Best For People Who Want
A casual experience on a small ship cruise; a port-intensive
itinerary;open seating dining; no additional charge alternative
restaurants; a strict smoking policy.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Languid days at sea with nothing to do, onboard sports
facilities, extensive children's activities.
Oceania Cruises offers extraordinary food and service but the
prices have crept up over the years as Oceania has learned how to
market its ships more effectively. Regatta has retained many of the
features that made her popular in a previous incarnation as a
Renaissance's R-ship - single, open-seating dining; three
alternative restaurants, and a casual dress policy. There's a
computer room with classes; plenty of open-deck space, two Jacuzzi
whirlpools alongside the pool, and myriad comfortable and inviting
bars. The library is open 24 hours a day and will lend you one of
its vast collection without a deposit. And the new restaurant Tapas
on the Terrace may offer the most romantic dining at sea; you dine
by candlelight on the wide aft deck at a table with starched white
The staterooms received extensive comfort upgrades fleetwide
including sheets and pillowcases by Ralph Lauren, cushy mattresses,
down comforters and extra pillows.
Nautica's smaller size allows the ship to visit more unusual
ports of call including places like Bordeaux, Guernsey, Palma de
Majorca, Malaga, and Oporto, Portugal.
On the other hand, we'd be derelict to fail to note that,
spirits, wine, airport/cruise transfers and shore excursions are
all somewhat pricey on Nautica. Moreover, Oceania Cruise Lines
makes no bones about not caring one way or another if there are
children aboard. After endless hours of ping-pong, shuffleboard,
small-pool swimming and TV in the cabin, your kids may be likely to
sulk. And just so you know - smoking is forbidden everywhere but on
the starboard side of the outdoor Pool Deck.
With wingback chairs facing faux marble fireplaces, paintings
hung on landings above Chinese vases, miles of brocade drapes and
fabric, dark wood paneling, carved moldings and wrought-iron
staircases, the ship has the feel of boutique hotel. The
no-nonsense staterooms evoke modern European city hotels.
In general, the ship has an "English inn at sea" look. In the
bow, the spacious, woody Horizons lounge has floor-to-ceiling
windows and brass telescopes on three sides. The Martini Bar
attached to the casino can make you 29 kinds of martini making it a
very relaxing space in the afternoons while the pianist is playing
standards. At night, a jazz band takes over.
Decorated in traditional English style with warm red upholstery,
mahogany paneling, and faux garden skylight and marble fireplace,
the library is veddy comfortable, and well-stocked.
Featuring the culinary mastery of the iconic Jacques Pepin, the
food onboard is above average in the main dining room and buffet
areas, and often extraordinary in the alternative restaurants.
Marina (January 2011) and Riviera (April 2012), the new
1260-passenger ships, include 10 eateries onboard including the
eponymous "Jacques" which will features some of Pepin's personal
favorite recipes. It has been said that no cruise line chef has
ever devoted as much attention to a single restaurant as Jacques
Pepin has devoted to "Jacques". He even designed the format of the
menu and has his personal artwork hanging on the walls.
With single, open seating and four restaurants to choose from,
dining on all Oceania ships is as varied as it is consistently
delightful. The accent is on variety, and it is highly recommended
that you make as many reservations as possible in the alternative
restaurants if you are not too tired after a day in port. If you
are tired, a casual stroll at your leisure to Tapas on the Terrace
is a great way to get fast service and great food without
The Grand Dining Room, which opens at 6:30 p.m. and serves until
9:30 p.m., is commonly very crowded, and the acoustics in the
center of the room preclude easy conversation. Bowing to customer
sentiment, Oceania recently added 26 tables for two. Don't, if you
enjoy seafood, miss the pan-seared scallops over Parmesan
The Terrace Café, adjacent to the pool deck, is a grand
place for breakfast. There are always servers ready to put the food
on your tray for you, which we suggest you allow them to do.
Reservations are required for the popular Polo Grill (catering
to the carnivorous) and Toscana restaurants. The clubby Polo Grill
is the most intimate of the three, and offers fresh seafood in
addition to the the kind of delicious red meat entrees carnivores
adore. Tapas on the Terrace adds new dishes every evening.
Waves, the outside luncheon grill, offering burgers, chicken,
salmon,and even fried calamari, plus a daily special and salads, is
the place to head for a late lunch ('til 5 p.m.). Everything's
served with fries that are wonderful when hot, so-so when not, and
cole slaw that will make you moan ecstatically. There's a high tea
every afternoon at four in Horizons.
The primarily Eastern European staff is very attentive. They
even carry your trays to your table in the casual breakfast and
luncheon buffet. And those in the ship's computer center must be
the best tech staffers at sea. Room service is unfailingly prompt.
The only inevitable crunch occurs in the dining room when everyone
arrives for "open-seating" dining at the same time, usually within
the first half-hour of opening. The best bet is to be either the
first in line, or wait until an hour after opening, in order to
avoid the rush.
Since Oceania has a flexible dining program, gratuities of
$11.50 per person per day (including children) are automatically
added to the shipboard account for all dining room and stateroom
personnel. An additional $3.50 per passenger per day is added for
suites where Butler Service is provided. is at the passenger's
discretion, however, so the amount may be increased, decreased, or
all gratuities can be removed, by contacting the front desk.
Gratuities of 18 percent are automatically added to bar charges and
Nautica has a fine onboard orchestra, a string quartet and
pianist. Each evening you can enjoy shows in the 358-seat Cabaret
Lounge. However, Oceania will tell you frankly that entertainment
is not high on their list of priorities as most people find a long
day in port followed by haute cuisine to be more than enough for a
The casino is small, with 30 slots and tables for blackjack and
roulette, but no craps. Depending upon itinerary, standard
shipboard activities like bingo, bridge and dance lessons are
limited, since you're in port most of the time. The incomparable
cyber-cafe offers instruction, but classes fill up quickly, so
For the three smaller ships: Inside cabins are the smallest
aboard at 160 sq. ft. Outside staterooms measure 165 sq. ft., some
with portholes and others with large picture windows. Category C
and D outside cabins with private balcony are 216 sq. ft.,
including a 45 sq. ft. balcony. Suites with private balconies are a
spacious 322 sq. ft., including a 17' x 4.5' balcony with two
chairs and a table.
These ships have 330 guestrooms, suites and penthouses, more
than half of the outside staterooms with verandas. Every cabin
aboard has a "Tranquillity Bed," dressed in 350-count Egyptian
cotton linens, silk-cut duvets and goose-down pillows.
Standard cabin amenities include TV with CNN, MSNBC, another
news channel and six movie channels showing continuously throughout
the day; good closet/drawer space; hair dryer, and a personal safe.
All cabins except suites and owner's suites have bathroom with
shower. Suites and owner's suites offer butler service, bathtubs
and mini-bars. Oceania has added wonderful mattresses and down
comforters, but the only mini-refrigerators are in Concierge Level
cabins and suites. Staterooms are homey and attractively furnished
in Wedgwood blue fabrics and carpeting, accented by yellow drapes
and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Those who have cruised in suites aboard other ships will find
the standard bathrooms to be small on these ships. While there is a
large mirrored cabinet for toiletries, counter space is very
The Category A Owner's Suites, ranging from 786 to 962 sq. ft.,
are all located either completely forward or aft, bad locations in
inclement weather. Forward owner's suites (numbers 6002, 6003,
7004, 7005) have direct sight lines of the rope deck on the front
of the vessel. Two forward suites facing the front of the ship lack
ocean views. Suites have large bathtubs and more counter space.
Though prominently displayed in cabin as though to say, "I'm
complimentary; drink me," the bottles of Evian are in fact $3.50.
The sole Laundromat, on Deck 7, charges $3 per load, but
nonetheless attracts long queues.
The small fitness center has five treadmills, five bikes, and
several weight machines and free weights. A walking/jogging track
circles the top of the ship. Several aerobics classes are scheduled
The small spa. operated by London-based Harding Bros. Ltd.,
offers a menu of treatments ranging from lavender deep-cleansing
facials (only $59), holistic citrus facials ($99), foot and ankle
massages (a bargain at $39) and aroma stone therapy massages ($159,
though most massages start at $99). classes, including Pilates, are
With no ties required and "country club casual" recommended at
night, you'll see women in everything from blouses with pants and
skirts to much more elegant attire.