Specialty Tuscan and French-inspired dining included in fares
Bulgari amenities included in balcony cabins and above
Martini and wine tastings hosted by onboard experts
Insignia returned to the Oceania fleet in 2014 -- complete with the line's elegant touches -- after a two-year charter with Hapag Lloyd as Columbus 2 and an extensive refurbishment. Teak balconies, designer bone china and a prized art collection pepper the ship, adding refinement to the casual but sophisticated atmosphere.
Spend time paging through volumes in the English-inspired library, or take to Oceania@Sea, the onboard Internet center, to keep in touch or do a little research.
Each Insignia cabin is equipped with (at minimum) a queen-size bed; writing desk and stationery; refrigerated minibar with unlimited free soft drinks and bottled water replenished daily; flat-screen television with live satellite news and programming and a DVD player' 24-hour room service menu; Wi-Fi; direct-dial satellite phone and cell service; security safe; hair dryer; and robes and slippers. Bulgari toiletries are available at the Veranda Concierge Level and above.
Insides: Inside cabins are 160 square feet, located midship on decks 7 and 8.
Oceanviews: Oceanview cabins run from 143 square feet to 165 square feet. There are four categories of Oceanviews -- two standard and two deluxe. Oceanview cabins are located midship and forward on decks 3, 4, 6 and 7.
Verandahs: There are five categories of verandah cabins -- two standard and three Concierge Level. All verandah cabins measure 216 square feet. Standard verandas are spread throughout Deck 6, while Concierge Level Verandas are located across Deck 7.
Concierge Level cabins come with an additional set of amenities: priority ship embarkation with priority luggage delivery; priority online specialty restaurant and shore excursion reservations; unlimited access to the spa; discounts on Internet usage plans; iPads upon request for use onboard; logo tote bag; cashmere lap blankets for use onboard; complimentary garment pressing upon embarkation; complimentary shoe shine service; and a welcome bottle of Champagne.
Suites: Five categories of suites are broken into three classes: Penthouse Suites, Vista Suites and Owner's Suites. Penthouse Suites are located around Deck 8 and measure 322 square feet apiece. Four Vista Suites are located forward on decks 6 and 7 and measure 786 square foot each. Six Owner's Suites are each 1,000 square feet and can be found aft on decks 6, 7 and 8.
In addition to Concierge Level amenities, choice of daily printed newspaper, a daily replenished fresh fruit basket and complimentary in-suite bar setup with six full-size bottles of premium spirits and wines are included in Vista and Owner's suites. Butler service is included for all suite categories.
Specialty dining is included as part of the fare on Insignia. In addition to the ship's Grand Dining Room, it features two specialty restaurants, a buffet and a poolside cafe. In the Grand Dining Room, where the cuisine is French-inspired Continental, frescoes adorn the ceiling. Specialty restaurant Toscana features Tuscan cuisine. Sommeliers are on hand to suggest wine pairings. Don't miss the olive oil menu. Polo Grill, the second specialty restaurant, is an upscale steakhouse. Terrace Cafe is Insignia's breakfast and lunch buffet, which offers the chance to dine indoors or alfresco on the pool deck or aft terrace. Waves Grill offers lunchtime options like barbecue, seafood, salads, ice cream, gelato or milkshakes for sunbathers and poolside loungers.
At 4 p.m. each day, you can partake in an English tea service, complete with a classical string quartet and pastries, in Horizons lounge.
Bars & Lounges
Insignia offers five bars, and all maintain the vibe of a country club lounge or gentleman's club. Martini's features live piano music and, of course, cocktails of the same name. The Polo Bar, within the Polo Grill, features a variety of scotches and whiskeys. Horizons offers drinks with a view in the observation lounge. Ship Lounge is located within the theater, where the nightly entertainment takes place. Adjacent to the Grand Dining Room, Grand Bar offers a rich atmosphere for pre-dinner drinks or chatting late into the night. Dark woods, a mantled fireplace and a fresco on the ceiling give it the feel of a lavish sitting room.
Oceania passengers enjoy unlimited complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, specialty coffees, teas and juices on every sailing. Two alcoholic beverage packages are available for purchase. House Select includes beer and a selection of wines by the glass during lunch and dinner in any dining venue or through room service during regular bar operating hours. It costs $39.95 per person, per day, with gratuities included. At $59.95 per person, per day, (gratuities included) Prestige Select is an unlimited package that includes beer, a selection of wines by the glass and most top-shelf spirits and cocktails.
During sea days onboard Insignia, activities are limited to the pool area, lounges and a few other select venues. Play a hand of cards in the Card Room, or brush up on your knowledge of vino with wine tastings and a discussion with the head sommelier.
Shows and general entertainment onboard Insignia feature a live classical orchestra, magicians, comedians and other headliners that vary by sailing.
The ship has a casino that features table games and slot machines, two shops and martini tastings at Martini's.
Insignia boasts a heated pool and two whirlpools. Forward on Deck 11, you'll find the Sun Deck with eight private cabanas, each featuring a Balinese daybed for two. These are available for a fee. With the purchase of a package, passengers are entitled to delivery from Waves Grill; fruit skewers in the morning, and ice cream and tea in the afternoon; iced towel wraps; 10-minute chair massages on port days; discounts on spa services; and a cabana bag full of goodies.
Spa & Fitness
Canyon Ranch SpaClub is the spa onboard Oceania ships. All Concierge Level and Suite passengers receive free unlimited access to the Spa Terrace, which includes a steam room, small Jacuzzi pool and lounge chairs. The spa center is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and offers a host of therapeutic, beauty and salon treatments.
Insignia's fitness facility is located within the Canyon Ranch spa. A range of 25- or 50-minute classes for fitness and wellness are offered, as well as personal training sessions, for a fee. Most classes cost $11 unless otherwise specified. Educational workshops and some classes are complimentary but are not scheduled until the voyage takes place.
Our last cruise was on a huge Carnival ship, nearly 20 years ago so we did not know what to expect from Oceania but hoped for the best. We were blown away by the Insignia - there was nothing about the ship that we could find fault with. The cabin ...continue