Regatta Cruise Review by dane47: Panama Canal Cruise/Regatta/ 2013
Overall Member Rating
Panama Canal Cruise/Regatta/ 2013
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
My husband and I took first cruise with Oceania on April 20 thru May 9, 2013. We wanted to try a smaller ship, wanted a full transit of the panama canal, and wanted really good food and service. We made our own air and hotel arrangements through our travel agent. We arrived in Miami on April 17 and spent 3 nights at the Miami Marriot Key Biscayne. We liked the hotel and the location. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were in our room by 3 p.m. We were aft on deck six with a balcony (state room 6079). The good things about the ship would include the gorgeous library, beautiful pool area with teak flooring and very comfortable pool loungers, the Terrace Cafe out doors eating area, the Regatta Lounge where the evening programs and dancing took place, dining spaces all decorated like you were in a beautiful mansion or country club setting, the exercise gym area, and the service. Some things I personally didn't like as much were the hot tub on the pool deck ( not very hot with jets More
that hardly did a thing), the cabanas on deck 11 that blocked the forward view and therefore blocked seeing the scenery especially on the Panama Canal transit day, expensive internet, expensive shore excursions (I arranged my own for the most part), the lack of posting by the Spa of the prices for their various services, lack of access to the therapy pool which didn't get much use as it was an extra charge, and the enrichment programs. The quality of the meals served on Regatta were very good to excellent. Not to be missed: the buffet served at the Terrace Cafe and the outdoor cook to order food served outside by the pool (try the turf and surf sandwich as well as the Rueben). I didn't care for some of the food served at the two speciality restuarants on Deck 10. I had lobster one night at the Polo grill and found it to be over cooked). I loved the desserts served for lunch and dinner. Another not to missed item on the breakfast menu would be the Sticky Buns served every other day. My husband loved the food and had few negatives to report. The service gets really high marks.
We loved the transit of the Panama Canal and our private tour with Roberto to Panama City and the Gatun Locks. Other favorite port visits: Huatulco, Antigua, Guatemala, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. We love San Diego and would have enjoyed San Francisco if the weather had been warmer. Cartagena, Columbia is a very pretty walled city though we didn't enjoy it as much due to the persistent vendors and the tour guide who thought we needed to visit his shops. Our state room was on the small side but having a balcony helped a lot. The bathroom is small but well organized and the amenities were nice. We brought wine on board and stored it in our small refrigerator. We asked for wine glasses from room service and then learned to put them out of sight so we didn't have to ask for new replacements all the time. We did order some wine for our evening meals. The service for our room was punctual, of excellent quality, and always provided with a smile. I would want to get a state room more in the middle next time. I thought being aft caused some queasiness although never used anything for sea sickness.
We LOVED the passengers on board the Regatta. Everyone was very friendly and we enjoyed talking to so many people. Most have been on many cruises and many were quite loyal to Oceania and the Regatta. I did hear some negative comments about the cost of the excursions and even the quality of those excursions. I can only speak to one shore excursion taken to the colonial city of Antiqua, Guatemala. We really enjoyed the excursion, the lunch at Hotel Antiqua, and seeing the beauty of the churches and historic sites. The rest of the excursions I planned a head of time before going on the cruise. I will write personal reviews of those vendors on Trip Advisor. We really enjoyed Willie, our cruise director, and the cooking presentations by the head chef. You must go to at least one of the cooking demonstrations as they were quite entertaining. We like the entertainment on board and found it to be very good overall. The seating in the Regatta Lounge doesn't lend itself to easy viewing of the stage but the lighting and stage presentation is just beautiful. We wished the band had played music that encouraged more people to get on the dance floor not just those with ball room dancing skills. We went to Happy Hour at the Horizons Bar and enjoyed it. We waited until the end of the cruise to do this and wished we had gone earlier. We used the library quite a few times and loved the space. It is so comfortable and just a lovely place to spend a few hours while on a sea day. I have probably missed sharing some things but hopefully this will be of assistance to those trying to make decisions about the cruise. Less
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