Insignia Review

Editor Rating: 4.5
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Why Choose Insignia?
  • Small ship packed with country-house charm
  • Intelligent itineraries along the road less traveled
  • Fine food in four main venues

Insignia Overview

Oceania sits firmly at the upper end of the premium/boutique cruise market, but Insignia, like its fleetmates, is reconciled to the fact that it cannot boast the largest cabins or bathrooms. For its size, it does have some impressive public areas, including a grand staircase leading down to the Deck 4 reception area. The paneled Grand Bar, at the entrance to the main dining room, would not look out of place in an English country-house hotel, while the well-equipped library, with its trompe l'oeil ceiling, and the Horizons Bar are as impressive as any venues on sea or land.

Oceania prides itself on having a bigger food budget per passenger than any other cruise line, and its Polo Grill steakhouse and Toscana Italian restaurant are outstanding. Selections in the Terrace Cafe buffet restaurant and alfresco Waves Grill are also well above average.

Insignia is one of the original three ships in Oceania Cruises' fleet and was the first R-ship built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises, entering service in 1998. Insignia spent two years chartered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, sailing as Columbus 2, and returned to Oceania in 2014 after an extensive refit that included a renewal of the real teak deck around the pool. Also new is a glassed-off smoking room on the port side of Horizons Lounge and faux stone-wall decor in the Terrace Cafe outdoor area.

Insignia Fellow Passengers

Insignia's passengers are mainly English speaking, mostly ages 50 and up, and mostly hail from North America, with a significant proportion of Brits and -- depending on the itinerary -- travelers from Australia and New Zealand. New money from Russia and Eastern Europe is bringing a few passengers from those regions.

Insignia Dress Code

Formalwear is not a requirement on Oceania ships, but nor are T-shirts and ripped jeans acceptable. The approved outfit during the day and in the evening is "country club casual" -- a concept as difficult to define and achieve as the agreed code for Dress Down Friday. Think Ralph Lauren Polo -- slacks and open-neck shirts for men, and skirts and slacks, blouses and cardigans for women -- and you won't be far from the mark. (Conveniently, the label is on sale in the ship's boutique.)

Insignia Gratuity

A gratuity of $23 per person, per day, in suites and $16 per person, per day, in all other accommodations is automatically charged to passenger accounts. An 18 percent gratuity is also added to all bar purchases and spa services.

Next:  Insignia Cabins
Updated by John Honeywell, Cruise Critic contributor

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Insignia Editor Ratings

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Ship Facts

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51 Insignia Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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Member Since 2011
2 reviews
0 forum posts
6 helpful votes
We are regular cruisers but not with Oceania, we usually cruise with Celebrity but thought we'd try a smaller ship for a change. We decided to treat ourselves to this cruise as we had been told that Oceania was superb, the service was ... Read more
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
20 helpful votes
This was our second cruise with Oceania. The first was a tour of the Baltic on the Marina. We chose this cruise because of it's interesting itinerary. The Insignia was appointed very nicely. We found the smaller ship to be a bit more ... Read more
Member Since 2004
9 reviews
223 forum posts
5 helpful votes
Sailed February 2016
Review of cruise Cape Town to Singapore - Insignia Feb 9, 2016 Three years ago we were on an Oceania cruise from Istanbul to Cape Town. That was, by far, the longest cruise we'd taken, thirty days. I worried at the time that I would get ... Read more

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