Oceania Cruises

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Oceania Cruises fleet

Review of Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises is a Miami-based passenger shipping company operating a fleet of premium liners. Between April 2007 and September 2014, Oceania was owned by Apollo Management. Company's owner since 2014 is NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) - also owner of NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) and RSSC (Regent Seven Seas Cruises), The Oceania cruise line as brand offers a luxury product with relatively shorter cruise tour itineraries, but is also known for its Around The World voyages lasting up to 180 days.

Company history

Oceania was founded in 2002 by travel industry veterans Frank Del Rio (former VP of Renaissance Cruises) and Joseph Watters (Independent Director of MarineMax - brokerage company). Oceania Cruises initially chartered the ex-Renaissance Cruises vessel "R Two" from Cruiseinvest, which in October 2002 was renamed Insignia. In April 2003, the ship was chartered for 3 months to the French travel agency TRM, during which Oceania had no fleet. On June 15, 2003, the company re-commenced service with 2 liners - Insignia (renamed Regatta) and a new vessel (R One, sistership of Regatta, also chartered from Cruiseinvest) that debuted as the current Insignia.

Oceania Cruises logo

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

The majority of Oceania's stock was 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 finalized 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 NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd) purchased Prestige Cruise Holdings, the 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, the parent company NCLH revealed an 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 refits in Marseille, France to become "MS Sirena".

In September 2018, Oceania Cruises partnered with Luggage Forward (US-based luggage shipping company). The new service allows passengers to ship their luggage doorstep-to-stateroom (and back home again), thus truly traveling light. Luggage Forward provides premier door-to-door shipping services to 200 countries worldwide (including over 150 cruise ports). Company's own team of customs specialists handles the country-specific paperwork to ensure on-time deliveries. Travelers can track the shipment in real-time. Luggage Forward service can be booked online or via phone. Rates are fixed, without additional charges or fees applied. Luggage's arrival on time and safety is guaranteed. Luggage Forward offers money-back plus USD 500 on-time guarantee.

The following table shows statistical data about Oceania's market share (as fleet and passenger capacity / ship-berth numbers) in comparison to other major cruise companies.

Parent CompanySubsidiariesFleets (vessels per brand)Passenger Capacity (berths per brand)
Carnival CorporationCarnival2671300
Carnival CorpPrincess1742000
Carnival CorpAIDA1329300
Carnival CorpCosta1229200
Carnival CorpHolland America1525900
Carnival CorpP&O UK818600
Carnival CorpP&O Australia58200
Carnival CorpCunard36700
Carnival CorpSeabourn42000
Carnival CorpTOTAL103 ships233,200 berths
RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd)RCI (Royal Caribbean International)2684,700
RCCLTOTAL64 ships141400 berths
NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd)NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines)1646600
NCLHRSSC (Regent)42600
NCLHTOTAL26 ships54400 berths
(other large brands)

1- MSC

2- Disney

3- Star Cruises (GHK)

4- Dream Cruises (GHK)

5- Hurtigruten

6- Viking Ocean

1- 15

2- 4

3- 5

4- 2

5- 15

6- 5

1- 44600

2- 8500

3- 8500

4- 6800

5- 6700

6- 4700

Cruising experience

The Oceania cruise line serves the industry's upper-premium market, and as a brand is positioned between its luxury and premium segments. Shipboard experience is country club-like, the atmosphere is elegant and relaxed, never formal or stuffy. Company's customers are well-traveled, looking for top-class cuisine, personalized service, destination-focused travel experience. Oceania offers exotic cruise itineraries to remote destinations worldwide. Often, port calls are with overnight stays so passengers can enjoy local cuisine, nightlife, culture.

Company's Executive Culinary Director is the renown master chef Jacques Pepin. He created a premier menu of gourmet delights which are highlighted during each onboard dinner. Oceania cruise ships serve an extensive vegan menu and offer smoothie bars with cold-pressed raw juices at Lido Deck.

  • Pool deck's raw juice and smoothie bar serve a variety of healthy drinks - like cold brew lattes, green smoothies, chia cashew yogurt bowl, acai berry bowl. Oceania's new vegan menu has over 250 dishes and is featured in Main Dining Rooms of all ships. It includes appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. Vegetarian, kosher and gluten-free meals are also offered.
  • The vegan menu has 5 dishes and 4 sides offered at each breakfast, such as Spanish tortilla dish (tofu, potatoes, onions), vanilla waffles (fresh berries), cream of wheat or oatmeal, apricot and pistachio muffins, sides (Lyonnaise potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, vegan sausage). At lunch are offered Italian salad (assorted greens), Tuscan-style bean soup, toasted garlic bread, spinach-stuffed involtini (with pasta and tapenade sauce), tofu, chocolate ricotta pie. The dinner menu is 5-course and include truffle-flavored parsnip soup, quinoa salad, vegetable tartare, Thai red curry with rice, shortbread dessert (strawberries, passion fruit cream).

OceaniaNEXT ship refurbishments (fleet-renovation project)

In August 2018, Oceania announced company's OceaniaNEXT fleet renovation project budgeted USD 100 million. It includes drydock refurbishments of all four R-Class liners - Regatta (September 2019), Insignia (December 2018), Sirena (May 2019) and Nautica (June 2020).

As supervision company for the project was contracted Studio DADO Inc (Miami-based designer firm). Other contractors include Baker and Donghia (furnishings), and Rubelli and Kravet (fabrics, custom-made carpets). As result, the fleet was expanded with 1368 new staterooms, and all shipboard restaurants, bars, and lounges will be redesigned and redecorated. New public spaces on these ships include open-floor designed Lobby with Reception Hall (lower level) with Upper Hall (2nd level). They are connected with Grand Staircase (decorated with railings and balustrades) and featuring a large crystal chandelier (with hanging pieces of hand-painted glass).

Grand Dining Room (aft restaurant on Deck 5) on each ship received new premium dining furniture (leather chairs with metallic bronze threading) and new crystal chandelier. Martinis (piano bar lounge on Deck 5) was redesigned, new silver-white marble bar top and walnut paneling were added.

All staterooms were completely overhauled (redesigned and re-furnished) and upgraded with custom-made furniture, polished wood, stone finishes, designer accessories, smart HDTVs (infotainment system with movies-on-demand and Internet), USB ports, LED lighting. All cabin bathrooms were overhauled and received new tiling, surfaces, fixtures, designer accessories, vanities, glass shower enclosures. Penthouse-Vista-Owner suite bathrooms were enlarged and upgraded with Carrara marble tops, onyx, polished granite.

Works on the fleetwide refurb project involved over 1000 artisans and craftsmen and resulted in 1368 new cabins, 8000 new light fixtures, 12000 new sofas and chairs.

In September 2018, as part of OceaniaNEXT program, company's website was redesigned and upgraded. Now customers (travel agents and cruise passengers) can use shipboard credits before departure. OBC can be used for purchasing tours/excursions and shipboard activities and amenities (culinary classes, drink packages, specialty dining at the Privee and La Reserve).

As part of OceaniaNEXT, on January 31, 2019, the company announced its partnership with Vero Water (eco-friendly bottled water supplier) to eliminate plastic water bottles fleetwide. In the period April-June 2019, all Oceania liners were outfitted with Vero Water systems eliminating around 3 million plastic bottles annually. By 2019-H2 (second half) all Oceania cruise customers will be provided complimentary with re-useable Vero Water bottles (Oceania-branded, 1 per person) to be used ashore and after the voyage to take home as a souvenir. The new water bottles will be available on each ship since April 2, 2019 (Riviera), April 19, 2019 (Marina), May 1, 2019 (Regatta), May 19, 2019 (Sirena), May 30, 2019 (Nautica), and June 19, 2019 (Insignia).

In May 2019, by the OceaniaNEXT program were introduced fleetwide 200+ plant-based dining menus. The new items are available (upon request) in "Grand Dining Room" and "Terrace Cafe" at breakfast-lunch-dinner, and also dinner-only in all specialty restaurants.

  • Breakfast items include Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes, Muesli with Pistachios, Avocado Toast on Rustic Bread.
  • Lunch items include Chilled Melon Soup, Korean Kimchi Soup, Wakame-Sesame Salad, Poke Bowl, Penne au Pistou.
  • Dinner items include Green Papaya Kelp Noodle Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato-Oat Tarte (with Mushrooms and Truffle Cheddar Sauce), Falafel Fritters, Crespelle alla Fiorentina (with Mushrooms), Green Curry Stir Fry.
  • Pnat-based desserts include Vanilla Mango Ice, Romanoff Vodka-Marinated Strawberries, Berry Pudding with Chantilly Cream, Shortbread (with Cream Cheese and Raspberries).

In 2019, Oceania's new website has greatly improved navigation via groups of 4 tabs (at page top) - "Plan Your Cruise”, “Onboard Experiences”, “Explore Ashore” and “Ultimate Value”. Website's "Travel Agent Center" was also updated (marketing tools, tips, and training, travel advisor benefits). Oceania also launched new pre-cruise savings program, allowing customers booking within 30-days prior departure to receive in advance savings and "Best Price Guarantee". Repeat travel agency bookings are credited back automatically.

Why 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 combine 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 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.

Early-booking cruise 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 perks (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).

Wavenet (free, high-speed Internet) fleetwide

In April 2018, Oceania Cruises introduced the Wavenet (high-speed internet) fleetwide / on all ships. The service allows faster uploading/downloading of big files, watching Netflix movies, social media sharing, music, and video live streaming (Spotify Facetime, Skype).

  • Oceania Cruises new Wavenet Internet service is free of charge and unlimited. As for amenities, it is included in the ticket prices for all staterooms (suite and cabin categories) and on all itineraries.
  • The "Wavenet Prime" (Internet upgrade) is available for purchase at USD 10 pp per day. It allows passengers to stream music, videos, and movies.

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 the 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 travellers and young couples who are looking for an experience sans kids. Regardless of which voyage you choose, expect to sail with the American crowd.

Itineraries 2019-2020-2021

A 180-day world cruise is scheduled to depart March 1, 2019, aboard MS Insignia. Oceania Insignia carries 684 passengers during the world cruise which covers over 45,000 nautical miles across 2 oceans, 5 continents and 16 seas. Travellers are able to visit 90 destinations in a total of 36 countries. For added flexibility, cruisers embark from New YorkMiami or Los Angeles. The 180-day voyage offers 14 overnight stays in cities including Bali, Hong KongYangon, and Luxor. Shore excursions are also offered in Tokyo, Jerusalem, and Bordeaux.

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 and the Great Wall,' exploring some of China's top historical sites and 'Winelands and Wildlife,' out of Cape Town.

Oceania Cruises 2019 program in the Americas and Europe includes 104 itineraries. The cruise line's capacity is split between Alaska, the East Coast of the United States and Canada, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

  • Regatta spends 2019 summer in Alaska, with turn ports both Vancouver and Seattle. Across the continent, Insignia offers summer itineraries from Miami and New York, with a number of Cuba itineraries.
  • During the peak summer season, Marina and Nautica offer deployments in Northern Europe, while Sirena and Riviera in the Mediterranean.
  • In Northern Europe, Marina inaugurates two new ports of call for the cruise line in Norway, Haugesund, and Bodo, both on a 12-day cruise from Oslo.
  • Nautica is also exploring the wild, via a 20-day trip from the UK visiting Iceland and Greenland’s ports of Qaqortoq and Paamiut.
  • Riviera features early-season Western Mediterranean itineraries, with niche ports on the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Venturing east, the vessel moves to Venice and then sails to Athens early July, on a 10-day cruise featuring Adriatic and Greek ports of call.
  • That is followed by a departure from Greece on July 14, which has port calls booked into Cyprus and Israel. The 19-day itinerary turns back West to Barcelona. It is the only Eastern Mediterranean itinerary offered by Oceania in 2019.
  • Oceania Sirena follows her next Mediterranean deployment, full of Western Mediterranean and Adriatic ports.
  • In October, Sirena offers late-season itineraries in the Mediterranean, as do Nautica and Marina. Insignia is based in Miami while Riviera offers fall foliage cruises from Montreal and New York. Regatta repositions to Miami FL from Alaska in September 2019, with a return trip to San Francisco in mid-October.

Oceania Cruises 2020-2021 Tropics & Exotics Collection of itineraries include:

  • A total of 85 itineraries, 69 of which are entirely new, with 13 new cruises to Asia and Africa, 8 new sailings to South America, 7 new voyages to South Pacific and Australia, 7 new Transoceanic trips, and 30 new journeys to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Mexico.
  • A dozen new ports of call which reveal a variety of cultures, like Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud, New Zealand’s port of Whangarei, Japan’s seaside town of Miyako, and the Indonesian port of Surabaya.
  • Explore the once-forbidden Cuba with 2 dozen all-encompassing journeys to the island, most of which offer overnights in Havana and many delve into lesser-known corners of the country with visits to Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.
  • From the northernmost main island in Japan, Hokkaido, to the Tasmanian city of Burnie, cruisers can choose from a selection of intriguing cruise ports in Asia and Australia.

New ports of call include Bali (Celukan Bawang), Isla De La Juventud, Maceio, Miyako, Mooloolaba, Muroran (Hokkaido), Port Lincoln, Puerto Plata, Sendai, Surabaya, Tolanaro (Fort Dauphin), Whangarei.

New shore excursions and land tours

In mid-November 2018, Oceania introduced 86x pre-, post-, and mid-cruise land tours in Asia, Australia, Africa, Egypt and Holy Land, South America, Europe, Canada, and Alaska. Ranging from 1 to 5 nights in length, the new excursions options offer overnights in metropolises, overland explorations in Southeast Asia, luxury safaris in premium private reserves in Africa, the Italian and Swiss Alps, the Arabian Desert, even expedition to Himalayan Mountains (Mount Everest and Kathmandu). Program's highlights include:

  • "The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal and Mount Everest" is a 4-night expedition centering on Mumbai and Kathmandu. It includes flightseeing over Mt Everest and visits to Bhadgaon City, Bodhnath Stupa, Pashupatinath, Patan, visiting a Tibetan monastery, evening prayer ritual and private audience at the Living Goddess.
  • "Taj Mahal: Eternal Masterpiece" is available with 2- and 3-night packages. Tour's highlights include visits to Agra Fort and Itmad-Ud-Daulah, classic Kathak dance performance (at the hotel in Agra).
  • "Luxury Safari: White Elephant Safari Lodge" is an overnight at White Elephant Lodge and features guided nature walks, 2 game drives, afternoon tea, sundowners, dusk birdwatching or Lake Jozini boat cruise.
  • "Luxury Safari: Belmond Eagle Island Lodge" in Okavango Delta offers game drives and wildlife viewing (hippos, elephants, crocodiles, big cats). The luxury lodge is included with 2 overnights, plus 2 overnights (in Johannesburg and Cape Town).
  • "Glaciers, Lagoons, and Waterfalls" is an Iceland tour visiting Langjokull Glacier's ice cave, ice-walk at Solheimajokull, Hraunfoss and Barnafoss waterfalls, Deildartunguhver's hot springs, Blue Lagoon bathing. There is also a culinary tour of Reykjavik and overnights in Husafell and Stracta.
  • "Royal London and The English Countryside" combines historic London with England's countryside (Cotswolds, Burford, Bibury). The 3-night tour visits Tower of London, viewing of Crown Jewels along with Changing of the Guard and Thames River cruise.
  • "Rome and Tivoli Treasures" is a 3-night tour in Rome, plus an insider tour with private access of Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica, plus Tivoli and Villa D’Este.
  • "Canadian Rockies by Rocky Mountaineer" are exclusive tours of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, and Vancouver. Rocky Mountaineer is the world's largest private train. Along the way, Oceania cruise tourists enjoy Silver Leaf Service with gourmet meals and snacks.

Oceania Cruises to Cuba

In December 2016, company's owner NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) received permission to operate cruises to Cuba, with two Oceania ships - Marina (starting at 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 sail a variety of itineraries, including a circumnavigation of Cuba (with stops in Cienfuegos and Havana) and visiting Cuba as part of some Panama Canal transition cruises.

The company offers a number of departures from Miami FL in 2019, including the “Timeless Cuba” itinerary, sailing 7 days with visits to Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Cienfuegos. A twice-offered 10-day cruise adds a visit to Great Stirrup Cay.

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

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 the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

IMPORTANT: On June 4, 2019, the US Government announced new regulations (economic sanctions) that ended group travel to Cuba, including via US-homeported cruise liners, effective immediately. The ban relates to "private and corporate aircraft, cruise ships, sailboats, fishing boats, and other similar aircraft and vessels". The US travel restrictions impacted hundreds of pre-scheduled cruise itineraries, which were adjusted to no longer stop in Cuban seaports.

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