Oceania Cruises’ first vessel, the 1998-built Regatta, looks as
though it just came out of the shipyard.
The former R2 of the shuttered Renaissance Cruises, the Regatta
has been completely refurbished and is sparkling white. Teak decks
and tiles around the pool have been restored to their original
luster; carpets, upholstery and much of the interior decoration
have been replaced; new super-comfort mattresses and linens of fine
woven cotton with down pillows are found in the staterooms.
It is what Oceania calls “upper premium cruising” at attractive
prices. The resultant ambience falls somewhere between Crystal
Cruises and Renaissance, which makes sense. The two founders of
Oceania, Joe Watters and Frank Del Rio, previously headed Crystal
and Renaissance, respectively.
The Regatta entered service for Oceania on July 5. I sailed as a
guest of the cruise line July 19-25 and found that the ship has
lost the tweediness that contributed to its slightly dour feel
Today, the ambiance is that of a luxury hotel in San Francisco,
thanks to the red velvet, dark wood paneling, deep-cushioned
couches, large wing chairs and paintings throughout the ship (the
art’s all for sale, of course).
The library, probably the most elegant one at sea, has dark wood
bookcases along the walls of the U-shaped room, and large leather
and upholstered wing chairs and sofas.
The mood of the ship is not as classic as, say, Crystal’s three
ships, but is more relaxed with a dress code that says, “Leave your
tuxedo and ball gown at home.” This, however, does not mean jeans
and T-shirts in the evening.
Dining on the Regatta is an experience three specialty
restaurants, in addition to the main dining room, serve menus
supervised by celebrity French chef Jacques Pepin.
The food was fine, but not overly impressive. Portions are
smaller than usual, so you can order several courses without
There is no extra charge for the alternative restaurants, which
include The Polo Grill for chops, steaks and fish, Toscana for
Italian fare, and Tapas for, well, tapas and paella.
I especially liked the excellent caprese, fish soup and risotto
fungi at Toscana.
I found the crew and waiters pleasant, eager and always ready
with a smile and a greeting. Still, service was somewhat spotty in
the restaurants, which is not unusual on a new ship.
Standard accommodations are priced from $199 per day for an
inside cabin (160 square feet), $259 for an oceanview cabin (165
square feet) and $399 per day for a veranda stateroom (216 square
The four Vista Suites forward have all the amenities of the
more-expensive Owner’s Suites, but have a smaller veranda. The
Vistas measure 786 square feet and carry a per diem cost of $764.
(Owner’s Suite per diem is $979.)
All accommodations have televisions, safes, robes and bath
amenities such as shampoo, conditioner, shower cap, shower gel and
All rooms also have minifridges stocked with beverages. But they
are not complimentary; clients pay for what they consume, like a
typical hotel minibar. Prices are $2 for a Coke, $2.50 for Evian
water, $4.50 for a beer and $5 for a small bottle of vodka.
Following its Mediterranean season, the Regatta will move to
Miami in late November to operate 12- and 14-night Eastern and
Western Caribbean cruises. Two 10-night winter cruises will begin
or end in Los Angeles. The Jan. 16 cruise is to depart Puerto
Caldera, Costa Rica, and conclude in Los Angeles, while the return
is to depart L.A. Jan. 27.
The Los Angeles cruises are priced from $995, using the
two-for-one Caribbean discounts available now. In addition to the
special pricing, passengers also get a $200 shipboard credit per
Harry Basch is the cruise columnist for The Los Angeles