8 posts categorized " Afternoon Tea "

September 16, 2013

10TH-ANNIVERSARY SAILING CONCLUDES A YEAR OF CELEBRATION

Nautica arrived in Athens today, marking the end of Oceania Cruises’ final 10th-anniversary sailing of the year. Hosted by Founding Chairman Joe Watters and his wife, Virginia, the cruise concluded with all the fanfare merited by this historic milestone.

Oceania Club Reception
On the evening of September 13, the Captain’s cocktail reception in Nautica Lounge was hosted by Captain Igor Bencina, Founding Chairman Watters, General Manager Carlo Gunetti, Oceania Club Ambassador Sharon Miceli and Cruise Director Nolan Dean (pictured above). Mr. Watters and the senior officers warmly welcomed each guest to the special event.

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At the celebratory reception, Mr. Watters expressed his gratitude for the patronage of all of Oceania Cruises’ guests over the past decade and for their loyalty in the years to come. He also recognized the individual officers and crew who have been with Oceania Cruises for its entire 10-year history, noting that these dedicated members of the Oceania Cruises family are certainly one of the reasons that guests continue to sail with us time and time again. 

10-Year Team Members
That evening Mr. and Mrs. Watters hosted several of Oceania Cruises’ most loyal guests for an exquisite dinner in Toscana, which of course included a celebratory toast. 

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Gala Tea with Chef

The celebration continued on September 14 at the Gala Teatime in Nautica Lounge. Executive Sous Chef Mario Santoro and the Nautica culinary team presented a magnificent event that included not only the artisan teas, delicious pastries and finger sandwiches that are guest favorites during the traditional daily teatime, but also ice sculptures, fine champagne, caviar and other special treats. Mr. Watters greatly enjoyed the opportunity to talk more with several of Oceania Cruises’ loyal guests. 

 

Mr. Watters and Guests enjoy Gala Tea Gala Tea with Guests
The year 2013 has been full of celebrations marking the landmark 10th anniversary of Oceania Cruises. As the final anniversary sailing concludes, Oceania Cruises’ founders, executives, officers, crew and guests continue to reflect on fond memories of the past decade at sea and look forward with great excitement to the next 10 years and beyond.

July 15, 2013

10TH ANNIVERSARY SAILING ONBOARD REGATTA CONCLUDES

Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio recently concluded Oceania Cruises’ 10th anniversary sailing onboard Regatta, the ship that started it all. Regatta sailed from Seattle on the Coastal Alaska voyage on July 5th, exactly 10 years after the ship set sail on her inaugural voyage. Mr. Del Rio hosted the sailing with his wife, Marcia, who is Regatta’s godmother.

The sailing featured numerous celebrations in honor of the milestone anniversary. The exceptional culinary team flexed their creative muscles at the Gala Tea. High tea is a time-honored tradition onboard the ships of Oceania Cruises and is held each day at four o’clock in Horizons lounge. But the Gala Tea was a unique celebration that went above and beyond the traditional teatime selections. The talented chefs spent many hours preparing not only a vast assortment of finger sandwiches and pastries but also exquisite sculptures made from ice, fruit and chocolate to adorn Horizons for the special event.

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On one evening Mr. and Mrs. Del Rio hosted a special dinner in Terrace Café for some of Oceania Cruises’ most loyal guests. Fleet Corporate Chef Franck Garanger prepared a special menu that included Steamed Prince Rupert Wild Halibut “au Caviar” with a Fennel and Saffron Emulsion, as well as Roasted Veal Rack Loin with Cocotte Potatoes.

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One of the most special evenings was the 10th Anniversary Oceania Club Cocktail Reception in honor of all of Oceania Cruises’ loyal guests as well as the dedicated officers, staff and crew. Some of the most traveled guests in Oceania Cruises’ history were onboard this sailing, including Mr. and Mrs. Kohel, Diamond Oceania Club members who were on their 56th cruise. Also recognized were Mr. and Mrs. Starzman, Platinum Oceania Club members who had sailed on Regatta’s inaugural voyage on July 5, 2003.

Platinum Members

Mr. Del Rio took the opportunity to thank all of Oceania Cruises’ guests who have made the past decade possible. He also joined Captain Vitaliy Silvachynsky and General Manager Jason Gelineau in honoring the team members who have been with Oceania Cruises for its 10-year history.

 

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Frank Del Rio, Captain Silvachynsky and GM Gelineau
 
Culinary Director - Franck Garanger
Fleet Corporate Chef Franck Garanger is recognized


Captain Silvachynsky himself was one of those congratulated, along with Fleet Corporate Chef Franck Garanger. Several others were also recognized, including those pictured below.

Cabin Steward - Freddy Reyes
Steward Freddy Reyes
Bosun - Kosta Niolov
Bosun Kosta Niolov

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cellar Master - Marlito Medollar
Cellar Master Marlito Medollar
 
Chef De Cuisine - Edgar Valguna
Chef de Cuisine Edgar Valguna


 

 

Chef de Partie - Dindo Sabado
Chef de Partie Dindo Sabado
Chef De Partie - Jonathon Bravo
Chef de Partie Jonathon Bravo


 

 

Chief Purser - Doru Gherghin
Chief Purser Doru Gherghin
Jr Sous Chef - Amador Gutierrez
Jr Sous Chef Amador Gutierrez


 

Mechanic - Evgeni Popov
Mechanic Evgeni Popov
Night Auditor - Emily Flores
Night Auditor Emily Flores


 

Staff Captain - Damir Kurilic
Staff Captain Damir Kurilic

 

The sailing ended with a spectacular show in the Regatta Lounge, after which the entire crew paraded into the lounge to join guests in a final celebration. It was truly a historic and unforgettable 10th anniversary sailing – a wonderful celebration of the past 10 years at sea and the perfect way to kick off the next decade to come!

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November 5, 2012

THE SOUTH PACIFIC: A PRETTY PICTURE

As your Blogger-at-Large, there is only one thing I enjoy more than traveling the world with Oceania Cruises, and that’s sitting down and getting to know fellow guests. Everyone has their own unique perspective on what makes a voyage with Oceania Cruises so appealing and also what makes each destination so unique. I recently had the privilege of spending some time chatting with Peter and Pauline Pretty, Bronze Oceania Club members who have found their home away from home aboard the ships of Oceania Cruises.

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There are two kinds of travelers I come across on our cruises: “sightseers” and “doers.” Make no mistake that the Prettys are “doers.” They told me the best way to get to know the regions of the world is to step ashore with abandon – talk to the natives, sample the cuisine and embrace the customs. Recently, the Prettys were able to do just that on a South Pacific cruise, and Peter and Pauline were kind enough to share some of their photos.

In American Samoa, they traveled out into the landscape to experience the culture and witness one of the most esteemed ceremonies in Samoan culture, performed by an illustrious High Talking Chief at a traditional village. The journey involves a breathtaking drive west, during which guests delight in the island's natural beauty and historic landmarks. Highlights include the monolithic Fatu-ma-Futi, or Flowerpot Rock, that rises straight out of the ocean as if standing sentinel at the entrance to Pago Pago Bay. Farther west, the Leone Mission Monument and several churches mark the contribution of Reverend John Williams, who landed in the area in 1832 and began spreading Christianity.

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Despite readily embracing such non-native doctrines, Samoans still cherish traditional ways, especially with regard to ceremonies and social occasions. The High Talking Chief, or "tulafale," is the village spokesman, a grand orator highly skilled at holding the audience's attention through his extraordinary use of language and ancient proverbs. Dressed in traditional garb, the High Talking Chief launches into an animated and authentic performance of an ancient Samoan ceremony used to welcome visiting VIPs. After the ceremony, which takes place in an open-sided thatched "fale" building, guests are treated to a traditional dance performance.

DSC07207In Suva, Fiji, the Prettys explored the evolution of Fiji's fascinating cultural history and art during a half-day tour that included a spectacular performance by the Fijian Firewalkers. Greeted by the reverberating sound of a hollow drum beaten by a Fijian warrior, the blowing of a conch shell and the welcoming song of the villagers, guests were escorted to the DSC07190 amphitheater to witness a performance by Fijian Firewalkers and the enthralling group from the Arts Village of Fiji. As elders chant, young men remove the burning logs from a smoking pit to reveal the white-hot stones signaling the beginning of this ancient ceremony. The group from the Arts Village of Fiji entertains with traditional dancing and by re-enacting their legends and history amidst this idyllic setting.

Cultural immersion isn’t the only way to feel a connection the South Pacific. Sometimes the flora and fauna speak just as loudly. In Lautoka, Fiji, the Prettys discovered the beautiful gardens and historic artifacts of the South Seas during a delightful tour. At picturesque Burness House, hosts Don and Aileen Burness greet guests and provide an escorted walking tour through their landscaped gardens filled with fruit and flowering trees, arthurium lilies and lovely orchids. An extraordinary collection of Fijian artifacts is also on display.

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Moorea is always a guest favorite thanks to its tranquil turquoise lagoon and jagged emerald-colored volcanic peaks that rise up into the bright South Pacific skies. Moorea exemplifies the image that most people have of the South Pacific. Remarkably, a trip to the island doesn’t disappoint as it is every bit as dramatic and captivating as it appears in photographs.

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While the South Pacific is spectacular, it was always comforting to return to their floating home courtesy of Oceania Cruises. The cuisine is always a big hit and this cruise was no exception. Pauline spent some time with Executive Chef Renald Macouin, who shared a few secrets on how to prepare meals à la minute for a ship full of guests.

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While meals are a cherished event each day, the classic afternoon tea was one of Pauline’s favorite indulgences. The assortment of finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream and, of course, aromatic and exotic tea selections, were something to look forward to each afternoon upon returning from a day ashore.

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The specialty restaurants, none of which carry an additional surcharge, were something the Prettys looked forward to each time they held a reservation. Dinner with Regatta’s General Manager Raffaele Cinque was a treat, as was the cart of flavored olive oils brought tableside from which guests could choose their favorite.

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While many guests choose to cruise and then return home, the Prettys are big believers in extending their vacation with a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay. Papeete, Tahiti is the hub of the South Pacific but easily retains its reputation as a paradise. There are few hotel experiences that compare to staying in a bungalow suspended over the waters of the lagoon, the moon shimmering over the silver ripples, the stars competing for attention overhead and the tall peaks towering above. Imagine waking in the morning and stepping down to dangle your feet in the waters of a crystal clear lagoon, brightly colored tropical fish darting beneath the pilings as palms rustle just behind you. The Prettys know that feeling well and are convinced that the hotel stay in Papeete was time well spent. It was more than just a chance to recharge their batteries; it was invigorating as well.

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Remember, the South Pacific is only offered a few times a year by Oceania Cruises. A remarkable voyage from Valparaiso to Papeete is still available on December 27, 2012, as are two roundtrip cruises from Papeete on January 16 and January 27, 2013. Those who wish to wander farther afield, as the Prettys did, will be drawn to the February 7, 2013, cruise from Papeete to Auckland, especially considering this sailing offers two new Culinary Discovery Tours. Accompany chefs from the Bon Appétit Culinary Center to experience traditional Maori cuisine in Rotorua or regional dishes and wines in Kerikeri, just inland from the Bay of Islands.

Our thanks to the Prettys for sharing their remarkable South Pacific adventure with us. If you have stories of your South Pacific voyage with Oceania Cruises, feel free to share them here in the comments section of the blog.

December 13, 2011

GALA TEA TIME ONBOARD MARINA

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Afternoon tea in Horizons lounge is a time-honored tradition onboard Oceania Cruises' ships. Each day at four o'clock, guests gather for this festive occasion to enjoy various treats and, of course, a nice cup of tea. Lengthier voyages, such as Marina's recent transatlantic cruise, give the onboard pastry chefs a chance to really flex their creative muscles during "Gala Tea Time." For this grand affair the chefs go above and beyond their already impressive display of goodies and elevate the traditional tea time to an expression of artistic inspiration. 

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The centerpiece of the Gala Tea Time is the croquembouche, a regal tower of caramelized puff pastries with delectable fillings.

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But the croquembouche is only the beginning of an array of elegant edibles. There are eclairs, tarts, scones, and even truffles prettily arranged in the shape of the Oceania Cruises logo.

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Not all of the choices are sweet treats. Finger sandwiches, such as smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese on navette or roast beef and gherkins on poulichette, are an essential part of any tea time.

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Some of the creations are simply too beautiful to eat. Ornate sculptures created from spun sugar adorn the sumptuous spreads.

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Over 500 guests enjoyed the Gala Tea Time onboard Marina this week, affirming that afternoon tea is not just for the English anymore!


July 28, 2011

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ONBOARD ACTIVITY?

Onboard01One would be hard pressed to decide which is the best part of the Oceania Cruises experience — exploring fascinating ports of call the world over or enjoying life onboard the luxurious ships. Leisurely days at sea allow guests to savor all the pleasures of onboard life, and the options are nearly limitless. One of the most popular activities is a wine tasting selected from the extensive collection in the onboard cellars.

Onboard02These tastings are generally led by a Cellar Master, the most advanced sommelier onboard the ship, who shares his extensive wine knowledge as guests taste and compare a variety of wines. The wines are selected to represent the regions to which the ship is sailing.

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If you prefer a good martini to a glass of wine, there are also tastings to appeal to your palate.

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These guests enjoyed a tasting of five different martinis in — where else? — Martinis lounge onboard Regatta.
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Samples included everything from the Classic Martini made with Van Gogh Gin from Holland to the famous Big O Martini, a signature drink onboard Oceania Cruises' ships.

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Our friendly mixologists shared many interesting facts about the liquors used in the various martinis. For instance, gin is the only spirit that won't give you a headache the next morning due to way it is made and the botanicals involved in the process.

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A martini tasting will likely lead to cravings for the delicious food onboard, so you may want to check out a cooking demonstration.

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Executive Chef Laurent Trias demonstrates another fine use of spirits. Brandy is used to deglaze and flambé the shallots and peppers as part of the preparation of Beef Medallions with Three Pepper Sauce. 

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Of course, the best part of the demonstration is the tasting that follows!

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If you're interested in a hands-on learning experience, you can take classes from the Master Chefs onboard Marina in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center. Here you actually prepare each dish yourself in your own work station as the Chef provides instruction.

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For those who are artistically inclined, the Artist Loft onboard Marina offers classes in everything from painting to photography to t-shirt transfer to printmaking and more.

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Some guests may prefer to simply relax with a good book, and the English-style libraries onboard every ship are the perfect place for a cozy retreat.

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The Canyon Ranch SpaClub onboard is also a great place to relax and unwind.

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Enjoy spa treatments such as a pedicure or a soothing massage and then relax in the steam room or in the whirlpool on the private Spa Terrace.

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Blackjack and slot machines in the Monte Carlo-style casino are a fun diversion for many guests.

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Of course, there is also a variety of musical entertainment onboard. During poolside events, a band provides rousing entertainment from the pool deck stage.
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Enjoy the melodies of a string quartet in the evenings.
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Afternoon tea is time-honored tradition onboard that is celebrated every afternoon in Horizons.

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Delicious pastries and tea sandwiches are displayed in a magnificent presentation.

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A favorite onboard activity of many guests is Team Trivia. Cruise Director David Shermet often leads these fun contests.

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Guests form groups and together decide on responses to trivia questions. The guests with the most correct answers can win Big O Points.

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You can even enjoy a game of Backgammon onboard.
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If you follow Oceania Cruises' Facebook page, you know that these guests are playing Rummikub.

Paddle Tennis

Marina features a paddle tennis court on her upper deck for guests to enjoy.

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Table tennis is also a fun onboard pastime and a particular favorite of Prestige Cruise Holdings President Bob Binder, pictured above at the far right enjoying a game onboard Regatta.

What is your favorite onboard activity during a voyage with Oceania Cruises?  Feel free to share your favorites here on the blog!

April 14, 2011

TEA DANSANT: A Spectacular Display of our Pastry Chefs' Talent

Croquenbouche
There are many reasons why a long voyage with Oceania Cruises is an unforgettable experience, and one of those reasons is certainly the opportunity to enjoy Tea Dansant. Of course, High Tea is a longstanding tradition with Oceania Cruises and is served every afternoon on all of our ships. But our longer voyages allow our pastry chefs extra time to flex their creative muscles and indulge their many talents, the result of which is a spectacular (and delicious) display of their artistry. Above is pictured the gorgeous croquenbouche, a delectable tower of profiteroles graced with the chefs’ fine artistic touches. Below Pastry Chef Jose D Silva ensures all is in perfect order before the arrival of the guests.

All Is Ready

Tea Dansant is actually a “tea dance,” and this extravagant tea time also features the orchestra, whose melodies invite guests to the dance floor. Of course, many guests are so distracted by the numerous culinary delights that they don’t quite find the time for dancing. 

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An ice sculpture of the Oceania Cruises logo is created especially for the occasion.

Pastry Tower 2 More towers of exquisite pastries.

Egg Sculpture
The pastry chefs made each egg by hand from caramelized sugar.

Tea Sandwiches
In addition to the confections, there were also numerous tea sandwiches, each one designed as beautifully as the pastries.

Scone Hosts


Scones

No Tea Dansant would be complete without scones with jam and clotted cream.

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And of course, we must have the most essential ingredient – tea!

Filling Teapots
The teapot is equally important.

Table Settings
As are the teacups — fine china befitting such an illustrious occasion.

Tea Champagne
Tea Dansant is such an extraordinary event, many guests choose to complement their tea with a glass of champagne.

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As a special treat, Pastry Chef Jose D Silva showcases his talents. 

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He begins with slabs of caramelized sugar under the light of a heat lamp.

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Guests are able to closely observe his technique.

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The sugar must be at the exact proper temperature in order for Chef to sculpt it. Sometimes he has to place the slabs in the oven behind him for a bit to warm them up, or let them rest on the table to cool them down.

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Stretching the sugar is a very delicate process.

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At this stage one can't imagine what the finished work will look like.

Pastry Chef-7 Chef trims the proper amount for his next piece.

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He continues to work the sugar.

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He will need several colors to create his masterpiece.

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He will even blend these colors together.

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More focused and intense heat is required to create the detail of each tiny piece.

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Now the sculpture is beginning to take shape.

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And voila!

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The finished piece is truly a work of art.

Croquenbouche and Server
Considering the time required to create one of these lovely roses adorning the croquenbouche, you will not be surprised to learn that the Tea Dansant took over 250 man hours prepare.

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Everyone was thrilled with the results of the chefs’ efforts. Restaurant Manager Vladimir Cavic and Food & Beverage Manager Balazs Fekete agree - the Tea Dansant was a brilliant success. If you have the pleasure of traveling on a longer voyage with Oceania Cruises that features a Tea Dansant, you can see it is experience not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

January 27, 2011

A SNEAK PEEK OF A DIFFERENT SORT...RIVIERA!

    

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I admit this photo is a bit shocking after all the ones we've seen of Marina in her finished, polished state of elegance and beauty. But our EVP of Vessel Operations, Robin Lindsay, is in Naples today and shared these photos of Riviera in progress, and I thought it an apt time to remind everyone that we have another new ship in the works as well. Just think, we get to relive all of this excitement in 2012 when Riviera sails on her Maiden Voyage!

Riviera is being built in a slightly different fashion than her elder sister. Whereas Marina was constructed in one building dock over a period of three years, Riviera is being built concurrently in large sections around Italy. These sections will then be towed to Genoa where they will be joined together, and she will be finished by the same craftsmen that outfitted Marina. I have certainly learned a lot about the day-to-day process of shipbuilding over the last few years!

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I can't leave you without a few more pictures of lovely Marina. Below is a photo of the Grand Bar seating and one of Horizons set for High Tea.

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Horizons Tea

Below is another great shot of the pool. And have I mentioned that Marina has an 18-hole golf putting course?

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The seas were a bit rough this afternoon, but the Grand Dining Room was full of guests enjoying their lunch. We appear to have a lot of experienced cruisers onboard, because few have batted an eyelash when the weather has refused to cooperate. Or perhaps like me, they are so excited about exploring Marina, there is little time to notice any rolling waves. 

We are told to expect sunnier skies ahead, which is no surprise because today I must disembark the ship for a week. Just my luck. But I will return for Marina's christening and her Inaugural Passage and continue to share my photos, thoughts, and insights with you here on the blog. In the meantime, we do have three other wonderful ships sailing the seas, so check back for more updates!

September 7, 2010

Two explorers spend six splendid weeks onboard Insignia this summer

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Jeff, Randy, and Oceania Club Ambassador Per Orren overlooking Geirangerfjord, Norway. (Insignia is a speck in the fjord far below.) 

Two guests of Oceania Cruises enjoyed an amazing six-week voyage this summer onboard Insignia. Our featured guests, Randy and Jeff, embarked in Barcelona on June 27th and traveled around the Iberian Peninsula and up through Scandinavia before disembarking in Copenhagen on August 10th. This was their eighth voyage with Oceania Cruises. They say that Oceania Cruises is their “favorite cruise line, by far, because of the small size and beauty of the ships, the outstanding cuisine, top-notch service, the interesting and port-intensive itineraries, and frankly the fellow travelers.” Many of the people they have met onboard Oceania Cruises have become friends, including other guests and members of the staff and crew as well. 

Randy Jeff BrugesRandy is a financial planner and Jeff is a high school music teacher, but their favorite thing to do when not traveling is to plan their next trip. “When we board an Oceania ship,” says Randy, “we feel immediately welcomed and at home. There is a sense of comfort mixed with spirit of adventure that, for us, is quite unique to Oceania Cruises. It keeps us coming back again and again.”  

Randy and Jeff are most certainly adventurous spirits who like to experience everything a port has to offer. While in Bordeaux, they enjoyed wine tastings at St. Emilion and Medoc. After visiting Mont St. Michel in Saint-Malo, they sat outdoors at a small cafe and savored a delicious lunch of mussels accompanied by rosé wine. They rented bikes in Bruges and rode north along a windmill-lined canal, and visited fantastic art museums in Bilbao, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, and Oslo. Norway offered ample hiking opportunities, so they explored the mountain paths and glacial lakes from Hellysylt to Geiranger, and even a steep mountain in Longyearbyen, far north of the Arctic Circle, with a guide who carried a rifle in case they encountered a hungry polar bear. (They did not.)  

Jeff Guggenheim
Jeff enjoys an audio guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

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In Gibraltar, Randy and Jeff were both surprised when the Barbary Apes jumped on their heads!

While onboard, Randy and Jeff savor the simple pleasures of cruising: Afternoon tea in Horizons, reading in the library - which Randy describes as “the most beautiful at sea” - or just sipping champagne on Deck 10 and watching the world sail by. Dinner is certainly a highlight of any day. If the ship is anchored off a particularly beautiful port such as Sorrento or Monte Carlo, Randy and Jeff dine al fresco at Tapas on the Terrace with the lovely view as a Randy Jeff Windmillsbackdrop. As foodies, they always enjoy fine dining at Polo and Toscana. Jeff is a big fan of the Canyon Ranch spa cuisine, which is why he didn't gain a single pound during their travels. (Alas, Randy did.) When forced to name a favorite, they chose the Grand Dining Room, as they love the variety, the flavors and the presentation. They also sang the praises of Carlos Salvador, Corazon, and the entire wait staff for their excellent service. 

In fact, Randy and Jeff say that their fondest memories of this summer onboard Insignia are of the staff and crew. “The service they provided was beyond compare,” says Randy. “We were treated like kings. Everyone knew our names, greeted us with smiles of genuine warmth, and went out of their way to help us. We cannot compliment highly enough the hospitality provided by General Manager Rafael Cinque and his outstanding team. It was difficult to say goodbye to so many new friends after six weeks on Insignia.”

Randy Supports Insignia
Randy can't resist the opportunity to show his support for Insignia. 

Randy and Jeff will soon reunite with old friends and make more new ones, as their next cruise is already booked for June 2011, a voyage onboard Nautica exploring the Black Sea. Perhaps you will run into them on one of your own adventures with Oceania Cruises!