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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The Riviera cruise (Oceania) was very satisfying on a number of levels, because of what they call ‘enrichment experiences’. On a culinary level, there is a choice between speciality restaurants serving some exceptional food (at no ... Read More
The Riviera cruise (Oceania) was very satisfying on a number of levels, because of what they call ‘enrichment experiences’. On a culinary level, there is a choice between speciality restaurants serving some exceptional food (at no extra cost) to the grand dining room that caters to the bulk of the passenger compliment. (The mass market) Service is attentive and exemplary but not the unobtrusive ‘British’ type of service that I prefer. Instead it is more of the false “how ya all doing, how was your day” introduction accompanied with an ear-to-ear smile. Dentistry on board, for the crew, must be of a high level??? On an emotional level it was satisfying. I know that I am over weight and am carrying 7 – 10 kg more than I should. The demographic on board makes me feel anorexic and there is no need to refuse that rich dessert. Yummy On a cultural level, there are all those ‘enrichment’ opportunities. An art school, a cooking school, educational guest speakers, karaoke (if that can be called enrichment), Trivia and a host of entertainment performances ranging from the exceptional to the ……. well let’s just say less than exceptional, with the opportunity of experiencing both giving the audience the opportunity of making their own judgement call.1 On a sight seeing level. Some tours started at 8:00 am and others as late as 12:00. This mix meant that on some days the alarm went off as the sun rose, and on other days one could enjoy a more relaxed morning. With all tours that we took, we were able to enjoy a scrumptious, not weigh limiting, afternoon tea. A custom that I could easily become accustomed to. No tour was full. (Very important) Busses were never more than about 50% full, by design. Some tours had multiple busses all only half full. This is important as the tour guides could talk to the group whilst out and about, without having to resort to having to use radio transmitters and earphones. This also reduces the risk of participants wandering off, causing delays for the rest of us. On an organisational level. ‘Herding’ over one thousand people can be an issue. At no time did I ever get that part of a herd impression. Boarding cruises as well as boarding the vessel initially, were all very well managed. On a financial level. They do not have a hand in your wallet at every turn. Most things are free with the exception of alcoholic drinks. (which are not cheap) Soft drinks, tea and scones, bottled water and entertainment are all available at no extra charge. On a relaxational level. My late mother had an expression ‘half baked’. Any person who came up with a dumb idea was ‘half baked’ Fortunately the ship provides ample opportunity for passenger to complete the baking process on sun loungers around the pool. Originating from colder northern hemisphere climes, perhaps they are not as much aware of the consequences as are passenger from Australasia. For those who prefer a more strenuous activity, there is a gym that I promised myself that I would visit frequently, but did not, as well as the usual deck games and golf putting. One afternoon, there was an on-selling promotional activity where guest were invited to listen to a presentation about future tours. One was ‘around the world in 180 days’ Six months of on-board life style would kill me! But a back to back cruise of perhaps 18 to 21 days? Well that is something to add to the bucket list. 1) During a song and dance routine, I had the impression that one of the dancers very nearly dropped another dancer. Not the way to ‘reject’ a lady’s advances in front of hundreds of on-lookers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I wanted just to get away and see something that I hadn't seen before. We did a pre-cruise to Machu Picchu and it was awesome! On board the ship was small and intimate. There was a variety of dining areas that were included in the ... Read More
I wanted just to get away and see something that I hadn't seen before. We did a pre-cruise to Machu Picchu and it was awesome! On board the ship was small and intimate. There was a variety of dining areas that were included in the price, Italian, Chinese etc. The Red Ginger (Chinese ) was the best. Had a lovely coffee bar. We had been up graded to a penthouse suite which was great except came with a butler, therefore extra gratuities. On the whole it was nice and roomy, good size closet and cupboards, nice sized balcony. We travelled through the Panama Canal, great. Stopped At Honduras, Cape Canveral, Miami then NYC---which was an over night, so we went and saw Matilda on Broadway, lovely. The service on the ship was fantastic. All polite and helpful. The entertainment was OK. Lecturers were great---lot of info for next port of call. Good excursions. Great cruise! I travelled with my sister for the first time. She is a bit younger and was therefore more energetic than me ( I have back issues). I would definitely travel with Oceania again---I like the size of their ships. You get to know more people and can arrange dinners or outings with them. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise because we heard Oceania gave you great service and catered to passengers. We paid top price for a second hand ship they purchased fromPrincess and tried to refurbish it for this cruise and did not have enough time so ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we heard Oceania gave you great service and catered to passengers. We paid top price for a second hand ship they purchased fromPrincess and tried to refurbish it for this cruise and did not have enough time so it was not in a great shape. Most of staff was not experienced Including dining room, shows for very little they had and all went wrong. Electrical issues, fired in the engine room, plumbing not working correctly, long waits for diners , bars etc.... lots of passengers were Platinum members and other members and said this was the worst cruises hip they had ever been . I have been on 15 cruises and this was the second worst on my list. We paid $ 20,000.00 and got robbed. Everyone felt his way and it's a shame how they get away with this. They offered us $ 300.00 compensation, what a slap in the face. Apparently the other ships are totally different with everything as we were told by other passengers. So don't get robbed on The Beautiful Serena, because it was a disappointment and we could have had a great cruise on a much higher end ship for the price. Will never go on Oceania again and would not recommend them for how we were all treated on this ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Don't get me wrong we had a good time because we had 11 family members and a gang of friends onboard. We are all Crystal veterans giving Oceania a try because they had a much better Christmas itinerary than Crystal this year. ... Read More
Don't get me wrong we had a good time because we had 11 family members and a gang of friends onboard. We are all Crystal veterans giving Oceania a try because they had a much better Christmas itinerary than Crystal this year. Embarkation was a breeze, debarkation was unbelievably tedious, disorganized and my son missed his 11:00AM flight. We were told by Oceania (I called myself) that no matter how many children were onboard, there would be no programs or babysitters. We considered bringing a nanny, but decided the kids (5 & 8) could stay up some nights and the parents would turn in early some nights. Upon arrival, we were told there would be a kids orientation at 4:30. The kids club (what?) was amazing and getting a babysitter was not a problem. Such a big fuss about no kids, we hate kids, we don't want kids...on Oceania. Guess what...people don't leave their kids home at Christmas! Oceania get over it and say most of the year we don't encourage kids, but at the holidays we understand. Ship and cabins were nice. We had a Penthouse and it had a nice amount of space. Alternative restaurants, especially Jacques were very good. However, the dining room was not good at all. We began referring to it as the Mess Hall. Very inconsistent food and sometimes down right bad service. The first night our dover sole came with sauce on it and bones in it. Crazy! Terrace was great at breakfast and sometimes good at lunch. Waves, the service was ridiculous. Rarely got what we asked for. A glass of wine took forever. We did the prepaid drink package which was $5000 for our group. Very inconvenient having to give your card everytime we ordered a drink. Oceania has to figure out a less intrusive way to manage their drink inventory. Yes, that's what we were told it was for. There was no organized Bridge for my husband. Not happy. The advertised times of port debarkation were cut short at many ports. Leaving sometimes at 4:00 instead of 8:00. St. Barts, for instance. I made hair appt.s in advance throughout the trip. When I got onboard, they had no record of them. Not life threatening, but very inconvenient. The service on the pool deck was poor. No one made eye contact and offered nothing. Yes, if you asked, they got whatever it was for you, but no offers. Water???? We had booked two subsequent trips on Oceania. One for 35 days and another for 18 days. We have canceled both. We realized we are Crystal people. Until Oceania becomes All Inclusive and beefs up their service we're not going back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Pros: 1. Food was outstanding. 5-star restaurant quality in the specialty restaurants. 2. Common areas very nice, such as impressive library area, nice fitness room, etc. Cons: 1. Web site makes it so difficult to sign up for ... Read More
Pros: 1. Food was outstanding. 5-star restaurant quality in the specialty restaurants. 2. Common areas very nice, such as impressive library area, nice fitness room, etc. Cons: 1. Web site makes it so difficult to sign up for a cruise, we almost gave up. 2. Embarkation process poor. Had to wait 3+ hours after boarding until our cabin was ready. They could have sequenced the boarding times to avoid the long wait. 3. Disembarkation was TERRIBLE. Mass crowds pushing and shoving for baggage. Oceania only requested 18 porters and 3 customs stations for 1,200 guests. The line for a porter was 45-60 minutes long. Elderly people were experiencing medical concerns because of the lengthy waits to get through the crowd. It took nearly 2-1/2 hours to disembark. 4. Only after the cruise was underway were the guests informed that the in-port times for all ports was being reduced. In fact, the total in-port time was reduced 20 hours, which was almost 20% of what was advertised. As a result, our Christmas dinner plans ashore had to be cancelled at the very last minute, leaving us with nothing special on what was to have been a special evening. We considered this to be unacceptable. We go on cruises to see sights in different places, not to see more of the inside of the ship. The advertising for this cruise was inaccurate. 5. Value: This is a higher than average priced cruise line, but besides the food, there was little that was much different than we've experienced on other lines. In short, the "value" was lacking. Other: Service was adequate, but we wondered if the automatic gratuities reduced the incentives of staff to provide outstanding service. Other cruise lines without automatic gratuities seem to have a better overall service level, in our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
We had never been to South America so we decided on this cruise. Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires were places on our bucket list. Our final decision for this trip was that the price of this cruise seemed to be quite good. Oceania is ... Read More
We had never been to South America so we decided on this cruise. Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires were places on our bucket list. Our final decision for this trip was that the price of this cruise seemed to be quite good. Oceania is a our favorite cruise line. The size of the ship is perfect for us. Not too much waiting. Food is excellent, especially at the specialty restaurants. Service is also excellent. Overall we enjoyed this cruise very much. We met some new friends. The excursions were a bit weak on this trip. Locations not as good as in their europe offerings. Some excursions had such bad traffic that most of the time was spent on the bus. Also, this cruise had more ports which required tendering from further away. There were a lot of complaints due to the length of time and weather situation (hot!). The South America cruise is good if you like warm weather. There isn't as much to see as the Europe cruises. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This reviewer and his wife are seasoned cruisers. This was our first time with Oceania. We are in our early 60's. The Staff was incredible, faced with potentially overwhelming demands on the staff's times as the entire ship ... Read More
This reviewer and his wife are seasoned cruisers. This was our first time with Oceania. We are in our early 60's. The Staff was incredible, faced with potentially overwhelming demands on the staff's times as the entire ship was treated for norovirus. We did not get to do the enrichment activities we had booked (culinary experiences) due to the norovirus issue. We were refunded our monies for those activities. The Port of Miami is easy to get to via cab. As we did not travel with children, that topic is not applicable. We did not use the weight room or the spa, so those are not applicable to this review. The dining was superb. Entertainment was not as good as we had hoped for, The Embarkation process was slow due to the Ship's awaiting clearance from the CDC, and the disembarkation was pretty much on par with previous sailings on different Lines. A large number of the guests aboard this ship were pretentious, seemed to feel "entitled" (because???), and treated the staff and the shore excursion providers terribly, as if they were dogs. These actions were disgraceful, and followed the sterotype of the "ugly American." As examples" 1) One of our fellow guests left a tip in the tip jar at a shore excursion of a coin. 2) One of the cruisers asked (demanded!) that the pool staff "reposition the boat so that the sun" would not fall on her. This reviewer's wife stated that she hoped that this person had dementia, because it would be the only logical explanation for such an outré request. 3) And one of our fellow cruisers refused to allow other travelers pass her when she was on a tender. This same one also would enter the elevators BEFORE the elevator passengers could exit. 4) One of the diners had her tea pot removed from the table by the wait staff. She lit into the busser, demanded to see the maître d', and then demanded to have the manager come over to her table so she could demean him in front o the other diners...ALL AFTER APOLOGIES WERE GIVEN AND A NEW TEA POT REPLACED! 5) One cruiser made the comment about the norovirus issue, saying: "They (Oceania) should give us something..." This, after Oceania opened up their bars for all patrons- at no charge- twice. Understand that Oceania did not bring the norovirus on board, another guest did. Oceania had no "duty" to provide free alcoholic beverages to their guests, let alone to do so twice. Never have we experienced so much awful behavior among fellow cruisers. No one was smiling. Laughter was missing. This was not a "fun" cruise, but only because of the awful customers who were on this boat. Courtesy to others was almost non-existent. This was a cruise with the theme of "I'll get mine, by God, and I don't care about you or your needs." We will not cruise with Oceania again. The demographic of the customers is not one Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I paid $20,000 for this trip. What I got was 1. An extremely tiny room 2. An RV sized bathroom 3. A prepaid beer/wine program at over $500 that would not provide me with more than one drink at a time because my wife (not on ... Read More
I paid $20,000 for this trip. What I got was 1. An extremely tiny room 2. An RV sized bathroom 3. A prepaid beer/wine program at over $500 that would not provide me with more than one drink at a time because my wife (not on the program) might take a sip. This is both rude and childish. 4. Room service with a scowl. 5. Only a tiny area in the onboard store featuring notions and drug store items. If you forgot something...tough. 6. No ATM on board and no provision for those going on tours to stop at an ATM. We had to skip a tour in order to find an ATM. Many people were really angry about this. 7. Tour guides who could barely speak English. 8. Far too many poverty tours: come see the poor people. 9. Dining was excellent, though the portions are small. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great ... Read More
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great service from the very start. The ship was pretty full, with groups from Maui Jims, and four university affiliated tour groups. The cruise was shorter than our usual selection, but was destination intensive, a different port or island each day, and ending in Athens. We bought the premium liquor package, as it is a value if you are even a modest consumer of wine, and spirits. Entertainment has been vastly improved by adding the entrainment troupes from their new Norweigen cruise line partner, and we always spent time in our favorite venue, Martini's, listening to the excellent piano player. The food, service, and selection of ports was excellent, and we dined with the Captain one night, and found him to be a delightful dinner companion. We had so much fun, that we booked two more cruises while on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I should note before beginning this review that I am not Oceania's target audience. My husband and I are 30, and were some of the younger people on the boat. This doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy the cruise--we did, but ... Read More
I should note before beginning this review that I am not Oceania's target audience. My husband and I are 30, and were some of the younger people on the boat. This doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy the cruise--we did, but the areas we found lacking were something that we expected knowing Oceania's reputation. I should also mention that we were traveling with my parents (50-60) so the opinions below reflect our group's thoughts. My husband and I have both cruised before--with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was our first luxury cruise. We were most impressed with the stateroom and service as they were far above any we've received on other cruises and either other resorts/hotels. The staff was very friendly (EVERYONE stopped to say hello, asked about our day, had a smile) and went out of their way to accommodate. As an example, one night my husband spilled his drink and they got him another one--no charge! The entertainment options we found to be as we expected. The cruise director mentioned as we boarded that we should keep in mind it's a small cruise--and the entertainment is good considering. I will say that the shows were entertaining, though there were a few cringe-worthy moments. I don't think I'll be buying any CDs to commemorate any of the artists, to say the least. Despite some off-key singing, the production crew had fun and the audience seemed to enjoy it. We must have spoken to the cruise director 5-10 times during our time on the boat. Not sure if that's what it's like being on a smaller ship or if he just made it a point to speak to everyone. We were disappointed in the options onboard--trivia was offered at 4:30 (often too early to be back from touring) and 8:45 (often interfered with dinner timing) and was conducted quickly--typically lasted 15-20 minutes. Other than that, there was nothing to interest us. But, that being said, there weren't many people at trivia when we were there so I guess it doesn't interest the Oceania demographic. The other thing we noticed is that when you came back on the ship in the afternoon, it was hard to find snack food. Now I'm not one of those cruisers that goes onboard and eats and eats and eats, but after a long day of walking in the sun I'll often want a snack or an ice cream. The ice cream station closed at 4pm everyday--which honestly seemed ridiculous. So we never got to indulge. Yes, there is room service, but it took 20 minutes or so and sometimes I just want a quick gelato! :) Speaking of the food, I kept hearing that this was the cruise for foodies. Because I had high expectations, I was disappointed. The food was good, not great. Some of the specialty restaurants were better than others. I had the highest expectations for Red Ginger, and was the most disappointed. Our entire table felt their food was okay at best, and incredibly salty. The ambiance for all restaurants was great, and the selection was great too (my husband and I don't eat meat and didn't lack for options!) By the end of the trip we found ourselves opting for the Terrace Cafe (we tried the specialty restaurants and the Grand Dining Room earlier in the cruise) because of the selection and efficiency. Lastly, we did not take any Oceania sponsored excursions. We did run into several while we were exploring on our own (doing the same thing we were) and were struck at how easy it was to organize your own at a fraction of the cost. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Hello all! It's been a while since I posted much of anything on Cruise Critic, but read others reviews and comments quite frequently so thought it was time to contribute. Funny enough one of my old posts from Seabourn from almost 2 ... Read More
Hello all! It's been a while since I posted much of anything on Cruise Critic, but read others reviews and comments quite frequently so thought it was time to contribute. Funny enough one of my old posts from Seabourn from almost 2 years ago seems to have surfaced again with some Seabourn loyalist animosity about my dislike of the cruise and pool area. Comments were also made about my "limited" cruise experience which are comically inaccurate. To qualify this review, I am in my mid forties, married, have 2 children and have been fortunate to have cruised extensively (just returned from #78) since age 13. In recent years the taste of me and my family has changed from that of the mass market lines to smaller more intimate ships with an emphasis on food and service. Lack of crowds and ability to enjoy off the beaten path ports has also been some of the appeal. We realized that nice accommodations on a line such as Celebrity and Holland America when coupled with upcharges for liquor, dining etc. make more premium and luxury lines actually equally affordable and a great value in our opinion. Having gratuities, drinks etc. included is a real game changer in the overall experience. In the last 4 months we have cruised on Oceania Insignia, Oceania Riviera, Oasis of the Seas (Owner's Suite to qualify point of view) and Regent Seven Seas Navigator. Now on to the intended review after the forward. This review will focus on our July 25, 2015 sailing on the Oceania Riviera. This was an 11 night Venice to Barcelona sailing. I will not be focusing on the ports, but rather the on board experience. EMBARKATION: As has consistently been our experience with Oceania embarkation was a breeze. Those expecting some type of celebration that they have boarded will be disappointed. Walking on board is akin to walking into a fine hotel. The Oceania Riviera and Marina have the finest and most visually appealing an beautiful main entrance halls at sea in my opinion. The grand staircase and fixture above it are adorned with Lalique that took thousands of man hours to create (according to the ship's staff). There are no escorts to your stateroom and no champagne or welcome drinks. Very quiet and understated. SHIP AND STATEROOMS: I find Riviera to have some of the most well appointed staterooms at sea. In terms of bang for the buck the Penthouse category staterooms are like beautiful small hotel rooms with a walk in closet, marble bathroom with both a shower and bath/shower combo. The shower has a European rain head and removable body washer. The beds (like Regent Seven Seas Cruises) are some of the most comfortable we have experienced beating out Azamara, Seabourn, Crystal, Holland America and Celebrity. Sheets are heavenly and it's amazing how the duvet and sheets and perfectly crisp without a wrinkle. Apparently, there is a massive laundry facility on board with large ironing machines for the bedding. The balcony was very generous in size with two lounger type chairs. The cushions are taken in at night and when the ship is underway with windy conditions. Riviera recently underwent a 10 day dry dock in Marseille despite only being three years old/new. Carpeting was replaced throughout the vessel. The whole ship looked brand new and gorgeous as ever. Every public space was adorned with the finest furnishings and fabrics which were not only easy on the eyes, but comfortable and practical. Specialty restaurants are beautiful and understated. The Grand Dining Room is a stunning space that always had tables available and provides a spectacular view of the sea or ports which of course changes daily. The Grand Dining Room is on par with a grand ballroom at a fine landside hotel. The pool area on Riviera (and other Oceania ships) is always a pleasure and delight. Loungers are usually easy to come by and the lack of obnoxious pool games and music that probably would not appeal to all tastes is a refreshing change from many other lines. The raw lounges themselves are no different - and in fact identical - to Seabourn and Holland America. However, they are dressed with comfy cushions covered in terry cloth covers and then finished with always available large and soft terry cloth towels which make for a very posh poolside experience. The pool and spas are always remarkably clean and quite large for a ship that only accommodates 1200 passengers. There are plenty of shaded loungers for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without the UV rays. One of my favorite outdoor areas onboard Riviera is the forward thalassotherapy pool which is part of the Canyon Ranch Spa. Unfortunately, many cruises have now discovered this heavenly area complete with always available complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and loungers with large cushions and built-in umbrellas. This area is available complimentary for Concierge, Penthouse and Suite passengers and for a fee for all others. There are 3 indoor bars which are Horizon on Deck 15 forward, Martinis on Deck 6 mid ship and the Grand Casino bar on Deck 6 a bit more aft near the Grand Dining Room. Happy hour is daily from 5-6 and all drinks (other than specialty martinis) are half price or 2 for 1 (have a double for the cost of a single). The fourth bar is the pool bar on Deck 12 and usually open late and quite busy in the late afternoon hours. Pre-dinner drinks are accompanied by the very talented string quartet at the Casino Bar and a pianist/singer at Martinis. The Oceania orchestra often plays pre-dinner music in Horizons. FOOD & BEVERAGE/SERVICE: My family and I are "foodies", yet appreciate healthy choices. We live lifestyles with an emphasis on fitness and attention to our overall well being. Watching those on cruises or elsewhere who overindulge in wrong choices and live sedentary lifestyles which result in obesity and poor health is an appetite suppressant. Some cruises seem to be magnets for these types. People are people, but on Oceania we have consistently noticed that most passengers are those who are active, health conscious, non-pretentious and appreciate good cuisine without gorging themselves. This provides for a very comfortable, dignified and humane dining experience wherever you go on the ship and contributes to an atmosphere conducive to "dining" without the bonus of whale watching. We all have seen the passenger who orders 3 entrees and eats 4 lobsters etc. Gross! My apologies to those of you who may take offense. Just stating an opinion and not an attack on the larger subset of our population. After 11 days on board I can say we never experienced a bad meal. In fact, ALL meals were outstanding. The four specialty restaurants, Jacques, Toscana, Red Ginger and Polo Grill are consistently outstanding as is the Grand Dining Room. Service is always excellent with a smile. Food is served hot and made cooked to order. Steaks were always delivered exactly as requested with appropriate attention to "how would you like your steak cooked". One of the most pleasant venues to dine on Oceania is in the Terrace Café on the aft of the ship where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. On most ships, the "back of the ship buffet" is a downgrade from other options for dinner, but not on Oceania. The Terrace Café ha a grill where one can enjoy fresh grilled fishes, lamb chops, lobster, filet mignon and other special choices nightly! Additionally, the buffet at Terraces reminds me of a Four Seasons buffet - small, but with many fine choices. For breakfast, the choice of berries and fruit at Terraces is terrific and mind boggling how fresh. Some of the most pleasant evenings are those docked in a warm port and enjoying dinner at Terraces while enjoying the sunset. Lastly, Waves Grill near the pool remains an Oceania staple where terrific burgers, grilled fish, and amazing steak fries are serviced daily for lunch. There is also a light breakfast buffet - continental style - served at Waves. For coffee enthusiasts Baristas is a terrific spot overlooking the pool and attached to the library and internet center to enjoy an illy coffee. I recommend taking some time to have your coffee there as opposed to "take away" as the take away cups might be 3 ounces at most and awkward. Baristas are typically the Italians on the ship who also are wait staff at Toscanova. The baristas are terrific and on day #2 already remembered my coffee preference (grande non-fat, no whip, mochhachino, extra hot with quarter inch of foam and one sweet and low!). Just kidding on the coffee, just an Americano please! The adjacent library is a gorgeous room that is well stocked and quite a cozy place to sit down and do business on your laptop or enjoy one of the many books on board. Service was consistently excellent throughout the ship with wait staff often remembering your name and addressing you by such. Service was always with a smile and the crew really seemed to be in sync. It is remarkable to me that on so many cruise lines room service is a joke and there always seems to be something off or wrong. For example, eggs ordered over hard come sunny side up and runny or you order a burger with fries and they don't bring ketchup because "it was not requested". Not on Oceania! Room service was used only a handful of times, but always on the mark and exactly as ordered with an emphasis on common sense with regards to customary condiments etc. A terrific feature on the Riviera are the immaculate laundry facilities (tokens required and $2.00/load) with Speed Queen machines that do a terrific job. From talking with other passengers it seems most passengers take advantage of the plentiful facilities to always have a stash of clean clothes. The send out laundry service is also terrific and they have yet to damage or ruin a piece of our clothing (even the drycleaners at home do this). Of interesting note on the dining front Apollo Catering has the Oceania contract until 2019. After that we were advised NCL will be taking the dining "in house". Not sure if that will have any impact for better or worse, but time will tell. ENTERTAINMENT: I did not personally to more than one show. Of note the Jean Ann Ryan (spelling?) production company previously contracted with has lost their contract and entertainment is transitioning to NCL productions. My wife and children (teenagers) went to a few more shows than I did and were impressed with the production quality and the talent. As a point of reference we are from Los Angeles and frequent the theater so given the frame of reference for my family to have enjoyed the entertainment this much is notable. The cruise director Ray Michaels was terrific, had his own schtick and was kind and always visible. We have also enjoyed Oceania cruise directors Dottie and Les in the past. INTERESTING NOTE: My teenage kids - both very well cruised on many lines - prefer Oceania even to the likes of Royal Caribbean for a variety of reasons. A few months prior we were on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas at my son's request for his Spring break. He was so excited about all the sports and activities. We traveled with some other families and there were 5 teenagers with us. Remarkably, none of them really loved Royal Caribbean. Why? Lines, lines and more lines and "too crowded everywhere". Additionally, due to the number of kids on board Royal Caribbean they are cordoned off from many of the otherwise adult areas and treated as second class citizens. All 5 kids also recognized that the food was "awful" on the Royal Caribbean Cruise. Some of the benefits of being a child or teenager cruising on Oceania is that you can be included in the adult ping pong tournament, sit with a parent at the bar and even enjoy the Canyon Ranch Spa and thalassotherapy pool without being humiliated and kicked out. Our experience of 5 Oceania cruises is that the children are typically well traveled and VERY well behaved, quiet and non-obtrusive. Although Oceania does not formally cater to families or have a youth program there were approximately 100 passengers on board out of 1200+ who were below 18 and a delight to have on board. You didn't know they were there. Oceania is not for all adults or all children. If you are someone who enjoys constant action, pool games, an action packed kids program, upsells like photographs and drinks left and right I would not encourage trying Oceania as you might find it bland, boring and unappealing. However, if you are one who enjoys quality, service, great food and a refined non-crowded relaxing atmosphere with great attention to detail Oceania is perfect. Keep in mind Oceania is "country club casual" so if you enjoy dressing in a tuxedo in 90 degree Mediterranean weather for a Titanic reenactment Oceania is also not for you. Passengers consistently look great for dinner in their elegant and casual attire and I have not seen abuse of the casual policy. Of note, is that shorts are acceptable at Terraces Café for dinner and many gentlemen exercise this option, but again always looked nice to me as shorts were usually worn with a nice button down or polo with appropriate loafers. CLOSING: Again, I apologize for being a Cruise Critic voyeur and not a big contributor recently, but hop you have found this review of Oceania Riviera enjoyable and informative. Bon voyage! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
I would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete ... Read More
I would not recommend cruising on this ship, the staff and personnel were great, the food was awesome. Its the small staterooms, the unreliable airconditioning,the electric surges and the electricity that made the ship come to a complete stop three different times and the crazy Captain that would sail through horrible storms. For 3.5 days we had 10-12 ft. seas, all people sick and one woman fell and broke her shoulder in 2 places. A gentelman had to be medevac because of his pacemaker during high seas, that was a sight to behold. The ports of call were sad, the good ones were the large towns. Oceana prides itself on using smaller ships so they can get into out of the way places, well that is not always good. We paid for 5 excursions and only one was worthwhile, the one in Cartagena, Colombia. The excursion to a nut farm in Guatemala was so terrible. We had to change busses 4 times because of flat tires. We had to walk about 500ft. in pouring rain through an uneven surface. There were hadicapped persons who got stuck in the mud of the trail. It was aweful. When we got to the building we did not see nut production we were pushed to buy Macademia oil and assorted products. This was not a free excursion, we paid to be abused. Sailing through the Panama Canal was great, but the rest of the cruise was below average. I would not do it again with this cruise line. Disembarkation was not a problem, the only problem was guests who would not follow directions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a ... Read More
Panama Canal Passage, June 22-July 8, 2015 Insignia We were two couples (early 70’s), celebrating an anniversary. We loved the size of the ship, but agreed that too many people had been crammed on board on this final leg of a round-the-world cruise. We heard various statistics, but it appeared that there were 40-100 more people on board than the ship was equipped to handle. One indication of this was the life-boat drill: presumably half the ship was assigned to each of two muster stations. Our station, the Insignia Lounge, was also the site of the evening entertainment and appeared to have insufficient seating for even half the passengers. I am not questioning Oceania’s commitment to safety, only their commitment to the comfort and enjoyment of their passengers. Cabin My husband and I enjoyed 8005, a PH3 Cabin, as it was convenient for him to walk up one flight to the outdoor smoking lounge. To call this a “Penthouse Suite”, however, is a misnomer, as it was neither a penthouse nor a suite, just a nice veranda cabin. The balcony was a bit small, and one of us found the bed very uncomfortable, even after the addition of a bed board (or some other form of support). The design of the bathtub-shower combination was a bit treacherous for the old(er) and clumsy and made my sister-in-law grateful for their inside cabin, with its simple shower stall. The best thing about the cabin was our butler, Mishar, who solved numerous problems and facilitated countless arrangements for us. Itinerary and Tours San Diego We are residents of San Diego County and naturally biased. The ship docks in a location convenient to shopping and sight-seeing, as well as The Midway Museum. If you’re not going further afield, to the zoo, for example, a Pedicab is highly recommended. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico We stayed on board until an evening dinner cruise (booked through a website), which started an hour after we were told to be on the pier. It was probably more fun for the 20- and 30-somethings, as they listened to loud music and downed truly atrocious Margaritas, but we did get a nice photo out of it, the four of us and the Arches. Huatulco, Mexico We’d been curious about this area for a long time, as it had the same genesis as Cancun: a computer analysis of statistics for a favorable tourist development. Huatulco, with its five bays, was geographically large enough that it was not possible to get an impression of the whole area in one partial day. It was green and scenically lovely, however, and did not appear to have suffered the same over-building and saturation of name-brand night spots as Cancun. Two of us did the ship’s scenic drive and shopping tour, as it seemed to offer the best opportunity for finding Zapotec rugs. Indeed, we were impressed with the quality and the prices and bought two! Good tour, highly recommended. Only sorry we couldn’t have worked in some snorkeling also. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Some passengers went to Antigua (three hours total on the bus), but we preferred to save this lovely city for another trip. One of us was thrilled to know that we were the same distance from Guatemala City, site of a major pre-Columbian museum. The other of us spent hours looking for a private tour company to take us there, only to find that said museum was closed on Monday, the day our ship called. There was a lovely shopping area around the port, however, complete with countless vendors of Guatemalan weavings, a jade museum and store, and a waterfront restaurant with delicious nachos and Guatemalan beer and rum. It was one of our nicer days on the cruise, and we were pleased we hadn’t succumbed to a tour, particularly as subsequent shopping opportunities were more limited than we had predicted. Porto Cortino, Nicaragua One of the ship’s tours mentioned a pre-Columbian museum, Museo Chorotega, 15 miles away in Chinandega. Knowing that my husband would want more time there than any group tour would allow, I found a private company, Julio Tours Nicaragua mailto:info@juliotoursnicaragua.com.ni. Julio’s response was immediate, and planning was easy. Our driver and guide, Miguel, could not have been better. He was informative and articulate and very pleasant company. The museum was small but a real treasure, as it contained over 1000 examples of pottery from the area, dating back to 2,000 BC. A young local man narrated each display, and Miguel translated, and my husband was delighted. He wass so pleased with the museum that he asked to make a donation. There was an elementary school next door to the museum, and Miguel arranged for my sister-in-law and me to visit two classrooms (while our husbands watched a baseball game on the playground). The kids were delightful and had a good time laughing at my poor Spanish. For us, this was a highlight of the whole cruise. We enjoyed a delightful lunch at El Convento in Leon and headed back to the ship, after a return trip to the restaurant when Miguel was notified that I’d left my credit card. In any case, we would not have had time to visit the art gallery, the third stop on our itinerary, because of time spent at the museum and school, a good trade, in my opinion. The ship’s tour had done the itinerary in reverse and never made it to the museum, let alone the school! I shudder to think what we would have missed, had we not booked a private tour with someone who respected our priorities. Nicaragua appeared to be the poorest country we visited, but it had some of the nicest people. Depending on the season, be prepared for a lot of dust. There’s no crop rotation on the peanut farms, and the air can be almost saturated with grit from the bare fields. Puntarenas, Costa Rica An enlightening but frustrating first visit to this country, which provided a stark contrast to the rest of Central America, at least the parts we saw. I was especially struck by the pristine, very modern highways, overpasses, and signage. We elected the ship’s river cruise, as our limited time in port precluded a private tour. The river was pleasant, but overall the tour was disappointing, as we were on the road too long for too little, and local shops were closed when we returned. One of my husband’s smoking buddies wondered off the ship with his family, encountered a friendly cab drive, and spent an incredible and memorable day being up close and personal with animals in the national park, for a whole $100. I had read a similar report on Cruise Critic, and I wish we’d elected that option. Cartagena, Columbia There was another pre-Columbian (Gold) Museum, so I had requested a private tour with Marelvy Peña marelvy@gmail.com. Marelvy herself was already booked, but our guide, Katty, was delightful. Her English was excellent, and we had a wonderful visit to La Popa (where we met Marelvy, herself), and the San Felipe Fortress, as well as the old city, with plenty of time to shop and ogle the gold. For my husband and me, it was probably the best day of the cruise. Some passengers had the impression that Cartagena was dangerous, and this was reinforced by the ship’s warnings regarding what not to do. I can only say that the old city reminded both of us of New Orleans, and we felt equally safe there. At our request, Katty took us to a local place for lunch (delicious). Chile was playing Argentina for the America’s Cup Championship, and the lunch crowd was equally divided between the two teams and two different T.V.’s. During our subsequent walk, Katty would continually duck into a shop or bar to report, “The score is still tied, 0-0”. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and while not usually a soccer fan, I confess to being relieved to have the outcome of the game reported on the ship (Katty was rooting for Chile, and they won). In a closet-sized hardware store, so small that Katty had never noticed it, we were able to find the duct tape our brother-in-law needed to complete “Ocean Blue”; the tape was my husband’s and my sole contribution to “our” entry in the ship’s boat building contest. Both of us agree: Cartagena is not to be missed. We also highly recommend Marelvy’s operation and our guide Katty. Key West, Florida Sadly, our final port of call was cancelled, due to weather. We had 21-foot waves the night we left Cartagena, and adverse conditions continued for much of the next two days. Miami, Florida My husband and I were faced with the prospect of nearly 12 hours between disembarkation and our flight home. Oceania had insisted that there were no arrangements for tours or transportation ending at the airport. This turned out to be false, as the agent knew, but “We don’t kow what we’ll be able to offer, and we don’t want you to count on it and be disappointed”. The existence of these arrangements was not revealed until a day or two before disembarkation. They would not have met our needs, as they appeared to involve transportation changes and handling our own luggage, but Oceania lost points for this. In any case, I discovered a company called Tours by Locals and booked a Greater Miami Tour with Steven Bridges. Steven was knowledgeable and engaging, and our time with him passed very quickly. We learned a lot we never knew about Miami and had a comfortable and enjoyable tour. Dining I was told that Oceania has the best food at sea. I would have to agree, with one caveat: It is difficult to enjoy the best food at sea if dining venues are over-crowded, noisy, and offering poor service. A word about the specialty restaurants: These are free, with dining opportunities available according to one’s cabin category. Unlike on many ships, the Italian venue, Toscana, was outstanding, with excellent food and the best service, whereas The Polo Grill steak house was somewhat disappointing. Our group concluded that we would rather be assessed a surcharge for the specialty restaurants and have more opportunities available. The Terrace was a mixed bag for me, as I hate buffets. As these go, however, the Terrace at least had excellent food, and on our last evening I managed to grab an outside table on the railing, and an agreement from my husband that it would not be too warm outside the A/C, and four of us enjoyed a lovely dinner. The Grand Dining Room – Surprisingly, the food was often as good as in the Specialty Restaurants. I had enjoyed Dover Sole twice in Toscana and ordered it out of curiosity the night it was featured in the Grand. Amazingly, it was equally good. It was here that the noise and service were really objectionable, however. There is leisurely dining, and there is just sitting around and waiting in a noisy room, and the Grand was in the latter category. Unfortunately, the same was somewhat true of the Polo Grill, though to a lesser extent in Tuscany. In none of these venues should it have taken two and one half hours to complete a meal, which was always the case. This meant that if you were at the Grand when it opened at 6:30, you did not finish in time for the evening’s one show, which usually started at 8:30. Service hours should be extended in all venues (including the bars), and consideration should be given to scheduling more than one show per evening. Entertainment Who knows? Seriously, see above. Even when we would rush to make a show, there would be no seats left. See above. I was able to hear a few minutes of the guest tenor’s program, which I enjoyed immensely. Enrichment We were blessed to have a well informed and entertaining former newsman as a lecturer. His illustrated talks on the Panama Canal and Central American politics were a highlight of the cruise for us. My sister-in-law greatly enjoyed her art classes, and there were also opportunities for photography addicts. Daily Trivia games were both entertaining and enriching and provided the opportunity to meet congenial fellow passengers. Drinking The two of us had purchased the premium liquor package, which meant we could order wine and spirits by the glass, throughout the ship. In this case, I was glad to be paying for a package, as my in-laws do not drink and would have found it very unfair to be paying for my consumption. Otherwise, I would rather pay a higher cruise fare and have cocktails and wine included. The package option undoubtedly saved us money, but it was hardly seamless, as one still had to present one’s cruise card --or rather, two cruise cards in our case, precluding the opportunity for my husband to return with drinks for both of us, spontaneously, after one of his smoking trips --, and the time needed to process the “transaction” in the Grand was overly long. As more knowledgeable cruisers might know, one doesn’t try to order cocktails at the table before dinner; otherwise you can end up with a pissy sommelier and a vodka martini that arrives after the pate and caviar appetizer is long gone. It’s better to carry your cocktail in. I also sometimes wondered if sommeliers were slow to refill my wineglass because I wasn’t paying for each pour. I don’t really believe that however. There were just too many passengers for the staff, including the sommeliers; the ship was short-handed, though personnel denied this. As to venues, The Waves Bar closed too early (6:30); Martini’s was too crowded for relaxed before-dinner cocktails, and the Grand Bar was a coffee venue until 6:30, when the dining room opened, an example of poor planning in my opinion. That left Horizon’s, which seemed too out of the way and was not my husband’s favorite smoking venue. Before closing, I must commend the bartenders for their memory and cheerfulness. One sommelier was also particularly attentive and helpful, though he was trying to serve too many people. I cannot say enough good things about our butler; the cabin attendants were cheerful and helpful for the most part but rather clueless when it came to trying to clean while we were trying to pack. Overall, neither my husband nor I were sorry we took this cruise, though he’s said it may be his last on Oceania. Interestingly, several previous Oceania passengers were complaining that Insignia is the worst Oceania ship and that this cruise was worse than others on Insignia. It was not what they had come to expect from Oceania. For a luxury cruise, I too expected a bit more. As my sister-in-law reminded me, she and my brother-in-law could have done essentially the same itinerary on another line for less than half what they paid. Personally, we might still have elected to pay more for the smaller ship size and more congenial fellow passengers, but we might also have thought twice about it. I am famous among friends for saying that the worst cruise is better than no cruise. There have been two cruises that have caused me to question the wisdom of that statement, but this was not one of them. Unlike some passengers, I was not eager to get off the ship, but I had found myself asking, “Are we having fun yet?”. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was my 4th Oceania cruise, the first on one of the smaller ships. I must confess that I have been spoiled by previous voyages on Riviera. Seattle was beautiful, sunny and 84 degrees on the day we sailed. For the most part, weather ... Read More
This was my 4th Oceania cruise, the first on one of the smaller ships. I must confess that I have been spoiled by previous voyages on Riviera. Seattle was beautiful, sunny and 84 degrees on the day we sailed. For the most part, weather was mild, with only misty rain here and there, but not much sun outside of Puget Sound. The scenery was majestic. Cruising in Tracy Arm and viewing Sawyer Glacier did not disappoint. We found the food to be excellent with a small stumble here and there. Room service breakfast was a treat, delivered in a timely manner, hot and tasty. A little more space in the cabin would have made it more enjoyable...we were pretty cramped between the little sofa and the desk. Having a stool to sit on rather than a chair was less comfortable. As I said, spoiled by Riviera. One our traveling group had an outside cabin with an 'obstructed view' which means there is a lifeboat right outside their window, and often crew members were on the deck working. We would not recommend this category of accommodation! Ketchikan was an interesting port. Even though we didn't take a shore excursion, we found lots to do and see just in Ketchikan. Lots of shopping. Wrangell was disappointing. If you are willing to go on a boat or sea plane, there are sights to see. For those on foot, not so much. Prince Rupert was better, but for those not on a ship's excursion, not much to do. On days at sea there were ample activities to keep us amused, from Team Trivia, indoor putting competitions, table tennis, and Bingo to enjoying a very talented string quartet or sipping a latté in the library. The daily 4:00 tea was another event to look forward to! The tea, sweets, snacks, and Service were outstanding. That being said, this is really a cruise to relax and view some stunning scenery, and we were not disappointed! The crew were exemplary...we never saw a sour face! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Marina is exceptional for what it does not have. It does not have photographers bothering you, art auctions, charge for espresso or specialty coffee, charge for cans of soft drinks. What it does have is exceptional food, fine specialty ... Read More
Marina is exceptional for what it does not have. It does not have photographers bothering you, art auctions, charge for espresso or specialty coffee, charge for cans of soft drinks. What it does have is exceptional food, fine specialty dining rooms; complementary; most pleasant staff of our 30 plus cruises and excellent entertainment. Our large balcony cabin had a beautiful marble bathroom with huge tub plus shower. The bed was something you would like to take home with you and concierge deck had a very nice lounge, plus private sunning area in the bow accessible with key card. The minus were the overpriced wine bottles topped with an 18% gratuity and very overpriced shore excursions. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Unless you reserve in the two highest categories, you are treated very poorly. Dinner ereservatiiobns are not a priority unless you are in the top 2 categories, embarking early reserved for special class & expensive tours. Not at all ... Read More
Unless you reserve in the two highest categories, you are treated very poorly. Dinner ereservatiiobns are not a priority unless you are in the top 2 categories, embarking early reserved for special class & expensive tours. Not at all what we expected. Middle &uppe r maNAgement very impressed with themselves and not helpful. One notable excxception is genertal manager Guiseepe. Reception & Assistant purser/concierge have no peopkle skills Service kline & assistanec after tyiou have paid is just as bad or not worse with their Miami office. Tourtes as luxury cruise, NOT Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my 61st cruise, first with Oceania. Overall a very nice cruise, with a few glitches here and there that could be easily fixed with this line to make it nearly perfect. We flew from Washington DC to Vancouver. Our air and ... Read More
This was my 61st cruise, first with Oceania. Overall a very nice cruise, with a few glitches here and there that could be easily fixed with this line to make it nearly perfect. We flew from Washington DC to Vancouver. Our air and transfers were done with the cruise line. I thought it was rather strange that I received confirmation from both my travel agent as well as Oceania about the air flight time and flight number BUT neither one included what airline was selected. I had to go on Kayak to determine our carrier both ways. I thought that was a rather important detail that was not provided. Flights and transfers were fine, no line to check in, and we were on the ship by 2:30 pm for lunch. The Terrace Grill was open for a nice lunch. They served casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this area every day. The food in the area was excellent, with a nice variety of high quality items. The problem is that you do NOT serve yourself, and items are not clearly identified. This causes lots of confusion, and considerably slows the production process in this venue. The other problem in this area is that there are many employees in this area trying to help but it appears there is absolutely no cross training. One person to clear old silverware, one person to remove beverage containers, one person to remove soiled napkins, and the reverse to reset the table for the next party. Very slow at times. They do take your beverage order in this area, but most of the time it takes more than 10 minutes to get a diet coke, and forget about getting a refill. Most nights in the evening they have grilled lobster and shrimp at this location that were great. Also a nice variety of desserts and ice creams. I never tried the pizza but it did look inviting. Just outside of this area near the pool was another informal eating area called Waves. They served a very limited breakfast menu for late risers. This area also had a great lunch menu with a Reuben to die for, great lobster and filet sandwich, and very good Kobe burger, as well as other interesting looking burgers and dogs. Most items are served with a nice homemade slaw and fries. Unfortunately half the time the fries were cold. Is it really that difficult to serve hot fries?? We had a standard cabin with a window on deck 4 next to the reception desk. The cabin is average size with a small bathroom. Gerson our cabin steward did a great job of keeping our cabin spotless and my mini-fridge stocked with diet sodas. The bed was extremely comfortable, with very high end linens to match. Alcohol is not included on this cruise line but they did have the free go-go juice flowing at the Captains Welcome Dinner. From 5:00 - 6:00 there was a happy our every day in the bar near the casino and in the Horizons lounge on deck 10. Horizons is a very nice relaxing location with panoramic views. It was a popular area and during happy hour getting served there was usually rather difficult, taking about 15 minutes before we were even recognized and our order taken. They usually only had 2 bar servers in this location even during happy hour. They needed several more to keep up with demand. If you went to the bar yourself to try to get a second drink a few minutes before the end of happy hour they were not pleased and I was told to return to my seat and a server would assist. Sometimes they did and sometimes they did not. The Main Dining Room is on Deck 5 and is a beautiful area. We had dinner there most nights. Everything was excellent except for the beef. I can only eat medium well or well done beef. I ordered this three nights in a row and each night received an entree prepared very rare. The third night I called the waiter over and showed him the rareness and requested one that was well done. When he returned it was still rare. This was also the case one evening at the Terrace Grill when I requested a well done steak, at least there it was medium and I was able to eat the edges. Is well done that difficult to do? One other serious problem in this area- the wine stewards strongly push the wine. You cannot even pick up your wine glass to smell the wine without them rushing over to your table asking to fill up your glass. One steward even interrupted us (twice) at our table to ask to pour more wine- this is unacceptable on any cruise and without question totally out of line at this level of cruising. On deck 10 there are also two special restaurants that are free of charge. Our first one we sampled was Toscana with the Italian Theme. Our Italian waiter did a nice job, but the service was extremely slow. Other tables that arrived after us were completely done 20 minutes before we were even offered dessert. The Lasagna was wonderful as was all other selections. The second special restaurant is Polo Grill. This was the absolute highlight of the cruise. Great waiter and even better food than I have ever had on a ship. The Shrimp cocktail was stunning, super jumbo sized shrimp that were flavorful and tender. Excellent Onion soup and Whole 2 1/2 pound steamed Maine Lobster, it just does not get any better than that. I did not even have room for dessert but two of my table mates selected a 7 layer chocolate cake that i did sample and it was the best! They even prepared a beautiful personal birthday cake for the person that was celebrating a special birthday - 55. I thought the entertainment for a small ship was wonderful. I did see the comedian two nights - Noodles, very funny without being vulgar. The four singers and dancers sang and absolutely danced their little hearts out- they surely gave 110%. The reception desk staff always gave a smile and were pleasant. Robert the concierge was most kind on several occasions. The cruise director is a character - he knows his stuff and did a great job- especially at trivia. I know I only gave an average rating of 3 stars, but a few thing need to be fixed immediately: The Terrace Buffet- assign stations to staff to clean and reset tables, cross train the staff to jump in and help each other when someone is "in the weeds". Train your wine stewards the proper method of when and when not to serve. Train your cooks how to prepare a well done steak. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We have previously cruised with Princess 31 days. We have chosen cruising over land tours due to travel traveling between destinations is done while we eat, dance, and sleep. This time I chose Oceania because of a special they were ... Read More
We have previously cruised with Princess 31 days. We have chosen cruising over land tours due to travel traveling between destinations is done while we eat, dance, and sleep. This time I chose Oceania because of a special they were running: free airfare, free unlimited Saint Petersburg excursions, free internet, free gratuities, $100 shipboard credit and more. The Saint Petersburg excursions were available on line to view. We chose our excursions; savings about $1,200. Free internet I was not of value to me, but to my wife it would save her time trying to communicate with family; leave the computer at home and enjoy yourself. When I finally went to book, I thought I knew most of the costs or had a good idea what they were. Oceania in their flyers seemed to be upfront, but what I found were way too many hidden costs you cannot find out until after you book and then it is too late. It took many attempts to learn the location of the port of embarkation and disembarkation. Oceania was unable to provide any details as to how one might get to or from the ports. On Princess, they always provided a map and directions. Copenhagen identified the pier and from all indications it was within walking distance 100yds of public transportation. However, Oceania was unable to provide directions. What we found out was there was construction being done on the water front. Public transportation could get you close, but no cigar. We walked a good mile. In fact taxi cabs had difficult finding the pier. Oceania could easily have sent a map of the location and directions, but they did/would not. Free airfare I find out is not worth it. I do not live near a gateway city and therefor, I have to drive or fly. We decided if we flew we could leave a day earlier and spend a day in Copenhagen. This meant we could spend three days in Stockholm after the cruise. We called our travel agent, presented our dates and then waited for Oceania to give us their free flight info. By the time we got it, our air fair had gone up $46 each. Ok, not to bad, so I ok'd the flights. What we learned after landing in Copenhagen was that our bags never made it out of Chicago. We did not have seamless airline reservations, but a stinking voucher from Chicago to Amesterdam then to Copenhagen. We were not alone, there were well over 40 bags that did not reach the ship. $0 were delivered in Helsinki, day four and our two bags arrived in Tallinn as we were leaving port, our last day. In the end I could have purchased round trip tickets for two for $100 less than the cost of the Free Airfare from Oceania, plus $$175 air deviation fee each, plus $100 air increase fair each, plus $50 times two for bags plus the $296 round trip air to Chicago each. In simple terms if our not a gateway city, the free air fare most likely will not save you any money. To us it is worthless. We tried to buy clothes in the botique, but it was too small and as I guy I have more selection than they did. With so many missing bags, there were not enough clothes. Only one pair of pant's, $125 and it would need to be hemmed. Shirts started at $125. As for the food, Red Ginger did not go ever well at all. McDonald's would have been much better. As for the other three dinning venues, they were ok, but no better than we were experienced with on Princess. Breakfast was better on Oceania, only because they serve you, instead of people trying to serve themselves. You stand in a line, order what you want, it is cooked, served to you standing there. the Terrace Cafe was good. they served to order grill food fast. We had a problem with our wine. An unfinished bottled went missing, but they provided another bottle, though less full than what we had left the evening before. This is the first time a bottle on any cruise had gone missing. I had reserved our four nights at the "best" venues "Polo", "Jacques", "Red Ginger" and "Tuscana" online We like to share a table, but the online reservation would not allow me to select sharing without having the names/booking of those we wished to share with. One of the pleasures of dining on a cruise ship is meeting others from around the world. We found out upon boarding the ship we were setup not to share. It was too late to change our first venue, but the other three we were able to change to sharing. We found the veranda stateroom nice, same quality as on Princess. The tub was a nice touch. We found that we could never go to the shows because of meal times. On Oceania they begin a 9PM. They really need to start later at 9:30 o 9:45 so that those who eat, can go. I found a smaller ship was nice, not as much walking, but this small convenience was not worth the cost. We found the excursions nice, but very pricey. On Princess they always had maps of where the ship would be and a map of the surrounding area. Oceania only did this once and provided as we were going ashore. I booked all our excursions online. When I tried to make changes, the online website went down. On line there was a notices stating that Saint Petersburg Free Excursions would be adjusted for after final submission. A month after booking our excursions I got a bill for over $1,000 for Saint Petersburg Excursions that I thought were supposed to be free an unlimited. Free soda and water is not a selling point. I liked to have a coke when I came back, but there would only be one in the frig. I do not know why they could not have had four or even more. At disembarkation, we left from deck five. This required we walk down steps with luggage. Deck four had a ramp which would have made getting off the ship easier, safer and faster. In Summary, Oceania is 50% more expensive. The free airfare turned out to be a nightmare. Food was not nearly as good as I was expecting. I wasted my wife's seven vacation days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
There are not enough superlatives to describe our 10-day cruise on Oceania Regatta to Alaska. The quality of service would have made a five star hotel anywhere in the world envious. This was a cruise for foodies as every meal onboard was a ... Read More
There are not enough superlatives to describe our 10-day cruise on Oceania Regatta to Alaska. The quality of service would have made a five star hotel anywhere in the world envious. This was a cruise for foodies as every meal onboard was a gourmet experience. For 675 passengers there were 66 chefs, and the only thing that was not prepared fresh daily were the milk, eggs, and butter. The night life was excellent as there was something for all ages and interests. The attention to detail by the cruise director, Ray Carr, was superb. The ship recently underwent a major refurbishing and it was spotless. After a couple of tender excursions, the crew were out polishing the brass propellers to make them shine. At the Hubbard Glacier, the captain parallel parked the ship to ensure everyone had a spectacular view. The atmosphere was that of a happy family, and the staff and crew were there to ensure your vacation was the epitome of pleasure and enjoyment. If you are contemplating a cruise, look nowhere beyond Oceania anywhere in the world. I have been onboard other ships from other ocean lines, and they do not compare to the quality of Oceania. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
(I´m Swedish. More of a 2*-man, than 5*) Cruising ranks low, when I plan holidays. Nevertheless I now and then cruise. Hithertho always with different lines (RCCL,HAL, Costa, NCL). Oceania was a step up. In many aspects. From outside ... Read More
(I´m Swedish. More of a 2*-man, than 5*) Cruising ranks low, when I plan holidays. Nevertheless I now and then cruise. Hithertho always with different lines (RCCL,HAL, Costa, NCL). Oceania was a step up. In many aspects. From outside Nautica looks rather plain. Inside impressing. Beautiful public areas, cabins, and dining rooms. I was very surprised that on this little ship had more space for myself outside my cabin, than on any of the three to five times larger ships I have been on. You could always find place to sit wherever you wanted. Now bit for bit: 1. Standard balcony cabin. Very, very attractive. I loved it. Really not large, but enough for us. Especially the bathroom gave limited space. But I prefer that than an even smaller cabin. The beds 110%. From hell to heaven compared to NCL, with their sweaty pillows. Free non-alcoholic in the fridge. The TV was an example of the opposite to HD. But that I count out. A tip: Try to get a cabin where you move forward sitting in the sofa. Not for example our 6025. 2. Public areas gave astonishing space. Used to crowded rooms on other ships. Elegant everywhere. 3. Sundeck: Lots of extremly comfortable sunbeds. Always empty available. Pool very small. The 2 bubble-pools very popular. 4. Walking-track very short. But it was so wide, that you could even jogg, same time lots of walkers were there. Strange: All the much larger ships I cruised on, gave less opportunity for jogging. 5. Gym. Super. 6. Dining: The dishes always served hot. And tasty. Especially in Toscana. Our favorite. The only dissappointment was the steaks in Polo-grill. But perhaps americans like that kind of meat. Thick and absolutely non-tasting. Second to Toscana, we prefered the self-service Terrace-café. Nice to see what you put on your plate. Wines: The cheap ones were not cheap, neither good. The more expensive were ok, but far too expensive. And the offered packages were also very high-priced. Stay sober on Nautica. Or drink in yuor cabin. (Bottles allowed to bring aboard.) 7. Bars: drinks very expensive, and contained only ice and soft drinks. Perhaps a hint of alcoholic. I took one, and just laughed. 8. Evening-shows: Very high standard for such a small ship. And varied. 9. Day-lectures in the theatre: Don Campell talked around the history in ports to arrive. For me, and I believe for many others, this was the best hours on the cruise. I will never forget him. And his lectures. 10. Excursions. We took 5. That was exactly 5 too many. Guides, dull, duller, or even duller. We envy those smart people who went out on their own in every port. 11. Staff: On former cruises they have been very nice. Here they were fantactic. As I began, I´m not a cruiser. But if I cruise again, it will be on a ship of this size. Worth every extra buck you pay. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We've sailed several times, and are great fans of Oceania. We'd heard other stories of cruises on the Marina and wanted to try the new ship. Most of the destinations we were attracted to were served by the three older ships, ... Read More
We've sailed several times, and are great fans of Oceania. We'd heard other stories of cruises on the Marina and wanted to try the new ship. Most of the destinations we were attracted to were served by the three older ships, which we love, but we wanted one of the new ones. During the winter, the Riviera alternates between a very traditional Eastern Caribbean cruise, Miami-Miami and a Western Caribbean cruise that goes down the Caribbean coast of Central America as far as Guatemala. The Central American posts were attractive, and a mid-winter escape from New Jersey was an added attraction. Our major goal on this cruise was to try the new restaurants available only on the Marina ad Riviera, Jacques and Red Ginger. Oceania specialty restaurants don't have a surcharge, but require a reservation. They also don't require formal dress - ever. These two restaurants were fabulous - serving us three hour dinners that were memorable and delicious. The wasabi crusted rack of lamb was wonderful. Fortunately, you could make one reservation at each restaurant online, so we were booked up when we boarded. The concierge was useless for getting us additional reservations but pleas at the reservation desk did work for one additional reservation. The two other specialty restaurants were as good as we remembered them from our last Oceania cruise. Meals in the Grand Dining Room were also leisurely and elaborate. Sharing tables remains a great way to meet others. The Terrace Cafe was better than I remembered it, but still a place for a quicker meal. The other highlights of the ship were an Artist's Loft with an artist in residence where my wife learned about acryllic painting daily, a teaching kitchen with stations for actual cooking, as well as demo facilities that were well televised for easy watching. We took a delightful Italian cooking class. The coffee bar was another new feature we enjoyed. Internet service remains a problem - slow and expensive. We had a concierge level cabin that came with a laptop, useable only for internet access - we couldn't even view pictures on it. The theater was roomy, but the on board entertainment was loud and amateurish. We enjoyed liesurely dinners instead. The posts of call varied from Costa Maya, a souvenir market in the wilds of southern Yucatan to San Thomas Guatemala, an interesting spot on the coast with a river trip to a school for local middle schoolers that we enjoyed. We skipped the stop in Honduras due to docking conditions. Visits to the Mayan ruins were all cumbersome and expensive, and we'd been to Chichen Itza, Tulum and Uxmal, so we skipped them. I felt bad about missing Tikal, which required a flight and a long ride. We enjoyed swimming with the rays in the Cayman Islands, and enjoyed snorkeling the reef in Belize. Key West was a waste. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
Rome-Venice --Sorrento/Capri, Amalfi/Positano, Sicily, Zakynthos, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice -- couldn't ask for a better itinerary or better weather. Try to be to-the-point (not my strong suit) and chronological for the most part. We ... Read More
Rome-Venice --Sorrento/Capri, Amalfi/Positano, Sicily, Zakynthos, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice -- couldn't ask for a better itinerary or better weather. Try to be to-the-point (not my strong suit) and chronological for the most part. We are vets of RCCL, Princess, Carnival, Disney & Celebrity trying Oceania for 1st time, Oceania all the way for our big 45th Anniversary trip with Excursion Package, Air & Hotel package for 2 extra nights on each end in Rome & Venice including all transportation. Oceania flights good except for 3-hour delay on Atlanta-Rome leg which got us into Rome late to find the Oceania rep waiting for us and lovely car for drive to Westin-Excelsior. Beautiful hotel ( plain room) Via Veneto prime location near lots of cafes. That afternoon after napping on the plane, we walked to the Spanish Steps & Trevi Fountain. Next day, the only full day we had, we booked a tour through the hotel and were told we could be back by noon to take another tour of the ruins in the afternoon. But our guide was late and we were delayed at a "staging area" before seeing the Vatican. We got back too late for the other tour. We went back to our room ready for a hot shower to find our room not made so we had no dry towels and toiletries not replaced, etc. We spoke to our Oceania rep and she said the hotel would send us some wine but that didn't arrive until she contacted them again. The rep, Vicki, is terrific and efficient -- a great breakfast was provided each morning. She gave a funny talk about Rome life on the bus ride to embarkation. Rome was wonderful. The Riviera is a beautiful ship from outside lines to inside furnishings. Chandeliers particularly gorgeous everywhere including Terrace Grill -- all public rooms. Embarkation painless but our cabin not ready so we had a fine buffet lunch at Terrace. Our balcony cabin was spacious, nicely done with beautiful linens and marble bathroom. Bed was unbelievably sumptuous. I wish the shower was larger -- we had no use for the tub except to hang unmentionables. Good storage in closets but could have been more storage in bathroom. Would have been nice if there was a picture on wall opposite bed and if the TV could be angled to the bed -- small criticisms, we were very comfortable. Cabin steward, Angelica was best we have had in 20 cruises, personable and efficient. Art is everywhere in public spaces -- we especially loved the display at Horizons where there is afternoon tea -- nice presentation of treats at 4-5. Lots of paintings, crystal, comfy places to sit with tables, little private spaces. Plenty of lounge chairs outside sun & shade with thick cushions. Ship seemed uncrowded most of the time. 1st night dinner at Toscana --terrific food & service. Specialty restaurants included in fare and restaurant time is reserved after final payment -- very efficient with little invites in cabins night before. Try lasagna appetizer, cheeses so tasty & fresh along with bread & olive oils -- enjoyable. We had very early long tours planned so all but one day we had room service breakfast -- balcony entitled to only cold breakfast. Never had only a cold option on other cruiselines. Would have liked some protein. But it was prompt -- we asked for berries and it was given each day. One later tour allowed us to try Terrace -- nice selection but eggs were runny unless you braved the line for fresh-cooked eggs. Oceania tours were much less expensive as a package so we selected from their options -- enjoyed them and the guides. Oceania should consider more bathroom breaks especially on the Amalfi bus ride - several people were uncomfortable. Lunches in Terrace and Waves (burgers & lobster & malted) offer lots of variety - excellent. Grand Dining Room is open seating. 1st dinner we were seated at table for 2 at window which we requested every night--food good. 2nd time we tried the GDR we were seated at a table (room not even 1/2 full) between large loud table and table on the other side up a couple of steps so we looked at their feet and they looked down at us. We could not hear each other and asked the waiter to be moved. Don't know why they seated us there. Waiter brought another man who asked, "you want to move your table?" Don't understand why we had to tell again why we wanted to move -- it was obvious and embarrassing with everyone listening. We were moved and food was OK. Terrace dinner one night was very good. Try the risotto and grilled to order options. Polo -- very good food and service. Try perfect chocolate cake for desert Red Ginger -- very good service and I had the best beef teriyaki ever and great tempura vegetables but the other food was not to our taste. At Jacques, we had the most perfect meal for our anniversary and we sprung for champagne. If I knew how to bake bread like this I would put my name on it too. Had Iberia pork, the best potatoes and lovely dessert -- all desserts are terrific. Cappuccino, cappuccino, cappuccino -- included with your fare along with other drinks, soda, bottled water. You could get served your fancy coffee but it was terrific to go to the machine any time you want & press a button yourself whether in china cups or paper to go -- loved this. Entertainment was dull and amateurish. We stopped at the theater for a show with the showband playing before and thought they cancelled it. Only 1 couple dancing and 1 other couple not seated. Music dated and band had no energy -- they seemed bored. Did not see production shows. Rock band in Horizons OK and room almost empty. Captains reception open to all on one of the first evenings with string quartet (did not hear them play any classical music which I love, just pop or country/bluegrass) -- nice appetizers and drinks but very quiet and sedate party. Captain had nice personality but the other officers not very visible on the ship. We did meet the Concierge who said to contact him if we ever needed anything. Entertainment seemed geared towards older crowd - we are mid-60s -- we would have liked it livelier. We did see a Magician/Comedian but it was so bad we wanted to leave after a few minutes but stayed so as not to embarrass the performer. Casino was empty. Our trip took a turn the next day. Our closet door fell off the track and onto my foot the first day and my husband put it back on track. Morning after the reception before the excursion we noticed the bathroom lock didn't work properly -- left a note for the steward to have it fixed. After the excursion, we went back to the cabin -- husband went off to do laundry (self-service on each floor) while I showered. After showering I could not get out of the room. The lock would turn but the door would not open. I banged on the wall, screamed, panicked and turned lock for an hour before I could get the door to open. It was terrifying to be locked in that hot steamy room with no air. No one heard me for 1 hour? I called Reception, she sent a carpenter who said there was nothing wrong with the lock and "can I go now?" Woman from Reception was not concerned and rather dismissive and carpenter did not fix the lock. I was still crying when my husband got back from laundry. I was a realtor for 25 years and have opened many finicky locks and I know when a lock doesn't work. My husband called again and they did fix it again. I thought I was going to die in that beautiful marble bathroom. We called the Concierge and he was very cold. No one from Oceania hotel management contacted us to see how we were doing or checked the work of the carpenter. This definitely affected our vacation. I was nervous, couldn't sleep much the first few days. Next night at 11:40pm we were in our pjs just about to go to sleep for early tour next day & our toilet wouldn't flush. Called Reception -- they sent someone who kept flushing & flushing as the water level came just to the rim & my husband stopped him from flushing again. They sent someone else who worked outside the cabin and after a while noise stopped. But no one knocked or called to tell us the toilet worked and we could retire. We called after a while and asked reception and they said try the toilet and we did. Why did they not have the courtesy to let us know the toilet was fixed so we could go to bed. A later call to the Concierge was not returned. We began to think about what is important to Oceania and to us as passengers. Did we need a line of a dozen fancy dressed waiters holding menus in the Grand Dining Room, very fancy furnishings or did we need a carpenter who knew and cared what he was doing, Oceania personnel who were not condescending and who were caring and professional. We don't expect everything to be perfect -- what is important is what happens when something goes wrong - does the Concierge answer your calls? So much emphasis is on the façade at Oceania, many thick paper brochures, chandeliers, that I think compassion for people isn't there. Staff and other personnel don't make eye contact and aren't friendly as on other lines. My husband was a showband musician who was encouraged to engage with passengers -- Oceania's policy must be different. The last afternoon after our excursion about 2pm we found our suitcases (3) taken out from under the bed and placed on the bed. One of the robes was missing and the cloth not by the bedside. Was this a not subtle hint that we need to pack & get off the ship? We did not appreciate this - service slips often on the last day but this is worse than usual. We moved them so we could rest and packed after dinner as planned. We are just not a good match with Oceania and cancelled our April 19, 2014 Regatta sailing. We had never cancelled a planned cruise before. We wrote comment cards on the ship and contacted Oceania's management weeks ago but have received no response. The only people who could be considered compassionate are our room steward and the Oceania club representative, Carol, who we told our story to in an effort to cancel the April sailing. We were told to get out of our cabin by 8, off the ship by 9 and taken to Hilton Molino Stucky on Guidecca Island Venice only to wait an hour on line to check in. When we were done, the Oceania rep could not be found for quite a while. Hilton people were very helpful & took our hand luggage, searched the bag of the rep for our envelope with instructions and found it. They said the rep was back in the lobby and would be with us in 10 minutes. It didn't happen & after a while we saw her and asked for help. She said, "don't you see the weather (it was foggy), I'm busy and I'm just one person." After all this time, approaching 12 noon, we had missed 1/2 day -- we just wanted to see Venice and all we got was disrespect. We could have been left a note or Oceania could have checked us in since we were prepaid and they had our credit card info. There was no breakfast provided -- Hilton is a shuttle ride away across the canal and our water taxi ride to the airport was 7:45am. Continental breakfast is 20Euros per person and just a cappuccino is 6Euros. Breakfast is customary at this price range -- why not include it. Hotel was beautiful, room simple and if we looked out the window sideways we can see the canal. Luggage was handled efficiently We would not sail Oceania again -- we paid more & got less. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a ... Read More
Last June my family and I took the Oceana Nautica from Lisbon to South Hampton. I think we could sum up the whole shipboard experience in one word: Disappointing. The prior year we took Silverseas from Athens to Rome and had such a wonderful experience on a smaller ship that we were hoping to have a similar experience with Oceania. Unfortunately, the similarities between the two often compared cruise lines ended at the size of their ships. While this is a review of the Oceanic ship Nautica, it's hard not to compare it with our Silverseas experience. The Ship: The overall condition of the Nautica was tired and worn. The cabin was poorly laid out compared to our Silverseas cabin (same class of cabin). The hallways looked like they needed new carpet and reminded me of a cheap hotel every time we went to our cabin. The rest of the ship was ok though the pool deck furniture was weathered and well past its prime. The Food: The specialty restaurants were over-rated, though nearly impossible to book undoubtedly because, as we quickly discovered, the other two dining options: Main Dining Room and Buffet were respectively mediocre and bad. To make matters worse, they put the more surly crew members at the buffet line to plop the overcooked, flavor challenged food on your plate. As you carried your plate away you were left with the feeling that you had somehow been through this before and then you remember oh yeah, my high school cafeteria. The dining on the Nautica was more like what I would expect on a Carnival cruise. To summarize, I would say that Silverseas stood head and shoulders above Oceania in every aspect of the cruise  Condition of the ship, cleanliness and food. I personally would not waste my money on Oceana again!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
My wife and I recently (from Dec 10 until Jan 16) sailed on our longest cruise ever with Oceania (or anyone for that matter) with our teenage children. The cruise was a 37 day back to back cruise on Marina sailing from Rio de Janeiro to ... Read More
My wife and I recently (from Dec 10 until Jan 16) sailed on our longest cruise ever with Oceania (or anyone for that matter) with our teenage children. The cruise was a 37 day back to back cruise on Marina sailing from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso and on to Papeete via Easter Island. The short story is that it was a wonderful cruise on a gorgeous ship with a spectacular itinerary, and we met many wonderful people.       Embarkation:       You will have seen those period movies in which people embark on steamers in crowded chaotic docks, where on arrival you are confronted with a seething chaos from which no order seems likely to emerge. Well that's what happened. There was little that Oceania could do about it but four cruise ships were embarking in Rio and the port facility is barely up to one. In fact all the passenger port facilities we visited in South America are in need of serious review. Miraculously we made it into the calm cool sophisticated Marina in reasonable time and our luggage even appeared.       There were issues for those embarking on the second leg starting in Valparaiso due to major problems with flights. Some poor folk left on the cruise without their luggage and didn't see it for 8 days due to the fairly remote destinations the ship visited and the number of sea days. Oceania could not do a lot about this either.       The Itinerary:       The ship stayed overnight in Rio, Valparaiso, Easter Island and Bora Bora. The one port where an overnight stay was necessary but not scheduled was Buenos Aires. The cruise offered considerable variety in ports including cities like Rio, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Ushuaia and Valparaiso/Santiago, and the scenery and natural beauty of Patagonia and the Chilean fjords. The second cruise from Valparaiso to Papeete of course involved no cities but some amazing locations like Easter Island and the Society Islands. In other words we were very spoiled. If sea days aren't your thing then there would have been too many for you, and on a rough count about half the days were sea days with four in a row being the maximum.       Weather:       We were very lucky. Mostly it was warm to hot and fine except around Cape Horn. We didn't realize how cool it would get as we sailed south and Ushuaia is not a balmy place. Once we reached Valparaiso though the weather was warm and mostly fine again. The second leg of this cruise across the Pacific depended on fine weather and largely we got it, with peaceful seas and lots of sun, In Tahiti though it is the wet season and we had rain particularly on the first day. Difficult seas could also put at risk many ports on the Pacific leg and particularly Easter Island which was one of the great highlights of the cruise. All ports after Valparaiso and until Papeete were tender only and the only port we had to miss was Pitcairn Island, and the locals came aboard instead. We didn't consider this a great loss.   Demographic:       The guests on the first cruise (around South America) were wiser than the second, if age is a measure of that, but were largely vigorous and keen to charge out on excursions. The second cruise seemed to have a broader spread on nationalities. There were of course many from the US, a large Canadian contingent, few fellow Australians, some New Zealanders and quite a group of Europeans. On each cruise no more than 6-8 children.       We met many wonderful people and were very sad to bid them farewell.       Marina:       A beautiful ship. We have sailed on all the smaller Oceania ships before and loved them, but I think that Marina may have seduced us to the Oceania class ships. She is stylishly decorated, and well laid out. The ambiance on board the ship is of understated elegance although there isn't much that's understated about the Casino Bar, with its UV glow and avant garde furnishings. The Art is quite well selected and the whole ship has the feel of a floating palace.       The Christmas decorations were great.       Not everything is better than the smaller ships but Baristas, Red Ginger and Jacques, the Culinary Centre and Artists Lofts are among them. The gym is much better, and there are more sporting type activities. The Terrace Cafe is a stand out. The Library is not as good (but has been overly maligned - I still liked it and spent many hours there), and I like the Lounge better on the smaller ships.       The ship is never crowded, and there were times I wondered where everyone was. The pool deck area is large with heaps of sun chairs, and the pool is a reasonable size for a cruise ship.Food:       This is always subjective but hey, this is my review so I get to be subjective.       The Grand Dining Room menu's varied, and we didn't eat there all that much but enjoyed the food and the theatre of dining there. I prefer the room itself on the O ships, as it seems lighter and more spacious with higher ceilings. The food was in our view not generally as good as Terrace Cafe, and well below the specialty restaurants. That is not to say it was bad, and in fact it was better than previous cruises, and some meals were wonderful, but it maintains the fine tradition of Grand Dining Rooms being hit and miss. Service was good.       The Terrace Cafe is smart and elegant completely shrugging off any bad buffet connotations. Dining outside on balmy nights was wonderful. The food was fresh, varied, and well cooked. The grill is brilliant with good cuts of meat, Lobster, big shrimps, and too much more to mention. For breakfast the fruit was good although not always as ripe as I would like, and they ran out of some items for a few days toward the end of the cruise, chiefly berries and lettuce. The Pacific cant be an easy place to restock.       The ranking of the specialty restaurants was the subject of considerable family debate, ending in a stalemate. What was agreed was that Red Ginger was exceptional, and Toscana came second. The argument was hottest over Jacques and Polo. Lets just say that ranking these is silly but hey it's also fun. The fact is they are all good, with the caveat that red Ginger is a stand out. We were fortunate to get extra bookings and we ate at Red Ginger 5 times, Polo for 2, Toscana for 4 and Jacques 5.       We also booked for the La Reserve Connoisseur and Explorer menus. The former was expensive at $160 each, but a wonderful experience although you probably need to be a bigger foodie than I, and some of the effort may have been lost on me. The food is carefully selected and independently sourced and the wine matches. The Explorer menu was probably more me at $95 pp. It was also wonderful but more approachable.       The Wine Tastings undertaken by the head sommelier Oona were not to be missed. She was wonderful, informative and amusing, and La Reserve wine happy hours were a great initiative. Her army of sommeliers were knowledgeably, helpful ,efficient and friendly., particularly Vedran, Susanna, Enrique, and Alex. The wine tasting sessions ranged from $10 pp to $100 for a premium tasting. The premium wines were the sort I only get to try in a self indulgent wine tasting of this sort and included some super tuscans among other notable and famous wines..       Afternoon tea remains fantastic.       The Wine List gets a tick for well done. We didn't do the drinks package. I have an allergy to them and do not like them. We mostly drink wine and prefer to order bottles. An analysis of value for money showed it would not have paid off for us anyway. We don't drink enough (which is saying something) - I think you need to be a cocktail person for this to work.       Service:       This has really stepped up in my view. The staff of Marina were mostly all friendly and attentive without being suffocating. Many went well beyond this and were just delightful. In my view the leadership team is doing a great job and you can see how diligent they are about it.       We really liked David Shermet as a Cruise Director, and the General Manager was very approachable and helpful. The Reception desk is something I have in the past approached with trepidation but on this occasion found the staff efficient friendly and enormously patient.       Service around the Pool was generally good but could be a little more attentive to my every whim and sudden need for a drink. Philmar, at the bar was brilliant, addressed us by name from the first few days (no we didn't drink so much as to be instantly recognized.) Baristas was great and Alessio and Fabio made excellent coffee. The tender service was efficient and safe (in some heavy seas).       The Maitre D s at each restaurant were without exception excellent and the wait staff also very good with Red Ginger again the stand out with the fantastic Angie and Mical. It was wonderful crew members like these that made the whole journey exceptional.       I could and should name more but suffice it to say service was very good. No doubt there are some poor experiences but we didn't endure many, and on a cruise of 37 days that was impressive.       Activities:       I don't really do shows, but the Christmas show and the con Molto grand finale were fun. The music on board was generally good. The only criticism I have is a personal one. If there is one instrument Noah could have left off the ark to be forgotten in time, it would be the piano accordion, and so the duo violin and you guessed what wasn't exactly my thing. But then others may have loved it.       The enrichment lectures on both cruises were excellent and well attended with well chosen topics. The mysteries of scarf tying, and bingo weren't for me, and trivia is too scary. My wife loved the free bridge classes (also too scary for me). A Mahjong cabal seemed to be flourishing as well. There were dancing classes and whisky tastings, and cocktail making classes.       Matt at the gym provided a truly excellent lecture on nutrition that surprised me in its level of detail and his demonstrated expertise and knowledge. It even altered my eating habits (although sadly not my drinking habits).       I enjoyed my culinary class but my wife did not. We had different teachers and my wife felt hers was quite rude. Apparently she wasn't alone in that experience. The facility is great. I didn't use the Artist Loft, my artistic talent having long been judged well wanting.       We travelled with our kids. The 18 y/o threatened never to leave the ship and was perfectly happy. The 14 y/o professed boredom on occasion, but then she does that a few times a day in any event. She did however christened it the best holiday ever. Swimming with Mantas and Sharks and water sports in Tahiti clinching the deal. Not much is provided for kids although most of those on board on the second cruise were eventually introduced to each other and had a good time. On the first cruise language was something of a barrier.       Accommodation:       We were in concierge staterooms near midship and found them well appointed and spacious. Storage was fine for us, and the bathrooms were well laid out with a separate bath and shower.       While initially dubious about the concierge lounge we found it very useful, and the concierge lounge attendants on both cruises to be a great help. For a long cruise it makes a difference. We didn't use the spa deck much. My skin burns in moonlight so it wasn't for me.       Laundries on every deck work well and if the urge to do the laundry took you, it was never a hassle to get a washer and dryer.           Tours and Technology and other:       Not much has changed here. The tours remain over priced and not well reviewed in many cases. We took private tours that were usually much cheaper.       Internet remains a problem although it is improving and the per day charge worked well for us. Just don't try doing anything close to exciting online. Heaps of band width intensive programs seem to be blocked.       Oceania says internet is bad at sea, but I have had far better experiences on other lines.       The Medical Centre remains as expensive as ever, but I suppose we should be grateful we have it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This was our first time on Oceania. I read alot of Oceania reviews on cruise critic before I went on this cruise and some reviewers mentioned a lack of (adequate) service onboard...I thought, were these people too picky and simply ... Read More
This was our first time on Oceania. I read alot of Oceania reviews on cruise critic before I went on this cruise and some reviewers mentioned a lack of (adequate) service onboard...I thought, were these people too picky and simply hard-to-please? Good customer service is such a simple concept why wouldn't Oceania - being a premium luxury cruise line - know how to satisfy their customers needs? OK, I'm not saying service was bad - in general service on board was very good, but it was just the same standard as cheaper lines RCCL and Celebrity. This is Oceania, we paid more $ to get premium service, better food, and more comfortable accommodation. I travelled with DH and we are not picky person. We didn't expect extreme pampering but Oceania failed to meet some basic standard in some criteria. First of all, the telephone paging service sucks. Any hotel would answer your call for housekeeping requests or room service or whatever. On Oceania, housekeeping and butler do not return 90% of your page. So much about 24-hr butler service. You could hardly find your butler during the daytime before 6:00pm or at night after 10. There was this assistant to take your message (during the day) but these messages never went to butler. He said butler was "on duty" whatever that means,that fact is he had to take care of 17 penthouse suites and maybe some other ship duties too during the day. Maybe that made him super busy and service became less attentive. There was this morning I requested him to change a bathrobe since it was soiled. That night after I got back from port, not changed. I paged Housekeeping 3 times at 8:00pm -- no one returned calls. Paged butler, didn't return call. Not until the next day after port we met butler in corridor to let him know the bathrobe was still not changed. He then called Housekeeping again and the guy quickly came with the new bathrobe. Another time we returned ship real late at 9:00pm and we wanted room service. Paged butler 3 times again still didn't return calls. We had to call reception to get him to call us back!! That took us total 1.5 hour from start calling to the food actually arrived - food quality was really horrible which I would get to that later below. It was really frustrating when people just ignored your calls/requests like that!!! I'm sure any 3-star hotel would have staff come to your door if you call them!!! Also do not think that a butler can help you out everything. There were alot of "NOs" to requests such as "getting tender tickets", "bringing food from MDR to our room when we made such request at 8:00pm (MDR closes at 9:00pm)", "serving food obtained from 2 different specialty restaurants for our in room dining", "booking another night in specialty restaurant".... for those considering to stay in PH suites, please save the money unless you want a bigger stateroom, butler service is really negligible. We couldn't help but notice, most Asian servers/staff were really friendly, professional, and attentive, versus most European servers/staff were kind of cold, impatient, and sometimes rude, they had the "attitude" and I think Oceania should really look into this. We went to all 4 specialty restaurants, all the food was excellent. Fellow cruise critic members were correct - there were loads of lobsters everywhere. On the 3rd day I couldn't take the lobsters anymore. I'm totally done with lobsters for the rest of year 2013. Restaurant staffs also very professional, friendly, and courteous. All except Red Ginger we didn't have a very good time because food tasted bad and server was no where to be found. We had to ask for menu twice (yes they just sat you and left for good), and had to ask for chopsticks after they served you sushi (they just put down and gone). Food on Riviera was really good and made with the best quality. Good as in traditionally, non-innovatively, simply good - dish in big chunky size, ingredients were of best quality, seasoned well etc.. Don't expect them to be contemporary micheline-style good though - no molecular foam, no carrot-juice caviar, no jello drops, no sauce drawings on plate etc. The Terrace Cafe was excellent - we chose to dine there most of the time rather than MDR because it offered more varieties - lobsters, steaks, salads, sushi, sashimi, lamb rack, french fish soups, escargots, salmon tartare, crab meat salad, cheese platter, king crab legs, etc. etc. We were really happy with every meal we had. One suggestion is to add more fruits, there were always not enough fruits served in dinner. In room service food was horrible - same kitchen making gorgeous lobsters/kobe beef burgers on deck, could also produce such inedible cheese burgers to serve you in room. I guess Oceania did this on purpose to avoid too many room service orders each night. Entertainment was simply bad. We are in early 40s and we understand that this ship caters to older crowd. I didn't expect glitzy big shows but maybe some small scale port lectures (like what we saw on Celebrity) would be very entertaining for most of us. Alot of people we saw had many questions about the port and they had to line up each morning at the Destination desk to get answers. That wasted alot of time. If Oceania would organize an evening talk for every port I'm sure customers from all age groups would be very interested - we wanted to hear more about where to shop, transportations, famous food, what to get for souvenirs, a little bit of history etc. Instead Oceania only gave out history lectures (Roman / Venetian empires etc.) , we went and left in 2 seconds. We saw maps powerpoint!! Does it cost alot to show some videos or animations? Entertainment -- Oceania please don't blame on lack of space + older target customers anymore, it's about how much effort you willing to spend in this area. We did not join any shore excursions because they were not just expensive, but also not comprehensive. For example we wanted to go to Pisa + Florence Accademia + Florence Uffizzi all on one day and there was no such tour. There was always 1 or 2 places missing in the tours so we had to go on our own. Ship was quite nice, but really not as good as I expected. Celebrity Solstice ships were so much better. There was a little bit of modern minimalist touch but definitely not contemporary. For example the Grand Bar was like a fully lit dining room with no carpet. Didn't see anyone having fun there. Stateroom was really nice, spacious and loved the walk in closet! The bed was stunning and so comfortable my back was basically glued to it most of the time. To sum up, Oceania has quite alot of room to improve. I would recommend Oceania to friends because food/accommodation was really top notch -- ONLY if they could stand the boring atmosphere. We however will not go on Oceania again because service not in luxury standard and the lack of entertainment. We always consider ourselves as old people because we go to bed at 10:00pm and we love to read and stay motionless for hours without talking -- EVEN us think Oceania is too boring. We have decided to go back to Celebrity. Read Less
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