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We were interested in getting to some of the countries in West Africa and this cruise included three stops (Togo, Benin, Sao Tome) as well as two countries in South Africa (Namibia & South Africa). The staff were very supportive. The Cruise Director (Leslie) was Outstanding at managing the afternoon Trivia (best we've encountered in over 30 cruises). This was important because we had nine sea days. He was helped by an amazing group of guests who supported Leslie and each of the other teams which made it fun, friendly and definitely not a "blood sport". In terms of visibility, the Executive Chef (Farid) was also Outstanding in that he "was everywhere" checking on guests and pitching in to help if his team needed assistance. When we would comment to him about his visibility and helpfulness, he would always just say that it is his team that is doing all the work. The General Manager (Damien) was also very visible and one day when we happened to be riding in the elevator with him and said we wanted to book an appointment to see him about a problem, he got off with us and gave us our cabin number because he was already aware of the problem. He continued to monitor the problem and bring the resources he could to solve it (heat in the cabin). Our only problem was the heat (or lack of cooling) in the cabin while the outside temperature was above 20 C (68 F). The first night the cabin could not drop below 27 C (80.6 F). With multiple visits from the A/C engineer and intervention by the General Manager, they got it down to 21 C (70 F) even though the A/C that was coming out of the ceiling vent was 19.5 C (67 F). For some reason, the cold air could not fall down to the bed/chair level. I believe it is a challenge of the "R Class" ships that need a revamp of their HVAC system. The other thing that was interesting was that this cruise was the second leg of an Oceania "Around The World" (ATW) cruise. Out of the 640 guests, almost 200 were on the ATW. It was very interesting dining with a variety of guests, many of whom were ATW cruisers. We very much enjoyed the food in any of the dining rooms as we had expected with Oceania. However, while the Italian Specialty restaurant was run perfectly as you would expect of a Specialty restaurant, we found the steak house, Polo Grill, to be more of "another dining room with a Specialty Dining Menu". It was the small touches that were there in Toscana that were missing in Polo. We were fortunate in that Oceania had included three Enrichment Lecturers, each was very knowledgeable and had a large number of talks so that on many of the sea days we could actually get three lectures. One was on Photography, one on Destinations and History of Atlantic exploration and the third was an extremely capable lady who had lectures ranging from Food History to Music evolution (she is a professional Violist) to evolution based on skeleton finds in Africa.

A wonderful cruise with a great itinerary

Insignia Cruise Review by ebigmac

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2018
  • Destination: Africa
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
We were interested in getting to some of the countries in West Africa and this cruise included three stops (Togo, Benin, Sao Tome) as well as two countries in South Africa (Namibia & South Africa). The staff were very supportive. The Cruise Director (Leslie) was Outstanding at managing the afternoon Trivia (best we've encountered in over 30 cruises). This was important because we had nine sea days. He was helped by an amazing group of guests who supported Leslie and each of the other teams which made it fun, friendly and definitely not a "blood sport".

In terms of visibility, the Executive Chef (Farid) was also Outstanding in that he "was everywhere" checking on guests and pitching in to help if his team needed assistance. When we would comment to him about his visibility and helpfulness, he would always just say that it is his team that is doing all the work. The General Manager (Damien) was also very visible and one day when we happened to be riding in the elevator with him and said we wanted to book an appointment to see him about a problem, he got off with us and gave us our cabin number because he was already aware of the problem. He continued to monitor the problem and bring the resources he could to solve it (heat in the cabin).

Our only problem was the heat (or lack of cooling) in the cabin while the outside temperature was above 20 C (68 F). The first night the cabin could not drop below 27 C (80.6 F). With multiple visits from the A/C engineer and intervention by the General Manager, they got it down to 21 C (70 F) even though the A/C that was coming out of the ceiling vent was 19.5 C (67 F). For some reason, the cold air could not fall down to the bed/chair level. I believe it is a challenge of the "R Class" ships that need a revamp of their HVAC system.

The other thing that was interesting was that this cruise was the second leg of an Oceania "Around The World" (ATW) cruise. Out of the 640 guests, almost 200 were on the ATW. It was very interesting dining with a variety of guests, many of whom were ATW cruisers.

We very much enjoyed the food in any of the dining rooms as we had expected with Oceania. However, while the Italian Specialty restaurant was run perfectly as you would expect of a Specialty restaurant, we found the steak house, Polo Grill, to be more of "another dining room with a Specialty Dining Menu". It was the small touches that were there in Toscana that were missing in Polo.

We were fortunate in that Oceania had included three Enrichment Lecturers, each was very knowledgeable and had a large number of talks so that on many of the sea days we could actually get three lectures. One was on Photography, one on Destinations and History of Atlantic exploration and the third was an extremely capable lady who had lectures ranging from Food History to Music evolution (she is a professional Violist) to evolution based on skeleton finds in Africa.
ebigmac’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Penthouse Suite
Cabin PH2 8051
The cabin was a nice layout although the bathroom was quite small for a PH level cabin and the in tub shower meant that my head rested on the ceiling unless I bent over. I have mentioned the cooling problems above. A very nice balcony that we enjoyed.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins