Oceania Sirena July 2016
From Barcelona to Malta.
Carol Patterson and Debbie Pickett,
co-owners of Cruise Holidays of Burlington
We were invited to sail on Sirena for the July 1st sailing from Barcelona to Malta. After hearing about her expected updates and watching the Christening take place in Barcelona, Debbie and I were looking forward to our Sirena cruise.
Sirena is the latest ship to join the Oceania fleet. Christened in April. she had just been sailing for 45 days when we boarded her in Barcelona.She is the sister ship to the Regatta, Insignia and Nautica accommodating 684 guests
Our itinerary included Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Mahon, Taormina and Malta.
The staff and crew were very welcoming and our group was pleasantly surprised when they presented a cake at our cocktail party acknowledging Canada Day.
On a walk through the ship you notice the wonderful artwork in the lounges and the stairway areas. The Horizon Lounge has been updated with lots of small tables and upholstered chairs in lovely blue and grey tones. The lounge looked very elegant when set up for afternoon tea.
New to the Sirena is the Tuscan Steakhouse, inspired by Polo Grill and Toscana and Red Ginger the Asian Fusion Restaurant. These restaurants require a reservation but do not charge a fee for dining. They are absolutely a must try and are quite popular. If you are a steak lover there is a 20 oz. steak on the menu waiting for you. In Red Ginger the Sea Bass is a favourite as well as Lobster Pad Thai.
The Terrace Grill located at the aft of the ship is a wonderful spot to enjoy breakfast on the open deck or have dinner while watching the sunset. The buffet breakfast here in the morning has the freshest berries among other fruits for your selection with your breakfast. At dinner you will be able to have your lobster or steak cooked just the way you want and you can have more than one tail of lobster if you wish.
Of course there is always the Grand Dining Room open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room transforms into Jacques Bistro at lunch offering classic French cuisine from regions throughout France.
All of the staterooms in the Penthouse and above categories have been renovated and look very fresh and sleek. The bathrooms have been redone to include a beautiful walk in shower with updated sinks, counters and cupboards.
A few of my photos !
For more information on the ship, here’s an Oceania Sirena video.
Oceania has port intensive itineraries with many itineraries including an overnight in port or longer stays.
After boarding in Barcelona our first port of call was Valencia. The City of Arts and Sciences, where modern architecture meets old world charm. Palaces from its golden age in the 15th Century are mixed in with new shops, cafes and restaurants. The Mercado Central is a must for a Valencian shopping experience. This is where the locals shop and barter for their goods.
Our next port was Palma de Mallorca is the largest of the Spanish Balearic Island in the Mediterranean. The view of the Bellver Castle and the Gothic Cathedral are impressive as you arrive into Palma. The old quarter is behind the Cathedral with its medieval structures and cobblestone streets.
Our sail into Mahon the next morning was very scenic with the town perched on top of the cliff overlooking the harbour. From the ship there is a wide staircase leading up to the town. At the top is the Fish Market and the local market housed in the old convent, where crafts and fruits and vegetables are sold daily. From the market leading towards the church are cafes, restaurants and shops.
Taormina was our last port of call before Malta. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean located off the toe of Italy separated by the Strait of Messina. The highest point of the island is Mt. Etna an active volcano. Taormina was built on a hill midway between Messina and Catania. The Greco – Roman theatre has a spectacular view of Mt. Etna in the distance and the sea below. On our visit they were setting the stage for Madame Butterfly. The town has a medieval atmosphere with beautiful views of the bay from open squares in the town. Lots of small cafes and restaurants are located down winding alleys with views overlooking the sea.
Our cruise came to an end all too soon as we arrived in Malta and made our way home.
Oceania is truly Your World Your Way as no request is too small and the crew and staff go out of their way to please.