This is our first cruise aboard an Oceania flagged ship- the Regatta. We were encouraged to try this ship from our friends (60-ish) whom cruised on this same ship last year (2010) on the Eastern Caribbean run. They encouraged us (mid-50's) to join them this year for the Western Carribean leg, so we did. We have previously sailed aboard Carnival, Princess, & RCCL over the last 20 years.
We did research on this cruise line prior to booking. Regatta carries about 650 passeners at full capacity, and the ship is a little over 600' in length, so this is definently a small-ship experience. The ship is not set up for views of your world going by- most of the ship is exterior balconies and other areas of non-public access.
We knew that it would be an older crowd with subdued interests. We weren't suprised in that regard. After boarding, we heard that the average age of passengers was 72. As such, this cruise was tailored to that age-group. There were no ship's photographer aboard, no ice carvings, no late-night buffet, or talent contests. Evening dining ended at 9:30pm, and by then, the majority of passengers simply went to bed. There was one show per evening- 9:25-10:30pm, usually sparsely attended, and after that ended, The ship became what we started calling a "ghost ship"-there were only a handful of passengers to be found in the public areas after showtime. There was a good pianist most evenings in the martini bar. For being a carribbean cruise, very little carribean music was ever played-mostly the Lawrence Welk stuff you would expect.
The ship does not cater to families with children, as there was simply no activities aboard for that group. One positive is that this is probably one of the most nicely-finished ships on the sea- dark, rich cherry woodwork throughout with plush chairs everywhere. Food was excellent. Wait staff was good, though there would be an occasional speedbump where your dining needs were misunderstood or lost in the shuffle. We discovered that if you called for room service between 8-9am, you received an automated voice-reply that indicated that room service would call you back (they were busy). After waiting 20-30 minutes without success, we would give up and head for the dining room. During the rest of the day, room service got it right. Shipboard stores are small and limited in inventory-consistent with being a small ship.
Stateroom services was excellent-the room was kept spotless by our room steward.
One port we visited that is not listed below is Santo Tomas, Guatemala. In our opinion, a wasted day itinerary. You dock at a commercial ship pier and walk into town-which isn't tourist oriented at all. Almost all significant Mayan attractions in Eastern Guatemala require an $800 plane ride into the interior of the country. After watching cranes pick up and load shipping containers all day on cargo ships berthed next to the Regatta, we were ready to bail out.
In conclusion- this is a good ship for those older in age, whom do not want any excitement, exertion, or activities to fill their visit on the sea. We'll wait about 20 more years before we attempt this cruise style again.