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ricka47

First Time on O Short Review: Civilized Yet Comfortable

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We just completed an 11-night cruise on the Insignia in a B-1 cabin (6062).  To me, our experience can be summed up as civilized yet comfortable for my wife and I who are in our late 60s. There were few lines anywhere, no stress, and it's not "stuffy" in any way.  The food is mostly very good (better than the specialty restaurants on the mainstream lines) and the crew is great. 

 

Fellow passengers seemed somewhat friendlier than we've seen on other lines.  The smaller size of the ship may have played a role here.  Also, unlike other lines, there seemed to be no competition to see how well the drink package could be used each day.


Celebrity's Aqua Class had been our favorite way to cruise until this sailing.  However, the food in the GDR on Insignia was consistently better than what is found in Blu and certainly much better than in the MDR on Celebrity or HAL.

 

The entertainment was better than we expected as we've become a bit bored with the "singers and dancers" production shows on the mainstream lines.  But, on this cruise, the show band was very good (which is usually always the case) and the singers and dancers were talented and engaging as were the other guest performers.


The Insignia was the smallest ship that we had ever sailed (the Empress of the Seas at about 48,000 tons was the smallest previously) but that was a non-issue as everything that we needed was there.  I joked to my brother that it's like a real cruise ship only smaller.   She was in great shape and it was extremely easy to get from one place to another.  Forgetting something in your cabin did not require a major trip despite the teeny tiny elevators (whose idea was that?) on the Insignia.

 

Our cabin was small but nicely designed and, while the bathroom was indeed the smallest that we have ever seen on a ship, it caused us no problems at all.  I'm 6'1" and 185 pounds and the shower was tight but OK.


Two other things (besides the tiny elevators) had us scratching our heads although they are very far from deal breakers as we're already booking our next O cruise:

1.) RCI can have us aboard the Oasis class ships as early as 1030 and cabins available by 1300.  On O it is much later for both.  (5400 vs 650 passengers - go figure!)

2.) When coming back from the ship on a hot island there was no tent, chairs, drinks, or iced towels.

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Thank you ricka47, I am looking forward to our first Oceania cruise on the Insignia doing more or less the same cruise as you just one night shorter. I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will be mostly dry. We have been to all the stops before with the exception of St. Barts.

I have lost about 12 pounds over the last couple of months in order to enjoy the food and put it back on again :classic_biggrin:

One question, how did you find the internet on board?

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2 minutes ago, Darspurs said:

Thank you ricka47, I am looking forward to our first Oceania cruise on the Insignia doing more or less the same cruise as you just one night shorter. I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will be mostly dry. We have been to all the stops before with the exception of St. Barts.

I have lost about 12 pounds over the last couple of months in order to enjoy the food and put it back on again :classic_biggrin:

One question, how did you find the internet on board?

 

I teach online and had previously cancelled a trip due to the cost and reports of unreliable Internet on Oceania.  Yet, we had no issues at all with the Internet on this cruise.  It was included in the fare and my wife and I were able to share one connection by kicking each other off as needed. 

 

As far as weight, I dropped a few pounds  before getting on this one and have not been brave enough to get on a scale yet.  We were pretty active with 5 excursions along with some time in the gym and my pants don't feel too much tighter although I know that there has to be some extra weight there somewhere!

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thanks for sharing

 

They used to have a small area with shade and drinks  by the gangway ..maybe this has changed

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3 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

thanks for sharing

 

They used to have a small area with shade and drinks  by the gangway ..maybe this has changed

 

I did notice that a tent and a few chairs were set up towards the end of the cruise.  I'm not sure of the reasons for the inconsistency.  But, it was no big deal at all.  It just seemed a bit odd to me.

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Not all ports  did they have the tent out ..maybe to do with the  port regulations ????

 

 

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6 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

Not all ports  did they have the tent out ..maybe to do with the  port regulations ????

 

 

 

That may have something to do with it.  But, in at least one port that I can remember, the Celebrity Equinox was was next to us and had a nice tent, chairs, drinks and iced towels and we just had the hand sterilizer thing.  But, with all the other positives on this cruise, this is an extremely minor thing.

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OP: 

So interesting that your comments pretty much mirror those of many other former Celebrity cruisers who are now Oceania regulars.

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6 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

OP: 

So interesting that your comments pretty much mirror those of many other former Celebrity cruisers who are now Oceania regulars.

 

Yes, we talked to one couple onboard Insignia who were told by a Celebrity CD that they were too old and not the demographic that X is seeking.  Nevertheless, we still like Celebrity but when we want a mainstream line, HAL's prices are much more in line with what we would expect to pay than the prices that X is currently asking.

Edited by ricka47

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43 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

 

That may have something to do with it.  But, in at least one port that I can remember, the Celebrity Equinox was was next to us and had a nice tent, chairs, drinks and iced towels and we just had the hand sterilizer thing.  But, with all the other positives on this cruise, this is an extremely minor thing.

 

Glad you had a great time. We were also pleased that the food in GDR on Oceania is better than Blu and specialty restaurants on Celebrity.

 

We were surprised about having no tent, iced towels, drinks also, but didn't miss those obnoxious, swarming photographers...  :classic_biggrin: 

Edited by Rob the Cruiser

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40 minutes ago, Rob the Cruiser said:

 

Glad you had a great time. We were also pleased that the food in GDR on Oceania is better than Blu and specialty restaurants on Celebrity.

 

We were surprised about having no tent, iced towels, drinks also, but didn't miss those obnoxious, swarming photographers...  :classic_biggrin: 

 

Yes, I will trade the lack of photographers for iced towels any day!

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51 minutes ago, Rob the Cruiser said:

We were surprised about having no tent, iced towels, drinks also, but didn't miss those obnoxious, swarming photographers...  :classic_biggrin: 

 I guess each line has it's Pro's & Con's 

People just have to pick the line that works best for them 😎

 

 

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Maybe there is no ice,  towels etc because the line to re-board is rarely very long so not much waiting.    They do usually put up a tent if only for the crew on duty.    Your review says everything we feel about Oceania, very succinctly written.  Thank you.    We find the little lifts are not often full up  and frequently empty, so never a problem.

I think RCI having guests boarding as early as 10.30am is the exception rather than the rule.   If you are in a suite higher up the scale on Oceania you can board at 11.am .  and your suite is ready by 1pm.   J   

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15 minutes ago, Jay23 said:

Maybe there is no ice,  towels etc because the line to re-board is rarely very long so not much waiting.    They do usually put up a tent if only for the crew on duty.    Your review says everything we feel about Oceania, very succinctly written.  Thank you.    We find the little lifts are not often full up  and frequently empty, so never a problem.

I think RCI having guests boarding as early as 10.30am is the exception rather than the rule.   If you are in a suite higher up the scale on Oceania you can board at 11.am .  and your suite is ready by 1pm.   J   

Good point about the elevators/lifts.  Even on the final day, when it can take forever to get an elevator on the mainstream lines, it was not an issue.

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1 hour ago, Jay23 said:

Maybe there is no ice,  towels etc because the line to re-board is rarely very long so not much waiting.     

 

I've cruised on many large mass market ships and I've cruised on Oceania , as well as on ships with sizes in between. I can't recall that there was generally a huge difference in the time it takes to re-board any of them, not counting the time it might take to get an elevator once you're on board.

 

I can't understand Oceania's refusal to spend the minuscule amount of money it would take to provide ice, towels and water for re-boarding passengers. 

 

We recently got back from a Bermuda cruise on NCL Escape (same corporate family as Oceania), which was carrying about 5,000 passengers . NCL, as it always does, provided these amenities . I turned to my wife and commented that this was one of the things that NCL does right and that I couldn't understand why Oceania doesn't do it.

Edited by njhorseman

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5 hours ago, ricka47 said:

our experience can be summed up as civilized yet comfortable

OK...this may sound pedantic, but I'm curious about your choice of words..."civilized yet comfortable".  Typically "yet" used this way, as a conjunction, means "but at the same time" or "but nevertheless".  Surely you weren't expecting something that was civilized to be uncomfortable, were you? 

 

Please don't take this the wrong way...I'm not trying to be critical, but it did strike a note with my curious side.

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Thanks Ricka47, excellent review.  We are (were) very loyal to X, started in 1993, however, our last X cruise, Sept 2018 Can/NE on Summit, we did notice that everything had changed, not too bad, but everything of lesser quality, even the bathroom washcloths were paper thin.  Service people and Purser's desk, just OK, Food was OK, but not up to the standards that we had come to expect on X.  Newer pax probably would not notice anything.  Agree with you that X prices have increased substantially over the last 1- 2 years.  Was reluctant to try other lines, due to loyalty level -elite-, but when we 1st tried O in April 2016, we really loved everything they offered.  Going on 4th O cruise soon.  You pay a little more pp/pd, but you get more, and a really superior experience.  Went on HAL (friends were going and asked us to join), Nov 2018, and again in Feb 2019, and really liked everything about it.  When on that last X cruise, Loyalty director was very friendly and outgoing.  He was the best part of cruise.  He told us that X's major competition was HAL, and I now know why.  For price of HAL, even with extra charges, they give a really nice product.  I have noticed that O prices have also increased over the last 1 - 2 years.

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22 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

OK...this may sound pedantic, but I'm curious about your choice of words..."civilized yet comfortable".  Typically "yet" used this way, as a conjunction, means "but at the same time" or "but nevertheless".  Surely you weren't expecting something that was civilized to be uncomfortable, were you? 

 

Please don't take this the wrong way...I'm not trying to be critical, but it did strike a note with my curious side.

Perhaps the "yet" should have been "and."  There was a couple on the ship that brought six suitcases as they were expecting a much more formal atmosphere for some reason.  So, what I meant is that the atmosphere on O is very civilized without being stuffy.  I don't want to bring six suitcases for an 11-night Caribbean cruise. 

 

So, yes, (to me anyway) there is such a thing as being civilized yet quite uncomfortable.  Especially as the cruise progresses and that tux just won't button any longer!

Edited by ricka47

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6 hours ago, ricka47 said:

1.) RCI can have us aboard the Oasis class ships as early as 1030 and cabins available by 1300.  On O it is much later for both.  (5400 vs 650 passengers - go figure!)

 

 I have never sailed on one of the  behemoth ships  but  wonder just how clean your cabin is if they can turn the whole ship around in such a short time frame  ?

Do they bring on extra cleaning crew  to make the task go faster  or do they just skip some  the cleaning in parts of the cabin?

A rhetorical question  so no need to answer  but it does give one food for thought  🤔

 

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2 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

There was a couple on the ship that brought six suitcases as they were expecting a much more formal atmosphere for some reason. 

 Obviously did not do their research

6 suitcases 😲

I take 1 each for  up to a month

Maybe they were going on a longer cruise

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2 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

 I have never sailed on one of the  behemoth ships  but  wonder just how clean your cabin is if they can turn the whole ship around in such a short time frame  ?

Do they bring on extra cleaning crew  to make the task go faster  or do they just skip some  the cleaning in parts of the cabin?

A rhetorical question  so no need to answer  but it does give one food for thought  🤔

 

 

I don't know, but we're Diamond on RCI and have sailed the Oasis three times and every cabin has been as clean from start to finish as our cabin on O.  I don't know how they do it.  But, on every cruise we've had, I'm always amazed how well the cabin stewards/stewardess do the job while working around the schedule of the guests.

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