Jackie cruised with Oceania….

I had been looking forward to my holiday on Oceania Cruises for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. There is something really nice about having some sunshine & warmth in mid-winter. Our journey started in Miami. I’ve been to Miami before so knew that I wanted to stay at South Beach and it was so nice to have two nights pre-cruise stay. It gives you chance to acclimatize so that you start your cruise without any jetlag as well as the opportunity to explore a new city and extend your holiday. We arrived to pouring rain but were assured that it wouldn’t last and sure enough, the Florida sunshine returned for us the next morning. We had a full day to explore so did a city tour then spent the afternoon at the beach. There is always a real party atmosphere in Miami but even more so because of the Super Bowl.

The following day we took an Uber to the cruise port which is only 15 mins away and because we had booked a Concierge level cabin, we could embark early at 12pm. The check in process is very quick & simple because you give them all the details they need beforehand via online check in. The pack you receive prior to travel  contains everything you will need to know for your cruise.

Our cruise was the Mayan Mosaic onboard Sirena which was to visit Key West, Roatan Honduras, Harvest Caye Belize and Costa Maya Mexico with two sea days.

Sirena is a beautiful ship with only 684 passengers and 400 crew. She was refurbished last year and has two specialty restaurants which are included in your cost (often specialty restaurants carry a surcharge). As well as the stunning Grand Dining Room with its Versace tableware, the Bistro, Terrace Café, Waves Grill, Baristas, Afternoon Tea and not forgetting the complimentary 24 hour room service. We certainly never went hungry!

My favourite meal was at Red Ginger, an Asian specialty restaurant but it is hard to choose as all meals were so good. The other specialty restaurant, Tuscon Steak was great too. They have an oil menu/trolley for the bread which was a first for me! Oceania is known for THE FINEST CUISINE AT SEA™ with its GOURMET DINING EXPERIENCES. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

All soft drinks, water, tea & coffee are included.

As cruise ships go, Sirena is a small one. Generally with cruising, the smaller the ship the better the standard with a far better staff to guest ratio you receive impeccable service. It may not seem important but the time it takes to board & depart the ship makes a huge difference. On the larger ships with thousands of guests, it can take an age to get off each morning for the excursions but on Sirena it was quick and efficient.

She is small enough so that you easily get to know your fellow passengers but has plenty of variety of venues to eat & drink at. At 4pm each day in Horizons Bar there is a sumptuous Afternoon Tea which is a must. The delightful food is matched by the ambience with a classical string quartet playing softly in the background.

The Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center is a haven of peace. The treatments and healing therapies are just the start of what’s on offer. You can also enjoy Aquamar Vitality Cuisine and extensive plant-based menus in The Grand Dining Room, an exclusive collection of Wellness Discovery Tours by Aquamar in global destinations. state-of-the-art fitness center and complimentary fitness classes, nutrition and lifestyle consultations. wellness presentations and enrichment lectures and Aquamar Spa Terrace with thalassotherapy pool or whirlpools. It’s the perfect place to spend a few quiet hours, especially on sea days.

Also on board, there are a couple of boutiques, a casino, a beautiful large library, pool & sports deck and of course the all-important free Wifi.

The cabins range from interior, ocean view, veranda, Concierge level to the Penthouse, Vista & Owners suites. All have the Ultra Tranquility beds which are extremely comfortable. All cabins have Bulgari amenities, mini bar with unlimited free soft drinks & bottled water as well as all other usual services. Having just been refurbished, they are light & airy and quiet. Our Concierge Level cabin also gave us other benefits including free laundry service, priority embarkation, complimentary bottle of Champagne, priority online specialty restaurant reservations, unlimited access to the Aquamar Spa Terrace and more.

We thoroughly enjoyed having breakfast on our balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea. At this time of year the days are shorter so it starts to get dark at 6pm so we didn’t bother with room service for dinner.

Our itinerary was perfect and we really enjoyed seeing some different places in the Western Caribbean. Our first stop was Key West which is a lovely place and a must see if you are visiting Florida. The ship docks right in town so you can come & go as you please. The second day was a sea day which I always enjoy. It’s a chance to make the most of the ships facilities and when you can’t eat or drink anymore, there is always the walking/jogging track to walk it off!

Our next stop was Roatan where we chose to do a beach day at an all-inclusive resort. In Belize we took a snorkeling excursion which was amazing. This area has a huge barrier reef called the Great Mayan Reef and a couple of guests on the trip said that it was better than the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I was so glad I’d chosen this trip. It was the highlight of the holiday. The last shore day was Costa Maya in Mexico where we went kayaking.

There are so many different excursions to choose from which will suit every taste and ability ranging from lazy to educational. Once your holiday is booked you can choose which excursions you’d like and then pre-book them. You can even take a very reasonably priced unlimited package of excursions.

I had a wonderful time with Oceania and I really hope that I get the opportunity to sail with them again. If you would like to know more, please call the office on 01937 845678.