I recently had the pleasure to tour the m/s Regatta, and enjoy lunch aboard in the Grand Dining Room with Adele and some other Travel Industry Professionals.
When launched in 2002, Oceania Cruises, founded by industry veterans Joe Watters and Frank Del Rio, created a new category in cruising - and called it Deluxe cruising. The idea was to fill a missing niche between Premium (Holland America, Celebrity, etc.) and Luxury (Crystal Cruises, Regent, etc.).
From all accounts they have mastered this category, and after touring the ship, I can’t wait to sail with Oceania in the near future!
The differences are noticeable even from the pier as we walked towards the gangway and ourentrance to our Deluxe ship, the m/s Regatta. Docked next to us in San Pedro was the Norwegian Star with a capacity of 2200 guests! Our ship looked like a beautiful private yacht in comparison, welcoming us on a very special voyage. As we boarded, the decor, furnishings and finishings immediately soothed the soul, relaxed our minds and made us all slow down and take it in. The lobby was reminiscent of a boutique hotel and the staff and crew were there to greet us and direct us to a welcome cocktail reception in Horizons, the top deck, forward lounge.
Adele and I grabbed a glass of Wine (when in Rome, as they say!), located a spot with some friends and proceeded to take some pictures of this incredible lounge. This area of the ship, and many to follow, are very much like being at the Country Club or Golf Course Lounge back home. Oceania tries in its decor to be welcoming and make you feel at home, and they have succeeded in this endeavor. It feels very comfortable, but not at all sloppy or too casual. It is elegant and sophisticated, without being snobby. The dress on Oceania is “Country Club Casual”, so for those of us that do not care to wear Tuxedos and Suits in the evening, Oceania is a great escape!
Next we headed off to tour the Staterooms and Suites of the m/s Regatta. It was actually rather comical at first, as 350 Travel Professionals all left the Lounge and headed in the same direction to visit the 12 staterooms they had reserved for us! Adele and I quickly found a parallel passageway and shot to the front of the group, and ahead of the crowd as most of them struggled to peep their heads in the doors, as 30 came out of the staterooms. Hey - it’s why our clients look to us for “creative” solutions and ideas!
The Staterooms on the ship are beautifully decorated and very well designed. All have flat screen TV’s, which really add a lot of space to the staterooms compared to the boxy TV’s of old. The inside Staterooms and the lowest level oceanview with portholes and picture windows are 160 and 165 square feet respectively, but felt rather spacious overall. This is probably due to the fact that the bathrooms are VERY small in these categories. They are functional, and for the value of these staterooms is OK, but they are very small. The Balcony Staterooms measure 216 square feet with a 45 square foot balcony. Personally I love the balcony Staterooms regardless of the ship. even if I do not spend any time outside, I love having the floor to ceiling glass as it makes the room feel so much bigger. I also love to have the door open during the day to enjoy the fresh air, and depending upon the destination, have been known to leave the doors open all night. Just don’t tell my cabin steward!
Of course my favorite on this ship are the Owner’s Suites, ranging in size from 786 to 962 square feet, located on the very front or very back, with large wrap-around verandahs, Jacuzzi bathtubs, Butlers, Wedgewood furnishings and all the little extras you would expect in a Suite on Oceania.
Canyon Ranch, right here in Tucson, has recently partnered with Oceania Cruises to add a Canyon Ranch SpaClub on all of the vessels. It is not just a Spa at sea with a fitness center, but a true Canyon Ranch experience, with exceptional facilities and staff to create a complete Health and Wellness program on the Regatta. If you are a Spa nut - then Oceania Cruises is for you!
One of the differentiating features for Oceania is the dining. First of all there are four, open seating restaurants throughout the ship that are available to all guests and without the surcharges that we find on the Premium ships. There is the Grand Dining Room where we were treated to a magnificent five-course lunch and spectacular wines. There is the Polo Grill serving the best steaks not only on the high seas, but in the world. And served in a style reminiscent of the old Hollywood haunts we have all seen and dreamed about in the movies. There is Toscana hailed for its simplicity and keenly balanced flavors, firmly rooted in family traditions. Many of the recipes have been handed down for generations, coming from many of the Italian culinary staff of Oceania itself. Then there is Tapas on the Terrace, each evening this area becomes an alfresco dining experience under the stars! Enjoy specialty cocktails, authentic tapas, paellas and flavorful regional specialties from Spain.
In addition, there is a spectacular 24 hour complimentary room service menu that is second to none that I have seen in my 20 years of cruising. Order coffee, fresh fruit and pastries as your wake up call or a full five course dinner experience served in your stateroom.
We also took some time and toured the pool and deck area of the ship, and the casual, upscale style holds true here as well. The deck chairs and loungers are made of a beautiful Teak and covered with soft white (and thick!) padding for lazy days out by the pool enjoying a good novel or lively conversation. Next to the pool is Waves Grill, the casual lunch spot where you can grab a burger, salad or sandwich while enjoying the pool or as a quick stop between tours and other activities onboard when you do not feel like going to one of the restaurants.