One of the cruise world's most unique success stories tells us how they plan to expand upon their initial achievements with a brand new ship design.
The small but popular Oceania Cruises has been a sleeper hit of the cruise industry since its humble beginnings in 2002. Starting with one 700-passenger ship reclaimed from the bankrupt Renaissance Cruises, former Renaissance president Frank Del Rio soon added two more of that company's vessels, and the line has operated that three-ship fleet for the last seven years.
But all that is about to change with the addition of two new ships for Oceania that are already under construction. This week the line celebrated milestones for these two separate but similar vessels at the Fincantieri shipyard near Genoa, Italy.
Both new ships will be 65,000 tons, nine decks high, 824 feet long, 104 feet wide and will reach a cruising speed of 22 knots. Maximum passenger capacity is 1,260 guests in 640 cabins, almost all with an ocean view and 83 percent of them with a generous private balcony.
This week's celebration included floating out the first ship, Marina a process of filling her construction dry dock with sea water for the first time. At this stage, the ship is still mostly bare steel but Marina is scheduled to sail her maiden voyage in January 2011. Work on the ship's interior, including the addition of carpets, drapes, furniture and other design features, will be concluded in the coming months.
The second ship is scheduled to debut in April 2012. The line announced that ship will be named Riviera, and marked the occasion with the ceremonial cutting of her first sheets of steel.
Company executives and guests celebrated these occasions with a dinner onboard Marina in the new restaurant "Jacques," named after Jacques Pepin, the celebrity chef affiliated with Oceania Cruises.
Marina and Riviera Details
The grand lobby on each ship will feature design accents by Lalique. La Reserve will be an intimate indoor-outdoor wine tasting venue for up to 24 guests. Full-service spa facilities and fitness centers will be provided by the famous Canyon Ranch SpaClub.
Oceania Cruises has always featured excellent cuisine, and each ship will have 10 separate dining venues, some included in the cruise fare and some requiring a service charge. One unique asset of both new ships will be the Bon Appétit Culinary Center with 24 individual cooking stations. Guests participating in classes created by Bon Appétit magazine will each have their own work station, with a cook top, oven, pots, pans and utensils.
For guests not cooking their own food, the Grand Dining Room will seat 566 and will reportedly have a more elegant, contemporary look than the dining rooms on the current ships. The new venues will be the tallest single-story dining rooms at sea, ranging from 20 to 30 feet in height. Special acoustic insulation and floor materials will minimize noise.
The Marina Lounge is the main showroom and theater on Marina. A production company to create original revues for the new ships has been hired but the name has not yet been announced.
Both ships will feature 629 staterooms, which combined will average some of the largest staterooms at sea. The top suites are up to 2,000 sq. ft., with furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home and designs by Dakota Jackson and Tocar New York. There are also 124 penthouse suites measuring 420 sq. ft. apiece. The smallest staterooms are 174 sq. ft.
With a continuing focus on comfortable staterooms, Marina's 282 sq. ft. Veranda Cabin is one-third larger than the standard balcony cabins on the line's existing ships, with space added between the bed and the closet. Other features include floor-to-ceiling windows; the signature Oceania "Tranquility Bed," with 700-thread count linens; free, unlimited soft drinks and bottled water kept in a mini-refrigerator; a full-size bathtub; an LCD flat-screen TV; safe; hair dryer; cell phone service; and 110/220 volt outlets.
Guests in concierge-level veranda staterooms are provided with a laptop computer with Wi-Fi access - although regular Internet usage charges apply.
The ship has 124 Penthouse Suites measuring 420 sq. ft. These suites have a separate area for seating as well as dining, with a separate window for added light and views. Furnishings include a desk; an armoire with a built-in make-up area; and a wall-mounted flat panel TV. The bathroom has a marble floor and granite counter with a separate shower and tub. There is a large walk-in closet.
The official naming ceremony for Marina will take place in Miami; her godmother has not yet been announced. The ceremony this week was a christening ceremony in the Italian maritime tradition with a bottle of prosecco wine smashed on the hull. Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings -- the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas -- gave a blessing, as did a priest and the wife of the shipyard's manager.
Del Rio said that "Marina is not a cookie-cutter vessel, but the perfect ship to complement the line's trio of existing smaller vessels," the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. He commented, "There's only one thing better than one new ship and that's two new ships," then wryly added: " They say great things come in threes."
Oceania has an option with Fincantieri to build a third ship which must be exercised this year.
In her inaugural year, Marina will cross the Atlantic, transit the Panama Canal twice, visit ports in Mexico as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and call at a host of Caribbean islands, sailing round-trip from Miami. Marina will sail along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and call at Bermuda before repositioning to Europe for summer 2011.
See the full Marina Picture Gallery Gallery photos courtesy of Susan J. Young. Other pics above from Oceania Cruises
|Verandah Stateroom||Penthouse Walk-in||Armoire|
|Penthouse Living Room area||Penthouse Bathroom||close up of chairs|
Marina and Riviera Ship Facts
Marina -- Debuts Jan 2011 Oceania Class II -- Debuts April 2012 Guest Capacity -- 1,256 (Double Occupancy) Tonnage -- 66,000 (estimated) Builder -- Fincantieri; Sestre Ponente, Italy Length -- 782 feet Width -- 105 feet Draft -- 24 feet Cruising Speed -- 20 knots Propulsion -- Diesel Electric, 2 controllable pitch propellers Restaurants -- Six Open Seating Restaurants:
- The Grand Dining Room -- Continental Cuisine
- Polo Grill -- Steak House
- Toscana -- Gourmet Italian
- Asian Restaurant -- Asian Cuisine
- Terrace Café -- Casual Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodations -- 628 Guest Staterooms and Suites:
- 4 Owner's Suites
- 6 Vista Suites
- 12 Oceania Suites
- 120 Penthouse Suites
- 440 Veranda Staterooms
- 20 Ocean View Staterooms
- 26 Inside Staterooms
- Horizons -- Observation lounge and nightclub
- Sports Deck
- Spa and Fitness Center
- The Patio
- Polo Grill -- Classic Steakhouse
- Toscana -- Gourmet Italian Restaurant
- Guest Suites
- Culinary Arts Center
- Enrichment Center
- Waves Bar
- Swimming Pool and Jacuzzis
- Waves Grill & Milkshake Bar
- Private Dining Rooms, Wine Cellar and Veranda
- Terrace Café -- casual buffet restaurant
Decks 11 through 7:
- Guest Staterooms and Suites
- Upper Hall
- Card Room
- Grand Bar
- Grand Dining Room -- Continental cuisine
- Main Lounge
- Reception Hall and Lounge
- French Restaurant -- Country French cuisine
- Asian Restaurant -- a fusion of Asian cuisines