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Winters Gate

Just get of the Sirena, quick review.

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Hello all, we just got of the Sirena and I thought I´ll do a quick review. As English is not my first language I apologize for any grammatical and spelling errors.

 

We are a couple in our late 40ish who have made four Oceania cruises before this one two on Insignia and two on the Riviera , the last one was however 2 1/2 years ago!

 

First of all, the update of the R class ship is lovely, it´s done so well, they have changed what was not so up to date and retained what is the charm and the beauty of the R class ship, we love the R class ship as well as the O class ship.

The refurbishment of the cabins are also a hit, very modern but still Oceania classy with a nice color scheme.

So was this cruise up to pair with the ones we have made before? Unfortunately not, I think Oceania is going a dangerous way when it comes to food, I mean if you say time after time that you have "the best food at sea" it´s not a great strategy to start cutting cost in that department. Don´t get me wrong the most of the food tasted nice to really nice with some misses but it was so clear that they had limited there menus and started to use lower quality of ingredients. First of all the GDR menus was miles from was i was before, there was five different appetizers, Shrimps and Serrano ham was on every night and there it is a fruit cup witch is really not much to a appetizer so after all it was only two new starters every day, before there was at least five different starters every evening, the same story goes for the maincourse section, now it was like five maincourses+ some plantbased thing, before it was seven maincourses and on the R ships and you also had an option of a dish from Jacques and one from Red Ginger as well, and as I wrote before, the quality of the ingredients was also on a much higher level before. As a matter of fact, before I had problem to choose because it was so many nice things on the menu, now I sometimes had problems to find something that really appealed to me, one night so much that it forced me up to the Terrace cafe and I really do not like buffe eating. Witch leads to another matter.....

As I said buffe is not our type of way of eating, so we tend to eat breakfast and lunch in the GDR. The lunches in the GDR has been our hidden gem at the ship, nice food, nice service with a nice ambience. On our previous cruises with Oceania the GDR had been closed for lunch one or two days in a 10 day cruise and I could live with eating at Waves or Terrace cafe those days. But now Oceania turned everything around, now it was closed eight days out of 10.......here you can talk about cost cutting and cutting i luxury as well........

This cutting i in in menu limitation was like a red thread thrue all the venues but not as clear as i the GDR, some more limited Teatime choices, some cutting in the Waves menu and so on.

One other thing in the GDR was that it seams to be fewer waiters, they where a lot more stressed, they did a good job but it was a little less more time for them to have a chat or to make some extra for you.

However the wineservice was great this cruise and that included the Terrace Cafe where it sometimes has been a challenge to get a drink before, and the barservice at the pool was just one of the best we ever had, the drinks was over all very good and we had a great time with nice weather an lovely people at the ship. And Leslie Jon the CD witch we have cruised with before was as nice and entertaining as ever!

But as we are foodies I´m not sure we will cruise Oceania again because one thing is for sure, they don´t have the" best cuisine at sea" any more!

 


 

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I recommend trying the O Oceania ships, Riviera and Marina. By all accounts the food is great on those two ships, and there are several more restaurant choices. The French restaurant Jacques is exclusively available on those ships and is our personal favorite. Also La Reserve, the Wine Spectator wine pairing restaurant. And their Italian restaurant is separate from their steak and lobster restaurant. 

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Thanks for posting, really appreciate your observations!

 

That you, as a past experienced cuisine-geared O cruiser, feel the food quality seems to be slipping is disappointing and saddening to hear.  We will be on an R class ship (not Sirena though) later this summer and will be able to see for ourselves how the food is compared to the past.  I really hope it hasn't sunk that much or low.  On the other hand, I have read some cruisers have observed that Sirena's food quailty isn't up to the standards as the other R ships, so perhaps it's isolated to just Sirena? 

 

Roughly, our experience regarding the food quality on our last 3 O cruises (all on R ships; we've been all of the R ships except Sirena) were mediocre, then excellent, and the last one was good/very good. 

 

There was a decent length of time that passed between the mediocre experience and the excellent experience because, like you, we value the cuisine quality on our cruises and didn't feel going on a cruise then was a good value for us, so it was a great surprise that when we eventually took another O cruise that the cuisine for that cruise was excellent.  However, the one after that was "just" good/very good, so it has slipped somewhat again and here we are now giving O another go.  If this cruise falls below very good, we will probably look at other cruise lines.  We don't need 7 options, but we need the 5 options to be actual options and not 2 real options surrounded by 3 pseudo options, with the accompanying quality of course.

 

IMHO, the *quality* of the food should should not depend on which ship (O class or R class) one is on; obviously I can understand that the variety and choices are greater on the O ship and they should be, but the quality of a menu item should be close across the line; a chop in Polo should be close not matter which R or O ship one is on.

 

I also am alarmed that the GDR has been closed on more days than not.  Previously, our experience was that it was closed only at ports where most passengers were expected to be on full day excursions (for example, for Civitavacchia, Livorno and any of the ports for Berlin) as coming back for lunch would be too time-consuming.

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59 minutes ago, Winters Gate said:

But as we are foodies I´m not sure we will cruise Oceania again because one thing is for sure, they don´t have the" best cuisine at sea" any more!

We're 'into' food ourselves and it's clear that you know what you're talking about.  Our first O cruise is in December, Rio to Buenos Aires, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.  Did you give them detailed feedback?  Or maybe you could send them what you just posted?

PS:  Your English is SUPERB!  You Europeans put most of us from the US to shame.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Winters Gate said:

Hello all, we just got of the Sirena and I thought I´ll do a quick review. As English is not my first language I apologize for any grammatical and spelling errors.

 

I agree with Clo:  There is no need to apologize for your English!  So many of our compatriots have grammatical and punctuation errors (sorry, that's MY prejudice) that again, you do just fine.

 

We were on Riviera in May 2018 which I think is about the time they rolled out the new menus in GDR and we were very disappointed. There were far fewer choices than used to be because of more repetitions.  I did complain here at the time as well as on the passenger review forms.  They simply reduced choices, and repeated courses far more frequently than they had in the past. (We started out with Renaissance and switched to Oceania pretty much as soon as it came into existence.)  One reason we always liked the GDR was because of the multiple choices, and suddenly they were vastly reduced.

 

We DID like the "bistro" choices at lunch time from the Jacques menu.

 

If we are on a sea day we would typically have breakfast in the GDR; sometimes lunch in the Terrace Buffet but we opted for the GDR's more leisurely service unless menu choices prevailed (one over the other).

 

If we had a tour we generally would have breakfast in our room.  The one exception was in July 2017 on Nautica when we took a downsell offer from a PH to a B2 (which in effect paid for our next cruise in a VS on Sirena) and then  we had breakfast on port days in Terrace.

 

So  yes, I think these menu changes were definitely a detriment to the Oceania experience!

 

On our last cruise (which was the May 2018 Riviera cruise) we didn't find that food QUALITY had diminished, it was more a matter of choices.  That's more than a year ago now so I can't talk to how the food matches up these days.

Mura

Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

Edited by Mura
Deleting extraneous material ... I hope!

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2 hours ago, ShopperfiendTO said:

I also am alarmed that the GDR has been closed on more days than not.  Previously, our experience was that it was closed only at ports where most passengers were expected to be on full day excursions (for example, for Civitavacchia, Livorno and any of the ports for Berlin) as coming back for lunch would be too time-consuming.

That has been our experience also

 

I guess it depends on what the itinerary was

I would not think a cruise to the Caribbean the GDR would be closed for lunch  but  yes  when dock for the pax to go to Paris  it would be

 

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We had this problem the first time on Marina in November 2017.  We had never before encountered the dining room being closed for lunch on port days.  I posted an inquiry here and was soon called in for a conversation ... Now, on that cruise we had an overnight in Haifa where virtually everyone was off the ship, so closing the dining room was not a surprise.

 

But on that cruise there were a number of other days where the dining room was closed.  We just had NOT encountered that before.  It does appear that this is more the pattern since then.

 

When a large number of passengers are off the ship, it is understandable.  But on that November '17 cruise, the dining room was often closed when there were lots of us on board.

 

Understand that my conversation with staff was not at all confrontational.  And I understood their saying that when lots of passengers are off the ship it doesn't pay to keep the GDR open.  On the other hand, aside from our Haifa visit it did not seem that all that many people were off the ship.

 

This occurred again on our May 2018 cruise on Riviera --  as frequently as happen on the Marina cruise but that may well have been because of the itinerary.

 

When you are used to the MDR being open for lunch ALL THE TIME, it becomes difficult to accept that more and more often it will not be open.  As I said, when we had 80 passengers on board in Haifa ... why would they open the GDR for lunch?!  Even WE went off the ship to meet DH's cousin for lunch in town.

 

Mura

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, LHT28 said:

That has been our experience also

 

I guess it depends on what the itinerary was

I would not think a cruise to the Caribbean the GDR would be closed for lunch  but  yes  when dock for the pax to go to Paris  it would be

 

In this case i does not depend on the itinerary, yes it was a port intensive Med cruise but we have done two cruises with pretty much the same itinerary on Oceania before and then the GDR was open for lunch nine or eight days, now it was closed eight days out of ten! And this is not my opinion this is just hard fact!. 

One my argue that people are of the ship but I´m sure that the same amount of people left the ship 3 years ago as of today, so to say it´s an itinerary based issue just dosen´t work, it´s a change.

I think that when they have started this it will not be long until there is no more GDR lunches on port days at all.

 

The strategy that Oceania seems to have is to cut small corners here an there and hope thats it´s a so small cutback that people does accept it, for example close GDR most port days, reduce menus, reduce the quality of the ingredients, take away a few waiters and a chef here and there and so on .

One of these cutbacks might not be a big issue for the guest but if you combine all the cutbacks over some years Oceania just ends up to be a totally different product then it was only a few years ago.

I think that next in line are the Specialty restaurants, the large extensive menus will soon be reduced with some items, and it will be some cutback in the quality of the ingredients as well, I hope I´m wrong but I will not be surprised to see it come in close future.

By the way the meals we had in Red Ginger an Tuscan Steak was just as fabulous as it always has in the Specialty Restaurants on Oceania.

 

Edited by Winters Gate

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9 hours ago, clo said:

We're 'into' food ourselves and it's clear that you know what you're talking about.  Our first O cruise is in December, Rio to Buenos Aires, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.  Did you give them detailed feedback?  Or maybe you could send them what you just posted?

 

Yes we did give them feedback on the form at the end of the cruise, and one never know some Oceania rep might read this board😀

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Thank you for that review Winters Gate.    Much appreciated.   As Maura says, your English is pretty well perfect, you can be proud of that.  It is doubtful that anyone reading this thread could write a word of correct Swedish!!!

 

We are going to the Baltic on Nautica next month and I am a little perturbed to hear that the food choices/quality may not be quite so good as they were.  I do not believe we are "foodies" but we sail with Oceania because they serve the best food at sea in our opinion.  We were on Nautica in September 2017 Round the British Isles.  We were very pleased with the food and the service then and Afternoon Tea was superb.  (Of course we didn't need Tea,  and had to have Dinner later in the evening as a result of indulging in those sweet-meats).     

 

I will let you know how we find the culinary offerings,  when we return home.   J

 

 

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Thank you for your review and no apologies needed for your English. Your experience with the food was exactly what we experienced both on the Sirena and the Rivieria. We started cruising annually with Oceania in 2008 and there has been a downward decline in both the quality of food and number of offerings in the last several years. I totally agree with you about the GDR remaining open for lunch. In the past the GDR was always open for lunch. On our last several cruises it was shut the majority of our days when in port and open only for sea days. We do not like buffets so it was noticeable. I would sail on Oceania again if the itinerary was good but the changes made me seek out other cruise lines where in the past I stayed with Oceania.

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5 hours ago, Winters Gate said:

The strategy that Oceania seems to have is to cut small corners here an there and hope thats it´s a so small cutback that people does accept it, for example close GDR most port days, reduce menus, reduce the quality of the ingredients, take away a few waiters and a chef here and there and so on .

One of these cutbacks might not be a big issue for the guest but if you combine all the cutbacks over some years Oceania just ends up to be a totally different product then it was only a few years ago.

 

I agree  there are  changes  from a few years ago

I have also been on the ship at lunch where they had  less than a dozen passengers  in the GDR  there were  staff standing around  ..so maybe this is part of the reason for  closing ...I do not know  but seems like it could be it

 

The lunch menu in previous years was too large .. the Bistro Menu is  a reasonable  one 

again Just my opinion

I did not find the quality  reduced  but certainly noticed  different ways of cooking  have changed

It  seems the cooks  are making things  their way & not Oceania's way 

very few European staff like in years gone by  so attitudes  for the staff  have also changed ...some good  some not so good

 

 

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One thing we noticed in May 2018 regarding the GDR being open or NOT open for lunch, it was one thing when we were in Haifa and virtually everyone was off the ship.  But it was quite another on ordinary port days where people returning from tours immediately came to Terrace or Waves for lunch.  Several times they were impossibly crowded.  One time I literally could not walk down the aisle between the salads and the main courses on Riviera because people were waiting 3-4 deep on each side.

 

Mura

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LHT28 said:

I agree  there are  changes  from a few years ago

I have also been on the ship at lunch where they had  less than a dozen passengers  in the GDR  there were  staff standing around  ..so maybe this is part of the reason for  closing ...I do not know  but seems like it could be it

 

 

 

I agree that on some port days there might not be more then 15-20 guests but the majority of the time there are enough guests to have the GDR open for lunch in my opinion.

The problem that occur when you start to close to often is that people who might not know it´s closed show up, after a few times of that they just don´t bother to show up again, they just head direct to the Terrace witch they know it´s open. Oceania then say, hey nobody is in the GDR for lunch anymore let´s close it and save a lot of money! So without that the guests realize it Oceania has guided them in a direction that saves Oceania a lot of money.

As a matter of fact the the same thing can happen with the GDR breakfast, I have seen some days in port where a lot of people go ashore early that the GDR is very empty at breakfast, well let´s close GDR these days, so few show up anyway! And then the people who doesen´t read the Current´s like the bible start to head direct to the Terrace witch they know it´s open and after a while there are so few guests at the GDR breakfast that it will head the same way as the way as the GDR lunch has.

Well anyway it´s Oceania´s ships and they do what they want, but it makes me sad to see them go this way because just a few years ago Oceania was perfect match to us.

As a customer your strongest way to make a statment is to put your money somewhere else, we will probably look at other lines in the future to see what they have to offer!

Edited by Winters Gate

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the opening hours are listed on the back of  the CURRENTS   & if the GDR is closed or not

.. so no one needs to show up to see the GDR closed

Hey but  who reads  the  newsletter 🙄

 

Some people prefer the TERRACE on port day to get a quick breakfast & get off the ship ASAP 

some can be done with breakfast  in 15 mins compared to sitting in the GDR where it may take 1 hr

YMMV

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We were just on the Riviera for the Grecian Glory cruise and the GDR was closed every day for lunch probably because we were in port every day. We are not fans of the Terrace Cafe so we were disappointed that the GDR was not available when we returned from a morning excursion. So instead of returning to the ship for lunch we stayed onshore and had lunch at a cafe or restaurant near the port. Yes, it cost us some money but was very tasty local food and fun to sit and people watch like a local!

We had most breakfasts in the GDR and always had good, quick service. We were usually out by 30-40 minutes and still had time to get to our shore excursions. I hope they don't close the GDR for breakfast, we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere to start our busy day!😁

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14 minutes ago, FANC6 said:

So instead of returning to the ship for lunch we stayed onshore and had lunch at a cafe or restaurant near the port. Yes, it cost us some money but was very tasty local food and fun to sit and people watch like a local!

That's our MO.

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3 hours ago, LHT28 said:

I agree  there are  changes  from a few years ago

I have also been on the ship at lunch where they had  less than a dozen passengers  in the GDR  there were  staff standing around  ..so maybe this is part of the reason for  closing ...I do not know  but seems like it could be it

I agree - the current Oceania is not exactly like the one we started with in 2006.

That said, it still suits us best - so far.

As far as opening the MDR on port days - that's a tough call as they do not know how many people will be onboard for lunch and how many of those onboard want the MDR vs Waves or Terrace. It's easy enough to move the staff from one venue to another as needed but what about the cooked food for MDR? How much should they prepare not to waste?

It's impossible to say what these changes are due to. It would be easy to blame NCL (like Carnival & RCCL) but that may or may not be the case. Cost of EVERYTHING has gone up and perhaps if O were to keep up the quality & quantity they might price themselves out of the market? Hence they might be making some "adjustments"?

I don't have the answer - just speculating.

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The contents of this review are disappointing to us since we air sailing on Sirena next April for our first Oceania cruise. We have sailed with Azamara in the past and thought we would give O a try for this itinerary.

 

Having never eaten lunch in the MDR on a port day that information does not bother me.

However, it is very disappointing to read that the variety and quality of the dinners in the MDR have declined.

 

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58 minutes ago, bbqoug said:

The contents of this review are disappointing to us since we air sailing on Sirena next April for our first Oceania cruise. We have sailed with Azamara in the past and thought we would give O a try for this itinerary.

 

Having never eaten lunch in the MDR on a port day that information does not bother me.

However, it is very disappointing to read that the variety and quality of the dinners in the MDR have declined.

 

 

they have had  different menus over the years  but the food quality  has always been good   IMO

Why not reserve judgment until you actually sail  on Oceania 

your tastes may be totally different than  others

😉

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Just a  thought.   Many people on this thread seem to question, criticize, complain about the MDR on port days.  Since the ship personnel should know how many are on or off the ship, an issue for Oceania becomes one of timing and people changing their minds about coming back on for lunch.

 

My suggestion -  Oceania should consider a combination MDR for popular to medium popular port day lunches.  By combination I mean a limited menu service and a limited buffet.  Ideally, these offerings would be publicized as to the choices available ahead of time (at least the night before, like on the bed with the Currents) and advance warnings that menu service could be delayed if more passengers than expected arrive at the MDR that day for lunch.

 

Another Oceania labor planning choice would the first course and dessert from that MDR buffet and the main by menu, with waiter service and prepared by order.  This idea attempts to mimic the large occasional holiday brunches in the MDR (without the degree of show).

 

Additional cruise critic Oceania board user ideas are welcome.  This thread has highlighted a problem, lets hear some more solutions. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bbqoug said:

The contents of this review are disappointing to us since we air sailing on Sirena next April for our first Oceania cruise. We have sailed with Azamara in the past and thought we would give O a try for this itinerary.

 

Having never eaten lunch in the MDR on a port day that information does not bother me.

However, it is very disappointing to read that the variety and quality of the dinners in the MDR have declined.

 

Don`t you worry to much, we did have a nice cruise and the food still taste good, we did just notice some decline from past cruises

Maybe the things that bother us is fine in your point of view, as LHT28 says different folks different strokes

Edited by Winters Gate

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1 hour ago, UDSpud said:

Just a  thought.   Many people on this thread seem to question, criticize, complain about the MDR on port days.  Since the ship personnel should know how many are on or off the ship, an issue for Oceania becomes one of timing and people changing their minds about coming back on for lunch.

 

My suggestion -  Oceania should consider a combination MDR for popular to medium popular port day lunches.  By combination I mean a limited menu service and a limited buffet.  Ideally, these offerings would be publicized as to the choices available ahead of time (at least the night before, like on the bed with the Currents) and advance warnings that menu service could be delayed if more passengers than expected arrive at the MDR that day for lunch.

 

Not sure if they still do this on the small ships  but the menu was delivered each night with The CURRENTS for the next day ..dinner & lunch  so people could see what was on offer

I think on the refurbed ships  they may have the menus on the TV

The new Bistro Lunch Menu is  small  but there is plenty to choose from 

check the sample menu  @ https://www.oceaniacruises.com/ships/insignia/cuisine/

for an idea

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Sitting in a nice cafe eating local fresh cuisine and people watching versus returning to the ship for either the buffet or GDR? That answer doesn’t take deliberation for us!

 

It’s not economical to keep the GDR open for lunch. Oceania can’t logically be doing guessing games in ports of call on how many are going to be gone versus staying aboard ship.

 

Nine days until we Board the Nautica again for 20 days. It will be interesting to see what changes in food and evening attire we find! 

 

We will not be aboard ship ship during lunch hours on any port days, so will have no comments on that issue.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, pinotlover said:

Sitting in a nice cafe eating local fresh cuisine and people watching versus returning to the ship for either the buffet or GDR? That answer doesn’t take deliberation for us!

 

It’s not economical to keep the GDR open for lunch. Oceania can’t logically be doing guessing games in ports of call on how many are going to be gone versus staying aboard ship.

 

Nine days until we Board the Nautica again for 20 days. It will be interesting to see what changes in food and evening attire we find! 

 

We will not be aboard ship ship during lunch hours on any port days, so will have no comments on that issue.

That´s great that you like to eat your lunch in a local café, we however like the quiet ambiance of a lunch on board, isen´t it nice that we all has different tastes?

Someone stated earlier in the thread that they don´t like buffé eating(like us), so now when GDR seems to be closed almost all port days their solution was to eat lunch a shore(not to blame), wow what a strike for Oceania........Let´s close the GDR and force the people up to the buffet that would save us a lot of money, WOW again not everybody who eat lunch in the GDR likes buffets so they eat a shore instead.

All of a sudden Oceania just diden´t save the big money closing GDR they also managed to throw some people of the ship for lunch totally(but still charge them), one can just do mathematics for him self but if it´s five-ten people a day doing the same thing all year around on six ships it´s a substantial amount of money saved, just like a bonus.

 

This is the way big corporate works they save a little money from a lot of people to make a nice  profit and if they are able to do this in more then one way the profit just doubles, as closed lunch in GDR, limited menus, lower quality of ingrediens and so on.

But as Paulchili said before in this thread, they might feel that they have to make this adjustments or they will price themselves out of the market? I don´t know the answer I just see the decline and feel sad about it!

Edited by Winters Gate

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