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Sopwith

What is a reasonable facsimile to Oceania?

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So after going off HAL, Princess and their ilk we switched to O as our favoured cruise line.  After two good and one bad on-board experiences and remarkably poor customer service from their head office we're rethinking our preferences.

 

Is there a reasonable facsimile out there in the same range of price and service, i.e. without getting into the next level of price (Regent, Crystal, et al) and their all-inclusive pricing?  (We drink very little, so not keen to pay for included drinks and wine.  We also prefer not to be locked into ship's tours.)

 

I'm thinking of the likes of Azamara, Cunard, Seabourn, or ???

 

Any advice or insight will be welcome.

 

Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Seabourn is in the same price range as Regent. Which Oceania ships have your cruises on?

 

The short answer is no. Try Viking, Silversea, or Azamara. You’ll likely be back...

Edited by JPR

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Posted (edited)

Seabourn and Oceania and Azamara can be very similarly priced - depends on itinerary. I've been on Azamara & Seabourn so far, Oceania in December [also HAL and Princess- but only Pacific Princess]. We preferred Seabourn to Azamara by a LOT.  And we LOVE the R class ships ;-)  We'll be on a larger Oceania ship and I'm a little concerned about that (it's my in-laws' preference and we're traveling with them). I'd say find a fare & itinerary you like and try something new.....

Edited by Hoyaheel

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37 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

What type of cabin are we talking, oceanview, balcony or suite?

The reason I asked is because we have found a Celebrity sky suite is roughly about the same price as an Oceania Concierge balcony with a lot more perks (free gratuities, free internet for 2, $300 OBC and Premium Beverage package) and it also includes eating in the suite-class only Luminae restaurant and access to their Michaels private lounge. 

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IMO Cunard is a step up from HAL but be advised that is far more formal. If you don’t like dressing up for dinner and the evening it may not be a good fit. Also, Cunard has much larger ships and the food isn’t nearly as good.

 

Just curious, did you try to get the unsatisfactory issues resolved while onboard? The few issues we’ve had we talked to the right people and they were resolved.

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Greetings from South Beach, Sopwith. It is hard to find a line quite like Oceania. The included specialty restaurant, soft drinks, all liquor free coffees and assorted water are not typical. The all inclusives, like Regent, are in another category.  Cunard does offer accommodations at similar prices points, but there is considerable nickle and dime stuff in the lower levels.  Grill class includes perks,  in room liquors and wines, but we had to pay for drinks in the bar outside the Grills and around the ship.We haven't. sailed on QM2 since 2010 so that may have changed. You don't have to wear a tux on formal nights. A dark suit also acceptable, but those tuxes are everywhere. When we were aboard, casual was only acceptable after 6:00pm the first and last night. Informal meant  a suit and tie. On a seven day TA, there were three formal, two informal and two casual nights. It is possible to rent a tux.

 

We sailed QM2 very often because we were 20 minutes from Red Hook, its Brooklyn port, and we enjoyed the ship.

Mary

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Oceania is a couple levels better than Viking.  Better food, service and overall ship comfort.  But if you like included cruise ship excursions you may like Viking.   Bear in mind the included excursion will be fairly basic- walking tour or a bus ride to an attraction. 

Cunard is too formal for us to even try. 

Oceania fits us the best and we’ve been on eight different cruise lines.  We’ve never had major issues and anything minor was quickly resolved while we were on board.  

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1 hour ago, sammiedawg said:

Oceania is a couple levels better than Viking.  Better food, service and overall ship comfort.  But if you like included cruise ship excursions you may like Viking.   Bear in mind the included excursion will be fairly basic- walking tour or a bus ride to an attraction. 

Cunard is too formal for us to even try. 

Oceania fits us the best and we’ve been on eight different cruise lines.  We’ve never had major issues and anything minor was quickly resolved while we were on board.  

Agree, wholeheartedly .  For a Premium line, we also like Celebrity in their Suite Class when an O itinerary does not work for us.

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Posted (edited)

In my opinion Azamara is comparable due to a similar emphasis on itinerary and the fact that its ships are the same “R” class former Renaissance ships as the four owned by Oceania.

 

We have enjoyed our three Azamara cruises very much because the three itineraries were unique: our first had four stops in Sicily plus unique Malta and Salerno, fabulous for us archaelogical ruins fans; our second was RT Venice down the coast of Croatia with a stop at Ravenna with its fabulous mosaics; and our third was RT Amsterdam but all else Norway to the North Cape and back, a gorgeous perfect cruise itinerary.  The small ship size enabled a great fjords experience. And Azamara indeed spends long days and evenings in port.

 

Service on all three was excellent, the food only a tad below Oceania (much closer than we expected) and the entertainment and interaction with the officers much better than on Oceania.  The White Nights deck party and special AzAmazing (sic?) evening were fun special events.  

 

Also Azamara actually hosts CC roll call gatherings while Oceania seems to put as many roadblocks as it can in having one.  (I speak from experience as the organizer of several of them; I kept reminding myself that my nickname is Persistent Pam!)

 

I should mention that we only have sailed on Oceania (11 cruises since 2008) and Azamara (three cruises since 2012), and we are very itinerary driven.  My husband loves the “O” ships and the foodie experience on Oceania so if it sails somewhere interesting (our Barcelona to London itinerary was excellent two years ago), Riviera and Marina are his preference.

 

I very much enjoy sailing on both lines.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by CintiPam

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8 hours ago, Hoyaheel said:

Seabourn and Oceania and Azamara can be very similarly priced - depends on itinerary. I've been on Azamara & Seabourn so far, Oceania in December [also HAL and Princess- but only Pacific Princess]. We preferred Seabourn to Azamara by a LOT.  And we LOVE the R class ships 😉 We'll be on a larger Oceania ship and I'm a little concerned about that (it's my in-laws' preference and we're traveling with them). I'd say find a fare & itinerary you like and try something new.....

Why are you concerned about being on Oceania's larger ships?  They aren't THAT large (although yes, larger than Seabourn or Azamara).  But they use the extra space well.  It's very nice to have 4 specialties as opposed to 2, the handicraft center, and other spaces.  We do like the "R" ships -- we've sailed on them since Renaissance days -- but also like the two larger ships.

 

We never felt overwhelmed by the number of other passengers on Marina and Riviera, whereas we did on ships that were 1750 to 2300 passengers.

 

Have a great cruise whatever you decide,

 

Mura

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2 hours ago, sammiedawg said:

Oceania fits us the best and we’ve been on eight different cruise lines.  We’ve never had major issues and anything minor was quickly resolved while we were on board.  

Agree.

The more lines we try, the more certain we are that O is the best fit for us.

That includes lines like Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking as well as most premium and mass market lines.

Many of the other cruise lines have some great features and we would not hesitate cruising with some of them under the right circumstances but when the cruise is taken as a whole, none of them fit us better than Oceania.

Of course, this is an individual preference and as always, YMMV.

Sopwith - you really should try some of the alternatives to judge for yourself. That is the ONLY way you will have an answer to your question.

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Last summer we took our first Oceania cruise on the Insignia. We had been upgraded to a ph2 after booking guaranteed. We did so because of what we read on CC about the size of the bathrooms. We don't really use or require a Butler.

Comparing it to the ships and lines we have been on in the last four years-

IMO Oceania's food cannot be beat. I like the fact that it is a smaller ship. (The service we received on the crusies line have all been superb.) I love the fact that so much is included in the fare and the alcohol is either alacarte or through a package. DH doesn't drink and I will have a fancy drink and bring my own wine. The entertainment was mediocre. However, watching the ocean and sky is plenty for us.

For us Cunard out does most vessels because of the deck that goes around the ship. I think it was called the promenade (or that could have been a name I remember from when I was a child). Both TA crossings we had a Balcony on deck 11. I think the bathroom may have been close to the same size as the Insignia ph2.  We did not need a suite.The price is right. However, as others have said- they charge for every little thing: water, soda, lattes. It adds up but they have a tea/coffee maker in the cabin. We also liked the detailed information we got on ship's cable showing, sea conditions, location etc. I like the formal nights b/c I get to wear all the fancy dresses bought for other ocassions.

On the Celebrity Summit, we had a Celebrity Suite. Compared to ph2, it was an apartment. Everything was included and the designated restaurant Luminare was good. We felt the entertainment was better. It is a larger ship than the Insignia and I think I would only cruise suite class to avoid crowds. We checked out the buffet and didn't like it.

What are you looking for in a cruise? That is the question we have asked ourselves. People look for different features. We have traveled extensively and would rather have a relaxing experience on the water and don't care if we even get off the ship. We also like not having to fly and all the above ships depart from the NYC metro area.

All that being said- we have booked the Insignia for Bermuda, twice! We enjoyed it that much.

Hope that helps.

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Currently, Oceania is our favorite cruise line.  We have cruised a lot of different cruise lines because we go for the itinerary.  

Here are my very personal opinions of a few lines that you might compare.  

1. Viking - the ship is delightful.  The administration of the line is terrible - early final payments, excursion selection process.  The food in the main dining room was good to excellent.  The specialty restaurants were not - crowded, rushed and unremarkable food.  The included excursions were better than expected.  Music and entertainment options - we found and excellent small group and we danced every night.  

2.  Celebrity Suite Experience - really excellent despite the size of the ship.  Food for suites is very good and its a nice quiet venue.  You get the options of a larger cruise ship but still have some quiet venues.  We cruise this line with family but prefer smaller boats for destinations.  

3. Crystal - Not always more expensive.  We did not get "Crystalized".  We did not think that the food was better than Oceania.  We had anytime dining and the service was poor.  It is more formal and a bit stuffier than lines that we prefer.  

4. Azamara - we had a wonderful time but we found the food to be far inferior to Oceania.  The ambiance was great.  As with the R ships, bathrooms really small if you do not have a suite.  

 

We tend to travel with others so we are not a good judge of meeting people on the ship.  We will do Oceania this year with just the 2 of us but we will share tables etc. so as to meet other travelers.  Looking forward to it.  

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10 hours ago, Mura said:

Why are you concerned about being on Oceania's larger ships?  They aren't THAT large (although yes, larger than Seabourn or Azamara). 

I'm concerned because Riviera has almost 3 times as many passengers as the last cruise I took, and twice as many as the decade of cruises before that. I like smaller ships and fewer passengers. 33times more passengers than the Mekong river cruise we're doing in August ;-)  It's my personal preference. I like being able to get a coffee in the morning without going up 5 decks. That's all. I'm sure I'll have a good time - we always have a good time, even when we decide a trip wasn't our best choice - but I'm still concerned about the changes from what I'm used to ;-) The largest ship we've been on was 2000pax (HAL Westerdam) and we decided never again on anything large. I know that's not very large by today's standards of mega ships, but still, it's our choice not to sail that.....

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After 13 Oceania Cruises we tried Crystal and were instantly crystallized And it  is now our first choice.

We found the the food to be excellent with greater variety than O and of course the lectures on Crystal are fantastic and often something we miss on O. The cabins are smaller than O even in PHSuites but very well laid out with the best butler service we have ever had.

We also did  a b/b on Viking which was very enjoyable but not up to O in food or service. We do not take group tours so can not speak to those which are included on Viking. The ships are new and modern and very well kept but cold and devoid of anything which would provide warmth such as plants and fresh flowers.

Bottom line we recommend looking for the lower priced Crystal  offers off season if you can.

 

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1 hour ago, Hoyaheel said:

 I like being able to get a coffee in the morning without going up 5 decks.

Call room service  then you do not need to go any where

 

Even though the ship is larger  & more people  it really does not feel that much more crowded  than a smaller ship

it is all relative

JMO

Give a try  it is  not anything like HAL

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13 hours ago, TrulyBlonde said:

Agree, wholeheartedly .  For a Premium line, we also like Celebrity in their Suite Class when an O itinerary does not work for us.

Nice to see you,  TrulyBlonde back on  these boards,  Thought you gave up on us.  You have interesting  and helpful things to say so keep it up.   😀

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2 hours ago, Hoyaheel said:

I'm concerned because Riviera has almost 3 times as many passengers as the last cruise I took, and twice as many as the decade of cruises before that. I like smaller ships and fewer passengers. 33times more passengers than the Mekong river cruise we're doing in August 😉 It's my personal preference.

I understand your preference and your preference IS your preference.  While we also like smaller ships (haven't really been on any smaller than the "R" ships I don't think, if we were it was long ago), the size of the "O" ships hasn't bothered us.  Occasionally there could be lines when people wanted to leave the ship in port but nothing like what we encountered on NCL'S GEM some years ago when it seemed to take forever (2300 passengers).  But while on board we never had a feeling of "too many people everywhere" ... I hope you find the same.  If you don't, you'll know to avoid the larger ships in the future.

 

I do have to admit that leaving Marina in Rio at the end of a cruise was terrible.  We were docked as far away from the terminal as possible and the only way to get people off the ship was to load up 8 passenger vans ... this DID take forever.  We discovered that going down to the crew gangway helped enormously.

 

I'm not trying to convince you of anything, just give our perceptions.

 

Mura

 

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I would look at Azamara, if you're comfortable with the R-ship configuration.  Yes, the standard balcony cabins are small; the PH's bigger, including the bathrooms.  But we found the ambience just wonderful, and the food, although specialty restaurants are not included except for PH and up, I thought was quite good.  Their casual dining room where you have breakfast and lunch buffet-style, we particularly liked when it was open for dinner.  The staff is very friendly, and most of the passengers too--more folks from the U.K. 

 

I have been on Riviera once, and I agree it doesn't feel crowded.  But we found it a bit bleak, ambience-wise.

 

If you want smaller than that, with great food and wonderful staff and atmosphere, try the Paul Gauguin, which has something like 325 people, but it sails only in Polynesia.

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5 hours ago, RJB said:

Nice to see you,  TrulyBlonde back on  these boards,  Thought you gave up on us.  You have interesting  and helpful things to say so keep it up.   😀

😘 Thanks RJB.  I just got blasted on the Viking Ocean boards because I discussed their poor service along with mediocre food when comparing to O.  I said that O had a more refined demographic of passengers and that really set them off. LOL

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Thanks, everyone.  Good food for thought.

 

I find it remarkable the number of people who have commented (both in these forums and independently) to the effect that O's on board experience is good but the service from the Miami office is not good.  My problem is not a specific issue, it's more of a systemic attitude issue related to how certain matters are handled and how clients (not customers) are handled.  When I pay upwards of $10,000 for a service I like to feel that my business is valued.  At the moment I'm not getting that feeling from O.  I'm just another number.

 

As for "refined demographics", after having done 20+ cruises there is no doubt that some lines and ships have different levels of "refinement" than others.  I have called it the riff-raff factor in the past.  😉  That's why we avoid the likes of HAL and Princess now.  The riff raff factor is definitely higher.

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9 minutes ago, Sopwith said:

but the service from the Miami office is not good. 

I've been dealing with a specific person who has been super.  Got us upgraded to a concierge veranda, gave pros and cons to the O-life or what it's called, etc.  But this is pre-cruise.  Perhaps when one has a problem it's a different situation.

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SOPWITH

you will find many complaints on several lines about the  office  staff   not knowing much but once onboard the staff seem to have a clue 

Remember most the phone reps work for minimum wage  & have never been on the ships

there is  a high turnover of phone reps on all cruise lines

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On 6/22/2019 at 9:40 AM, Sopwith said:

So after going off HAL, Princess and their ilk we switched to O as our favoured cruise line.  After two good and one bad on-board experiences and remarkably poor customer service from their head office we're rethinking our preferences.

 

Is there a reasonable facsimile out there in the same range of price and service, i.e. without getting into the next level of price (Regent, Crystal, et al) and their all-inclusive pricing?  (We drink very little, so not keen to pay for included drinks and wine.  We also prefer not to be locked into ship's tours.)

 

I'm thinking of the likes of Azamara, Cunard, Seabourn, or ???

 

Any advice or insight will be welcome.

 

Thanks.

I feel your frustration.... I looked around for a year when I got upset with O,  Did hundreds of hours of research,  cost analysis, reviews... you name it to find an alternative.      My  honest conclusion  is that there is nothing even remotely the equal.     So  NO... I wound sucking up a problem I had with O  when I came to the stark reality that O is not perfect, nor am I.      Try as I would, I just could not find the same value, cuisine, ship size, cabins as O.         Sorry.

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