Oceania - You're Fired!

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Oceania Cruises
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#1
La Quinta, CA, USA
159 Posts
Joined May 2001
Since April, we've been trying to resolve some issues with Oceania with no luck. We've waited until now to post this in hopes that Oceania would have responded by now. So, I feel it is time to for me to "vent" to my fellow Cruise Critic friends, and let you all know how Oceania treats it's loyal past passengers.

We've sailed on the Oceania's Regatta three times. Our first two experiences were very good, but the last one was not.

We were on the March 2011 Regatta to the Amazon. If you have read Little Red John's review, he really sums things up nicely.

We had several problems: Like ports dropped or changed. Upon boarding, we were told the Tobago stop was changed to the Port of Spain. Oceania knew this well before our cruise, and could have informed us prior to our departure. Many passengers (including us) had private shore excursions planned. Our stop for Devil's Island was skipped, supposedly because of the 3-5 foot swells. The Captain zoomed passed it before we were even aware that we had passed the island. He finally informed us that we wouldn't stop when we were nearly an hour past the island. We would have at least appreciated the opportunity to take some photos from a distance. We had 8 hours scheduled for this port, there was plenty of time for him to wait to see if the seas would calm down. Devil's Island was one of the reasons we booked this itinerary.

Then in Dominica we took a ship's whale watching shore excursion. The boat was overbooked and we ended up giving away our seats to some elderly people. The seas were extremely rocky, and one lady fell down. We stood for over 4 hours, trying to keep our balance. We immediately asked for a refund when we returned to the ship. The shore excursion desk person was very nice and said that she had received several other complaints. She couldn't issue a refund because she had to send the request to Miami. After a few days, we were informed that Miami denied our refund.

When we returned home, I wrote to Oceania explaining our issues. They said they had contacted the shore excursion provider who stated that there were enough seats. Well, there were some seats INSIDE the cabin where the crew slept. Now, why would anyone want to go on a whale watching expedition and sit inside the crew's quarters? Weren't we there to look for whales?

Oceania's offer of $300.00 for a future cruise is so insulting that I wrote again to request a refund or some sort of acceptable compensation. To date, I still have not had a response.

Having taken over 25+ cruises, I think we'll stick with Princess or Celebrity. We can have a full suite for what we paid for a Penthouse Suite on this unpleasant cruise.
#2
Palm Desert, California
1,375 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I totally understand how you feel. Devils Island was on my bucket list as sights to see since I am in the business, so to speak. I would have been crushed had we not stopped on my Amazon cruise in 2009. i was the first off the ship and last to return. Now having cruised as much as you have, there have been trips where I was disappointed such as Santorini or other Mediterranean ports I so wanted to see. I have learned in my mature age that if I have to visit someplace and there is a chance it could be missed, I fly there instead, however this isn't doable to the Island and I understand that. I am doing such a thing to Africa as I didn't want to chance spending $20K and miss doing a short Safari. The same applied to the ships tours and there are many threads on this subject of total chaos. I prefer to seek my own private tours so I am confident that I get to see what I want. Yes, I have been disappointed on Oceania but also on Regent and other quality lines.

There is no excuse for Oceania not responding. That is unacceptable.

By the way, we are neighbors, I am in Bermuda Duness CC.
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#3
Brooklyn, New York USA
6,716 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
You are #3 on my list of personal acquaintances who have this same complaint and apparently about the same itinerary. And all of you have decided to leave Oceania.

I do find it distressing that Oceania couldn't satisfy loyal passengers. I haven't been in your situation but I understand the complaint.

Yes, Oceania's management should do better NOT to lose loyal customers. It appears that they don't seem to feel that they need to do so.

That does make me nervous.
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#4
1,065 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I think O's excursion department has some real customer service issues: My husband, niece and nephew went Mackerel Fishing in Goteburg, Sweden. Many problems with this excursion not the least of which was the three of them had to share 2 fishing poles as there were not enough to go around and hours were spent waiting on the boat while the crew went about the business of pulling their crab pots. Request for a refund was simply refused. Lesson learned is dont book O's excursions.
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Helen
#5
Palm Desert, California
1,375 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I have been pretty loyal to Oceania and understand that stuff happens but I have booked with two other cruise lines for next year. Let's hope Mr. Del Rio responds and can rectify the concerns we have. It appears he is losing a great deal of loyal customers.
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#6
347 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We had a wonderful first trip on Oceania on 2010 Lands of the Midnight Sun. Based on that experience, we are booked on the trip to Iceland and Greenland, etc. on July 3,2012. I am very concerned about the frequency of missed ports this year. I don't recall hearing anything about such things before our first trip. I hope that Oceania will recognize that "bait and switch" is not a good marketing strategy. A hurricane, a political crisis, a rare engine problem maybe-but the number of problems this year suggests that something is amiss. A great itinerary is only a great itinerary if the ship actually goes there!
#7
Redlands,CA
1,212 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
We were on the same cruise and one of the guest speakers reported that out of the 5 times he was to be on Devil's Island the ship did not stop on 3 occasions. We booked both private and cruise line tours during the trip and found the cruise line's to be of mixed value.
#8
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1,140 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Guys, whether the ship stops in a port, or not, is the Captain's call, not O's. What we see as 5' rollers may give very different effects in different ports. The Captain is paid to know the conditions unsafe for his ship and to communicate effectively with the port authorities about conditions in port.

Given some of the videos we've seen on YouTube of furniture and passengers sliding all over the deck, we've never seen one of those from O. Is this cruise line a little more conservative than some. Maybe. I can only imagine what the reports on CC would be if even one passenger had fallen as a result of rough seas entering port.

It is the Captain's responsibility to ensure the safety of his passengers and his ship. Let's not try to second guess his ability. Remember what happened to Captain Smith on the Titanic when he apparently gave in to pressure from someone else who saw no problems with the sea conditions that night.

Of course it's disappointing to miss a port. We missed one of only the three ports on Marina's maiden voyage. But because of the changing weather and environmental conditions the entire world has been experiencing this year I'm not really surprised O is missing a few more ports than usual.
#9
Seattle, WA
541 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by TKS
Guys, whether the ship stops in a port, or not, is the Captain's call, not O's. What we see as 5' rollers may give very different effects in different ports. The Captain is paid to know the conditions unsafe for his ship and to communicate effectively with the port authorities about conditions in port.

Given some of the videos we've seen on YouTube of furniture and passengers sliding all over the deck, we've never seen one of those from O. Is this cruise line a little more conservative than some. Maybe. I can only imagine what the reports on CC would be if even one passenger had fallen as a result of rough seas entering port.

It is the Captain's responsibility to ensure the safety of his passengers and his ship. Let's not try to second guess his ability. Remember what happened to Captain Smith on the Titanic when he apparently gave in to pressure from someone else who saw no problems with the sea conditions that night.

Of course it's disappointing to miss a port. We missed one of only the three ports on Marina's maiden voyage. But because of the changing weather and environmental conditions the entire world has been experiencing this year I'm not really surprised O is missing a few more ports than usual.
TKS -well said...
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#10
60 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Agree TKS and well spoken. The captain is in charge of the ship. Period. I trust his judgment just like a pilot flying around a storm at 30000 feet. I am just along for a the ride and hope to have a good time. We never use ships tours for a variety of reasons. I also never prepay for a private tour in the event the ship doesn't stop due to inclement weather.
#11
Palm Desert, California
1,375 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I think the bone of contention was the Captains failure to announce they would miss Devils island. We all have missed ports of call due to weather and high seas. Failure to communicate is a continuous problem.
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#12
La Quinta, CA, USA
159 Posts
Joined May 2001
Yes, Aknitter, that was the main problem, among others. The seas weren't that rough that we couldn't have hung around awhile for a quick snapshot. Obviously, if the Captain determines that we can't tender in, so be it. At least communicate earlier as a courtesy to the passengers.

The shore excursion refund issue is something else. For Oceania to loose loyal passengers over such a small amount demonstrates their lack of customer service.
#13
Oklahoma, U.S.A.
96 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I'm having trouble understanding why, after booking the whale watching excursion, getting on the boat, and then relinquishing your seats to another couple, you would ask for a refund. Was the sea too choppy? And if that was the case, do you agree that this could also have been cause for the Captain to bypass Devil's Island or the captain changed ports of call to the Port of Spain?

The way I see it, you now have a great reason to take a trip back to see Devil's Island for longer than eight hours!
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#14
Redlands,CA
1,212 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
The funny thing was that the night before the captain advised the passengers to get up early to view the approach to the island.

One point the captain mentioned afterwards is that if one of the tenders is damaged due to wave action he would have to send home approximately 140 passengers since the tenders act as lifeboats as well as tenders. Maritime law requires that the ship have sufficient lifeboats for all. Who would want to leave the ship? A missed port or losing the rest of the cruise?
#15
Palm Desert, California
1,375 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by Cruisedreamer1
The funny thing was that the night before the captain advised the passengers to get up early to view the approach to the island.

One point the captain mentioned afterwards is that if one of the tenders is damaged due to wave action he would have to send home approximately 140 passengers since the tenders act as lifeboats as well as tenders. Maritime law requires that the ship have sufficient lifeboats for all. Who would want to leave the ship? A missed port or losing the rest of the cruise?
I call that poor planning on O's part.
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#16
La Quinta, CA, USA
159 Posts
Joined May 2001
Originally posted by OK Rancher
I'm having trouble understanding why, after booking the whale watching excursion, getting on the boat, and then relinquishing your seats to another couple, you would ask for a refund. Was the sea too choppy? And if that was the case, do you agree that this could also have been cause for the Captain to bypass Devil's Island or the captain changed ports of call to the Port of Spain?

The way I see it, you now have a great reason to take a trip back to see Devil's Island for longer than eight hours!
Regarding the whale watching excursion, we were holding on to posts just to keep our balance for over 4 hours. There were quite a few people who stood the whole time, not just us. This was in Dominica - not anywhere near Devil's Island. When we passed Devil's Island, the seas were not that rough. We understand that the Port of Spain was substituted for Tobago because the fuel was cheaper there.

Can't go to Devil's Island except on a cruise ship.
#17
Az
62 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Just another comment, and not a big issue but I think valid criticism of O's excursion practices.

In April I was on Marina's "Pearls of Riviera" cruise. I paid extra for the new smaller group "Choice" excursion to Aix-en-Provence, which they state will have min. of 10 and max. of 16 passengers. But there were 17 allowed on the trip.

As I said, this is a minor issue and was certainly no problem for the tour, but I really think if you are going to charge $80 or so extra for a smaller group you should stay within your stated number. I guess it's the principle of the matter that bothers me.
#18
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,302 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by A Knitter
I call that poor planning on O's part.
You are joking aren't you
#19
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,302 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I am always amazed at the number of passengers that know the sea conditions better than the Captain.
I just cannot understand why the Captain does not consult these people before they cancel a port due to the sea conditions

As for the announcements many announcements cannot be heard in the cabins or even on the balcony
i never hear the early morning announcement because I am usually still asleep.
I was not on this cruise so cannot say for sure but perhaps the Captain did announce they would be missing D.I. and some people did not hear the early morning announcement

It is not just Oceania that misses or changes ports on the fly

Lyn
#20
La Quinta, CA, USA
159 Posts
Joined May 2001
The Captain made the announcement at 8 a.m. I have a letter from Oceania confirming that. We passed the island around 7 a.m., and most people were not aware that we had passed it. They were eating breakfast or getting ready. Again, I am not disputing the fact that he felt it was too rough, only that why not at least slow down, make the announcement, and let us take a picture?