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palermo22

Marina Cruise - South America

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I know there are one or two threads already started on this cruise but I wanted to have my own thread as I feel many of you are coming down hard on DrJW and I wanted to separate my review from his. But to summarize: most of his points were right on.

 

This was our first cruise on Oceania and we took it because of upgrades and freebies - but also because I worked in Argentina and Chile and it was a great opportunity to visit colleagues.

 

The Marina is a beautiful ship and our Penthouse Cabin was great. We loved our butler and had no complaints involving him. It's going to be difficult traveling in the future because once you get use to butlers, large cabins and walk in closets - that becomes the standard for the future.

 

Let me start off with the food (since that is what Oceania is known for. We wound up doing the specialty restaurants 8 times on this 16 day cruise - and except for one bad meal in the Italian restaurant - all meals were 4*. Didn't buy the ship's wine: we bought a bunch of wine in Buenos Aires and chose to pay the corkage. That worked out good. The food in the MDR was probably 3* - or perhaps a little above average. Example: one night I ordered prime rib and it was so tough it was hard to cut (someone else at our table ordered it also and had the same complaint). The buffet was average as well. I am not a foodie - I don't consider myself a food critic - but i have lived around the world and been on other cruise lines. My wife and others we spoke to agree with the ratings in this paragraph. We loved the hamburgers and milkshakes in the grill - on average this was better than most food in the buffet.

 

Ray Carr - CD - was decent. Not great but overall average. I did team trivia and he made it a fun activity. Entertainment: actually was better than what I was expecting. The production shows were not horrible but was barely passable. Mostly like a high school production. The two singers and magician were fine.

 

Excursions: we booked our own and for the most part we had fun. The ports were not great - except for a few of them. I would have loved to go into Punta del Este but the captain said the seas were too rough for the tenders.

 

Here is our main complaint: On a cruise like this one would expect to have a few days of bad weather - and we did! I would say there were about four or five days when it was cold and misty. So instead of taking advantage of outdoor activities (which were good when the weather was good) - we were all stuck inside. The ship provided very few things to do - bingo was good for 30 minutes - and a few other things and that was it. I blame this on the cruise director - most people were bored (at least i could eat up an hour in the gym - others probably took naps).

 

Bottom Line: I give the overall cruise a B and that maybe stretching it a bit. I would definitely take Oceania again but only in a warmer climate.

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Thanks for your balanced comments. Can you remind us of the itinerary? I could go back to the original thread, but quite frankly I'm too tired tonight to do so!

 

I know lots of people don't like the MDR but ever since our first Renaissance cruise in 1999 we have preferred it! I am called a gourmet cook by our friends -- I don't claim that title for myself -- so I think I can judge good food. But it DOES seem that perceptions of the food in all of the restaurants can vary cruise to cruise, and certainly ship to ship. (We've been on Marina for 3 out of our last 4 cruises, and are going to be on her again in April, so I hope we will be as happy then as we have been in the past.)

 

Weather, of course, is weather ...

 

As it happens, our Marina cruises have mostly been warm weather -- except for last year's NYC to Dover cruise through Nova Scotia, New Foundland, and on to Ireland and the UK. Cool weather wasn't a problem on THAT cruise for us. (Although icebergs were on a couple of occasions!) However, I think your comments about there not being enough activities on board in poor weather are well taken. We haven't encountered that ourselves on our cruises but I wasn't on YOUR cruise!

 

Good of you to consider Oceania in the future given that you weren't absolutely delighted with the cruise.

 

Cheers,

 

Mura

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Thank you for your balanced review.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your cruise - at least most of the time :)

I am a little puzzled by your perception of lack of activities on board.

We love taking TA cruises with many sea days and are never bored. In fact, DW is often frustrated as to which activity to attend as some of them overlap. Then there are activities that one can provide for themselves - such as reading or getting to know your new friends.

However, I know that these things are individual preferences and many people do not like too many sea days for perhaps the same reasons you did not.

Happy cruising in warm weather :)

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Nice review

Food is subjective ...we are not foodies but do like a good well prepared meal which is sometimes lacking on Oceania

 

If you need to be entertained 24/7 Oceania is not for you

 

Too bad about the weather

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The cruise began in Buenos Aires and went around the horn stopping at a few Argentine ports and a few Chilean ports; in addition, there was a stop at the Falkland/Malvinas islands.

 

There were definitely a lack of things to do INSIDE the ship. Believe me, if you asked 100 people on our cruise - 90 would say the same thing. Sure, you can provide your own things to do (reading and playing cards, etc.) - seems to me that when you are spending all of this money that contingency planning by the CD should come into play. And, right: weather is weather - not the ship's fault; however, lack of a plan for fun inside is the ship's fault.

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Agree with LHT28..if you require 24 hour entertainment Oceania is really not for you. many of us love to read do needlework, play cards and nap. then there are meals, breakfast, tea, lunch and dinner to be had.

Fortunately for most of us there are no hairy chest contests or rock climbing walls but there are lovely places to sit and have a coffee with friends or read or just watch the ocean. we don't feel we have to have a yell fest with trivia or a cooking class every day. the idea of a cruise on a premium cruise is to chill.

You might feel happier and busier on a Mass Market line.

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Good overall review.

 

The part about the lack of entertainment. DH and I are probably "anti'-social". We just don't go to trivia, cooking class, bingo, or socialize with others. He is not retired, so we love "our time". When I chose our cruises, one of the musts, is as few sea days as possible( like only one!) We are full-out at every port, so on the one sea day, it is a quiet, recharge, check-in on work, laundry, kind of day. Not looking for anything else to do.

 

I dont really even know how much or how little there is to do, unless I read the daily program.

 

My big problem is going to convince DH to go with me to Antarctica! There are many sea days, but I hear the destination is soooo worth it.

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No cooking class, artist loft, organized bridge playing, needle point, library, tea, daytime class on magician's tricks, daytime class on telling jokes, country fair, crew fair, Christmas fair in November? I also get bored on lots of sea days, any ship, any cruise line.

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Good overall review.

 

The part about the lack of entertainment. DH and I are probably "anti'-social". We just don't go to trivia, cooking class, bingo, or socialize with others. He is not retired, so we love "our time". When I chose our cruises, one of the musts, is as few sea days as possible( like only one!) We are full-out at every port, so on the one sea day, it is a quiet, recharge, check-in on work, laundry, kind of day. Not looking for anything else to do.

 

I dont really even know how much or how little there is to do, unless I read the daily program.

 

My big problem is going to convince DH to go with me to Antarctica! There are many sea days, but I hear the destination is soooo worth it.

 

Agree totally. We have several hundred books on our Kindles and even after 53 years of marriage we never run out of conversation or the desire to be " alone."

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Agree with LHT28..if you require 24 hour entertainment Oceania is really not for you. many of us love to read do needlework, play cards and nap. then there are meals, breakfast, tea, lunch and dinner to be had.

Fortunately for most of us there are no hairy chest contests or rock climbing walls but there are lovely places to sit and have a coffee with friends or read or just watch the ocean. we don't feel we have to have a yell fest with trivia or a cooking class every day. the idea of a cruise on a premium cruise is to chill.

You might feel happier and busier on a Mass Market line.

 

Not looking for 24 hours entertainment - how about three or four hours. Even those we spoke to who have traveled on Oceania previously stated the same thing.

 

What I have learned going through these threads is that there are those of you out there that no matter what Oceania can do no wrong. I think they are a very good cruise company that is now depending more on their reputation rather than trying to take the next step. Again, they are good - very good - just not great!

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Not looking for 24 hours entertainment - how about three or four hours. Even those we spoke to who have traveled on Oceania previously stated the same thing.

 

 

I was not on your cruise but just wondering what they did offer ?

What would you have liked them to offer that was not there?

That may help us understand your complaint

 

I am quite happy to read or borrow a movie on sea days when stuck indoors

I realize that it is not what others may prefer

 

Lyn

Edited by LHT28

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It's quite possible that your CD did not organize enough entertainment. I listed a few things we have experienced. Did none of this happen? I understand that lots of sea days can be boring for people not into Bingo, Trivia and playing Bridge.

 

As to your assessment of the food, you lost me when you wrote that you enjoyed the hamburgers and milk shakes more than the Terrace Café. :)

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On our SA cruise, I remember there being golf tournaments, ping pong tournaments, shuffleboard tournaments, bean bag toss tournaments, needle point, bingo, talks by the spa and store personnel, guest speakers, crew fair, trivia and couple of other things. Did none of that happen for you while on your cruise? We were on the Insignia, so there was no cooking classes or anything going on in the Artist's Loft as neither existed, but I do remember the chef's giving cooking demonstrations which were quite entertaining.

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It's quite possible that your CD did not organize enough entertainment. I listed a few things we have experienced. Did none of this happen? I understand that lots of sea days can be boring for people not into Bingo, Trivia and playing Bridge.

 

As to your assessment of the food, you lost me when you wrote that you enjoyed the hamburgers and milk shakes more than the Terrace Café. :)

 

I love the hamburgers, can't drink the milkshakes. After the 4th cruise I've quit trying them. IMO they just simply don't know how to make them, for what I prefer in a milkshake. There are many people that disagree with me. I get enough sugar anyway, it's good that there's a dessert I don't like.

 

Thanks for your review. I also am one that doesn't need ship's activities(although we hardly ever miss trivia) and I like cruises with sea days. We're all different.

 

I would recommend a Med cruise on O in warmer weather. If you're bored then I'd say you just aren't doing it right.

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It's quite possible that your CD did not organize enough entertainment. I listed a few things we have experienced. Did none of this happen? I understand that lots of sea days can be boring for people not into Bingo, Trivia and playing Bridge.

 

As to your assessment of the food, you lost me when you wrote that you enjoyed the hamburgers and milk shakes more than the Terrace Café. :)

 

I was on a team for trivia - took up 35 minutes each day. My wife played bingo - took 45 minutes including standing in line to buy the cards - worked out in the gym 45 minutes - don't play bridge. My comment on the grill and Terrace cafe: read what I stated. Never gave a blanket statement that I enjoyed hamburgers and milkshakes more than the buffet. I said on average the hamburgers and milkshakes were better than most of the buffet food. If you like tough steak and over-cooked lobster meat than the buffet is for you.

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I love sushi, never ate the lobster or the steak in the Terrace Café. I am sorry that you missed a port. We missed Ushuaia and Punta Arenas on our SA cruise on a HAL ship. Lots of passengers were upset.

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I love sushi, never ate the lobster or the steak in the Terrace Café. I am sorry that you missed a port. We missed Ushuaia and Punta Arenas on our SA cruise on a HAL ship. Lots of passengers were upset.

 

Besides the Falklands/Malvinas - those two ports were our favorites.

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Not looking for 24 hours entertainment - how about three or four hours. Even those we spoke to who have traveled on Oceania previously stated the same thing.

 

What I have learned going through these threads is that there are those of you out there that no matter what Oceania can do no wrong. I think they are a very good cruise company that is now depending more on their reputation rather than trying to take the next step. Again, they are good - very good - just not great!

 

 

I'm not an Oceania "cheerleader". I think I just go thru life differently. If I shop at Whole Foods after everything I hear and read about it being called "whole paycheck", and then complain about the high prices of everything, should I really be complaining?

 

If I go to the post office the 4 days before Christmas, and whine about the lines, well, it is all over the news. Why am I surprised,??

 

Food, well as most everyone says, its subjective. Maybe I'm more easy to please than the average person. Everyone raved about the food on O. Was it delicious, yes, did I enjoy some meals more than others, of course. But I also didn't go on the ship thinking it was going to be 5*. Quite frankly, I don't even know what 5* is.... For me fresh berries at breakfast, freshly made ceasar salad, and a nicely grilled steak in the Terrace Cafe is terrific! I wasn't at home cooking it myself!!

 

There is a whole lot of repeat posts about the "lack of entertainment", the tiny casino, the expensive shore excursions etc.

 

I used to cruise Celebrity. Nice line, just got to be too many people, too much "stuff", and noise. I found Oceania. Is it perfect, of course not., is it perfect for us, yes.

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Actually I do agree with your post. I think many of the things I stated in my review did not meet the 100% standard that the "cheerleaders" wanted me to say. I never complained about the food or the entertainment - I thought for the most part the food was excellent (more in the specialty restaurants and less in the MDR and buffet) - I didn't expect great entertainment and therefore I wasn't disappointed by the mediocre production shows (and was pleasantly surprised by the other shows that were presented). Didn't care about the expensive excursions because we did independent excursions (which for the most part were pretty good). My only major disappointment was lack of things to do on a windy rainy cold sea day. Would I take Oceania again? A definite yes! One thing I didn't mention previously: the staff - 98% were great (our butler: a genuine nice person who I would give a 100% score to).

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I would agree with the OP in the assessment. Unless the cruise is port intensive some people are going to be bored.

 

Even the "enrichment" lecturers are sometimes really poor. I remember our cruise last year -- we had a lecturer talking about ancient Greek and Turkish Ottoman history. His expertise was sorely lacking and his expertise was in Alaska Native tribes. I would wish that Oceania would vet them a little better rather than giving them a free cruise and hoping for the best.

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I would agree with the OP in the assessment. Unless the cruise is port intensive some people are going to be bored.

 

Even the "enrichment" lecturers are sometimes really poor. I remember our cruise last year -- we had a lecturer talking about ancient Greek and Turkish Ottoman history. His expertise was sorely lacking and his expertise was in Alaska Native tribes. I would wish that Oceania would vet them a little better rather than giving them a free cruise and hoping for the best.

 

+One

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No cooking class, yes, there was

artist loft, yes

organized bridge playing, yes

needle point, yes

library, yes

tea, yes

daytime class on magician's tricks, yes

daytime class on telling jokes, no, there wasn't

country fair, no

crew fair, no

Christmas fair in November?no

I also get bored on lots of sea days, any ship, any cruise line.

 

There were also at least 2 poker tournaments...

 

Palermo 22/Jerry K - belated THANKS for your recommendation of Cabanas las Lilas in Buenos Aires for lunch - it was great!!

 

Meanwhile, back to this thread:

We were on this cruise with my folks. Their 2nd O cruise, our 3rd, the first for us all together. We had a great time and have signed up for our 3rd and 4th cruises. So you can say I might be positively biased:p

 

The weather did put a bit of a damper on things. Next year O is doing this cruise 3 weeks later (further into summer).

 

I'll try to make my comments so they could be helpful to folks considering O for the first time. Any of us who have already been on O, we already have our own experience ;)

 

Food is always subjective, but that said, I suspect that one person's "boring" may be another's "really tasty and reliable" steak/italian/french/pan-asian. The general style of food on board imo is not super fancy or cutting edge (eg, little if any molecular gastronomy). Other than "Grand" events (one Grand Tea and one Grand Brunch on sea days on this cruise - shorter cruises don't usually see these) the food isn't flashy. It really is country club casual! That is if your club has a CIA grad designing the menus, and a really good food buyer...and the service may be a bit more formal outside of Waves and Terrace Cafe.

 

There seemed a bit more effort this cruise to have local items on the menu (mostly from Buenos Aires) and variety (some nightly specials in the specialties, more theme lunches & dinners in Terrace Cafe than I recall). We did experience 2 tough steaks between the 4 of us over 16 days. One time my DH just ate the tender bits and left the tough ones (huge porterhouse portion), the other time someone sharing our table was offered and accepted a substitute cut (nice, tender filet instead of prime rib).

 

We found plenty of sea day entertainment - for us. But the four of us read at least 7 books so perhaps we weren't looking for too much! I do think the number of sea day activities is oriented toward a ship where many folks might just be hanging out enjoying the view. Or having a really leisurely lunch. So for folks looking for a more bustling tone, I can see where it could indeed be disappointing.

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On Riviera in the Caribbean in 2013 we had one "impromptu" sea day because of storm winds making it impossible to dock. Immediately - about 15 mins after the announcement from the Bridge that we would be skipping the port - the CD came on the PA system and announced a whole list of new activities that he had put together for that day. Including an extra cooking class, additional lecture, some "sports" competitions to be played indoors etc. I can't remember his name but he certainly did a good job in this regard.

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