The Horizons observation lounge onboard Oceania Insignia is a great place to watch the sunset. // © 2014 Oceania Cruises
With the return of Insignia from a two-year charter to Hapag-Lloyd, Oceania now has a five-ship fleet for the first time, including three 684-passenger vessels and two larger ships, the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera.
The additional capacity made available by having three 684-passenger vessels along with the two larger ships has allowed Oceania to try unusual tactics, like dedicating Insignia’s entire first year to two back-to-back 180-day world cruises.
“Insignia’s return has certainly unleashed our more artistic side, as demonstrated by our one-of-a-kind 180-day voyage,” said Oceania president Kunal Kamlani. “And we’re able to offer a Miami-to-Miami summer departure for one of these voyages in 2015, which opens up a northern voyage route and a host of new and exciting destinations to explore.” Kamlani promised more itinerary surprises ahead.
Oceania has also embarked on a $50 million dry dock makeover project that will bring some of the interior elements of Marina and Riviera to Insignia, Nautica and Regatta, including Baristas coffee bar and the cook-to-order grill on the Terrace Cafe.
Kamlani said the makeovers will maintain the warmth, intimacy and charm that guests cherish in the 684-passenger ships. He said Oceania has gone to considerable trouble to be sure the experience on all five ships is the same, so that itinerary is what drives customers to choose one ship over another.
Oceania has steadfastly refused to be considered a luxury line, although its guests have no such constraints. While Oceania’s price point is higher than those of premium lines such as Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises, Kamlani said the line’s focus is on value.
“When our travel agent partners step their clients through what is included in our fares, such as roundtrip airfare, free alternative dining in all specialty restaurants and soft drinks, bottled water and specialty teas and coffees, the client realizes an Oceania cruise is a more upscale experience for approximately the same price,” Kamlani said. “That is how we define value.”
He noted that the extras add up on premium cruise lines, often generating charges that can significantly increase the overall cost of the cruise.
“Our value-based approach is not only a win for the client but also our travel agent partners, who earn a significantly higher commission because we compensate them on many of these inclusions,” Kamlani added.