We have sailed twice before with Oceania - once in the Mediterranean on Insignia's inaugural cruise and in 2013 on Marina's 14 day cruise of the Baltic. Other than that, we travel independently and recently lived outside of the US for over 20 years. We took this cruise with two other "mature" couples. They chose to be in Concierge Veranda suites on Deck 7, we chose a Penthouse (PH2) suite on Deck 8, primarily because we were a bit spoiled after the spacious veranda suites on Marina and didn't want to feel cramped for 10 days. We were happy with our decision despite the extra cost (more than $1000 extra per person compared to our friends). We loved the additional room (we even hosted a private cocktail party for our group one night) and our butler was fantastic. He was friendly and available throughout the cruise, chose items for our little party, and cheerfully delivered in room breakfast right on time when we chose this option several mornings on our cruise (very helpful when an early excursion is the plan for the day).
We used our $400 per person shipboard credit for alcoholic drinks (and Bingo :) and found that was quite a bit more economical than buying the deluxe drinks package, which our friends purchased. We took advantage of the Happy Hour in the scenic Horizon Lounge at the front of the ship (2 for 1 drinks from 5-6 PM) and thought the wines by the glass selection during meals was very good - well priced and interesting choices. We made reservations at both Polo Grill and Toscana before we sailed, so enjoyed a total of 5 nights in these restaurants and 5 nights in the Grand Dining Room. The food on Regatta ranged from very good to excellent with plenty of choice and daily changing specials. We especially enjoyed Toscana, where the service and food were outstanding. The more casual Terrace Cafe was often crowded on our cruise, partly due to chilly weather, which meant the back deck off Terrace was closed and Waves (on the pool deck but under cover) was cold despite the ceiling heaters. The casual food at Waves was perfect when returning from an excursion (beware that both restaurants serving lunch close at 1:30 or 2:00). Breakfasts at the Terrace Cafe offer everything anyone could possibly want including fresh fruit, made to order omelettes, nice pastries, and too much to list.
The itinerary of this cruise was just what we wanted. 7 days would have seemed too short and 10 proved to be perfect - the days at sea were relaxing with a few activities offered - and the stops allowed ample time to enjoy an excursion and still see the local towns. The ship's excursions are no bargain but every one we went on was outstanding.
We encountered excellent local guides who loved what they were doing and were very knowledgeable, small groups, and very efficient on time departures. We loved the floatplane trip into the Misty Fjords from Ketchikan, the Stikine River Jet Boat to Shakes Lake and Glacier, and the rain forest walk and whale watching in Juneau. We also enjoyed the White Pass Railroad in Skagway (but take the bus up into Canada, with a stop at the suspension bridge and come back on the train for the best experience) and the amazing highlight of being up close and personal with the Hubbard Glacier for almost three hours, as it calved over and over. Truly an amazing experience and a proud moment for our captain, who was a great ambassador for Oceania.
We found the entertainment to be good overall. The Regatta singers and dancers, all recent graduates of US university performing arts programs, were quite talented and the shows they put on were fun. The Regatta band (all from the Ukraine) was excellent; other entertainment was fine, if not memorable. Dottie, the cruise director, was very visible and had a great sense of humor. We enjoyed playing trivia and even bingo on the days the ship was at sea. The onboard lectures were an improvement over our previous Oceania experiences but would have been better with an Alaska naturalist or historian.
Embarkation in Seattle was very smooth and organized and debarking at the end of the trip went just as well. Although we are not regular cruisers, we would certainly consider another Oceania cruise based on our experiences thus far. The country club casual ambience suits us perfectly, fellow cruisers are interesting and enjoyable to be with, the staff is well trained and truly seem to love what they are doing, and Oceania's ships are the perfect size to offer some variety and lots of pleasant spaces beyond the cabins without turning into floating towns.
Our suite was in a perfect location from our point of view (we booked after the midship PHs were already reserved), near the stern elevator but not too near. This part of the ship definitely feels a bit more stable in high seas. The suite was well appointed with a nice color scheme and had ample storage (once we realized it was all there), a mini-bar stocked with non-alcoholic drinks, a well-designed and moderately spacious bathroom with shower over tub, a sofa and two comfy chairs with a table between that worked well for in room dining.