Regatta Cruise Review by rubysue
- Sail Date: October 2014
- Destination: Canada & New England
- Cabin Type: Concierge Level Veranda Stateroom
Cruise Itinerary: We selected this cruise, a 15-day repositioning cruise on Regatta, because of its itinerary and the number of ports we have not visited. The cruise, named "Radiant Retreats” by Oceania, left from Montreal, Quebec on October 20 and ended 15 days later in Miami, Florida.
Travel to Montreal: We booked our flights independently on United Airlines through our travel agent, taking the credit for air from Oceania and planned a few days in Canada before the cruise. We flew from our home city to Toronto, Ontario and picked up a rental car at Hertz after our pre-reserved car at Dollar was not available (same rate). We spent one night in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at the Sheraton on the Falls (above average), one night at the Trump Tower, Toronto (incredible hotel) and two nights at Le Petite Hotel, Vieux Montreal (excellent). Le Petite Hotel, a small and unique boutique hotel with an excellent staff, was only a ten-minute walk to the pier. Montreal is a beautiful city and certainly worth visiting before a cruise that originates here. We had great meals in local bistros and enjoyed the Notre Dame Basilica and a lovely horse carriage ride in blustery, overcast cold weather.
Transfer to the ship: As noted above, it was a ten-minute walk from our hotel to the pier. This was the first time in 25 cruises that we were able to walk to the ship from our hotel.
Embarkation Process: We embarked Regatta within a few minutes of arriving at the pier, settling in at Waves grill for a light lunch. Our bags were available when we went to our stateroom at 2:00 pm. The pier area in Montreal is small, but efficient.
Ship Information: Oceania Cruise Lines Regatta is one of three "R" ships owned by this light luxury line. Regatta, like the sister ships Nautica and Insignia, has a small passenger load of less than 700, almost 400 crew and displaces ~35,000 GRT. Regatta was recently refurbished, with new carpeting, furnishings, expansion of the Terrace Buffet (adding grilled options) and the addition of the Baristas coffee bar, located in the Grand Bar near the Dining Room. The "R"ships are very comfortable and cozy.
Cabin: Our Concierge Veranda cabin was on deck 7, port side, just aft of the rear elevators. It was very convenient to all ship activities and this location weathered the rough conditions we had during the cruise better than forward cabins.
Dining: Overall, the dining experience on Regatta was superb! We had wonderful dinners in the Grand Dining Room and at the Terrace Buffet on Deck 9. Waves was a favorite location for lunch. We had dinner in Polo Grill once and it was the best meal we’ve had in this venue, which is the specialty steakhouse. We did not get a chance to eat at Toscana because we were always too full from wonderful lunches and evening snacks. The drink prices on-board are a bit expensive (especially wines by the glass), so we tried to get to Happy Hour every day. We did not purchase beverage packages on this cruise.
Service and crew: Overall, the service on Regatta was excellent, with very few complaints. Our cabin attendant and her assistant did a fantastic job keeping our stateroom clean and refreshed after we had a first-evening late turndown (we usually retire fairly early). Our Captain, Meinhardt Hansen, remembered us from our fantastic Nautica Midnight Sun cruise in 2013. He is a wonderful Captain and is very outgoing. The wait staff in the GDR is almost too low-key, but they are efficient. The bar staff was very good, but did seem overworked in some venues. The cruise director and her staff kept everyone informed and happy.
Activities and Entertainment: We did not participate in many activities on board (pretty typical for us on a cruise). We did attend one show, with the comedian Tom Drake (hilarious). We also attended the Captain’s cocktail party and the private reception for returning Oceania cruise club members; over 400 of the passengers on this cruise were returning customers. We also played trivia at almost every opportunity; our team for the main afternoon trivia was a delightful group and we had a lot of fun trying to answer the questions. For the first time in many cruises, we played a couple games of Bingo and DH had the amazing luck to win the Snowball jackpot at the last game, which wiped out our shipboard account!
Internet package: The internet services included an unlimited plan at a reasonable rate for returning passengers; we purchased two of these packages on the first day because DH has to do some work while on vacation and I like to keep up with current events. The internet was better than in the past on Oceania (faster and more reliable), although content-rich sites were blocked, including our webcams for viewing our cats at home. Of course, we were able to use cell service at the US ports.
Ports and Shore Excursions: This cruise included stops in Quebec City, Quebec; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City (overnight); Heritage Wharf, Bermuda (overnight) and Port Canaveral, Florida. The original itinerary had a port stop in Charleston, South Carolina, but we were not able to make it to Charleston due to very bad weather in the mid-Atlantic region between Bermuda and Charleston. Port Canaveral was the substitute port; this port was selected primarily due to an injury that occurred on-board during the rough seas we encountered but the Destination Services worked overtime to provide for tours and a shuttle bus to Cocoa and Merritt Island. We also had a shortened day in Halifax due to weather and were unable to dock in St. George, Bermuda as planned due to concerns for wind conditions. More information on the ports can be found in the port reviews. We booked six ship tours (the most we’ve on Oceania) and they were quite good, although not reasonably priced, which is a common complaint. We also booked a private tour in Halifax and did some independent activities in New York and Bermuda. The fall colors were variable this time of year at the end of October; we were past the peak in Montreal and Quebec City, near the peak in Nova Scotia and Maine, and early in Boston and New York. The colors were still very good, especially in Bar Harbor.
Passengers: We had a very small roll call for this cruise and no real activity (only an informal meet and greet). Most passengers were veteran cruisers, but there were some passengers new to Oceania and new to cruising.
Disembarkation: We disembarked on Tuesday, November 4. Oceania arranged for Big Bus tours for passengers with later flights and we took advantage of this option, which included luggage storage. We really enjoyed the tour that looped through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Little Havana and South Beach. This activity kept us from having to spend any more time than necessary at Miami International Airport, which is one of our least favorite airports in the US.
Minor complaint: Although Regatta just had some major renovations, there are small things that need an overhaul as soon as possible. I was locked inadvertently in a restroom stall near the Polo Grill when the handle to the door fell off (this happened in several places on the ship and we also had a loose handle on our bathroom door that was fixed immediately). The elevator buttons are almost non-functional and should be replaced. Other than these issues, the ship looks very nice.
Summary: This was one of our best cruises, in spite of missing Charleston (we were looking forward to our first visit there, but Mother Nature did not cooperate). Most of the ports were wonderful, the crew was great, and the food was superb. We have more cruises booked on Oceania, including a return to Nautica next summer with a cruise that includes Iceland and Greenland, and a 2016 cruise we booked on this cruise that will be on Marina, from Lima to New York.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Island TourWe booked a comprehensive ship tour that included the shore drive and Cadillac mountain in Acadia National Park, a stop at an historical Inn for a visit, a tour of the amateurish little Lobster Oceanarium (the lecture and exhibit of the blue lobster was fun), and a stop at a restaurant with a scenic view for blueberry pie (yum). We had a beautiful sunny day, with the fall foliage at its peak. Our tour guide was interesting and described in detail the disaster of the 1947 fire. We had plenty of time after the tour to explore Bar Harbor, which was shutting down for the season.View All 7 Island Tour Reviews
Kennedy LibraryWe booked a ship tour in Boston that visited two historical sites. The first, Peacefield, was the home of John and Abigail Adams beginning in 1787 and three additional generations of the Adams family lived here. This tour, with a National Park Service ranger, was one of the best tours we have ever had of any historical building. The ranger was superb, knowing many details about the family and talking about the artifacts we saw in the house, bringing the Adams legacy to life. We also visited the small stone library building built in 1870 to house the papers of John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Charles Adams (ambassador to Great Britain during the Civil War). This is essentially the first Presidential library. After this memorable visit, we spent time at the JFK Presidential Library, which was worthwhile, but not nearly as interesting as Peacefield. The building is dramatic and there are many exhibits about the Kennedy family and legacy; the most interesting was probably the special exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis. This tour was very expensive, but the visit to the Adams house was worth the price of admission.View All 8 Kennedy Library Reviews
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Island TourWe had an overnight in Bermuda and spent the first afternoon exploring the Royal Naval Dockyard area, enjoying the local pubs and shops. The next morning, we did an island tour to Hamilton; this was on one of the "pink buses" and our driver/narrator had a great sense of humor and knowledge about this beautiful place. We drove across the world's smallest drawbridge, visited a lighthouse, then had an hour of free time in Hamilton. Bermuda was recovering from two direct hurricane "hits" and we were quite impressed with how they have recovered. Not being shoppers, the free time in Hamilton was uninteresting.View All 109 Island Tour Reviews
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