Oceania Cruises: the complete guide

What can you expect from a cruise with Oceania Cruises? One of the best culinary offerings on the sea, attentive service and a fleet full of elegance, of course. There is so much to discover on board the six units that make up the current Oceania Cruises fleet.

The latest arrival for Oceania Cruises, the Sirena, expanded the company’s fleet that already had five ships. Four of the ships, the R-Class units, were built between 1998 and 2000 (the Regatta, the Sirena, the Insignia and the Nautica). The other two, the Marina and the Riviera, both in the O-Class, were added in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The brand, which is part of the NCL group, today offers cruises in all corners of the world, distinguishing itself for the variety and special attention given to the cuisine, the uniqueness of the itineraries and the perfect combination of elegance and informality on board.

The ambiance of the ships in the Oceania Cruises fleet is well-planned and elegant, however informality reigns supreme, with no gala evenings or particular guidelines to be followed. Some areas are particularly charming such as the Grand Dining Room and the main atrium of the Oceania class. The onboard currency is the US dollar and English is the official language. The concierge staff speak Italian, German, French and Spanish. For all guests on board the non-alcoholic drinks are included free of charge. There are two types of packages that can be used to create your preferred all-inclusive formula. There are fixed amounts for tipping staff and an 18% surcharge is applied for all drink consumption. The Oceania fleet features a satellite connection that allows you to make phone calls anywhere in the world (0.99$ per minute) and to search the internet with fairly good speed.

For many departures the OLife package is available which includes unlimited internet connection and your choice of various extras including: some excursions, onboard credit, and an alcoholic beverage package. Surely you will want to seize this opportunity when available because it allows you to freely enjoy the services on board that are usually an extra cost.

The cabins in the Oceania Cruises fleet are divided into various categories. On all the ships there are both interior cabins and exterior cabins with a window, exterior cabins with a “verandah” balcony, and several Suite levels. The basic amenities include a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, Bulgari detergents, mini-bar with free soft drinks, bathrobe and slippers, and free 24-hour room service. The Concierge level adds bath salts, free ironing of some items, a different in-cabin breakfast menu and access to the private Lounge. The Suites have butler service, access to the Executive Lounge and open booking in all the restaurants on board.

Every day the Oceania Cruises guests will find in their cabin: a daily program, called “Currents”, which lists the onboard activities and the hours of service, their favorite newspaper and tourist information about the ports of call as they are visited.

There are many activities organized on board, not only during sailing but also when stopped in port. The culinary laboratory proposes a wide variety of cooking lessons, while the nearby artistic laboratory offers the opportunity to try your hand with drawing and colors. The theater offers all types of performances featuring professional artists. Of course there are also the traditional quiz games, bingo and outside activities from shuffleboard to ping pong. The miniature golf course offers the possibility to enjoy the sea air and sunshine. The gym, which has all the most modern equipment, opens onto the sea and offers free drinks and supplements.

There are daily lessons offered like spinning, Pilates and yoga. The Spa is also free and offers a Turkish bath and sauna, a meditation/relaxation room, and a large outside area with a Jacuzzi on the bow. The library is one of the most beautiful rooms with a stunning sea view, a large selection of every type of book and a spectacular interior in wood with leather armchairs making it both elegant and welcoming. The casino offers many slot machines and tables where you can play roulette, dice, blackjack and poker. The onboard boutiques are full of a wide selection of clothing, jewelry and souvenirs.

The highlight of this company is without a doubt the culinary aspect. During the entire cruise, from the morning to the late evening, a series of unique opportunities and restaurants allow the guests to taste foods inspired by different cuisines and visit the different areas of the ship. Waking up is easy when you are pampered with a breakfast that is served right in your cabin or on your balcony. If you prefer the buffet, or poolside, you can have breakfast until late with all kinds of sweet and savory delicacies. Total relaxation is served up in the restaurant, where even a simple croissant arrives on porcelain dishes with silver cutlery. For lunch you can choose the informality of the buffet or the beautiful terraces on the stern, or the comfort and curated service of the Grand Dining Room. Don’t miss out on the afternoon tea time, served to the sound of violins and with a huge selection of sweet and savory snacks.

For dinner there are so many possibility. There is always the main restaurant and the buffet to enjoy. In addition there are the four specialty restaurants that offer all types of menus. You need to make a reservation, but there is no additional charge for these restaurants. Every cabin, except a few categories of Suites that have no limit, is entitled to one dinner in each restaurant per cruise. Based on availability, which needs to be checked day by day, nothing is stopping you from returning to your favorite restaurant several times.

Il Toscana, the restaurant dedicated to Italian cuisine (with some Italian staff members) serves the most famous, traditional dishes. The menu includes both meat and fish, and a choice of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from throughout the peninsula. At the Polo Grill restaurant you can try grilled meat and fish, but also many other international dishes. The variety of meat dishes and the number of side dishes proposed is quite impressive. Don’t miss out on the Red Ginger, a restaurant inspired by Asian cuisine. The restaurant has a very pleasant atmosphere and a menu with a large selection of dishes that are all worth trying. The dinner starts with a waiter presenting you with a choice of chopsticks as well as the type of tea you prefer while dining… and ends with a rich array of dessert to choose from. And lastly, there is the updated La Cuisine Bourgeois restaurant by the award-winning French chef Jacques Pépin, a valued partner of the company. Traditional French meat and fish dishes and a dizzying array of cheeses and mouth-watering desserts are offered.

On the Oceania Cruises fleet you can choose to dine in a completely private dining room (Le Priveè) at a fixed cost for each person, with dishes off several of the other restaurants’ menus. Finally, for lovers of prestigious wines, La Reserve offers two paid menu formulas, with wine pairings curated by Wine Spectator. An interesting experience to be tried at least once during the cruise. The range of wines offered is wide and varied, with truly excellent vintages for pairing with the culinary proposals offered in all the different restaurants.

If we add to the classy style and services other top experiences including a varied and high-quality cuisine, the free shuttle service in all ports, long and frequent overnight stops and free non-alcoholic drinks, Oceania Cruises truly stands out as one of the companies that, although lesser known on the Italian scene, is deserving of far more attention. Trying out this new experience will certainly not leave you dissatisfied. Actually, the biggest “risk” is that you will take advantage of the excellent offers on board for the purchase of another cruise!

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Gabriele Bassi