A private country club at sea is the best and probably the most accurate way to describe a cruise experience on Oceania's beautiful ship "Regatta." Although we had traveled on this former Renaissance vessel before, the $10 million refurbishing by Oceania of the Regatta proved to make the vessel an even finer cruise experience. With only 660 passengers on board this 30,000 ton vessel, the ship offered a wide variety of activities as well as gleaming decor and eye-appealing art work.
For my wife and I, one of the most important features of a country club on land or at sea, is the staff training and their response to requests and service. This mix of young men and women from countries all over the world always greeted passengers with a smile, anxious to be of service. Professionally trained, the staff at all levels catered to our every wants and needs.
The two-week Mediterranean cruise set sail from Venice, Italy and ended in Barcelona, Spain. Ports of call included Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; Sorrento, Italy; Amalfi, Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome); Bonifacio, Corsica; Livorno, Italy, Portofiono, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Marseilles, France. The weather cooperated in the Med style with smooth sailing and only one day of rain. A sweater and a light jacket took care of most touring days. The destination services staff arranged educational and interesting tours, although expensive, at each port. We traveled with two couples, the Shaws and the Proctors, all of Sarasota and experienced cruise folks.
We all enjoyed the casual yet elegant atmosphere of the restaurants. Informal dress meant no need to pack a tux or suits with only collared shirts required at the evening meals. However, we very often wore the men's traditional blue blazer to these elegant bistros. Country club casual was the in-thing to wear! However, if you are looking for the extravaganza floor shows of larger cruise ships, forget it!
There was nightly entertainment but it wasn't the best. We gave the shows a "B-" rating. As for the other shipboard services, our group held a rating cocktail party and gave the following shipboard services these ratings: Food, A-; Main dining room service, A+; Specialty dining rooms A-; Cabins and cabin steward service A; Tours B+. An overall rating of the Regatta and its staff we gave an A and for overall value, an A. Our group gave the ship and staff a "five star" rating!
The planning by the staff for the embarkation and the debarkation was evident as both went very smoothly. We have experienced some long waits for boarding when leaving some larger vessels. But not the Regatta! We were informed the night before the end of this traveling adventure, that our color (passengers given various colored tags for bags and then the colors are called for departure) would be called about 8:20 am. Our bags except for carry-ons had to be outside our cabins by 11:00 pm the night before leaving. Also, we could stay in our cabin until called, a different and nice feature. Promptly at 8:20 our color (green) was announced. Easily identifying our luggage in the large warehouse next to the ship, we quickly passed through the officials to the buses and on to the airport in Barcelona for the flight home.
On board was the Oceania sales representative Carmen Miranda. An indication of this "five star" rating our group gave the Regatta, Carmen was kept very busy toward the end of the cruise booking people for future voyages. A good indication of quality! After this two-week cruise, we look forward to again experiencing the gracious "Country Club Style" cruising with Oceania.