Freshly perked up from her recent refit, Regatta was a charmer. Our penthouse had been totally redone in soothing sea colours and lots of light, the public areas were inviting, and despite the rumors we had heard about the effects of Norwegian penny-pinching in the culinary department, the food seemed to us at least as good as we remembered from previous Oceania trips and perhaps even better (of course, this voyage covered the holiday season, so that may have played a part: Christmas Eve dinner at the Italian restaurant, Toscana, for instance, was like it must have been to eat at the table of a medieval pope).
Everything seemed to run with a smooth efficiency. The staff and crew were engaged and consistently attentive, and you never felt hurried or manipulated or treated like a number, the way you might on other vessels: tour departures were orderly (though not always on time) and overall organization was so smooth I saw no serious line-ups for anything. Oceania has been in the business long enough to get these things right, of course, though crews and staff are always changing and there are no guarantees.
One of the reasons we took this cruise was the itinerary—a chance to see the Komodo dragons, and an up-close look at village life in Papua New Guinea, as well as an opportunity to revisit Bali—and we weren’t disappointed. And our encounters with Australia—the people and the places and the wildlife—were a surprising delight. The tours themselves had obviously been chosen and vetted with some care, and any hiccups we encountered (drivers uncertain about destinations, for instance) were decidedly first-world problems.
Spacious, comfortable, well-equipped, meticulously maintained.