Sail Date: August 2019
We booked this trip because each day we were visiting a different port which we had not been to before. Embarkation was relaxed and very straight forward in Monaco. Our penthouse suite was beautiful. We normally book larger suites on ... Read More
We booked this trip because each day we were visiting a different port which we had not been to before. Embarkation was relaxed and very straight forward in Monaco. Our penthouse suite was beautiful. We normally book larger suites on similar ships but found the size, bathroom with large shower and wardrobe space more than adequate. I believe the ship had been recently refurbished and looked lovely throughout. We ate in Red Ginger and Tuscan both of which were really good. We took afternoon tea on a few afternoons where we enjoyed trolley service for sandwiches, cake and tea along with the string quartet. We found dining in the main dining room a little disappointing. The menu choice was not as good as other cruise lines we have used. Quite often the service was slow for food and drinks. We felt that the waiting staff seemed to have little direction, and we were normally not aware of any management involvement. We enjoyed lunch and breakfast buffet dishes. Once again the service was not consistent. We also noticed that the better wines/champagne appeared to start running out on day 2 which was disappointing. Perhaps we could understand this towards the end of a cruise but not at the beginning. Our room stewards and butler did a great job of looking after us and kept the suite immaculate. We enjoyed the entertainment and felt they did a good job and there was a fair amount of variety for a small ship. We did not do any port excursions as it was so easy to wonder around seeing the sights on our own. Disembarkation was the quickest and easiest we have ever experienced. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
April 2019 - My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the Northeastern Seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba, India, ... Read More
April 2019 - My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (22+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Oceania; the previous cruises were the Northeastern Seaboard, Bermuda, Cuba, India, the Middle East and Europe and Southern Africa cruises. The 17-day Rio to Barcelona Cruise started on April 18, 2019. Our trip actually started on April 14, with our flight landing in Rio on April 15. Our pre cruise Rio de Janeiro tour included a few days at the Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort, which is located on the beach just west of Ipanema Beach; a great location. The hotel had great food and a very nice HUGE pool. It also had free car service to the city. We toured the HStern manufacturing offices and store (free tour from the hotel and back … worth the time to see how they manufacture jewels), Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf. The Oceania pre tour provided a lot of time to visit the local area on our own and also, the hotel pool area (nice pool). The hotel arranged for us to enjoy a Samba Dinner Show. The dinner was at a local restaurant and the show was near by. Both were wonderful. Boarding the ship was very easy. Our room was at the front of the ship on deck 6, room 6014. This was a good location as we were near the entertainment areas and the Spa, Game and Computer Rooms. The primary sources of food are in the rear; decks 5 and 9. 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 is a few years old but was very nice; very clean. It will be remodeled after our cruise. 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 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 two speakers who covered a wide range of interesting topics on the locations we visited and also, sea life. 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; they are a little pricey. I signed up for the Scotch Tasting (around $20). They provided 11 bottles of Scotch to taste but only allowed 3 tastings. Three very small tastings. The bottom line … Don't do it. Take your $20 and go to the bar for your own glass of one or two Scotches. We had a lot of fun playing games and competitions to earn Big O points. We earned over 400 points which were cashed in on the last full day for Oceania merchandise. The visited Ports of Call follow. First, While in Brazil, the ship charges a 25% tax on purchases. RECIFE, BRAZIL – Our first port was located north of Rio, just south of the Equator. Recife is a quiet little city. The tour included a nice view of the city from the high point in the area, a pretty little chapel, a free coconut drink in the market and generally, a nice tour of the city with nothing spectacular to offer. It was a good introduction to life in Brazil outside of a big city. NATAL, BRAZIL – We took the Highlights of Natal tour. The drive out into the countryside was very nice and the world's largest cashew tree interesting (the tree is huge, covering more than a soccer field in area but only maybe 20 feet high). We stopped at an old prison that now is a market. The tour included a lot of time on the bus. Again, it was a nice tour of the area with nothing spectacular to offer …. oh, the cashew tree was interesting …. the highlight of the tour. Crossing the Equator was fun. Those of us who had not crossed the line before on a ship were transformed from a Polliwog into the Ancient Order of the Deep through a Special Ceremony not to be discussed further. The Atlantic Ocean was relatively came the entire cruise. MINDELO, CAPE VERDE – Cape Verde is sort of the middle of the North Atlantic, west of the African coast. The Mindelo – The Cultural Capital tour included a tour of several markets and the a liqueur tasting. The rum was great. This tour included a lot of walking through parts of Mindelo. SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS – We took the Canada Del Teide tour. This was a wonderful tour that included a great lunch in a beautiful old monastery. This is a beautiful island with many interesting buildings and natural wonders. This was a very nice tour of the island. ARRECIFE, CANARY ISLANDS – The Southern Lanzarote & Wine Tasting tour presented a completely different perspective on the Canary Islands. This island is volcanic! The tour included an extensive tour of volcanic areas of the island, a ride on a camel and a meaningless wine tasting, although the vineyards were interesting. The high point of the island is the treeless volcanic areas. It's like being on Mars. This was an interesting tour. TANGIER, MOROCCO – The Highlights of Tangier tour was a fun time in a beautiful city. We visited a mountain top vista that overlooked the city and then drove down to the coast to walk into the Hercules Cave. This was interesting. We then toured the narrow streets of the city stopping in a market and a spice demonstration. The spice demonstration was very well done and worth the time. Tangier is a very interesting city with many different ethnic areas. Again, while in Spain, the ship charges a 10% tax on purchases. ALMERIA, SPAIN – We toured the area on the Mojacar & Cabo De Gata tour. The bus ride to Mojacar was very long but worth it: Mojacar is very similar to Santorini with white buildings (no blue roofs) built up on a hill top. The views are fantastic. The tour included a nice walk around the hill top city with some free time to walk around or purchase a beer, wine or whatever. The drive through Cabo De Gata reminded me of the hillsides of Southern California; dry. The tour is generally on the bus and the views are beautiful. ALICANTE, SPAIN – We took the Alicante, Novelda and Wine Tasting tour. Alicante is a beautiful city. The tour took us to a beautiful hill top church with a organ being constructed of stone; stone is abundant in the area. We then visited the Bodega Heretat de Cesilia winery. The tour of the winery was very nice and the wine tasting … worth the wait! The wines were very nice and free flowing. Most of us purchased a bottle or two to take home. The winery is small but the grounds are large. A beautiful place to drink a few glasses. This was one of the better tours on the cruise. BARCELONA, SPAIN – We left Barcelona immediately on a bus for Madrid. Getting off the ship was easy … you just had to wait your turn. Our tour guide was standing next to our baggage and when we all were accounted for, we left on a small bus. There were only 10 of us on the port cruise tour. Our first stop was at the Poblet Monastery where most of us generally froze. We were not dressed for a tour of a cold stone fortress. The tour was very nice and worth the stop though. From there, we continued to Montblanc for a FANTASIC lunch and city tour. Then we continued to Zaragoza for the night. Our guide took us out for a beer and snack. We were then left on our own to walked around. This is a very interesting place … beautiful by night. The next morning, were toured the city including the El Pilar Cathedral …. unbelievable!!! On the road again, we stopped at Madinaceli for a quick tour and another FANTASIC lunch. That night, we were at the Melia Madrid Princess hotel. The hotel was in a great location and was very nice. The next day we took a tour of the city with the afternoon on our own. We arranged to go to a Flamenco Dinner Show. We walked there and back with several other couples. Great dinner and show. The next morning we were picked up and driven to the airport. All of our tour guides were very good. They all spoke English well and were very approachable. Overall, the cruise was educational and enlightening … no security concerns anywhere. Overall, the cruise was great and the pre and post trips fantastic. You will see many different types of architecture, topography, and vegetation. 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 cruise and also, during the pre and post trips. They really seemed to care. A great trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because Oceania has smaller ships and their food is excellent. This was a South America cruise going from Lima Peru to Buenos Aires Argentina. Being the month of March in the Southern Hemisphere, we expected and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Oceania has smaller ships and their food is excellent. This was a South America cruise going from Lima Peru to Buenos Aires Argentina. Being the month of March in the Southern Hemisphere, we expected and received September type temperatures like the Northern Hemisphere. Sirena is very well kept still clean and attractive though it will be renovated soon. I like all the colors and schemes she has now but that will disappear with the addition of gray interior decor. My only issue with the ship was the aggressiveness and interruptions of the wine stewards and waiters in the main dining room. Those personnel need to be trained to present themselves and be recognized. So many times they would interrupt the table guests which to me is rude. On the last bus tour in BA, there was a passenger that was coughing incessantly. I caught his cold and am still suffering from it. I wrote a separate letter to Oceania suggesting that their ship chaperon(s) on the tours provide disposable masks on those busses for the "coughers" and on the vessel too. There are sick people who come on the ship even though they are given a questionnaire prior to boarding. Passengers do not have to divulge that they have a cold. Anyhow, I would recommend the Sirena and Oceania. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. ... Read More
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. English was the majority main language. We are in our 50s and found we were amongst the youngest onboard. The median age was around 70. Our fellow cruisers were sophisticated, gentle, friendly, polite people who were well travelled. There were absolutely no children on board We treated ourselves to an Owners Suite ....wow! It was stunning, beautifully equipped, with lovely welcome gifts, like champagne, a set of Bulgari toiletries, a tote bag and a beach bag with fluffy towels to take home. Our butler, Abhi, had been well trained and was friendly and professional, arranging anything we needed, even before we knew we needed it. He made us feel so special and so spoilt. Meals were served in suite from any restaurant on board, so we often ate in. There is a bar setup for some suites, so we had a choice of spirits or wine, which was great. We used the suite far more than we would normally because it felt so lovely .....it was like a Manhattan apartment. We thought the standard of food was generally very high.The main dining room was very good, buffet had plenty of choice and was good, Waves grill was OK, Tuscan was variable and Red Ginger was excellent with great food and service. Special mention must go to the Maitre D’ in Red Ginger, Hula from Cape Town who was outstanding. Baristas coffee bar was our first port of call each morning...a lifesaver The small ship was much more intimate than larger ones which meant no queues for getting on and off the ship. We also liked the country club casual dress code and found that people generally dressed up for the evenings. The captain and crew were often seen around and were very friendly. The Captain’s cocktail party was a lovely evening and it was nice to see staff being rewarded for long service. We also enjoyed the farewell from the crew, where we were able to clap them onstage and they, in turn, clapped us out of the lounge. We didn’t really do the shows so can’t comment, neither did we use the bars or enrichment activities. The library was amazing - leave your books at home, there are plenty to suit all tastes. The spa was expensive but I did get a good manicure and my husband had a relaxing massage. We did 6 shore excursions, having bought a discounted package. I disagree with previous poor comments, as we had nothing but good experiences. The tours were professional, with a fair standard of English and buses far exceeded our expectations. Our cruise was from Buenos Aires to Lima, taking 3 weeks. It was amazing, despite a couple of days of bad weather, which is so much more obvious on a small ship. Thank goodness for seasickness patches! There were quite a few sea days, but that is the nature of the distances covered On the negative side, I burnt my hand due to ill fitting lids on takeaway coffee cups and found I was not alone. I cursed myself for having left our reusable cups in the cabin that day! Please get lids that fit or give guests reusable cups, which would be a greener option. Also the vibrations at the back of the ship were terrible and the cabin shook and rattled when going at speed. We did get used to it, but it would put me off spending that kind of money again on that suite. We would absolutely travel on Oceania again and we loved this trip. My husband commented that if he were a billionaire he would employ our butler Abhi in a heartbeat. We can dream...... Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We just returned from circumnavigating Cuba, and the cruise was fantastic It was an older crowd, with no children on board. The ship was beautiful and the food was great, as were the entertainment and staff. We had superior educational ... Read More
We just returned from circumnavigating Cuba, and the cruise was fantastic It was an older crowd, with no children on board. The ship was beautiful and the food was great, as were the entertainment and staff. We had superior educational programs arranged by the faculty of the school we were traveling with. We don't tend to spend much time in our cabins other than to sleep, so the cabins were perfect for us. The shore excursions, especially in Cienfuegos and Trinidad, were a lot of fun. The Tropicana in Havana is not to be missed. The Cienfuegos and its nature excusion was a huge hit with everyone who went into the mountains to El Nicho. We had a terrible guide in Santiago de Cuba, and that really made the trip sour on our last day in Cuba. She was constantly rushing us, oppressively so. We had no opportunity to shop, other than at the trinket stalls by the port. No opportunity to eat. My wife wanted to buy a few gifts for our adult daughters back home, and if we had known the Santiago day would go the way it did, we would have done our shopping earlier in the trip. No such issues in Havana, Cienfuegos, or Trinidad. This was not the cruise lines fault, but I do hope they make passenger concerns known to the excursion operators. Also, customs is a bit of hit or a miss. One traveler bought art and tried to bring it on the ship after exchanging all his Cuban money into US dollars. It was his last chance to do so. The Cuban customs officer demanded payment in CUC's, and the passenger had to borrow some from a stranger. Again, not the cruise lines fault and no such issues in other ports, probably because all the Cuban money had not been converted back yet. Cuba is beautiful and the people are great. It is a unique experience. Pack some patience and understanding, and you will be enthralled. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
There were several things that made this an attractive cruise: circumnavigating Cuba, sailing over New Years Eve, but being home for Christmas, and a 7 day cruise. We have sailed with Oceania a number of times, and all of their ships are ... Read More
There were several things that made this an attractive cruise: circumnavigating Cuba, sailing over New Years Eve, but being home for Christmas, and a 7 day cruise. We have sailed with Oceania a number of times, and all of their ships are excellent. They are spotlessly clean, the staff is pleasant and welcoming, and the food is excellent. This cruise was no different. We ate in all the venues, from the casual Waves, to the specialty restaurants Tuscan Grill, and Red Ginger. Each had good choices and we enjoyed them immensely. We treated ourselves to a penthouse suite, which was not extensively large, but very comfortable with good storage space, a very nice shower, and a roomy sitting area. Housekeeping and butler service were excellent. We are quite independent so did not use the butler service that much, but when we needed something, it was immediately looked after. Cuba is fascinating. There was an overnight in Havana, and we also docked in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. We definitely felt we had stepped back in time. While there were some crumbling buildings, others had been restored or maintained. Hopefully with an increase in tourism, there will be more funds to look after the beautiful architecture. We saw Spanish Colonial, Art Deco, and of course Soviet style buildings. The old American cars were wonderful to see around every corner in Havana. There was a very comprehensive choice of excursions. Ours included a walking tour of old Havana, a ride in a beautifully maintained 1950 turquoise Chevy, a cabaret at the Tropicana (not to be missed!), a tour of colonial Trinidad which left from Cienfuegos, and a tour of sites in Santiago de Cuba, related to the revolution. Each was interesting and enjoyable in its own way. The tour guides were intelligent, spoke English well, and gave excellent information. We did have some difficulty hearing our guide in Cienfuegos. On board, there were informative and entertaining lectures given by Sandy Cares which, combined with the information on the tours, provided an insightful overview of the country. Local residents were all friendly, and many spoke some English. Entertainment was not our main focus but we enjoyed a hilarious comedian, and a talented string quartet. We did find some of the other clientele a bit rude and entitled, but we are able to hold our own. It may have been a function of the cruise being over New Years, and should not stop anyone from either sailing with Oceania or seeing Cuba. It is not typical of Oceania. Our only suggestions are that there should have been more done for New Years Eve, as this was a very expensive sailing, and more time and guidance could be given for shopping. Overall, an excellent cruise with a great itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very ... Read More
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very friendly staff but not pushy. All non-alcoholic beverages are included. Food quality was great - lobster in the dining room, specialty restaurants and even a lobster sandwich by the pool grill. Small ship had a much more intimate vibe to it and nothing was crowded - no lines anywhere. There were lectures on the ports and history of Cuba every day. The lecturer was excellent. It is quite a lot more expensive than Royal or Carnival. Also, if you want glitzy shows and entertainment then it is not for you. It is laid-back and classy. Cuban people are so friendly! Recommend doing something local like the Buena Vista social club in Havana. Our private guide in Cienfuegos took us to a very good private restaurant where we had small shrimps, rice and beans and plantains. Guide (tonycubavacations@gmail.com) was very knowledgable and spoke perfect English. The cost of the all day tour was reasonable compared to the ship tours. All in all it was an excellent trip for someone who likes to explore and relax. 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
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
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
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
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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Our mom treated us to this cruise.. We have been on many cruises almost every liner.. This was our favorite out of all of them.. The captain and co captain were the best especially going through the bermuda triangle.. It was ... Read More
Our mom treated us to this cruise.. We have been on many cruises almost every liner.. This was our favorite out of all of them.. The captain and co captain were the best especially going through the bermuda triangle.. It was smooth sailing all the way.. Best crew.. Our butler bento was the best i ever had.. He gave so much of himself to make sure we had what we wanted and plus so much more.. Our housekeeper a blessing.. I have a trendancy to scatter a few things around and she was amazing with what she did with the room.. Loved all the entertainers.. They were beyond talented.. Partied,hung out and danced with them after hours.. They were so much fun.. Each one wiere special in their own way.. They will be remembered for a lifetime.. All the wait staff were amazing in all the dining restaurants.. Great spa facilities.. Very talented staff.. Thank god for the fitness center & running track.. Everyone on this Ship were beyond Friendly, All in all the accommodations were the best.. Big rooms , sheets & comforter made for a cozy night’s sleep.. Everyone on the ship were so accomadating and we felt like celebrities.. I can’t say enough about this ship except how much i loved it.. My Name is Jillian D’Angelo I want them all to remember me as well. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our third cruise with Oceania. We chose it for the warm weather and ports of call. Food and service were excellent. Veranda concierge state room was great. Red Ginger restaurant was our favorite. Shore excursions were ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Oceania. We chose it for the warm weather and ports of call. Food and service were excellent. Veranda concierge state room was great. Red Ginger restaurant was our favorite. Shore excursions were very good We booked a cruise from Seattle to Alaska while on the ship. Only problem was avoiding over eating, particularly the great desserts but the Canyon ranch spa menu in the main dining room helped The variety of food was great with four restaurants and no added charge for the reservation only restaurants. We particularly liked the ice cream, milk shakes and smoothies available at the Waves Grill. The variety at the buffer was amazing. Service in the main dining room was very attentive. The barista had excellent drinks and snacks The library had an excellent selection of books and was a great place to sit and relax. The outdoor searing area in front of the spa was very scenic Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + ... Read More
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + other cruises was the ship. It was small but never boring and the cruise director, Dottie, was a pro. Because of the smaller amount of passangers,600, you never wait anywhere, there is always room by the pool, at the show , at the dining room. No crowds ever which is a nice change. However the shows are not as spectacular and the pool is very small. The grand dining room is outstanding, the food and the service were unbelievable, the specialty restaurant Red Ginger is outstanding and full of nice surprises, however the other one, Tuscan Steak fails miserably both with food and service.... The free shuttle to town could improve as well, not enough and does not always go to the right area, I guess they want to push their expensive excursions. The décor is a bit old fashioned but very tasteful, brings us back to an era that promoted elegance. We also appreciated the inclusion of soft drinks, specialty coffees and specialty restaurants, all things taken into account it was not much more expensive than the big ships. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first cruise with Oceania, ship Sirena, for 35 days, 2017-2018. Picked this cruise line to experience a smaller passenger venue and interesting itinerary. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Bayside Inn in San ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania, ship Sirena, for 35 days, 2017-2018. Picked this cruise line to experience a smaller passenger venue and interesting itinerary. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Bayside Inn in San Diego, very close to the ship terminal. This hotel picked you up at the airport and also took you to the cruise terminal. Bonus! Staff was very friendly and helpful. Room was very clean and more than adequate for a stopover. Bought our bottles of wine for our ship cabin at a new store called, Roma, a short walk away. It is an Italian deli style atmosphere so you could buy a meal, drinks or snacks if desired. Embarkation was painless, efficient and welcoming. Cabin 6016 was nicely appointed, plenty of closet, drawers and bathroom shelf space. Used fabric packing cases for the first time and they measured 9"wide x 12"long x 4" deep (could be 2" longer if you want) and they fit right into the drawers for easy access, also for final packing. In the beginning, we had A/C issues which were taken care of immediately. Our only complaint was the swaying of the ship which could really be felt. It took a little bit of time to adjust to the motion. We were not overly impressed with the food but you could always find something to eat. On the other hand, other passengers were very pleased with the cuisine. One thing that stands out for me, on two occasions, the lobster and shrimp were mushy to the taste in the Grand Dining Room. I had a better cooked lobster and shrimp at the Terrace Buffet. A special thanks to Uptal and Rangit for their expert cooking of it. We appreciated the Terrace Cafe Buffet method of serving food. All food was served by staff to avoid cross contamination. Kudos to the person who had that idea! Also, if you wanted to eat outdoors, there was a very nice area outside the dining room on the back deck. Tours? We did it ourselves. For our first stop, it was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Since we had vacationed here before, we got off the ship, approached the local tourist information booth at the bottom of the gang plank and asked questions. The artisan' s market nearby was our focus, no lengthy tours. There is a shuttle that transports you, for free, to the market. Just ask the representative for directions. Across the road from the terminal is a Walmart, Sam's and a huge shopping mall. We replenished our room wine supplies and picked up some mosquito repellent and other toiletries. Beautiful Chilean and Argentinian red wine cost $6.00 to $8.00 U.S. a bottle. I booked one city tour in Nicaragua with "Julio Tours Nicaragua." I did so on line. No money up front, to be paid after the tour. For a van, it was $60.00 U.S. per person for a city tour of the colonial city of Leon. Refer to his web site for details as prices will fluctuate over time. -Entertainment was okay. Some shows were better than others. Overall we had a good time because the Oceania staff were exceptional and we met a lot of fun people to tour with. A special thanks to Nancy and Cal from California, John and Denise from Barrie, Ontario, Margaret and Mesfin from Geneva, Joy and Mike from Callander, Ontario and Kevin and Margaret from New Zealand for helping to create beautiful memories. Pros: -nice cabins-plenty of storage space-toiletries-outstanding Maid-Veronika and Cabin Stewart-Wayans who anticipated our every need-example:wine glasses for our room -food is okay-Terrace Buffet offers enough variety that you can find something to eat, lobster and shrimp almost every night was a real treat -Staff serving you in the Terrace Buffet eliminates cross contamination, food waste and food was served hot as well -service is excellent by all waiters on board-a special thank you to the Terrace Cafe staff where we ate most of the time-Dianne, Shane, Mary Jane, Joy, Sue, Alina, Jimmy, Juan, Uptal, Rangit, Yusseff, tall Milos, Ariel, Erik, Louisa, Maritisa just to name a few. -very interesting itinerary for the 35 days, enjoyed the sea days to recuperate after touring -shuttle bus almost at every port to transport you to the terminal, city central or artisan market -being able to bring wine on board for your cabin was a bonus-check out Puerto Vallarta's Walmart for great wine prices (no problem bringing "large" amounts on board) and beautiful, reasonably priced t-shirts-also purchased some reasonably priced, beaded, local crafted jewelry and colourful cotton pants at the Artisan market near the pier -excellent library facilities-no need to bring reading material -extra curricular activities during sea days if you wished to participate-Bingo, Bridge, Trivial Pursuit, Needlepoint, cake decorating, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, Golf Putting, Bean Bag Toss, Canasta, Mah Jongg, Country Line Dancing etc. -live music playing everywhere on the ship at different times -4:00 pm. Horizon Tea Time is very elegantly served with a music ensemble -embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and easy -thoroughly enjoyed the food and service at the Tuscan Steak Specialty Restaurant. -very clean ship in all areas -port side cabin seemed to be the best when docked for viewing and shade on the balcony -issue with A/C at the beginning of our voyage. The repairman was prompt and addressed the problem efficiently -Tourist table was set up inside, near the gangplank so you could secure a map or information before exploring. Bonus! Cons: -a big concern for people who suffer from seasickness-totally unexpected was the extremes of ship motion especially on the ocean segment and I don't get seasick-may have to insist on mid-ship cabin to avoid most of the turbulence -tours were outrageously expensive that were offered by the ship-arranged our own with local guides and with another couple on board for safety-see my descriptions of different tours,especially Manaus. -very few port talks about what to see outside the ship tours to familiarize yourself for independent exploring-ship information was dated at these talks and tourist bureaus at each port were overrun with passengers from other ships and English was limited-suggest you do your own research of each place prior to the cruise so independent touring is easier -beware of a ship doctor visit-could cost as much as the cruise itself-LOL-**take your own cold/cough medication, Cipro antibiotic, seasickness prevention -Destination Desk staff were very aloof and not very helpful especially in regards to ship to shore help at the end of the voyage. $519.00 U.S. for a van to take you to your hotel is unreasonable to ask. No guidance was given regarding reliable taxis at the terminal- fortunately, we found our own gypsy cab outside the cruise terminal, very reasonable, took U.S. money, $80.00 to Copacabana Beach, Golden Tulip Hotel Rio Leme Hotel (see review), good, safe driver, father and son enterprise, great help with our heavy suitcases, "Nascimento Tour" cell: (55+21) 99701-2813 97058-8820 -regular taxis wanted $100.00 U.S. -did not enjoy the Red Ginger Specialty Restaurant. Service was excellent but the spice cilantro, garlic were used heavily in everything you ordered. You have to like those spices. -stores on board were lacking in variety-overkill with jewelry promotions -passengers were mainly very elderly people who did not appear happy for the most part-if you laughed at meals you received disapproving stares from the old folk around you-we are seniors but I felt overwhelmed by the sadness of the older people, on the other hand, no children aboard and we met some like-minded people to party with. -"free" internet was very spotty and you kept losing connection Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Superb time. Food and service were impeccable, as always; excursions were mostly excellent. Updates made to Sirena were nice improvements. The ideal cruise for mature adults (not recommended for children). Staff attentive, ... Read More
Superb time. Food and service were impeccable, as always; excursions were mostly excellent. Updates made to Sirena were nice improvements. The ideal cruise for mature adults (not recommended for children). Staff attentive, knowledgeable, helpful, pleasant, and engaging. Our cabin was always immaculate and well-stocked; our butler anticipated our every need. String quartet was the best we've encountered on Oceania. Lots of on-board activities, day and night: Bridge classes & afternoon social and duplicate play, Bingo, Team Trivia, great enrichment lectures, cooking demonstrations, variety of music shows, country fair, golf & ping pong, etc. One can be as athletic or couch-potato-ish as desired. But you're always going to have excellent food and drink. We were too pooped at the end of each day's activities to take advantage of the evening - and late evening - activities! Dining options are different on Sirena: Grand Dining Room essentially the same, but at lunch-time has a French Bistro vibe and menu. Toscana and Polo are combined into a Tuscan Steak House to make room for Red Ginger (as in the larger ships). Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We are an active, retired couple who have been Viking customers for over a decade. This was our first cruise with Oceania, chosen because of the excellent itinerary from Buenos Aires to Lima. The cruise was fabulous and we were ... Read More
We are an active, retired couple who have been Viking customers for over a decade. This was our first cruise with Oceania, chosen because of the excellent itinerary from Buenos Aires to Lima. The cruise was fabulous and we were especially impressed by four things: The food was, without exaggeration, the best we have ever had in any restaurant, or on any ship, anywhere. Not only was it superbly cooked, with our special dietary needs taken into account, but the variety of “luxury” items was outstanding --- eg. foie gras, escargot, caviar, frog’s legs, venison, lobster, filet mignon, oysters Rockefeller, etc. The personalized service was truly amazing. Our every request was fulfilled immediately, with a smile --- eg. switching shore excursions or dining reservations; asking for extra bedding or body lotion. The WiFi speed was impressive considering hundreds of people were using the system. We were able to use Google Hangouts from far south of the equator to make free phone calls to family members in Canada. The WiFi was rarely unavailable because of the ship’s location in narrow fjords. The guest lecturer, Dr. Don Kline, was fabulous. His talks were interesting and relevant to the places we visited and his Powerpoint presentations were the best we’ve ever seen. We were disappointed with the evening entertainment. The young, on-board production crew members were enthusiastic but there were only six of them. Their strident, musical theatre style got a bit tiresome after awhile; almost everything was “belted out”, loud and brassy. When performing alone, the house band sometimes had a player or two missing, giving the group a thin sound. They were at their best accompanying guest singers. Professional guest entertainers were brought on board throughout the cruise, so there was lots of variety. However, we evaluated their shows by asking ourselves this question: If these people entertained on a stage near our home and tickets were free, would we attend? With the exception of the tango dancers and flute player, our answer was, “Absolutely not.” That result shouldn’t be surprising to anyone; these people are “B” level entertainers. If they deserved top billing, most would be working in concert halls in America, and not on cruise ships. Another problem with the evening shows is that the ship’s theatre does not have a sloping floor so it’s hard to see what’s happening unless you can get a seat with nobody in front of you. In concluding this review, we would like to comment on three points that other reviewers often make about Sirena, on Cruise Critic: “The room was too small.” There are smaller rooms on the lower decks and larger rooms and suites above. On Oceania’s website, room dimensions are given for all categories of staterooms and there are photos and floor plan drawings. If people don’t do their research before booking or choose not to spend the extra money for a larger room, it hardly seems fair that they should criticize Oceania for not providing them enough space in their stateroom. “The shower stalls are so tiny that the shower curtains touch my skin.” We are fit, normal-sized people who had no trouble bathing in the small shower. People who complain are probably giving away the fact that they are a bit lumpy around the edges. So what’s the solution to their catastrophic shower curtain dilemma? --- Eat more salad. (And remember that you're on a ship, not in a Sheraton hotel.) “Sirena is dated and worn.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The ship has been recently refurbished throughout. Everything looks gorgeous: wall finishings, carpeting, furniture, and decorations. Moreover, crew members are constantly scrubbing and polishing the ship inside and out and doing touch-up painting. We enjoyed this cruise immensely and are already booked on Sirena’s sister ship, Nautica, next year. Oceania is great! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I had a great time on our cruise to Rio de Janeiro from Miami. Our first time on an Oceania ship, we loved the food, the service and the refined atmosphere. Unexpected pluses were the string quartet, the quality of ... Read More
My wife and I had a great time on our cruise to Rio de Janeiro from Miami. Our first time on an Oceania ship, we loved the food, the service and the refined atmosphere. Unexpected pluses were the string quartet, the quality of entertainment for a small ship, the the quality of the band on board, especially the bandleader and saxophonist, and the nightly opportunities for dancing.While the dinners in the dining room were uniformly very good to excellent, the surprise to us was the quality at the dinner buffet. Steaks, chops, chicken and fish grilled on requested, to lobster tails, and very good quality sushi, quiet atmosphere, at least for a buffet, was a big plus. Also, included specialty coffees available at the small bistro on deck 5 were wonderful, as were the smoothies at the Wave dining area poolside. I also recommend the wave for made to order burgers, grilled surf and turf and sandwiches. While we had a few more sea days than we would have liked, especially just before getting to Rio, the Brazilian ports were quite interesting, as was Devil's Island. We especially enjoyed the Recife/Olinda stop where we had a private tour. While we never booked a ship tour, we did hear many complaints about them and my decision to forego the O-life option of 8 excursions in favor of $800 of OBC. I did buy a 7 bottle wine package using the OBC for $47.50 a bottle (includes tip) but found these bottles fair at best. The one bottle guests seemed to enjoy, A Mondavi red blend ran out about halfway through the cruise. we had an outside cabin on deck 4 midship very conveniently located, and apparently better for passengers susceptible to seasickness. For many people the humid weather is not conducive to sitting out on a balcony.Almost forgot, the laundry room worked very well and $4 OBC used for a wash and dry was great. 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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