First and Last Time with Oceania
Insignia Cruise Review to World Cruise
Sail Date: January 04, 2016
Cabin Type: Suite
Cabin Number: 8025
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 1 year ago
rWe took the 35-day leg of this around the world trip from Cape Town to Singapore. We decided on Oceania because of the itinerary they offered on this leg of the trip.
The problems we had with Oceania just getting us transportation to Cape Town should have been a hint of what was to come. We wanted to book a 3-day pre-cruise tour through Oceania, and did so; but then they couldn't get us on a flight to get us there in time; really? So we ended up having to cancel that safari and wind land 3-day event. Disappointed greatly with that.
There were many problems with this cruise, mostly on the ship, but also with some ports. So much to say...
1st: Regarding the ship - it is an older smaller ship, with a lot of problems. While we were on it, they had (in addition to a norovirus-like epidemic) a horrible leak of pool chemicals (sulfur hydrochloride, I believe) which forced us out of our cabin for a couple of hours and was awful to breath in. We didn't hear anything definitive from the captain for several hours - some communication would have been advised. After he finally did make an announcement it was never mentioned again. No "we apologize for the inconvenience and have a drink on us" or "can we make that up to you?". Nothing. The woman in the suite 2 doors down from us had to go to the hospital as it caused breathing difficulties for her, even though we were all exposed. It stunk our eyes, chests, throats, noses - etc. We were advised that it wasn't toxic, but when we asked what it was they said they didn't know. (So how do they know it wasn't toxic?) All I can say about that is that it hurt physically throughout our reparatory systems.
2nd: The cabin next to our suite had a bathroom leak which leaked into our cabin, causing a sopping wet carpet for several days. It still was soaking wet when we disembarked in Singapore at the end of the trip. Again, no apologies for anyone about it.
Next, let's discuss the attitude of the officers and staff.....
1st: We were on one 35-day leg of the 180-day Around the World Trip. It seemed that the ship's officers and crew catered mostly to the "180's" (as we came to refer to them), and couldn't have cared less about there rest of us. For example - the 180's were given unlimited internet which many of them just stayed connected to full-time. That made it nearly impossible for the rest of us to get on the Internet. Extremely frustrating. Also, they charged 95 cents a minute for internet service, and sometimes it took more than 30 minutes just to get connected! What a joke, and how cheesy of them to charge us that kind of $$ when more than half our time on the Internet was just trying to get connected. Super expensive, we spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars "on" the Internet.
Next, the 180's got free laundry. The rest of us had to pay (despite the fact that we were even in a suite). We've never had to pay for laundry on any other cruise line when you book a suite - again they were nickel and dime-ing us. Additionally, at one point during the norovirus outbreak, they closed the laundramat altogether, meaning that the only way to wash clothes was to pay to have that done; really?
The 180's also were given free excursions, even overnight ones - the rest of us paid dearly.
All in all, we were NOT made to feel like we mattered at all to this company on this cruise. You know the ads (for other cruise lines) that refer to being treated like queens and kings on a cruse? Well, that was so NOT the case on the Oceania Insignia.
Now, let's talk about the ports of call and excursions --
1. There were several really depressing, dirty ports of call that should not have even
been on the itinerary - Maputo, Mozambique for example. Really filthy and urine
smell everywhere. We did a walking tour there, and couldn't wait to get back on the
2. Several of their excursions had questionable guides. Some of them never shut up
for hours, and on one, when several of us were trying to sleep toward the end of
the long tour, the tour guide came around the bus and in a VERY LOUD voice
yelled "NO SLEEPING". (A similar thing happened with another tour guide, too.)
3. Several tour guides wanted to sing for us (heaven help us), and as if that wasn't
bad enough, they were insisting that we all sing with them - songs we didn't know &
in one case, a language none of us spoke.
4. We went on a total of 5 game park excursions - not once did we see any elephants
or big cats (lions or cheetahs). That was really disappointing as it will probably be
the only time we will ever have that chance again in our lives. The tour guides said
it was because by the time the ship docks at the port and we get to the game
preserves, it's late morning and most of the animals are already resting. Perhaps if
Oceania wants to offer these excursions, they should plan to get to the dock earlier
to ensure that their customers actually get to see some game. (Shimba Hills Park
was the most disappointing - we saw VERY little in the way of wildlife.)
Entertainment and casino.....
Entertainment was disappointing - no shows - just 1 or 2 performing artists with the ship's 5-piece back-up bank. We (and most passengers we talked to on the ship) prefer the shows.
Casino - nice staff, but they didn't offer even one Slot Tourmament - while every day at sea a Black Jack Tournament was offered.
Lastly, the food.......
I would have rated this cruise only 1 star but because the food was so wonderfully delicious and beautifully prepared, they got an extra star in the rating. It was very difficult to resist the temptation to overeat. The dining room service was slow (perhaps due to missing staff suffering from the virus that was so prevalent), but the staff was very good and friendly. Standouts were Neil and Anatoli (sp??)
Should also mention that Andy and Tammy were excellent and really took good care of us while on tours and on the ship - not an easy task with so many elderly people on board.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Older ship, so be prepared for things to go wrong, they will! Spoke to so many passengers who were unhappy with their rooms - leaks, smells, etc...
The card room was very well equipped with mahjongg, puzzles, all kinds of cards and games.....better than most!