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.

Oceania Cruises logo

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 USD 3,025 billion, thus becoming the official owner of all vessels in both fleets.

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.

Cruising 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.

Oceania Cruises' ships already serve an extensive vegan menu and offer vegan smoothie bars featuring cold-pressed raw juices. Guests can belly up to pool deck's raw juice and smoothie bar any morning and find a variety of choices like Coco Island juice, cold brew lattes, tropical green smoothies, chia cashew yogurt bowl or an acai berry bowl. Oceania's brand new vegan menu, with over 250 dishes, is featured in the main dining rooms of line's ships and includes appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free meals are also offered.

The new vegan menu gives cruisers 5 dishes and 4 sides to choose from at breakfast, such as a Spanish tortilla dish with tofu, potatoes and onions; vanilla waffles with fresh berries; cream of wheat or oatmeal; apricot and pistachio muffins; and sides like Lyonnaise potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and vegan link sausage. At lunch, passengers might have an Italian salad with assorted greens, Tuscan-style bean soup and toasted garlic bread followed by a spinach-stuffed involtini with pasta and olive tapenade sauce, tofu and a chocolate vegan-ricotta pie. Oceania's dinner menu is a 5-course meal including a truffle-flavored parsnip soup, quinoa salad and vegetable tartare, Thai red vegan curry with rice, shortbread dessert with strawberries and passion fruit cream.

Why to choose Oceania ships?

  • 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.

Oceania Cruises early-booking discounts (OLife Advantage)

Since September 2015, Oceania Cruises offers an extended early booking program (OLife Advantage). Discounts and benefits by this incentive program are available to all Oceania customers booking itineraries in Europe, Alaska and Canada New England.

OLife Advantage rewards all booked passengers, regardless of stateroom category. The list of bonus percs (complimentary amenities) may include unlimited internet, pre-paid gratuities, onboard credit, free cabin upgrades. The OLife Advantage program also provides free (complimentary) shore excursions per cruise, depending on itinerary's length: 3 tours (itineraries up to 9 days), 4 tours (itineraries 10-13 days) and 5 tours (itineraries 14+ days).

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.

Itineraries 2017-2018

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

  • 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. A 180-day world cruise is scheduled to depart March 1, 2019 aboard ms Insignia. Oceania Insignia will carry 684 passengers during the world cruise which covers over 45,000 nautical miles across 2 oceans, 5 continents and 16 seas. Travellers will visit 90 destinations in a total of 36 countries. For added flexibility, cruisers will be able to embark from New YorkMiami or Los Angeles. The 180-day voyage will offer 14 overnight stays in cities including Bali, Hong KongYangon, and Luxor. There will also be shore excursions in Tokyo, Jerusalem, and Bordeaux.
  • Northern Europe is the home for Nautica in summer 2017, including a touch of the Mediterranean. One highlight is the 20-day itinerary (themed "Trail of the Vikings") roundtrip from London UK and visiting Iceland and Greenland. Later in 2017, the ship will sail to Africa and Asia on 15-30-day itineraries, starting with a 30-day cruise from Dubai to Cape Town SOuth Africa. The 30-day "Indian Ocean Jubilee" is a holiday cruise 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.

In November 2016, Oceania Cruises revealed plans to homeport one of its smaller cruise ships, ms Insignia, in New York during summer and fall seasons in 2017 and 2018. This way Oceania will become the only upscale cruise line to offer regular cruises from the city.

In April 2017 the world’s leading destination-focused cruise line, Oceania Cruises, unveiled its most extensive tropics and exotics itineraries to date. Boasting an astonishing array of cruises to Asia and Africa, Australia, the South Pacific, Mexico, Caribbean, and South America, they provide a refreshing mix of destinations, boutique ports, and off-the-beaten-path gems unmatched by any other cruise line. Extended and overnight port stays allow for in-depth exploration and immersion into the history, culture and cuisine of more than 240 ports of call.

Itineraries 2018-2019

Oceania Cruises' 2018-2019 program "Tropics & Exotics Collection" features as highlights:

  • 75 cruise itineraries, of which 53 are new - including 10x in the South Pacific (Australia New Zealand), 12x in Asia and Africa, 23x in the Caribbean Sea.
  • 24 "Extended Journeys" itineraries ranging in length 17-59 days and exploring North and South America, Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Australia.
  • Passengers will be able to savor the beauty and joyful Polynesian culture of South Pacific aboard Oceania Marina.
  • Guests will also explore the marvels of Asia and Africa aboard Nautica and Insignia, including on the "Far East Mystique" itinerary offering 2 overnights in Yangon and calls on India's most revered port destinations.
  • Regatta will boast thrilling Australia and New Zealand itineraries, with a new roundtrip Auckland cruise (themed "Tasman Traveler") with Sydney NSW overnight and visits to NZ - Rotorua (from Tauranga), Bay of IslandsNapier.
  • More options are offered to enjoy the island culture of the Caribbean with 28 itineraries on Regatta, Riviera and Sirena, 17 of which visit Cuba.

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.
  • 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

In December 2016, the line's owner NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) received 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.

In March 2017 Oceania Cruises announced 10 new itineraries to Cuba in 2018. Cruises are roundtrip Miami, range 7 to 10 days in length and all include visits to Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.

The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba includes:

  • Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - cheapest prices (from USD 480 pp)
  • Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Holland America (ship Veendam) leaving from Fort Lauderdale since December 2017
  • NCL (ship Norwegian Sky, 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017.
  • MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
  • Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
  • Thomson Cruises (ship Thomson Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
  • 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.
  • Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort  Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

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