CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Oceania Cruises Regatta Eastern Caribbean November 25, 2003

We had previously cruised twice with Renaissance Cruise Ship Line. The Oceania Cruise Line was formed after the bankruptcy of Renaissance. Regatta was previously know as the R2.

We received the brochure about the startup of Oceania and immediately booked 2 cruises. We had always enjoyed the size of the ship, and the penthouse suites staterooms. The price was right at $4314.00 each for the first cruise, 16 days, and $3714.00 for the second, 14 days.

My wife and I recently returned from the first cruise, Barcelona to Lisbon, leaving Oct. 25, 2003. The cruise was fair, the cuisine was excellent, but food does make the whole cruise. The dining room staff needed a lot of improvement, lack of training seemed to be very evident. The service was extremely slow. The room stewardess was a disaster, it never improved, we had to communicate via notes left on the bed, as we never saw her. We thought that a lot of the problems were due to the fixed gratuity, there is no incentive for the help to perform better to help increase the gratuity. They get the same if they do nothing.

We had booked the second Regatta cruise which was sailing from Miami on Nov. 25, 2003. We had flew home from Lisbon to Calif., and back to Miami. Embarkation was a disaster, it took over one hour standing in a line that was very disorganized. Embarkation does not start until 3 PM, on the Regatta. I think this alone is a bad policy, as customers are arriving at all times of the day.

We booked a PH suite just one staterooms from our prior room and were expecting the same girl. It wasn't, it was worse. The last day of the cruise she was banging on our door, 15 minutes after she thought we should have vacated the room. We left the room but we really didn't need to for another 30 minutes, as suite passengers are allowed a little extra time.

The dining room staff seemed to improve and became more friendly. It was like they had had a pep talk.

The ship had not been fully restocked for some reason in Miami. I ordered V8 juice the first morning and was informed there was no V8. I had V8 juice for 2 weeks straight on the cruise 2 weeks prior. They eventually ran out of tomato juice, lemonade and if you can believe it Orange Juice, they were serving a orange juice substitute, maybe TANG.

The ship never made CNN plus several other channels available on the TV, they had been available on my previous cruise in Europe. They did manage to get up and running a pay per view movie channel, including XXX movies at $10.99 per viewing I guess that they felt seniors needed some excitement as there sure wasn't any exciting entertainment offered on board.

The crowning blow was that the overpriced soft drinks, wine, beer, bottled water and all other drinks had received a 15% gratuity charge added to the bill. Without any notice this was increased to 18%. The bad will that was created by this can never be repaired. If your going to raise the gratuity at least give the customer the courtesy of notifying them. I got a little more upset then most and was called into the hotel managers office and was told in no uncertain terms that I was out of hand by my attitude, he verbally talked about having me removed from the ship.

We had booked two back to back cruise in May 2004, which have been cancelled. We have traveled extensively for over 30 years , somewhere in the area of 35 cruise, this was I have rate as my all time worse experience.

John & Mary Bailey 5965 Oak Valley Court Santa Maria, CA 93455 Phone: 805-934-4422 Email:

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