Editor’s note: this post has been modified since its original publication with new details about Oceania’s 2019-2020 ship-refurbishment program, OceaniaNEXT.
Since its inception in 2002, Oceania Cruises has bucked trends and expectations to deliver voyages that are wholly unique.
Defying convention, its most popular voyages are often its longest, with its epic 180-day World Cruise sailings selling out year after year. Oceania Cruises is also sending its fleet of six intimate, classically-styled ships to more destinations than ever before – and it is doing so in its own inimitable style.
If ever there was a bridge between a luxury cruise and a premium cruise line, it would be Oceania.
Frequently offering more than you would expect for less than you would expect to pay, Oceania places great emphasis on its overnight stays, excursions ashore, its ships, and of course, its onboard cuisine.
Meeting the Fleet
The Oceania fleet consists of six ships, ranging from the intimate 684-guest quadruplets Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena; to their slightly-larger fleetmates, the purpose-built Marina and Riviera.
The first four ships are former R-Class ships that were originally built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. In fact, Oceania is almost the modern embodiment of the most important aspects that Renaissance stood for. But that does not mean that Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena are the same as they were two decades ago; far from it. Oceania has spent millions of dollars refreshing these classically elegant vessels every few years, outfitting them with new amenities, new furnishings, and totally redesigned suites and staterooms.
Oceania Cruises announced a major enhancement of those four R-Class ships starting late 2018, to the tune of $100 million. Each ship is receiving 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms, and stunning new decor in public venues such as the restaurants, bars and lounges. Insignia was the first to receive its updates, followed by Sirena in May 2019, Regatta in September 2019, and Nautica in June 2020.
Designed from the ground up to offer a cruise experience that is perfectly tailored to Oceania, the 1,260-guest Marina and Riviera might be larger, but they are no less special or luxurious than their older fleetmates. Sparing no expense, they are some of the most luxurious ships at sea, with an onboard art collection personally curated by founder Frank del Rio, a legendary figure in the cruise industry for his meticulous attention to detail. The Owners’ Suites aboard these two ships are being completely refreshed in 2019 and 2020 with furnishings exclusively provided by Ralph Lauren Home.
That detail extends to Oceania’s onboard cuisine, which frequently bests the cruise line’s luxury counterparts. Oceania dubs this “The Finest Cuisine at Sea,” and it is a claim that few can refute, particularly aboard the newly delivered Sirena.
Aboard Sirena, guests can dine at Tuscan Steak, a specialty restaurant serving up a variety of Italian favorites alongside succulent steaks and fresh seafood that is inspired by two existing Oceania specialty restaurants, Toscana and Polo Grill.
Guests looking for something different will enjoy the transformation of the Grand Dining Room, which serves elegant and sumptuous meals by night, into Jacques Bistro by lunch, serving up the creations of Oceania’s culinary master, acclaimed chef Jacques Pepin.
Dinners are a real affair. Guests can dine on a bevy of nightly features that rotate throughout the voyage, like Sturgeon Caviar with Buckwheat Blinis and Traditional Garnish; Clear Capon Broth with Vegetable and Chervil Brunoise; and Duck à l’Orange with Braised Red Cabbage and Almond Potato Croquettes. Guests can also indulge morning, afternoon and evening in delicate pastries and freshly made sandwiches along with illy® specialty coffees at Baristas Café.
Those looking for exotic eats aren’t left out either.
Red Ginger, Oceania’s beloved specialty dining venue that serves up Asian specialties, is one of the line’s most popular. Here, you can enjoy a Salad of Spicy Roast Duck and Watermelon with Cashews, Mint and Thai Basil, before moving on to Malaysian Beef Panang with Coconut Rice and Paratha Roti, or the Thai Vegetable Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Aubergine, Mushrooms and Basil in Green Curry Sauce. The restaurant even has its own dedicated tea menu, with varieties like Orchid Vanilla, Ginger Lemongrass, and Chamomile Citron.
Unlike many larger oceangoing cruise ships that look to extract revenue at every turn, particularly when it comes to specialty dining venues, Oceania offers up its specialty restaurants at no additional charge. It is yet another nicety, particularly given the rave reviews that the line’s dining has garnered it. To eat this way on land, with this kind of cuisine and exacting service, would cost a small fortune.
Oceania has many unique and interesting sailings. Two that are of particular interest lately: Northern Europe and Western Europe.
The Northern Europe sailings are 7 to 20 days and feature some of the top sites. Gaze at the Crown Jewels in London, explore a medieval castle in Scotland and discover Russia’s treasures in St. Petersburg. Summertime in Northern Europe means discovering the radiance of its midnight sun, sparkling waterfronts of Copenhagen, awe-inspiring fjords of Norway and the emerald charm of the British Isles. History, art and architecture come alive in these enchanting lands.
Meanwhile, the Western Europe and Mediterranean cruise allows you to delve deep into the treasures of Europe on magnificent sojourns that bring you to the very best of the region, from the iconic marvels of Barcelona and Rome to the hidden gems that adorn the Mediterranean, such as gorgeous Olbia on Sardinia, and dramatic Argostoli on the legendary island of Cephalonia. Overnight and extended stays in many ports allowing for in-depth exploration and easygoing touring.
It is just one of many unique cruises that Oceania is offering this year in the Mediterranean. The only question now is which one you will choose as your own adventure.
See our featured Oceania sailings and decide for yourself what’s next >>