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Oceania Oceania Regatta ReviewPearls the CaribbeanKenneth Eden

Age: NOT FOUND

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 60

Cruise Line: Oceania

Ship: Regatta

Sailing Date: March 11th, 2007

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Oceania Cruises
Oceania Regatta Cruise Review
Pearls of the Caribbean

Kenneth Eden

Our flight from Newport News/Williamsburg Airport was smooth and uneventful. AirTran did a great job. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and picked up our car rental and drove to Miami. I-95 was a mess, as usual, allow extra time if you are meeting your ship.

We stayed at the Habana Libra, a boutique hotel, on Collins and 30th, in South Beach. The hotel was OK, nothing more.

The first night we ate at Don Shulas, a copy of Morton's, over rated, in my opinion. Ah, but the second night we dined royally at Yucca, pronounced, juke-ah, on Lincoln Rd. Dining is in, or al fresco, and what a treat. Cuban haute cuisine, with the finest service. We were attended to by Alberto, as well as others, for a great night out, a must, and not a tourist trap. Both mornings we had breakfast at Jerry's, former Pimpernels, part of the Wolfe Cohen deli family. Excellent, and open 24/7.

A month prior to this cruise I was invited to a luncheon reception on the Regatta, for the day of our sailing. It was hosted by Tom Cassidy and Jillian Mc Bride, of the Ocean and Cruise Liner Society, of which I have been a member for some years. The reception was indeed festive, and after the luncheon, we checked in as passengers!

Upon arrival into our stateroom, Concierge Level, a bottle of Perrier Joet, gift from Oceania, and Mums, gift from Mark our travel agent, were being iced. Our mini bar was well stocked with beer, wines, hard liquor, sodas, Evian and Perrier waters, and sodas. Our stateroom and the view were wonderful, and we knew we were going to have a great 12 days on board Regatta. The bath products are upgraded for Concierge Level staterooms, Caswell-Massey products are supplied. Other Concierge Level amenities are: four reservations in Toscana and Polo Grill, tote bag, cashmere lap blankets, DVD player with free rental of DVD's, priority boarding and disembarkation, and free shoe shines.

The first night we dined at Toscana. It has been many a moon since I have had a real Maine lobster on a cruise, the WHOLE lobster, about a pound and a half. The last time was on Royal Viking Line off of Australia. We enjoyed several during this cruise.

We were sailing without our best friends, Joe and Theresa, from Vermont, as they go every other year. This past year we sailed Maasdam twice, Regatta, Queen Mary 2 (which I reviewed here, and have not seen posted), and again, back on Regatta. We ran into many crew members that we enjoyed being with on the Regatta last year. We also noticed how gorgeous the ship truly is, and how amazingly clean it was, everywhere you looked.

We raced up to the Mandara Spa to make our massage reservations, three 90 minute ones each. By the way, they were excellent massages. It is a pity I can not recommend the masseurs, since they were leaving the ship.

Oceania is very lo-key when it comes to entertainment. There is an 8 piece orchestra, "that sounds like 80", and it is a wonderful group of musicians, a stringed quartet, cruise staff of four who sing and dance, several comedians, and a juggler, and piano bar. There is a small band that plays pool side, as well as the piano bar. Team trivia was a biggy on our cruise. Drinks of the day, there were four each day, were priced at $4.25 each, champagne and wines, by the glass, $5.50 each. Real drinks, not watered down.

We enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the Grand Dining Room, as well as at the Terrace Cafe. One area we did not take advantage of was Tappas on the Terrace, which is a buffet at night. Buffet when pressed for time for lunch or breakfast is OK, but for us, never at dinner.

We learned the Regatta is entering dry for 10 days in April. I can not imagine what they need to change or replace. The soothing colors, and refined textures of the fabrics all seemed in perfect order.

It poured in St. Barts and Virgin Gorda. We made a quick shore visit at Virgin Gorda, and returned to the ship.

We did not dock in Rousseau, Dominica, which we have always done in the past. The ms Prinsendam had preferred docking downtown, while the Regatta docked way out of town, and we took a $2.00 shuttle in to town. The back streets of Rousseau we akin to the slums of Haiti.

La Samna, Dominican Republic, was heaven on an island. We took a shore excursion, to a wonderful private beach resort, with chaise and a very nice BBQ lunch provided, as part of the trip. Tortilla was awesome, one of our favorite islands, we again took a ships excursion the a beach in Antigua, and made it back to the ship for a late lunch at Waves. St. Lucia was a shopping port, mostly souvenir things. We met some charming passengers from P&O's Oceana. Lastly, a port we have not been to before, yes, in 67 cruises a few still exist, was Grand Turk. I will probably not go ashore here in the future. Built by Carnival, it is $45 million of tee shirt type shops, no major outlets, such as Diamonds International, there is a Little Switzerland, now owned by Tiffanys, and not nearly as good as it used to be. There is a Margarita Ville/Cheeseburger in Paradise, with a large outdoor pool. It reminded me of Costa Maya, without the Mexican feel. I like Costa Maya. Imagine passengers from the Regatta and Regent Seven Seas Mariner, walking around, buying nothing, and after 15 minutes, returning to their ships!

Speaking of ships. The Captains reception for Oceania Club members, the repeaters, saw 298 repeat passengers on this cruise, out of 684 on board. We sailed full. Captain Jan Rayes, whom we have sailed with before, on Regatta and Royal Viking Line, and Sagafjord, told us over 85,000 passengers have sailed on Oceania Cruises in less then 4 years - very impressive, since Oceania has only been in business under 4 years.

I read at Oceanias web site the other day, and WOCLS that Oceania has contracted with Fincantieri Ship Yard, in Italy, to build two brand new cruise liners. At 65,000 tons, 885 feet long, 1260 passengers, incorporating all that is wonderful on Regatta, Nautica and Insignia, these ships are due in 2010 and 2011, with the option for a third ship. Can I wait? Yes, but I will just have to keep sailing Oceania until the new ships are out.

 

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