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Oceania Cruises review
Relax and recharge on small-to-midsize ships.
Oceania Cruises targets middle-aged and retired folks looking for an affordable, no-frills sailing experience to exotic destinations in hard-to-reach places. While people in their 30s and 40s would likely feel at ease on the sophisticated ships, families with kids might feel lost at sea — Oceania lacks the flashy entertainment programming of lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
But if you’re seeking lectures, culinary lessons and art classes, Oceania shines in adult enrichment activities. And with an average of 872 guests and a 1:1.6 crew-to-passenger ratio, its small-to-midsize ships provide a delightful escape from the hectic schedules and stress of dry land.
Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Oceania Cruises is an excellent choice for adventure-seekers in search of enriching onboard activities without the premium price tag. But if you’ve got kiddos in tow or just want to see what else is out there, compare other cruise lines.
Where do Oceania Cruises ships depart from?
From the west coast to the east coast and around the world, here’s where you can begin your Oceania adventure:
Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Civitavecchia, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Lima, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Miami, Monte Carlo, Montreal, New York City, Oslo, Papeete, Reykjavik, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seward, Singapore, Southampton, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Vancouver, Venice, Yokohama
Oceania Cruises destinations
Oceania offers cruises to every continent except Antarctica.
Can’t decide on only one dream destination? No problem. Oceania’s world cruises will take you on epic voyages to dozens of bucket list locations.
Alaska, Asia, Australasia, Australia, Canada and New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, North America, Pacific, Repositioning, South America
What is included on Oceania Cruises?
Perhaps it’s easier to say what’s not included on Oceania Cruises: alcoholic drinks, gratuities and off-shore excursions.
Still, here’s a list of what is included in your Oceania fare:
Free Wi-Fi — though only one device per stateroom can access it at a time, and it’s not the fastest option
24-hour room service
Dining at all of its open-seating restaurants
Specialty coffee, tea, bottled water, juice and soda
But if you choose OLife at checkout, your fare will include extra perks.
Everything you need to know about OLife Choice on Oceania Cruises
OLife Choice is an option you’ll likely see when purchasing or requesting a quote for an Oceania cruise. It’s an upgrade that typically includes:
Free unlimited Internet — no restrictions
Your choice of free shore excursions, a free beverage package or free onboard credit
Free round-trip airfare
Free shuttles from the airport to your departure port
While OLife Choice isn’t guaranteed to save you money — Oceania Cruises earns a profit on the airfare and shuttle services booked through OLife Choice — if you’re looking for a seamless transition from home to airport to port, it may be worth it for the convenience.
Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with Oceania Cruises
While Oceania cruises offers intimate experiences aboard stylishly refined ships, it doesn’t usually come with a sky-high luxury price tag. Still, weight the benefits and drawbacks before booking your cruise:
Its small- and medium-size ships can sail to seaside villages and off-the-beaten-path ports inaccessible to larger ships
Onboard adult enrichment activities
Each passenger can bring up to three bottles of wine or champagne aboard
Small crew-to-passenger ratio
Afternoon tea every day
Country club casual dress code promotes an elegant atmosphere
Youth programs are lacking. Entertainment options aren’t as energetic or plentiful as on other cruise lines.
Dinner dress code — “elegant casual resort wear” — may be too strict for some. Jeans, shorts, t-shirts and sneakers are not allowed at dinner.
There’s a $25 uncorking fee if you consume wine brought aboard in a public dining room
Passengers can’t bring liquor or beer aboard
One more thing to keep in mind: If you’re booking a cruise on Oceania’s website, you might not be able to complete the purchase online. Often, you’ll have to request a quote and book through one of its representatives.
If you’d rather book a cruise directly on your own, consider Crystal Cruises, which offers a similar experience with fare that you can reserve without talking to an agent.
How much are gratuities on Oceania cruises?
Oceania states that gratuities are at your discretion. However, it automatically charges the following amounts to your shipboard account, which you’ll have to pay after disembarking:
Staterooms — $16 per guest, per day
Penthouse, Oceania, Vista or Owner’s Suites — $23 per guest, per day. Butler gratuities are included.
In addition, 18% gratuity is automatically added to beverage and spa purchases. When you eat at specialty restaurant La Reserve, you’ll be charged 18% gratuity.
Frequently asked questions
Oceania Cruises is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also owns Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas, though it operates each company separately.
Yes. It’s called Oceania Club. You’ll receive credits for every cruise you book, which can be redeemed for rewards, onboard credit and even free cruises. You’ll also get first dibs on special promotions.
Die-hard Oceania cruisers might be interested in the annual Oceania Club reunion cruise, which is typically hosted by the Oceania president and CEO, Bob Binder.
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