This was our first Oceania Cruise. Past cruises with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney. I did a lot of research. We decided on the cruise because we have wanted to visit Ireland (this cruise docked on Cohn and Dublin) and the transatlantic crossing intrigued us. We arrived early; at the dock 11:30 am. Embarkation in Manhattan was very easy, quick. We were on the ship in 10 minutes. A group of 6 adults, we headed to the Terrace Cafe for lunch which, though very crowded, fed us well. While at lunch, they announced our cabins were ready. We traveled Concierge level A3. Our cabin was spacious, spotless. Our luggage had been delivered. We quickly unpacked and set off to explore the ship.
The fact that the ship was on the smaller side attracted us as well. It was easy to navigate. We saw the spa, met the artist in residence, saw the teaching kitchen. Muster drill was ...a muster drill. Dinner that night was at Toscana. While at lunch we were approached with an open reservation so we took it. It was delicious. So let’s just get the food out of the way. Dinner at all the restaurants was delicious, including the main dining room. We ate at Toscana twice, at Jacques twice, and at Pollo once. We passed on Red Ginger even though it was most highly rated, most of our group were not fond of Asian food. The rest of the cruise we ate in the Grande Dining room for dinner, many lunches and a few breakfasts. And this is Cruise was the only Cruise we actually had dinner at the buffet. And it was enjoyable. We also enjoyed the afternoon tea.
Their service from stateroom attendants to all servers, bar service, every employee we had contact with, was excellent. The entertainment with 1 exception was adequate. The exception, Chuck Wagner was excellent.
Now the reason for the title. Even with all the preparation and research, the weather had a severe effect on this cruise. Weather in Canadian ports was forecasted to be normally high 49s low 50s. It snowed in Halifax, so our stop in Newfoundland was cancelled. Snow accumulated on the decks and verandahs. 6 or more inches as well as deeper drifts. Access to the open decks was prohibited, though I do not know why you would want to go out anyway. Five straight sea days followed of rocking, crashing waves and rolling. We truly missed having access to an indoor pool on the ship. We grew tired of the movies. There were enrichment talks, usually 2 per day at 50 min. each, trivia but by sea day 4 we couldn’t wait for a port. Our day in Cobh, home of Blarney Castle was cold and rainy. We enjoyed our excursion but for the first 1/2 hour the windows were so steamed on our bus we could see nothing out of them. Wiping just gave us brief glimpses before they steamed up again. When we got back on board, we were informed that the weather was too bad and our Dublin stop was cancelled. We stayed in Cobh an additional night. The next day the weather was still so bad, it made walking into the small city undoable. We did enjoy the museum on Irish immigration and the Lusitania and Titanic in the welcome center 10E each and the small but well supplied shop as well.
When we finally continued on our journey, the captain and crew were finally able to get us out of the rolling, rocking seas and we made the last two scheduled port stops, in Saint-Malo and Le Harve. We enjoyed the warm spring weather there and on our last sea day. We were content with our excursions.
One aside, now that I’ve had the experience. We had never been to Paris and after discussion and research did decide to do the one day excursion from Le Harve into Paris through the cruise line, though it was pricey. It is 6 hours (3 to, 3 back) travel, another hour plus ride around the city to see the main sights, 1.5 hours on your own (20 min searching for a toilette) and 15 min photo op at the Effiel Tower. My opinion now...not worth it. Do something closer to Le Harve.
On the whole, it was less than expected experience. Are we glad we went? Yes. We enjoyed much of the cruise. Had we been on RC or another line with a ship with more to do, the sea days would have been more easy to get through. If we were with our children and grandchildren, this is not the line we would have chosen. We knew that when we booked. On the up side, we can plan a British Isles-Ireland Cruise with the kids.
Debarkation was a mess due the the face to face with British immigration and having to collect our passports before leaving the ship. We waited in lines that at times had no end. Seriously. No one knew where the end of the line was and the crew was not able to help the situation. Still they were pleasant with hundreds of seniors many of whom were acting like toddlers at Disney. We were in line with a gentleman who had an excursion at 8:30 am. It was 7:45 am. We did not get to the passport station until 9:15. I hope they held his tour. I don’t know who is to blame for that mess.
We had a pleasant bus ride to the airport. All the air arrangements were made through Oceania and it was as pleasant as a day spent at Heathrow and an 8 hour transatlantic flight could be. Same movies as onboard. Some things you just can’t control.
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