October 2015 - Riviera to Europe - Mediterranean
Previously sailed on the Oceania Regatta. Exceptional. That was why we booked Oceania again. Bad decision. DO NOT BOOK ON THIS SHIP.
Be aware if you book a cabin with a balcony, you cannot separate the beds.
First day out, I was told by the assistant cruise director 'unfortunately we don't have time for the port lectures'...and that presentations were continuous on the ship's TV. Those turned out to be very poor power point presentations that could have been read by a 9 year old. The port presentations on the Regatta were informative and there was an expert to field questions about the area, not just sell excursions.
We had our best meals OFF the ship. Minestrone in a local pub was better than on board.
Mediocre food and slow dining room service. Often took 20+ minutes to get waited on, and another 30 minutes before food arrive (with only 2 exceptions). This from a cruise line that touts 'the best food on the seas'. Don't believe it. They emphasize their four specialty dining rooms included with the price of the cruise, IF you can get reservations. When I went to the desk to make a reservation, the girl hardly acknowledge me and continued entering information from a pile of documents. Finally got booked for 9pm Tuesday in the Polo Room (all that was available). Seated on time, but it was after 10 before we saw our food. Steak arrive charred. At breakfast in the main dining room, same experience. Only 20-30 people present, but an hour to get eggs Benedict without any Canadian bacon and hard boiled 'poached' eggs. At breakfast on day 4, the waiter asked 'is that on the menu'?? At one meal, it took four people to get a glass of soda. The appetizers in the infamous 'Red Ginger' were little more than bar food, but presented in pretty paper.
Kudos do go to our room steward. He was great. Always friendly and smiling. Also, the main reception desk personnel were friendly and helpful.
Then things got bad/worse when our return flights booked by Oceania were cancelled due to the Lufthansa strike. I understand that the strike was not Oceania's making but for a supposedly first class cruise line, the were not very accommodating. Got the call at 3am to come to reception at 8 for further information. At 8, we [along with 40-50 others] were told any further expenses were on us: 'That's what you bought the insurance for..." They had one person attempting to book hotels because no flights were available until the following day. While waiting our turn, they announce everyone must exit the ship and claim luggage by 9am. Luckily we got a hotel booked by the concierge, only to arrive and find the booking was for 2016. Two other groups arrive after us to find the same situation. A simple, but devastating mistake when traveling with an 80 year old with limited mobility. These are but a few of things that I can thank Oceania for.
On the flip side, the weather was great in every port but one. Beautiful locations and friendly people. Ignore the ship and enjoy the ports and you could have a good time, but you paid way too much to get there.