Oceania Cruise

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  • Luxury, destination-intensive sailing focuses on dining, service
  • Country club casual dress code onboard
  • One of the best value-for-money options in cruising

Oceania features two classes of ships in its fleet. The newest vessels, Marina and Riviera, which each carry 1,258 passengers, were purpose-designed and built for the line. Its original trio of R-class vessels -- 684-passenger Regatta, Insignia and Nautica -- was acquired when Oceania launched back in 2003. (All three underwent a massive refurbishment in 2014).

The big differences between the two are that more amenities -- such as extra restaurants, a Wine Spectator La Reserve Wine Bar, and the Bon Appetit Culinary Center -- are only available on the newer, larger ships. Although they're smaller Regatta, Insignia and Nautica have a cozier ambience.

In all cases, Oceania decor is traditional luxe, with the requisite polished dark mahoganies, muted fabrics and rich-colored carpets. By virtue of the ships' sizes, it's not difficult to find yourself oriented by the first day at sea. (Even the much larger Marina and Riviera are a cinch to navigate, though you can expect a more colorful, modern palette.) These ships bear a high ratio of standard balcony cabins.

Service is enthusiastic and gracious, courtesy of the well-trained staff.

The dress code is country club casual, intended to partner perfectly with the line's "whatever you want, whenever you want" mindset.

Oceania neither encourages nor discourages children onboard. However, no children's programs are in place, and there is little else to keep boredom at bay, apart from customary table tennis, shuffleboard and Monopoly in the game room.

What all ships also share is an all open-seating dining policy and a variety of restaurants and lounges onboard. There are four restaurants each aboard Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. In addition to the traditional main dining room scenario (albeit with no set tables or seating times), there are three specialty restaurants (The Polo Grill for steaks, Toscana for Italian and Tapas on the Terrace, the buffet-by-day that converts to alternative restaurant at night), which do not levy additional charges. Riviera and Marina have additional options, from the Asian Red Ginger and French Jacques Pepin to the La Reserve wine-tasting menu.

All spas are operated by Canyon Ranch, the noted American destination spa company, and offer premium services. The thalassotherapy whirlpool on the three smaller ships is complimentary with the purchase of a spa treatment. (The same applies to similar pools on the forward deck on Marina and Riviera's facilities.) The fitness center offers Pilates and yoga, along with the usual aerobics classes.

Casinos are small, but there are plenty of slot machines. Elaborate afternoon tea is served daily.

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