We decided to cruise to the Caribbean for our 40th wedding anniversary, and chose Oceania because we had a wonderful experience a few years ago cruising on the Marina to the Mediterranean. We were confident that the ship's size (only 684 passengers) would suit us - we're not party-animals and were looking forward to enjoying the excellent food and service we appreciated on Marina in a relatively intimate setting. We were not disappointed by the ship in any way. Our cabin was attractive, comfortable, offered plenty of storage, and featured a large 'picture' window. Our bathroom was small (a fellow-passenger described it as a plane restroom), but not an issue for us. The food was amazing - virtually everything we ate in every venue was delicious, well-prepared and beautifully served. Yes, service was slow, and we encountered an occasional cut of meat that could have been more tender, but there is absolutely no comparison to the kind of 'food' served on other cruise lines, which tends to be mediocre to awful and very limited, unless you're willing to pay for better meals. Every crew member we met, including the officers, were friendly and welcoming, with some regularly going above and beyond. Our one complaint, and it is a serious one, was what turned out to be an awful itinerary Great Stirrup Cay is a pretty beach and nothing else (luckily there were no other cruise ships docked at the same time, because it would have been just awful if it had been really crowded); after two days at sea we missed St. Kitts because of a medical evac (we know, these things happen), but our next port was Antigua where we seriously regretted not heading to the beach for snorkeling - the town is dirty, run-down and unfriendly. San Juan came next, and we were more than pleasantly surprised to find it absolutely beautiful, with some fascinating historic sites and a wonderfully restored Old City. We were really looking forward to Samana as there is a fantastic park there featuring a Karst landscape (ala Ha Long Bay in Vietnam), a mangrove swamp and caves with petroglyphs and rock paintings. Unfortunately (and this came as a complete surprise), we weren't able to go there as 'independents', but only if we had booked an excursion. We couldn't even visit Samana, unless we had booked an excursion! The only place we could go was Cayo Levantado - a small island with a nice-ish beach, but you can only sit on the beach - the island has been almost entirely taken over by a Bahia Principe All-Inclusive - we were refused entry to their lobby and although the information sheet about the island advised us to 'explore the beautiful coves and find a secret beach', everything was fenced off and inaccessible except the rather dirty public beach. In addition, there were many rather grotty lounge chairs on the beach, but you had to pay to sit on them. Following this disaster, we had another day at sea and then visited Nassau. If you've been to Nassau, then you don't need me to comment, but I will say that the highlight of the visit was the Queen's Steps - a lovely garden and stairs cut into rock with a waterfall to the side. And that's it for Nassau, unless you were keen to visit the huge Atlantis complex, which didn't interest us in the slightest. All in all my title says it: We loved the ship and ended up disliking all but one of the ports. We suspect this is how Oceania's new owners (NCL) are running this Line - same service and food, but not so good (and therefore less expensive) ports. It's a shame, because our previous Oceania experience had brought back a love of cruising.
Our cabin was attractive, comfortable, offered plenty of storage, and featured a large 'picture' window. Our bathroom was small (a fellow-passenger described it as a plane restroom), but not an issue for us.