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Donald Dayton

Age: 56

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 28

Cruise Line: Oceania

Ship: Insignia

Sailing Date: 2010-12-4

Itinerary: Barcelona to Rio

Beware if Oceania has arranged the airfare for you!!!! Firstly we want to prefice, that we are experienced travellers and cruisers, and have an attitude that we enjoy everything, and don't let the small stuff get you down. Travelling alot we know that "things" can happen, but most things work themselves out, until now. I am writing this review so fellow travellers are made aware of some of the "loopholes" and "pitfalls" the travel industry has, in order to try to protect themselves. The main theme I want to convey is "where has the customer service gone?". We have always wanted to cruise with Oceania, to see for ourselves what all the clamour has been about. So when we saw that Oceania was offering a all inclusive pricing including air from Barcelona to Rio we jumped on it. In fact, we were so impressed that we had friends join us as well. We assumed, (and wrongly according to the response from James Eggelston, Admininstator of Guest Relations) that the cruise line is responsible for the air travel and getting us to the boarding port. We also have always travelled several days in advance to make sure that if any problems arise that we can correct them. The cruise line charges for this deviation as well, but we have always feared not getting to the port on time and missing our cruise.

Our flight arrangements were scheduled to be from Montreal to Heathrow with a connection to Barcelona. We arrived at the airport to take British Airways only to find out that the incoming aircraft was delayed due to"snow in the British Isles" Nothing was mentioned about the wildcat strike in Spain and that they had closed their airspace some 8 hours earlier. So we take off 2 hours late only to arrive in Heathrow with thousands of others and told that no flights would be leaving for the next three days. They told us to fend for ourselves, as it was not their responsibility. Fine, we tried to call Oceania - no answer. OK, what then. Decided to join the line (which we stayed in for 8 hours without any food or water served), in an attempt to try to get out of the airport. We befriended a Spanish man who was in line with us, who kept us up to date on the situation in Spain. We decided to call and keep rebooking with British Air, as the flights were cancelled, as the line was moving only a few feet per hour. We also talked with the Terminal Manager for British Air (who informed us all to leave the airport), and supplied us with as little information as possible. To make the story as short as possible, late that night they opened the airspace due to the army coming in forcing them to do so. So we arrive in Barcelona - no luggage. NO LUGGAGE for what ends up to be 4 days. We are assured by British air (as Oceania is non existent), to buy what we need. So we did. Just essentials, nothing more We arrived at the ship early so we could see if Oceania could finally help us with the tracking down of our luggage. The Insignia had just come a refit in Italy, so we assumed that everything we be top knotch. And to be honest, after telling our story one crew member from the entertainment staff, and the concierge was consoling. But the rest just gave us a travel pack and that was it.

We waiting until about 3.30 before they announced that the rooms were ready. This we didn't understand as nobody had been there for the previous week. We arrived in our stateroom to find it completely flooded. So for the next two hours we have a parade of engineers, etc trying to find out what is wrong, only to tell us that nothing is, have heaters put in the room, and then to have the front desk tell us that we would have to put up with this. We suggested that we switch rooms with them. After considerable discussion they placed us in another room, only because the concierge got involved. Thank goodness.

I will not go into the ports of call, as they have been discussed by previous reviewers. But is Oceania worth the price? Is it really as good as all the hype by other travellers state? NOT REALLY. Without being jaded due to our circumstances, for the price you can get more on say Azamara and others. So we end this review by stating that everybody at this point is trying to pass the buck. The cruise line, the travel agency, the airline. What is most troubling to us is this is suppose to be a service industry, and that all we are asking is for what was promised to us. We will keep pushing on, but Oceania where are you when you are needed?

Oceania has made its name on service, and on this point, the staff really outdo themselves. You cannot go to any restaurant, where they do not ask to help you carry your tray, or what you want. And the quality of staff is fantastic. They all outdo, are friendly, and are quite outgoing. We made it a point to go to both specialty restaurants as well as the main dining room. So we can confer with the other reviews that the food is good. We also tried to attend the wine tastings(4), which were extemely informative and fun. These were conducted as premium wine tastings, so we were able to taste wines that we would not normally choose, but now can as we have become aware of how good they are

The rooms are tastfully decorated, and the beds are comfortable. Housekeeping was impecable, looked after any need you had, and was friendly.

The entertainment was so so, and really is no different to any small ship



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