|Above: Oceania Cruise
Lines Regatta Cruise Ship.
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Began service:July, 2003
Guest capacity: 684
Total staff: 386
Length: 593 feet
Passenger decks: 9
inspection score: NA
The Regatta cruise ship departs from Miami, Florida.
Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Caribbean,
Europe, and Mediterranean.
Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Caribbean, Europe, and Mediterranean.
Oceania Cruises' Regatta,
the Miami-based cruise line's first vessel, offers a destination-oriented
cruise experience. Regatta is aimed at cruisers who love getting a
good bang for a buck without skimping on the luxuries they've come
to expect. So far the cruise line mostly appeals to American passengers,
though the line anticipates people in other English-speaking countries,
from the United Kingdom to New Zealand, to become fellow cruisers.
Regatta, which debuted in 1998 as Renaissance's R2,
is now chartered by Oceania, which put $10 million into renovations.
Staterooms were refurbished with stylish bed linens and custom mattress
sets. All four restaurants got new flatware, glassware, china and
table linens, and on Deck 9 -- a new teak deck and
snappy French blue and white-clad chaises. The pool got new stonework
and pretty blue tiles, too.
Regatta's ports of call are smaller (and more small-ship friendly)
places like Bordeaux, Guernsey, Palma de Majorca, Malaga and Oporto.
Service is enthusiastic and warm. Unquestionably a five-star touch!
Regatta has 330 guestrooms, suites
and penthouses with more than 50% of the outside
staterooms with verandas. One nice touch is the "Tranquility
Bed," dressed in 350-count Egyptian cotton linens, silk-cut duvets
and goose-down pillows.
Veranda Staterooms are 216 sq ft., including the
teak balcony . Oceanview and inside cabins
(at 165 and 158 sq ft.) are rather cozy. There's not quite enough
storage and closet space, though the casual dress code reduces the
amount of clothes needed. There's a good-sized desk-cum-vanity table,
love seat, small coffee table and desk chair.
Every cabin has a 21" color TV with "On-Demand" films
offering reasonably recent films for $9.95 - $11.95. Two night tables
and an on/off switch for the main cabin lights frame the bed. Bathrooms
are small, but lighting is good. Plush towels, a terry robe and a
fixed hair dryer (that's basically useless) are offered.
Other cabin amenities: nightly turn-down, satellite telephones (there's
no voice mail, so it impossible to leave and get messages), safes,
multiple mirrors, 110-volt AC outlets and Internet access
($25 hook-up charge plus Oceania@Sea's prevailing
per minute rates) and coming soon, alarm clocks. Though prominently
displayed in your cabin as if to say "complimentary," Evian
is $3.50 if you open it.
Penthouse Suites are 322 sq ft., Vista Suites
are 786 sq ft. and Owner's Suites are very large
at 962 sq ft. All suites feature marbled bathrooms with bathtubs (Vista
and penthouses have whirlpools), entertainment centers, fully-stocked
minibars, nightly pre-dinner canapes and 24/7 butler service. Vista
and Owner's Suites have lovely wraparound balconies, and canopied
Some observations: Suites tend to sell out first. If they are all
booked, consider two veranda staterooms that connect and ask to replace
one cabin with living room furniture. Presto --you've got a mini-suite
with two verandas, two bathrooms and plenty of room for friends and
Oceania says they have 'the best dining at sea' with world-renowned
Master chef Jacques Pepin as Executive Culinary Director. He was personal
chef to three French heads of state, including de Gaulle. He will
periodically sail with the line to oversee operations (and a handful
of times will host cooking demonstrations).Regatta offers four dining
experiences, three of them specialty venues sans the extra charge.
The no-reservations-required Grand Dining Room is
by far the most beautiful and largest venue, yet offers an intimate
ambiance. Good food with good service came out course after course
the evenings I dined there. They also provide a full lunch and breakfast
menu with the usual and not-so-usual made-to-order favorites. Responding
to customer comments, Oceania recently added 26 tables for two.
On my voyage, the sunny Terrace Cafe was favored
for breakfast due to good weather, variety, ease of the buffet, and
close proximity to the pool deck. The Cafe earns extra points for
having serving platters seem as if they've just come from the kitchen
and never looking picked over. Wait staff frequently joins guests
at the end of the line to escort them to a table and there's a constant
parade of friendly servers eager to fetch whatever you need. There
was always someone nearby to refill my coffee or pour a fresh cup.
The three dinner-only specialty restaurants are top-notch, require
reservations, and have no surcharge. The Polo Grill
is the most intimate of the three, offering dry-aged steaks, lamb
and veal along with a good selection of fresh seafood.
The Toscana offers stunning ocean views and serves
wonderful Italian cuisine. My favorite starter was baked veal-stuffed
eggplants and, for dessert, chocolate lasagna.
At night, the Terrace Cafe turns into Tapas
on the Terrace. Buffet style, diners can choose from dozens
of dishes inspired by the Andalusian tradition. Sherry-filled glasses
came covered with plates to protect the contents from flies and dirt.
My favorites were the potato and onion omelet, the plump fresh shrimp
soaked in garlic and oil and a really excellent paella. Predictable
desserts like flan and rice pudding are good (not great), but irresistibly
crispy churros are awesome!
Both restaurants serve breakfast from 7 - 10am and lunch from 11:30
am - 2 pm. Waves is the place for a later lunch offering
hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, fried calamari, plus a daily special.
Dining aboard is 7 - 9:30pm.
High tea is served daily at 4pm in Horizons. The
pastries and tea sandwiches are nice, but the scones were not very
Room service is 24/7 with a very limited menu. Delivery was consistently
prompt with hot food-hot, cold food-cold.
Regatta is more about destinations than cruising, evidenced
by the lack of glitzy productions. There is an excellent orchestra
and string quartet, some cool jazz sessions and song and dance in
There's at least one worthwhile enrichment lecture daily, along with
the usual art auctions and bingo games.
Since days-in-port are emphasized more strongly than nights-at-sea,
Destination Services plays an important role on Regatta.
The folks at Destination Services are friendly, but if you're planning
to go it alone rather then sign up for a ship-sponsored excursion,
make sure you don't leave the ship without knowing the ship's exact
location and the local port agent's telephone number.
Fitness & Recreation
The outdoor pool is more for dunking than swimming but the
overall atmosphere is nice.
The spa offers an excellent menu of treatments like lavender deep-cleansing
facials (only $59), holistic citrus facials ($99), foot and ankle
massages (a bargain at $39) and aroma stone therapy massages ($159,
though most massages start at $99). Fitness classes, including Pilates,
are complimentary -- but if you like yours one-on-one, it's $75 for
an hour. Yoga is available, but on a one-to-one basis only at $25
for 45 minutes.
Hair salon services were comparable to what I've experienced back
home and there was no hard sell of beauty products.
The ship's decor is like that of Ritz-Carlton's "traditional
luxe" interiors. The ship feels like a floating country-club,
far removed from the itinerary's urban ports of call. The ship's reception
has polished dark mahoganies, muted fabrics, and the signature-sweeping
Deck 5 is home to the Grand Dining Room
and 2 so-so duty-free shops (one newly added). One is filled with
the usual cruise line logo apparel and a selection of handbags, scarves,
bathing suits and "dressy" apparel for women and men. The
other shop stocks the usual selection of duty-free perfumes and jewelry.
Notably missing is a decent selection of sundries that one may have
forgotten to pack. I had to wait until we reached our next port to
buy the deodorant I left behind.
Martinis, a bar just outside the small casino,
has a great selection of classic and special martinis.
The sole Laundromat is on Deck 7.
Note: Expect long lines in the Laundromat in spite of the excessive
$3 per load. Use the reasonably priced laundry/dry cleaning service
instead. Other public rooms include, on Deck 9, Oceania@Sea,
the onboard Internet area. On Deck 10
is the Polo Grill, Toscana, and
Regatta has eight lounges and bars: Horizons,
Waves, Martinis, Polo
Bar, Regatta Lounge
(the ship's showroom), the Grand Bar, Tapas
Bar and Toscana Bar. Horizons
is popular for several reasons: the magnificent views, afternoon tea,
and one of two spots to smoke on this otherwise non-smoking ship.
Internet access is a pricey $.95 per minute (packages make it as low
as $.60), but printing is free as are memory card readers for downloading
digital images. 18 computer stations are available on Deck
9, but ongoing, fully attended computer classes have priority
over those with email needs. There are two computers in the Library
available 24/7, but there's usually a line.
Oceania plans to add three more PCs in the Library
soon to alleviate the problem. The ongoing computer class vs. "experienced"
space challenge is annoying.
Regatta makes no apologies
for their lack of a kids' program, which means your kids are limited
to endless hours of Ping-Pong, shuffleboard, swimming or TV in the
Expert Regatta reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com,
an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can
help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.
Check Dates & Prices
for cruises to Caribbean, Europe, and Mediterranean.
Regatta cruise reviews
Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced
CDC inspection. Regatta Score:
The Cruise Critic gives Oceania's Regatta a 4-ribbon rating.
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