Is Bigger Better?
WTT is a firm believer that bigger is not necessarily better. And we wondered why OCEANIA Cruise Line thought it had to build a bigger ship when it has already done a great job of capturing the market with it’s 3 ships, the Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. So when the Marina sailed into New York recently, we gladly accepted an invitation to do a ship inspection and have lunch on board.
The Marinas executives were very involved is her design, for the first time able to create a ship to be built with their design, taste and style. (the 3 Regatta class ships were formerly the bankrupt Renaissance Cruise ships) The 1500 pieces of art are but one of the many illustrations of the incredible attention to detail throughout this 1250 passenger stunning new mid-size ship.
The staterooms are larger than their other ships. The top suites are designed and outfitted with Ralph Lauren furnishings and the other categories are products of Dakota Jackson. 96% of the accommodations have private verandas. Yet the on board atmosphere is one of Country Club-Casual ambience. Tuxedos and gowns are never required.
Their onboard enrichment programs are extensive (they might have problems getting people to disembark while in port). Choosing between the Canyon Ranch Spaclub, guest lecturers, computer instruction are difficult enough, but then you also have the unique resident Artist Loft center offering instructions in oils or watercolor painting as well as various other crafts.
The people who will really be in their glory are the Foodies out there! Master Chef Jacques Pepin has been the Oceania executive culinary director since the line launched in 2003 and is very involved in the “food” aspect of the Marina. There are 6 distinctive open-seating restaurants, all at no extra charge.
The Grand Dining Room features European fine cuisine and Canyon Ranch Spa Cuisine. Jacques is Chef Pepin’s first restaurant on land or at sea, taking casual French cuisine to new heights with it’s Pepin designed menu and a showcase of original art by the Chef. Red Ginger serves contemporary interpretations of Asian classics including Japanese,Thai and Vietnamese. The Polo Grill, a classic steak house has prime aged beef and succulent seafood. Toscana is a combination of classic Italian and authentic family recipes. The Terrace Café provides more casual food with hand-made pizzas. Additionally there’s the Waves Grill serving breakfast and lunch by the pool.
And if you’re REALLY into food, you’ll love the Bon Appetit Culinary Center which is billed as the only hands-on cooking school at sea. In this state-of the art studio you’ll learn from Master Chef’s from around the world, have hands-on culinary experiences plus shoreside events, private wine tastings and market tours.
The ports of call vary with the seasons as most passengers are destination oriented Americans. There are no facilities for children and few are likely to be present. Her sister ship, the Riviera, is due to launch early 2012.