Couple questions for those of you experienced Oceania Cruisers. I've never gone on Oceania before and was wondering about several things.
Why does Oceania offer the 2 for 1 and free airfare specials? Are the itineraries less desirable, or at bad times? Or is this just a marketing scheme? The price seems to be great - if Oceania is indeed a more upscale cruise line. We've sailed Celebrity several times and were pleased that it wasn't a super tacky cruiseline (sorry I don't know how else to say it) and that there were no children on board (no offense, but I hate sharing the pool with the 2 year olds) and the food was good. However, we didn't like dealing with the typical cruiseline schmooze - trying to get you to buy photos, etc , the large crowds, the cafeteria line style waiting for EVERYTHING , etc. The staff were very attentive, but we are hoping Oceania will be a step up in terms of service and amenities and a step down in terms of size a crowds. Seabourn and Windstar are out of our price range at this point......so we were hoping Oceania would fit the bill.
I know the age question comes up often.....but we are a professional couple in our early 30's - but will be bringing along our parents and aunt and uncles whom are all over the age of 55.
Just wondering on feedback on the 2 for 1's - we are doing the November 7th sailing from Barcelona to Athens.......just wanted to make sure there wasn't something unsatisfactory about this itinerary- hence the 2 for 1 deal.
We did the Venice to Athens itinerary in October, 2004 and have booked Barcelona to Lisbon for November, 2005 because we loved the ship so much. We like Celebrity, but this was better: better food, better size ship, preferred the open seating dining.
We're in our 30's and we found ourselves one of the younger couples on board. Your parents and older relatives will fit right in! Just make sure they're not over- or under-dressed for the cruise. While Oceania avoids the pretense of formal nights, we didn't see too many shorts or t-shirts displayed on board. Check the photos on their website for appropriate attire.
We like Oceania's straight-forward, air-inclusive pricing arrangement. There's nothing worse than being lured to a cruise line's website by the offer of a low, low cruise fare, only to find out how much they would charge you for the airfare, especially on the open-jaw itineraries favored by Oceania. All in all, Oceania is very price-competitive with the other larger lines, considering the five-star service and dining aboard.
The entertainment is not going to be as elaborate as Celebrity's, given the smaller size of the ship and it's inability to accommodate a larger staff of entertainers, but we don't expect our cruise line to be a floating resort - especially if serving as a resort means kids running around the deck and splashing around in the pool while we're trying to relax. Don't get me wrong - I love kids - as long as they're kept in their cabins or in an otherwise segregated part of the ship!
I recently tried to book an Oceania cruise to the Baltic this summer. I found the total prices (cruise, port, taxes, flights, etc, etc) to be much higher than Princess, Holland and Celebrity.
We book cruises through Cruise Value Center. When I expressed my shock, I was informed that Oceania starts pricing with 2for1 including air, then- if this proves successful- goes to 2for1 with reduced air, then 2for1 without air, and then brochure prices.
PS We recently booked a super-duper priced 35 day cruise on the Nautica leaving Hong Kong for Athens on March 31, 2006!
Hope this helps,
PS We are not cruising the Baltic this year.
You will do well with Oceania. Many agree that they currently offer the best bang for your buck. The iteneraries are excellent as is the food and service. They offer a product above Celebrity and below Crystal. The night life and shows are not so hot. Oceania is port intense and most choose to sleep after diner and get an early start on the next day.. Most find the wine and excursion prices are a bit high. When you add it all up you find you recieve good value for your vacation dollar. 2for1 is their markrting plan. The average age is 55. The age goes down in summer, holidays, shorter cruises. Up in the off season and on longer iteneraries.
First of all, I have recommended Oceania to my best friends. It's outstanding and a step above Celebrity in terms of food. Fabulous, and the itineraries are the best I've seen in Europe since the ships stay overnight in port.
How to explain cruise industry marketing........ That's what this is, and it works. Oceania's ships are full long before the other ships. The company sets a net per diem they want to get, then markets the ship to get it. Two-for-one isn't discount, it's a lure to get people to book early. They get low discount air pricing, all negotiated a year in advance.
Previously there were discounts available from all cruise lines (except Oceania, which never had to cut their prices a nickel). Now, you have to book far in advance because the discounts have disappeared. So, 2-for-1 is a technique to get you to do that.