The 684-passenger Regatta cruise ship of Oceania Cruises is marketed as a "premium" ship, but it includes many features that are normally only found on "luxury" lines. Therefore, the Regatta is a good value for cruise travelers who enjoy something extra for their vacation dollar.
Although the ship's atmosphere is comfortable and casual, the ship interiors are elegant and stunning. The Grand Staircase leading from Reception to the Upper Hall is reminiscent of those seen in some of the grand mansions of the Old South. The ship's decor has a lot of rich, dark wood paneling, Oriental carpets, and heavy draperies.
Oceania Cruises is primarily a destination-oriented cruise line. Its mid-sized ships can visit ports inaccessible to larger ships, and it features many longer itineraries or those designed for multiple segments. As a mid-sized ship, the Regatta is large enough to feature multiple dining venues and spacious interiors but small enough to avoid the crowds and lines many travelers dislike on big ships. However, like most smaller ships, the Regatta does not offer as many onboard activities or the varied entertainment options seen on larger ships.
The Regatta has services from Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle to Vancouver, Papeete, Sydney, Tahiti, and the Caribbean.
Regatta Accommodations: Cabins and Suites
The Regatta has six types of cabins and suites, with multiple price-level categories depending on the deck, location, or amenities. All the accommodations have private baths and good storage, and some are connected to others.
- Inside Stateroom (category F and G): These 28 cabins are inside (no window or porthole) on decks 4, 6, 7, and 8. Measuring 169 square feet, the inside cabins have a shower, vanity desk, and a queen or two twin beds. Some inside cabins have extra Pullman beds, turning them into triples or quads.
- Ocean View Stateroom (category E): The 18 category E ocean view cabins are on deck 6. Although the 143-square foot cabins have natural light from a large window, they have obstructed views. The category E cabins have a shower, vanity desk, and a small table. The queen-size bed usually found in the cabin can also be swapped out for two twins.
- Ocean View Stateroom (category D): The 15 category D ocean view staterooms are on deck 3. They are each 165-square feet, have a porthole, and feature a shower, sofa, vanity desk, and table. The queen-size bed can be converted to two twins. Some of the category D cabins are triples with a sofabed.
- Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom (category C1 and C2): The 56 category C1 and C2 deluxe ocean view cabins are located on decks 4, 6, and 7. Like the category D cabins, they measure 165-square feet but have a large window rather than a porthole. The category C1 and C2 cabins have a shower, sofa, vanity desk, and breakfast table. The queen-sized bed can be converted into two twins, and some of the cabins are triples with a sofabed.
- Veranda Stateroom (category B1 and B2): The 216-square foot veranda cabins on deck 6 feature a private teak balcony, shower, vanity desk, sofa, and table. The queen-sized bed can be converted into two twins, and some of the cabins are triples with a sofabed.
- Concierge Level Veranda Stateroom (category A1, A2, and A3): The concierge cabins on deck 7 are 216-square feet, the same size as the veranda staterooms on deck 6. However, they have some of the same amenities as the penthouse cabins, including a flat-screen TV, refrigerated mini-bar, priority restaurant reservations, and early embarkation.
- Penthouse Suite (category PH1, PH2, PH3): The 322-square foot Penthouse suites on deck 8 are not true suites since they do not have a separate sleeping area, but they do include all the amenities found on the concierge level. In addition, they feature a tub/shower combination, a larger seating area, and butler services.
- Owner's Suite and Vista Suite (category OS and VS): These 10 luxurious suites in the corners of decks 6, 7, and 8 are often the first booked. They range from 786 to almost 1000 square feet and are true suites, complete with a separate sleeping area. These suites include all sorts of amenities such as butler service, large decks, a guest toilet, and two TVs. The suites also include an exclusive invitation to a special "Chef's Patio" dinner.
Dining Venues and Cuisine
The Regatta has four main dining venues, all of which provide an excellent selection of diverse choices for the cruise ship passengers. The Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises is Master Chef Jacques Pepin, and he and his team of onboard executive chefs have developed interesting menus with delightful dishes. All four restaurants have open seating, and none have an extra surcharge. The five restaurants are:
- Grand Dining Room: This restaurant features American-inspired Continental cuisine for dinner but is also open for breakfast and lunch. The armchairs are very comfortable, and the table settings are exquisite. Located aft on deck 5, many tables offer a window view. Six courses are served for dinner, which includes a wide array of traditional and regional dishes as well as a "light fare" menu.
- Terrace Cafe: Aft on deck 9, Terrace Cafe serves buffet breakfast and lunch, with different cuisines (Oriental, seafood, Mexican, Italian) featured on some days. In the evenings, the alfresco dining area of the Terrace Cafe becomes Tapas on the Terrace, a casual buffet of Mediterranean specialties. Unfortunately, it may be too chilly to enjoy dining on the terrace in the evenings, but the food is always delicious.
- Toscana: An intimate Italian restaurant (90 guests) specializing in Tuscan dishes, Toscana features a large menu with numerous selections. Anyone who loves fresh pasta and other Italian dishes will love this place. Located aft on deck 10, many of the tables have a nice view of the sea. Reservations are required.
- Polo Grill: Also aft on deck 10 and located next to Toscana, Polo Grill seats 96 and looks much like a 1930's style steakhouse with leather chairs and photos of famous old movie stars covering the walls. The steaks, prime rib, grilled lobster, salads, and desserts are all delicious. Reservations are required.
- Waves Grill: Located steps from the pool, Waves Grill is only open in the afternoon for lunch service, which features all-American favorites like burgers, barbecue, and seafood as well as garden-fresh salads and delicious sides like hand-cut truffle fries.
In addition to these five dining options, guests can choose from an extensive room service menu. Additionally, penthouse and suite guests can have dinner served by the course in the comfort of their suite. Once each cruise, the guests in the 10 suites are invited to an exclusive "Chef's Patio" dinner served poolside under the stars.
Bars and Lounges
The Regatta features several elegant lounges including Horizons, the Lounge, Grand Bar, Martinis, and Waves Bar. However, since many of the cruisers are often senior citizens, it probably won't be much of a party crowd, but the bars will usually be full of travelers sharing stories.
The observation lounge forward on deck 10 is aptly named the Horizons Lounge. It features marvelous views of the sea and is the perfect place for watching sunsets. Service starts early with continental breakfast available starting at 6:30 a.m. Horizons is also a good place to read a book and keep an eye on the ocean throughout the day, and it has a small dance floor that features live music in the late afternoon as well as before and after dinner.
Horizons is very popular in the mid-afternoon. One of the traditions Oceania that has carried over from the elegant ocean liners of the past is afternoon tea. Served in the Horizons Observation Lounge forward on deck 10, tea is a peaceful way to enjoy an hour in the late afternoon. Also, a string quartet or small combo provides live music to accompany the tea and snacks for added effect.
Horizons is not the only popular bar on the Regatta. The outdoor Waves Bar is open from mid-morning until late at night. The Grand Bar next to the Grand Dining Room is open during lunch and before and after dinner, making it a good place to meet friends for a drink. Martinis is centrally located next to the casino on deck 5. It has comfortable seating, an atmosphere conducive to conversation, and an excellent pianist.
The Regatta features daily Happy Hour "2-for-1" specials in Horizons and Martinis each evening between 5:00 and 6:00 pm. Both bars are crowded with those seeking a bargain.
Canyon Ranch Spa and Fitness Center
The Regatta's spa and fitness center are operated by the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the same company that owns the famous Canyon Ranch Health Resorts in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Florida.
The Regatta Canyon Ranch SpaClub includes most of the skin care, body treatments, massages, acupuncture, Ayurveda, and salon services you'd expect from a traditional spa, but it also has an aromatic steam room and thalassotherapy pool with adjoining private sundeck. Passengers can purchase daily passes for these thermal environments, and those with spa appointments can use the facilities for free on the day of their appointment.
The fitness center adjoins the spa and features all the latest equipment, including treadmills, bicycles, and ellipticals. Located forward on deck 9, you will have great sea views while working out. The fitness center staff lead many complimentary classes each day, but the spinning, yoga, and Pilates classes have a small fee, as do other specialty classes. The staff will also perform a basic fitness assessment or develop a personalized SpaClub exercise program for those wanting to go home in better shape than when they boarded.
On-board Activities and Entertainment
Although most travelers love their cruise experience on the Regatta, it would not be a good choice for those who expect Las Vegas-style entertainment and onboard activities like rock climbing, bowling, or ice skating. Additionally, while the onboard casino has slots, roulette, and card game tables, it lacks a craps table.
Evening entertainment is held in the Regatta show lounge, which is a relatively small venue with a small stage. The entertainment on board is more cabaret style, often featuring musicians, magicians, comedians, impressionists, and vocalists. However, the Regatta Lounge is usually packed for every show, which indicates that most people enjoy what they see. One small problem is that the lounge floor is flat—it can be difficult to see the entertainment if sitting in the back. However, three large screens are used to augment the shows.
Passengers can spend their days at sea on the Regatta in a variety of ways:
- Lecturers, computer classes, or Spanish lessons
- Traditional indoor activities such as bingo, sewing, bridge, and wine tastings
- Outdoor shuffleboard, table tennis, putting competitions, and the pool.
- Afternoon trivia contests with over 100 participants.
- Reading in the library
- In-cabin televisions with daily movie options
The Regatta also has a computer center, Oceania @ Sea, where passengers can check their email or surf the Internet for a fee. Computer classes on fixing and organizing digital photos and basic computer skills are usually well-attended. WiFi is available ship-wide, even in the cabins. However, the WiFi speed is much slower than on the computers hard-wired in Oceania @ Sea.
As noted earlier, the lack of mega-ship features has not seemed to hurt the Regatta or Oceania Cruises. Oceania passengers return again and again for the fascinating itineraries, good service, good food, and beautiful ships.