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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports of call. Unfortunately three of our ports of call were bypassed by Oceania; Carbo San Lucas Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Instead we spent 2 1/2-additional days at sea. It is like ... Read More
Primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports of call. Unfortunately three of our ports of call were bypassed by Oceania; Carbo San Lucas Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Instead we spent 2 1/2-additional days at sea. It is like a cruise to no where. We have no idea why the ship was unable to arrive at Costa Rica on time. We arrived five hours late causing us to miss the eco excursion, which was most important for my wife and I. Since we had two and have extra days at sea, you would think we would have arrived on time in Costa Rica. We arranged a meeting with the ships general manager. We received little sympathy. As a matter of fact we were threatened by the general manager not to have conversation with other passengers relative to our disappointment.We are in the process of filing a formal complaint with Oceania's senior management and parent company(Norwegian). All in all the cruise was a big disappointment. The hostile atmosphere made us very anxious and apprehensive for 18 days. The cruise was my wife and my seventh cruise with Oceania. The Staff in the Terrace Café had a major communication problem. Most of them were(I believe) from India or the Philippines. You had to explain to them exactly what you wanted and half the time it was received incorrectly. Big disappointment. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th ... Read More
Sirena Cuba Cruise Why this cruise? In a word – Cuba. We had never been there; and were unlikely to make a second visit given our advancing years; so, when Oceania offered this trip we were quick to grab it. This would be our 7th Oceania cruise; and the second on Sirena. It would be for only 7 days with two days in Havana, one in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba so it seemed like a good idea- which proved to be true. The ship Sirena is the most recently acquired of four identical former Renaissance ships owned by Oceania. It is small, 684 passengers, but reasonably spacious at 30,277 tons for an above average passenger space ratio of 44. It was completely re-done after Oceania acquired it in 2016, so it has a new appearance. There is a lot of dark wood, and varied furniture looking like the 1940s. There are two elevator banks of 2 elevators each; but they seemed to do the job well. The basic plan is to have entertainment forward and food aft, with the center used for management, shops, the casino, library, pool deck and lounging areas. Decks 6, 7 and 8 are all for staterooms; with about half of Deck 5 and a small portion of Deck 4 for passenger cabins also. Deck 5 forward has the show lounge; Deck 9 the Canyon Ranch Spa, and Deck 10 the Horizon Lounge. The main dining room is on Deck 5, the Terrace Buffet on 9, and Deck 10 has the 2 specialty restaurants, Red Ginger and the Tuscan Steak Grill. All in all, Sirena is a well designed ship; easy to navigate, and very attractive in its appearance. Living Aboard Our stateroom was 8046. The prime motif was dark wood, with light grey textured walls, a large mirror on one wall, and a nice, modern painting above the sofa. The desk arrangement was convenient, and next to it was the decent sized sofa. There were two arm chairs and a small table, probably adequate for room service (which we never use on any cruise). The verandah was good sized with two adjustable cane arm chairs that could be fitted with a padded seat and back cushion. There was a small table and a faux teak deck. The bed had two gooseneck directed focused reading lamps as well as normal wall lamps. These focused lamps made reading in bed very easy. We also enjoyed the full glass wall with the door leading out to the verandah, as it provided nice light all day. The bathroom had a full sized, obviously new shower, with both a rain shower head, a hand held spray head and a towel rack holding huge bath towels in addition to the normal sized bath towels and other towels on racks in the bathroom. There was a single sink, but cabinets and drawers on both sides providing all the room needed for toiletries. The closet was good sized with an easily sufficient number of nice quality clothes hangers provided. As usual on board ship, there was more than enough drawer space for all we brought aboard This was a Penthouse Suite. It is about 304 square feet compared to the somewhat small “normal” Verandah Suite; which we had experienced on other Oceania small ships. We have used the Penthouse Suite on most of our cruises for the ease of use and room. It also offers faster embarkation, free internet, free laundry service and a butler who was very nice, but not used at all. We had enough food without afternoon canapes, thank you. Dining Oceania is a fine dining cruise line. Their larger two ships have 4 specialty restaurants, but the four smaller ones do very well with the 2 noted above. There is no charge for using any of these specialty venues. Overall, with 42 cruises to date on 13 cruise lines; 10 ocean and 3 river cruises; we would rate Oceania’s dining performance as superior to all cruise lines except Crystal cruises; and it is quite close to that line’s marvelous ships. The main dining room is traditional, with excellent service, open dining and a fine selection. Red Ginger is one of our favorite restaurants. Reservations are required, but we were entitled to two, which we took advantage of. We are not steak people (Edith is a vegetarian) so we skipped the Tuscan Steak Grill. The Terrace Buffet has a wide selection and offered some special daily choices by way of Cuban and Italian food. It can get a little crowded for breakfast, but we always found seats. The service is fine. There is a “Barista” café outside the main dining room which offers a free selection of various coffee treats; and a “Waves” sandwich, ice cream and hamburger bar near the pool outside the Terrace Café. Entertainment As a small ship, with limited options, Sirena was constrained in its offerings. There was a small “show” group with 5 singers and 2 dancers, a lady who played the trumpet and a ventriloquist. We only went to one of the “production” nights, and it was okay. The most attractive entertainment offering was Sandy Cares, the Enrichment speaker. We had seen her on an earlier Oceania cruise, and very much enjoyed her well informed and lively presentations on this cruise as well. Oceania is well served by her. There was a very nice string quartet composed of young ladies from the Ukraine, who played every afternoon at tea in the Horizon Room, and several sessions on Deck 5 as well. Unfortunately, these sessions often conflicted with other events as well such as dinner and some special meetings for frequent Oceania passengers. Extending their presentation until later in the evening would be a good idea. The Crew There are 400 crew members on this ship. With a passenger total of 684, the ratio is 1.71 passengers for each crew member. This is a very great ratio, exceeded only by a few of the small, super luxury cruise lines. The ratio on the large ships is more like 2.5 to 3.8. This means that the cabins are promptly and well cared for, the wait staff in all restaurants and the buffet are easily sufficient for fast and friendly service, and the entire operation of the vessel is smooth and pleasant. Embarkation and Debarkation As noted above, our Penthouse status gave us priority in boarding. The Miami cruise terminal set up has a fairly large waiting area. We got there about 10:30, and were among the first on board at 11:00 where, as usual, we had to wait until 1:00 to go to our stateroom. When we checked in we were provided with Cuban visas as promised (for $75.00 each). Of course this allowed us to have lunch in the buffet and to check out some books in the delightful library. Our luggage was at the room when we went there. Debarkation went pretty quickly also, although there is a lot of walking through the terminal involved. We were not required to fill out a customs form and easily got through the customs and border check. In Cuba We sailed away at 5:00 and arrived in Havana at about 8:00 the following morning. We seldom, if ever, use Oceania’s excursions due to their limited nature and very high cost. We had made e-mail contact earlier with a private tour guide, Yuri, whose e-mail is: yuri,arcayaborrego@nauta.cu. Using CruiseCritic we made contact with several people, and some others had made contact with Yuri also, so our group numbered 14. There was much discussion about how to pay for the services. Yuri said that his tour would be both days in Havana, then in Cienfuegos, and then in Santiago. His charges would be 350 cuc (Cuban money) per person for all four tours. Cucs are only available in Cuba. While the “formal” exchange rate is 1 cuc per 1 U.S. dollar, the exchange charges made the actual rate about 0.87 to 1; so 350 cucs would be about $402.00. However Euros had no such exchange premium; so 350 cucs were about 311 Euros. We already had about 280 Euros from prior trips, so we bought 550 more from our bank, and were on our way. We checked in through Cuban customs, showed our visas and were photographed. We then exchanged some Euros for cucs and met Yuri outside the port building. We had noticed on the way in that many port buildings were in very bad shape. This turned out to be true of many places in Cuba. It is a very poor country, with no solid economic base. We all had heard about the pre-Castro American cars preserved by the Cubans, and we saw a number of them, all in very good shape. Of course most of the motor transportation is vis European or Asian vehicles. and I was fortunate to get a new MG taxi with a working ac unit to fight the 87 degree heat. We saw a lot of Havana, including a stop for a very inexpensive lunch, and returned about 4:00 P.M. We were told that next day would be spent mostly walking, so I decided to skip it. Some people on the ship went to a night club show that night. The next day was spent in several museums. Yuri speaks very good English and made his comments enjoyable. The next day was a sea day and we then arrived in Cienfuegos at about 7:00 A.M. This tour was also a walking-museum tour which I skipped again, although it involved about an hours trip to Trinidad. The return to the ship was at about 1:00 since we sailed at 3:00 The final day was spent in Santiago de Cuba. This is a part of the country absolutely dedicated to Fidel Castro. It is where he landed to start his successful revolution, and where he chose to be buried in a rather simple grave. Since this tour also involved walking, Edith again did it alone. What was nice is that Yuri did not charge us for the three days I missed. We paid at the end of each day. As noted, Cuba is a very poor country, without many prospects for the future under its present form of government. Tourism is bringing in some money, but not much with few hotels or resorts, and a limited flow of visitors from the United States. The people are delightful, and very fond of US citizens (and, of course, our money). They make do with limited resources but have talent and energy and a “we will survive” attitude. In Phoenix, where we live we have an excellent Ballet company which has received praise in New York newspapers. 3 of the dancers, including a leading ballerina, learned their art at their home in Cuba. They evidently were allowed to leave, and at least one has returned home between seasons; so it is possible to leave. Concluding Thoughts This was a very worthwhile cruise, even though my limited walking ability severely restricted my ability to see and enjoy the country. There are supposed limits on what Americans can do in Cuba, and the ship uses a couple of the entertainers (who were the only US citizens) to act as OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control, a US agency) officers to keep people informed of the restrictions. However there was virtually no enforcement of these rules. Even the Cuban government, which was everywhere, did not man the entry point in Havana the second day, so anyone on board could simply go ashore and do whatever they wanted to do. We were supposed to go ashore in Santiago de Cuba to surrender our Cuban visas, but if someone did not, there was no follow up. So, if you want to see Cuba in comfort on a beautiful and immensely comfortable ship. Oceania Sirena is the way to go. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I really tried to enjoy Marina she comes with a great reputation however overall I was disappointed. 1. The decor is very dated I know she was refurbished only a couple of years ago, but why make her look so dull, old fashioned and ... Read More
I really tried to enjoy Marina she comes with a great reputation however overall I was disappointed. 1. The decor is very dated I know she was refurbished only a couple of years ago, but why make her look so dull, old fashioned and over-done? 2.The enrichment and shore information was non existent. No lectures, no on screen information just an overview in the daily news letter. Every day the local TA would be available on the ship - that's it. 3.We were hoping to dance while on the cruise but we found the band in the horizons lounge to have a repetitive repertoire with a thin sound. They also looked most of the time pretty disinterested. 4.The shuttle buses were a disaster in most ports. Long queues, long waits, lots of frustrated guests, us included. Lots of statements that the shuttle buses are provided by the local authorities and Oceania takes no responsibility. It seems to me that if Oceania advertise that their ship is visiting a locatation then they should make it their business to ensure their guests are able to get there. 5. In in room information services whilst providing next to no information about the ports spend a lot of time advertising (paid) services at the spa, the shops. 6. We went to a couple of the stage productions and they were really good. The dancing music and singing were terrific. Other nights we would walk in to see what was playing and walk out again disappointed. 7 The food was overall of a high standard in the buffet restaurant. The wines offered on the most part were very good also. 8. The coffee in Barista's is terrible.I wouldn't care so much but they make such a big deal about having proper baristas on board 9. Of the specialty restaurants we had one fabulous dinner at Red Ginger, and the second time it was average. The Polo Grill was nothing special, we had a great Italian meal In Toscano however Jacques was a real disappointment. Was that dry chicken breast with thickened mushroom sauce meant to be coq au vin? I question the (french) waiter and he agreed with me and then said: "what can I say, the chef is Canadian!" 10. The staff everywhere on this ship are terrific, friendly, nothing too much trouble 11. Internet was painfully slow (2KB a sec) and only allowed one device at a time per cabin Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ... Read More
We wanted to see the Baltic and were not disappointed. We prefer the relaxed pace of river cruising, also because of the relative ease of getting into port, and the lack of sea days. This trip was as close to that as we could find on an ocean cruise. There was only one sea day, all other days being in port. The ports were great. We took only the Russian tours, which were essentially forced on us by Russia’s visa policies. We liked the food, and found that it wasn’t necessary to eat in the specialty restaurants as the same food was available elsewhere. We liked our fellow passengers, and their diverse backgrounds. There were only two, minor, complaints, one being a matter of taste. One is that the coffee on board was pretty awful, a common complaint by Australians and New Zealanders like us, no doubt. The barista in charge of the only espresso machine on board needs to visit Auckland or Melbourne to learn how to use it. We didn’t like quite a lot of the ship’s decor. In some public rooms it looked like an explosion in a self-conscious interior designer’s shop. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We sailed on the Riviera from Rome to Barcelona. Some background: we ar a couple in our early fifties from Canada. We sailed previously on Celebrity, RCI, Princess, HAL, Cunard, Costa and Carnival. This was our first Oceania cruise. ... Read More
We sailed on the Riviera from Rome to Barcelona. Some background: we ar a couple in our early fifties from Canada. We sailed previously on Celebrity, RCI, Princess, HAL, Cunard, Costa and Carnival. This was our first Oceania cruise. Things we liked: Embarkation was very smooth and quick. Literally few minutes we wee on board. The size of the ship is perfect. Not too big and not too small. No lines, not crowded. Food is outstanding. Definitely few levels above Celebrity or Princess. Specialty restaurants were excellent as well. Service is excellent. Very efficient and quick. Room is cleaned very fast. When we go for breakfast and come back after half an hour, it is already clean. No formal nights which is perfect for us. At the same time people dress up nicely, you won't see short on dinner or evening show. Very relaxed atmosphere. Open seating at dinner. You can select if you want separate table or share with someone (perfect for those who want to meet new people). No lines at all. Never an issue to find a table at buffet or at the pool. Free soft drinks, soda, water and specialty coffee and tea. Free internet (more about it later). Most of the excursions were very good. We asked to change couple tours, no issues, even after we missed the deadline. I like the flexibility. Also booked three specialty restaurants, asked to change all three reservations. No problem. Really liked the customer service. Things we didn't like (or liked less than Princess or Celebrity): Entertainment is good but not as good as on most big ships. Guest entertainers were excellent, but the in house cast has some room for improvement. The theater is relatively small, with smaller stage, so don't expect those big shows with acrobatics that they have in big stages on Celebrity or Princess. Not enough activities during the day (maybe related to the fact that there are no sea days). Basic free internet is very slow, almost useless. If you want to be able to do anything, you need to upgrade. Upgrade is $10/day which is reasonable, but the speed is still pretty low. Not the worst I experienced at sea, but one of the worst. For a company like Oceania, it is hard to justify such poor internet experience. 1.5M download speed as measured by Speedtest on the pool deck. This is pretty miserable I would say. The inside stateroom that we booked is very small. Which is not a big deal, but the shower is ridiculous. Really uncomfortable. This was probably the biggest issue on this cruise. Spa: we did couples massage, which was good but not great. For $320 plus 18% service charge, we expected better. Overall great experience. Definitely few levels above Celebrity or Princess. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, in particular the visit to Bermuda. Unfortunately, the Bermuda sojourn was cancelled due to hurricane Florence but was substituted with visits to Portland Maine and St John's New Brunswick. The ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary, in particular the visit to Bermuda. Unfortunately, the Bermuda sojourn was cancelled due to hurricane Florence but was substituted with visits to Portland Maine and St John's New Brunswick. The ship with 645 guests was the smallest we have cruised on by far but worries about space and amenities ranges were quickly dismissed.. Public spaces, gym, pool area etc were all sufficiently spacious for demand and the ship felt "spacious" throughout. Embarkation and disembarkation were efficient, stress free and speedy which was very different to most previous cruises we have taken. Additionally, two tendering days were handled efficiently by the crew to provide a faultless, efficient and comfortable service. Levels of service in every respect were exemplary from an excellent crew - it was very obvious that the ship had an excellent crew to guest ratio. Guest services was manned by highly efficient, capable and courteous staff 24 hours a day and on each of several visits made there were no queues whatsoever - never had this before on 23 previous cruises! Questions and queries were always dealt with reassuring words of advice and information which certainly left one feeling satisfied with the service received. The gym was very well furnished with an excellent range of technogym equipment which allowed us to train all body parts effectively. Additionally, treadmill and stepping equipment was always available with no waiting on all of our numerous visits although the fairly high age profile of guests on board might be a factor here! Gym staff were excellent in terms of support and advice and was the best experience we have received in a gym to date. Staterooms were very spacious and well appointed with high quality bathroom toiletries provided alongside bathrobes and slippers.The stateroom was kept immaculately clean and tidy by our steward for which we were very grateful. The only slight negative with stateroom space was that we could not store our luggage under the bed or elsewhere effectively so limiting our stateroom space. This being said, we know that other guests managed to store their luggage under beds so maybe our luggage was too large! The food in all venues visited was absolutely superb and Oceania's claim to providing the best food at sea was well substantiated in our opinion. We did not use the Grand Dining Room for either breakfast or lunch preferring the buffet at the Terrace Cafe for both. However, this was by no means 2nd best with both the service, range and quality of food available being magnificent. Guests were served at each station efficiently and with a courteous manner, hot and cold beverages were served by very attentive waiters throughout who were always available to lend a hand or find a table in your chosen location. Evening dining was open sitting which worked brilliantly and we only had to wait for a few minutes on the first cruise night which was expected. Again, service was exemplary in all respects and food options and quality superb. Our visits to both Polo Grill and Toscana were memorable with unrivaled menu choices and really special service levels although we agree that the Grand Dining Room experience daily was in itself very special day in and day out! Entertainment provided on board was the weakest area as the on board singers and dancers were few in number and performing in a small show lounge with unsuitable seating for show viewing and with poor sight lines for all further back than the first few rows.Seating was on a level with the very small stage which limited what performers could provide. All of the entertainment team worked incredibly hard but entertainment is not Oceania's main focus and in no way detracts from the overall experience as numerous other factors combine to provide an overall brilliant cruise. The pool area was very well managed with very comfortable sun loungers provided as well as blankets on a couple of breezy mornings.We always found available sun loungers where we wanted and we were very frequent daily visitors to the pool deck. Additionally, the running, walking track was a real bonus providing an unimpeded resource which was well used throughout the day. Altogether a memorable cruise and our best cruising experience to date fulfilling all of our high expectations of the cruise itself and oceania in general. The gratuities payable each day by guests were richly deserved by all of the crew in our opinion and we thank everyone on board for looking after us so well throughout the cruise Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose a Penthouse Suite because it is one of the few class cabins that has a tub in the bath. Expensive but it gives you a nice size cabin and extra service and amenities. The crew was the very best and the cruise was as good as it ... Read More
I chose a Penthouse Suite because it is one of the few class cabins that has a tub in the bath. Expensive but it gives you a nice size cabin and extra service and amenities. The crew was the very best and the cruise was as good as it could be. The remnants of hurricane Florence hit us during the sixth day but the ship rocked a little but it weathered the rough seas well. The deck and security crew were the best in the attention they paid to the guests. The skies cleared for our dock in Quebec and we had a wonderful tour of the city. The destination services crew did an outstanding job in handling the refunds of the excursions that had to be cancelled due to weather. I must give an outstanding rating overall to this cruise. It was exactly what we wanted. Food was excellent the activities were to our taste and the crew were the best. Again, the employees made the cruise outstanding. We really felt that they cared for our experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
On March 21, 2012, I received the news that no person ever wants to hear . . . "You have cancer!" Thus began my journey up through today toward recover from breast cancer. And what a journey it has been! In the past six ... Read More
On March 21, 2012, I received the news that no person ever wants to hear . . . "You have cancer!" Thus began my journey up through today toward recover from breast cancer. And what a journey it has been! In the past six years, I have endured more than ten operations and procedures relating to my breast cancer plus a total knee replacement of both knees! Couple all that with my husband’s paraplegia from three spinal surgeries and you can then understand why our recent “Glistening Glaciers” cruise to Alaska aboard Oceania Cruises Regatta (September 7–17, 2018) was so special and very important to us. The cruise was a realization of a dream and the completion of a long held wanderlust. We boarded the ship in Seattle after flying in from our home in Miami, Florida. We settled into Penthouse Suite 8065 (which showed signs of wear and tear) and were soon greeted by our butler. What a delight! Throughout the voyage, our butler attended to our needs, our wishes, and our desires! Bravo and thanks to him for making the voyage extra special! The veranda afforded us stunning views and phenomenal photographic opportunities! Compliments are also extended to the entire crew for a mostly lovely experience and pleasant journey. The afternoon tea was charming and the treats delicious, the martini bar tastings were fun and laughter filled, the grand dining room staff and food was delightful though nothing truly special. The specialty restaurant menues were sumptuous but had limited options! The library was cozy and well stocked, the Illy coffee bar was amazing, and all the entertainment was energetic but a tad amaturish! The scenery was a visual and sensual delight! The air was crisp and we were continually amazed by the splendors as we effortlessly glided past! What a boon to our collective spirits! The beauty of nature was in full display and we were ecstatic! It was disappointing, however, that the closest we got to any glaciers was seven miles! I expected more than a long distance view! There were, unfortunately and disappointingly, several aspects of our cruise greatly in need of improvement or enhancement. TOURS: My husband and I each purchased the Unlimited Passport Collection at a cost of $659.00 per person. It was stated in the brochure that this would result in a savings of up to 40% off the ala carte prices. It didn’t! Why? Because many of the “tours” we selected were not worth leaving the ship to experience! I didn’t want to over tax myself or my husband with activities that were too strenuous, but riding the Hoonah tram through a “forest” was a joke! We simply rode a muddy path along the shore! The Saxman Village tour featured a 15 year old who mumbled his memorized speech and got lost when someone interrupted with a question! Most of the tour bus drives were from other states and were in Alaska for only 3-6 months. They learned their speeches from the same guide books that I had read! Not impressive aat all! The “High Tea” at The Empress Hotel was abysmal! It was a rushed affair. We were grouped with people from the ship by the hostess. We were not even given china tea pots but prefilled stainless steel tea pots! No choice of teas was offered! Not at all a high tea. Not worth $199.00 per person! When I complained, I was told that that was what our “package” consisted of! I have been to The Empress for high tea and it was never like this! These Oceania sanctioned and promoted tours were beyond disappointing! SHIP BOARD LECTURES: Who hired some of these folks? I knew more about Alaska than one young guy who struggled all through his “lecture”! He knew almost nothing! Same with the jewelry presentation, a waste of time! MEIDCAL CENTER: Surprise! Don’t ask for anything! They don’t have it or won’t give it! My wrist was hurting and we were near the medical center and stopped in to ask for an Ace bandage to wrap it up. I was told that they weren’t available to give out. So I asked for an ice pack and was told that they didn’t have any! That they just put some ice in a bag when needed! Outrageous! Also, the hours of operation were ridiculously short! SPA: This was very disappointing as I had thought to spend the majority of my free time at this location! I attended a “lecture” on reflexology but could barely understand the young man’s heavy accent. Regardless, 4 of us were crammed into a treatment room for the talk and it was quite unnerving and uncomfortable. FLIGHTS: Who was the masochist that arranged this flight schedule? We traveled for over 8 hours pre cruise as well as nearly 12 hours post cruise! Our landing and connecting gates in Houston was nearly a mile apart and due to a delay, we had only 10 minutes to get there! Were it not for a transporter that we begged for help, we would have missed our flight! Not a pleasant way to end a supposed trip of a lifetime. I realize that I am but one voice, and that my comments and opinions carry little weight. However, I felt it compelled to compliment and commend even if I also had to conversely complain and condemn. I sent these same comments to Oceania. They responded that they didn't often get complaints from passangers but wished us well and hoped to see us on a future cruise! Translation, they did not care! Go for the scenery, but don't expect too much more! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our 4th cruise with OCEANIA. Both types of ships have advantages. Marina and riviera have more specialty restaurants. Regatta is more familiar, but on waves a little bit less stable as the bigger ships. Always very good service ... Read More
Our 4th cruise with OCEANIA. Both types of ships have advantages. Marina and riviera have more specialty restaurants. Regatta is more familiar, but on waves a little bit less stable as the bigger ships. Always very good service and fantastic food. The ports of call more interesting than expected ( after having done similar cruise 10 years ago with Celebrity). Itinerary overall very good. You can explore a lot of things by yourselves. The ship should undergo a refurbishment in some parts. ( will be done 2019) Rooms and bathrooms are small but ok. The new Barista coffee bar is fantastic for an espresso and small bites. The quality of the shows are a little bit better on the bigger ships, but overall very good. Comedian was useless. We did not use casino or the loudly offered bingo games. The fitness center was good equipped, but no one looked for the guests. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary and the rave reviews on the food aboard ship The buffet restaurant was always overcrowded and offered limited selection Food quality was also poor: Soggy pastries,over cooked sausages, strange tasting scrambled eggs, soggy weird tasting French fries. At lunch time the buffet was the only option The main dining room food quality lacked imagination and was of average quality at best. Little emphasis on providing regional dishes or specialities. Each of the specialty restaurants was pretentious . While having some good dishes ( veal chop in Toscana, lamb in Jacques and red ginger) the French onion soup was watery , pasta tasteless ,crepe Suzette rubbery and bitter and pastries soggy . EXTREMELY. DISAPPOINTING!! The cabins were nice with a shower and separate bath, Shore excursions were well organized and had some great guides.However several were spoilt by unfit elderly travelers ignoring fitness recommendations for the tours by selecting strenuous walking trips . Only to complain and hold up the whole group as soon as any walking was required Entertainment was on the poor side. Boarding in Stockholm was time consuming but disembarking in Copenhagen efficient Staff varied considerably in performance. Some were very friendly helpful and attentive. Others down rite rude Last Crystal cruise was superior in every aspect. I cannot imagine how Marina has a high culinary rating!!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. ... Read More
We traveled on the Marina on a Baltic cruise and enjoyed every minute. The ship was beautiful. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The food was delicious. The tours enjoyable and informative with great guides. The buffet was our least favourite dining option although food was was very good it could be a little chaotic. Dining in the Grand Dining Room or one of the specialty restaurants was extremely rewarding. We enjoyed all the specialty restaurants but Red Ginger was our favourite the food was unbelievable. I still think about the duck and watermelon salad. We found the staff very accommodating when we wanted to change reservation times in the specialty restaurants. If I had a criticism I would like to see the Grand Dining Room open every day for lunch. The staff cleaning our cabin could not of been friendlier. Our veranda cabin was very comfortable. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the ... Read More
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the personal attention. The tour days in St. Petersburg were the highlight of our trip. Our tour guide, Tatiana, knew how to avoid all the lines and get us through all the places effortlessly. She would go ahead, purchase tickets, and by the time we reached the entrance she ushered us in. She was an amazing guide and we had a very small group. Eight of us the first day, six the second and just my husband and I the third. I will never take a large group tour again after the wonderful experience we had. It is impossible to see the sights in and around St. Petersburg in a large group. We saw twice as much as many of our shipmates. An extra bonus was that booking through Guide-Guru cost less than half of what some other fellow travelers paid! We contacted them via the internet and set everything up months in advance. We were able to pay in US dollars which saved up some $$. The Marina is a wonderful ship. The crew bends over backward to make sure your needs are met. I did not see one crew member without a smile and an offer to help you in any way. The food is delicious especially in the specialty restaurants. My husband said he had never tasted such a delicious piece of roast beef as he had in "Jacques" ,and we eat at fine restaurants frequently. The ship is a perfect size, never any crowds anywhere. We booked a Concierge level room. There was a lounge and several bags of laundry were included in the price. Also, we were able to book our specialty restaurants a month before which I appreciated. I would book another cruise on this ship without hesitation. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the time of year and because we wanted to see Bermuda. Paying a six star price for this supposedly six star cruise, we were so shocked when we walked into the cabin that if it had been a hotel, we would ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the time of year and because we wanted to see Bermuda. Paying a six star price for this supposedly six star cruise, we were so shocked when we walked into the cabin that if it had been a hotel, we would have walked out. You could stand in the bathroom and touch all four walls from the middle, and I am only 5ft tall! Overall the ship was very dated and shabby and the food distinctly average. I fully concur with the other reviews on this ship and would never travel with this line again, and shame on the six star booking company for not being honest about the state of this ship too. Did not get to Bermuda as we were scuppered by Hurricane Florence and spent 3 days parked in a dreary port near Canada. Although we were disappointed not to reach Bermuda, this review is not based on this fact. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We like smaller ships and we like the elements of luxury that Oceania provides. However, and it's a big however, we will not sail on Oceania's (or Princess's) small "R" ships again. They are simply too old. ... Read More
We like smaller ships and we like the elements of luxury that Oceania provides. However, and it's a big however, we will not sail on Oceania's (or Princess's) small "R" ships again. They are simply too old. Signs of age were everywhere - salt corrosion around window frame bolts in the public areas, rust peeking through in numerous places in the overhead, major signs of wear and tear in the tenders, and a feeling of genteel shabbiness all through the ship. The cabin (we were in a concierge verandah cabin, 8023), had a small old flat screen TV that couldn't be viewed from the bed. The ship intercom worked only part of the time. The distance between the floor of the bathtub/shower and the overhead is about 71", so if you are taller than that you shower with your head at a cocked angle. We read about major overhauls coming. When have we heard that before? At this point it's like the proverbial putting lipstick on a pig. Having said all that, we are very fond of Oceania - the people are well-trained, the management operates by walking around, and are on top of problems as soon as they appear. The food is exceptional, in the MDR as well as the specialty restaurants. The buffet food was also excellent. The housekeeping crew was well-trained and attentive to all our request. So was the dinig room staff. No complaints at all there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! ... Read More
Destination, ports and season always win out over cruiseline loyalty. 12 days Stockholm to Southampton. 3 days in St. Petersburg was the highlight. Booked 3 day small group tour with Russian agent. Elisabeth of TJ Tours was outstanding! Recommend Nautica overnights in Stockholm Amsterdam and Copenhagen and to include a port in Norway to see the fjords.. Oceania does offer best cuisine at sea. Carlos the Maitre'D from Portugal and his gracious assistant from Thailand always greeted us by name and remembered our seating preferences in the Grand Dining Room, Breakfast Buffet Service and choices were well presented and tastefully prepared. Fine dining excelled in the specialty restaurant venues although reserving a time before 8:30 was difficult. Disappointed that Polo Grill had run out of prime rib, however the ribeye steak substituted was delicious. Adolfo from Milan was charming in Toscana. Off hours we appreciated 24/hr limited room service menu and/ casual Waves. Loved the small ship, but Nautica does need a QM2 solarium/ covered outside pool . Like verandas, outdoor pool was useless for Baltic/North Seas. Nautica band, vocalists and dancers were talented. Horizon happy hours and afternoon tea were wonderful. Having customs agent for UK on board for passport control was expeditious. It was delightful not to be pursued by omnipresent ship photographers. Overall/service attentive staff were excellent, gracious and accommodating. Except for challenges convincing Lisiam to accept our time preferences. Bundled laundry service was terrible, he returned clothes dirty and wet so I ended up redoing all in Deck 7 guest laundry. Ship excursions promotions on TV were $$$$$, inferior, laden w disclaimers. Dr. Roger Cartwright's port talks were anecdotal, boring, off topic. We used local onboard agent to plan our port visits with great independent guide experiences. Shore excursion staff was helpful, but Oceanic Club Ambassador was curt. Cruise director marketed ship activities zealously. Free internet was nearly useless despite the best effort of the IT professional on staff who was often confronted by unhappy frustrated guests. Email messages could be received but not sent. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Food, glorious food. Oceania’s claim to serve the finest cuisine at sea is not exaggerated. We have cruised with 12 other lines and the food on Riviera surpassed them all. Choice, presentation and quality was exceptional in the open ... Read More
Food, glorious food. Oceania’s claim to serve the finest cuisine at sea is not exaggerated. We have cruised with 12 other lines and the food on Riviera surpassed them all. Choice, presentation and quality was exceptional in the open seating Grand Dining Room, Terrace Buffet and four speciality restaurants for which there is no additional charge. Room service is also complimentary. In the buffet, food was served to you by friendly, cheerful staff and one of the many waiters would carry your food to the table if you wished and always poured water and brought tea and coffee. In addition to the dishes on display, which always included a carvery roast, there was also a grill area where lobster, giant prawns, swordfish, salmon, various steaks and chops were always available and cooked to order. Elegant afternoon tea featuring the Ocean String Quartet was served in Horizon’s Lounge, by waiters who offered sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and a choice of teas. Embarkation at Monte Carlo was very smooth and civilised. After passing through port security we walked straight onto the ship where there was no queue to complete boarding formalities in the theatre. A delicious buffet lunch was served and cabins were available by 2 pm. Our concierge level cabin was spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage. Bathroom was small but luxurious with separate bath and shower and Bulgari toiletries. We had access to the nearby concierge lounge where tea, coffee, orange juice and a selection of biscuits, sandwiches and cakes were always available together with full size daily newspapers and useful information. When we docked in Genoa due to being unable to tender into Portofino, the concierge printed out train and ferry times so that we were able to visit this beautiful little port for only £23. He also printed our boarding passes for the return journey. We had access to the private spa terrace with shaded sunbeds and a large jacuzzi type of pool, but did not use it. We were also were entitled to 3 bags of washed and folded laundry. As it took three days to process, it was of questionable value on a 7 night cruise. Wifi was free but very slow. We had the option to book the speciality restaurants online 6 weeks before sailing. The only times available were 9.00 or 9.30 pm. However shortly after embarkation we were able to change these bookings for 7.30 and 8.00. The main entertainment consisted of one show at 9.30. The Riviera Production cast shows were not to our taste but there was a very good comedian, flautist and piano/cello duo which we enjoyed. There was late musical entertainment in the Riviera lounge which we did not experience. Artwork around the ship was stunning. A dramatic Lalique Grand Staircase with balustrades of crystal medallions provides a striking welcome on embarkation. Large metal or marble sculptures sit on landings, amethyst encrusted lamps adorn a lounge and colourful glass installations abound. The library is a quiet haven where you are trusted to select and return books. In the evenings, dress code is described as country club casual. Most men wear long trousers and shirts but not jackets, although sadly, we did see a few in the buffet wearing flip flops, shorts and tees. All the ladies wore dressy separates or dresses and some wore gowns- so it appears that whatever is comfortable for you is acceptable. We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary which included Monte Carlo, Antibes, Portofino, Livorno, Ajaccio, Palma and Valencia, all of which we enjoyed, except Palma where it was simply too hot for us and, very unusually, we stayed on board, enjoying the pool, deck games, tea and trivia. Tourist information and maps for the area were provided by hospitality representatives who boarded soon after docking at each port. Free shuttles were provided where needed. We were not aware of any facilities for children apart from high chairs. Ages of guests ranged from babes in arms to young adults and fellow silver sailors. We saw two people in wheelchairs for whom access throughout the ship was provided by automatically opening doors. Boutiques stocked the usual designer clothing, jewellery and cosmetics and there were the ubiquitous daily sales of watches etc. There is a spa, fitness centre and casino, none of which we used. In common with all cruise lines, excursions were extremely expensive and we did not book any. For £25 each in Livorno we took a minibus trip to Lucca and Pisa which would have cost £230 each via the ship’s excursion. Alcohol was also expensive - a small glass of wine cost £12. However, guests are allowed to take their own alcohol on board for consumption in their cabins and to take their own wine into the dining room for a £25 corkage fee. Flights are included in the cruise price but unusually, transfers from airport to ship are an expensive extra charge. From Barcelona port to the airport, a 15 minute journey, the cost was £61 each. A taxi for two would have been around £36. Each Oceania cruise includes their Olife Choice Offer which, depending on the length of the cruise includes free internet plus at least 400 dollars shipboard credit, a free house beverage package or 4 free shore excursions. Some itineraries come with the extra benefit of pre-paid gratuities worth between 16 and 23 dollars per night. Room service breakfast was available from 6 am on morning of departure prior to vacating cabin by 8 am. We enjoy good company, good food, friendly personal service and an interesting port intensive itinerary on small to medium sized ships. We prefer to make our own arrangements ashore and are not big drinkers, night owls or spa enthusiasts. Riviera ticked all the boxes we wanted and we heard no complaints from other guests. There were the usual incentives to book a future cruise onboard, including a 100 dollar shipboard credit on the current cruise. Were we tempted? You bet we were! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because of our prior cruise to Tahiti on Marina. We wanted a smaller ship able to dock without tendering and able to navigate in to the Hubbard glacier. Alaska was on our bucket list. We also enjoy fine dining which ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our prior cruise to Tahiti on Marina. We wanted a smaller ship able to dock without tendering and able to navigate in to the Hubbard glacier. Alaska was on our bucket list. We also enjoy fine dining which Oceania is known for. We had a great trip. The excursions were all very good. However, you can book them cheaper yourself but we prefer to pay extra for the convenience and having Oceania cover any risk associated with them and be covered with the insurance. The other issue is that some of the excursions are limited and when several ships are in port, you might not get one. The excursions in Alaska were great. We expecially liked the bears of Anan, the White Pass Railway, and the Whale watching tours. Our weather could not have been better. Seeing the Hubbard glacier from the ship was magnificent. I would recommend checking trip advisor for more in depth reviews of the considerable amount of excursions, because its too much to review here. From what I researched, Oceania has the most available. The service on board was very good, and we had no issues. The entertainment was even a bit better than our previous voyage. Liked the comedians and the ventriloquist. Even played bingo for the first time. The casino was small and I think the odds are better in Atlantic city, but just a feeling, can't prove it, but people seemed to be losing money very quickly and the place was never crowded. I did miss the two specialty restaurants, Jacques and Red Ginger that are on the larger ships. We have a lot of local Italian restaurants so a French restaurant is a real treat for us, especially one inspired by Jacques Pepin. We liked Polo and Tuscan but there was limited availability, owing in part I think to the size of the ship. On Marina we were able to obtain a reservation in a specialty restaurant any time we wanted one. The only issue we had was with the food preparation. This was an initial disappointment and not up to our previous cruises on Oceania or their reputation, in my opinion. So much so that I brought it to the attetion of the food director and exec chef who took it seriously and rectified the issues, of which there were several. I was very surprised at these issues. I won't relate them all, but for example, the scrambled eggs for breakfast on the buffet were the consistency of soup and could be poured off the plate, meat cooked improperly, etc.. But to their credit, they were resolved the next day, which is why I kept my rating at excellent overall. We liked the barista and good expresso was always available without a long wait. I did like the afternoon tea when we could make it. Seating was hard to come since it was popular and limited on this smaller ship, especially on sea days. Also had to wait a bit longer for tea and pastries here. Love the string quartet, especially when they played a song by "Guns and Roses". Talented folks. One thing I learned is that you are allowed to bring wine on board, so if you are not a heavy drinker, we did that and used the credit for the occasional wine at dinner and gratuities owed at the end of the cruise. Even used the saltwater pool one warm sunny day. Fun but a cold trip back to the cabin. Great captain and crew and great interacting with them and other passengers on a smaller ship. Would go back to Alaska on Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our second Oceania cruise. We were on the Nautica cruising the Baltic. We thought food was nothing special. It was good quality, but it lacked any special flavours. It was nowhere as good as we experienced on our previous ... Read More
This was our second Oceania cruise. We were on the Nautica cruising the Baltic. We thought food was nothing special. It was good quality, but it lacked any special flavours. It was nowhere as good as we experienced on our previous Oceania cruise. The service was fine but the last few days the service in the Terrace Café fell away significantly. The entertainment was outstanding for relatively small cruise ship. The berths at the ports were varied with some close to the city and others some quite a distance from the city. The excursions were just okay. We found them to be rushed and not very informative. They charged the equivalent of $150 USD for a walking tour that you can pick up at the local tourist office for $10 USD. There was too much free time, wasted time, long toilet breaks and waiting for people who get lost. I am aware that some other cruise lines have two guides, one at the front and one at the rear. Good idea. Wine prices were nothing short of extortion. French village wines which would retail in France for 20 Euro per bottle were about 15 Euro per glass plus 18% gratuities. They would charge 80 Euro for a reasonable quality bottle plus 18%. The enrichment talks were okay but they were fairly shallow for those of us interested in history. There was only limited time spent on the history of cities on our itinerary. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting ... Read More
My attempt at a more objective and comprehensive review of Oceania Nautica: ITINERARY – London to Stockholm, 14 nights 1 sea days, 3 nights at St Petersburg - an excellent itinerary. • This is a port intensive cruise visiting major cities like, Berlin, Helsinki and Copenhagen, Stockholm, St Petersburg whilst also visiting quieter destinations such as Kristiansand, Klapeida, Tallinn, Karlskrona, Riga (listed in order of increasing preference). • 1- 2 more sea day would be relaxing but we had to fly out. There were scammers who attempted to scam us at London and Berlin. • Mostly smooth sailing with minor waves at night time in the Baltic seas. We do appreciate good stabilisation system with deep hull in the ships. EMBARKATION – No lines, straight through at the later part of the day. ROOMS – Very neatly appointed, the smaller bathroom meant a larger ratio of living space. • The showers are small but have been told they will refurbish in the near future. • The cabin is kept clean and stewardess Rosario was nice. I personally like the current bed style a lot and find the new design of the proposed refurbishment a bit tacky. • The bed and pillows are very comfortable, probably the best I have had at sea. PUBLIC SPACE – Spacious, lots of elegant seating in different decks. A few other cruises I have been on, felt like you must buy a drink to sit in the bar area, or must purchase this to lounge at a corner, i.e. less inviting. This ship had a lot more “free” space that you can comfortably sit and have a chat with friends. Dining alfresco in the Terrace café is great when warm; the sunset view (quick photo) is worth the chilly wind! OTHER PASSENGERS – most demographics lean towards retirees from North America, Europe Australia etc. • Some passengers are very warm and friendly, some others were very discerning, a few were ageist and slightly chauvinistic towards non Anglos because there is hardly any non Anglo passenger on board – no wonder other Asian male passengers were mistaken for crew and there were lots of staring. • In Australia, we see a variety of nationalities like Middle East, East and South East Asia, Africa, South American people. Perhaps with a few of the passengers, they don’t see much of the greater world as much and developed more curiosity as such, hmm. • I have also witnessed a few passengers been rather rude to the crew and are quite demanding, my guess is there is a correlation between more luxury cruises with more discerning cruisers. Contrastingly, I have witnessed people pushing in lines at buffet…but you probably expected this on any cruise. • Passengers on other mass and premium lines saw happier looking passengers who are on holiday, Nautica passengers appears that this is the everyday life (probably because they cruised with Oceania a lot and this became their normal home). CREW – Mostly excellent and friendly: only some very minor hiccups with some waiter and lady at the bar near the casino area. John the cruise director was amazing and the chef (not sure of the name) grilling lobsters, steak and fish in the terrace cafe for most part of the cruise is a master, the best grilled lobsters I have ever tasted. The chef changed on the last two days, the lobster quality dropped significantly and not cleaned properly (accidental slice of the excretory glands by the chef when cutting the lobster meant a unique taste…). FOOD - Having cruised with Celebrity (same menu in different ships rotating), RCL, Carnival, Princess, this line has the best food out of the above. Celebrity and princess are still decent and I enjoyed my meals with them. Carnival was good value for money and fun, but RCL was cost cutting. 1. If food is important to you, as it is for me, you are likely to enjoy this cruise. 2. The only comment I will make is that the sashimi is not that great, i.e. powdery and breakfast was getting boring after 2 weeks of continental breakfast. This is likely because I am spoiled in Australia where the café brunch options are excellent and access to other cultures like Chinese dumplings, dim sums with congee and fresh sashimi etc. I am not sure how adventurous the other passengers are with trying “non-western” style breakfast. .. 3. The fruit options for breakfast are impeccable and fresh. I can’t rave enough about the grilled lobster done by that particular Chef in the buffet, simply the best, he needs a bonus. 4. The main dining room is mostly great, tip: the daily menus are better than the Pepin inspired ones. Miso glazed Sea Bass was delicious. 5. The Russian evening buffet was outstanding with lots of choices and interesting dishes. We really appreciated trying other cuisines and the culture, especially when the food is made nicely. 6. Desserts – I have not had a bad dessert on board and have gotten seconds, very nicely presented and produced. You will be eating with nice silverware and plates. Afternoon tea with string quartet is very good but often hard to find a seat. SHORE EXCURSIONS – • Did a private tour for SPB for Catherine palace + Peterhof and it was great. • The complimentary shore excursion to Hermitage was disappointing, I could only look and take pictures of the ceiling because it is too crowded to see artworks on the side. Perhaps I needed to grow a few inches taller. Good thing that the ceilings were intricately beautiful. Because of the massive crowds, I did not see the peacock clock. Your face is literally up behind someone’s back. It was like a battle against time and the 50-60k people per day to take a quick peak of some highlights and get out ASAP. Don’t get me wrong though, the rooms within the hermitage were very opulent. • The local guide who gets on board at the ports Is quite good – provides a local maps with tips and answers. Also the shuttle to city centre, both very nice touches added by Oceania. • The complimentary tours for the 3 cathedrals however, were very good. See the ports info below for tips. • In general the ship excursions and transfers are very expensive for what they offer. ENTERTAINMENT The lectures on history of the ports were interesting and John’s magic show and talks were excellent. You are more or less expected to entertain yourself on board, which is perfectly fine given the intensive itinerary. Take the extra time to recharge, read a book and relax somewhere. I will be more than happy if Oceania spends the money on other things to improve vacation experience. There was minigolf and a shuffle board. Summary of tips: take naps in the very comfy bed and deck chairs with good cushions, try the afternoon tea listening to strings, try Toscana, try the miso glazed sea bass, eat the desserts, relax in the public areas, read in the library and relax after a long day (30k steps per day sometimes) of sightseeing ! Baltic cruises are definitely not only for the retirees. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we ... Read More
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we selected the Oceania Marina based on itinerary and its strong reputation for good food. The food was excellent across the board. The four specialty restaurants as well as the Grand Dining Room and the buffet-oriented Terrace Cafe offered outstanding cuisine regardless of venue. Service both in and out of the dining venues was 5 star day and night. Can't speak much about shipboard activities as we really didn't avail ourselves of much of that. The string quartet that played daily in the main lounge before dinner was very accomplished and a pleasure to listen to. The guest pianist one evening was outstanding although we were only able to catch the latter portion of his show because of the timing of our dinner reservation that night. Wish he could have played more than one evening. In every port except St. Petersburg we did not hire a guide or take any group excursions. Talinn, Riga, Helsinki, and certainly Klaipeda are all small enough to navigate on ones own. The long Sunday at Klaipeda we mostly spent on board. Most places are closed on Sundays and the Klaipeda downtown can be covered in about an hour. Everywhere we went people spoke English. The long day we were docked at Warnemunde, we went to Lubeck -- which was brimming with medieval buildings dating back to the 13th century. We rented a car but there is public transport that will get you there as well. In St. Petersburg we toured with Dancing Bear Tours. They were fabulous. They were flexible, accommodating, and our guide spoke perfect English and was a source of so much history and information. Our driver provided door-to-door service at every stop. Great value and pleasant people to deal with. We took a canal boat ride one morning which was a wonderful way to see the city. We saw a number of churches but our favorite was St. Isaacs without a doubt. We are also culture vultures so highlights for us included the Russian Museum, the General Staff Building wing of the Hermitage, and of course the Hermitage proper. Could easily have spent whole days or even weeks in them. We enjoyed our outing to Peterhof as well, although the weather was not the sunniest. For something completely different, check out the royal bath house there if you go. I have no other cruises to compare the Marina to but would definitely recommend Oceania to anyone who is interested in exploring this part of the world. Both the ship and port experiences were grand. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Background information: We are veteran cruisers with many years of cruising in different parts of the world on different cruise lines (includes Oceania, Disney, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Cunard). This was our 30th cruise, ... Read More
Background information: We are veteran cruisers with many years of cruising in different parts of the world on different cruise lines (includes Oceania, Disney, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Cunard). This was our 30th cruise, our longest cruise to date, our eighth on Oceania and our first on Sirena. I have done several other cruise reviews on Cruise Critic. This cruise was entitled “Voyage of Discovery” and was 28 days long, with embarkation in Athens, Greece and disembarkation in Miami, Florida. We booked this as a single Grand Voyage and not as two separate back-to-back Cruises. Sirena is one of the four R-ships currently owned by Oceania Cruises (along with 2 larger, newer O-class ships) and it has passenger capacity of 650-700 passengers and an international crew of nearly 400. The R-ships are scheduled for major renovations over the next few years. Oceania is a cruise company under NCL Holdings. Our trip began with flights on Delta Airlines from our home city through JFK to Athens, Greece. We purchased our own air. We also purchased transfers and a three-night Athens hotel package from Oceania. The hotel selected by Oceania was the Grande Bretagne, a beautiful five-star Marriott/SPG property located on Syntagma Square in the heart of the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the service and amenities at this hotel and its wonderful rooftop bar and restaurant with views of the Acropolis and other sites in Athens. Our pre-cruise activities in the city included visits to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum and to the expansive Christian and Byzantine Museum, and we had a very enjoyable Greek cooking class in a Taverna, which we booked in advance through Trip Advisor/Viator. This was our first time staying in Athens and our second visit to the city. Embarkation: On the way to our ship, we selected an excursion from the Oceania representative at the hotel that included a bus trip to Cape Sounion and the Poseidon Temple, located south of Athens before heading to the port. It took mere minutes to be processed at the Piraeus cruise terminal and we were on-board Sirena having lunch. Our cabin was ready around 1:30 pm and our luggage arrived shortly after that time. Cabin: For this cruise, we selected an A3 category concierge veranda (cabin 7020, located on deck 7 forward on the port side). We are very familiar with this type of cabin, which has a total area of 216 square feet, including the veranda. The room was quiet and cozy, the bathroom is small but manageable, and the bed is heavenly (very, very comfortable). We did use our Veranda quite often on this cruise, with the hot weather. Our stateroom was maintained impeccably by our Room Stewardess and her assistant. The Concierge Veranda level comes with a new and very useful perk of three complimentary laundry services per sailing; since our cruise was composed of back-to-back sailings, we got six of these laundry services (maximum of 20 pieces per service). Public areas: The small size of Sirena limits the public spaces to a few areas - Library (popular with many folks but a complete waste of space in my opinion as I usually bring an electronic book reader), Deck 11 sports area, Pool Deck, Baristas/GDR bar (did not use), the Upper Hall (home of the string quartet concerts), Martini’s bar (strangely, a big favorite for us in the past but we only visited a couple of times on this cruise), a tiny casino, the ample Sirena Lounge (entertainment, lectures, trivia, and meeting place for excursions), and the beautiful and expansive Horizons Lounge on deck 10 forward (the Room with a View). There are two tiny boutique stores on deck 5 and a card room on deck 9. There is also a decent-sized gym/workout facility and the Canyon Ranch Spa area on deck 9 forward. The public areas are nicely decorated but the OceaniaNEXT project will certainly be welcome. Dining: Oceania is renowned for their cuisine and our experience ranged from good to excellent, with a couple of exceptions. We had most of our evening meals in the Terrace Cafe because of its convenience and outdoor seating, and the wide variety of offerings, including salads, pastas, grilled meats, specialty dishes, good side dishes, sushi, charcuterie, fresh breads, and desserts were superb. There were several special lunches or dinners in the Terrace, including Greek, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and Indian cuisine. Our breakfasts were divided between the Terrace Cafe (full breakfasts and cooked to order) and Waves Grill, which offers a continental style buffet. Waves Grill is also a great place for lunch (huge cooked-to-order burgers and sandwiches) and they have a salad bar, plus delicious ice cream and milkshakes. We ate a few times in the Grand Dining Room and enjoyed the selections, but preferred the more casual ambience of the Terrace Cafe and the ability to control portion sizes. The specialty restaurants on Sirena are Red Ginger and Tuscan Steak. We ate at Red Ginger once and Tuscan Steak twice. Red Ginger, specializing in Asian fusion cuisine, is not one of our favorites, but it was good. Unfortunately, my dinner at Tuscan Steak the first time we ate there was nearly ruined by an inedible ribeye steak. The first grey, over-salted, overcooked and tasteless steak I received was whisked away and replaced by another steak almost as bad. Apparently, the filet is a more “sure” thing; being from the western US, I am more of a fan of strip and ribeye cuts, but will not try most steaks again on Oceania. Everything else at that meal was excellent. Needless to say, my second meal at Tuscan Steak concentrated on the pasta selections, which were delicious. Another miss was the horrid lobster bisque in the GDR. Many folks complained about this over-salted and very fishy (in a bad way) soup selection. The service in the dining areas ranged from good to excellent; some minor issues with lack of service (set up, clearing of dishes) at the beginning of the cruise were rectified. Bar offerings, wine selection, and service: We did not buy a beverage package on this cruise. We tried to go to happy hour every evening to help with the costs. The drinks are very expensive, especially wines by the glass, and that cost is exacerbated by an 18% service charge. The wine selections were quite good, however, and we did buy a few bottles that can be stored on-board for more than one meal. Beer selections are somewhat limited (a negative with hubby, who is a craft beer aficionado). Mixed drinks are good to excellent. Service is very good to excellent from the bar staff and sommeliers. Most of our bar service experiences were in Horizons lounge or Waves Grill/Bar. Activities and Entertainment: We do not go on Oceania for their entertainment. The small entertainment staff is young and enthusiastic and the shows are fairly short and limited to one every evening at 9:30 pm, with a few guest performers in some shows. We usually head back to cabin to relax and read after dinner so we did not see most of the productions. The Sirena Show Band on our cruise was excellent and we heard them most often in Horizons before dinner. Other entertainment and activity options included enrichment lectures (did not attend most of them), trivia, bingo, sports activity contests, cooking demonstrations, and some pool deck contests (build a ship, country fair, crew contests). Our CD was Leslie Jon, who is very personable and an excellent announcer. Service: As noted in the other paragraphs, service ranged from very good to excellent and minor concerns were corrected immediately. This cruise also featured the best and most competent Destination Services staff we have dealt with yet on Oceania, a wonderful and helpful Oceania Club Ambassador (yes, we are going again), and very friendly staff at Reception and in Security. Officers are business-like, but approachable. Captain Vitaliy Silvachynsky was very professional and trustworthy. We called him Captain “Early” because he would often leave ports ahead of the departure time if everyone was on board. He also made the right calls on avoiding Hurricane Florence and other tropical storms that were brewing in the Atlantic; our 8-day crossing was very smooth. Ports and excursions: Separate port write-ups are included. This cruise was attractive because of its ports and the transatlantic crossing. We did ship excursions in almost every port and most were good to excellent. Sadly, two premium excursions we booked prior to the cruise that included gourmet experiences were canceled due to lack of participation. Our ports of call included Patmos, Rhodes and Crete in Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; Haifa, Israel (overnight); Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sorrento and Rome (Civitavechhia), Italy; St. Tropez, France; Barcelona, Cartagena, and Malaga, Spain; Funchal, Madeira; and Nassau, Bahamas. A planned overnight in Bermuda was replaced by a day in Nassau due to Hurricane Florence. We did not have any planned activities in Civitavecchia (Rome) as there were limited excursions on this cruise transition day and our choice of excursions was canceled, unfortunately. The top ports we visited were Haifa, Israel (two amazing and unforgettable journeys to Jerusalem on the first day and to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee on the second); Patmos (beautiful island and fascinating history of St. John); Valleta, Malta (loved this unique and scenic small country); Messina, Sicily (we did a great excursion to Taormina, a lovely town south of Messina, and to a nice winery); Cartagena, Spain (a fantastic excursion to a Spanish horse ranch); and Funchal, Madeira (a gorgeous island with dramatic scenery and a fun city market). We also enjoyed all of the other ports and have good memories from each place we visited. Disembarkation: We disembarked very quickly in Miami and had a private transfer to Fort Lauderdale for our non-stop United flight home. Summary: Our overall experience on Sirena was excellent, with a few minor issues as noted in the details above. Usually, we are ready to go home, but we were reluctant to leave on our last day. We have already booked our next experience, a cruise on Nautica from Venice to Dubai in late 2019! We look forward to the renovated R-ships. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Oceania is a fantastic cruise line, up there with the best. The crew were second to none and the food is of course exemplary. We never had a problem finding sun loungers (despite many shaded sunloungers being reserved every day) and there ... Read More
Oceania is a fantastic cruise line, up there with the best. The crew were second to none and the food is of course exemplary. We never had a problem finding sun loungers (despite many shaded sunloungers being reserved every day) and there were many day beds available at all times too. The show lounge is called the Sirena lounge and it is more akin to a bar/lounge rather than the more typical double height theatre that you get on slightly bigger ships than Sirena. My comments on the cabin are below. We travelled as a family with four daughters and we were made especially welcome, particularly by the entertainment team who appreciated guests who were more similar aged to themselves! The ship was run extremely well and everything went smoothly. From the reception staff, the restaurant waiters to the room attendants, everyone made sure that we never queued for anything and it helped make our holiday superb. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Just finished a great family cruise on the Regatta. The service was outstanding, by the second day the staff we saw the most (bars and dinning rooms) knew our names. The food was as expected - top knotch. We ate in both of the specialty ... Read More
Just finished a great family cruise on the Regatta. The service was outstanding, by the second day the staff we saw the most (bars and dinning rooms) knew our names. The food was as expected - top knotch. We ate in both of the specialty rest (Polo Grill & Toscana) the food was fabulous and the service very attentive. Other than that we normally ate in the Terrace Cafe ( breakfast & dinner) or Waves ( lunch outside) and did not try the main dinning room and we were very happy with the quality of the food and the casualness which by the third day had folks at different tables toalking each other, it very much felt like the grill at a club.Horizons the main bar up near the bow offered great views and attentive staff. One of the things I like about Oceana is the low passenger count (640) and the high ratio of crew (400+). You always feel pampered but not smothered. The entertainment was very good the comedian and the special singing act were excellent. We only saw one of the shows by the ships troop and it was good. Sadly one of the troop got sick and they had to cancel the rest of the shows. However on the last night they put on a variety show with the show band, some of the troop, comedian, magician and speciality singer that was well accepted by the packed audience. It is true that Oceana caters to a older more well to do group of folks so they do not tend to have a lot of children on board. The other thing I enjoyed about being on a smaller ship was that we got to dock in two smaller towns Hannah and Wrangel that the large ships pass by. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we are going to book our next cruise with Oceana next summer and have been spoiled by the small ship with a large crew. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Perfect Domestic style itinerary. New York to Nova Scotia to Bermuda. The Insignia is one of the smaller Oceania ships but was just as pleasant as the larger Marina and Riviera class ships. 684 passengers and 400 crew members. The ship ... Read More
Perfect Domestic style itinerary. New York to Nova Scotia to Bermuda. The Insignia is one of the smaller Oceania ships but was just as pleasant as the larger Marina and Riviera class ships. 684 passengers and 400 crew members. The ship is getting a retro fit along with the other "R" class ships in December. I would love to sail on it again after the upgrade. The crew was excellent in every respect, from the Captain to the Cruise Director, Shawn Carter and especially the food and beverage crew. Our housekeeping staff Drujon and Aislyne, saw to every detail and kept our room spotless! We stayed in Cabin 7049 which is an A1 Balcony concierge class. (However, there is no concierge lounge on the smaller 'R' class ships) as there is on Marina, Riviera & Sirena, so I'm not certain what concierge is. We did receive priority boarding and disembarkation. Why Oceania? Class and Food. Dress is smart casual (what you would wear out for a nice dinner), however, many people were flaunting the dress code and entering the Main Dining Room for breakfast and lunch, as well as tea time in outfits that were more appropriate for 'Waves' grill. One negative note: Insignia currently has only two premium restaurants (Polo Grill which is American fare, think primo steak! and Toscana, which is Italian). After the retrofit, I understand Insignia will also receive a 'Red Ginger' restaurant which is fantastic Asian fare, having had this on both Marina and Riviera on prior sailings. Wish they had room for Jacques as well! The one negative note on this cruise was both on our last voyage on the Riviera (2016 Mediterranean) and on Insignia, the Toscana staff seemed befuddled, when it came to service. After being seated, we waited nearly 20 minutes before someone came to take our order. We informed the waiter that we had not even been provided menus and the sommelier had never visited. The food was also not quiet the quality it should have been. Everything was just a tad off. Polo Grill however was exceptional as always! My only regret is that we did not find out as Concierge members, that we were entitled to two nights in each venue not just one. We would have especially liked to try Toscana again to see if the problems continued. However, this was not enough for us to change our mind that Oceania remains our favorite, above the other cruise lines we have sampled including, however Holland is Very close and closing in. Their cookies and breads are better than Oceania), Celebrity, and Carnival. Believe me, you can't go wrong on any of these lines, but Oceania is worth the extra $$ Also, if you drink more than 4 glasses of beer or wine, buy the beverage package $59.95 per day. While beverage package beer and wine lists could use some updating (Oceania, please add Blue Moon to your beer package). It took me 7 days to finally find 'Pauliner' which became a substitute. Entertainment - is very limited. An orchestral quartet playing at dinner and tea time (why they play at dinner and not after is beyond me. They are fantastic but you don't get to hear them except enroute to dinner or after). Insignia had 6 singers, and a ventriloquist/comedian that put on varying variety shows. They were good but the small ensemble is underwhelming. However, no one chooses Oceania for the entertainment. Her is Advice for those booking Oceania tours, we received three free shore excursions with our booking. We chose: 'Historic Boston & Cambridge' (OK, but disappointed that no time was made to stop at the cemetery's. Just a quick stop at Old North Church and Harvard). I would recommend the Boston 'Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour'. Also, the narrator talked far too much, apparently afraid that if any silence occurred on the tour, he was not doing his job. 'Acadia National Park & Carriage Ride' - Carriage ride is a misnomer! It is a wagon ride over the Rockefeller carriage trails. OK, but we all wished we had spent the time in Bar Harbor which was the highlight stop on our cruise. We could have visited two days there! 'Historic Halifax & RMS Titanic Museum' - The museum was a let down as we had seen more Titanic artifacts on a traveling exhibit in Chicago a few years ago. The visit to the cemetery was the highlight and (don't miss) part of this excursion and the our guide was excellent at relaying the history. On our own: Newport RI - we purchased tickets through the City Visitor Center, one block from the tender dock and visited the Vanderbilt mansion (Breakers) and Marblehead mansion at our own pace. Very reasonable, I think $38 per per person. Kind of like a hop on/off bus that allowed you to go at your own pace. Worth the price and great city! Bermuda - We purchased a tour through Viator called 'Horseshoe Beach Excursion' about 1 month prior to sailing. Enroute from Halifax to Bermuda, we received a note that Viator had refunded our money, but no explanation as to why the excursion was cancelled. However, we took the bus (1.5 hours) from St. George's, where our smaller Oceania boat went through a very narrow and scenic passage into harbor, all the way across the island to Hamilton and then to Kings Wharf. Great shopping. We then took the ferry back to St. Georges (45 minutes) direct by sea. Very nice, AC was wonderful after a hot day. I would love to do this cruise again! Read Less
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