Just In ... Oceania Purchases Ships

November 14, 2006
Christmas has come early for Oceania Cruises: The line announced today that it has secured the finances needed to purchase their three, 684-passenger ships -- Regatta, Insignia and Nautica -- which were previously operated under long-term lease agreements.

The line partnered with UBS Securities and Lehman Brothers to secure $400 million in loans and revolving credit to fund the acquisition of the ships from Cruiseinvest LLC.

What does this mean to cruisers? The benefits of ownership are mostly in-house (for example, the cruise line will now assume full management responsibility for the fleet) and won't affect the passenger experience. No changes will be made to current onboard operations from marine and technical business to hotel services.

What's important, however, is that Oceania is growing quickly -- and poised for expansion. Oceania began as a one-ship start-up in 2002, the brainchild of industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters, former heads of Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises respectively. Insignia, Nautica and Regatta once sailed for Renaissance. Is a fourth Renaissance redo in the works?

Stay tuned for additional details.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor