Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 402 out of 500
Accommodation: 153 out of 200
Food: 308 out of 400
Service: 295 out of 400
Entertainment: 74 out of 100
Cruise: 309 out of 400
Overall Score: 1541 out of 2000
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises
Former Names: R Two
IMO Number: 9156474
Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique
Original Cost: £150 million
Entered Service: Dec 1998/Dec 2003
Registry: Marshall Islands
Length (ft/m): 593.7/181.0
Beam (ft/m): 83.5/25.5
Draft (ft/m): 19.5/6.0
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (18,600kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 9
Total Crew: 386
Passengers (lower beds): 684
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 44.2
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.7
Cabins (total): 342
Size Range (sq ft/m): 145.3-968.7/13.5-90.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 232
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 3
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 3
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This is an informal premium ship for mature-age cruisers
Overview. Oceania Cruises is a young company that aims to provide a high level of food and service in an informal setting that’s elegant yet comfortable. Regatta suits couples who like really good food and style, but want informality with no formal nights on board, and interesting itineraries, all at a very reasonable price.
The Ship. Regatta was originally one of eight almost identical ships built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. The exterior design manages to balance the ship’s high sides by painting the whole ship white, with a large, square white funnel. Teak overlaid decking and high-quality lounge chairs help create a very comfortable Lido and Pool Deck.
In 2014, the ship underwent a refurbishment program that included the addition of Barista’s coffee bar (for illy coffees), installed completely new bathrooms for the Owner’s Suites and Vista Suites, and updated the decor in all other cabins. Also added were a miniature golf course, shuffleboard courts, and other deck games.
There is no walk-around promenade deck outdoors as such - there is, however, a small jogging/walking track, above the swimming pool.
The stunningly elegant interior decor is a throwback to the ocean liners of the 1920s and ’30s, with dark woods and warm colors, all carried out in fine taste - if a bit faux in places. It feels like an old-world country club.
The public rooms are spread over three decks. The reception hall has a staircase with intricate wrought-iron railings. A large observation lounge, the Horizon Bar, is located high atop ship. There are plenty of bars, including one in each of the restaurant entrances. Perhaps the nicest is the casino bar/lounge, a beautiful room reminiscent of London’s grand hotels. It has an inviting marble fireplace, sofas, and chairs.
The Library is a grand Regency-style room, with a fireplace, a high, indented, trompe l’oeil ceiling, and excellent selection of books, plus very comfortable wingback chairs with footstools, and sofas you could sleep on.
The dress code is ‘smart casual.’ Gratuities are added at $10.50 per person, per day, and accommodation designated as suites have an extra $3 per person charge for the butler. A gratuity of 18 percent is added to bar and spa accounts.
Passenger niggles include all the inventive extra charges that can be incurred. What’s really nice is the fact that there are almost no intrusive announcements.
Accommodation. There are six cabin categories, and 10 price grades (three suite price grades; five outside-view cabin grades; two interior cabin grades). All of the standard interior and outside-view cabins (the lowest four grades) are extremely tight for two people, particularly for cruises longer than five days. They have twin beds or a queen-size bed, with good under-bed storage areas, personal safe, vanity desk with large mirror, good closet and drawer space in rich, dark woods, 100 percent cotton bathrobe and towels, slippers, clothes brush, and shoehorn.
Certain cabin categories (about 100 of them) qualify as ‘Concierge Level’ accommodation, and occupants get extra goodies such as enhanced bathroom amenities, complimentary shoeshine, tote bag, cashmere throw blanket, bottle of Champagne on arrival, a hand-held hairdryer, priority restaurant reservations, and priority embarkation.
Owner’s Suites (6). Measuring around 962 sq ft (90 sq m), these fine living spaces provide the most spacious accommodation. Located aft overlooking the stern on Decks 6, 7, and 8, they are subject to more movement and some vibration. They have extensive teak-floor private balconies that really are private and cannot be overlooked by anyone. Each has an entrance foyer, living room, separate bedroom, CD player, fully tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, and a small guest bathroom. The bed faces the sea, which can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass door.
Vista Suites (4). These measure around 786 sq ft (73 sq m), and located forward on Decks 5 and 6. They have extensive teak-floor private balconies that can’t be overlooked by anyone from the decks above. Each has an entrance foyer, living room, separate bedroom, CD player (with selection of audio discs), and fully tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi tub. The bed faces the sea, visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass door.
Penthouse Suites (52). Actually, these are large cabins rather than suites as the bedrooms aren’t separate from the living areas, but they measure around 323 sq ft (30 sq m). They have a good-size teak-floor balcony with sliding glass door - but with partial, not full, balcony partitions. The lounge area has a dining table and there is ample storage space. The bathroom has a tub, shower, washbasin, and toilet.
Cabins with balcony. Measuring around 216 sq ft (20 sq m), these comprise about two-thirds of all cabins. They have partial, not full, balcony partitions, sliding glass doors, and only 14 cabins on Deck 6 have lifeboat-obstructed views. The living area has a refrigerated minibar, lounge area with breakfast table, and a balcony with teak floor, two teak chairs, and a drinks table. The bathrooms, with tiled floors and plain walls, are compact, standard units, and include a shower stall with a strong, removable hand-held shower unit, hairdryer, toiletries storage shelves, and retractable clothesline.
Outside-view and interior cabins. These measure around 160-165 sq ft (14.8-15.3 sq m) and have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, vanity desk, small sofa and coffee table, and bathroom with a shower enclosure with a strong, removable hand-held shower unit, hairdryer, toiletries storage shelves, retractable clothesline, washbasin, and toilet. Although they aren’t large, they are quite comfortable, with a decent amount of storage space.
All suites/cabins located at the stern may suffer from vibration and noise, particularly when the ship is maneuvering in port.
Dining. Flexibility and choice are what the dining facilities aboard Oceania Cruises ships are all about. There are four different restaurants:
The Grand Dining Room has around 340 seats, and a raised central section, but the problem is the noise level - because of the low ceiling height, it’s atrocious when the dining room is full. Being located at the stern, there are large ocean-view windows on three sides, and prime tables overlook the stern. The chairs are comfortable, with armrests. The menus change daily for lunch and dinner.
Toscana Italian Restaurant has 96 seats, windows along two sides, and a set menu plus daily chef’s specials.
The cozy Polo Grill has 98 seats, windows along two sides and a set menu including prime steaks and seafood.
The Terrace Café has both indoor and outdoor seating. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and casual dinners, with some excellent tapas and other Mediterranean food. As the ship’s self-serve buffet restaurant, it incorporates a small pizzeria and grill.
A poolside Waves Grill serves fishburgers, veggie burgers, and Reuben sandwiches, as well as Angus beef burgers, and hot dogs.
All restaurants have open-seating dining, so you can dine when you want, with whom you wish. Reservations are needed in Toscana Restaurant and Polo Grill (but there’s no extra charge), where there are mostly tables for four or six; there are few tables for two. There is a Poolside Grill Bar.
The food and service staff is provided by a respected maritime catering company that also has an interest in Oceania Cruises. This is, however, definitely a foodie’s ship, with really high-quality ingredients. Particularly notable are the delicious breads, rolls, croissants, and brioches - all made on board from French flour and d’Isigny butter.
On sea days, teatime is presented in the Horizon Lounge, with formally dressed staff, cake display trolleys, and an array of cake and scones.
Entertainment. The Regatta Lounge has entertainment, lectures, some social events, and a mix of production shows and cabaret acts.
Spa/Fitness. A Lido Deck has a swimming pool, and good sunbathing space, plus a thalassotherapy tub. The uppermost outdoors deck includes a golf driving net and shuffleboard court. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub consists of a beauty salon, three treatment rooms, changing rooms, and steam room (but no sauna). Note that an 18 percent ‘gratuity’ is added to your spa account.