Enjoyed Oceania’s Insignia

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My husband, Ray, and I took a 24-day, 2-segment cruise in Europe on the Insignia of Oceania Cruises (Miami, FL; 800/531-5658, www.oceaniacruises.com), May 21-June 14, ’06.

For the first segmnent we embarked in Barcelona, and when we arrived in Lisbon we had visited six countries plus Gibraltar. Originally, we were booked to go to Libya, but because of problems with the government the itinerary was changed. The second segment, June 2-14, from Bilbao, Spain, to Dover, England, hit five countries.

For the first segment we paid $3,426 per person, and for the second segment we paid $3,577 each, including taxes, fees and airfare (starting from Phoenix).

This was our first trip with this line. We were very happy with the ship and its amenities and hope to travel with them again.
The ship’s medium size is very nice, with space for about 650 passengers. The staff, as with most cruises, was very gracious, but they were especially nice on this ship.

Being able to eat where and when we wanted was a real plus. And we didn’t have to pack formal clothes, as the dress for dinner was “country club casual.”

The alternate restaurants — the Polo Grill for steak and the Toscana for Italian — were included in the cost. On other ships, you have to pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which turns us off.

My husband absolutely loves sashimi and sushi, which were offered every evening in Tapas on the Terrace. And I enjoyed the string quartet of young and attractive Polish musicians, who played for the afternoon tea and in the evenings.

What we didn’t like was having to pay such high prices for wine. The cheapest bottle was about $30, including the 18% gratuity. We don’t understand why cruise ships can’t offer inexpensive local wines. We were allowed to buy wine onshore and have it in our cabin. We enjoyed some great inexpensive wine from Bordeaux, so we didn’t have that much wine in the dining rooms.

The excursions seemed to us quite expensive as well, but maybe that was because the U.S. dollar is weak against the euro and the pound.

ROSEMARIE HOLMES
Tucson, AZ

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My husband, Ray, and I took a 24-day, 2-segment cruise in Europe on the Insignia of Oceania Cruises (Miami, FL; 800/531-5658, www.oceaniacruises.com), May 21-June 14, ’06.

For the first segmnent we embarked in Barcelona, and when we arrived in Lisbon we had visited six countries plus Gibraltar. Originally, we were booked to go to Libya, but because of problems with the government the itinerary was changed. The second segment, June 2-14, from Bilbao, Spain, to Dover, England, hit five countries.

For the first segment we paid $3,426 per person, and for the second segment we paid $3,577 each, including taxes, fees and airfare (starting from Phoenix).

This was our first trip with this line. We were very happy with the ship and its amenities and hope to travel with them again.
The ship’s medium size is very nice, with space for about 650 passengers. The staff, as with most cruises, was very gracious, but they were especially nice on this ship.

Being able to eat where and when we wanted was a real plus. And we didn’t have to pack formal clothes, as the dress for dinner was “country club casual.”

The alternate restaurants — the Polo Grill for steak and the Toscana for Italian — were included in the cost. On other ships, you have to pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which turns us off.

My husband absolutely loves sashimi and sushi, which were offered every evening in Tapas on the Terrace. And I enjoyed the string quartet of young and attractive Polish musicians, who played for the afternoon tea and in the evenings.

What we didn’t like was having to pay such high prices for wine. The cheapest bottle was about $30, including the 18% gratuity. We don’t understand why cruise ships can’t offer inexpensive local wines. We were allowed to buy wine onshore and have it in our cabin. We enjoyed some great inexpensive wine from Bordeaux, so we didn’t have that much wine in the dining rooms.

The excursions seemed to us quite expensive as well, but maybe that was because the U.S. dollar is weak against the euro and the pound.

ROSEMARIE HOLMES
Tucson, AZ