut into the mountain from lava flows. After Etna, Luca took us to a local winery where we spent a very pleasant afternoon tasting local dishes and sampling wine. We enjoyed our day with Luca and would recommend his company. Day 3-Malta- we docked in Valletta, Malta and were met by Karl from Karlito's Way, and by the end of the day we felt we had a great understanding of Malta. Karl wanted to show us traditional Malta whether it was taking us to traditional neighborhoods, restaurants, or vistas. During the course of the day we circled the entire island seeing all of its most beautiful areas while we talked politics and philosophy. By the end of the day we felt Karl had become a friend as well as a tour guide. We consider our time in Malta very special and would highly recommend using Karl. Day 4-at sea. Day 5 Argostoli-Greece-we could not find a private tour guide so opted to use Viator. Although we were in a bus and the tour was not nearly as personal, the tour was a successful. We visited a monastery, a cave which was actually used for concerts, a fishing village, and the most impressive stop was a rowboat ride in an underground lake/cave. The island was quite picturesque so this port was well worth a visit. Day 6 Durres, Albania. We used a Hong Kong company called tour HQ which has a lot of host tour guides throughout the world. Basically, HQ gives you a list of potential local guides and their biography and then you select one. Although I selected a guide months before and had the trip confirmed, he cancelled just prior to my trip. Luckily, HQ did assist in finding me a replacement guide. Durres was probably the only port we visited which was not scenic especially where we docked. Since I knew very little about Albania I was hoping to get a well planned itinerary from our guide. We went to Kruje which was an interesting medieval city. There, we visited an historical museum. We also visited a bazaar. Then, we had a terrible lunch. The countryside we saw was not that pretty and our guide Marjen was quiet so the touring was not as interesting as our other stops. After Kruja we went back to Durres to see some Roman ruins and a Venetian tower. This did not take too long to view. We ended the tour early, because there did not seem to be much to see or do. I would suggest that our guide should revise the tour to see more sights in the future. Day 7- Kotor, Montenegro. We used a company called M Tours which was highly rated on Trip Advisor. We had met another couple on the cruise who joined us so that Aleksander our tour guide led 6 of us through the enchanting countryside of Montenegro. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Montenegro history and culture. It was a full day of touring-we went to Budva, then drove to Cetinje, and then went to Njegusi village for lunch at an old, local and a tour of their smokehouse. All of these places had both religious and historical significance. I never realized what a beautiful country Montenegro is, and it certainly is a country I would love to see again. I would highly recommend using M Tours. Day 8-Split Croatia. We used Viator and were lucky because only the four of us signed up for the tour so we had a private tour. We were very happy to have Sandra as our tour guide. She was vivacious and loved showing us Trogir, a medieval city. After Trogir, Sandra led us on a walking tour of Split where we marveled at the ancient Roman Palace. Sandra made the day enjoyable and I would recommend her company Croatian Trails. Day 9 and 10-Venice. We decided to do Venice on our own. In the morning we walked the whole city until we reached St. Marks Square. We then took a water taxi to Murano to do shopping. We really enjoyed Murano since it was much less crowded and the shops had beautiful glass items perfect for gifts. We also found a terrific place for lunch called Cicchetteria Pizzeria with a large courtyard where we had a delicious pizza and prosecco. Afterwards, we returned to Venice to take a 45 minute gondola ride. If you do not mind sharing, the cost is reasonable since you are paying for the ride which seats up to six. Although touristy, we enjoyed it. All in all it was a great trip with many memories. One final note, we had arranged our transfers prior to the trip and they worked out and were much more reasonable than cruise rates. I recommend both venutoinside.com(Venice Port to airport) and civitavecchiatoroma@gmail.com(Rome airport to Port). Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Don't listen to any hype on this line. Food is horrible, way too salty. Boat is falling apart, broken drawers, no remote control worked, pool rusty and tiles falling out. NOTHING to do...all guest under the age of 80 hated it and ... Read More
Don't listen to any hype on this line. Food is horrible, way too salty. Boat is falling apart, broken drawers, no remote control worked, pool rusty and tiles falling out. NOTHING to do...all guest under the age of 80 hated it and couldn't wait to get off. Sub par shows where entertainers went through the motions. Most staff were good...2 stated to us the were board. No music, no life, no fun...they actually advertised being cheaper than a convalescent home....seriously. it was a convalescent home, who are they kidding. Cooking demonstration was a comedic act of buffoonery and a total insult. Wine tasting is 100.00, manicure is 100.00 get over yourself Oceania. Noon on sea day and the casino was closed because no one was playing. Snore fest on a dilapidated ghost ship with gross food. Excursions not at all what was advertised and many closed venues. They tried to have us snorkel in contaminated brackish water where dead fish floated on top and it smelled so bad it made me sick. Those who went in were surely ill. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Decided to take a cruise on Oceania Sirena due to the itinerary to Cuba. It was suppose to make three stops but due to water conditions one stop was removed. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to have a nice room ... Read More
Decided to take a cruise on Oceania Sirena due to the itinerary to Cuba. It was suppose to make three stops but due to water conditions one stop was removed. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and wanted to have a nice room - rented Owners suite #7114 and #7117 for my daughter. Our room was a great size, but on most nights we could not sleep in the room. When the captain had the boat at full throttle our room vibrated so badly that the bed shook excessively, lamps shook even though glued down, glassware in cabin rattled, closet doors rattled, etc. The noise was overwhelming day and night. The vibration in the bed was awful. It caused one to feel sick and overwhelmed. My husband had to leave the room and he slept on a chair on pool deck. Then after stating the issue, our butler was given permission for us to sleep in a standard cabin that was available. The other room was #7030. There was no vibration in that room. So we used our OWNERS SUITE for storing our luggage and showering and slept in a tiny space just to get some rest. This was ridiculous. I am pointing this out to those thinking of renting this suite - don't waste your money. Oceania should make it clear to those looking to rent the Owners Suite that it will have excessive vibration when at full throttle and cruising at night. FYI: we met another guest on the floor below us and he had the same issue. We have cruised on may types of ships - private and larger. We have never experienced this issue. Also, the destination dept. needs to spend some time investigating the excursions they promote. We went on a seven hour trip - The Vinales Valley. Oh my, the Guayabita del Pinar rum Factory (part of trip) was about the size of a store front and wasn't opened when we arrived. Not sure it was a factory - just a place to bottle and sell rum.Then we continued on to learn about the production of cigars. That took place in a cigar drying hut. The owners son rolled some cigars, gave them to a few guys to smoke then did a sales pitch. We stopped at two other sites for 15 minutes and had lunch at one. The trip was not well organized and we really did not see much - just sat on the bus for way to many hours. We then took excursion in Santiago Cuba. Colonial Santiago - well another bus ride to no where. The tour director dropped us off in a square. The church to visit was closed, the hotel there would not let you in unless you paid for drinks (and we did not have time). Tour guide then proceeded to have us walk up a hill to a bar. There was some music and a chance to have a beer. The beer was to be included, but the waitress harassed everyone to pay. The whole thing was a mess. Lastly, I tried to get my nails done at the Canyon Ranch Spa on board. Well they over booked me! What else could have gone wrong. Mainly - I just wanted to alert passengers to the room situation. Spending the money wasn't the issue - it was about getting what you paid for. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We wanted to see Cuba before it changed. The June time frame fit in with our schedule, but we didnʻt realize how hot and humid it would be. Going to Cuba is a challenge: things go wrong all the time, such as pollution preventing us ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba before it changed. The June time frame fit in with our schedule, but we didnʻt realize how hot and humid it would be. Going to Cuba is a challenge: things go wrong all the time, such as pollution preventing us getting into Cienfuegos and power failure in the cruise terminal in Havana. We were also warned continuously of drinking only safe bottled drinks with NO ice. And the on board staff were very concerned about making sure we did not go against any of the new rules for Americans visiting Cuba. This went in their favor since they therefore discouraged anyone from doing anything other than ship shore tours. With two days in Havana, people, by the second day, realised that no-one was actually watching us, and, contrary to public opinion, the US $ was accepted by many people and places. Havana was an interesting place to visit and worth the effort. Two days in Santiago de Cuba was not. Despite being the second largest city, there were few redeeming features. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall, a tight ship with nice amenities and pleasant servers, but disappointing in some respects; and not particularly good value for the money. Our cabin, dubbed a “Penthouse Suite,” was certainly nice and roomy, but it was ... Read More
Overall, a tight ship with nice amenities and pleasant servers, but disappointing in some respects; and not particularly good value for the money. Our cabin, dubbed a “Penthouse Suite,” was certainly nice and roomy, but it was neither a penthouse nor a suite. The butler service was nice, but the butler himself gave a rather grumpy reception to all but the most basic requests. Excursions were expensive, lackluster and uninspired. Far too much time was spent boarding, driving, shopping, etc., and there was far too little time on the ground with the sights and activities. The excursion to San Juan Hill, Santiago, for example, was a waste of time. Nothing much to see, and not much for the guide to say either, but it took nearly an hour getting there and back and walking around aimlessly. Similarly, the long drive to the Havana Cemetery was a bust. The time could have been much better spent walking through neighborhoods, driving by Havana’s unique, crumbling edifices, or just listening to live music in a cafe. Red Ginger restaurant is widely touted. However, for me it was a flop, plain and simple: Bland, watered-down quasi-Asian concoctions, some a bit too clever for their own good. I complained about bland food and was given a tray with a couple of bottled sauces. This is not five-star dining. In addition, service at Red Ginger was slow and clunky compared to the other restaurants. The Tuscan Steakhouse, on the other hand was really superb in form, food and function. See, I’m not that hard to please. Recognizing that U.S. equal opportunity employment laws have no apparent application at sea (and aboard a Micronesian-registered vessel), it was nevertheless startling that management staff introduced during the welcoming ceremony were almost exclusively Caucasian while their subordinates were a rainbow of diversity. On a similar note, for a cruise destined for Cuba –a musical treasure--one might have expected a band or a show on board with a little bit of a Latin flair or flavor. Not so. The music shows and performers were generic “plain vanilla” down the line, in more ways than one. The “Broadway” show was a real snoozer—literally, I fell asleep. I didn’t go to Cuba to hear well-worn American show tunes. The classical string quartet was nice, but a Latin guitar group with a little percussion would be been more apropos. A disappointment, and a lost opportunity to turn a rather standard, cookie-cutter cruise into a destination-tailored travel experience. Read Less
Sirena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.8
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.5

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