July 2014 - Regatta to Alaska
We chose Oceania because it was supposed to be more upscale and luxurious. They boast about their 2014 renovations but I found the ship to be tired and outdated. We upgraded to a penthouse suite expecting new and beautiful accommodations but instead we found a tired room with very old closets and dresser which were scratched, worn and dented. The bathroom did not appear to be renovated either; it looked as if it were straight out of the 1990's. We were on an Alaskan cruise with cold, rainy weather which Oceania does not have control over, but they do have control over the heating system in the room. Our heater was not properly working and had to have maintenance repair. Even after the repair the room still wasn't toasty warm. The shower was lack luster as well. In seven days the only warm shower I was able to get was in the spa after my massage. Apparently, something within the faucet wasn't working because the water should be supplied directly from the boiler. Other parts of the ship looked old, worn and not very well maintained (peeling paint, rust and more scratched wood). If Oceania is going to use their renovation as a selling point, then implement a full and total renovation. Otherwise, advertise their efforts as a partial renovation. We spoke to several people who have sailed on the Regatta prior to Oceania owning the vessel and they stated the only changes they saw was most of the furniture. There is a lot more than furniture on a ship.
If you are a bit younger (65 or below, we are mid and late 40’s) you will probably be very bored on this ship. The activities while at sea and in the evenings were few and geared towards an older population. I cannot make this stuff up... bingo and needlepoint were some of the activities on board. Now, we are not wild night clubbers but when we are on vacation we would like to have the option to have a cocktail in a lounge past 11:30 or midnight without the cleaning staff vacuuming under our chairs. The casino is managed by another company and was only open a couple of hours a day. I am not a gambler but out of sheer boredom I was willing to give it a go... this wasn't possible most of the time. When the casino was open, only two or three of their five or six tables were open.
The food quality was very good but we had to eat when they allowed us to eat unless we ordered room service. Most ships have a full time buffet available if you would like to eat during off hours. Breakfast ended at 10 A and if I wanted to work out in the morning I would have to forego breakfast. The one morning we arrived towards the end of serving hours (10 min to spare) and wanted some simple items to take back to our room, eggs, yogurt and fruit. The manager argued with us and we were told breakfast was over. We pointed out the time and I can assure you, we received our breakfast items as we were already frustrated with the entire situation.
The ports of call are very small and do not have much to offer. We booked excursions at each port through Oceania but had plenty of time to spare. One stop, Prince Rupert, didn't even have a town to explore, all residential. Don't expect to book an outside excursion in Prince Rupert; they do not have this option available.
To add to my frustrations, on our last day in the morning I return to my room to find all of our luggage haphazardly thrown onto our bed. It projected an image of "we are done with you, go home". Don't get me wrong, I was counting the hours until I could get off of the Regatta. I believe I am capable of retrieving my own luggage from under my bed when I am ready to pack, I do not appreciate the "hint" they were giving and the luggage was in our way throughout the day. I understand if it was later in the evening and our luggage was still not prepared for departure to meet their deadlines, but this was during breakfast.
I could go on for several pages but I will only mention one last item, our last day was the only sunny warm day. The pool area was quite nice to utilize since we had been stuck inside due to the cold weather and rain. Around 5 P they gathered and stacked all of the poolside deck chairs essentially closing this area. I believe I am still paying (top dollar I might add) for my cruise until I disembark in the morning. I would have enjoyed having an evening cocktail before dinner poolside.
Any travelers we met under the age of 60 - 65 seemed to be bored and disappointed with the Alaskan cruise through Oceania. If I knew then what I know now, I would have chose a different cruise line.