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Colleen

Age: 60

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Oceania

Ship: Insignia

Sailing Date: 04-17-2008

Itinerary: Venice to Rome Mediterranean

This was my husband's first cruise, although we have traveled fairly extensively. I had been on one prior cruise, and was unsure whether he would enjoy this type of trip. We wanted a high quality experience, a mid-size ship and a good itinerary. Insignia and Oceania delivered beyond our expectations. This 11-day cruise was outstanding in every way. The itinerary (Ionian Inspirations) was perfect; sail at night and a breathtaking new port every day. The food was superb, and we upgraded to a penthouse suite, and service was impeccable: our own butler and afternoon appetizers in the room, etc. Oceania offers upgrades a few weeks before sailing is my understanding. The increase in cabin price was definitely worth it. The cabins are very nice, the beds are wonderful, the balconies have partitions.

We talked to lots of our fellow passengers, who all said they preferred Oceania to other cruise lines they had traveled with. We enjoyed meeting so many people (mostly our age, or older). There were some younger couples, and only two children. There are no children's activities, and I would not recommend this ship for families, although older children would probably enjoy themselves.

My husband's reaction? He wanted to stay on board and do the voyage in reverse. We both loved every minute. Few lines, total comfort, interesting ports. We hired a driver (with another couple) on two occasions rather than do the ship shore excursions, and paid about the same price. The shore excursions are expensive, and less flexibile than with a guide. I recommend having your travel agent find a guide for you on some of the excursions. You can also wait until you are on board to decide about the excursions.

We did not participate in any of the shipboard entertainment, so no comment on that. The ship also needs to add more self laundry facilities. Usually had to wait in line to wash clothes, but not a big problem.

The activities director was informative, and a daily newsletter kept us informed on ports and any changes.

I got international service for my Blackberry ($20 for the month from T-Mobile), and had unlimited e-mail and phone and text service at domestic prices, which was wonderful. Cell phone service was good in all ports and while we were docked.

The crew was international, and very friendly. Restaurant service was also excellent. Maybe best of all, we had sunshine 10 out of the 11 days. We definitely plan to sail with Oceania again.

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