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Oceania Cruises, the new premium line formed by Joe Watters and
Frank Del Rio, is feverishly preparing for a July 5 inaugural
The formation of the new company was announced in October.
Since then, Oceania has opened a Miami headquarters, leased two
684-passenger ships, organized itineraries, launched a Web site,
joined the Cruise Lines International Association, and begun taking
Oceania the name changed slightly from the original Oceana to
differentiate from the P&O ship called Oceana is headed by the
unlikely duo of Watters, the former president of Crystal Cruises,
and Del Rio, a longtime executive at the now-defunct Renaissance
Cruises. Watters, who will remain in Los Angeles, is chairman and
Miami-based Del Rio is CEO and president.
The duo chartered the R1 and R2, two former Renaissance ships,
and plans to operate them in Europe this summer and in North and
South America in the winter. Most itineraries are 10 to 14 nights
To jump-start the upstart, Oceania is offering an array of agent
incentives, including a 12 percent base commission on all bookings
made by May 1.
Oceania also pays 10 percent on insurance and pre- and post-land
stays and 5 percent on air bookings.
“Oceania Cruises’ commitment is to the travel agent,” Watters
said. “Therefore, we’re delighted to become a member of CLIA, an
organization that has fostered both growth and strong relationships
between cruise lines and the travel agent community for nearly 30
The company hired industry veteran Nathan Hickman as manager of
agency services; he can be reached at 305-514-2221.
Oceania will offer guaranteed group rates for five or more
staterooms. One tour conductor berth is given for every 15
Oceania’s first ship, the Regatta, will embark on its inaugural
voyage July 5, a 14-night cruise from Barcelona to London. Then the
ship will operate a series in the Baltic and Scandinavia.
The second ship, the Insignia, will enter service Oct. 4 on a
14-night cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul.
Cruise-only fares range from $2,495 to $6,995, per person,
double occupancy, for a 14-night cruise. A 10-night cruise is
priced from $1,395.
Oceania has hired renowned French chef Jacques Pepin, the
one-time personal chef to Charles De Gaulle and known today to
viewers of TV cooking shows. Watters said the 30,000-ton size of
the ships will allow them to call on smaller, less-visited ports.
He characterized the product as “upscale premium” with an
“unsurpassed culinary experience and casually elegant