Just completed a 15 day Buenos Aires-Valparaiso cruise. Spent two pre cruise days in BA. Because we didn't use their pre cruise package, we were charge $100 extra for "special" air arrangements. Boarding was well done and luggage delivered to the cabin sooner than most. Cruise observations follow:
What we liked about the ship/cruise:
the itnerary offerings are superior
cabins are clean and well maintained; balcony pleasant but moderately used because this was a cool weather cruise.
the service staff is outstanding-friendly, helpful, courteous. We had an outstanding cabin steward, but, again, staff is superior throughout
food in all the dining venues is very good, but not quite top notch; cabin service is excellent
the cruise director, Bob, is really a cut above. He works hard and does his job really, really well and deserves special mention and recognition.
What we didn't like about the ship/cruise:
open seating in the Grand Dining Room does not exist. You must wait for the maitre'de to seat you at a sharing or not sharing table.
country club casual does not have a common definition. Dress, at ALL meals ranged from shorts/tee shirts to coat/tie. In our opinion dress would be better dserved by the common convention of informal or casual. The women were almost always appropriately dressed
the entertainment lounge is miserably inadequate. Accommodates 300-400 of the 640 passengers.at the single show perfornance. Either stand or go to your cabin or bar..
being nickel and dimed to death: buy tokens to use the laundry
concensus was that tours were overpriced. Heard positive comments about only one of some 30 offerings.
we had lots of days at sea, and the enrichment (on-board) lectures were a vacuum.
Lecturers did not provide any history, geography, political discussions. We were traveling from Argentina to Chile- the 3-4 lectures dealt with stately British homes, Faberge eggs and nature preservation on a British conservatory.
at sea, beyond Trivia and the daily Quiz, there's almost nothing going on
the wine list is the priciest we have seen on any ship. Traveling in an area which is known to have some very fine wines, there were only two Chilean wines on the entire list.
This can be an exceptionally fine cruise line and experience
have two show performances so that they can be enjoyed by all
get well informed and diverse lecturers to fill the at sea days
don't insult passengers by charging to use the laundry room
don't claim to offer open seating when what you offer is open dining hours
Our cruise experience includes 25-30 cruises on the QE2 and QM2, Royal Viking.Sun, Song of Flower, Silver Cloud, Sagafjord, Vistafjord, Caronia, etc.
I'd be interested in knowing from others, their Oceania cruises opinions
We loved the Insignia so much in October that we've booked the Regatta for November, 2005.
It seemed to us that not everyone attended the entertainment (we did about half the time), so everyone who wanted one could get a seat.
I think it's fair to charge for the laundry so that only those who use it pay. As I'm allergic to fabric softener, i can't use public washers/dryers, so don't want to pay for others to do their laundry.
I'm a bit confused--how are you defining the difference between open seating and open dining hours?
We are not into ship' s entertainment so the size of the lounge was not relevant. Actually met few people who were interested in or saw the "shows".
I am also confused by your reference to "open seating" and being "seated" by the maitre d'. I should hope I would be escorted to a table ......... and if I was not satisfied with the seat I would ask for a change. Bottom line - if I wanted to eat with my husband, if I wanted to eat with friends or if I wanted to meet new people at a meal I was accomodated. That is one of the reasons we chose Oceania.