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Oceania Cruises review: Insignia in the south of Spain

Trip Reports

My only previous experience of Oceania Insignia was having lunch on board during a ship visit a few years ago, so I was really pleased to be invited to join the ship in Alicante as she was coming to the end of her 180 day world cruise. I was able to spend a few days on board to enjoy the whole experience, which I must say didn't disappoint.

My deck 7 stateroom (A1 category) was very comfortable. The Concierge staterooms are on this deck plus a couple on decks 6 and 8. This level of stateroom comes with additional privileges which include free internet, pressing of garments upon embarkation, priority online speciality restaurant reservations and more, depending on which ship you're on.

Oceania Cruises - Insignia Veranda Stateroom

During my three nights on board I was fortunate to experience both speciality restaurants, Polo Grill and Toscana. The quality of the food and service was very good with a great atmosphere. I was also surprised to see the amount of choice on the menu in the main dining room, with a couple of added extras from the other ships' speciality restaurants, Red Ginger and Jacques. The Terrace Café was my favourite place to enjoy breakfast and lunch with seating inside and out, plenty of choice at the hot and cold buffets, and charming service.

Insignia has a great fitness centre, and so much choice for a ship of this (small) size. I liked the comfortable pool area with quite a few Balinese beds, loungers in both sun and shade, and attentive deck service.

The Guadalquivir river in Seville, Spain

On my final evening we set sail from Gibraltar heading towards Seville, and experienced our little ocean ship negotiating the Guadalquivir River. The following morning I stepped out onto the balcony and the ocean waves had been replaced by a mud-brown river passing through swampland, with mountains in the distance and remote houses. Fishermen were casting nets from the banks - it was so tranquil and made for a totally different experience. Later we were in for a real treat watching the ship communicate with the tug boats to help us through bridges which were extremely tight, and to finally be towed backwards through a bridge by a tiny tug boat so the ship was facing the right way for the departure later that day.

Oceania offer their 'O Life' promotion on most sailings: choose between onboard credit, shore excursions or a drinks package. All restaurants are complimentary with open dining. You can pre-book one night in the speciality restaurants and reserve more when you are on board. All this works extremely smoothly giving plenty of choice to enjoy the excellent food in a number of locations.

Oceania Cruises - Cheesecake from Toscana

Many people recommend the newer and larger Oceania ships, Marina and Riviera, with their additional dining options and larger accommodation (not to mention higher passenger count at 1250 compared to 684 guests), but I have to shout out for the little 'R' class ships with their comfy country house style and intimate proportions.

Find out more: Get your free Oceania Cruises brochure

Meet the author

Sharon is Reservations Manager at Mundy Cruising having worked with the company for 16 years and in travel for over 27 years. Most recently she’s cruised on Regent Seven Seas and has also sailed with Crystal, Explora Journeys, Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania, Windstar, Hapag-Lloyd, Hebridean, AmaWaterways, Tauck, Scenic, Hurtigruten, UnCruise and Australis. Her favourite destinations is the Mediterranean however she’s also enjoyed cruises in the Norwegian Fjords, Rhine, Main & Moselle, Danube, Indonesia, Alaska & Pacific Northwest, Antarctica, Patagonia, Caribbean and Northern Europe. When she’s not travelling she loves dining out, cooking, socialising with friends and family and shopping.

More about Sharon

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