I was up super early due to my excitement for our vacation. We booked this cruise in early 2022 and it is finally our time to try Oceania. Our boarding time was 11:30am so we left the house around nine. Traffic was great until right before the Lincoln Tunnel where the last five miles took about 45 minutes. The parking deck was almost empty when we arrived at noon to our surprise. No one was ahead of us in security and we breezed on through. The check-in was at the far end of the terminal and we only had to briefly wait for the next attendant. We had to take a quick photo and were given our keys before walking a few steps to board the ship. The whole process from dropping our luggage to scanning on the ship was ten minutes!
Our first order of business was a super quick muster station and then vacation commenced. We headed up to the Waves Grill for lunch as we figured the buffet would be packed. It was in the 90s and it was pretty hot even in the shade. We both opted to try the surf and turf sandwich. While we waited, we ordered a Prosecco to toast our trip. The sandwiches arrived and were outstanding. The meat was cooked a perfect medium rare and the lobster was tender. The roll was fresh and delicious. It had a great mustard sauce on the side. Truffle fries and slaw were served as a side and we enjoyed both. Oceania claims to have the “finest cuisine at sea” and so far so good!
We did a little exploring after lunch and saw the buffet which was packed. Our cruise fare included the basic beverage package only which is beer and wine at meals and we wanted to upgrade. We had a slight wait at the reception desk but were quickly upgraded to the premium package for $30 per person per day. The rest of the ship tour did not take very long as Insignia is a much smaller ship . Martinis was opening just as we passed by so we grabbed two comfortable stools at the bar to test out our new package.
Our first drinks were a Negroni for Chris and an Aperol spritz for myself. We had a lovely chat with a couple who we learned were also from Delaware. The cocktail menu had some interesting choices so we each tried a new drink. Chris had Dante’s Potion while I sampled a Sunny Riviera. Both drinks had a very fresh taste but were very sweet for us. Nice though for an afternoon. We stayed here until our cabin was ready which was earlier than the estimated 3pm time.
For our first time trying Oceania, we selected an inside cabin. It is not our first time in one so we have a basic idea of what to expect. The room is larger than most insides and has a couch and coffee table. There are nightstands on each side each with USB ports and outlets. The bathroom is smaller though than other insides and the shower might be one of the smallest I have had with the exception of the days where the shower had no doors just a curtain. Two bottles of water that are replaced as needed were there along with stainless steel refillable water bottles to use throughout the cruise. A mini bar has non-alcoholic beverages that are included as well. The only complaint is that the safe did not work. The enter button was jammed but we might be able to have it replaced as it is not even attached to the shelf. The storage is decent for two and the closet has slippers and robes to use. We both think this will make a lovely home for the week.
Since it was so hot, we changed into our bathing suits to go for a swim. It wasn’t the most refreshing as the pool felt like it was in the 90s too. We had some lovely chats with fellow passengers while soaking included one who was on the previous cruise that had lots of drama due to the storm. Chris went to get us a cocktail and he surprised me with a raspberry and basil drink that was also fairly sweet but refreshing in the heat.
After the swim, we tested out the lounge chairs and I rate them as the most comfortable lounger I had experienced on a cruise. Before too long, we were sailing away while Sinatra sang New York New York. Many people gathered along the rails to watch the skyline pass. They were serving New York Specials so we figured why not try one especially when we were told it was made with “mysterious whiskey.” It was basically a whiskey sour with a hint of apple.
Since our drinks were finished and the Statute of Liberty was approaching we decided to go up one deck to see the views. A New York sail away is one of the most spectacular in our opinion and even after many Manhattan departures it is still magical to us.
After we passed Lady Liberty, we went back to the cabin to freshen up and unpack. Our dining reservation was not until 7:30 so we headed to Horizons lounge for a pre dinner drink. It is a very nice forward observation lounge and we enjoyed the views. I went with a Negroni while Chris had a Manhattan. We liked that it was served with some light nibbles, chips, pretzels and nuts.
Our specialty reservation was for Polo Grill, the steakhouse. The only reservations I could get online was for a shared table and we dined with another couple. The meal started off very slow as it took 30 minutes to have our orders taken. Luckily though, this couple was very nice and well traveled. I enjoyed hearing about all their adventures. I did learn she was allergic to lobster which I planned order along with some type of shellfish in each course. I knew Chris would order some as well. After hearing her stories of getting anaphylaxis from being near people eating crabs, I was worried I might kill this poor woman. Her husband ordered oysters and lobster so it did ease my fears a bit.
I started with the Chesapeake lump crab cake just because I had to see if it could live up to using the Chesapeake moniker. While not quite a true lump crab cake, it was very tasty and might be the best attempt at a crab cake I’ve had at sea. I let Chris have a taste and he agreed. He started with Oysters Rockefeller which were very traditionally prepared and he enjoyed them. We both had the lobster bisque next and really liked the deep rich flavor and the texture was smooth and velvety. The morsels of lobster were very tender. Chris had an additional course of Beefsteak tomato salad which wasn’t anything interesting but fresh and simply prepared. For our entrees, we both had the surf and turf. The lobster was small, about two bites but tender and sweet. The filet was also small but cooked a perfect medium rare which I imagine could be tough to execute on a small steak. Chris and I also shared sides of truffled mashed potatoes, asparagus, haricot vert, and mushrooms. The sides were delicious especially the potato and mushrooms. While the portions looked small, they were perfect sized for us after enjoying our starters and left some room for dessert. I had the trio of homemade marshmallows. They came with three sauces, caramel, chocolate, and raspberry. It was a very simple dessert but something sweet but light as it is just three small, soft, and creamy marshmallows. I convinced Chris to order the sampler plate that had a small taste of key lime pie, cheesecake, creme brûlée, apple pie, and chocolate cake with ice cream. We shared all the desserts and both liked the key lime the best. The food at Polo Grill was very nice but the service was slow except for the wine steward who kept our glasses full and switched us to a red for our main with perfect timing.
Dinner wasn’t over until close to ten and the show started at 9:30 so we walked for a bit and found ourselves in the casino. We played for a little while and then decided to skip the dance party and go back to our cabin to get some rest since we had to set our clocks forward one hour tonight. The bed is super comfortable and the cabin was dark and quiet. The only noise was the slight creaking but with the rocking of the ship, we were soon fast asleep.
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.