CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Oceania Cruises Insignia Western Mediterranean September 8, 2005

This was my first Oceania Cruise. We went with a group of eight from Venice to Barcelona for 14 days. We arranged our own pre-package in Venice that was very nice and affordable and easy to do with the water taxi from the airport that met us. The hotel provided another taxi to the pier for a cost but the overall expenditures for two were significantly cheaper from the cruise pre-package offer.

Embarkation was easy but we had the Concierge class. This was not worth the extra dollars except for the early boarding and the chance for two nights at the specialty restaurants vs.. one. That is the only value. We got only two items pressed on arrival and they advertise as concierge class- complimentary pressing on arrival- read the very small print.

I loved the small ship and it was great for Europe where you are very busy and tired on port days but I know on a trip with more days at sea I would have been bored with the lack of activates both day and nights. In the casino many of the slot machines were broken for most of the trip.

Ports of Call: We arranged for our own driver in the big cities such as Rome, Florence, and the French Riviera.It was half the price offered from the ship. Other ports we did on our own when we arrived and it turned out great. Most are very walkable and easy to get taxies or boats to the islands and between small cities. We took the ferry between Amlfia coast and Positono and it was very affordable and allowed us time enough to experience both. In Corfu we rented on the spot two taxis who took us all over the island for about $30 per person and we saw the other side of the island, had lunch out and visited the old town. It was Sunday with many closed stores so that was a good use of our time there. It was easy to do it. I was disappointed in the change in 2 ports and we missed Portofino and docked in Genoa and the ship made no effort to accommodate the clients for transportation with the change. I have heard that this is a common Oceania complaint.In addition many of the other clients who did the Oceania shore excursions were very disappointed and felt they were not worth the money or time. We found that even in Rome and Florence many of the experienced travelers took the train in on their own and did just fine

The Service and staff were the best I have ever had but the food was no better than a Princess or Celebrity. The specialty restaurants were ok but did not change the menu from one night to the next and I enjoyed the venue more than the food. I loved the Tapas restaurant and the Terrace for breakfast- great choices and always very fresh with great service.

The entertainment was geared toward those over 70 and this was a very young 40-60 crowd who walked out many shows. We knew in advance though that the entertainment was not what Oceania was all about.

All in all a good experience and I would do Oceania again for Europe of South America but would not spend the money for the Caribbean or Mexico cruises.

Katie Flannigan

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