Oceania Regatta is a beautiful ship. She started life as R-Two, a Renaissance Cruises cruise ship. When Renaissance went out of business in 2001, she was transferred to Cruiseinvest, and finally to Oceania in 2006. The Regatta is an intimate ship, holding just 684 guests, but offers an impressive crew-to-passenger ratio of 1.7 – 1. Why is that important?
In general, the lower the ratio, the better the service. If there are more crew members available to attend to passenger needs, everyone is happy. On a recent tour of the ship, I encountered nothing but smiling faces, friendly hellos, and an overwhelming sense of welcoming. All that on a turnaround day, the busiest day for any cruise ship crew, as they say goodbye to the people leaving, and get the ship clean and ready for a whole new set of passengers.
Staterooms range from small interior and oceanview rooms to opulent, 800 – 1000 square foot suites. The “small” rooms are average size for the cruise industry coming in between 150 – 165 square feet. All of the staterooms are well appointed, and afford cruisers access to the same fantastic ship amenities and food. More on that in a moment.
The Regatta is not a ship that sports rock climbing walls and ice rinks. Rather, you can find an intimate library with comfy club chairs, a reasonable size gym, and bars that remain uncrowded. But there is one thing that returning guests say over and over, that brings them back: the food. Oceania, by all accounts, has the best food at sea. While this is subjective, I did once have a conversation with a hotel director on Seabourn, reaffirming just how good the food is aboard. I was really looking forward to lunch.
Our lunch was two hundred person affair, with travel agents from all over, in the main dining room. The menu featured specialties that you would find in all the restaurants around the ship. While I don’t ordinarily indulge in a five-course lunch, one that starts with Maine lobster and daikon is bound to be good. The lobster, wrapped in daikon, served with caviar and honey, was delicious. I was already looking forward to the main course.
Next, we enjoyed provolone stuffed pasta purses with butternut squash cream. Delish! The main course was the only decision I needed to make: tenderloin with black truffle and Foie gras, or miso glazed sea bass. Sitting next to the Vice President of Sales for Oceania, he told me about his wife’s love of the sea bass, and that made the decision easy. Once the mains came out, I overheard quite a few people talking about it being the best fish they have ever had. I wouldn’t go that far, but I live in Florida and have access to fresh fish on a daily basis. The sea bass was flavorful, perfectly cooked, and most of all, crave-able. When clients ask me about Oceania, I first tell them about the sea bass, and then the itineraries.
But then there was dessert, and I was stuffed. There was no way I could indulge in one more bite… until I saw the desserts. A chocolate pyramid with caramel and passion fruit happened to be both beautiful and tasty. Alas, there was more. Two-tiered platters of cookies, macarons, mini tartlets, and truffles came out, “for the table.” I had to forgo some of the chocolate pyramid in favor of the macarons and truffles, and I am glad I did. Each one was tastier than the last.
Oceania Regatta is a fantastic ship. Their larger ships hold up to 1,200 passengers, yet retain the same quality of food. These cruises are best for people looking for unique itineraries, fabulous food, and an intimate atmosphere.
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