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bradpole

Wonderful cruise on Insignia!

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Good morning from pier 90 in Manhattan!

 

We are currently waiting on our favorite sofa in Martinis for our luggage tag to be called to conclude what was a wonderful cruise on Insignia to New England, Halifax, and wonderful Bermuda!

 

Once we return to our home and settle in I’ll be back with some notes/oberservations. In the meantime if you have any specific questions feel free to ask and I’ll be happy to address them.

 

P.S. having just seen the announcement on the major enhancements coming to the R class ships we are anticipating our next cruise on the wonderful Insignia even more!

Edited by bradpole
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We are back from a wonderful cruise on Insignia to Newport, Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax, and St. George Bermuda. We did similar itinerary last year (last year’s included Hamilton Bermuda as well as St. George), after a few days onboard last year we booked for 2018. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have such a great cruise leaving and returning to NY, an easy drive from our home in Wilmington, Delaware.

This won’t be a full detailed review, just some stray observations and experiences.

Arrival/Embarkation: We arrived to the pier to a confused parking attendant who wasn’t expecting any passengers for Insignia to be arriving by car and wanting to park. After a quick phone call she determined how much it would be for us to park, we already knew the price $400...OUCH, but she needed to verify how long our cruise was. After paying we were directed to go up to pier 90 and park there (where the ship was docked). The attendant at pier 90 was also confused, he wanted us to park at pier 88 for Norwegian Gem, “No one is supposed to arrive with their own car for this ship!” After showing proof we were in fact passengers for Insignia he let us park on pier 90 and we were easily able to get our luggage down to a porter. Promptly at 11 checkin was opened for Suites, a short while later Concierge (our category) and we were onboard in the Terrace cafe by 11:30! Other than some minor confusion with the port authorities for parking our car embarkation was painless and quick!

Cabin: We had cabin 7026, a wonderfully located cabin forward port side. Yes the bathroom is small, but honestly it didn’t bother us. We have had bigger bathrooms on new ships that were ineffectively designed that made them less user friendly (HAL’s Koningsdam comes to mind). We were easily able to find space for all the clothes we brought in the closets and drawers. Whenever we drive to the port I tend to massively overpack, and this time was no different! We made one request for our cabin attendant, to replace the minibar contents with sparkling water or club soda and that was quickly completed! I have no idea how many cabins our attendant was responsible for but ours was always promptly serviced and we never lacked for anything (towels, soap, etc..).

Food: WONDERFUL! We ate almost all our meals in the Terrace Cafe except our allocated reservations in Toscana and Polo Grill. Terrace Cafe for dinner could be a bit crowded (including a small line for grilled items) depending on what time we went, generally we’d wait until after 7:15 and things were less crowded. I use the term “crowded” loosely, a “crowd” on Oceania is just a few people compared to a mass market ship! The day after Halifax was the only dinner menu that was less than thrilling in Terrace Cafe, “American”. This menu included grilled whole lobsters! Sadly unlike last year when the lobsters were served via seperate line outside this year they were served inside at the grill causing a bit of a wait for those of us who only wanted a Rib Eye steak (or other grilled items) instead of the lobsters. To make matters worse, the next night the very same menu was repeated including the grilled lobsters! For lobster lovers I’m sure they were in heaven, us on the other hand not so much, but oh well!

We visited afternoon tea a few days and ate too many wonder treats! We arrived a little before 4 and had no issues finding a table to sit. Promptly at 4 the treats and sandwiches were served, and many offers to refill our plates were made.

Baristas: We enjoyed many wonderful coffee drinks each morning, and several afternoons! Every morning I would arrive around 5:45 to read and promptly at 6:30 when he opened the Barista would have our drinks ready for us! After two mornings he quickly remembered I’d have an Americano and DH a mocca latte!

Our meals in Polo and Toscana were also wonderful, steaks and pasta dishes cooked perfectly! Although both restaurants were fully booked during our visits the staff made us feel as if we were their only responsibility. Never an excessive wait between courses, or the feeling of being rushed!

Ship Condition: Overall I’d say Insignia is in great condition and well maintained. If you set out to find signs of her age, of course you’d find some. DH commented, after overhearing someone complain just how “old and worn out” the ship was to them that we’ve been on practically new ships with more “signs of age” and I would have to agree. Insignia is impeccably maintained! I won’t comment on the decor now that the massive dry dock has been announced since most of it will be changed.

Sea Conditions: Our sea days to and from Bermuda had a few bouncy moments, but nothing too bad, in fact we thought things were calmer than expected especially given the poor weather we experienced on our final sea day home.

Bar Service: This was truly my only disappointment and I considered not even mentioning it here, although I did note it on my comment card. It may sound like I’m harping on an issue, but it did annoy me at times, other times I would find it funny. Keep in mind last year we bought the beverage package and never wanted for a drink, refills came fast and frequently! Sometimes too fast! However since that cruise we no longer drink, even at home. As non drinkers ordering “club soda and lime” I felt we were deliberately being ignored. Sitting alone in Martinis before dinner I’d often have other couples join me at my table. It was more than once they’d be offered a refill of their drinks and I wouldn’t be. I’d even say, “I’ll have another Club Soda and Lime” and when the waiter would return he’d have the two alcoholic drinks and not mine. I’d politely remind him, and he’d say that he would bring it “right over” which of course he wouldn’t. I quickly learned the only way to not be ignore was go up to the bar and get my own drink. Was this a huge inconvenience for me? Not at all, I just found it annoying that my club soda seemed to be an inconvenience for the bar staff. Keep in mind even if non alcoholic drinks weren’t included I would have still ordered my club soda and lime and paid for it. One nice touch I will call out is the bar staff on the pool deck would frequently walk around with a tray of ice water and offer them to those lounging by the pool!

Ports: The ports of call for us were not of much concern, we booked this cruise for pure relaxation, and we received it! In Newport we booked a harbour cruise on the “Rum Runner II” which brought us up close to the lighthouses and told us some local history. Very enjoyable since we have been to the mansions on previous visits.

Boston, we took the Silver Line bus (easily accessed from the terminal) to South Station, transferred to the Red line subway out to Cambridge. We wandered around Harvard, and walked past Julia Child’s old house.

Bar Harbour, we walked the shore path and wandered around town. We have been to Arcadia National Park on previous vacations and opted to just stroll around town before heading back to an empty ship.

Halifax, after having lunch we strolled up to the botanical gardens and enjoyed the walk around the waterfront. If you do walk the waterfront be sure to stop and admire “Got drunk, fell down” (google it, it is a funny art installation).

Bermuda, we enjoyed St. Catherine’s beach both mornings after a nice long walk on our way there. Yes there is construction of a new hotel at the beach but the public beach is still open and mostly deserted! Just keep left at the chain link fence and there is beach access.

Entertainment: We only made one show, the second to final night, a Broadway tribute and the crew salute. What we saw we did enjoy. This was the first cruise for the new production cast and enjoyed chatting with them when we'd see them around the ship during the day. Most evenings we would either retire to the cabin to read or enjoy the string quartet that played in the upper hall.

So in summary we LOVED our cruise and are eagerly anticipating our next cruise on Insignia to Cuba in 2019!

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Thanks for taking the time to write... enjoyed your review very much..

Jancruz1

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Glad to hear you had a great cruise! We will be on Insignia next week and are looking forward to our first Oceania cruise! Interesting that you said they served lobster on the two nights after Halifax since I thought they picked them up in Maine. I have my specialty restaurant reservations those two nights (since they are sea days). I don't eat lobster, and I'm guessing my wife can get her fill of it at other places (including Polo, obviously).

 

Do you know what time regular veranda cabins were able to board?

 

PS thanks for the suggestion of the Rum Runner II. I just booked the 9:30am tour. I already had lunch reservations at 12:45 so we'll have some free time between the end of the boat tour and lunch to walk around. Did you have much trouble getting onto a tender? Since arrival time is 8am I'm hoping I will be on shore in plenty of time for the tour.

Edited by MisterBill99

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Don't they serve lobster every night in the Terrace at the grill station??

 

 

Nice review

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Don't they serve lobster every night in the Terrace at the grill station??

 

Nice review

Just lobster tail, no?

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Just lobster tail, no?

 

Is there anything else on a lobster that I am missing (like the legs that I see people feverishly working on?) :D

The claws are “faux” lobster IMO - the tail is what the lobster is all about :)

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Don't they serve lobster every night in the Terrace at the grill station??

 

 

Nice review

 

Perhaps it’s real fresh Maine and Canadian lobster being served, rather than the frozen warm water lobster?

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Thank you for posting your concise review. I particularly benefited from your activities in various ports as well as the sea conditions. We will be onto our first New England cruise and 1st time on Insignia next week; your review is most timely.

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Is there anything else on a lobster that I am missing (like the legs that I see people feverishly working on?) :D

The claws are “faux” lobster IMO - the tail is what the lobster is all about :)

The claws on the cold water lobsters are the 2nd best part :)

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Perhaps it’s real fresh Maine and Canadian lobster being served, rather than the frozen warm water lobster?

could be that is what they meant

 

I rarely eat lobster anymore so never really look at the Terrace grill selections

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could be that is what they meant

 

I rarely eat lobster anymore so never really look at the Terrace grill selections

 

I’ll do a Terrace reconnaissance mission in a few days. They were cooking fish outside on the grill last night.

 

One note, there is no longer a “taste of Red Ginger” portion on the MDR menu. Tonight is Captains’s night and the Miso glazed sea bass is on it as a regular selection.

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Glad to hear you had a great cruise! We will be on Insignia next week and are looking forward to our first Oceania cruise! Interesting that you said they served lobster on the two nights after Halifax since I thought they picked them up in Maine. I have my specialty restaurant reservations those two nights (since they are sea days). I don't eat lobster, and I'm guessing my wife can get her fill of it at other places (including Polo, obviously).

 

Do you know what time regular veranda cabins were able to board?

 

PS thanks for the suggestion of the Rum Runner II. I just booked the 9:30am tour. I already had lunch reservations at 12:45 so we'll have some free time between the end of the boat tour and lunch to walk around. Did you have much trouble getting onto a tender? Since arrival time is 8am I'm hoping I will be on shore in plenty of time for the tour.

 

Regular cabins were ready promptly at 3.

 

We had no issue getting a tender, we finished breakfast and were in the lounge at 8 and were on one of the first tenders over, and it was fairly empty. The Rum Runner II Cruise doesn’t show you anything you can’t see during the ships sail in or sail out, but it was something different to do.

 

Enjoy your cruise! We wish we were still onboard!

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The claws on the cold water lobsters are the 2nd best part :)

 

The claws are my favorite part! I find them tastier than the tails that everyone else wants.

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The claws are my favorite part! I find them tastier than the tails that everyone else wants.

I agree

We only had cold water lobster growing up & when they would do a lobster boil the kids would get the claws YUMMM

I think we had the best part :halo:

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When did you change the clock for/in Bermuda

I was also wondering about this. Given that Halifax is in the same time zone, I'm guessing it was the night before getting there. Given the late arrival time in Halifax, it shouldn't be a big inconvenience.

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I’ll do a Terrace reconnaissance mission in a few days. They were cooking fish outside on the grill last night.

 

One note, there is no longer a “taste of Red Ginger” portion on the MDR menu. Tonight is Captains’s night and the Miso glazed sea bass is on it as a regular selection.

 

Where is this outside grill? Waves? Or is there one outside the doors on the deck at the back? Never seen one there.

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Where is this outside grill? Waves? Or is there one on outside the doors on the deck at the back? Never seen one there.

I seem to recall one on the Aft deck

but we rarely go out there so Buggins can confirm the location

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We board in 8 days and are so looking forward to it. We sailed on the Marina and, although the cabins were large, they were not well designed. There was no space for our folded clothes and the shower head was at head height and, if you were tall, you would have to bend down. We are actually in a suite and are looking forward to space. Appreciate the review.

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When did you change the clock for/in Bermuda

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

The night between Bar Harbour and Halifax we lost an hours sleep, and the night departing Bermuda we gained our hour back.

 

Thankfully the cabin attendants leave a nice little post card reminding you of the time change when you return to the cabin in the evening.

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The claws are my favorite part! I find them tastier than the tails that everyone else wants.

 

You got it right... In fact in Sept I am flying out to Maine to grab some good rolls ( reds..clamshack..thurston...mc loons) claws is it.

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