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  1. I started this thread because, when I was thinking about booking my first Oceania cruise, and then after I actually booked it (on Marina to go to the Baltics this past August), I was looking for this kind of discussion, but I could not find it. First, I wanted real, current information from recent passengers. And then I wanted validation that my ten (twelve?) grand was a wise vacation investment. Others out there must be looking for the same type of information; there have been lots of posts in the thread, and over 10,000 views. Sadly, if I had read this thread back when I was first considering Oceania, I would have gone in a different direction. This thread sort of got hijacked for a bit by some discussions that were focused first on some special food requirements, and then on the abysmal internet, but those discussions actually led to many broader and honest comments from longtime Oceania fans that indicate that this cruise line is simply not the same cruise line that it was when it built its reputation. It appears that Oceania is resting on its laurels, having substantially cut back on its quality of food and its level of service. Having sampled the product, I now feel that Oceania’s (incessant) glossy brochures promise an elegant experience of days gone by that it no longer delivers.
  2. My wife and I just did this itinerary with another couple. I think you will enjoy the ports. We thought Berlin was too far to go just for the day, so we took a tour called Friends of Dave and saw, among other things, Schwerin Castle, which was a highlight. If I had it to do over again, I would look for an itinerary that had 2 overnights in St. Petersburg. It was by far the best port with the most to do.
  3. Serious question to someone who cruised for seven months from a jealous admirer: will Amazon deliver to the ship?
  4. Interesting that the internet is a hot button issue. I supposed generally people don’t go on vacation to work, but the reality is that we live in a society where folks expect to have the ability to make instant contact all the time. I agree with other posters that, if Oceania is going to offer internet access, then they should offer a level of service that will not create frustration to their customers.
  5. My wife had some dietary issues (not life and death stuff), and I felt that Oceania tried very hard to accommodate her. They provided menus in advance, etc., and tried to match them in time for our scheduled specialty restaurants. However, it’s a big operation, and sometimes the info did not trickle down to our service staff. When that happened, they did their best to fix it.
  6. Yeah, I think sometimes management does not know what’s happening on the front lines. There was a general attitude among the staff that if a passenger had a problem, it wasn’t their problem, and the rank-and-file were not empowered to fix it. Our group had housekeeping, dining and excursion issues, and our concerns were universally met with blank stares and shrugs. In my view, this falls on management, and comes from the top down. I mentioned this in a mid-cruise survey, and received a call from the head Concierge, expressing agreement, and her surprise (and displeasure) that the staff had been unresponsive. At least it was noted and acknowledged.
  7. I carried on 6 bottles of wine, in a canvas wine carrier, all bought at the great wine shop at Selfridge in London, and no one said a word. (I think I could have brought more wine with no problem, and I probably could have brought liquor on board, too.). The luggage porter at check in at Southampton recommended that I carry it on board, and it was not too inconvenient to do so. Since the Oceania official policy is that you can’t bring liquor on board, I ordered a bottle of Grey Goose from the ship’s Bon Voyage menu ($100), and a 1 liter bottle was in my cabin upon arrival. (If you are a Martini drinker, this will translate into a huge savings - Martinis are excluded from the happy hour 2 for 1 deals.)
  8. So interesting. The food is not what it used to be. The internet doesn’t meet industry standards. The gym equipment is outdated. The entertainment is rubbish. Etc, etc., etc. But Oceania clearly has a loyal following. There are some people on these boards who spend literally months at a time on Oceania ships. This tells me that Oceania is clearly doing something right. They have created an intangible that makes the experience - and, perhaps more significantly, the memory of the experience - such that folks want to have that experience over and over again. I think it’s brilliant. In fact, that’s what I wanted and, based on the hype, that’s what I expected when I signed up. I wanted Oceania to become my go to cruise line. Hard to say why I didn’t “get it”; the fact that I didn’t is probably the biggest reason I’m disappointed. Cheers to all of you who love it; I will keep looking for my Oceania.
  9. I hate to be such a downer. There were some things on the ship and this cruise that I really liked. However, the “free” internet is not great. The signal is very weak and unreliable regardless of where you are. You can only use one device at a time, and have to switch back and forth. It expired the afternoon before the cruise ended. You can upgrade for a “better” plan for hundreds of dollars, but I don’t know how much better it would be. The Oceania internet program seems outdated and not competitive; even mid-tier hotels provide free, unlimited access. I think they should provide decent service and just build the cost of free, unlimited access into the price of the cruise.
  10. Nice. That’s the feeling we are all looking for.
  11. Nope. Just me not being good at posting stuff. And I totally get that people could be in love with this ship and this line. Thought I could try to help folks trying to decide. Peace. Out.
  12. Totally agree regarding expectations, which were set by Oceania before we set foot on the ship. Right after we booked, I began to receive 2-3 emails per week, and 1-2 printed brochures per week, all touting the elegance of Oceania. And the experience simply wasn’t elegant. As to the refurbishment, I could go to town here. Stained carpeting in the hallways. Broken equipment in the Concierge Lounge and fitness center. Stateroom televisions that are completely outdated. We had a broken balcony door, a broken mirror in the bathroom, and badly worn bathrobes, sheets and towels. I will say that the art collection throughout the ship is lovely.
  13. I think they get a butler. We had one casual interaction in the hallway with a butler while he was on his way to the suite next door to us, and he was the kindest and most helpful crew member we spoke to. This led me to believe that we would have had more personalized service and attention if we had booked that level of stateroom.
  14. No. I just answered the question about what other lines I’ve been on. I’m not comparing Oceania to any other line, but rather measuring my experience on this cruise based on the expectations created by Oceania.
  15. I think they get a butler. We had one casual interaction in the hallway with a butler while he was on his way to the suite next door to us, and he was the kindest and most helpful crew member we spoke to. This led me to believe that we would have had more personalized service and attention if we had booked that level of stateroom.
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