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Everything posted by welshfamily

  1. I agree. Insigna last year was just so good. Sirena’s ports this year could not be beaten. Speciality restaurants superb. Excursions mostly excellent. Entertainment good for a R class ship, Menu’s regarding choice have changed for the worse not Quality although a lot of favourites were missing such as scollops and different fresh fish. Less staff. Wonderful fellow passengers , mostly excellent excursions. All cruises, as with all holidays, are what you make of them. Our expectations were based on last year. We found things had changed in 10 months as regards to the food. It was disappointing. It was not bad just not the amazing choices we had enjoyed before. This was just in the Grand Dinning room. Everything was repeated most nights with only a few dishes changed. The ‘ Wow ‘had gone. I can even say by the end of 10 days we were bored with the food choices. If enough people agree and use the comment cards Oceania will realise the changes are not popular and think again.
  2. I think it depends greatly on, a) your reason for the cruise. b) the cabin booked, c) your expectations. We sailed Insigna last August New England and Bermuda. One of our best cruises ever. Well worth the long distance flight. Bermuda on any ship is better than a hotel especially if you live close enough to drive. We sailed Sirena two weeks ago. The cabins are smaller than on the O class ships as are the bathrooms. The refit has made ocean view and Balcony cabins seem even smaller as the furniture is bigger. All beautifully done as is the new glass shower cubicle. No actual experience of the small space but our friends were in one and we explored. They felt the loss of the shower curtain as glass made the shower tighter. No give for ‘butts’ Nothing that would stop them booking again, just tighter. The menu’s have changed for the worse re choice not quality. Expectations. if it’s convenient, you love Bermuda and cruising how can you go wrong. Think smaller and less queues and you won’t go wrong. However we have cruised well over most of the Mediterranean. Have been to some ports multiple times and have always found something new to delight in. A day on a cruise ship beats a day at home/ work. Have a a wonderful time.
  3. I had hoped the original poster was incorrect or simply more picky then we are as a family re food. We have just completed 10 days on the Sirena. I have posted a review. The simple truth is the menus in the Grand Dinning room have changed considerably. Quality of everything except the beef was good. I agree with the poster who said Dinner used to be a highlight. Finding 3 courses to eat was difficult after the first few days as all items were repeated or continually on the menu. My husband likes to be serviced his evening meal so the Terrace is not an option. The speciality restaurants were excellent. However I would not count on extra reservations as the queues of people waitlisted everyday was incredible. Friends we made were in the two Owners suites and they couldn’t change one of their reservations and ended up eating in the main Dinning room. However that’s a story for them to tell. As for eating off the ship, hard in the evening’s, as Oceania tends to sail at 6pm. We only had one night with a 10pm sail away.
  4. Yes. we always use Romeinlimo’s. Used them for a brilliant day in Rome last Wednesday. Fabulous Driver (Nic ) beautiful air conditioned minivan ( there were 6 of us). Have used these several times. Always good. Try looking them up.
  5. I am with first time cruiser 68. We got off Sirena on Friday. It’s doubtful we will cruise on her again. Staff were thin on the ground and overworked but cheerful and doing their best. We had a good cruise, but in no way was it worthy of its reputation re food. This coupled with small bathrooms and tight staterooms makes it even more important that standards are maintained in the quality and choice of food and the service. I would class Sirena as a 4* cruise ship.
  6. We have just returned from a 10 day cruise around Italy on the Sirena. First some background. We are 6 adults ranging from 62 to 30. All frequent cruisers. Not ‘foodies’ as such but we enjoy well prepared quality food paired with decent wines. This was our third Oceania cruise. For all those looking for a balanced review I will start with the positives. The Sirena is in excellent condition. The refurbishment has freshen everything up. The beds are superb, the cabins well serviced, plenty of towels, mini bar kept filled with choice of cold drinks( non alcoholic). Water is in screw top bottles are refreshed twice a day. The wait staff are excellent. Tables quickly cleared in the Terrace and Waves bar. No problem getting a table or water and sodas. The ports were outstanding. We took 4 ship excursions, 3 of which were excellent, one poor. We also had 2 private tours. Tender service well run and a shuttle service ( Bari) was put on to the town centre. Leslie ,the CD , ran trivia which was suitably challenging and very popular. Fellow cruisers were a pleasure , a good mix of nationalities, polite, friendly and obviously well travelled. The children aboard were well behaved. Evening entertainment was as expected as we have been on R class ships quite a few times. As this was a port intensive cruise I am sorry I cannot comment on day time activities. unfortunately I now come to the negatives. We all had the BIB package which allows beer, all other drinks and wine by the glass. Service was excellent at lunch on day one. As was Red ginger ( the first of our three specialty restaurant meals). The food in both the Speciality restaurants was excellent. First Drinks. On our second night we went to the Grand Dinning room, we asked for recommendation after we had chosen our food. The sommelier told us in no uncertain terms that the choice on the by the glass was poor and she could not recommend any. We ought to buy bottles if we expected something drinkable. Service was slow. Not as bad as else where on the ship but certainly not good. In the Terrace restaurant it was nearly impossible to get a drink whilst you ate. Getting a second drink was akin to a lottery win. This was not the sommelier fault. One served the right hand side, one the deck and occasionally there was one on the left hand side. This was when the Terrace was full. Polite , intelligent people became demanding. We drank Soda. The Martini bar has been a firm favourite of ours in the past however this time there was only one barman and two bar staff. It took at least 30 minutes to get a drink. This was not the staffs fault they were working as quickly as they could. We adjusted our timings to allow more time but so did everyone else. It then took 40 minutes.By day 5 we were forced to complain. The bar manager did respond and it became better but as it was equally as hard to get a drink in the Horizons lounge and the bar cocktail menu was different more people used Martinis and the area around the shops as an over flow.Talk about standing room only. It was just like getting a drink in the most popular bar in town however you needed one hand for a cocktail glass and the other for the shaker. Not the most relaxing way to drink. On to the food. Waves grill was as good as ever. Breakfast was fine. Not much changed but it’s hard to go wrong with breakfast. Lunch. Uninspired . Boring. Fortunately we were in Italy and the restaurants on shore were a delight. If we had not had the 4 excursions we would have given Lunch a total miss. As one of our party said it simply was not worth the calories. The Grand Dinning Room. what has happened to the Menus!!! The choice was poor. Appetisers two changed daily out of 6. one soup changed daily out of 3 and do not ask me to talk about the salads. The entrees. I really do not have the words to describe some of the choices. Needless to say we ate a lot of steak, salmon and chicken. On two occasions we all left our choice of main course the Beef Wellington being the worse. We are not picky eaters. What has happened to the ‘ a taste of .........’ which was always a pleasure. We did fill in our comment cards. Do do more frequent Oceania cruisers think these changes are on all ships or has management decided to try a different menu on the Sirena. Many cruisers wondered if cutting the food bill was a way of paying for the refurbishment. Best food at sea. No, definitely not. It is such as shame.
  7. We had similar concerns and were told similar things, we just said No please collect us from the terminal. Last August we disembarked at 9am, rang our prearranged driver after we had collected our luggage, walked though a completely empty terminal and out on to a slip road which seemed to be for private pick ups and taxis ( well signposted) and two minutes later we were on our way to our hotel. There were plenty of porters but as all our luggage is the pull along type with 4 wheels we needed no help.We made the arrangements beforehand because several very large ships were in port but Oceania seemed to dock well away from the large ships. Our driver told us there were several streets close by where cars wait. We were in our hotel room just off Broadway by just after 9.30 am. As we Brits say Easy Peasy Hope that helps
  8. The buffet is well run most days. Being served the food adds to a already pleasant experience. As with all things new staff with only a small amount of English can take a little time to ‘catch on’ to portion size. We found the ladies were perfectly happy with the one scoop but the gentlemen wished for more. My son , who has been taught manners, struggled to a) not let the lady behind him get served first and b) ask for a larger helpings. It took him a few days to adapt. Table cleaning, water service etc excellent However the wine/bar service was poor. This was the only place we received poor service. On several days there seemed to be very few bar staff and it was true we often finished our lunch with just water. We did speak to the FM and put this on our comment cards. We wondered if this was due to a promotion of o life drinks packages which allow drinks at meal times. We always have the upper beverage package when we cruise and meet some experienced O cruisers who suggested going to the pool bar and carrying a drink into the restaurant but then could not use the hand sanitizer without much passing of glasses and blocking up of the door way. Suggestions for our August cruise would be much appreciated.
  9. Thank you for this information. re Venice free shuttle to town. can anybody tell me what this means. We have been to Venice several times usually on an over night stay. With Celebrity we paid for a boat transfer to St Marks square and used the monorail/people carrier to the water buses the second day. With Azamara we were docked close enough to walk into St Marks square. On our third visit we took a ships excursion. Getting on to the water buses was relatively easy from the terminal however get back on one to the terminal was incredibly difficult due to the crowds of passengers.
  10. Senior Leaders in schools in the UK are strongly discouraged from being on Facebook therefore we do not have an account and cannot access these photo. Can anyone who has taken a cruise on Sirena since the refit ( 19th May) tell us what changes have been made. Photos would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
  11. Thank you, I spoke with my TA today. She is certain none of the 3 cabins we booked were accessible. She wonders if these two cabins 4056 and 4052 have just become accessible. Previously she has booked inside cabins on this floor for disabled guests. Indeed the research I have done shows 3 inside cabins on deck 4 as accessible however the Oceania website now shows 1 inside and 2 ocean view. I cannot however believe cabin walls have been moved in the refit unless 4054 has been ‘shared . In her experience Oceania ask for a considerable amount of information before they allocate a accessible cabin to a disabled person never mind an able body person particularly as we booked before final payment. The paperwork would also have shown ‘accessible ‘. My TA immediately told me she would email Oceania as she is worried Oceania may wish to move us and there is no longer any availability below concierge balcony class. As it is Saturday she feels it may be Monday before she has a reply. Thank you Does anyone know what a accessible bathroom is like? To be honest my mind cannot believe there is anyway one of these small bathrooms could be adapted for wheelchair access.
  12. Got an offer from our TA and it snapped up weeks ago. We were abroad at the time and are not picky about the position of the cabin. We have never been in a ocean view but the offer was really good and a day on a cruise is better than a day at home therefore we jumped at it. Looked up position of the cabin today as cruise is now getting close and have discovered 2 of the 3 cabins are accessible/ disabled. Although our son is disabled ( lots of medical issues )he does not need this type of cabin. Can anyone tell me the difference between disabled and ordinary ocean view cabins? Also how do we tell Oceania we would happily move should a disabled person need either of these cabins. I would be horrified if anybody needed a an accessible/disabled cabin and we had them. Thank you
  13. Our cruise finishes in Monte Carlo. The brochure shows this is a tendered port. Has anyone any experience of how Oceania handle this process. We are keen to check timings as we have been here many times before and are therefore flying home the same day. We have all private transfers booked by our TA. I just like to check the details. thanks
  14. Didn’t work in two ways. First the taste. Coffee out of a machine is quite tasteless. Not sure what type of coffee it was but it was hard to tell it was coffee at all. The selection of Tea was excellent. Tea was provided as teabags in a good selection of flavours. Milk ( 3 types) and lemon was also provided. I am unusual for a Brit. I only drink coffee. Perhaps I was comparing it to the excellent American coffee we were drinking firstly in NewYork and then around New England during our ports of call. Secondly the machine kept breaking down. Staff were on hand to fix it and did brew coffee else where and serve it. However the moment the large silver coffee pot appeared so did other cruisers and I failed to get a cup. The barman then had to get more and again many people wanted it. This was in the evening and tells me that others found the lack of coffee a problem. However we took advantage of the full beverage package and drank other things. I just feel for a cruise line which advertises ‘the best food at sea’ and Yes the food was good, they have dropped the ball re coffee. A little thing but one easily rectified.
  15. Just been on our first Oceania cruise. Insignia. Our main disappointment was the lack of Coffee facilities. We enjoy leisurely coffee after our meals on all our other cruises especially after dinner. The coffee place outside the main dinning room closes at about 5pm. I say about as if people were sitting there the chap didn’t always stop serving till about 6pm on several nights. Room service was very very slow for coffee however this is the first cruise we have done which wasn’t in a suite so please judge room service speed for yourself. Coffee plus a after dinner liqueur is treat for us and although we were serviced very well after every meal we would have preferred a different venue. The serve yourself from a machine in Horizons just didn’t work for me. However to be truthful we drank after dinner martinis instead. As for snacks there isn’t any. However our son was well catered for as he needs a large bottle of water plus a snack for his late night medication. The staff helped. It was a bit hit and miss ( after all we realise he proberbly wasn’t the only one ) but a simple reminder had them rushing to help. The balcony plus bathroom was fine, yes the bathrooms small but this didn’t matter after the first day. However after years of saying we don’t really use the Butler I realise that we are either delusional or big fat liars. Enjoy your cruise
  16. Sorry westyone for not replying as we have been away for a few days. I am glad you have received your booklet. Reading through your posts I was going to post my email address so we could talk re the port etc. We are on the 25th sailing out of New York. I would never have packed booklet without this thread as our TA has issued us with e tickets/ vouchers for the flight, hotel, transfers and cruise. When we have been with Celebrity/Azamara in the States we have only needed our passports and our online registration re credit card form. Oceania is a new experience for us.
  17. Sorry meant 25th of July. We fly on the 22nd.
  18. Received our booklet yesterday. We cruise on the 22nd of July but did only book 4weeks ago.
  19. I would down grade too for a free cruise. We are splashing out pre cruise with the flight, a hotel in Times Square and lots of excursions both in New York( we have been to the airports on many occasions but never the city) and on the cruise. Therefore economies had to be made. My DH also has sight problems and I thought the smaller cabin would make things easier.
  20. Thank you. It’s going to seem weird being on an R ship with a different cruise company but friends have recommended Oceania and we are excited to be going. It’s always nice to try something new.
  21. We have booked our first cruise with Oceania, at the last minute, on the insignia in July 2018. We have deliberately chosen this ship as we love the size of the R class ships and the itinerary is new to us. Although we have only ever sailed in Suites we are having a Balcony room this time. We have visited a cabin of the same size on the Azamara Journey to see how bad it was, bathroom wise. It looked perfectly adequate, small yes but manageable. We took turns standing in the shower which was the only issue our friends had and all agreed it was tight but do -able. I am sure we will enjoy ourselves and I hope you do to. After all it’s better than being at work.
  22. We are longtime Azamara cruisers new to Oceania. I notice a post says the barista closes early evening. Does the Insignia have an evening coffee service/ coffee shop. We eat early due to our sons health needs and therefore usually prefer to drink coffee in a venue other than the speciality restaurants or Main dining room. I must admit to being a bit of a coffee addict but I like it freshly made. Please tell me I won’t struggle to find coffee in the evening.
  23. We are in the Uk. This will be our 1st Oceania cruise. We travel on the 22nd of July to New York and sail on the 25th....less than 30 days. Our TA is on the ball, has booked our transfers, excursions, speciality restaurants, Day hotel for the day we disembark etc. Our TA said Documents usually came between 3 and 2 weeks before sailing. I am sure she would have forwarded the documents on if she had had them. Perhaps Oceania have different arrangements for different countries. Interested to hear from others in the UK when they have received their Documents.
  24. My husband has just booked the New York round trip in July as my 60th birthday treat. Our two adult children are also coming. We are frequent cruisers with Azamara but have decided to try something new. I have tried to search the boards. We have already booked some ship excursions. Please could someone answer a few questions for me. Does Oceania have locals coming on board to answer questions for DIY excursions? Where do you get your luggage labels from? Our TA thinks the port? Is embarkation timed ? ( TA says not) and what time is disembarkment. We need to make sure our transfers are booked for the right time after factoring customs. The last might seem a silly question. Do people use the main dinning room for breakfast? On all our Azamara cruises the Main dinning room has been almost empty at breakfast and it’s nice to be able to at least have a few people to exchange a greeting with. Thank you
  25. LHT28 We are brand new to Oceania. My husband has just booked a cruise departing in New York for my 60th birthday in July.We usually go with Azamara so are familiar with the small ship. Posting just to say sorry you missed Holyhead. We live 90 mins from there and North Wales is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Let me know if you are ever book another cruise which stops there as there is so much to see. Insider knowledge would make Holyhead an unforgettable experience.
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