Oceania Cruises

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Oceania Cruises fleet

Review of Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises is a Miami FL, United States-based shipping company operating a fleet of premium cruise ships world-wide. Since April 2007, Oceania has been owned by Apollo Management. The line offers predominantly shorter cruises, but is also known for its long voyages lasting up to 180 days.     

Oceania was founded in 2002 by cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio (ex- vice president of Renaissance Cruises), and Joe Watters. The company chartered former Renaissance Cruises vessel R Two from Cruiseinvest and in October 2002 named her Insignia. In April 2003 the ship was chartered for three months to the French travel agency TRM, during which Oceania operated no ships. On June 15, 2003 the line re-commenced service with two cruise ships: Insignia was renamed Regatta; a new ship (R One, sister ship of Regatta, also chartered from Cruiseinvest) debuted as the new Insignia.

In the end of 2005, a third R-class ship entered Oceania Cruises fleet when the line chartered R Five from Cruiseinvest and named her Nautica. At the naming ceremony, Frank del Rio announced a plan of to add a fourth ship, Marina, in July 2007. However, this did not come to pass.

The majority of Oceania's stock were sold in February 2007 to the New York-based Apollo Management. The next month Oceania Cruises made a memorandum agreement with Fincantieri shipyard, Italy to construct a couple of new 1,260-passenger vessels. The contract was finalised in June the same year, with delivery dates set for January and July 2011. The contract also included an option for a 3rd ship of the same type to be delivered in May 2012, but the line declined the option.

After being leased out to Hapag-Lloyd as Columbus 2 for two years, Insignia returned to the fleet of Oceania in 2014. In May 2014 Oceania cruises and Fincantieri were close to making a deal on two additional ships. On September 2, 2014 NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) purchased Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent company of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for US$3.025 billion.

On November 25, 2014 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd revealed a definitive agreement with Princess to purchase Ocean Princess (now Sirena) for Oceania, upon delivery in March 2016. The ship will therefore undergo a 35-day, US$40 million refit in Marseille, France to become ms Sirena.

Oceania Cruises Experience

Oceania Cruises bills itself as upper-premium  line, positioned squarely between the luxury and the premium segment, which essentially distills into “pay less, get more.”

Oceania brings to sea the country club lifestyle, with an elegant but relaxed onboard atmosphere that is never formal or stuffy. The guests of the line are well-traveled and looking for world-class cuisine, personalized service, and destination-focused experience. The line delivers on these requirements by promoting exotic itineraries to remote world-wide destinations, frequently providing overnight stays so passengers can fully immerse themselves in the cuisine, culture and history during port calls. The Executive Culinary Director of Oceania, acclaimed master chef Jacques Pepin, has created a menu of culinary delights which are the highlight of every evening.

Why to Choose Oceania?

  • Cuisine: Oceania Cruises’ chefs prepare noteworthy cuisine in all onboard restaurants.
  • Destinations: Oceania itineraries offer overnights in top ports and are destination-oriented.
  • Midsize Ships: The deluxe ships of Oceania are quite manageable in size: even the largest one has fewer than 1,300 guests.
  • No Smoking: Oceania vessels are almost entirely smoke-free. There are small, designated areas for smokers.
  • Surprisingly Affordable: Oceania cruises approach true luxury in style, but are quite affordable when it comes to fares.

The sophisticated ambiance of Oceania extends to the entertainment provided onboard. Guests can listen to a jazz band or 12-piece orchestra, watch a cabaret show or enjoy regional entertainment from the ports of call. The line regularly hosts guest lecturers, from former ambassadors to famous authors. Oceania cruises combines the best of new and old, preserving classic traditions, such as afternoon tea while offering contemporary services like 24-hour Internet access.

Oceania voyages are adult-oriented. These are not a good pick for families, particularly those sailing with infants and toddlers. There are no dedicated kids' facilities available onboard, and parents are completely responsible for children's behavior and entertainment. Some teenagers who don't mind the absence of video arcades might enjoy the unique ports of call.

Other advantages of Oceania include:

  • Many Oceania cruises include airfare in fare pricing.
  • Pre-/postcruise Hotel Collection Packages include private group transfers.
  • There is no dining charge on Oceania Cruises ships, but wine and cocktail prices are relatively high.
  • Guests may bring up to 3 bottles of wine per stateroom from ports of call, but have in mind the corkage fee  - it is $25 per bottle to bring wine to the restaurant.
  • Oceania offers shore excursion collections. These have to be reserved prior to sailing and save a lot.
  • Oceania Cruises was the first line to upgrade bedding to the highest standard. Passengers can count on a good sleep on these ships.

Itinerary of Oceania Cruises

Award-winning Oceania Cruises itineraries visit over 300 ports in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and New Zealand aboard line's luxurious ships. Oceania's cruise vessels stand apart from other midsize ships with low 1-to-2 crew-to-passenger ratios and comprehensive itineraries. 

During warm weather months Oceania Cruises ships ply the waters of Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Western Europe and British Isles, Northern Europe's Baltic Sea and Norwegian Fjords. During the winter, Oceania spans the globe with sailings to Asia, Australia, South America, Panama Canal and the Caribbean.

Oceania Cruises appeals to affluent retirees who look for a no-frills and refined experience. That said, the sophisticated atmosphere of the line also attracts solo travelers and young couples who are looking for an experience sans kids. Regardless of which voyage you choose, expect to sail with American crowd.

In 2016 Oceania Cruises sails around the world, with trips spanning Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, South America, South Pacific and Alaska, among other places. The shore experiences of the line are just as varied as its cruises, ranging from culinary endeavors such as tapas tastings in Barcelona, Spain to active pursuits such as glacier sea kayaking in Juneau, Alaska. If passengers wish to extend their time on shore, they can sign up for pre- or post-cruise land tours with Oceania, including all lodging, transportation and dining costs. 

Oceania Cruises is planning 7 maiden port calls in its summer 2017 and winter 2017-2018 programs. Nearly 120 of the 172 itineraries are new. The maiden calls include Bastia (Corsica), Villefranche and Nantes, France; Husavik, Iceland; Rijeka, Croatia; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Sept-Îles, Québec.

  • The newest addition to the fleet of Oceania, ms Sirena, will spend in the Mediterranean most of 2017. Then the ship will sail to Dublin on a 12-day voyage from Lisbon to Bilbao before heading to Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Australia and South Pacific.
  • Regatta will explore Alaska with 7- to 11-day sailings in summer 2017. After transiting Panama Canal, the vessel will operate South America cruises including a 21-day Patagonia trip. Other highlights include a 20-day cruise to Chile's islands, glaciers and fjords, and a 35-day Americas route in the Caribbean, along Mexican Riviera and on the Amazon.
  • The first half of 2017 and 2018, ms Insignia will sail her 5th 'Around the World in 180 Days' cruise. 8 segments are available, including 20 days from Miami to Reykjavik via Greenland and 28 days from Rome to Montréal.
  • Northern Europe is the home for Nautica in summer 2017, including a touch of the Mediterranean. One highlight is the 20-day voyage 'Trail of the Vikings', round-trip from London, with stops in Iceland and Greenland. Later in the year the ship will sail to Africa and Asia on 15-30-day trips, starting with a 30-day sailing from Dubai to Cape Town. The 30-day 'Indian Ocean Jubilee' is a holiday journey from Cape Town to Singapore.
  • Marina spends 2017 summer and autumn in Europe, with Mediterranean sailings. An 11-day cruise round-trip from London sails to northern Norway. The ship will spend winter in the Caribbean on 7- to 12-day cruises.
  • Riviera will offer 7-12-day Mediterranean voyages. Highlights include the 8-day 'Cosmopolitan Collage,' traversing the Italian and French coastline and the 11-day 'Fountains to Fortresses' cruise from Barcelona to Venice. Riviera will spend the winter in the Caribbean.

Select Oceania sailings to Asia and Africa offer the option of free 3-night pre- or post-cruise land tours. Examples include 'Roman Wonders,' to Rome and Vatican City; 'Beijing & the Great Wall,' exploring some of China's top historical sites and 'Winelands & Wildlife,' out of Cape Town.

Oceania cruise itinerary changes

  • In early April 2016, Oceania Cruises announced its 2017 summer and 2017-2018 winter itinerary programs. The line's ship schedule features almost 120 new itineraries (out of 172 in total) and 7 maiden port calls in Europe and Caribbean, Those are Bastia (Corsica), Villefranche-Nice (France), Nantes (France), Rijeka (Croatia), Husavik (Iceland), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas, USVI) and Sept-Îles (Quebec, Canada).
  • Select itineraries to Africa and Asia offer optional (complimentary) 3-night pre/post-cruise land tour packages for Rome Italy, Beijing China and Cape Town South Africa.
  • Passengers booking Oceania cruise deals by Sept 30, 2016 will receive as bonus perks free unlimited Internet plus 1 additional complimentary amenity (either unlimited beverage package, shore excursions or OBC /onboard credit).
  • In the end of April 2016, the Oceania's owner NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) announced the line will start offering cruises to Cuba (starting sometime in 2016).

Oceania cruises to Cuba

The line's owner NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) is close to getting permission to operate cruises to Cuba, with two Oceania ships - Marina (starting in the end of 2016) and Regatta (starting in 2017). Cuba currently lacks the infrastructure to support large cruise ships, so the 684-passenger Regatta and 1,258-passenger Marina are small enough to work with what exists there now. Both ships will sail a variety of itineraries, including circumnavigation of Cuba (with stops in Cienfuegos and Havana) and visiting Cuba would as part of some Panama Canal transition cruises.

The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba in 2016-2017-2018 includes:

  • Carnival-fathom (ship MV Adonia, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Compagnie du Ponant (yacht ship Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida)
  • Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
  • Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal, leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
  • International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
  • Victory Cruise Lines - MS  Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
  • Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.

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