4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because Oceania has smaller ships and their food is excellent. This was a South America cruise going from Lima Peru to Buenos Aires Argentina. Being the month of March in the Southern Hemisphere, we expected and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Oceania has smaller ships and their food is excellent. This was a South America cruise going from Lima Peru to Buenos Aires Argentina. Being the month of March in the Southern Hemisphere, we expected and received September type temperatures like the Northern Hemisphere. Sirena is very well kept still clean and attractive though it will be renovated soon. I like all the colors and schemes she has now but that will disappear with the addition of gray interior decor. My only issue with the ship was the aggressiveness and interruptions of the wine stewards and waiters in the main dining room. Those personnel need to be trained to present themselves and be recognized. So many times they would interrupt the table guests which to me is rude. On the last bus tour in BA, there was a passenger that was coughing incessantly. I caught his cold and am still suffering from it. I wrote a separate letter to Oceania suggesting that their ship chaperon(s) on the tours provide disposable masks on those busses for the "coughers" and on the vessel too. There are sick people who come on the ship even though they are given a questionnaire prior to boarding. Passengers do not have to divulge that they have a cold. Anyhow, I would recommend the Sirena and Oceania. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very ... Read More
Three ports in Cuba - having been to all the major islands in the Caribbean we decide on something different. Cruise food and staff were wonderful! As soon as you sit down anywhere they ask if you want water, coffee, drinks. Very friendly staff but not pushy. All non-alcoholic beverages are included. Food quality was great - lobster in the dining room, specialty restaurants and even a lobster sandwich by the pool grill. Small ship had a much more intimate vibe to it and nothing was crowded - no lines anywhere. There were lectures on the ports and history of Cuba every day. The lecturer was excellent. It is quite a lot more expensive than Royal or Carnival. Also, if you want glitzy shows and entertainment then it is not for you. It is laid-back and classy. Cuban people are so friendly! Recommend doing something local like the Buena Vista social club in Havana. Our private guide in Cienfuegos took us to a very good private restaurant where we had small shrimps, rice and beans and plantains. Guide (tonycubavacations@gmail.com) was very knowledgable and spoke perfect English. The cost of the all day tour was reasonable compared to the ship tours. All in all it was an excellent trip for someone who likes to explore and relax. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red ... Read More
We just completed a cruise on Oceania Sirena, cruising to Cuba. Therr we're eight of us in the group. It was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed seeing Cuba and the food was terrific. Really special. The Red Ginger's food is as good as it gets The cabin service was great also. The excursions were just OK. Routine cruise eexcursions. Lots of them were cancelled for unclear reasons. The downside was their bar and wine staff focus on money. If we ordered water or a Coke, often they were a bit put out or simply forgot to deliver it. We were charged $50 corking fees. At the table we were told they would credit it. It was on the bill. When I asked about it, they challenged me, saying that is not true. I felt they were calling me a liar. Dumb dumb. Overall, I'm glad we saw Cuva but won't cruise again on Oceania. Read Less
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: June 2018
We took cruise since it was only one just going to Cuba on a 7 day cruise; Cuba was fantastic and would visit again; sirena and oceania probably not ; ship was weak in activities unless u like bean bag toss and a FEW other activities ; ... Read More
We took cruise since it was only one just going to Cuba on a 7 day cruise; Cuba was fantastic and would visit again; sirena and oceania probably not ; ship was weak in activities unless u like bean bag toss and a FEW other activities ; food was good to excellent ; everything seemed in slow motion on cruise ; we are seniors but still like many activities even though we don’t often participate in them ;ship was clean; small but just lacked something that we were used to on other bigger ships ; we went for Cuba and not the ship however; rooms were clean but housekeeping supplies were always stored by our room; they told us they had to store them by our room ; anyway Cuba is a must see and glad we took this cruise there; but felt that oceania is well overpriced for their return; Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Lima is the worst embarkation experience ever. Our transfer dropped us off a Oceania pickup point filled with hucksters trying to help us with our bags. We were lucky when we got on the Oceania coach to take us to the ship. There were ... Read More
Lima is the worst embarkation experience ever. Our transfer dropped us off a Oceania pickup point filled with hucksters trying to help us with our bags. We were lucky when we got on the Oceania coach to take us to the ship. There were only two of us. The competition with shipping trucks was chaos. The backup for the port security guard to check our passport and sift through disorganized paperwork to find our name took and inordinate amount of time. Imagine the later coaches FILLED with passenger. The back up was horrible. My wife has special dietary restrictions. It took a third of the cruise before the came close to meeting her needs. The ship is tired and outdated. We went on the Basic City Tour Excursion in Iquique in the Atacama Desert. Oceania put 25 elderly passengers coming from winter in North America on an UNAIRCONDITIONED bus with temps in the high 80 in the . By the time we got to town, I was soaked with sweat. I told the tour guide he needed to get the bus fixed. We did a walk around and a tour of a museum and palace. When we met up with the bus, it was not fixed. I bailed on the excursion and walked back to take the shuttle back to the ship. I complained at the excursion desk. After a non-committal initial response, Oceania sent a second written reply giving us a 25% refund. HOW GENEROUS, he said facetiously. There was so much right and wrong about the cruise. When you can't use the toilet in your cabin and they can't get your wife's food correct, it spoils the whole cruise experience. Our previous experience on the Oceania Marina was entirely different. My final word for Oceania is this. Viking Ocean cruises is coming for you with a fleet a brand new ships and a base cabin that is better than this ship's veranda cabin. The days with you can compete with an outdated ship and an inferior cabin (bathroom) design ARE NUMBERED. The word is going to get out. A 'luxury cruiseline'. Not on this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We wanted to see Cuba, the Panama Canal and Machu Picchu and this cruise had all three. It was the first time we traveled with dietary restrictions (my wife was diagnosed as Celiac). Overall the ship did a good job of providing gluten ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba, the Panama Canal and Machu Picchu and this cruise had all three. It was the first time we traveled with dietary restrictions (my wife was diagnosed as Celiac). Overall the ship did a good job of providing gluten free food options, but it could have been better. Every single meal we had to ask the chef to point out what she could eat instead of simply putting a "GF" label on the cards describing each dish. She only was contaminated once when given inaccurate information. For the most part the servers and food preparers at the stations need additional training in preparing gluten free meals. They could also do a better job of having gluten free choices rather an a cookie at the tea or one dessert (if you were lucky) Tired of hearing fruit plate, salad and dry chicken. Now on to excursions. Oceana is gouging it's passengers with expensive, and just average tours. Don't get me wrong, some of them were great, but an equal number were under performers. We recommend you do your own research and book off the ship for half the price. We went from 90% cruise excursions to half this time and will go lower down the road. Best excursion - Machu Picchu. Drinks prices in an age where your completion offers free drinks is another gouge. (Bring some on board - they allow it) Best meal on board - red ginger. Worst meal on board - the dining room (got servered raw lobster one time and never went back) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + ... Read More
It was our first Oceania cruise and it will not be the last ! The Sirena is a small intimate elegant ship and it was a very different cruise from Miami to Lima. The ports were interesting but what made this cruise different from the 20 + other cruises was the ship. It was small but never boring and the cruise director, Dottie, was a pro. Because of the smaller amount of passangers,600, you never wait anywhere, there is always room by the pool, at the show , at the dining room. No crowds ever which is a nice change. However the shows are not as spectacular and the pool is very small. The grand dining room is outstanding, the food and the service were unbelievable, the specialty restaurant Red Ginger is outstanding and full of nice surprises, however the other one, Tuscan Steak fails miserably both with food and service.... The free shuttle to town could improve as well, not enough and does not always go to the right area, I guess they want to push their expensive excursions. The décor is a bit old fashioned but very tasteful, brings us back to an era that promoted elegance. We also appreciated the inclusion of soft drinks, specialty coffees and specialty restaurants, all things taken into account it was not much more expensive than the big ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
The itinerary. We have traveled a lot & truly enjoy venturing to different countries. We like to engage with the locals wherever we visit to find out what the heartbeat of the community is & what makes it tick, On this ... Read More
The itinerary. We have traveled a lot & truly enjoy venturing to different countries. We like to engage with the locals wherever we visit to find out what the heartbeat of the community is & what makes it tick, On this particular trip we met people who were aghast at some of the ports & extremely poor communities we visited. We found the mindset of these people had expectations that it was just like home & could not believe that Oceania would take them to such places. The reason to travel is to broaden ones horizons & see how the rest of the world lives & copes with their lot in life. Everyone has a story & it is so important to listen??? The naysayers complaints were 1st. world country & I truly hope that when they returned to their homes that they would take a few minutes to reflect on the hardships of others. The Sirena crew were wonderful---they would do anything to please their guests & from the captain right down to a deck hand they fostered a wonderful ambience that felt like one big family. My hat is of to each & everyone who were part of our wonderful journey---thank you from the bottom of our hearts & we look forward to joining you again in the near future. The only thing that we would fault Oceania on were our flights. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Superb time. Food and service were impeccable, as always; excursions were mostly excellent. Updates made to Sirena were nice improvements. The ideal cruise for mature adults (not recommended for children). Staff attentive, ... Read More
Superb time. Food and service were impeccable, as always; excursions were mostly excellent. Updates made to Sirena were nice improvements. The ideal cruise for mature adults (not recommended for children). Staff attentive, knowledgeable, helpful, pleasant, and engaging. Our cabin was always immaculate and well-stocked; our butler anticipated our every need. String quartet was the best we've encountered on Oceania. Lots of on-board activities, day and night: Bridge classes & afternoon social and duplicate play, Bingo, Team Trivia, great enrichment lectures, cooking demonstrations, variety of music shows, country fair, golf & ping pong, etc. One can be as athletic or couch-potato-ish as desired. But you're always going to have excellent food and drink. We were too pooped at the end of each day's activities to take advantage of the evening - and late evening - activities! Dining options are different on Sirena: Grand Dining Room essentially the same, but at lunch-time has a French Bistro vibe and menu. Toscana and Polo are combined into a Tuscan Steak House to make room for Red Ginger (as in the larger ships). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first cruise with Oceania, ship Sirena, for 35 days, 2017-2018. Picked this cruise line to experience a smaller passenger venue and interesting itinerary. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Bayside Inn in San ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania, ship Sirena, for 35 days, 2017-2018. Picked this cruise line to experience a smaller passenger venue and interesting itinerary. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Bayside Inn in San Diego, very close to the ship terminal. This hotel picked you up at the airport and also took you to the cruise terminal. Bonus! Staff was very friendly and helpful. Room was very clean and more than adequate for a stopover. Bought our bottles of wine for our ship cabin at a new store called, Roma, a short walk away. It is an Italian deli style atmosphere so you could buy a meal, drinks or snacks if desired. Embarkation was painless, efficient and welcoming. Cabin 6016 was nicely appointed, plenty of closet, drawers and bathroom shelf space. Used fabric packing cases for the first time and they measured 9"wide x 12"long x 4" deep (could be 2" longer if you want) and they fit right into the drawers for easy access, also for final packing. In the beginning, we had A/C issues which were taken care of immediately. Our only complaint was the swaying of the ship which could really be felt. It took a little bit of time to adjust to the motion. We were not overly impressed with the food but you could always find something to eat. On the other hand, other passengers were very pleased with the cuisine. One thing that stands out for me, on two occasions, the lobster and shrimp were mushy to the taste in the Grand Dining Room. I had a better cooked lobster and shrimp at the Terrace Buffet. A special thanks to Uptal and Rangit for their expert cooking of it. We appreciated the Terrace Cafe Buffet method of serving food. All food was served by staff to avoid cross contamination. Kudos to the person who had that idea! Also, if you wanted to eat outdoors, there was a very nice area outside the dining room on the back deck. Tours? We did it ourselves. For our first stop, it was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Since we had vacationed here before, we got off the ship, approached the local tourist information booth at the bottom of the gang plank and asked questions. The artisan' s market nearby was our focus, no lengthy tours. There is a shuttle that transports you, for free, to the market. Just ask the representative for directions. Across the road from the terminal is a Walmart, Sam's and a huge shopping mall. We replenished our room wine supplies and picked up some mosquito repellent and other toiletries. Beautiful Chilean and Argentinian red wine cost $6.00 to $8.00 U.S. a bottle. I booked one city tour in Nicaragua with "Julio Tours Nicaragua." I did so on line. No money up front, to be paid after the tour. For a van, it was $60.00 U.S. per person for a city tour of the colonial city of Leon. Refer to his web site for details as prices will fluctuate over time. -Entertainment was okay. Some shows were better than others. Overall we had a good time because the Oceania staff were exceptional and we met a lot of fun people to tour with. A special thanks to Nancy and Cal from California, John and Denise from Barrie, Ontario, Margaret and Mesfin from Geneva, Joy and Mike from Callander, Ontario and Kevin and Margaret from New Zealand for helping to create beautiful memories. Pros: -nice cabins-plenty of storage space-toiletries-outstanding Maid-Veronika and Cabin Stewart-Wayans who anticipated our every need-example:wine glasses for our room -food is okay-Terrace Buffet offers enough variety that you can find something to eat, lobster and shrimp almost every night was a real treat -Staff serving you in the Terrace Buffet eliminates cross contamination, food waste and food was served hot as well -service is excellent by all waiters on board-a special thank you to the Terrace Cafe staff where we ate most of the time-Dianne, Shane, Mary Jane, Joy, Sue, Alina, Jimmy, Juan, Uptal, Rangit, Yusseff, tall Milos, Ariel, Erik, Louisa, Maritisa just to name a few. -very interesting itinerary for the 35 days, enjoyed the sea days to recuperate after touring -shuttle bus almost at every port to transport you to the terminal, city central or artisan market -being able to bring wine on board for your cabin was a bonus-check out Puerto Vallarta's Walmart for great wine prices (no problem bringing "large" amounts on board) and beautiful, reasonably priced t-shirts-also purchased some reasonably priced, beaded, local crafted jewelry and colourful cotton pants at the Artisan market near the pier -excellent library facilities-no need to bring reading material -extra curricular activities during sea days if you wished to participate-Bingo, Bridge, Trivial Pursuit, Needlepoint, cake decorating, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, Golf Putting, Bean Bag Toss, Canasta, Mah Jongg, Country Line Dancing etc. -live music playing everywhere on the ship at different times -4:00 pm. Horizon Tea Time is very elegantly served with a music ensemble -embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and easy -thoroughly enjoyed the food and service at the Tuscan Steak Specialty Restaurant. -very clean ship in all areas -port side cabin seemed to be the best when docked for viewing and shade on the balcony -issue with A/C at the beginning of our voyage. The repairman was prompt and addressed the problem efficiently -Tourist table was set up inside, near the gangplank so you could secure a map or information before exploring. Bonus! Cons: -a big concern for people who suffer from seasickness-totally unexpected was the extremes of ship motion especially on the ocean segment and I don't get seasick-may have to insist on mid-ship cabin to avoid most of the turbulence -tours were outrageously expensive that were offered by the ship-arranged our own with local guides and with another couple on board for safety-see my descriptions of different tours,especially Manaus. -very few port talks about what to see outside the ship tours to familiarize yourself for independent exploring-ship information was dated at these talks and tourist bureaus at each port were overrun with passengers from other ships and English was limited-suggest you do your own research of each place prior to the cruise so independent touring is easier -beware of a ship doctor visit-could cost as much as the cruise itself-LOL-**take your own cold/cough medication, Cipro antibiotic, seasickness prevention -Destination Desk staff were very aloof and not very helpful especially in regards to ship to shore help at the end of the voyage. $519.00 U.S. for a van to take you to your hotel is unreasonable to ask. No guidance was given regarding reliable taxis at the terminal- fortunately, we found our own gypsy cab outside the cruise terminal, very reasonable, took U.S. money, $80.00 to Copacabana Beach, Golden Tulip Hotel Rio Leme Hotel (see review), good, safe driver, father and son enterprise, great help with our heavy suitcases, "Nascimento Tour" cell: (55+21) 99701-2813 97058-8820 -regular taxis wanted $100.00 U.S. -did not enjoy the Red Ginger Specialty Restaurant. Service was excellent but the spice cilantro, garlic were used heavily in everything you ordered. You have to like those spices. -stores on board were lacking in variety-overkill with jewelry promotions -passengers were mainly very elderly people who did not appear happy for the most part-if you laughed at meals you received disapproving stares from the old folk around you-we are seniors but I felt overwhelmed by the sadness of the older people, on the other hand, no children aboard and we met some like-minded people to party with. -"free" internet was very spotty and you kept losing connection Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We are an active, retired couple who have been Viking customers for over a decade. This was our first cruise with Oceania, chosen because of the excellent itinerary from Buenos Aires to Lima. The cruise was fabulous and we were ... Read More
We are an active, retired couple who have been Viking customers for over a decade. This was our first cruise with Oceania, chosen because of the excellent itinerary from Buenos Aires to Lima. The cruise was fabulous and we were especially impressed by four things: The food was, without exaggeration, the best we have ever had in any restaurant, or on any ship, anywhere. Not only was it superbly cooked, with our special dietary needs taken into account, but the variety of “luxury” items was outstanding --- eg. foie gras, escargot, caviar, frog’s legs, venison, lobster, filet mignon, oysters Rockefeller, etc. The personalized service was truly amazing. Our every request was fulfilled immediately, with a smile --- eg. switching shore excursions or dining reservations; asking for extra bedding or body lotion. The WiFi speed was impressive considering hundreds of people were using the system. We were able to use Google Hangouts from far south of the equator to make free phone calls to family members in Canada. The WiFi was rarely unavailable because of the ship’s location in narrow fjords. The guest lecturer, Dr. Don Kline, was fabulous. His talks were interesting and relevant to the places we visited and his Powerpoint presentations were the best we’ve ever seen. We were disappointed with the evening entertainment. The young, on-board production crew members were enthusiastic but there were only six of them. Their strident, musical theatre style got a bit tiresome after awhile; almost everything was “belted out”, loud and brassy. When performing alone, the house band sometimes had a player or two missing, giving the group a thin sound. They were at their best accompanying guest singers. Professional guest entertainers were brought on board throughout the cruise, so there was lots of variety. However, we evaluated their shows by asking ourselves this question: If these people entertained on a stage near our home and tickets were free, would we attend? With the exception of the tango dancers and flute player, our answer was, “Absolutely not.” That result shouldn’t be surprising to anyone; these people are “B” level entertainers. If they deserved top billing, most would be working in concert halls in America, and not on cruise ships. Another problem with the evening shows is that the ship’s theatre does not have a sloping floor so it’s hard to see what’s happening unless you can get a seat with nobody in front of you. In concluding this review, we would like to comment on three points that other reviewers often make about Sirena, on Cruise Critic: “The room was too small.” There are smaller rooms on the lower decks and larger rooms and suites above. On Oceania’s website, room dimensions are given for all categories of staterooms and there are photos and floor plan drawings. If people don’t do their research before booking or choose not to spend the extra money for a larger room, it hardly seems fair that they should criticize Oceania for not providing them enough space in their stateroom. “The shower stalls are so tiny that the shower curtains touch my skin.” We are fit, normal-sized people who had no trouble bathing in the small shower. People who complain are probably giving away the fact that they are a bit lumpy around the edges. So what’s the solution to their catastrophic shower curtain dilemma? --- Eat more salad. (And remember that you're on a ship, not in a Sheraton hotel.) “Sirena is dated and worn.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The ship has been recently refurbished throughout. Everything looks gorgeous: wall finishings, carpeting, furniture, and decorations. Moreover, crew members are constantly scrubbing and polishing the ship inside and out and doing touch-up painting. We enjoyed this cruise immensely and are already booked on Sirena’s sister ship, Nautica, next year. Oceania is great! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
Oceania treated everyone like royalty. First class service. Our room was in need of a little repair and was quite tight but loved the balcony. We found all the staff was amazing special shout out to Harr6 and Ricardo who kept our rooms ... Read More
Oceania treated everyone like royalty. First class service. Our room was in need of a little repair and was quite tight but loved the balcony. We found all the staff was amazing special shout out to Harr6 and Ricardo who kept our rooms nice and clean ! To Amanda and terry who made Bingo...something we never play fun. To Martine up at the ginger restaunt to the fellas in the Brista Bar to kyla (not sure on the name) our waitress at the pool and a very special shout out to Erica and his crew that we absolutely fell in l9ve with their service was above and beyond. The food and entertainment on the ship was very good but a little disappointed in some of the tours especially in a Chili . Would definitely recommend to all friends. Loved the feel of the small ship . Found spa upsold many items once I was in and not really worth it at all. Would not use spa service again Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Reviews. Only large shallow bottom to do Amazon made this our girst Oceania cruise. our experience was excellent. We were in a penthouse but we found everything superb except s couple of shore excursions . I feel like we were on a ... Read More
Reviews. Only large shallow bottom to do Amazon made this our girst Oceania cruise. our experience was excellent. We were in a penthouse but we found everything superb except s couple of shore excursions . I feel like we were on a different ship than some of the reviewers. We are active 69 and 70 year old. Food was excellent if a bit repetitive after 21 days. I actually hugged our butler and maid on the last day. We have booked a cruise for this October. This is definitely for seniors or retirees. Because of size of ship and our choice to dine with others (some nights we vhose to dine alone) we met fascinating seniors and conversations were intellectually stimulating. Having no children (while i love my grandkids) and with only people who held their liquor, we enjoyed pleasant dining. We also appreciated the efforts made to keep down shared germs with plenty of hand stations etc. never saw one sick person on board in three weeks time. Just lovely! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The Mighty Amazon River has long been on our bucket list, & the newly refurbished Sirena's 34-day sailing from Miami to Buenos Aires sounded like the way to go!! The first week at sea was uneventful & unexciting, as we ... Read More
The Mighty Amazon River has long been on our bucket list, & the newly refurbished Sirena's 34-day sailing from Miami to Buenos Aires sounded like the way to go!! The first week at sea was uneventful & unexciting, as we bypassed devastated Puerto Rico, & visited St Kitts, Antigua, & Barbados! We enjoyed the day we spent exploring the ruins of Devil's Island, the former penal colony off the coast of French Guyana. Unfortunately, we were totally taken by surprise as it was announced that almost all purchases aboard ship for the next 3.5 weeks (as we sailed thru Brazilian waters) would be subject to an extra 25% tax. (We solved this problem quite simply, by halting all unnecessary shipboard spending!!) Almost everything was included in our ticket price: air, gratuities, 7 shore excursions per person, internet package. There were no art auctions & no pushy shipboard photogs to contend with. We were not nickled and dimed over soft drinks, specialty coffee, & bottled water. Since the Sirena drew only 20 feet of water, We were able to travel 900 miles upriver to Manaus in the heart of the triple canopy Amazon rainforest. While the destination speakers for the Amazon region were well chosen, the Oceania home office staff of millennials let us down when it came to providing suitable movies that might have dovetailed with our journey!! As we entered the River Platte, it would have presented a great opportunity to view "The Battle of the River Platte". It would have also been timely to have watched "Evita" again, as we neared Argentina. Instead we were subjected to current, inane films, such as one depicting Breaking Bad actor Cranston hiding out in his garage for several months!!! We manged to dine in Sirena's Specialty restaurants on numerous occasions - especially in their magnificent Red Ginger Asian Fusion spot. Afternoons the main dining room was converted into Jacques - a specialty French Bistro - with mixed results. The Waves grill by the pool closed way too early @4PM. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I love Oceania Cruises but, not sure I like European beef. We sailed from Barcelona, Spain to Miami, Florida. While the cruise was good...the beef on board was way below standard. Being a meat manager...I believe the beef was either ... Read More
I love Oceania Cruises but, not sure I like European beef. We sailed from Barcelona, Spain to Miami, Florida. While the cruise was good...the beef on board was way below standard. Being a meat manager...I believe the beef was either European or US Select grade. This was based on two steak meals in the Tuscan Steakhouse and multiple occasions in the Main Dining Room and the Terrace Café. Service was great...entertainment left something to enjoy. The six Oceania singers/dancers were OK...still tailor there shows to 70s/80s folks (I am early 70s). This could be Improved...the accompanying band was great. With this said, Oceania is a good/great cruise line...but, as with other cruise lines they do over charge for beer/wine/mixed drinks. For example, if you don't buy one of there two beverages packages...there cheapest beer is $6.50 and they add an 18% gratuity on top of it. Same as they do for wine and mixed drinks...it gets expensive knowing what they have to pay for alcohol. Finally, tours and transit fees to/from the boat are way over-priced...try some web site like Viator. With all this said...I will return to Oceania. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, even though we have been to some of these ports before, there were many new ports of call. The food and service in the Red Ginger and the Tuscan Steakhouse specialty restaurants has been beyond ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, even though we have been to some of these ports before, there were many new ports of call. The food and service in the Red Ginger and the Tuscan Steakhouse specialty restaurants has been beyond expectations. The food and service in the Grand Dinning Room has been good to excellent. The food and service in the Terrace Cafe has been good to average. Many of the excursions have been bad, good and great. It's hard to rate excursions because not all tastes are the same. If you haven't cruised much, some ports of call may seem boring and a waste of time and money but I think it's safe to say don't bother visiting the village of Sagunto in the port of Valencia. The Emerald Grotto excursion in the Amalfi/Positano port is a total ripoff, don't waste your money ! In the port of Split, Croatia, skip Ancient Salona and spend all your time inside the walls off Diocletian Palace.In Ravenna, Italy, skip Comacchio Lagoon fishing village. We arrived in Barcelona two days before embarkation , stayed at the Hotel Colon, which is across from The Cathedral of Barcelona . Great location. Try and get a room with a terrace overlooking the plaza of the cathedral. We visited the Gaudi House and got tickets online before leaving California thru an app called Tiquets, avoid the lines, use the app. This is our fifth cruise on Oceania and this embarkation went very smooth. Our cabin number was 6079. Very good location . Grand Dining Room, Casino, Boutiques, and Showroom were one floor below us. Laundry room one floor above and elevator close but not heard. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Sorry, Oceania, but Princess has a better product. The food was not enjoyable and rather repetitive. The pizza was to die for--literally--that bad! Here in Rome we had real pizza; the stuff at the Terrace Cafe was tomatoe sauce on ... Read More
Sorry, Oceania, but Princess has a better product. The food was not enjoyable and rather repetitive. The pizza was to die for--literally--that bad! Here in Rome we had real pizza; the stuff at the Terrace Cafe was tomatoe sauce on cardboard.The 24-hour International Cafe on Princess is marvelous. Sirena only offered a coffee machine and room service after normal restaurant hours. But what if you just wanted a small snack and didn't want to wake your cabin up. Food aside, there was one movie shown during the sea days. But why not more? Sea day activities were so-so. Kudos, however, goes to a magnificent and highly attentive staff. Everyone went over and above. The cabin on the 6th floor, midships, was small and again Princess (although this is an old Princess ship) does it better. The landside, post-cruise experience was really great. The Marriott Grand Flora in the Via Veneto region was beyond belief! The ground transport from ship to hotel and then from hotel to airport also went very smoothly. Overall, the ports were the better part of the journey. And, as always, were the great people we met along the waty. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Positive: - Food: if you’re a foodie, this is the cruise line for you. The ‘cafeteria’ type food served in the Terrace was average at best, and breakfasts are nothing special. Dinners, however, are first rate. Especially in ... Read More
Positive: - Food: if you’re a foodie, this is the cruise line for you. The ‘cafeteria’ type food served in the Terrace was average at best, and breakfasts are nothing special. Dinners, however, are first rate. Especially in their 2 specialty restaurants (no added charge): Tuscan & Red Ginger. Delicious. - Beds: super comfortable. Good pillows too. - Service: as one would expect at this price. - Smaller Passenger Size: Sirena holds ~650 passengers: nice size. Negative: - Room size: Small! Granted, the Sirena was built in 1999 so it lacks the updated features newer ships have, such as larger rooms in the ‘average’ category. We upgraded to Concierge class, but it didn’t give us more space or anything notably special. We found the upcharge to a larger room size was significantly more than on other cruise lines we’ve enjoyed. - Bathroom Size: Again it’s an older ship but we still paid the luxury cruise line price and would have expected a better refurbishing in the bathroom. Of particular disappointment was the shower curtain that clings to one’s body in this small space. No place to sit or put your leg up to shave, ladies. Nor do they provide a magnifying mirror: have they not checked the average age of their clientele?? Big disappointment. - Drinks Prices: Oceania has limited, viable drinks packages (alcoholic beverages including beer & wine are NOT included.) Our first night celebrating in the lounge we ordered doubles, as suggested by our server. The drinks were of average size, from our experience. I can’t imagine what a single would have been. My husband’s Manhattan and my martini – singles from our view point – cost over $50.00!! When we said as much to our server he suggested we go to another lounge where we’d get the same size drinks for half the price: we did and we did! Wow. I complained to the reception staff and we were credited half of our money back on the super-pricey drinks. We learned that you had to know which bars serve which size drinks at what price and time: complicated. Better yet, we learned to buy and bring our own, using take-out coffee cups! - Cold Rooms: the large room where performances and entertainment occurs (Sirena Lounge) is COLD! We wear sweaters and take blankets. I think it's cold for the performers' benefit, but not great for the audience. Summary: We are highly unlikely to cruise with Oceania again. Our favorite line to date for ocean cruising is Viking. We did their 22-day Mediterranean cruise in 2015 and absolutely loved it. Further, we like the all-inclusive deal that Viking offers (excursions included; these are extra on Oceania) and their average cabins are lovely. Viking ocean ships hold less than 1000 passengers so it too is a nice size. For larger ships (thus lower pricing) we like Celebrity & Princess. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Days at sea were restful and wonderful. Food was bland and had little flavor. I found food on Riviera to be delicious last June. For example, the steak at Tuscan steakhouse was flavorful, like it was dry aged and came with gorngonzola ... Read More
Days at sea were restful and wonderful. Food was bland and had little flavor. I found food on Riviera to be delicious last June. For example, the steak at Tuscan steakhouse was flavorful, like it was dry aged and came with gorngonzola butter. Steak on Sirena had very little flavor and no butter was offered. Food offered on buffet at dinner largely mimicked dining room food. If I don't like what's in the dinning room I want to go to buffet for additional options. Room was a PH2 and was comfortable, 8006 on the port side. Butler was amazing but Joel the housekeeper we didn't see much of him. One night at 7:00 as we dressed for dinner, he knocked and mentioned there was a drawer needing fixing. It was news to me and I was surprised by his appearance and dismayed he pushed his way in with the handyman and proceeded to tell me the cabinet door was driving him crazy when cleaning in the room. Due to his impolite and inconvenient repair call, we had to stop preparing for dinner and thus it delayed us 30 minutes. Joel was terse and demanding when he said the door drove him crazy and needed to be fixed. He was reported to the head housekeeper and apologies made but what the heck! I never experienced behavior on Riviera. Joel then hung out around staterooms the night before we disembarked and the morning of, like he was scoping the situation out and making his presence known. This is appalling behavior. Further more, I was a few days into the cruise and asked for different scented lotions as they were advertised as being available. I left a note two nights in a row and never received any product or explanation. The morning of the third day the butler said they were working on it. Not another word was mentioned. I then said something in the mid cruise survey and Joel knocked on the door and mentioned my request and that I had said something about it in the survey. He then said to me That he had told me on the first day that if I needed anything yo call him, and I didn't notify him. He was stern with me in his tone. I said I had waited two nights upon leaving a note and the butler said it was being worked, so when I still hadn't received anything or any further word I decided to say something. And that I presumed the butler had shared the latest updates and requests with the entire team. It is ridiculous that paying what I paid to stay in this level of stateroom that I had to ask numerous times and be talked to the way I was. I never mentioned that six days went by and no qtips were replaced in the bathroom. Not sure why the services were lacking as it appreared the staff were just in a hurry to d their job and go about their way. It's one thing to forget a day or two to replace items like this but that clearly wasn't the case here. The staff were super reactive to the mid cruise complaints made so I commend them on this, at least my comments were taken seriously. However, the staff feel all over themselves to come see us in the restaurants and everyone referred to us by name when they had not talked to us previously. I wish input was looked at as constructive criticism and the staff didn't make my husband and I feel odd and made me wish I had never filled out the survey. Others I talked to who had done the mid cruise survey previously said they suffered the same treatment and would never complete one again. I now feel the same way. I don't understand why certain exercise classes incur an $11 per class fee. Things like circuit trains and stretching and relaxing are free but yoga, Pilates, and spin are not. How about offering certain classes of staterooms free classes or x number for free and then a charge is accessed. He stretching class was a lot like a yoga class thankfully but for those who paid for yoga I felt bad fro them. The spa is run by canyon ranch. The massage I had was $99 during the last four days of the cruise but was $135 normally. A great deal unless you paid full price earlier in the voyage. A point I would be upset about had I paid full price. Massage was good but not sure I would do it again. Entertainment was not that great. Magician was good but get seats in front and not on the side as his props block your view of seeing his tricks. Comedians were okay, string quartet was wonderful, and production show performers were not good. It was as if they were trying to do something professional and it just wasn't at that level. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise because of the destination and our prior cruises with Oceana. While our cabin was good, our cabin attendant was usually no where to be found. The food was a disappointment, especially the 2 upscale restaurants. At ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destination and our prior cruises with Oceana. While our cabin was good, our cabin attendant was usually no where to be found. The food was a disappointment, especially the 2 upscale restaurants. At the Tuscan Steak our steaks had to be sent back and at The Red Ginger fod was returned and service was lacking. It was a chore to get our wine bottles we had previously purchased. The entertainment was just so-so with mostly dancing and singing. The entertainers were talented but more thought should have been put into the staging. There was a comic we walked out on who was not even a little funny. Shore excursions were poor with only a couple worth the time. Way too much riding in a bus and little fun things to do. On one we rode 30+ minutes to a cheese maker who said we were cancelled and had nothing for us except we could walk around the store and purchase products. This cruise taught us not to us Oceana's shore excursions. WiFi was included in our package but was useless. If we had been paying more for it we would have wanted a refund. I don't understand why the ship can't update the wifi service. There were several large groups on the ship and it seemed the service was geared to them and not the other passengers. There were times areas would be closed for their use. This was our 10th cruise with Oceana and we are not sure if they are changing their service or if this was a one time event on this ship. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Disclaimer: This is a detailed and comprehensive review. My husband and I recently sailed on Oceania's cruise of Australia/New Zealand (9-14 April 2017) on the ship, Sirena. This was our first ocean cruise ever and to say we ... Read More
Disclaimer: This is a detailed and comprehensive review. My husband and I recently sailed on Oceania's cruise of Australia/New Zealand (9-14 April 2017) on the ship, Sirena. This was our first ocean cruise ever and to say we were impressed is an understatement. The Sirena was amazing. It apparently had been refurbished within the last year and it was very beautiful and well-equipped with several dining areas, lounges and other amenities like a pool and hot tub on an open deck, a gym with floor to ceiling views of the ocean, a library, computer room and a spa with a full range of services. I must start by commending our Oceania POCs for their help. Christopher and then Sebastian, who worked with us throughout the pre-planning stage to book our cruise, select our room and excursions, and answer my many, many questions. They were very professional, patient and helpful throughout the process and everything went smoothly thanks to their efforts. One of the things which especially impressed us was how Oceania took care of us when our flight from LA to Sydney was delayed 18 hours. We had purchased their pre-cruise package for two nights hotel in the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney which included airport pickup upon our arrival in Sydney. When our flight was rescheduled in LA, we figured we would have to find our own way to the Shangri-La Hotel upon arrival. But, when we cleared customs, there was a limo driver, holding a sign with our names on it, waiting to take us to the hotel. We had a B1 stateroom with a veranda and we loved it. It was spacious and comfortable with a queen size mattress, couch, desk, small refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and water, lots of closet space and drawers, and a small, but surprisingly easy to maneuver in, bathroom with plenty of hot water for showers. The bed mattress and pillows were to die for. My husband and I both have back issues and the mattress seemed to make them disappear. The veranda was roomy and private with two chairs and a small table, a perfect place to sit and read, have a drink and watch the ocean. (Thanks to our Oceania consultant, we picked a room with no view obstructions, like life boats.) A big, soft robe was provided for each guest (so don't pack one) and soft slippers. Also, each room has 110 volt outlets for charging cameras, laptops, tablets, etc., so converters aren't needed. The food was amazing. There are a number of dining options – the Waves Grill for burgers, hot dogs, fries and a small salad bar, two specialty restaurants – the Tuscan Steakhouse and the Red Ginger, the Grand Dining Room, and the Terrace Cafe. While some people, dressed up, dining attire throughout the ship is business casual. However, we saw people in jeans and sometimes shorts in the dining areas and it seemed to be accepted without any issue. We tried all of the venues but found ourselves eating mostly at the Terrace Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It had great buffets with a lot of choices for all types of dining preferences. There were stations for having omelets made, grilled meats and seafood, pizza, and rich, creamy ice cream. The breakfast sticky buns were so good and hard to resist and about 2/3 of the way through the cruise I discovered at dinner they would grill a flank steak or chicken for you, as well as, lobster tail. After that, I had lobster tail every night. Each night there was a special theme – like Italian or Indian – but there were enough other choices if you preferred something other than the special theme. We did try the two specialty restaurants. The Tuscan Steakhouse was hit and miss. Some of the food was quite good but some things we did not care for. The Red Ginger, which served Asian cuisine, was fantastic. Loved everything we ate there. We also made use of the free room service a number of times. The food was good and the service prompt. My husband is an early riser and likes to have coffee and orange juice when he first gets up so he had Room Service bring him that every morning. Then, later we would head up to breakfast. At 4 pm, there was a semi-formal tea served each day with little sandwiches, desserts and tea with a classical quartet playing music. Very delicious and relaxing. Alcoholic beverages are one of the few things not included in your cruise package. You can pay by the drink or purchase a package that covers all your drinks for the duration of the cruise. The package was pricey – over $800 per person – so it might be better to pay by the drink depending on how much you would drink over a two week period. We did not make much use of the various lounges and the bar area preferring our room and veranda but there seem to be a lot of people who did. There was shipboard entertainment but nothing that enticed us although others found it enjoyable. I did attend two afternoon lectures on days at sea which were quite interesting. The library was well stocked with books and you could choose any book and take it your room. When we booked the cruise, our package included free wireless, pre-paid gratuities, and five free shore excursions each. The choice of free excursions is limited to basic excursions. But, there are higher level excursion categories, such as, Oceania Choice, Oceania Exclusive, Artist Loft, Culinary Discovery, and Food and Wine Trails – all for a higher price. We signed up for Scenic Villages of the Sapphire Coast, Countryside Victoria, Devils and Roos, Fox II Nature Sail, and Nelson Sightseeing. I added one Oceania Choice excursion, Nature's Wonders Wildlife Safari, as well. We were very disappointed with the Countryside Victoria and Nelson Sightseeing excursions – not worth the time. Devils and Roos was to a wildlife park which was basically a family run zoo but the tasmanian devils and the kangaroos, which you could get close to and pet, were worth the excursion. The Fox II Nature Sail was nice, except for the annoying music played by the boat captain, but we were able to see the world's smallest dolphins, Hector's, and little blue penguins which made the trip worthwhile. And the Nature's Wonders trip was fantastic – the beautiful New Zealand coast line, the little blue penguins, baby seals and ATV ride were well worth the price. We think it would have been nice to have some excursions geared to specialty groups (other than food and wine) such as golfing or birding. We ended up booking our own golfing and birding excursions ahead of time which worked out well but you have to be careful to make sure you make it back on board the ship before it departs. Boat departure time and the last shuttle bus or tender back to the ship is always posted as you leave the ship. If you miss the ship, you have to find your own way to the next port of call. The crew and staff on the boat were ALWAYS friendly, courteous and helpful. Even when you met a staff member in the hall, there was always a “hello” or “have a nice day”. Staff in the Terrace Cafe, which was a buffet, would quickly come to your aid when you were holding a plate or two and trying to navigate back to a table, especially in heavy seas. Room cleaning was done each morning and in the evening there was a turn down service with chocolates on the bed. Every evening we received an information sheet describing the next port of call, or if at sea, a schedule of onboard events, such as lectures and entertainment. Oceania should be commended for how efficiently they got people on and off the ship for embarkation, debarkation and for all the shore excursions. Everything was so efficiently organized with well placed signage and staff nearby to guide guests through the process. We were never confused or uncertain where to go, what shuttle to get on, where to wait, etc. Additionally, we never had to stand in long queues for our excursions. We just sat in the lounge area until our bus number was called and off we went. Getting on and off tender boats was easy with plenty of staff to help those who needed it. Couple of things we didn't like: 1) TV reception was good but limited. Basically, we had several American news channels – MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and I think, BBC – that were usually broadcasts from the previous day. There was one channel that seemed to show older episodes of American shows and three movie channels. There was a schedule in the room for the movies shown for the entire trip but it wasn't always accurate and there were few movies we recognized. Many seem to be lesser known and independent films. Still, we did find something to watch in the evenings and a few that were extremely good movies. 2) Wireless was available in the room and throughout the ship. However, it was often difficult to get and stay connected. And, for each room, there was only one wireless account so only one person in a two person room could be connected at the same time. This was sometimes annoying but we were able to work things out by taking turns. 3) We wish we had longer time at some of the ports of call but we realize that would make the cruise longer by a few days. That would have been okay with us! Except for the few things mentioned above, we LOVED this cruise, the Sirena, its staff and crew, the ports of call, the food and service, and the whole cruising experience. Oceania advertises that it provides luxury cruising and we certainly felt that it delivered. We can't wait to try another Oceania cruise in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Small ship had advantages and disadvantages: in rough seas the motion is much more of a problem and we had some very rough seas. Another advantage is that smaller ship can dock much closer to towns than larger ones: unfortunately, this was ... Read More
Small ship had advantages and disadvantages: in rough seas the motion is much more of a problem and we had some very rough seas. Another advantage is that smaller ship can dock much closer to towns than larger ones: unfortunately, this was not the case and we were shunted to ports much further than I expected. Cabins are incredibly small and they look large compared to the bathrooms. Again, the advantages of the small ship failed to make up for the small cabins: much larger on Marina size ship. Food was great but after a while menus became repetitive. Staff was terrific and everyone could not have been nicer. Tuscan Grill was our favorite but that is a personal choice. Most ports were great but could have done with overnight in Hobart and Melbourne even though that would have required us to miss either Eden or Broome. Shore excursions in New Guinea were confused to say the least: buses not on time and tour rushed due to same but great visit with villagers. Wine available on ship was overpriced and ended up buying wine in town and paying $25.00 corkage. Would travel with Oceania again but only on two larger ships. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We initially were made aware of this cruise by Go Next which was actively promoting this cruise last year, however we ended up booking it through our own travel agent for a slightly better deal. As others have mentioned, French ... Read More
We initially were made aware of this cruise by Go Next which was actively promoting this cruise last year, however we ended up booking it through our own travel agent for a slightly better deal. As others have mentioned, French Polynesia is beautiful, remote, and quiet. It was extremely hot and humid when we visited, but we enjoyed it immensely. Oceania did promote this accurately as not for children, and in fact only 1 lonesome child was on the ship, which was nice for those of us who need a break from grandchildren. We had never cruised Oceania before, so my remarks will compare it and the smaller ship adventure to our previous cruises with larger ships and other cruise lines. Our package included the cruise, flights, WiFi, gratuities, and 4 excursions, which made it so much easier when it came to the final bill. Soft drinks and bottled water were included, the bar fridge was stocked with soft drinks, and bottled water was included as we disembarked each day. drinks were very expensive at over $11 for a mixed drink, and $7 for beer, so if you are a big drinker, you might look into the drinks package. The gift shops had only high end items, one of the two shops was dedicated to a brand of high end jewelry and the other had minimal, but high end clothing. Embarking the ship was easy and smooth. Tendering was easy with only 600+ passengers, also no photographers, no art auctions. On the negative side, the buffet was small and limited, but very good. Entertainment was limited with a large lounge instead of a theatre without tiered seating. The ship also seemed to ride a bit rougher with its small size, even though the seas were calm, more of a bounce in the fore and aft where the dining room and entertainment were located. It was a real bonus that the specialty restaurants were no extra charge. The Tuscan Grill was so so, but we loved Red Ginger with excellent food and service and a great maitre d'. As on many cruise ships lately the food, service and staff were excellent. The cabins were slightly smaller than we have had, with the bathroom noticeably smaller, but they were well appointed with a super comfortable beds and bedding. Our Oceania experience was great, but not better than we have had on other cruise lines. The small ship experience was good for this itinerary, but we probably prefer ships with 1000-1800 passengers. This itinerary was wonderful and relaxing, just what we were looking for; however we could have missed the 3 days that it took to get up to Nuka Hiva, as on a small ship there isn't a lot to do on sea days. We would recommend this cruise for the quiet adventure, and the ship to those who prefer to do without all the hype and hassle of the huge ships. Passengers on this cruise were mainly American and well travelled. We enjoyed sharing a table at meals and hearing new travel stories. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Oceania Sirena Baja California – Mexico Cruise December 11-21 2016 Why this cruise? We are experienced cruisers with 34 ocean and 3 river cruises over the past 17 years, enjoying ... Read More
Oceania Sirena Baja California – Mexico Cruise December 11-21 2016 Why this cruise? We are experienced cruisers with 34 ocean and 3 river cruises over the past 17 years, enjoying Crystal, Oceania, Celebrity, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Commodore, Azamara, Princess and Holland America ships, as well as Viking, Avalon and Ama Waterways river boats. We have always enjoyed the “small ship” cruises we have done on Azamara Quest as well as Oceania’s Insignia and Nautilus. We do not particularly enjoy the pre-Christmas commercial rush and noise, so this seemed like a good opportunity for a relaxing time. Getting there and Embarkation. We considered driving from our home in Phoenix to a Long Beach CA hotel and leaving our car there until our return. We did this on our first cruise with Carnival in 1999, but finally decided that since we could avoid the crowds and confusion of LAX by flying directly into the Long Beach Airport on Sunday morning, we would do that. This airport is quite small and easy to navigate, and had only one other flight on the ground; so this proved to be a good way to go. The timing was virtually perfect and we went through the embarkation process at the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal in a few minutes. While waiting for the elevator upon boarding, we were pleased to hear that our deck’s staterooms were ready and available so we dropped our carry on belongings off, went to the buffet for lunch and then proceeded to the beautiful library on deck 10 to pick up some reading material. Since Sirena has only been sailing since the spring, the book selection was very up to date. Our Stateroom. The eight identical Renaissance ships; named without much imagination as Renaissance I through Renaissance VIII; were built between 1998 and 2001. So they all suffer from the somewhat dated design ideas of 20 years ago. This means that the “standard” verandah cabin is rather small, 204 square feet including 34 square feet of verandah. The Penthouse suite has 332 square feet which includes 66 square feet of verandah. We had chosen this suite for our initial cruise from Manaus out the Amazon to Barbados on Insignia, and been upgraded by Oceania to this class on a Mediterranean cruise. Our third Oceania trip was in a standard Verandah class, but since this seemed cramped we opted for the larger suite on Azamara Quest, (an identical Renaissance ship), in 2015, and chose it again for this trip. Our stateroom was 8010. 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. The desk held a good sized laptop with internet service, which due to our suite status and prior sailing record, was free. I normally used the available computers in the Oceania @Sea computer room on Deck 9, since I like a mouse. 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. The additional room provided in a suite meant that the stateroom was easy to navigate and well designed for relaxation. We liked Oceania’s layout better than the jazzy new design for these suites that we experienced on Azamara Quest on our cruise to Norway in July 2015. We had the prototype of this suite, and this meant that it was visited by the company CEO to show to a group of travel agents on our full day in port in Edinburgh prior to sailing. But the Azamara version has an open space between the closet and the desk, which is located all the way over to the verandah wall. This means that there is no sofa. In addition, the Azamara cabin chairs were less comfortable. In short, we think Oceania’s Penthouse suite on the ships is a good idea for a more comfortable journey with some nice amenities. However, if one really wants a great ship’s cabin experience the penthouse suites on Oceania’s Marina and Riviera, with more than 400 square feet, are a most delightful way to sail away. The ship itself. Sirena was launched as Renaissance IV in 1999, purchased by Princess Cruises and sailed as Ocean Princess for that line until bought by Oceania in 2015. Its “maiden sailing” for this line was in April 2017. The refurbishing done in connection with this acquisition shows up in many ways. Virtually all the furniture is new, as are some of the bathrooms, such as ours. The carpeting is new and the art work along the corridors and stairwells also, reflecting a very nice taste in non-objective art (if you like this art, as we do). Apparently the poolside decking was replaced also, as it looked very new and attractive. There were one or two blemishes or “dings” in two of the elevator doors, but we don’t know if these occurred before or after refurbishment. The essential layout of the ship remained the same, of course with its handy concept of “eat aft” and “enjoy forward”. The one exception to this rule was that the daily tea was served in the delightful Horizon Room, forward on Deck 10. This site offers excellent views, forward, port and starboard from comfortable seats, with a small dance floor in the center. It is used for some daytime activities and ship sponsored gatherings, as well as late night music and dancing. The center section of Deck 10 is open to the pool below, with a walking deck leading aft. This is where you find the two specialty restaurants, Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger, as well as the most attractive small library at sea. Deck 9 has the buffet aft, the pool area and the Spa and Gym forward. Decks 8, 7 and 6 are all cabins, with the bridge, forward of course, on Deck 8. Deck 5 has the show lounge forward, the casino, shops, the main bar, “Martinis” an “Upper Hall” seating area and the main dining room aft. Deck 4 has cabins and the Reception Desk, Destination Services and the Concierge, as well as the Medical Center. There are a few cabins on Deck 3 as well as the tender exits. Generally speaking the ship was well taken care of, with crew members frequently in evidence maintaining furnishings and ensuring cleanliness. All in all, Sirena is a compact, nicely designed, easily navigated and attractive vessel. Dining and such. Oceania has a well deserved reputation for providing a quality dining experience. Our personal favorite remains Crystal, and to be fair, we have not sailed on Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn or Silverseas ships. But Oceania comes in as our second favorite dining cruise line. It should be noted that Marina and Riviera, with four rather than two specialty restaurants, are a cut above the other four Oceania Renaissance class dining venues. Oceania does not have any added charges for its specialty restaurants and I believe that this is true for the other three high end cruise lines referenced above. All of the other major cruise lines have a range of extra charges for food venues beyond the main dining rooms and buffets. Sirena offers 5 dining options in four locations. This arises from the creation of “Jacques’ Bistro” as a separate lunch option in the main dining room. We tried it once and it was quite nice with an orientation to French food as might be expected in a restaurant named after Oceania’s cuisine supervisor, Jacques Pepin. The buffet offered a pleasant dinner option having the tables set up with linen table cloths and nice tableware. I have mentioned the specialty restaurants on Deck 10; Tuscan Steak and Red Ginger. The menu for the latter is Asian fusion, while the former, as one might expect from the name, features beef and Italian dishes. Without going into detail about our meals, it is enough to say that we were very satisfied. If Crystal scores 97 out of 100, and Marina 95, Sirena would reach 93. The range of ships in the Celebrity line would make it a little more difficult to reach an exact rating, but we think the probable score would be around 90. Azamara would come in about the same level, although, like Celebrity, it has additional charges for its specialty restaurants. We especially loved Red Ginger, dining there three times. We did not visit Tuscan Steak since we are not into that style of food. We did hear that the service there was not that great, that they tried to sell ordinary lobster tails as “Maine Lobster” but that the small filet mignon was great according to one diner. The main dining room has one level, and is a trifle noisy. The staff worked hard and was very pleasant, with no glitches in delivery. Open seating is the rule everywhere, and we used both the option to dine by ourselves or with others with no problem. Since the dining rooms open at 6:30 each night, there were lines at that time, but the maître d’ handled the rush very well. The menu selection was good with very little duplication of choices over 10 days. As noted, we ate at Red Ginger three nights. We loved this venue on our two Marina cruises, and were not disappointed here. The hostess; Alina, I believe, was charming and efficient, and the overall service level very high. The décor is very attractive and the venue quieter than the main dining room, with just enough bustle and activity to make it a charming experience. We ate one luncheon at Jacques’ Bistro, where the menu is fashioned after a Paris bistro, and thought that this was a great idea with a small but excellent menu and equally fine service. It was not too crowded, but probably draws enough patronage to justify its continued place in the dining firmament. We ate every breakfast and most lunches at the buffet. The “small ship” limitations was evident here in that the size of the service area was limited and that limits the extent of the menu. Despite this, the food was generally extremely good, and the selection broad enough for most tastes. The selection of fruit for breakfast was as large and good as on any ship. The service here was occasionally spotty. Edith liked to order cappuccino for her breakfast coffee, and sometimes delivery was slow. It should be noted that the tableware in all venues was first class. The dining room featured Rosenthal Versace dishes, and all other venues used well designed ware from Schoenwald. This is “hotel” china, and not porcelain of course, but I used to sell fine china in a school job long ago at a classy Georgetown D.C. store, and have kept my love of good tableware ever since. The glass ware and utensils were of equal quality. One other change from our prior Oceania experiences was the switching of the small bar next to the main dining room to a Barista serving cappuccinos, lattes etc. all day long without charge. Since this location is on Deck 5, fairly close to the main bar, Martinis, it made sense to skip the duplication and provide a new and pleasant choice. Entertainment. There were four forms of entertainment aboard. A pleasant lady offered some good lectures on sea days, all connected with Mexico and our ports. Martinis has a pianist “in residence” providing appropriate cocktail lounge music. There was a string quartet from Eastern Europe playing largely classical music in the evening in the Upper Hall near the boutiques on Deck 5, and every day at 4:00 in the Horizon Lounge for afternoon tea. They were enjoyable. Then there were the main shows every evening in the Sirena Lounge on Deck 5. The problem affecting these shows is that the lounge has two levels of flat floor, so most of the seats are directly behind other seats, limiting the view somewhat. This did not make a lot of difference for the solo singer, nor I would guess, the comedian whose shows we skipped. But it did limit views of the “production shows” and I would think, the magician, who we also chose not to see. The other issue we had was the schedule. There was only on show each night, and that was at 9:30. This was simply very late for us, and we were often tired, especially after shore visits. We thought that the production shows, with three singers and three dancers were entertaining in a simplistic way; about par for the cruise ship course. The solo singer, Dale Kristien, had been the lead female singer in the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera as well as the original Los Angeles production; and performed it over 1700 times. She was very good, and had a nice selection of songs. We don’t enjoy comedians, and as noted, were simply too tired at 9:30 for the magician, despite that fact that I enjoy these acts. Overall we found the entertainment about what you expect on a small ship. Only Crystal seems to have its act entirely together as far as entertainment and enrichment go, even though their ships are not exactly huge, Crystal Symphony carrying slightly less and Crystal Serenity slightly more than 1000 passengers. The crew. By and large their performance was exemplary. Our cabin attendant, Carolina and her assistant had our cabin made up every morning by the time we returned from breakfast. Our butler, Dorian, was efficient and helpful, although we did not use him very much and could have done without the $14.00 daily gratuity. We really did not need the 5:00 P.M. daily serving of peanuts, and could have managed the reservation at Red Ginger ourselves. All the rest of the staff was usually smiling and friendly. We were told by the Captain that while there were 14 different nations represented by the 599 person passenger complement, the 400 crew members came from 46 different countries. There were a few minor language difficulties, but all needed communications were accomplished. The Itinerary. This was not the most adventuresome trip we have done, but had enough places of interest to be enjoyable. Our initial sailing was “26 Miles Across the Bay” to Santa Catalina Island, where we had never been before. We took a local bus ride with a somewhat strange driver, but still enjoyed this unique place and the cozy little town of Avalon with its plethora of four passenger golf carts. Cabo San Lucas was a partial tour failure. This was not a ships tour, and we did reach Todos Santos up the Pacific Coast for an abbreviated excursion. We received partial reimbursement. La Paz on the Sea of Cortez side was about 11 miles from where we docked, but again a free shuttle was provided. We spent an hour or so there, and the waterfront with its Malecon is attractive. Our private tour into the hills outside Matzalan was very worthwhile. This city has grown a lot, and the north waterfront area has a wide range of newer hotels, condos and apartments. The interior was more typical of rural Mexico, and we enjoyed walking in on a three baby baptismal ceremony in a local church. Since many of the relatives were using their cell phone cameras, we felt comfortable in using ours. Another church in our final destination, Copala, was built in 1565, and still dramatic. There was another tour mix-up in Puerto Vallarta. But we did arrange a short tour downtown, with a full refund of our pre-paid charge. Since it was a Sunday, many stores were closed, but once again, the stunning growth of this area in the 16 years since our first visit was remarkable. Summary. This was largely an enjoyable trip. One very pleasing facet of the small ship experience is the higher degree of contact with your fellow passengers. If you are cruising on a 5000 passenger Royal Caribbean monster, and have dinner with a nice couple, the odds that you will ever run into them again are miniscule. On a 600 passenger ship you will probably see them at the buffet, a show, or tea or in a boutique some other day. This makes for a friendly and cheerful atmosphere. We also noted that almost all our fellow passengers were very experienced cruisers. While most were from the United States, there was a contingent, as always, from Canada, and some from Australia, as well as Europe. We were mostly senior citizens, and while Oceania does not have a children’s program, there were two young – about 10-12 years old – persons aboard, and they seemed to be doing fine. We would recommend Sirena for any cruise up to 21 days. Beyond that its size limitations might make the sailing grow a little tiring and boring. But it is a first class ship and rates very highly among our cruising favorites. Read Less
Sirena Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.8
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.5

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