Southern Allure to Bermuda on the Oceania Regatta
4/19/14 to 5/1/14
Due to the length of the review, it is in three parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of the page.
Page 1 - Embarkation; Ship; Cabin; Dining; Entertainment; Activities
Page 2 - Ports of Call: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Hamiliton, Bermuda; St. George, Bermuda
Page 3 - Ports of Call: Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Port Canaveral, Florida; Miami, Florida
Ports of Call: Miami, Florida; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Hamiliton, Bermuda; St. George, Bermuda; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; Port Canaveral, Florida; Miami, Florida
We have had Bermuda on our bucket list for many years. When Carol saw an ad for a cruise on Oceania that went to Bermuda from Miami, it sounded like a perfect cruise for us. We already had an Oceania cruise booked for 2015; which we thought would be our first cruise with them; but now we could experience the line a year earlier. Even though we already had four cruises booked for 2014, we decided to book it just two months before the sailing date. Quite unusual for us, since I like to book at least a year in advance and do lots of research. Since I was now retired, we had the time for the cruise and I could fast track the research.
We had met a couple on a cruisecritic.com roll call for our cruise, Stan and Connie, who live in our home town of Boynton Beach, FL. We decided to travel to the Port of Miami together to share the $20 per day parking at the port. We were leaving from Terminal J, which is on the opposite side of the island from where most of the cruise ships leave. Only Oceania and its related company Regent use Terminal J. Being away from the other terminals did make the traffic much easier, especially since the other side of the road looked like a parking lot when we arrived. It also allowed for a nice unobstructed view of the Miami skyline.
Oceania is the first cruise line we have been on that didn’t require us to bring registration documents to the terminal; which makes sense, since all of the information is done on-line well before embarkation. The process was really fast. We went right to the Regatta and were on board at 11:25 AM.
As we began our sail away, we got a nice view of the small terminal.
As the ship started to turn around to face in the right direction to exit the port, a tug boat approached the ship and pushed on the back of the ship. I had never seen this before; but I guess that it is a tighter turn than the Regatta is able to do on its own in such a narrow area. I guess this is part of the reason only the smaller ships dock at Terminal J.
Once we were faced in the right direction and beginning the cruise, those of us on the port side of the ship got to see several dolphins swimming next to the ship. We took it as a good luck omen; but should have known better. It was just some dolphins and we needed a lot more luck than the dolphins could provide for this cruise.
This side of the island appeared to be more of a commercial area than for cruise ships. I much prefer the other side, since the view from the ship is of the fancy homes on the islands near Miami rather than containers.
The Regatta was built in 1998 as Renaissance Cruise Line’s R2 ship. The ship was purchased as the first ship for the new Oceania Cruise Lines in 2002. It is a small ship and only carries 684 passengers. For this cruise we only had 636 on board. Since we had previously cruised on the Azamara Quest and Tahitian Princess, which are the same class as the Regatta, we were familiar with the ship. I must say that even though the ship was fifteen years old, it was in outstanding shape and appeared to be much newer. Oceania has spruced it up some and their maintenance program must be very thorough, since everything was in perfect shape. In May and June 2014, all three of the Oceania R Class ships will be going through a complete remodeling to update them to look more like Oceania’s newer O Class ships, so the photos of the Regatta in this review will soon be out of date and just a reference for what the Regatta used to look like.
The most striking difference between Oceania and other cruise lines we have been on is the very high service levels and the staffs’ desire to please. People were so sweet and helpful wherever we went on the ship. Because it is a small ship, you become acquainted with most of the staff and they know you. They are more like friends than Oceania employees. We did notice that many of our fellow passengers were older and quite a few physically challenged. I am sure that the higher service level was a good reason for their booking with Oceania. The Regatta's Captain was Meinhardt Hansen, from the Faroe Islands. He would have a very challenging cruise.
The various public rooms are shown below by category.
Dining Rooms -
Grand Dining Room – This is the main dining room and is located on deck 5 at the back of the ship. As with all of the ship, the decorations are elegant and in a classic style. The chairs were probably the most comfortable dining chairs we have had on any ship. The tables were arranged where there was adequate room for passengers and waiters to move around.
We ate most dinners and a few lunches in the Grand Dining Room. Unlike most cruise lines, every meal is open seating so you can go to the dining room whenever you would like. We did find that our fellow passengers were, for the most part, well traveled and very interesting people. So the open seating was quite enjoyable and educational. Equally welcome was the absence of formal night. Carol and I don’t mind dressing up occasionally, but with the luggage weight restrictions on the airlines nowadays, it feels like a waste of valuable space. A tux and three floor-length formal dresses plus shoes take up a lot of room and are very heavy.
The service was very good and Waiters, Assistants and Maître d’s were just outstanding. That isn’t to say that we didn’t have to occasionally wait for our food to arrive; but since we weren’t in a hurry to eat, we were quite happy.
Toscana – The Toscana Italian specialty restaurant is located on deck 10 at the back of the ship on the port side. Unlike most cruise lines, there is no extra cost for the specialty restaurants on Oceania; but you do need to book reservations before you get on the ship to be sure you can get the days and times you want. It has a more casual feel than the Grand Dining Room with the lighter colors and décor. Both specialty restaurants are long L shaped rooms with the short part of the L looking out to the sea on the back of the ship.
We were allowed to make one reservation at each of the specialty restaurants on-line prior to the cruise. We were also pleased that we were able to make an additional reservation at each restaurant on days when we felt like a change from the main dining room. We just booked the additional reservations with the attendant in the Terrace Café at breakfast or lunch. It was very easy to do.
Polo Grill – This is the steak house type specialty restaurant. It is located on the starboard side of the ship on deck 10 aft. It has the feel of an upclass traditional steak house with the leather chairs and dark wood.
It is a very comfortable restaurant and makes one want to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, wonderful service and high quality food.
Terrace Café – The buffet restaurant was where we ate most breakfasts and lunches. It is on the back of deck nine. It was very popular; but we normally had no problem getting a table. The food serving area is made up of two granite counters across from each other.
It was very nice to have waiters offering to get your morning water, coffee and juice as soon as you sat down. It was also nice to have the waiters offer to take your plates to the table for you from the buffet line. We didn’t need the assistance; but many of the elderly passengers took advantage of it. The waiters came around to the table quite often to see if anything was needed. They would even get refills of food items if requested. Once again this shows the high service levels that Oceania provides.
At the back of the restaurant is the Terrace Patio area. It is open air and partially covered. It is a great place to eat and wasn’t particularly crowded on this cruise.
In the evening the Terrace Café is dressed up with covers over the chairs, at least they were on the Terrace portion when I was up there later in the afternoon one day. Since we never ate dinner at the buffet, I don’t know if they used the same chair covers inside; but I would assume they do. It was a nice touch.
Waves Grill – This light dining venue is next to the pool area on deck nine. They offer hamburgers, hot dogs, Rueben sandwiches and other items.
Unlike normal hamburger bars on ships, you place an order at the counter and they bring your order to you. We found this to be much more efficient. There is also an ice cream bar that makes shakes, malts and smoothies while you wait.
Lounges (Link to Menus)-
I have included copies of the menus for the various lounges/bars at the “Menus link” shown just above and at the top of each page of the review.
Grand Bar – This bar is located right in front of the Grand Dining Room. It is a nice place to meet people you want to go to dinner with or have pre-dinner cocktails. As with all of the bars, there were three daily drinks of the day that could be purchased for $5.50 each; which was $4.00 less than their normal price. I was very pleased with drink of the day selection. They were mostly popular drinks that I liked.
Carol and I both used this bar sitting area during the day for reading, since we felt that they had the most comfortable reading chairs on the ship. Some people found them pretty good for sleeping too. After the renovations, the bar itself will be used for the Baristas coffee area.
The large round painting embedded in the ceiling was a lovely centerpiece for the elegant room.
Martinis – This was one of two bars that had happy hours between the hours of 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM each day. The other was Horizons. The two for one drinking sessions were very popular at both lounges. This was my favorite bar because the bartender just made drinks better than the ones in Horizons. With the bar being right next to the Casino on deck 5, it kept pretty busy.
In the evening piano player Pavel Pluzek provided entertainment for the patrons. He was quite good and took requests. His song selection was most enjoyable. When in port Martinis was pretty empty, since the casino was closed.
Horizons Bar – This was a bar and an entertainment area. Being on the front of deck 10, the view was the best on the ship.
The first day there was a display of the various beers that were available on the ship. It was fine for me; but was a surprisingly small selection for beer aficionados.
With it being the second largest entertainment venue on the ship, they had many things going on day and night. All late night entertainment took place there. Each evening the band would play for dancing.
Waves Bar – This is the pool bar. I never did use it, but the folks in the pool and sunning definitely took advantage of it.
Regatta Lounge – This was the main venue for activities needing a large area. It was also used for the evening shows. This lounge is my least favorite area on this class of ship, because the seating is not that good for watching a show. With there being no incline to the floor, the people’s heads in front of you block your view of the show. I realize there isn’t anything that can be done about it, since it is a small ship; but it bothers me. On the positive side though, you are always close to the performers because the lounge is relatively small.
Each evening before the 9:30 PM show time, the band would play for those that wanted to dance between 8:45 PM and 9:15 PM. The lounge is really much better for dancing than watching a show. I liked the corridor into the the lounge. There is of course a large bar at the back of the theater.
Boutiques – There are only two shops on the Regatta, both located on deck 5. One is mainly a clothes store with logo items and miscellaneous goods. The other is mainly a jewelry shop that also carries a few other items.
Destination Services – This is where you can buy excursions or get questions answered about what to do in the ports. We only booked private excursions, since Oceania is known for having the most expensive excursions of any cruise line. We prefer having less people on our tours and also vans rather than buses to tour in. The prices charged for excursions and transfers to/from the ship are probably the main negatives I hear or read about Oceania. If they provided some super luxury type service for these, perhaps they could be justified; but their excursions are like any other cruise line yet are significantly more expensive.
Reception Hall – This is the area on deck 4 at the base of the ornate staircase. There is a nice sitting area, which is pretty quiet since not many people hang out on deck 4. The Concierge, Reception Desk and Destination Services are also close by. This is the area where we entered and exited the ship in Miami and some of the other ports.
The staircase is probably the most recognized feature of the all the R Class ships. It does make one feel like they are cruising on an old classic ocean liner.
Concierge – On the starboard side of the reception hall is the Concierge desk. I normally would not need the services of the Concierge; but on this cruise as explained later in the review, the Concierge, Leandro, was our hero. He did an awesome job for us when we really needed some help.
Reception Desk – Being right at the base of the staircase, it is easy to find the Reception Desk. With your individual account information not being available on the TV, I thought that I would need to come down to get a copy periodically; but twice during the cruise a statement was delivered to our room showing our current status. Very convenient. As a result the only reason I needed to come to the Reception Desk was to drop off the two opinion surveys and disembarkation info request. I did think it was a smart move to have an opinion survey early in the cruise to see if there were any problems they could fix, rather than just waiting for the end of the cruise.
Upper Hall – It is also a lovely area of the ship, since it is at the other end of the staircase. The whole area is quite elegant. The Ginger String Quartet also played there regularly; which added to the elegance.
Oceania Club Ambassador, Carol Harrington, had a desk just off the Upper Hall to assist passengers with booking future cruises.
Pool – The Pool area is nicely arranged with very comfortable padded lounge chairs. There was never a problem finding a lounge chair; and with the peaceful atmosphere, I found that it was not a bad place to take a nap.
The double lounge chairs, of which there were many, were quite popular.
I liked the fish decorations on the forward section above the pool area.
The stage area at the rear of the Pool area was used regularly by the band during the daytime.
Although the pool itself was not large, it was never crowded; nor were the two hot tubs. The pool did look quite inviting; but since we live in South Florida, swimming is not a priority on a cruise. Additionally, many days were a bit cooler than we would like for swimming.
At one end of the pool, next to Waves Bar, there was a ping pong table. One day there was a tournament and a couple on our Cruise Critic roll call, Orv and Teresa, came in 2nd and 3rd place.
I went out one evening to get a photo of the pool area.
The Patio – On deck 8 there was a comfortable sitting area that was between the buffet and pool areas. Since we had an inside cabin and this area was right above our cabin, it made it very convenient to use. It was like our own oversized veranda, since it was never heavily utilized. Also, since the area is completely covered, Carol enjoyed being able to be outside but in the shade.
Laundry Room – The Laundry Room is located on deck 7. It is a nice size room with four washers and four dryers. Irons and ironing boards are also available.
Each machine costs $2.00 to use. You must purchase the $2.00 tokens at the reception desk, since the machines don’t take money. There is no extra cost for detergent.
Since the laundry room is the subject of many questions for new Oceania cruisers, I am including the posted information from the laundry room below.
Oceania@Sea – This is the computer/internet area. Since there were no classes or activities related to computers, the room was not real busy most of the time.
Fitness Center – the Fitness Center is located on the front of deck nine on the starboard side next to the Canyon Ranch Spa. The equipment looked good; but even though I work out regularly at home, I just never went back after taking photos. They did have a lot of classes that could be participated in for a price.
Canyon Ranch Spa – The Regatta had a very nicely decorated spa area on deck nine. It seemed to be quite popular with passengers; since people were waiting for their services whenever I passed by.
The beauty salon appeared to be well equipped.
The massage therapy rooms looked very nice and had a waiting area outside of them.
Even the dressing rooms were first class.
At the very front of the spa area is the Spa Terrace. This area is only accessible by Concierge level and Suite guests. It is a lovely sunning area with a private hot tub.
Card Room – The Regatta has a very comfortable Card Room. It appeared to be quite popular. Carol likes to do jigsaw puzzles when they are available on cruises. The Regatta had the puzzles; but since the card tables had soft, padded tops, they didn’t work well for building a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces won’t stay interlocked on the soft tops. It would be nice if they would put one solid top card table in the room for puzzle people.
Library – The deck ten English style Library is a stunner. The dark woods, fancy carpets, plush furniture and fireplace make for quite an opulent room. But the highlight is the illuminated domed ceiling. It is designed to appear to be the view from an English greenhouse.
Besides being pretty, the Library has over 2,000 books. Being on deck ten, the views outside are also quite nice.
Fitness Track – On deck ten above the pool area was a walking/running track. It was quite popular. It was also a great place to view sail away and the ports.
Sun Deck – Most of the decks on the Regatta are well maintained teak wood, which look lovely and are just a pleasure to walk on. One of these is deck 11, called the Sun Deck. It is a large expanse of deck with lounge chairs. Since there are only a few chairs, people can move them around to get the best exposure for a tan. It is also a great place to be during sail away and port arrival, since it is at the top front of the ship.
Also on the Sun Deck is a small putting green, shuffle board and golf driving cage.
Cabanas – At the very front of the Sun Deck is the Cabana area. There are eight separate Cabanas that can be rented during the cruise.
Promenade Deck – This area was on both sides of deck 5. It was very popular since the lounge chairs were normally fully protected from the sun. It was also a very quiet area except for the sounds of sea, which made it even more desirable.
Other – I thought that the elevator/stairwell lobbies were nicely appointed with the lovely carpets. It did provide an elegant touch. Although the cast iron stair railings look classy, I just didn’t care for the feel of them when using the stairs. I much prefer wooden or aluminum hand rails, just a personal preference.
The carpeting throughout the ship, as shown in the previous room photos, was just lovely and really added a touch of class to the ship. This carpeting was in the hallway just outside our cabin. Just a funny aside here, when I was down on the floor taking this picture, Orv came along and thought I had fallen, so he ran over to help.
Photo Gallery/Art Auction – Probably one of the most appreciated features of Oceania is what they don’t have. It was so enjoyable not to have to be hounded constantly by photographers trying to take our photos. When we were new cruisers, it was nice to have a cruise photo for a souvenir; but not anymore.
It was also a pleasant change not to have part of the ship taken up by easels for the frequent art auctions that are prevalent on most cruise lines. Because there were no art auctions, we also didn’t have to throw away all the papers advertising for special auction events in the daily papers.
We normally book a veranda cabin, since we enjoy lounging on the veranda and being able to see what is happening outside. With the Oceania pricing, it just didn’t make sense for us to book anything other than an inside cabin. The inside, ocean view and standard veranda cabins all have about 165 square feet of cabin space. To upgrade from an inside to and ocean view would have cost us $1,000 pp more; and to upgrade to a veranda would have been another $1,000 pp above that. With the cabin size being the same, I just couldn’t justify it for this cruise. We were offered an upgrade to an ocean view cabin a couple of weeks before the sailing for a low additional cost; but the cabin would have been near the front of the ship and we preferred to keep our mid-ship inside cabin. We were so glad we did with the rough seas we would encounter during the cruise.
We had cabin # 8036, which was mid-ship and very close to the elevators. The cabin was nicely appointed and was in great shape. The beds, which were made up as twin beds, were pushed together. The only problem with the cabin layout was that there wasn’t much room on either side of the beds, so we asked our cabin attendant if she could separate them to give us a wider area between the beds. Since the beds were already made up as twins, she just separated them. No problem. I would have thought that if the beds were going to be used together, they would have been made up like a king size bed as on other lines; but they weren’t.
They were probably the most comfortable beds we have had on a cruise. That coupled with the high quality linens made for very good night’s sleep. Not to mention that with no light entering the inside cabin, we slept very well and long.
For some reason, the glass table in the room is larger than it needs to be and takes up a lot of room. Perhaps it is larger so it can be used for room service meals; but the table did get in the way in the small cabin, even though Carol had it pushed over against the couch.
There were two separate closets, which easily held all our hanging clothes. One of the closets had a short hanging area that was suitable for blouses or shirts. It had drawers below it.
Below the flat screen TV was a safe and refrigerator. We were disappointed in the TV reception. Most days there was so much interference that it wasn’t even watchable. They did have some current movies and a nice selection of DVDs to watch.
The next time I sail on Oceania I will bring European plug converters, since there are two European plugs; but only one US plug available on the desk. The second US plug is taken up by a night light. By having a converter, we can either use the two European plugs or just plug the night light into the European plug to make the other US plug available for use. I did like having the night light, especially since we were in the inside cabin and it was pitch black.
The bathroom is unusually small. Because of that, there is little counter or cabinet space; but it was adequate for our twelve day cruise. Due to the small size of the bathroom, I couldn’t get a good photo of the small shower. It was wide enough but not very deep. I am a pretty big guy, so I had to stand sideways in the shower, which worked fine.
We had an awesome Cabin Attendant named Svitlana from the Ukraine. She was such a sweet person and couldn’t do enough for us. Every time we saw her in the hallway, she would ask if there was anything she could get for us. We just loved her. Her assistant Luis, from Honduras, worked very hard and was always in a cheerful mood.
Dining (Link to Menus )
I have included copies of the menus for the main dining room along with photos of some of the food items at the “Menus link” shown just above and at the top of each page of the review.
Grand Dining Room –
Oceania is known for their food. Each day there was a nice selection of food items that should satisfy most people. Every night the menu also offered one selection each from the Red Ginger and Jacques specialty restaurants on the newer and larger O Class ships. The food items, quality and presentation were outstanding. There were items that we weren’t crazy about; but that was more about seasoning or the recipe than the food quality itself. Everyone has different tastes. For example, with us having lived close to New Orleans in the past, we were surprised to find what they gave us when we ordered a New Orleans Muffalleta for lunch one day. It wasn’t a bad sandwich; but there was little resemblance to a real Muffalleta.
We thoroughly enjoyed the breads in all of the restaurant venues. The bakers did too good of a job, so we ate more bread than we should have. It really was some of the best breads we have ever had.
One area we felt they were lacking is in the desserts. Neither Carol nor I are crazy about dark chocolate, which most people love. We much prefer milk chocolate. The chocolate desserts were normally dark chocolate, so we weren’t interested in them. Some of the others sounded strange, so we usually ended up with ice cream most nights. Not that that’s a bad thing, because the ice cream was simply delicious.
Throughout the ship, the sour cream didn’t taste or look like normal sour cream. The texture was liquid and it didn’t have much taste. Since we didn’t use it much on this cruise, it wasn’t a big issue. But we did hear comments about it as well as the cream cheese that was very soft and was actually more like what sour cream texture should be like.
The service was outstanding; and as mentioned earlier, the dining room team felt like friends. We were particularly fond of one of the Maître D’s, Amilcar, from Portugal.
Polo Grill –
We had heard so much about the wonderful food in Polo Grill prior to the cruise. We were able to get reservations for the first night of the cruise in addition to the one I had previously made for later in the cruise. The first course we had was Chesapeake Bay Lump Crab Cake with Pommery Mustard Sauce. Oh my goodness, they were probably the best crab cakes we have ever had. Just too yummy.
We then both ordered the New England clam chowder. It was quite good, but a bit of a different flavor than we are accustomed to. We liked it so much, we almost ordered it again on our second visit. There were lots of clams in the chowder, which makes it even better.
We then had salads. I had the Honey Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Aged Cheddar Cheese Salad with Tangy Dressing, which was quite good. Carol had the Beefsteak Tomato and Sweet Onion Salad, which looked kind of sparse; but she liked it. Neither of us ate much salad, since we were filling up and had much more to come.
The previous month we had both ordered veal chops, when dining at the Pinnacle Grille on the Holland America Westerdam. We thought that they were some of the best we had ever had, anywhere, so we wanted to see how Oceania compared. Unfortunately our veal chops were over cooked some and tougher than what we are used to. They tasted good; but we were disappointed. In talking with some friends about Polo Grill later, they told us that they had not been pleased with the veal chops either. We would have to get a different main course next time.
The table next to us had been observing me taking photos of our food. After telling them why I was doing it, they asked if we wanted to take photos of some of theirs. Why not? Below are the Whole Main Lobster and Trio of Sliders.
The dessert menu sounded really good and it was difficult to decide what to get. We ordered the Polo Quintet to share, which is a small sampling of several items on the menu. The crème brulee and cheese cake were the only ones that I cared for. But since I was pretty stuffed already, I didn’t mind leaving the dessert unfinished.
The high point of the meal was our outstanding waiter, Juni from Indonesia. What a great personality. He really made our meal quite special.
Later in the cruise we returned to Polo Grill. This time we tried some different entrees. For the appetizer, I got the Warm Foie Gras and Mushrooms for an appetizer. It was quite good. I took a photo of it opened to show all the mushrooms.
For the main course Carol ordered the Porterhouse Steak. She wanted the smaller one; but the waiter told her to get the large 32 oz. portion. I don’t know why, since there was just that much more she couldn’t finish.
I ordered the Rib Eye, which was cooked perfectly and was very good. As a side, I had the very tasty Lobster Mac & Cheese.
Our first meal in Toscana was subject to some unusual challenges which I will describe later in the port section. But do to very bad weather, some things weren’t as good as they normally would be. Since the menu items are in Italian with English descriptions, I will make up my own names for the food items. For appetizers we had Asparagus Risotto and Buffalo Mozzarella over Tomatoes.
Carol and I shared the special Pasta of the Day dish.
For the main course Carol had Veal Marsala and I had a Lobster and Pasta dish. Carol liked hers; but I thought that there was something strange about the lobster, even though it was properly cooked. I only ate about half of it. One of the men at our table, who had been to Toscana several times before, took a taste of the lobster. He agreed that something was off about it.
For dessert I got an outstanding Tiramisu and Carol had a Chocolate Ganache in Roasted Pistachio Sauce. Even though it was dark chocolate, she couldn’t resist a pistachio sauce.
When we returned to Toscana on the last night of the cruise, we were treated to the normal experience; which was much more enjoyable. We even got a table at the corner of the aft window.
With the delicious bread, there was a selection of various olive oils and vinegars. Quite interesting, since I had no idea there were so many different kinds.
Our waiter made a nice Caesar Salad for us at the table.
For the pasta course Carol got the Lasagna. She liked it so much, she wished that she had gotten the larger portion for the main course. I got the Penne San Gimignano, which was also quite good.
For the main course we both ordered the Tuscan Pork Chop with Trilogy of Polenta. It was a bit dry but good.
For dessert, Carol ordered the Cannoli and I had the Italian Sponge Cake Soaked in Bacardi Rum with Chocolate Rum Sauce. Both were quite good.
Of the two specialty restaurants, we enjoyed the food in Toscana more. The selection was greater and it included more items that were less similar to those served in the Grand Dining Room. We could get good steaks in any of the restaurants; but the best Italian food was only in Toscana. Also the desserts, to us, were much better than in the Polo Grill. Additional photos of food items from the specialty restaurants are included in the menu section of the review.
Terrace Café –
Since it was a small buffet, the selection wasn’t as diverse as on larger ships; but it was quite adequate for breakfast and lunch. The food quality, as in all the restaurants, was quite good. They had different themes for some days at lunch, such as Mexican or Asian. They had an awesome Miso Sea Bass item from the Red Ginger Restaurant during the Asian buffet which was incredibly good. Also during the Asian buffet, they had a whole suckling pig at the meat carving station.
Waves Grill –
From looking at the menus in the menus section of the review, you can see that there is little resemblance to what is offered on the mass market cruise lines. I am still amazed that I only ate there a couple of times; but it just worked out that way. I did have a hamburger which was on a really great roll. I also tried the Kobe Burger which was actually Wagyu Beef; but it was way overcooked and not as good as the normal burger. Carol enjoyed the Rueben Sandwich there.
It was nice to have a salad bar by the grill in case you wanted to make your own green salad with your sandwich. They also had potato, pasta or other prepared salads.
I also enjoyed the malts and smoothies. The Tropical Smoothie was delicious. They did a real good job with them; so I tried to not go by too often, since they could spoil my appetite for the main meals.
With the Regatta being a small ship, I was not expecting much in Entertainment. I had read that I should set my expectations low and they were. I was quite surprised that the ship had a band with eight members. Most cruise lines are cutting back on the bands and even using recorded music. The shows in the Regatta Lounge were scheduled for 9:30 PM each night, except for the last night when it was at 9:00 PM. The show timing worked very well with the flexible dining schedule. The Cruise Director and Master of Ceremonies each night was Dottie Kulasa. She is sometimes referred to as Dottie Drake, since that is her married name that she doesn’t use onboard. She was always out and about involved with the various activities on the ship. She even passed out water bottles as we left the ship in port each day.
Comedian Tom Drake, who is married to Dottie uses the tag line – “Attitude with a Tie”. I love a good comedian; but Tom just wasn’t my style. Some people thoroughly enjoyed him; but I struggled not to leave during his performances. Unfortunately for me, he performed at three of the evening shows.
Magician Greg Moreland ( www.gregmoreland.com ) was outstanding. He performed some amazing card and other tricks and kept everyone laughing at the same time. He is as much a comedian as he is magician. His style is to look like he messes up sometimes; but much of that is planned. One night he actually did make a mistake with a water trick and it wasn’t funny. He performed at two evening shows and one daytime show. At one of the evening shows, he picked our friend Connie, out of the audience.
On three separate days, he also had magic classes that anyone could attend, no charge. He showed us some very easy to do, most impressive looking tricks that I will have to try on my grandkids. He walked around after he showed us how to do a trick and made sure that everyone understood it. Those of us that attended all of the shows really appreciated him sharing so much with us.
Singer Franco Spoto performed on the last evening of the cruise. He had a very strong voice and was popular with the relatively small audience that night. His style and the older songs he sang weren’t my cup of tea.
Evan Bosworth, from the production show cast, performed his own show one evening. He was already our favorite singer in the group, so we did enjoy seeing him.
Production Shows –
I use the term Production Shows lightly, since it was just the four singers performing. But since my expectations were set low, I enjoyed the shows more than I expected. The four shows were named Show Stoppers, Maestro, Boogie Nights and Hot Vegas Nights. Because there weren’t any dancers or fancy sets, I didn’t break up the photos into groups for each of the shows. The main difference in the shows was the type of music.
During the last production show, Hot Vegas Nights, once again our friend Connie was pulled out of the audience for the show.
After that show there was a special farewell from the Captain and crew. Almost all of the 400 people in the crew filled up the front of the auditorium. The Captain and Dottie gave very nice farewell wishes for all of us.
Each evening we would receive the daily information letter called Oceania Currents. It contained all the information that would be needed to plan for the day, including the list of all activities. It was nice to have the Currents printed in color unlike any other cruise line we have been on. It makes it more enjoyable to read and is another example of the little extras that are included with Oceania. I have included copies of the Currents at this LINK. They can also be accessed by clicking the tab at the top of the page.
Cruise Critic Meet and Greet (www.cruisecritic.com) – We enjoy meeting the people that we have been communicating with on the Cruise Critic roll calls prior to the cruise. Before the cruise began, one of the members, Billie, set up a meeting place for us in the Horizons Lounge right after the muster drill.
Since Oceania didn’t sponsor the get together, no officers or the Cruise Director were at the gathering. It wasn’t a problem, since we didn’t need them to have a good time. We had a pretty good crowd and enjoyed meeting the people we had been talking to online.
We met the five couples in the below photos that we mention in the review.
Connie and Stan Bob and Peggy
Teresa and Orv
Joan and Ken Bernie and Terrie
Enrichment Lectures – For this cruise we were fortunate to have a very knowledgeable lecturer, Don Campbell. Everyone seemed to look forward to his talks and they were well attended. Subjects included a virtual tour of the ship, the Bermuda Triangle, Ships and Explorers, port lectures and Real Pirates of the Caribbean.
Cooking Demonstration – The Executive Chef and an assistant put on a cooking demonstration one morning. Apparently there was a lot of interest, since the house was packed. He showed how to make a couple of items that are served in the restaurants. At the end of the show, everyone was able to sample one of the items.
Drink Tasting – On different days there were martini, cognac and single malt tasting sessions for a charge. I did go to a martini tasting. Besides having some very good martinis, the bartender was very informative. So I considered it an educational seminar.
Afternoon Tea – Each day at 4:00 PM, there was an afternoon tea. We went one time to be able to experience it. The waiters came around and served the tea and various appetizers. They were very good; but we just didn’t need to eat more food that close to dinner.
Other – Although we never attended, the main regular activities were the daily trivia and bingo sessions.
Click Button to Continue to Page 2 of the Review
© 2014 ThePreismans.com • All Rights Reserved