12 San Francisco to Alaska Oceania Regatta Cruise Reviews

We've always wanted to go to Alaska and out of the blue, got an Oceania brochure in the mail. With a couple RC cruises under our belts (which were fine), we decided to try a smaller, more upscale cruise line. Mainly we were looking ... Read More
We've always wanted to go to Alaska and out of the blue, got an Oceania brochure in the mail. With a couple RC cruises under our belts (which were fine), we decided to try a smaller, more upscale cruise line. Mainly we were looking to avoid the crowds & lines of the big ships, and see if the food was as good as they brag about. Both hopes were met. There were times walking around the ship where is seemed like we were the only passengers on board. Never any lines for anything - meals, shows, getting on & off, etc. Never any problem getting a good seat for anything. The food in the dining room, specialty restaurants or poolside grill. But the big surprise to us was the outstanding buffet. We've never been to a buffet anywhere with the quality, selection or service of this one. We didn't expect the entertainment to be as good as on the bigger ships, but we were pleasantly surprised to find it every bit as good - a terrific little song & dance team, a string quartet playing here & there, it was great. Plus the enrichment lectures, in this case a marine biologist, were really interesting and not something the other cruises offered. The library, which seems to be disappearing from the mainstream lines, was excellent. Cons: Smaller ships don't do as well in rough seas, and the first leg from SF to Alaska, was a bit rough. But we expected that and the seasick pill handled the problem pretty well. There's nothing for kids and were none on board. But that's not a con for old geezers like us who enjoy the peace & quiet. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our 12th O Cruise and we have been cruising with this line since 2006. To begin, the ship was very delayed getting in to San Fran and we were 8 hours late in boarding. We choose to head into the city and have lunch and walk ... Read More
This was our 12th O Cruise and we have been cruising with this line since 2006. To begin, the ship was very delayed getting in to San Fran and we were 8 hours late in boarding. We choose to head into the city and have lunch and walk around, but with some luggage in tow, only so much we could do. I've learned after over 25 cruises that we never leave essentials or valuables with the porters! The embarkation process was the worst we have ever been through in all our years of cruising. Oceania waited until all the passengers had left the very late arriving Regatta to begin to start even checking in the new passengers. A complete mess with long lines and very angry people everywhere! Even on larger ships, we NEVER had this horrible of an embarkation issue. Completely mishandled by Oceania. The ship was also arriving with 19 people on board (we were told by an officer this number) that had picked up Norvo Virus or something of that nature in route around Mexico. Due to that, a complete Sanitary process had to be completed on the ship before anyone could board, of course. That process takes an extra 2 hours, we were informed. Upon boarding, we noticed that the ship was extremely dated and looked old and worn out. Much of the furniture along window areas was faded and in dire need of replacement. This ship was so overdue for a dry dock and when we asked them when it was going in for that, all we were told was sometime in the end of 2019, they think!!! Our stateroom was extremely small, but we could have been ok with that if the bathroom wasn't so completely disgusting! The toilet seat had deep cracks in it, to the point it was uncomfortable to use and was very old looking, and yellowed. The sink faucet was scratched and green with corrosion and the shower handles/faucets were also in bad condition with much corrosion and chipping. The flooring was a dark rose pink colored non slip plastic and was so ugly and dated. Needless to say we could not stand to spend much time in the room due to its size and poor condition. There were even some dirty spots on the carpet due to the carpet being so old. The ship had not had any dry dock time in many years and it was very apparent! Throughout the ship there was a very stale and musty odor due to the age and poor maintenance of the ship. The food was no where near the quality that we have had with our past cruises with Oceania. Many meals arrived room temperature as if they had been sitting out too long or service was so slow and food sat too long. We had the worst meal of all in Polo Grill on one night with every item that we ordered was horrible and on the cold side. On top of the poor food quality, there was very spotty service. Some meals were ok, and others, terrible. We were told multiple times by crew members that they preferred working on the small ships because there wasn't much management on them, that was certainly obvious!!! There was an odd "stale" taste in many of the cold food dishes, salads, appetizers, etc. Similar to if one leaves an item in the freezer too long. We believe they must have had some sort of mold in the refrigeration on board as I opened wrapped butter and it had a huge overgrowth of mold in it!!! Overall, if this was my first Oceania cruise, it would certainly be my last!!! We have cancelled 3 future cruises with them due to this disappointing cruise and will NEVER go on any of the "small ships" again due to the dated, worn look all over the smaller ships. We heard nothing but complaints from so many of the passengers that we spoke with. We were not offered any type of compensation at all for all the things that went terribly wrong with this cruise. Our TA has sent multiple emails to corporate Oceania regarding all the problems and we are waiting to see if Oceania steps up and compensates us in some way. If they do not, then we will be taking our loyalty and money to another cruise line in the near future and cancelling all the other future cruises we have booked with O. It appears to us that Oceania is cutting corners and looking to become the "budget" end of luxury cruising. How is it possible for this ship to keep going in the shape that it is in? Certainly NOT A FIVE STAR EXPERIENCE. MORE LIKE A 2 STAR CRUISE!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was ... Read More
My husband and I were celebrating a big anniversary, we had never been to Alaska, and we wanted to do something memorable so we decided to go visit this huge state. We began our cruising on Oceania shortly after this cruise line was founded, but we had not sailed with them since the ownership change. We more recently sailed with some luxury category cruise lines on ocean and river but this timing worked for us and the embarkation was perfect out of San Francisco since we also wanted to visit friends in Sacramento. Next time we will begin our Alaska journey farther north. The Regatta was late arriving to San Francisco due to problems on the previous cruise but we had gotten a phone call from Oceania informing us of this late arrival so we were able to extend our time in our airport hotel room and wait until we could board. Some passengers chose to visit San Francisco but we had been in California for a week so we were fine to just relax. Once we were onboard we were told our ship would not leave until the following morning and we would not stop in Astoria, Oregon in order to make up the lost time. Since we were celebrating our anniversary we did book a PH 1 cabin and, while the ship is an older ship, we really enjoyed our room with the wide windows letting in lots of light. Anna, Puku, and Xavier took excellent care of us and our room. As seniors, we would have enjoyed a walk-in shower but after receiving a requested tub mat we were able to make the bath/ shower combination work without any mishaps. The food is still wonderful!!! Every meal was delicious and served so beautifully. Executive Chef Gary Potiphar was delightful in his cooking demonstrations and we saw him quite often throughout the ship with a smile on his face as he stopped at many tables to introduce himself to the guests. He obviously loves what he does. The staff and crew were also excellent as they served us efficiently and warmly. A surprise for us on this small ship were the production shows. The vocals and choreography were wonderful in all 4 shows presented during this 11-day cruise. The presentations from Sandra Mowry about Alaska and, later in the cruise, about nutrition were quite good and informative. She was always prepared and her handouts were helpful. We also very much enjoyed the strings and the ship's band. I must say after reading some of the discussions about Regatta prior to the cruise I was wondering if we had chosen the right ship on the right cruise line for our special celebration, but we were quite pleased and actually booked a future cruise while onboard. We did book our own private excursions in several ports and we did not use Oceania's air since we were visiting California a week prior to the cruise. We did choose the onboard credit and I would definitely do that again if I went with "OLife choice". Next time I will give some thought to going cruise only, but it was fun to have some "spending money" while onboard. We will be on Marina for our next cruise and look forward to the bigger ship with more specialties, but Regatta and its crew and staff provided us with a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Although the cruise had a late start (almost one entire day) and missed one of the ports to be visited, the experience was good. Service on board is very good, as is the food and the restaurants. The size of the ship and number of ... Read More
Although the cruise had a late start (almost one entire day) and missed one of the ports to be visited, the experience was good. Service on board is very good, as is the food and the restaurants. The size of the ship and number of passengers on board made it possible that, with very few exceptions, there was always places in any of the ship's restaurants, bars and living spaces. Embarkation and Disembarkation procedures were very well organized and swift. While value for money of the entire cruise was good, the tours offered by the company, although good, are very expensive and the same basic tour can be found at the ports for prices that are around 20/30 per cent cheaper. My wife needed to use the medical services and was very well attended to, altough the price charged for the antibiotic eyedrops was outrageous, The same drug the could be purchased at land drugstores in the US for around 16 dollars was charged at 103 dollars. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The Regatta is a very nice ship. The crew and staff were very nice. I thought it would be special cruise. I found that this ship is not any different than any of the others we we have been on. The entertainment was average, the food ... Read More
The Regatta is a very nice ship. The crew and staff were very nice. I thought it would be special cruise. I found that this ship is not any different than any of the others we we have been on. The entertainment was average, the food was good but also average. It was hard to get served wine before your dinner. Sometimes not until the middle of the first course. There were not many things to keep you busy on sea days. Due to the fact that it cost more to be on Oceania, I would not pay more for this cruise line. I did like the size of the ship. They were very good about transporting you to town when you docked. I would not go again unless their offers were as good as other ships of the same size. Due to our weather being cold, it was hard to find a seat in the Terrace Cafe. You could not sit outside. The Polo Grill and Toscana were nice but you were limited to reservations. All in all, I found this to be another cruise not much unlike many others we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this itinerary because it left from a port 25 minutes from our home. We were glad we chose Oceania to take us to Alaska! The size of the Regatta was perfect for us and there was absolutely no nickel and dimeing as there is on ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because it left from a port 25 minutes from our home. We were glad we chose Oceania to take us to Alaska! The size of the Regatta was perfect for us and there was absolutely no nickel and dimeing as there is on Holland America. (Our last cruise was on Holland America and we agreed it would be nice our last on that line. It was a miserable cruise experience, with the exception of the wonderful Cruise Critic passengers we met.) The Regatta is an older ship, but the decor is kept in tip-too shape. (We saw one of the Housekeeping inspectors with a white glove checking for cleanliness.) The food was excellent, the room attendants kept our balcony stateroom spotless. Many on CC have noted that the rooms are small, but we felt they were adequate and comfortable. Yes, the bathrooms are small, but highly efficient and because of the thoughtful design we never had water from the shower spill onto the bathroom floor! We look forward to our next Oceania cruise, however we wish they had accessible balcony staterooms. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Past experience with Oceania and desire for Alaska cruise. As always, food was great, cabins excellent. Only criticism is that shore excursions seem significantly higher and those available elsewhere. Found there were other bridge players ... Read More
Past experience with Oceania and desire for Alaska cruise. As always, food was great, cabins excellent. Only criticism is that shore excursions seem significantly higher and those available elsewhere. Found there were other bridge players on the cruise and a bridge director/teacher husband/wife team who were excellent. Crew was outstanding and were quite approachable and willing to discuss any aspect of the cruise or chat socially. Took in only one entertainment which was very good as well. Only one port had required the use of tenders so docking at all other ports was highly convenient. Had a butler for our penthouse suite and the service he provided was great. Housekeeping staff were excellent and always available and willing to provide any services required. Ship was immaculate. This was our third Oceania cruise and the first where we had to pay gratuities. We underestimated that cost (it is per person and not per cabin) so we over spent slightly trying to use our shipboard credits. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Having had a very poor cruise earlier in the year on Azamara Journey, just out of refit, and with high expectations having become accustomed to excellent cruises with Seabourn and Windstar, we were a little apprehensive about trying ... Read More
Having had a very poor cruise earlier in the year on Azamara Journey, just out of refit, and with high expectations having become accustomed to excellent cruises with Seabourn and Windstar, we were a little apprehensive about trying Oceania. We were soon put at ease with an excellent embarkation process in San Francisco. Having sailed on several 'R' class ships similar to Regatta, we knew there was little if any difference between cabins on Decks 6,7 and 8 but there is usually a difference in price and a worthwhile saving if you take Deck 6 instead of 7 or 8. 6023 was very clean, smart and comfortable and we had excellent service throughout the voyage. Open dining is a must have option on any cruise as far as we are concerned and we were not disappointed with the Grand Dining Room. Far from it it. The menu selection was diverse and interesting and often included fresh fish / seafood brought on board at various ports of call. The speciality restaurants (no extra charge) disappointed with neither food nor service being as good as the main dining room. The running buffets at lunch were excellent and the Waves Bistro served an excellent hot dog! Entertainment seemed to please most of our fellow passengers but we found it to be indifferent in variety and standards. It was a memorable sail through the labyrinth of Alaskan sea ways and the captain plotted a very interesting course which took us very close ( a few hundred yards) to the Hubbard Glacier which obligingly "calved" spectacularly whilst we were there. We visited the forgettable little town of Astoria in Oregon and the surprisingly pleasant and interesting town of Sitka where we booked our own Wildlife tour at a quarter of the price charged on the ship. Bears were a pleasant surprise in a sanctuary and a walk in the woods was fascinating. Whale Watching in Juneau was hugely enjoyable and successful with a camera full of interesting shots. Like Juneau, Ketchikan is overrun with touristy shops selling a lot of tatty souvenirs. Wrangell was forgettable too but there are very interesting tours on offer. All the destinations are a jumping off point for excursions which are readily available locally, usually at less than half the price if booked on the ship BUT without the security / insurance offered by the ship. We can't wait to go back to Alaska and would certainly go there (or anywhere) again with Oceania and we would put that company a shade behind Seabourne but well ahead of Azamara and Windstar with P&O at the bottom of the list. The service charges of 18% added to the onboard bill, as well as gratuities of $160 each, were steep and only slightly offset by free wifi wrath, at $29 per day. Factor them into you cruise cost with Oceania! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Started our holiday with 5 nights in San Francisco and had a late boarding due to uncontrollable circumstances. Having cruised with Oceania before we expected a great experience and weren't disappointed. The food (in our ... Read More
Started our holiday with 5 nights in San Francisco and had a late boarding due to uncontrollable circumstances. Having cruised with Oceania before we expected a great experience and weren't disappointed. The food (in our opinion) is the best at sea with only a few issues in the GDR with staff being a bit inconsistent. We had a Penthouse (8043) and loved the space and condition of the suite. The improvements following last years refurbishment are worthwhile and enjoyed the barista addition. The entertainment was better than expected and the cruise director (David Peterson) was just right. We did not overwork our butler but were pleasantly surprised by the canapes each evening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I sailed on the first Regatta Alaska cruise of the season (May 9-18)- Gateway to Alaska. I had previously been to Alaska four times on four different cruiselines other than Oceania, but this cruise, of course, was the best ever in terms of ... Read More
I sailed on the first Regatta Alaska cruise of the season (May 9-18)- Gateway to Alaska. I had previously been to Alaska four times on four different cruiselines other than Oceania, but this cruise, of course, was the best ever in terms of the ship. I had previously sailed on Nautica on an Eastern Mediterranean itinerary, so it seemed almost like coming home stepping aboard the Regatta. Regatta was in pristine condition. Both in the public rooms and my stateroom, everything was clean and in perfect order: no worn upholstery or carpets, no stains, no scratches or gouges on any of the wood surfaces on my stateroom desk or on any of the chair arms in the dining room or other public areas. All the crew were helpful, energetic and friendly. My room attendant appeared to always be in the vicinity when I left my room in the morning and called out, addressed me by name, and wished me a good day. Dining room staff always greeted you, whether they were serving your tables or not, and everyone, including the maitre'd, would say goodbye when you left. Even the maintenance man changing lightbulbs would acknowledge you with an hello.Of course, the food was great. Everything made with the freshest, high quality ingredients. We learned all foodstuffs served on Oceania are containered-in to every port where the ship is resupplied, so that quality is maintained on each ship, wherever they may be in the world. They even ship in French flour for making all their breads, so that they truly taste as if you were in France.MY RESERVATION. I sail solo most of the time, so when my travel agent e-mailed me in March with an excellent solo price, I jumped at the chance to go to Alaska again. I never tire of the majestic scenery in Alaska, and this was a chance to go on my favorite cruise line. I was immediately assigned to an "F" inside cabin.EMBARKATION. Living in Southern California, I broke the cardinal rule of cruising, which is to fly in a day ahead of time, and flew to San Francisco on the morning of the cruise. I arrived at the Embarcadero terminal at about 10:30 a.m. The porters were right at curbside to take your luggage. Passports were checked by security at the door, and then you proceeded to the check-in area. The health check questionnaire was handed out for completion and, other than penthouse and suite guests who could check in immediately, was advised to take a seat and that check-in would begin shortly. When it did begin, the check-in process went quickly, and I had the distinction of boarding at exactly noon. In a letter we received at check-in, we were advised that the staterooms would not be available until 3:00 p.m., but that the Terrace Cafe was open for lunch, and the elevator took us directly to Deck 9. At 3:00 p.m., announcement was made that the staterooms were available and, upon arriving, the luggage outside the door. The mandatory lifeboat drill was held at 5:15 p.m., with rollcall taken. You first assembled at your station in either the Main Dining Room or the Lounge, were instructed on how to put on the life vest, and then were taken out to your assigned lifeboat on Deck 5. Silence was requested throughout the drill, and everyone complied, which is more than can be said for many of the drills I have attended.CABIN. My stateroom was an inside on Deck 8. The room supposedly could accommodate four persons, but it would be a tight fit. The queen bed was positioned in straight line to the door, with about 2-1/2 feet on either side. Prior the bed was a desk on one side of the cabin and a loveseat on the opposite wall that could be made up into a bed and a glass-topped table. There would be no way that four adults could comfortably sleep in the cabin. The cabin had adequate storage space with a closet and many storage drawers both in a half closet and the desk. The closet had 36 actual wooden hangers! There was also a battery-operated alarm clock on one of the bedside tables. The bed was comfortably firm, and the bed linens were of the highest quality. The bed was turned down every night with chocolates on the bed, and white towel mat on the floor by your bedside. I loved the white duvet and the pillow shams with two navy blue stripes, which matched the room decor. The bathroom was somewhat of a shock. On my Nautica trip, I had been allocated an inside handicapped rooms, and the room itself, and particularly the bathroom, were sized for easy mobility of a wheelchair. This bathroom was tiny, but totally adequate. There was a medicine cabinet with shelves and four shelves located behind the towel racks for storage. I also loved that the shower could be hand-held. Same old problem with the clingy shower curtain. Television, safe and mini-refrigerator completed the furnishings. The room was very quiet: only occasional sound from surrounding cabins and no slamming doors ever.SEADAYS. Our first day was at sea enroute to Astoria, Oregon. Here generally are the onboard activities. --Coffee chat and needlepoint hosted by one of the social hostesses each morning. The needlepoint canvas and yarns were available for purchase.--Bridge. Non-hosted bridge scheduled each day. We were informed that the bridge instructor did not make the ship, so no bridge lessons.--Bingo.--Trivia. Team trivia held each afternoon--Backgammon, Mah Jongg, Scrabble and other games in the 9th Floor Game Room.Chess board was set up in the Upper Hall and usually had someone playing.--Indoor Putting Competition. Also had putting and golf challenges scheduled outdoors, but I don't think any of these were held. Weather was rainy, windy and cold most of the time were were at sea.--Table Tennis--Russian Art Presentation by on-board guest artist Liliya Yunerman. Wide selection of amber jewelry, Russian lacquered boxes and matruska dolls.--Spa Presentations.--Art Auctions.--Shopping Lectures. Lectures presented by the shops on board and also the Shopping lecturer for the ports being visited.--Cooking Demonstration by two of the chefs in the Regatta Lounge on one of the seadays. Executive Chef Ronald Marczak prepared Tabbouleh with Tuna and Citrus Butter Sauce, and Pastry Chef Rene Bleus prepared Bittersweet Chocolate Fondant Cakes. Recipes were handed out, and both dishes appeared on the Grand Dining Room menus. -- Wine, Martini, Cognac and Malt tastings.ON BOARD LECTURERS. Our cruise had three on board lecturers who gave presentations both on sea days and in the late afternoons after the All On Board Call on shore days.--Dr. John Palmisano, Marine Biologist. Had spent time in Alaska studying sea otters and their ecology. Lectured on otters, killer and humpback whales, salmon ecology, and the formation and movement of glaciers.--Dr Dan Ostler - Lectures were on Alaskan and Native history, effect of glaciers on global climate and water supply, and early ocean explorers.--Donna Giesler, the Star Lady. Lectured on what we would see in the sky during our voyage (cloudy and rainy every evening so no telescope viewings), the Northern Lights, Milky Way, and photographs taken by the Hubble telescope and the International Space Station.All of the lecturers were very good to the point that I told Dr. Palmisano that I felt that I should have been taking notes.ENTERTAINMENT Willie Aames was our cruise director, and he was ever present around the ship. He hosted the trivia competitions and was always in the Lounge in the morning when the shore excursion groups were being assembled and would hold an informal question and answer time while we were waiting.Entertainment Team consisted of Maeve, Jessica, Chris and Andrew, who had various entertainment duties around the ship in addition to presenting three musical productions during the course of the cruise. Did not attend any of these productions, so cannot comment on quality.Guest Entertainers:--Brandi Chapman,vocalist. Background of being opening act in Branson for many years. Sang Broadway, Motown, Nashville and Vegas. Performed two nights. I saw only her first show, which was fine. -- Michael Minor, vocalist and ventriloquist. Excellent voice and very good ventriloquist. Dummies were not very funny however. Also performed two nights.Music:The Sweet Secret Band. Played for the evenings' show productions, some days at the 4:00 afternooon tea, and for dancing in Horizons and the Lounge.Quadrivium String Quartet. Played at afternoon tea and in the Upper Hall during dinner hours.Pavel Pluzek at the Piano. Played throughout the evening in Martinis.PORTSAstoria, Oregon. Ship was docked in the shipping port. Day started out cloudy but cleared by late morning. Shuttlebus into Astoria was offered for $7.00 for all-day pass.I participated in the Williamette Wine Valley excursion. Left the ship at 7:15 a.m. bus ride which took approximately two hours. Visited the Willakenzie Estate and had a wine tasting of a flight of five pinot varieties. Then proceeded to Carlton, Oregon, where we had a pasta lunch with various cheescakes for dessert, and the opportunity for more wine tasting. The tour was very good for the places visited, but was a lot of time spent on the bus.Interesting departure from Astoria, as we were docked on the Columbia River, and needed to cross the bar back into the Pacific Ocean. Over the years over 2,000 ships have been shipwrecked in this crossing. Harbor pilot who took us over the bar was transported off the ship by helicopter. That night was the only rough really rough night on the ship. I, apparently with many others, succumbed to sea sickness and retired to bed with Bonine and ginger ale, missing dinner (horrors!).Sitka. After another day at sea, we arrived in Sitka at noon. Temperature was 45F and raining. We docked at a new pier that Sitka has just built. Prior to this, all cruises stopping at Sitka had tendered in. The pier is located six miles from downtown Sitka and free shuttlebuses were available all day to take people into Sitka. I chose a Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest boat excursion. We boarded the boat from the opposite side of the pier and were taken on a large catamar with waterjets for power out into the Sitka Sound. The bottom portion of the boat was glass enclosed, but you could go topside to an outside open viewing deck. We saw stellar sea lions, eagles, a male group of otters, a group of female otters with the pups on their stomachs, and a breaching whale. The ship delivered us back to the dock next to downtown Sitka for those who wanted to explore the town. As I had been there before, I took the shuttle, which left from this pier, back to Regatte pierand enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea viewing the beautiful site of the harbor, the tree-covered islands, and the low-hanging clouds. Sailaway at 8:00 p.m.Hubbard Glacier. 38F and raining heavily. We proceeded into Yakutat Bay at approximately 11:00 a.m. Things did not look good. Besides the rain, the entire bay was fully of ice and icefloes. Willie Aames, the tour director, was providing commentary as we approached the end of the bay where we would turn towards the glacier. When we reached that point, Willie advised that the harbor pilot on board would not permit passage any farther because of the large amount of ice covering the entrance to the glacier. The captain gave us a glimpse into the approach to the glacier to get a sense of its size, and then turned the ship for the other side to get a glance, and we then proceeded out of Yakutat Bay. I would estimate we got no farther than 10 miles from the glacier. No one seemed very disappointed that this was all we saw of the glacier. As most were first-time cruisers to Alaska, did not appreciate the opportunity you have when the ship is right in front of the glacier to view the scope of the glacier and the sound and sight of the glacier calving. Bummer.Juneau. We arrived early morning. Temperature 44F and raining. Ship was anchored offshore, and the tender ride into the dock at the front end of the cruise ship pier was maybe seven minutes. Four other large cruise ships were already in docked in port. The gangway from the tender dock up to the main street of Juneau was very steep, and those with mobility problems were having difficulty. I participated in the Whalewatching and Mendenhall Glacier tour. We were driven out to Auke Bay to board another large enclosed catamaran to take us out into the Lynn Canal. On each of these wildlife excursions, we were presented with a very nice brochure with a large map showing where we were going, and pictures of the wildlife likely to be encountered. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate were served, and we were always given a sample of smoked salmon on a cracker. Saw one or more small humpbacks breaching, along with eagles on the shoreline. The sky brightened up towards the end of our cruise, and we were able to see the many snow-covered mountains that surround Juneau.When we returned to the Auke pier we were bussed back toward Juneau to visit the Mendenhall Glacier. The U.S. Forest Service is in charge of the Glacier site and has built a beautiful observation center high above the glacier's ravine. Access is by elevator, stairs, or ramp. There are various exhibits and photographs regarding the glacier and personnel to interpret the exhibits. Also there is a wonderful 15-minute film taken on and above the glacier that shows its true magnitude. I had previously been to the glacier 35 years ago and the change in the landscape was amazing. At that time, the glacier was two miles closer to the bay than present and the lake now in front of the glacier was merely a creek which you could cross and stand directly at the front of the glacier. I could truly appreciate the phenomena of a moving field of ice. For those than want to go independently to the glacier, tickets are sold in Juneau for a shuttlebus to the glacier. The cost is $8.00 each way. At departure time, the ship had to send the tender back to shore to pick up a couple that they had paged several times after the All OnBoard time. The tender had to wait while all the floatplanes which dock at the pier adjacent to the tender dock had flown in and docked for the evening, thus delaying our departure from Juneau.KETCHIKANArrived at 11:00 a.m. to light rain and approximately 48F. I took the all-day boat excursion to Misty Fjords National Monument. The catamaran, the biggest one yet, was anchored directly in front of our ship for easy access. The trip consisted of a fast boat journey of what I believe the captain said was 75 miles one way. We traveled directly up to the end of the Behm Canal to witness the steep rock walls carved out by a glacier in its retreat and the many waterfalls descending off the rock wells from the snows melting on the mountains behind the fjord. The clouds hanging in among the trees in the fjord truly show where the name Misty Fjords comes from. By the time we had come back out of the fjord, the sky had cleared, and we saw whales on a wonderful ride back to Ketchikan. Regatta departed Ketchikan under mostly clear skies.INNER PASSAGE RETURN TO VANCOUVERWeather cloudy, all day rain and 45F degrees. After our sail out from Ketchikan among the islands, we were back in open water under late the following afternoon. This was disappointing to me, because on a previous cruise we had entered to the inside passage early in the afternoon on a wonderful sunny day and had spent the entire afternoon with land close on either sides of us. When Regatta finally reached the inside passage, it was late in the afternoon, raining steadily, and it proceeded to get dark. No chance at all to view the spectacular scenery surrounding the ship.FOODWhat is there left to say about the food other than it was all wonderful. The things I especially enjoyed were the breakfast croissants, including pain aux chocolat; the bowl of fresh berries for breakfast; the best Caesar salad I have ever had, and I had it every evening except one; the assorted breads, rolls and bread sticks; Waves Grill with the Kobe beefburgers, french fries and ice cream (all things I never have at home); and the Terrace Cafe. Enjoyed that the Terrance Cafe was not self serve and that the tables were nicely set with placemats, glasses and silverware. Never had the opportunity to enjoy dinner there, but the lunch selections I had were all very tasty, including the Mexican buffet one noon.Afternoon Tea: Enjoyed the large selection of sandwiches and pastries offered at teatime, and the scones were even served with real clotted cream, something that is not even offered on Cunard. Toscano: Enjoyed all the dishes I had in Toscano, and I love Italian food, but I did not think that the food was any better than served in the Main Dining Room. Had lasagne, calamari, and sole that was fileted by the waiter directly in front of you on your plate.Polo Grill: A bit of a disaster servicewise, but the food was all delicious.When I arrived for my reservation, I was seated at a table for four. After several minutes, the maitre'd asked if I would mind moving to a larger table, which I did not. At the larger table, it was eventually filled by four other singles and a couple. We chatted and perused the menu for 1/2 hour before our order was finally taken. Than after another long pause, the appetizer finally appeared. Another long pause and our main dishes were served. After that was cleared, a plate of jellied candies were placed on the table. Another long pause, and the dessert menu appeared. Dessert was served in due course and the waiters went back to clearing all the others tables surrounding us that had long ago been vacated. Never were we asked about coffee service. We finally gave up and left the now-vacant grill at 10:30, after having been seated at 7:30. The steaks and other main dishes were grilled to everyone's liking with the exception of one very overdone medium rare.DISEMBARKATION We were issued the usual colored tags for disembarkation, and it proceeded in a timely fashion. The first color was called at 8:00 a.m. and I disembarked at my time of 8:15 a.m. The only problem was finding where they had placed the baggage with the different color tags. No signs were evident. I finally found mine in a corner against a wall. There were many people milling about in the area who had either gotten off before their color was called, or the baggage had been slow in coming off the ship. A little busy with three other ships also disembarking. Everyone was to be off Regatta by 9:00 a.m. CONCLUSIONWith the exception of the Polo Grill incident, everything else in this cruise was absolutely perfect. Sailing as a single, I was never made to feel out of place or extraneous. In the dining room I was always asked whether I would like to share or sit alone, and seating me was never a problem like I have encountered with other lines. Likewise, accommodation in the Lounge, in Horizons, and on excursions was never a problem. I met so many nice people from all over the world sharing tables at dinner and other events. There were 20 different countries represented in the passengers on this cruise.I really went on the cruise more to experience the ship than to visit Alaska, because of having been there and seen so much before. I was, though, disappointed that the weather was so cool and rain, that it dampened (pun intended) the experience of being on the outside decks and viewing of the scenery up close, although I realized that this might be the case so early in the season. Anyway, booked another cruise on board and don't think I will have to worry about rain on that one. I'm going to Egypt! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The Regatta is a beautiful ship with wonderful staff and great entertainers. We left San Francisco and headed out to Victoria. We took our very first ever ship's tour to Butchart Gardens and it was beautiful. They just drop ... Read More
The Regatta is a beautiful ship with wonderful staff and great entertainers. We left San Francisco and headed out to Victoria. We took our very first ever ship's tour to Butchart Gardens and it was beautiful. They just drop you off and pick you up and since we did not have a lot of time we thought the ship's tour would be best - it was great. Sitka was our next stop and we did a private tour with Captain Davey (puffinsandwhales.com) and he gave us an amazing tour. We saw whales, puffins, sea lions, eagles and lots of other wildlife. Icy Strait Point we did another whale watching trip this time with Glacier Wind Charters and had another wonderful tour. Capt. was great and wildlife was abundant! Skagway we did a tour with Chilkoot Charters and Tours which was the white pass train and riding in a van back. The train was fun (I stayed outside most of the trip) and the tour driver in the van was full of great stories; also we saw two black bears (one of which came right up to our van door and looked like he wanted to get in - we left then). Juneau we went to Mendenhall Glacier. The bus wasn't running until the afternoon so we hired a car and driver and she gave us a great tour and took us to the Glacier - impressive, like all of Alaska. Also found a wonderful store "Jim Hopkins" a great artist who makes jewelry out of fossil walrus ivory and mammoth ivory. Look for signs in the windows of shops (usually off the main streets) that say "Alaska owned". Ketchikan we went flight seeing with Michelle from Island Wings Air Service. It was a four hour tour over the glaciers and landing in a beautiful lake surrounded by serenity. Perfect day! As others have said - always dress in layers. We wore a lot of fleece and a light gore-tex jacket. It never really rained ( a few sprinkles in Butchart Gardens in Victoria) until we got back to San Francisco but the jacket is good for the chill. Gloves and hat or ear warmers for boat trips or just getting out early on the ship. Loved having a balcony - actually used it more than I thought we would. The bed is so comfortable, the food delicious, the staff very personable. We met some wonderful people from Cruise Critic (now friends)and that was just an extra bonus. I still packed more then I needed, but I'm getting better. Go, you will be so glad that you did. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We booked our own flight - United non-stop from Boston to San Francisco. I fly enough on United that I can reliably get Economy Plus seats w/extra legroom (nice!). We have family in Silicon Valley and hence used an airport hotel ... Read More
We booked our own flight - United non-stop from Boston to San Francisco. I fly enough on United that I can reliably get Economy Plus seats w/extra legroom (nice!). We have family in Silicon Valley and hence used an airport hotel from which it was easy to visit them and get to downtown SF, Marriott's Fairfield Inn in Millbrae. We recommend this hotel, as unlike many SFO airport hotels, it's in a neighborhood with interesting (mostly Asian) restaurants nearby - many other hotels are isolated between 101 and the Bay south of the airport. The Millbrae BART/Caltrain station is within walking distance - no waiting for the hotel shuttle. We found a good Vietnamese restaurant close to the hotel for dinner after we arrived (La Petite Camille). This hotel was originally built as a Comfort Suites, so the rooms are small suites - the hotel did a fine job and we will likely stay there again. Embarkation in San Francisco can be easy if one plans ahead. We went into SF the day before on Caltrain and rented a car from an Enterprise location near the cruise terminal (pier 35). On embarkation day, we had lunch with my family and then drove into SF. I-280 becomes the Embarcadero and goes right by the pier. We dropped our luggage off with a porter, and returned the rental car. Enterprise then happily drove us back to the pier and dropped us off right at the front door. Check in at the pier and on-board (Regatta lounge) was quick. Unfortunately, the HVAC in Horizons was turned off, causing cigarette smoke to infest the entire lounge; we wound up waiting for our cabins in the Library. Smoke in Horizons was a recurring problem during the cruise - Oceania's head office in Miami is going to get a blunt letter from us about this problem, as afflicted Horizons at multiple times throughout the cruise, keeping us out of that area, as DW is physically allergic to tobacco smoke. Our B2 balcony cabin worked out very well - while we didn't spend much time out on the balcony, the wall of glass provided wonderful views of Alaska, much better than through smaller windows in the C oceanview cabins. Regatta's recent renovation resulted in much better beds, a headboard that one can comfortably lean against, useful bedside reading lights, and usable bedside tables (the stupid lamps built into the center of the tabletops are gone!) - big improvements, well done Oceania! Regatta's a relatively small ship, and wasn't full - about 550 passengers (full capacity would be 684). We don't know where those 100+ missing people were, but they missed a spectacular Alaska cruise. Getting to Alaska took several days (two at-sea days, plus a port day in Astoria, Oregon). Departure from San Francisco was in picture-postcard-perfect weather - sailing under the Golden Gate bridge was spectacular, and the best views were from the terrace in the rear (!). The sea was a bit choppy, especially the first night out, but by the afternoon of the third day, we had the Queen Charlotte Islands (officially Haida Gwaii) between the ship and the Pacific, and all was calm. The next morning we awoke and the view out the windows was clearly Alaska. The timing and weather in Alaska were near perfect. Around Memorial Day, all the peaks in Alaska still had snow on them, and the snow-melt resulted in waterfalls down their sides in places. Despite predictions of rain, it was clear for almost the entire cruise. In fact, it was very clear - one could see the Chilkat mountains to the north of Juneau from Mt. Roberts, a sight that locals said is rare! Details on ports are in the port reviews below, but here's a summary: - Astoria, Oregon. Interesting place to break the journey north. We liked the Columbia River Maritime Museum. - Wrangell, Alaska. A working fishing town, real Alaska, including a visit from the state ferry (blue canoe). The chief's house was interesting, Petroglyph Beach wasn't. - Juneau, Alaska. Spectacular weather for the Mt. Roberts tram and Mendenhall Glacier. - Icy Strait Point (Hoonah) Alaska. For a port built for the cruise business this was surprisingly well done. Great whale watching with Allen Marine. - Hubbard Glacier. Unfortunately, the spectacular weather increased the glacier's calving; we couldn't get as close as we would have liked to. - Sitka, Alaska. Great wildlife watching with Allen Marine including an active totem pole carver's studio in the visitor's center - Ketchikan, Alaska. It had to happen, we finally got rained on. Make sure to get out of town - downtown Ketchikan is starting to resemble a Caribbean cruise port. There are interesting totem poles at Totem Bight Park and the Totem Heritage Center - Victoria, BC. Butchart Gardens and the Royal BC Museum are both wonderful must-see attractions. The ship's shore excursions were generally good, but not cheap - we had a lot of use-it-or-lose-it shipboard credit that we mostly used for shore excursions. As noted above, Allen Marine ran two very good wildlife watching excursion cruises. Service on-board was up to Oceania's usual fine standards. The food was still very good, particularly in Toscana (we're not steakhouse people, so we don't eat in the Polo Grill). The inclusion of the next day's Grand Dining Room menu in Currents (nightly newsletter) was very helpful in determining where to eat - we wound up eating more in the GDR than on past cruises. Portion sizes seem to have been reduced somewhat but are still generous. There was fresh locally caught fish available for dinner starting after we got to Juneau - tasty! Oceania's sorbets are still excellent, particularly the chocolate (yes, sorbet!) and mango. As usual, afternoon tea was amazing - this is where the pastry chefs show off. Entertainment was a diversion in the evening, and a bit inconsistent. We started the cruise with a fabulous singer who was an original Christine in one of the Phantom of Opera traveling companies . OTOH, we didn't bother with the pianist, and thought the comic magician was OK (the one on our previous cruise was much better). The concert guitarist put on a nice show, albeit to recorded accompaniment rather than live. In contrast, the ship's entertainment staff were all talented singers, and their show on the last night was a tour de force. The string quartet was pleasant to listen to, particularly during afternoon tea and when playing in the atrium area before dinner. Disembarkation in Vancouver was at the Canada Place cruise terminal. This took a while, in part because the luggage with the Yellow 1 and Yellow 3 luggage tags had gotten slightly mixed up in the luggage claim area, plus the terminal is a large facility. Eventually we made our way out and took a taxi to the airport Hilton, where our room was ready and waiting. That worked well - the hotel is convenient to the Canada Line rapid transit to go downtown and has a shuttle directly to the airport. On the day we went home, United had weather problems in Chicago and had already re-booked us via Denver by the time we got to the airport. The trip home was routine, and Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge in the YVR airport was a nice convenient place to wait for a flight. All-in-all, it was a wonderful cruise, and we'd do it again if we could. Unfortunately, Regatta's not going to Alaska next year, so we'll probably be on her Panama Canal cruise over Memorial Day. The following two port reviews are here because Astoria and Wrangell aren't on Cruise Critic's port list. -- Port Review: Astoria, Oregon -- Rating: 4 This was a pleasant place to break what would otherwise be a long stretch at sea between San Francisco and Alaska. There's a trolley along the waterfront, but no overhead wires - it tows its own diesel generator on a trailer. The main attraction in town is the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which is focused on the history of navigating the mouth (bar) of the Columbia River - we had no idea how dangerous this could get or the skill required of the pilots, but on sailing away, we noticed a small fishing boat bobbing in the bar area on an otherwise relatively calm day.. Not many ships call in Astoria, and the locals seemed genuinely pleased to see us. -- Port Review: Wrangell, Alaska -- Rating: 4 This was our first port of call in Alaska, and we didn't arrive until mid-day making for a spectacular morning of sailing through straits with forested hills and snow-capped peaks in the background. Wrangell is a small working fishing port, so there's not much there. The local historical museum and Chief Shakes house were definitely worth visiting. On the other hand, Petroglyph Beach was disappointing - the reproduction petroglyphs in the overlook area were better than the real ones on the beach. To see a stunning collection of real petroglyphs, go to the Royal BC museum in Victoria. A nearby garnet deposit with large garnet crystals has been left to the children of the area, and hence there are plenty of children selling garnets, both loose and in the original stone matrix. Late in the day, an Alaska State Ferry (blue canoe) arrived, and left at the same time as Regatta, making for lovely views of the ferry against the mountains of southeast Alaska. This was a nice half-day introduction to Alaska before going on to Juneau. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Regatta Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 5.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 4.5 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.5
Rates 4.0 4.0

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