This was our second voyage on an Oceania ship , our first having been on the Nautica in concierge stateroom with a terrace. We decided to splurge this voyage to the Caribbean ( Mayan mystique) 10 days and went for the owners suite ( our first foray into the high-end suite. We arrived around 1:30 PM and were in our suite at 1:35.
The suite was gorgeous , has it had been described on the internet and in Brochures. Huge sitting room, ample bedroom , large bath, oodles of closet space......truly a home away from home. A bottle of Champagne rested on a cooler by our table along with fruit and snacks. The deck was huge....two reclining chairs ( no more fighting for space by the pool) and a four person dinning table, aft of the ship.
All of the above was made the more magical by our butler Sirgej who arrived, long coat and white gloves to see what he could do to make our trip more pleasant. He was true to his word, until our last goodbye, at the end of the 10 days, he did everything in his power to make what we wanted happen.
There was one huge problem. We were on the deck 8 , aft. Deck 9 aft has a large area for eating ( breakfast, lunch and dinner) on a teak , outdoor veranda, a very nice venue , especially for breakfast and lunch. Every time someone moved their chair , we heard it below. We are not talking once in a while, we are talking every few seconds. My wife, God bless her, after a while was able to ignore it. It drove me crazy!! clearly nothing could be done about it .....but if you are planning on the owners suite, try Deck 7 or 6. The noise above us was truly a big minus.
A twin of the Nautica ( and the Insignia) we had deja-vu the instant we boarded. The public rooms are truly luxurious and the service on the ship is excellent in all regards. There was not a moment in which I felt not attended to.....it is a wonder that the ship's crew can accomplish this feat, day in and day out! cruise after cruise. We have been on other ships and we had the sense that the crew was not very content , that was not the case on the Regatta. They did their job, and did it well.
One of the features of cruising that we don't like is the "selling" the minute you come aboard....selling the water....selling the art....selling the next cruise.....argh......this was not the case on this voyage. Water is complimentary and they do not do a hard sell on the wine and drinks. By the way ....I am a big fan of single malt scotches . They had a single malt tasting, as well as a wine tasting and a martini tasting during our trip ....all of which were moderate in cost . While I only partook of the single malt event ....that was well worth it and I understood, from the other passengers, that the same was true of the other tastings.
The ship is in all respects well equipped and luxurious without being ostentatious.
One of the nice things about Oceania cruises is that their specialty restaurants are available at no extra cost. Specifically the Polo Grill a steak and chop restaurant decorated to look and feel like a British club restaurant was excellent , the food superb with service to match. It was strange indeed to partake of an excellent meal, wine, desert cappuccino or expresso, leisurely conversation .....and at the end .....NO BILL. Seemed passing strange to me.
Toscana , as its name implies is an excellent Italian venue. Extra touches, many different olive oils, fresh parmesan cheese and a baked garlic along with the bread. I had the veal chop , both times I was there for my main course( why tinker with perfection?).
The main dinning room has an excellent choice of food on the menu. What was surprising was the great variety . The menu changed every day of the cruise.
One feature of the Regatta is the offer of Canyon Ranch meals at every sitting. The food was truly excellent. Not so good that it was possible for us to just stay with that ( boy we wish we could ....but so much good stuff !!) but we did stay with that for breakfast and lunch....and managed to keep the eating to a dull roar(LOL). At every Spa lunch I heard my wife mutter under her breath ...." this can't be legal"......it was that good.
The terrace cafe offers excellent food as well, though we only partook one day , our discipline broke down and we overate. If you can handle it....go for it!
One feature which Regatta ( as well as the other ships offer ) is high tea, at 4 PM every afternoon. It is a delight, music, fine food and great teas and coffees. We passed on lunch one day to do the tea in the afternoon....most of the guests seem to go to the lunch and then tea and dinner....God bless them!
Oceania is often faulted for its lack of entertainment and I understand that there is not the usual 18 different events going on at the same time, however , I, in the ten days I was aboard, never lacked for something to do. The Magician, comedian was terrific, and his lecture on Magicians who changed world history was really interesting. The lecturer on the caribbean was informed , funny and interesting to listen to. The bridge classes and tournaments were great. The gym classes were very good indeed.
The jazz band was really pleasant and the quartet was very nice and very well attended. Both of these were daily events.
The cabaret acts in the lounge were not huge shows, but really talented and very good variety.
All this to say.....I had plenty to do and it was all fine.
Destinations and Shore excursions:
The destinations , on this particular trip were mostly focused on getting out in the sun and going snorkeling, annoying the stingrays( don't think they like to be kissed ....maybe I am wrong) and seeing Mayan ruins.
The ships trips were often much more expensive than could be gotten through independent purveyors and , since they were ship sponsored were more crowded. All in all we arranged our excursions through cruise.com and found them quite satisfactory and much less expensive.
The Sick Bay:
I had the unfortunate experience of developing bronchitis on the fourth day of our voyage , which got worse ( 104 fever etc. ) and required considerable medical attention ( a twice a day antibiotic drip) . It was expertly administered, I felt well taken care of.
It was very expensive and I was glad to have trip insurance. Please be aware that US healthcare is not covered abroad...so CAVEAT EMPTOR !
In sum it was an excellent voyage and we would do it again ( on a lower deck LOL).