Oceania Cruises - Regatta Ship Review by Cruise Express

Any Cruise, Anywhere, Any Time

Oceania’s Regatta

Reviewed by: Kieran van Bunnik

Date: 4 February 2019

Cruise line: Oceania Cruises

Capacity: 684 passengers

Year built: 1998 (refurbished 2014 –  another scheduled for September 2019)

Size of the ship: 30,277 GRT

Where the ship cruises:

During the Australian season Regatta arrives from Papeete to do a number of sailings around New Zealand and the east coast of Australia before returning back to Alaska in the winter through Papeete and Miami.

Currency onboard: USD

Embarkation/disembarkation: Due to the ship being quite small I found both getting on and off the ship very quick and efficient. Even when we were docked in the Bay of Islands and had to tender ashore the process was very easy, with the tenders lined up and waiting to quickly take passengers ashore. The first few tenders were assigned as a priority to passengers who had booked shore excursions and after they had gone, were open to everyone else. Regatta made getting ashore and back onboard very easy, and with three tenders running back and forth all day, the wait was never long, even if you wanted to pop back to the ship for lunch or a quick lie down.

Main features/highlights: Oceania has a huge focus on food even claiming they offer the ‘finest cuisine at sea’™ – hard to dispute with stunning food, variety and authentic cuisines. They are said to spend more money on food than any other cruise line and this is obvious from the minute you step onboard. The smell of pastries in the morning as you walk into the main dining room makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a French patisserie, and the afternoon high tea was a favourite among many onboard.

Unique to Oceania is The Culinary Center, a hands-on cooking school at sea, unique with fully equipped state-of-the-art teaching kitchens for hands-on cooking lessons.

The giant library on Deck 10 is a perfect place to escape, with plenty of chairs and sofas and a large variety of books there is truly something for everyone. One of the best features on board is having gratuities included with all fares, so you won’t be hit with an extra 18% on your bill at the end of your cruise which can happen on other cruise lines.

Most suited to: Oceania’s cuisine sees any lover of food or self-proclaimed “foodie” right at home onboard! It is also suited to couples looking to relax and with a number of solo nights/gatherings and the ease of booking “shared” tables, is great for solo travelers too.

Regatta will appeal to a more mature market as well as those who have tried suites on the larger ships but wish to experience a more intimate onboard atmosphere. Oceania also specialises in unusual cruise routes and more remote destinations, which appeals to passengers who like more of a destination focus, including guest lecturers on board. 

It’s also a great option for those who like lots of inclusions on board with room service, specialty dining, soft drinks, specialty coffees, teas and juices all being complimentary. Keep an eye out for bonuses and special offerings that may also include free drink packages, shore excursions and onboard credit.

Atmosphere:  There is a very relaxed atmosphere onboard Regatta from the numerous deck chairs around the pool, a large library and plenty of sofas and chairs around the cafe and bars. There is also a feeling of “home” around the ship with many passengers making a personal connection/friendship with the friendly bar and waitstaff onboard. I saw many farewell handshakes and hugs when getting off the ship.

While the ship feels upmarket on board there is no need to pack your black tie or ball gown for dinner. There is a lovely smart casual feel on board and lots of comfortable sitting areas so you can always find a space to sit and relax away from any crowds, not that there really are any on Regatta.

Some of the decor is a little dark with lots of wood and heavy drapes and tapestry fabrics. Regatta is scheduled to undergo a significant renovation in September 2019 as a part of Oceania’s $100 million OceaniaNEXT program.

Encounters with staff: all staff were very attentive, friendly and helpful.

Staterooms: The average room size isn’t huge but the cabins are super comfortable. Enjoy the ‘Prestige Tranquility Bed’ with 1,000 thread count linen, free wifi, Bulgari amenities, chocolates with the nightly turndown service and 24-hour butler service in all suites.

Staterooms are a very comfortable size for two passengers. Whilst not huge, there is definitely enough space to relax and move around. The bathrooms are fairly small but the space is used well for what they have been given. If you book a Concierge cabin or above you also get a nice bottle of Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne.

Dining: There is no shortage of food onboard and no expense spared as Oceania really does live up to their “Finest cuisine at Sea” tagline. The main dining room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on sea days and serves a great variety of dishes. The staff work together seamlessly to have you seated, ordered and looked after with drinks and a selection of bread or during breakfast plenty of pastries and sweets. There are two specialty restaurants onboard, Polo Grill, a steak lover’s dream, and Toscana, a traditional Italian restaurant serving handmade pasta and beautifully cooked seafood. Both are only open for dinner and reservations are a must, there is no charge for any of the food onboard so feel free to try these restaurants over and over again.

If sitting down in a restaurant setting doesn’t take your fancy, there is a lovely selection of food in the buffet, a salad and burger bar open all day by the pool and complimentary 24-hour room service where you can get a perfectly cooked steak delivered straight to your door. If for some reason you need an excuse to indulge in more food then look no further than the high tea served at 4pm sharp every day in the Horizons Lounge. Picture freshly baked scones with jam and cream, sandwiches and much more washed down with a large selection of teas, coffee or champagne while the string quartet play in the background.

Oceania serves local cuisine wherever they are in the world so as we sailed out of the Bay of Islands, the passengers onboard enjoyed 150kgs of Green Lipped Mussels.

Don’t miss the vintage wine and gourmet menu pairings, uniquely designed by the onboard sommeliers or simply indulge in Oceania’s well respected and varied wine cellars.

Entertainment: I was pleasantly surprised by the entertainment onboard. The production shows, while not huge, glamorous and over the top as with many other ships, were very sophisticated and intimate and had everyone clapping and singing along – genuine entertainment in the old-fashioned sense!

On the nights where there is no stage show there is still something on offer, with performances from local talent including magicians, comedians and musicians. The string quartet performs daily at 4pm during high tea, as well as a small intimate performance every night in the foyer where they take requests from passengers. For those looking to sing and dance the night away, the Regatta band performs nightly in the Horizons bar playing everyone’s favourite songs.

Activities: You can choose to do as much or as little as you like onboard, participate in the numerous Olife tournaments such as table tennis and mini golf or get a team together and test your trivia knowledge. At every port Oceania has a variety of excursions to choose from ranging in fitness levels and time away, and you also have the opportunity to explore at your own leisure. Oceania’s itineraries are designed to spend as much time as possible in port, with a number of locations offering an overnight stay, allowing passengers to further explore what each destination has to offer.

Family facilities: Regatta is not a particularly young family focused ship. While Oceania is not adults only, anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and occupy a stateroom with them. There is also no supervision or entertainment for children.

Inclusions: Oceania have a lot of added inclusions to make your cruise as enjoyable as possible, they also give you different options as they know not everyone enjoys the same thing. All staterooms come with free WIFI access. While the internet is not extremely quick it works perfectly fine to check emails, Facebook and other social media platforms. All food onboard is included from the specialty restaurants to the 24-hour room service and even the coffees from the cafe which is a big thing for us coffee fusspots from Australia and New Zealand.

When you book your cruise you get the option to pick your “Olife” extra, a choice between either free shore excursions, onboard credit or a drinks package to have beers and wine with lunch and dinner (pay an extra $20USD per person to have unlimited drinks 24/7). Concierge class receive the added bonus of having the bags of laundry included as well as a beautiful bottle of champagne waiting for them when they board while the suites have a full mini bar included.

If the gym is your thing then all of the classes onboard are complimentary, just sign up to the class you would like to do and turn up, there are so many options from morning stretches to healthy eating. One big plus is the inclusion of bottled water, every day your stateroom will be stocked with two 1.5L bottles of water and there are tables set up onboard with cold bottles whenever you need them and waiting for you when you get off the ship for your shore excursions.

Exclusions: There are not many places you need to or can spend money once onboard, but the spa would be the place to do it. With a range of different massages, acupuncture and beauty treatments it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Depending on which Olife extra you choose (beverage package, onboard credit or shore excursions) you would have to pay for the others. Beverage packages range from US$39.95 for beers and wines with lunch and dinner to US$59.95 for unlimited, while shore excursions range in price depending what you choose to do.

Self-service laundry: Oceania has self-service washers and dryers onboard at a cost of US$2 per load. There is also the option of having items laundered for you, a shirt is around US$6 to be washed and ironed.

Spa and Fitness Facilities: For a small ship the fitness facilities onboard are excellent, there is a large stretching area which also gets used for classes, while the rest of the space is filled with different weight machines, treadmills and cycle machines. While it may not be as big as your gym at home it definitely has the facilities and space to keep you active while away on your cruise. Once you’ve finished your workout then walk through the changing rooms to the quiet hydrotherapy pool which is located at the front of the ship. Here, surrounded by deck chairs, is a perfect place to relax and read a book (this is also a perfect place for sail away as it is normally very quiet and has a great view).

There are six massage rooms and a large beauty room where you can get your haircut, nails done or even acupuncture. The staff are very helpful and will happily talk you through all of the different services on board. There is also a fully stocked fridge with water, sports drinks and a range of herbal teas on offer for after your massage.

Insider tips: You will need to pack a US adaptor as there are no standard AU/NZ plugs onboard and if you forget it you will have to buy one from the general store onboard. Make sure you reserve your tables in the specialty restaurants as these can fill up, and if you want to meet new like-minded people why not opt to share a table with other passengers? You never know who you’ll meet.

Dress codes: The dress code onboard is very relaxed and in Oceania’s words it is “Country Club Casual”. You are advised to dress as you feel comfortable, shorts and a t-shirt is very much accepted as is a dress shirt and pants. The Captain’s party on the second or third night is generally the most formal night of the cruise and if you would like to wear a dress or suit, this would be the night to do it.

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Oceania’s Regatta

Reviewed by: Kieran van Bunnik

Date: 4 February 2019

Cruise line: Oceania Cruises

Capacity: 684 passengers

Year built: 1998 (refurbished 2014 –  another scheduled for September 2019)

Size of the ship: 30,277 GRT

Where the ship cruises:

During the Australian season Regatta arrives from Papeete to do a number of sailings around New Zealand and the east coast of Australia before returning back to Alaska in the winter through Papeete and Miami.

Currency onboard: USD

Embarkation/disembarkation: Due to the ship being quite small I found both getting on and off the ship very quick and efficient. Even when we were docked in the Bay of Islands and had to tender ashore the process was very easy, with the tenders lined up and waiting to quickly take passengers ashore. The first few tenders were assigned as a priority to passengers who had booked shore excursions and after they had gone, were open to everyone else. Regatta made getting ashore and back onboard very easy, and with three tenders running back and forth all day, the wait was never long, even if you wanted to pop back to the ship for lunch or a quick lie down.

Main features/highlights: Oceania has a huge focus on food even claiming they offer the ‘finest cuisine at sea’™ – hard to dispute with stunning food, variety and authentic cuisines. They are said to spend more money on food than any other cruise line and this is obvious from the minute you step onboard. The smell of pastries in the morning as you walk into the main dining room makes you feel like you’ve just walked into a French patisserie, and the afternoon high tea was a favourite among many onboard.

Unique to Oceania is The Culinary Center, a hands-on cooking school at sea, unique with fully equipped state-of-the-art teaching kitchens for hands-on cooking lessons.

The giant library on Deck 10 is a perfect place to escape, with plenty of chairs and sofas and a large variety of books there is truly something for everyone. One of the best features on board is having gratuities included with all fares, so you won’t be hit with an extra 18% on your bill at the end of your cruise which can happen on other cruise lines.

Most suited to: Oceania’s cuisine sees any lover of food or self-proclaimed “foodie” right at home onboard! It is also suited to couples looking to relax and with a number of solo nights/gatherings and the ease of booking “shared” tables, is great for solo travelers too.

Regatta will appeal to a more mature market as well as those who have tried suites on the larger ships but wish to experience a more intimate onboard atmosphere. Oceania also specialises in unusual cruise routes and more remote destinations, which appeals to passengers who like more of a destination focus, including guest lecturers on board. 

It’s also a great option for those who like lots of inclusions on board with room service, specialty dining, soft drinks, specialty coffees, teas and juices all being complimentary. Keep an eye out for bonuses and special offerings that may also include free drink packages, shore excursions and onboard credit.

Atmosphere:  There is a very relaxed atmosphere onboard Regatta from the numerous deck chairs around the pool, a large library and plenty of sofas and chairs around the cafe and bars. There is also a feeling of “home” around the ship with many passengers making a personal connection/friendship with the friendly bar and waitstaff onboard. I saw many farewell handshakes and hugs when getting off the ship.

While the ship feels upmarket on board there is no need to pack your black tie or ball gown for dinner. There is a lovely smart casual feel on board and lots of comfortable sitting areas so you can always find a space to sit and relax away from any crowds, not that there really are any on Regatta.

Some of the decor is a little dark with lots of wood and heavy drapes and tapestry fabrics. Regatta is scheduled to undergo a significant renovation in September 2019 as a part of Oceania’s $100 million OceaniaNEXT program.

Encounters with staff: all staff were very attentive, friendly and helpful.

Staterooms: The average room size isn’t huge but the cabins are super comfortable. Enjoy the ‘Prestige Tranquility Bed’ with 1,000 thread count linen, free wifi, Bulgari amenities, chocolates with the nightly turndown service and 24-hour butler service in all suites.

Staterooms are a very comfortable size for two passengers. Whilst not huge, there is definitely enough space to relax and move around. The bathrooms are fairly small but the space is used well for what they have been given. If you book a Concierge cabin or above you also get a nice bottle of Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne.

Dining: There is no shortage of food onboard and no expense spared as Oceania really does live up to their “Finest cuisine at Sea” tagline. The main dining room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on sea days and serves a great variety of dishes. The staff work together seamlessly to have you seated, ordered and looked after with drinks and a selection of bread or during breakfast plenty of pastries and sweets. There are two specialty restaurants onboard, Polo Grill, a steak lover’s dream, and Toscana, a traditional Italian restaurant serving handmade pasta and beautifully cooked seafood. Both are only open for dinner and reservations are a must, there is no charge for any of the food onboard so feel free to try these restaurants over and over again.

If sitting down in a restaurant setting doesn’t take your fancy, there is a lovely selection of food in the buffet, a salad and burger bar open all day by the pool and complimentary 24-hour room service where you can get a perfectly cooked steak delivered straight to your door. If for some reason you need an excuse to indulge in more food then look no further than the high tea served at 4pm sharp every day in the Horizons Lounge. Picture freshly baked scones with jam and cream, sandwiches and much more washed down with a large selection of teas, coffee or champagne while the string quartet play in the background.

Oceania serves local cuisine wherever they are in the world so as we sailed out of the Bay of Islands, the passengers onboard enjoyed 150kgs of Green Lipped Mussels.

Don’t miss the vintage wine and gourmet menu pairings, uniquely designed by the onboard sommeliers or simply indulge in Oceania’s well respected and varied wine cellars.

Entertainment: I was pleasantly surprised by the entertainment onboard. The production shows, while not huge, glamorous and over the top as with many other ships, were very sophisticated and intimate and had everyone clapping and singing along – genuine entertainment in the old-fashioned sense!

On the nights where there is no stage show there is still something on offer, with performances from local talent including magicians, comedians and musicians. The string quartet performs daily at 4pm during high tea, as well as a small intimate performance every night in the foyer where they take requests from passengers. For those looking to sing and dance the night away, the Regatta band performs nightly in the Horizons bar playing everyone’s favourite songs.

Activities: You can choose to do as much or as little as you like onboard, participate in the numerous Olife tournaments such as table tennis and mini golf or get a team together and test your trivia knowledge. At every port Oceania has a variety of excursions to choose from ranging in fitness levels and time away, and you also have the opportunity to explore at your own leisure. Oceania’s itineraries are designed to spend as much time as possible in port, with a number of locations offering an overnight stay, allowing passengers to further explore what each destination has to offer.

Family facilities: Regatta is not a particularly young family focused ship. While Oceania is not adults only, anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and occupy a stateroom with them. There is also no supervision or entertainment for children.

Inclusions: Oceania have a lot of added inclusions to make your cruise as enjoyable as possible, they also give you different options as they know not everyone enjoys the same thing. All staterooms come with free WIFI access. While the internet is not extremely quick it works perfectly fine to check emails, Facebook and other social media platforms. All food onboard is included from the specialty restaurants to the 24-hour room service and even the coffees from the cafe which is a big thing for us coffee fusspots from Australia and New Zealand.

When you book your cruise you get the option to pick your “Olife” extra, a choice between either free shore excursions, onboard credit or a drinks package to have beers and wine with lunch and dinner (pay an extra $20USD per person to have unlimited drinks 24/7). Concierge class receive the added bonus of having the bags of laundry included as well as a beautiful bottle of champagne waiting for them when they board while the suites have a full mini bar included.

If the gym is your thing then all of the classes onboard are complimentary, just sign up to the class you would like to do and turn up, there are so many options from morning stretches to healthy eating. One big plus is the inclusion of bottled water, every day your stateroom will be stocked with two 1.5L bottles of water and there are tables set up onboard with cold bottles whenever you need them and waiting for you when you get off the ship for your shore excursions.

Exclusions: There are not many places you need to or can spend money once onboard, but the spa would be the place to do it. With a range of different massages, acupuncture and beauty treatments it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Depending on which Olife extra you choose (beverage package, onboard credit or shore excursions) you would have to pay for the others. Beverage packages range from US$39.95 for beers and wines with lunch and dinner to US$59.95 for unlimited, while shore excursions range in price depending what you choose to do.

Self-service laundry: Oceania has self-service washers and dryers onboard at a cost of US$2 per load. There is also the option of having items laundered for you, a shirt is around US$6 to be washed and ironed.

Spa and Fitness Facilities: For a small ship the fitness facilities onboard are excellent, there is a large stretching area which also gets used for classes, while the rest of the space is filled with different weight machines, treadmills and cycle machines. While it may not be as big as your gym at home it definitely has the facilities and space to keep you active while away on your cruise. Once you’ve finished your workout then walk through the changing rooms to the quiet hydrotherapy pool which is located at the front of the ship. Here, surrounded by deck chairs, is a perfect place to relax and read a book (this is also a perfect place for sail away as it is normally very quiet and has a great view).

There are six massage rooms and a large beauty room where you can get your haircut, nails done or even acupuncture. The staff are very helpful and will happily talk you through all of the different services on board. There is also a fully stocked fridge with water, sports drinks and a range of herbal teas on offer for after your massage.

Insider tips: You will need to pack a US adaptor as there are no standard AU/NZ plugs onboard and if you forget it you will have to buy one from the general store onboard. Make sure you reserve your tables in the specialty restaurants as these can fill up, and if you want to meet new like-minded people why not opt to share a table with other passengers? You never know who you’ll meet.

Dress codes: The dress code onboard is very relaxed and in Oceania’s words it is “Country Club Casual”. You are advised to dress as you feel comfortable, shorts and a t-shirt is very much accepted as is a dress shirt and pants. The Captain’s party on the second or third night is generally the most formal night of the cruise and if you would like to wear a dress or suit, this would be the night to do it.

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