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First Oceania Cruise, Maybe Last Cruise

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So we finally got to take an Oceania cruise. 14 days in the Caribbean in April. (Yes I'm a bit slow with the review.)

 

So background, the wife and I have been going on cruises over 20 years now, maybe 25 total or more.  We started on Royal Caribbean and at the time it was fabulous. Then we did some Carnival cruises, and they were pretty good too, but Royal was better (and more expensive.)  Then maybe 10 years ago we noticed something changing.  The nickle-and-diming.  Extra cost restaurants, Carnival was even charging for steak in the main dining room. The photographers EVERYWHERE. And the "free" food got worse.

 

So people told use to try Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity.  They are "different."  Long story short, maybe they used to be, but they weren't anymore. We tried them all. Even worse, in the last 5 years we saw the trend to pack MORE and MORE people on bigger ships, but at the same time, "rope-off" more areas/restaurants/pools reserved for "special people" that had suits and bigger rooms. If you weren't "special" this meant bigger crowds and even less public space.

 

So by this time, we have had it with "big" cruise lines.  Our last hope was something like Oceania. So we took a 14-day cruise with 10 port stops including some Caribbean islands we have never been to. We took the eight "free" excursions which cost about $800 extra.

 

So how was it?  We had a great time, much better than I expected. My wife was also apprehensive because she imagined it would be very "formal" with other cruisers being VERY OLD.  We didn't find this to be the case at all. There were only two children aboard, and one of them was the captain's daughter.  

 

The ship was the Regatta which is old, but really, what does that really matter for the most part. The room was comfortable, and I would say pretty typical cruise room size, but the bathroom was VERY small. Otherwise, I would say pretty typical. Normal size balcony.

 

What stood out was the service and food. Everyone was very helpful, and most of the staff got to learn our names. The main dinning room was pretty typical and we only had to wait maybe 20 for dinner a few times. Sometimes not at all. The dinning room food was very good, but the food in many cases didn't change that much from day-to-day. Some soups and appetizers were the same every day, and by the 14th day, we were a bit bored. 

 

The buffet area was small, but they did have a good variety of food in a small space, but at times it did get crowded. You could also order from the cafe, various hamburgers and such, they would give you a number and deliver it to your table. This was all free, including the "surf-and-turf" with lobster at the cafe.  In the buffet they had lobster maybe 25% of the time. The one disappointment was not very many sandwich choices. Maybe one or two for lunch and dinner, and that's it. Usually there were two pizza choices per day.

 

There were two "specialty" restaurants on the Regatta, Toscanna and Polo Grill. We ate at each twice, which is based on your room type.  Both were very good, but not that different from each other in terms of choices. The food was very good, but only a few notches above the dinning room food which is also pretty good. Some of the food was the same as in the dinning room but with a few extras. Like the lobster bisque was similar, but actually had lobsters in it. These restaurants were included, but how many times you were guaranteed to visit  was determined by your room type.

 

The entertainment onboard was OK. There was a comedian and magician and both were good. A few musical numbers were OK. All the singers/dancers were in their very early 20's and were new to the ship. One day there was a cooking demonstration. They had "enrichment" talks ever day given by a woman named "Sandy Cares."  There were no "shopping" port talks, and the talks Sandy gave weren't really about the ports, as much as they were about history 200 years ago. I found them boring, as did my wife, and she normally likes these things.  They could improve this a great bit.

 

As for low-point, I'd have to say its the shopping. Not much choice at all, very little Oceania stuff. Mainly expensive watches and very expensive dresses and suits.  It seems like they were just there to use any on-board credit you might have, and nothing else. I can't imagine they sold much, and nobody ever in them that I saw. Really a waste of space.

 

There was a casino but it never seemed that busy. No photographer or photos sales aboard. Overall, not much to spend money on, which is good. None alcoholic drinks and coffees were free and our room steward stocked our fridge with our favorite drinks. We used room service once, it was free and had a good choice of items. The gym was adequate and never very busy.  I wold say many fellow cruisers were up there in age, but there were younger people too and everyone was friendly. The ship never felt super crowded. We could find a seat at the buffet almost always first time. 

 

So finally, the excursions. So again, this cruise stopped at 10 ports, and we had eight "free" excursions we paid $800 for, or basically four excursions for two people. As most of you know, Oceania (and others) send tons of mailings about all the exotic places they go. But of course, unless you book an excursion or rent a taxis, pretty much all you will see is walking distance of the port.  This is not Oceania's fault, of course, but the reality of cruising.

 

You basically pay $100 per "free" excursion, and for that price you can pick excursions that cost up to $199.  So in theory, buying the excursion package can get you excursions at 50% off assuming you can find $199 excursions. But here is the thing, Oceania excursions cost double what they should cost, so in the end, there is no bargain.  We picked a $159 excursion which basically was a bus that drove around the island for a total of 3 hours. None of the excursions were even worth the $100 each we paid for them. Yes, certainly we cab book our own excursions without Oceania, but that is a pain, and can be risky is some situations. So I do think excursions are a ripe-off and disappointing. A small ship means less of them to choose from.

 

So to summarize, we were pleasantly surprised with Oceania. Overall, service and food were good, and isn't that the most parts of a cruise. Not a super amount of amenities like water parks, but I'll go to a water park if I want a water park.  As cruises go, Oceania was one of the best ones we have gone on in a long time.

 

But we also came to the realization of the limit of cruises. Unless you are going to spend a very large amount of money on excursions in addition to the cruise fare, then you are really not going to see much of the locations you are visiting. We looked at a Oceania cruise to Europe, and after adding the cost for the excursions we would need to REALLY see Rome and Venice and Florence and Paris and London, it would over double the cruise price. And would we REALLY see these places like we should? 

 

So we decided to pause from cruising a bit, and take land tours instead. Last year we were to take a Princess cruise to Japan, and I'm SO happy we cancelled it for a land cruise.  We had the best time ever during that land tour that wouldn't have happened with excursions. Yes, there is hotel to hotel, but you really see so much more and "live" in the country. 

 

Maybe someday a cruise ship will offer something similar.  Your cruise is broken down into smaller groups, each having a trip leader. When your sailing he/she gives you info on what you will see at each location.  At each port you leave the ship with your group, board a bus, then spend the entire day touring. And your lunch at a local restaurant is always included, maybe dinner too for later departures. The bus arrives back to the ship just before departure and has dinner together if they didn't in-town.  THIS would be a vacation I would be interested in and it would be a real tour, but sadly it doesn't currently exist. Yes, I know Viking Ocean is slightly like this, but not really.

 

So there you have it. Maybe Frank Del Rio will read this and offer it as an option.  Otherwise, for the foreseeable future, its land tours for us.

 

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ano said:

So we finally got to take an Oceania cruise. 14 days in the Caribbean in April. (Yes I'm a bit slow with the review.)

 

So background, the wife and I have been going on cruises over 20 years now, maybe 25 total or more.  We started on Royal Caribbean and at the time it was fabulous. Then we did some Carnival cruises, and they were pretty good too, but Royal was better (and more expensive.)  Then maybe 10 years ago we noticed something changing.  The nickle-and-diming.  Extra cost restaurants, Carnival was even charging for steak in the main dining room. The photographers EVERYWHERE. And the "free" food got worse.

 

So people told use to try Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity.  They are "different."  Long story short, maybe they used to be, but they weren't anymore. We tried them all. Even worse, in the last 5 years we saw the trend to pack MORE and MORE people on bigger ships, but at the same time, "rope-off" more areas/restaurants/pools reserved for "special people" that had suits and bigger rooms. If you weren't "special" this meant bigger crowds and even less public space.

 

So by this time, we have had it with "big" cruise lines.  Our last hope was something like Oceania. So we took a 14-day cruise with 10 port stops including some Caribbean islands we have never been to. We took the eight "free" excursions which cost about $800 extra.

 

So how was it?  We had a great time, much better than I expected. My wife was also apprehensive because she imagined it would be very "formal" with other cruisers being VERY OLD.  We didn't find this to be the case at all. There were only two children aboard, and one of them was the captain's daughter.  

 

The ship was the Regatta which is old, but really, what does that really matter for the most part. The room was comfortable, and I would say pretty typical cruise room size, but the bathroom was VERY small. Otherwise, I would say pretty typical. Normal size balcony.

 

What stood out was the service and food. Everyone was very helpful, and most of the staff got to learn our names. The main dinning room was pretty typical and we only had to wait maybe 20 for dinner a few times. Sometimes not at all. The dinning room food was very good, but the food in many cases didn't change that much from day-to-day. Some soups and appetizers were the same every day, and by the 14th day, we were a bit bored. 

 

The buffet area was small, but they did have a good variety of food in a small space, but at times it did get crowded. You could also order from the cafe, various hamburgers and such, they would give you a number and deliver it to your table. This was all free, including the "surf-and-turf" with lobster at the cafe.  In the buffet they had lobster maybe 25% of the time. The one disappointment was not very many sandwich choices. Maybe one or two for lunch and dinner, and that's it. Usually there were two pizza choices per day.

 

There were two "specialty" restaurants on the Regatta, Toscanna and Polo Grill. We ate at each twice, which is based on your room type.  Both were very good, but not that different from each other in terms of choices. The food was very good, but only a few notches above the dinning room food which is also pretty good. Some of the food was the same as in the dinning room but with a few extras. Like the lobster bisque was similar, but actually had lobsters in it. These restaurants were included, but how many times you were guaranteed to visit  was determined by your room type.

 

The entertainment onboard was OK. There was a comedian and magician and both were good. A few musical numbers were OK. All the singers/dancers were in their very early 20's and were new to the ship. One day there was a cooking demonstration. They had "enrichment" talks ever day given by a woman named "Sandy Cares."  There were no "shopping" port talks, and the talks Sandy gave weren't really about the ports, as much as they were about history 200 years ago. I found them boring, as did my wife, and she normally likes these things.  They could improve this a great bit.

 

As for low-point, I'd have to say its the shopping. Not much choice at all, very little Oceania stuff. Mainly expensive watches and very expensive dresses and suits.  It seems like they were just there to use any on-board credit you might have, and nothing else. I can't imagine they sold much, and nobody ever in them that I saw. Really a waste of space.

 

There was a casino but it never seemed that busy. No photographer or photos sales aboard. Overall, not much to spend money on, which is good. None alcoholic drinks and coffees were free and our room steward stocked our fridge with our favorite drinks. We used room service once, it was free and had a good choice of items. The gym was adequate and never very busy.  I wold say many fellow cruisers were up there in age, but there were younger people too and everyone was friendly. The ship never felt super crowded. We could find a seat at the buffet almost always first time. 

 

So finally, the excursions. So again, this cruise stopped at 10 ports, and we had eight "free" excursions we paid $800 for, or basically four excursions for two people. As most of you know, Oceania (and others) send tons of mailings about all the exotic places they go. But of course, unless you book an excursion or rent a taxis, pretty much all you will see is walking distance of the port.  This is not Oceania's fault, of course, but the reality of cruising.

 

You basically pay $100 per "free" excursion, and for that price you can pick excursions that cost up to $199.  So in theory, buying the excursion package can get you excursions at 50% off assuming you can find $199 excursions. But here is the thing, Oceania excursions cost double what they should cost, so in the end, there is no bargain.  We picked a $159 excursion which basically was a bus that drove around the island for a total of 3 hours. None of the excursions were even worth the $100 each we paid for them. Yes, certainly we cab book our own excursions without Oceania, but that is a pain, and can be risky is some situations. So I do think excursions are a ripe-off and disappointing. A small ship means less of them to choose from.

 

So to summarize, we were pleasantly surprised with Oceania. Overall, service and food were good, and isn't that the most parts of a cruise. Not a super amount of amenities like water parks, but I'll go to a water park if I want a water park.  As cruises go, Oceania was one of the best ones we have gone on in a long time.

 

But we also came to the realization of the limit of cruises. Unless you are going to spend a very large amount of money on excursions in addition to the cruise fare, then you are really not going to see much of the locations you are visiting. We looked at a Oceania cruise to Europe, and after adding the cost for the excursions we would need to REALLY see Rome and Venice and Florence and Paris and London, it would over double the cruise price. And would we REALLY see these places like we should? 

 

So we decided to pause from cruising a bit, and take land tours instead. Last year we were to take a Princess cruise to Japan, and I'm SO happy we cancelled it for a land cruise.  We had the best time ever during that land tour that wouldn't have happened with excursions. Yes, there is hotel to hotel, but you really see so much more and "live" in the country. 

 

Maybe someday a cruise ship will offer something similar.  Your cruise is broken down into smaller groups, each having a trip leader. When your sailing he/she gives you info on what you will see at each location.  At each port you leave the ship with your group, board a bus, then spend the entire day touring. And your lunch at a local restaurant is always included, maybe dinner too for later departures. The bus arrives back to the ship just before departure and has dinner together if they didn't in-town.  THIS would be a vacation I would be interested in and it would be a real tour, but sadly it doesn't currently exist. Yes, I know Viking Ocean is slightly like this, but not really.

 

So there you have it. Maybe Frank Del Rio will read this and offer it as an option.  Otherwise, for the foreseeable future, its land tours for us.

 

 

 

 

 

You have my support and applause for being so wise.  I can't imagine only going on cruises.  We've done a half dozen or so "escorted" tours (Turkey, Israel, SE Asia and more).  One was Patagonia ground and then Antarctica cruise.  Now we're tired of escorted as we never got the "free time" we wanted to go off on our own.  So we'll be mixing it up at least for now.  We're in our early 70s and don't have any real mobility issues (except when I fall!!!!) so we may change our minds over time.  Some years ago we did a Rocky Mountaineers trip from Vancouver to Banff and returning.  A train trip and we loved it.  Keep on going, buddies.

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Thank you for taking the time to review your cruise.   Have you looked into luxury escorted tour groups?   Something like Tauck, or Insight?   We have been on a Tauck several years ago, and it was as you described, smaller groups, better tours, more intimate.   YMMV.  

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2 minutes ago, Cruseforme said:

Thank you for taking the time to review your cruise.   Have you looked into luxury escorted tour groups?   Something like Tauck, or Insight?   We have been on a Tauck several years ago, and it was as you described, smaller groups, better tours, more intimate.   YMMV.  

We find cruises work better for us.  Unpack once and our hotel takes us from place to place.  Pack after 14 days and go home or a hotel for a post cruise stay.  Love Oceania and will keep cruising  until we are not able to.  But different strokes for different folks.  We all need to do what's best for us. 

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1 minute ago, RJB said:

We find cruises work better for us.  Unpack once and our hotel takes us from place to place.  Pack after 14 days and go home or a hotel for a post cruise stay.  Love Oceania and will keep cruising  until we are not able to.  But different strokes for different folks.  We all need to do what's best for us. 

We're doing our first Oceania cruise in December and especially like the eight to ten hours in ports.

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5 minutes ago, clo said:

We're doing our first Oceania cruise in December and especially like the eight to ten hours in ports.

We are doing our 13th or 14th Mid Nov. and think it will be great.  A lot of ports and eating and drinking. Great ship. Riviera.  What could be bad. 

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1 minute ago, RJB said:

We are doing our 13th or 14th Mid Nov. and think it will be great.  A lot of ports and eating and drinking. Great ship. Riviera.  What could be bad. 

We chose Oceania because of the ports and then fell in love with everything I've read.

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3 minutes ago, clo said:

We chose Oceania because of the ports and then fell in love with everything I've read.

Hope you love it as much as we do.  Our go to ships for the last 12 years or so. 

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11 minutes ago, RJB said:

Hope you love it as much as we do.  Our go to ships for the last 12 years or so. 

We did a half dozen or so from about 2001 for about ten years and they just didn't knock our socks off.  I'm kinda 'into' food and those ships just didn't do it for me.  And the ports I described as "either eight hours too long or eight days too short."  We did Hurtigruten for Antarctica last year and adored the small (400 pax) ship.  Did them again for the Norwegian coast (100 pax) and came back to the fold (perhaps) of cruising.  We used to have an apt. in Rio and had spent just a couple of days in Buenos Aires. Wondered if there was a cruise between the two and discovered Oceania.  I have a major crush already.  And we spend two days in Rio at the beginning and two in BA at the end which, for us, is unique.  I'm glad to see OP did like it.  Maybe they've just burned out and need some diversity.

 

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Thanks  for sharing your experiences

Did they not have lobster tails at the grill in the Terrace every night at dinner??

 

We take the Cruise only fare  so no "free" excursion 

We prefer to DIY or book private tours  & maybe share with others on the roll call  something to consider if you cruise again

JMO

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Ano - thank you for taking the time for your excellent summary.

Just one comment and one question:

1 maybe a river cruise might be closer to what you are looking for - a combination of a cruise (no repacking every day) and smaller tour groups with more time to explore the locales (a little more like land tours).

2 You mentioned that lobster was available about 25% of time in Terrace Cafe. It is normally available daily - has that changed?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, clo said:

We're doing our first Oceania cruise in December and especially like the eight to ten hours in ports.

 

O is moving in the direction of significantly more port time on selected itineraries. In the upcoming Southampton to NYC "Extended Journey," there will be two overnights while in Reykjavik.

 

5 hours ago, LHT28 said:

Thanks  for sharing your experiences

Did they not have lobster tails at the grill in the Terrace every night at dinner??

 

Just got off Nautica in Dublin (and was on Sirena earlier this year). As usual on all O ships, lobster is still available nightly in the Terrace Café.

 

6 hours ago, clo said:

.....we spend two days in Rio at the beginning and two in BA at the end which, for us, is unique.... Maybe they've just burned out and need some diversity.

 

 

I write this from Dublin two days after disembarking 18 days on Nautica. Like our four pre-cruise nights in London, we're spending five nights here.

In August/September we'll frame our Southampton to NYC cruise with land stays at each end and will precede a later Cape Town to Singapore with a Kruger Safari.

As much as possible, we strive to start/end in different/interesting ports (either new to us and/or a favorite location) to get the best of both worlds (sea and land) while maximizing airfare value. We also prefer longer itineraries with a fair share of sea days and the occasional overnight(s) in ports.

Of course, being retired helps with the significant time commitment.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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Posted (edited)
 
7 hours ago, clo said:

We're doing our first Oceania cruise in December and especially like the eight to ten hours in ports.

 

O is moving in the direction of significantly more port time on selected itineraries. For example, in the upcoming Southampton to NYC "Extended Journey," there will be two overnights while in Reykjavik. Also, check out the recent announcement about the in-depth cultural cruises (the "Exotic Collection" in 2020-21) announced for Sirena.

 

5 hours ago, LHT28 said:

Thanks  for sharing your experiences

Did they not have lobster tails at the grill in the Terrace every night at dinner??

 

Just got off Nautica in Dublin (and was on Sirena earlier this year). As usual on all O ships, lobster is still available nightly in the Terrace Café.

 

6 hours ago, clo said:

.....we spend two days in Rio at the beginning and two in BA at the end which, for us, is unique.... Maybe they've just burned out and need some diversity.

 

 

I write this from Dublin two days after disembarking 18 days on Nautica. Like our four pre-cruise nights in London, we're spending five nights here.

 

In August/September we'll frame our Southampton to NYC cruise with land stays at each end and will precede a later Cape Town to Singapore with a Kruger Safari.

 

As much as possible, we strive to start/end in different/interesting ports (either new to us and/or a favorite location) to get the best of both worlds (sea and land) while maximizing airfare value. We also prefer longer itineraries with a fair share of sea days and the occasional overnight(s) in ports.

 

Of course, being retired helps with the significant time commitment.

 

PS: We've thought about the potential of a World Cruise for better overall value vs the "bottom line" total expense of several multi-segment cruises over the same time span. But, family, friends and other commitments, as well as less flexibility in World Cruise itinerary planning (and the loss of our current land extensions) make the World commitment unlikely in our future planning.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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Cruising is a relatively inexpensive and stress free way to sample places at different scattered locations. We are presently on the Insignia, cruising from Southampton to Miami with stops in Ireland, Canada, NYC and Bermuda. The cost of doing the same itinerary via air, hotel, rental car and restaurants would be astronomical compared to the cruise. It is a great way to discover distant places that pique one’s interests for further exploration without a huge investment in time and money.

 

As for O, the smaller ships are limited by space but we love them because of the lack of crowds, the ability to dock at smaller ports (St. George, Bermuda immediately comes to mind), the ease to get to know fellow passengers and staff, and the lack of the revenue hustling that occurs on most other lines. The food, the service, the pleasant ambiance and the wonderful beds are also top tier.

 

Regarding shore excursions, the are pricey. But O doesn’t require anyone to take them and passengers are free to book their own private tours. Additionally, with OLife choice, passengers have the option to take the option that best suits them as well as the option to use O’s air or not.

 

Lastly, Lobster is available everyday in both Waves and Terrace as well as Polo and Toscana. It also appears with regularity in the Grand Dining Room, not just the “special” end of cruise dinner.

 

 

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Thank you for your detailed review and good to read it was a mainly positive experience.

It is wonderful that we have so many choices with travel and cruising.

We have been fortunate to cruise with Oceania and enjoyed the experience.

We thought the food, service and staff to be very good.

Agree about the land travel too but that can be part of the trip, with pre/post stays.

We do not like being herded so we enjoy independent travel at our own pace, but sometimes its nice to just relax and allow others to cater to our needs.

We thought Oceania did that well. 

Thanks again.

 

 

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Wow!!  Your review could have been written by me.  Thirty plus cruises (previous Princess fans...no longer for many of the reasons you stated) and we have decided to give Oceania a try.  Our original reason was the four days in Cuba on July 11th, which we all know what happened with that.  So, in two weeks we will do our usual Caribbean tour...again...but with a different cruise line.  I'm hoping to like Oceania as I love to cruise and don't want to give it up.  I understand how you feel about land trips.  I just returned from a three week land trip with a group of ten in the Middle East. Yes, you really get to say you've been "there" on that kind of trip as opposed to 6-10 hours in a port.  At this point, Oceania is our last try at a cruise.  After that, it's fly direct for us.  Great review!!

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Thank you for your review.  We have done 6 ocean cruise, 5 with Oceania and have another Oceania cruise booked for 2021.  We have done 3 Viking River cruises and one more booked for April 2020.  But we are most excited that in 2 months we will do an Insight bus tour that will tour Italy and Sicily for 17 days.  I am hoping this will let us see more of the places we visit.  I do like organized tours but hope we get enough free time to explore on our own.  Almost all hotel stops are for 2 nights.  

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14 hours ago, LHT28 said:

Thanks  for sharing your experiences

Did they not have lobster tails at the grill in the Terrace every night at dinner??

 

We take the Cruise only fare  so no "free" excursion 

We prefer to DIY or book private tours  & maybe share with others on the roll call  something to consider if you cruise again

JMO

 

Many, myself included, only purchase the cruise only fare  because we realize the O life  is really you paying the cost.      Like  LHT,  we never use the ships tours  and prefer to  do our own for 1/4 the cost..       Many  do advanced home work on the ports we  will visit and already have more than enough info to enjoy without any help.     One reason I would never book Viking with its packages of " mandatory " shore ex  (  you pay for them whether you want to or not )   

 The idea of being packaged in a group all day with all the meals, every port  would get tedious  fast.      Most O passengers  do not want their hand held and want to feel their freedom of choice.... loathe the 50 passenger bus ride. with a leader.     

 

 I am surprised....  Waves ( which they call  the cafe)  has maybe 12 different sandwiches    Second,  I cant understand  that people would  thing Polo and Toscana  served anything like the other   Steak house  VS Italian

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Cheers  to Hawaiidan on his 6/29/2019 post.  Glad to hear there are a few Oceania cruisers who use DIY (do it yourself) in lieu of paid shore excursions.

 

I like interactions with locals when I travel.  I get to spend most of my year with Americans.  Yes, you should plan ahead and use common sense.  Our last trip on Oceania had a stop at Tangiers, Morocco.  The wife was worried and stayed on the ship.  I walked all over, but was careful to try and stay on main streets with lots of people and in the daylight. 

 

Another thing is to find smaller towns or suburbs near the port city.  Often there may be no shore excursions to them, but they have the benefit of not being swarmed with tourists.  Local public buses and trains can be reasonably priced and often have local passengers willing to help tourists.  Sometimes even foreign tourists will help you.  A  French couple once helped us get a special train fare from St. Jean-de-Luz FR to Sabastian SP for 20 Euro's round trip for both my wife and I (conversation with them was free)

 

My next Oceania cruise is a 10 day Baltic cruise from Stockholm in August which we will fly into after 4 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  At the Warnemunde port stop, I will get to do my favorite past DIY excursion to Stralsund via train from Warnemunde and Rostock.  It is a wonderful former East German town on the Baltic which was largely spared during WWII due to very little military or industrial value.

 

I will take Oceania shore excursions to use onboard ship credits that are not refundable.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, UDSpud said:

My next Oceania cruise is a 10 day Baltic cruise from Stockholm in August which we will fly into after 4 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  At the Warnemunde port stop, I will get to do my favorite past DIY excursion to Stralsund via train from Warnemunde and Rostock.  It is a wonderful former East German town on the Baltic which was largely spared during WWII due to very little military or industrial value.

 

We are doing the shorter version of this cruise in a few days, and I LOVE the idea of the Stralsund visit.  I am going to see if my family are interested in doing this; we have nothing planned at all for Germany, particularly since my parents visit there so frequently.  I'm delighted that you mentioned this.  Thanks!

 

I'm also rather envious that you are doing the Fringe Fest.  I have cousins who live on the Royal Mile and I NEVER think to take advantage, I mean, visit them during August when all the awesome things are happening.  😉  They are probably just as happy that their freeloading American cousin hasn't turned up, lol.  Anyway, have a great time!

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3 hours ago, skiladyldp said:

I do like organized tours but hope we get enough free time to explore on our own.  Almost all hotel stops are for 2 nights. 

I'm trying to remember if our recent escorted tours had many/any two nights.  That will make a huge difference.  On a couple of recent ones, the "free time" that they tout was actually prior to getting to our hotel.  By the time we got there it was practically time for dinner and then leave the next morning.  We loved all that we saw but that was off-putting enough that we're disinclined to do it any more.

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1 hour ago, UDSpud said:

Cheers  to Hawaiidan on his 6/29/2019 post.  Glad to hear there are a few Oceania cruisers who use DIY (do it yourself) in lieu of paid shore excursions.

 

I like interactions with locals when I travel.  I get to spend most of my year with Americans.  Yes, you should plan ahead and use common sense.  Our last trip on Oceania had a stop at Tangiers, Morocco.  The wife was worried and stayed on the ship.  I walked all over, but was careful to try and stay on main streets with lots of people and in the daylight. 

 

Another thing is to find smaller towns or suburbs near the port city.  Often there may be no shore excursions to them, but they have the benefit of not being swarmed with tourists.  Local public buses and trains can be reasonably priced and often have local passengers willing to help tourists.  Sometimes even foreign tourists will help you.  A  French couple once helped us get a special train fare from St. Jean-de-Luz FR to Sabastian SP for 20 Euro's round trip for both my wife and I (conversation with them was free)

 

My next Oceania cruise is a 10 day Baltic cruise from Stockholm in August which we will fly into after 4 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  At the Warnemunde port stop, I will get to do my favorite past DIY excursion to Stralsund via train from Warnemunde and Rostock.  It is a wonderful former East German town on the Baltic which was largely spared during WWII due to very little military or industrial value.

 

I will take Oceania shore excursions to use onboard ship credits that are not refundable.

 

 

You sound like our kinda traveler!  Thanks for a terrific report.

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Interesting..what it sounds like the OP is really looking for is a River Cruise..it does everything he wants but you dont have to go from hotel to hotel..OP take a look at AMA my favorite river cruise line..

Stu and I took two land tours and that was enough for us..I thought the packing and unpacking was awful (for  me) and luggage out early in the morning and bus for 40 on and off all day long..enough said..

With all of that..I love Oceania and sometime this year I will be trying Silver Sea..looking forward to it..

Jancruz1

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10 minutes ago, Jancruz said:

Stu and I took two land tours and that was enough for us.

We were slow learners I guess.  And language can be an issue.  For instance, SE Asia.  I can't imagine doing Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam on our own.  And our Turkey and Israel trips were awesome.  Although even then we started getting the picture.  The Turkey days were long and we were too tired to go out on our own.  Anyway we're hoping that O will give us some of the best of both worlds.

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