Just came back from our first cruise (on the Oceania (Regatta) to the Baltic). It was good, but the atmosphere was exclusively American, both on board and during excursions. We had expected a more international-friendly approach since the crew (with the exception of the American/Anglo-Canadian/Brit officers) seemed to be multi-lingual coming from 45 countries.
For example, TV was only Fox, CNN and the English Euro network. Likewise all films were only in English, although the DVDs now systematically provide multilingual versions and the ship had the unused channels to play them. Written news was exclusively the domestically-oriented USA Today. All announcements, shows, documentation, menus etc in English only. The excursions focused on US interests, such as the role of the US military in Berlin (ignoring British and French). Although Belgium and Holland and parts of Germany were liberated in WW2 by Brits & Canadians leaving many historical sites, the only war-related excursions were to the Anne Frank museum in Holland and a Holocaust site in Poland, both of interest to Americans.
The passengers included many Brits and Australians who commented (gently) on this US orientation of news and excursions. Other nationalities, including many Canadians, were also struck by the rigidly unilingual atmosphere.
This was our first cruise. Can readers advise whether all cruise lines are similar. Would a ship sink if "buon giorno", or "bon jour" or "guten Tag" were uttered on board?
BoySam, I've traveled on several different cruise lines, not including Oceania. On just about all the cruises, there have been movies on TV in different languages, daily news printouts in different languages, even daily ship's schedules in different languages.
If you really want an international setting onboard, try Costa Cruise Line next. Their headquarters is in Italy, and their European cruises attract a mostly non-American, non-English speaking passenger. We cruised twice on Costa, and both times, we were among only about 5% English speakers. Shore excursions are offered in several different languages. All onboard announcements are made in about 5 languages, and the entertainment is not language dependent. The staff and crew speak several different languages. Each staff member wears a pin, representing a language that s/he speaks. Most staffers were wearing 4, 5 or more different pins.
The one problem for me in being with such an international fellow passenger, is that there were a lot of smokers onboard. Most confined their smoking to the outer decks or smoking areas of the public rooms, but there was a lot of smoke around anyway. Overall, however, we really liked our Costa cruises, one from Venice to the Greek Islands, and one from Copenhagen to the Baltics.
If you are looking for "Guten tag" then you might consider Peter Deilman's Deutschland:
...you are interested in my most famoused ship, the Deutschland?
It is rather otherwise than the big american ships, mainly the funships. The Deutschland is a grand hotel swimming in the seven seas, the style is like the roaring 20th; inside. The passengers are mainly german speaking. But there are often american or english guests on the ship. If this is so, the announcements are in english too. And you will get an english menu card as well. American guests feel well on board the Deilmann ships (beside the Deutschland there are some river cruise ships with a lot of american guests. And be sure, not all but most german passengers speak english. And the crew too. Perhaps you must dispense with the ice water for the first hour. But if you want so, the steward will bring ist every day; unasked.
Do not hesitate.
Have a nice cruise on the Deutschland. Regards, UWE.
And, I'm curious why you would think that only Americans would be interested in the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam or a Holocaust site in Poland?
We've only been on 16 cruises, but the daily papers from the ships have always been in several languages and announcements on board have been in as many languages as required by the passengers. We met a lovely couple from Germany on NCL, we had quite a few germans on board Princess, we had a lot of different nationalities on Costa. We had a lot of Cubans, Mexicans and Haitians on board Carnival, etc. So no, cruising is not only for Americans.
Sandy, ChucksOK and penny3333, thanks for the useful replies - they will help orient our search next time out. It appears that Oceania is somewhat out of step with at least the lines you mention above.
Will appreciate advice from other readers in regard to cruise lines that offer a more international experience - and, as well, the identification of those that follow the Oceania policy of replicating a floating corner of "back home in the USA".
no - cruises are certainly not only for Americans. Just take a look at our very popular German-language forums here at Cruise-Chat.com for the counter-evidence.
There are some cruise lines which have an almost exlusively Northern American clientele, however, and Oceania definitely is one of them. During my cruise on the "Regatta" in 2003, more than 95% of the passengers were from North America. However, I have also been on cruises where there was a very international passenger mix. Some cruise lines cater almost exclusively to a particular market. As an example, there are ships on the British, German, French, Japanese or Spanish markets - just to name a few - that are sold virtually only in their local markets.
Also - different people, different tastes. While some passengers enjoy a multi-cultural, international atmosphere, others would rather prefer to be along passengers from their country.
I seemed to notice recently that the German-language forums on this website have expanded. Was that a result of all your work? I would like to join in if I could. However, I would need to use my computer to translate between German and English. Anyway, keep up the good work.
the previous German forum - "Kreuzfahrten-Treff" (which in English means something like "Cruise Meeting Place") - was getting so popular that it was getting somewhat complicated to cope with the large number of postings made. As a result of that, we have split up the forum into six sub-forums:
- "Die Großen Drei" ("The Big Three" - Carnival Corp & plc, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Star Cruises Group)
- "Die Deutschen Kreuzfahrtveranstalter" ("The German Cruise Operators")
- "Der Rest der Kreuzfahrtwelt" ("The remaining operators, world-wide")
- "Kreuzfahrt-Destinationen" ("Cruising Destinations")
- "Shiplovers' Corner" (no translation needed, I guess )
- "Kreuzfahrt-Lounge" ("Cruise Lounge")
Each of the above forums has a dedicated moderator responsible for that single forum only. Plus, there are three German administrators.