August 31, 2015

A Honeymoon in Paradise

Newlyweds Jessica and Christopher C. celebrated their honeymoon aboard Marina, cruising through the flawless islands of French Polynesia on our Picturesque Polynesia itinerary. Below, Jessica shares her story.  

Sometimes when I let my mind wander, I am back on the linen white beaches of the South Pacific with a red flower in my hair, letting the sun nourish my skin and watching my husband Christopher lie by my side, consumed in sheer relaxation.

            A Honeymoon in Paradise       A Honeymoon in Paradise

They say most girls dream of their perfect wedding all their lives, but not me. I've always dreamt of my honeymoon. Having travelled on Oceania Cruises more than five times as a teenager and young adult with my grandparents, I knew I wanted to someday cruise through the picture-perfect French Polynesian islands with the love of my life.

Our spring wedding was nothing short of spectacular, though the months leading up to it were a blur of appointments and consultations. Exhausted from the preparations, we entrusted the gracious Oceania Cruises team with our honeymoon. Following our reception, we found ourselves in the most romantic part of the world, boarding the striking Marina for a roundtrip Tahiti voyage – ready to begin our very first adventure as newlyweds!

Honeymoon in Paradise

The itinerary included overnights in Tahiti and Bora Bora, with visits to Moorea, Raroia, Fakarava, Rangiroa, Raiatea and Huahine. Each morning, we’d part the blinds of our Penthouse Suite and discover a new breathtaking backdrop of lush, verdant mountains and glistening cerulean waters. And each evening, we watched the sun linger a little longer.

In Bora Bora, we opted for a romantic escape to InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. After a delicious lunch at Terrace Café, we were picked up from Vaitape and taken to the luxurious resort in Piti Au, a coral “motu” on the barrier reef. Our bungalow was superb, boasting dramatic views of the surrounding crystal waters. There were no schedules to follow or emails to check. It was as if time slowed and we were in a dream. Truly, the exquisite beauty could not have been part of this world.

             A Honeymoon in Paradise      A Honeymoon in Paradise

Fakarava was our favorite island for its botanical beauty and pristine atmosphere. We rented bikes from a jovial French man and explored the island on wheels, picking up fresh fruits and cheeses for lunch.

A Honeymoon in ParadiseWe raced around curved paths, rode past an unfinished lighthouse, collected small shells and enjoyed a picnic on the beach.

While in Raiatea, we boarded a boat and headed toward its sister island, Taha’a, for a drift snorkeling experience. Nothing prepared me for the scores of colorful tropical fish and intensely hued coral that produced a magnificent underwater maze. 

As the current carried us effortlessly through the shallow lagoon, I wished for this moment, drifting in an untouched paradise, to last forever.  

August 28, 2015

Curious Traveler Webisode 3: Gourmet Specialty Restaurants

Curious Traveler, an Emmy Award-nominated program, is spotlighting Oceania Cruises in a series of engaging webisodes. This week, host Christine van Blokland visits France, Italy and Asia by means of the extraordinary dining venues aboard Riviera. From Jacques, Toscana and Red Ginger to Polo Grill and La Reserve, Christine calls the Oceania Cruises specialty dining experience exquisite

 

Join us again next Friday for the fourth webisode in this eight-part series as Christine explores the onboard enrichment program. Be sure to visit our blog every Friday until October 2nd as we continue to debut a new webisode.

To learn more about our specialty dining restaurants, visit OceaniaCruises.com.  

August 26, 2015

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat Virgin

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat VirginBy Sandy Cares

Guest lecturer Sandy Cares has been sharing her entertaining lectures aboard Oceania Cruises voyages throughout the Caribbean and Central America since January 2014. Below, she shares her experience in Virgin Gorda.

I should not play favorites. So when people ask which is my favorite Caribbean destination, I always say, “Wherever we are today,” and I truly mean it. But I must admit that when back home in Michigan, I conjure up visions of the most idyllic Caribbean island of all: Virgin Gorda.

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat VirginThe laid-back, charmingly rustic British Virgin Isles abounds in beauty.    

In 1493 on his second New World voyage, Christopher Columbus sailed through a constellation of islands and named the whole lot the Virgin Islands after St. Ursula's 11,000 legendary virginal bridesmaids. One standout stole his heart. Its voluptuous silhouette resembled a maiden slumbering serenely on her Caribbean waterbed. He named it Virgin Gorda, the Fat Virgin.

Less than nine square miles and home to fewer than 4,000 locals, Virgin Gorda boasts world-class ultra-luxury properties like Little Dix Bay and Biras Creek. But hands-down, the Fat Virgin’s biggest draw is a geological curiosity called The Baths.

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat VirginThe day we arrive, an open-air jitney conveys us from Spanish Town to the bluff over The Baths National Park at the island’s southernmost tip. A footpath leads down to the beach and along the way gnarled roots and slippery rocks are the playground for tropical birds, mongooses, and iguanas. Eventually the path spills onto a beach with diaphanous aquamarine water.

The house-sized boulders strewn about the beach confirm volcanic origins. These gigantic rock piles form caverns and hidden passages that secrete haunting lagoons. A driftwood sign stuck in the sand points to "The Grotto," a huge cavern beneath a jumble of boulders where the world darkens and the unremitting slosh and gurgle of water echoes.

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat VirginWe grasp guide ropes as we slide across an enormous bosom of rock to begin the forty-five minute crawl to the other side. The obstacle course requires calculated calisthenics as it winds through tight passages, beneath rock overhangs, across scaffolding and through sandy puddles.

Finally, we scale a platform and shimmy between a couple more boulders where we escape to the white sand. Once my eyes re-adjust to the brightness, I head straight for the water—unbelievably refreshing!

However you decide to savor your visit to the Caribbean, the Fat Virgin will steal your heart. After all, she's been doing it for five hundred years and counting.

Join Sandy’s lectures in the Caribbean this December:

Sands & Shores | December 2, 2015
Mayan Mystique | December 12, 2015
Celebrate the Sunshine | December 22, 2015

Guest Lecturer Post: The Skinny on the Fat Virgin

August 24, 2015

At Sea & Staying in Shape

At Sea & Staying in ShapeDuring a recent voyage aboard Insignia, New York native Marissa M. found plenty of ways to take advantage of the days at sea and stay active. She shares her experience and a few of her favorite fitness classes below.

For many of us, taking a vacation also means taking time off from your workout routine–but it doesn’t have to! Starting your workout routine again after a week or two off can feel like starting from scratch, so on my recent voyage, the first thing I looked for were ways to stay active.

Once I unpacked, I went straight to the fitness center in the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, where I found that a half hour on the elliptical or treadmill with serene ocean views made my workout go by in a breeze!

At Sea & Staying in ShapeThe class schedule for my cruise had so many classes to choose from that I realized I wasn’t going to have any trouble finding ways to help me stay on track. There are classes for everyone! They have everything from low-intensity workouts like yoga, all the way to high-intensity aerobic classes.

I loved the Stretch and Relax class, which focused on yoga-like and sports stretches, while using breathing techniques to assist and increase flexibility, plus improve the overall mind-body connection. This was a wonderful way to start a day.

I also took the Cardio Groove class, which definitely got my heart beating and my body moving. It’s a medium-paced aerobics class, which mixes new music and classic oldies that will make you dance the class away. Lots of laughs during this one!

To indulge my adventurous side one morning, I took the Cardio Combat class which is a high-energy class that mixes aerobic steps with hand combinations taken from boxing and martial arts training. Plus it’s mixed with upbeat music for a fun, stress-relieving class that actually left me wanting to go one more round.

At Sea & Staying in ShapeOne other great class that helps you stay ahead of the group while on shore excursions is the Muscle Max class. This class uses your body weight, resistance bands and hand weights to tone and strengthen the muscles important for everyday activities, increase overall strength and protect the joints.

I really enjoyed mixing my own workout routine with the 30 minute fitness classes. I especially enjoyed the yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes; they were worth every penny.

It’s great being able to work out while visiting so many interesting places and best of all I didn’t feel guilty about having dessert or that extra glass of wine after a delicious dinner.

August 21, 2015

Curious Traveler Webisode 2: Finest Cuisine at Sea

Curious Traveler, an Emmy Award-nominated program, is spotlighting Oceania Cruises in a series of exciting webisodes. This week, host Christine van Blokland gets a taste of the finest cuisine at sea – from exquisite Asian fusion and traditional steakhouse dishes to authentic Italian recipes and classic French Fare.

 

Christine, a premier travel journalist and arts and culture enthusiast, was drawn to Oceania Cruises for its renowned cuisine, alluring destinations and casually elegant ambiance filled with museum-quality art.

Join us again next Friday for the third webisode in this eight-part series as Christine visits our award-winning specialty restaurants. Be sure to visit our blog every Friday until October 2nd as we continue to debut a new webisode.

View sample menus and wine lists of the finest cuisine at sea.